Photo of the day

A harvest-themed set at Big Picture.  Started out slow, but I ended up really like a bunch of these.  Two favorites:

Villagers stand on a crater of Mount Bromo as they wait for sunrise during the annual Kasada festival in Indonesia’s East Java province August 4, 2012. Villagers and worshippers throw offerings such as livestock and other crops into the volcanic crater of Mount Bromo to give thanks to the Hindu gods for ensuring their safety and prosperity. (Sigit Pamungkas/Reuters) 


A tractor harvests hay on a field near Hildesheim, Germany on August 18, 2012. (Nigel Treblin/dapd/Associated Press)

Quote of the day

Rick Santorum, via Gawker:

At the bigotry-laden Values Voters Summit, former Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum inadvertently characterized conservative values as something smart people do not have.

We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side. [emphasis mine]

Yes, damn the media and the elites and anyone who has bothered reading a book that isn’t the Bible. Those smarts with their logic will never understand Santorum’s staunchly anti-gay perspective.

Shorter Rick Santorum.  Smart people?  We don’t need no stinkin’ smart people!

The Daily Mitt

1) Jonathan Bernstein highlights Mitt’s magical thinking on his economic policy.  It’s shameful that the press lets him get away with this on a regular basis.  When called on it, he rejects the necessary conclusions of his economic study upon which he claims his economic plans were based.  Charlatan.

2) John Judis writes that Mitt is losing because people don’t like him.  And that’s okay:

Civics teachers may wring their hands about it—all these voters who supposedly  make up their minds based on imaginary beers with people they’ll never personally meet—butthese kind of considerations can prove decisive. If the 2000 election had been decided entirely on specific policy grounds, Vice President Al Gore probably would have won fairly easily. But George W. Bush enjoyed a consistent edge on character questions…

Personal popularity isn’t based on whether a candidate would balance the budget or promise to bomb Iran, but that doesn’t mean it’s superficial. In voters’ minds, questions about character can relate to what a president would do, but not necessarily to what he would do about specific policies. In 2000 and 2004, voters preferred Bush because they trusted him to take their concerns into account when he had to decide what to do about a particular issue. They didn’t necessarily believe that Gore or Kerry would ignore them; but they didn’t know what these candidates would do. That was reflected, especially, in answers to questions about whether a candidate “cares about people like you,” and whether the candidate is “honest and trustworthy,” but also in answers to questions about who is the more “likeable.” Being more likeable is being more like them; and being more like-able. Voters found Gore and Kerry—in contrast to Bush—to be distant and to distant from them.

What about Romney?

This perception that Romney is not genuine is at heart of his political difficulties. It is why voters don’t trust him. At the convention, Romney’s handlers tried to humanize him by making the case that he is a good father and husband and a caring boss and religious leader. These efforts may have spoken to the perception of Romney as an ice-cold business consultant, but they didn’t get to voters’ basic question about who Romney really cares about and stands for…

But if the election continues on its present course, voters’ preference for Obama’s character over Romney’s is likely to prove decisive.

Furthermore, there’s also some political science research that suggests that more sophisticated voters actually pay more attention to candidate personality in voting decision than do less sophisticated voters.

3) Just because a Republican candidate gets some bad press doesn’t mean there’s  a liberal bias.  Sometimes they just deserve it.  Jon Cohn lays out four reasons Romney deserves his bad press of late.  The conclusion:

Just to be clear, I’m not dismissing the possibility that a liberal bias has altered media coverage, by affecting what journalists cover if not how they cover it. I’m not conceding the point, either. But whatever role that bias may or may not have played, the main reason that Romney’s coverage makes him look bad seems pretty clear to me. He’s running an evasive, dishonest campaign and reporters are calling him on it. As they should.

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