Sasha Issenberg: "From a technological perspective, the 2012 campaign will look to many voters much the same as 2008 did. There will not be a major innovation that seems to herald a new era in electioneering, like 1996's debut of candidate Web pages or their use in fundraising four years later; like online organizing for campaign events in 2004 or the subsequent emergence of social media as a mass-communication tool in 2008. This year's looming innovations in campaign mechanics will be imperceptible to the electorate, and the engineers at Obama's Chicago headquarters…may be at work at one of the most important. If successful, Narwhal would fuse the multiple identities of the engaged citizen–the online activist, the offline voter, the donor, the volunteer–into a single, unified political profile."
-By Eric Kleefeld
February 22, 2012- Tuesday was the official launch of Wisconsin’s new Voter-I.D. law, with citizens now required to present a photo-identification card in order to cast a ballot in the primaries for local elections. And as it turns out, one man refused to vote, because he was so angry that his card from the Department of Veterans Affairs was not on the approved list.
As the Racine Journal Times reported, 69-year old veteran Gil Paar was shocked when poll workers told him his photo I.D. from the V.A. wasn’t on the accepted list. They then asked him if he had a driver’s license — which he did — but he instead refused to show it and left the precinct. “Basically I was trying to make a point,” Paar told the paper. “I gave them four years of my life, why shouldn’t I be able to use my vet’s card?”
-By Richard Lardner
February 13, 2012- WASHINGTON — Despite criticism of Fannie Mae by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, his campaign accepted nearly $280,000 in donations raised by a registered lobbyist who once represented the government mortgage giant and whose clients now include a private equity firm and the drug company Pfizer.
Yet Romney has not identified all of his so-called fundraising "bundlers" who have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, even after President Barack Obama's re-election campaign released the names of his top fundraisers. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich also haven't disclosed their bundlers. Ron Paul's campaign has said it doesn't use them. For more than a decade, since the election of George W. Bush in 2000, presidential campaigns have identified their bundlers.
-by Glynn Wilson
February 13, 2012- BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The fate of the world is often decided by powerful men meeting in secret. That is a fact, but it’s not always the case — and doesn’t have to be so.
No, this is no “conspiracy theory.” It’s just a narrative story explaining how politics, government and public opinion are often guided by the rich and powerful, but also how common citizens can make a difference when the press does its job of educating the public in a democratic society.
How the public thinks about politics and government is often guided by the metaphors and symbols embedded in our national narrative. It’s just that the rich have much more power to influence this narrative and set these symbols than the rest of us.
The press in this country also has a tremendous power to influence this debate, in spite of a lot of communications research which is designed to protect media corporations from legal liability by showing the limits of media influence on public opinion.
-By Eric W. Dolan
February 20, 2012- The liberal group TakeAction Minnesota on Monday morning held a press conference to condemn what they said was racist imagery being used to promote a proposed voter ID law.
The Republican-controlled Minnesota legislature is pushing for a constitutional amendment that would require voters to show a government-issued photo identification in order to vote at a polling place.
An online banner on WeWantVoterID.com, a site created by the conservative group Minnesota Majority, shows an African-American male dressed in a black-and-white-striped prison suit and a person dressed in a blue mariachi costume standing alongside fictional characters. All of the characters are lined up waiting to vote and the online banner’s reads” “Voter Fraud: Watch How Easy It Is To Cheat In Minnesota’s Elections.”
-by Michael McIntee
February 19, 2012- Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is advocating a more secure voting system that potentially could please both sides of the voter photo ID debate.
Republicans want to require Minnesotans to present a photo ID at the polls before they can vote.
Democratic Farmer Laborites say that would discourage people who don’t have a photo ID from voting — many of whom are poor, elderly and/or disabled.
Electronic poll books provide the photo identification of voters that Republicans seek without putting the onus of getting a photo ID on the voters as DFLers despise. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie sees it as a possible bipartisan solution to the issue.
Minnesota made and more secure and less costly than voter photo ID proposal.
Fevruary 17, 2012- WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday blocked a Montana court ruling upholding limits on corporate campaign spending. The state court ruling appears to be at odds with the high court’s 2010 decision striking down a federal ban on those campaign expenditures.
The justices put the Montana ruling on hold while they consider an appeal from corporations seeking to be free of spending limits. The state argues, and the Montana Supreme Court agreed, that political corruption gave rise to the century-old ban on corporate campaign spending.
In the 2010 Citizens United case, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that independent spending by corporations does “not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.”
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a dissenter in Citizens United, issued a brief statement for herself and Justice Stephen Breyer saying that campaign spending since the decision makes “it exceedingly difficult to maintain that independent expenditures by corporations ‘do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.’”