Is this something “we” ought to be concerned about…?

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

Is this something “we” ought to be concerned about…?

Military control of civilian options
This seems a lot worse than anything McChrystal said in front of a Rolling Stone reporter:

In Woodward’s account, even after Obama decided to send 30,000 more troops, the Pentagon kept coming back with plans involving 40,000.

Even after he decided not to pursue an all-out counterinsurgency campaign, the Pentagon kept coming back with plans involving just that.
Obama also kept asking his generals for more options to consider.

They were playing the old trick of giving the president three pseudo-options — two that were clearly unacceptable (in this case, 80,000 more troops for full counterinsurgency and 10,000 troops just to train Afghan soldiers) and the one in the middle that they wanted (40,000 more troops).

They never gave him another option. When Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, drew up a compromise plan involving 20,000 troops (believing the president had a right to see a wide span of options, even if the military didn’t agree with them), Mullen forbade him from taking it outside the Pentagon.

Obama never saw it.

In the end, Woodward reveals, Obama devised his own alternative strategy and personally wrote out its terms in a six-page, single-spaced memo that he made his top civilian and military advisers read and sign on to. (Woodward reprints the memo in the back of the book.)

That’s from Fred Kaplan, who also sees signs that the Obama administration is beginning an endgame for the war in Afghanistan.

And if you want more from Woodward, The Post has been printing excerpts from his book this week.

By Ezra Klein | September 29, 2010; 4:54 PM ET

These are the type of “games”

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

These are the type of “games” that kids play … but … they don’t get paid the big buck$ or swear an oath “to serve & to protect” … what hypocrisy…

Senate won’t allow Obama recess appointments …By MANU RAJU … 9/30/10 1:20 AM EDT … Updated: 9/30/10 9:42 AM EDT

President Barack Obama won’t be able to make recess appointments under a bipartisan Senate deal struck Wednesday night.

Under the deal, the Senate will hold pro forma sessions – where the presiding officer will gavel in, and gavel out – so that the chamber technically will stay in session, even though legislative business won’t occur until after the November elections. By technically staying in session about twice a week, Obama won’t be able to use his constitutional authority to bypass the Senate and install political appointees temporarily during extended recesses.

Both sides got a partial victory out of Wednesday night’s accord. It ensures that Republican senators can’t send Obama’s nominees back to the White House, which would have forced the administration to renominate the choices even if they were partially through the legislative process.

Senators have the authority to send back judicial and executive branch nominees if the chamber recesses for more than 30 days, and doing so would have angered Democrats trying to shepherd through a slew of stalled Obama nominees.

And Republicans scored a victory by ensuring Obama can’t make recess appointments before the Senate returns for official business November 15.

After he became majority leader in 2007, Sen. Harry Reid began employing the practice to stop President George W. Bush from making recess appointments.

Even though Reid stopped scheduling pro forma sessions in 2009 when Obama took office, some of the president’s recess appointments – namely Don Berwick to head Medicare and Medicaid programs and Craig Becker to serve on the National Labor Relations Board – sparked fierce GOP outcry.

And you trust her…?

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

“Stimulus Jan” Strikes again… and again …

Posted: 29 Sep 2010 07:18 AM PDT … Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Arizona’s queen of making up shit, Jan Brewer, is at it again.

Brewer opposed federal stimulus funds. She has said that she would have voted against the stimulus bill if she had a vote in Congress.

But Brewer went with hat in hand to accept the federal stimulus funds she said she opposed.

In making disbursements under the federal stimulus bill (a power given to governors under the language of the bill), Brewer is now falsely claiming that these disbursements are job creation by the office of Governor rather than federal stimulus funds (something hypocritical Republicans have been doing all over the country).

Brewer’s pockets would be empty but for the federal stimulus funds she is simply doling out. Arizonans know that Jan Brewer is a liar (“headless bodies in the desert”) who cannot be trusted.

The Arizona Democratic Party has issued this press release:

‘Stimulus Jan’ strikes again… and again…Brewer continues to bash feds but take credit for job creation funded by federal stimulus

PHOENIX – It happened again today. In fact, it’s happened at least a dozen times since August.

A press release goes out, topped with a large headline proclaiming that Gov. Brewer is doing something to create jobs or help the business or education communities.

This is blatant hypocrisy. Brewer’s entire campaign is based on bashing the federal government. Yet she is pretending that these job creation efforts — funded by federal stimulus dollars – are a result of her own leadership.

This pattern isn’t new. We highlighted it on Aug 20. We highlighted it way back on Jan. 11, just after her State of the State address.

And now it’s picking up speed as Election Day approaches [See list below of 12 recent Brewer press release headlines]

Last 6 weeks of Brewer press releases taking credit for job creation from stimulus funding:

Aug. 11 “Governor Jan Brewer and City of Surprise Welcome Rioglass Solar to Arizona” ($10.6 million)

Aug. 16 “Governor Jan Brewer Announces Energy Innovation Grants” ($3.4 million)

Aug. 17 “Governor Jan Brewer Announces Success in Obtaining College Access Challenge Grant to Aid Low-Income Students” ($2.9 million)

Aug. 17 “Governor Jan Brewer Hails Success in Securing Funding for Arizona Forest Restoration Initiative”
($2 million)

Aug. 26 “Governor Jan Brewer Announces $2.7 Million in Grants for Renewable Energy Manufacturers” ($2.7 million)

Aug. 27 “Governor Jan Brewer Adds Funding Support for Public Safety” ($10 million)

Sept. 3 “Governor Jan Brewer Announces Energy Awards for Rural Communities” ($2.7 million)

Sept. 8 “Governor Jan Brewer Establishes Rural Business Council Focused on Job Growth in Rural Areas”
($2 million)

Sept. 13 “Governor Jan Brewer Announces Economic Aid for Rural Counties” ($2.5 million)

Sept. 14 “Governor Jan Brewer Announces Broadband Award” ($39.2 million)

Sept. 16 “Governor Jan Brewer Announces Funding for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics”
($0.1 million)

Sept. 28 “Governor Jan Brewer Dedicates Funding to Advance Algae Technologies and Innovations” ($2 million)
Total: $80.1 million

And you trust her…?

IS FLAWED PAPERWORK … CODE

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

QUESTION … IS FLAWED PAPERWORK … CODE … FOR WE AIN’T GOT NO PROOF BECAUSE WE CAN’T FIND THE REAL MORTGAGE … OPENS A PANDORA’S BOX THAT YOU JUST MIGHT WANT TO INVESTIGATE … BUT DON’T ASK YOUR LOCAL BANKER OR MORTGAGE COMPANY OR REALTOR … NO YOU GOT TO DO SOME SLEUTHING … AND JUDICIOUSLY DECIPHER WHAT YOU ARE TOLD

J.P. Morgan Chase to freeze foreclosures over flawed paperwork
By Ariana Eunjung Cha… Washington Post Staff Writer …Wednesday, September 29, 2010; 11:36 PM

J.P. Morgan Chase, one of the nation’s leading banks, announced Wednesday that it will freeze foreclosures in about half the country because of flawed paperwork, a move that Wall Street analysts said will pressure the rest of the industry to follow suit.

The bank’s decision will affect 56,000 borrowers in 23 states where allegations of forged documents and signatures and other similar problems are being used to try to overturn court-ordered evictions.

Yet the impact may be much broader, given J.P. Morgan’s stature in the industry. If other banks adopt the same approach, the foreclosure process in many parts of the country will grind to a halt.

Officials at Fitch Ratings, a credit-rating firm that measures the health of companies, said the “defects” found in foreclosure documents at J.P. Morgan are industry-wide.

Underscoring that concern, Fitch said it is considering whether to lower the grades it gives to the mortgage servicing divisions of the nation’s largest lenders.

“Over the next few weeks, we expect to see more and more companies come out with similar announcements,” said Diane Pendley, a managing director at Fitch.

The paperwork problems at J.P. Morgan mirror those uncovered last week at another large mortgage lender, Ally Financial. But J.P. Morgan’s decision is expected to have a much greater effect on the industry because it is held in high regard by its peers.

By contrast, Ally, formerly known as GMAC, is still under the cloud of a $17 billion federal bailout package that it has been unable to pay back.
Both firms are investigating whether foreclosure files were improperly assembled, and whether their employees failed to review the documents even as they signed off on them.

A growing number of homeowners – even those who missed their mortgage payments – are now scrambling to challenge the proceedings, weighing down an already overburdened court system.
J.P. Morgan had declined to address the matter until Wednesday. But in a sworn deposition, one of the bank’s employees, Beth Ann Cottrell, admitted that she and her team signed off on about 18,000 foreclosures a month without checking whether they were justified.

J.P. Morgan spokesman Tom Kelly said Wednesday that the firm “does not expect to find any factual problems or that customers have been harmed, but if we do find any cases we will take appropriate action.”

In addition to the measures that private lenders have taken, four states – California, Colorado, Connecticut and Illinois – have called for a moratorium on all foreclosures initiated by Ally, while attorneys general in seven other states have opened civil or criminal investigations related to flawed foreclosures.

Even as the extent of the problems has become more apparent, the Treasury Department has declined to answer specific questions about the matter since it surfaced last week.

On Wednesday, Treasury spokesman Mark Paustenbach said that officials have been in touch with Ally and that they expect it to take “prompt action to correct any errors.” He added that the agency is “monitoring their progress.”

Treasury officials raised the issue personally with Ally chief executive Michael Carpenter during a recent meeting, according to an administration official.

Yet the agency’s response has frustrated some consumer advocates. A few lawmakers have also called for investigations of whether homeowners are being improperly removed from their homes.

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) said Wednesday that the Treasury Department and relevant federal agencies should begin their own inquiry.

“With millions of families losing their homes, it’s inexcusable for companies like Ally to be this patently negligent,” he said. “I want the federal government to hold Ally accountable and ensure that homeowners who wrongly received foreclosure get the compensation they deserve.”

Ira Rheingold, director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, criticized the Treasury Department, saying it has not been forthcoming about what actions it is taking to the remedy the situation.

The agency has been “protecting servicers and investors and doing what is minimally possible to help homeowners,” he said.

Other consumer advocates say administration officials face a no-win situation. If they determine there is no reason to take action, they may be criticized for not helping homeowners. But taking extreme measures such as calling for a national moratorium on foreclosures could hurt the economy and damage the housing market.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moodys.com, said that, in the worst-case scenario, the document-processing problems could lengthen the foreclosure process from three years to as long as a decade, especially if homeowners use the flawed paperwork to appeal their evictions.

The long holdup could have “macroeconomic consequences” as a destabilizing force on housing prices. Banks could become more unwilling to extend credit to households or to small-business owners who use homes as collateral. And investors who had been keeping home prices propped up by buying foreclosures may stop and never come back.

He added, however, that it is still an open question how the courts will handle the paperwork problems.
Ally officials on Wednesday declined to comment on any ongoing or potential investigations, but they have said that they are confident that “the processing errors did not result in any inappropriate foreclosures.”

Company officials have declined to disclose how many loans may be affected and how much remedying the issue might cost, but spokeswoman Gina Proia said the firm “does not anticipate significant adverse effect on Ally related to this matter.”

Postal Service close to going broke

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

Is anyone really surprised … just eliminate price discounts for junk and bulk mailing make us all pay the same rate …

Postal Service close to going broke

By Ed O’Keefe … Washington Post Staff Writer … Wednesday, September 29, 2010; 10:16 PM

Americans can still send and receive mail, but the U.S. Postal Service may not have much left in the bank after this week, as it’s set to announce billions of dollars in losses as early as Thursday.

It’s also waiting for postal regulators to announce Thursday whether they approve of a proposed 5.6 percent postage-rate increase, to start in January.

The proposed increase faces stiff resistance from business groups and lawmakers, who say that the USPS should instead make deeper spending cuts to meet its financial obligations.

GOP opposition kept Congress from permitting the Postal Service to postpone paying $5.5 billion required by law to pre-fund retiree health benefits.

A temporary spending measure to fund most federal programs through early December didn’t mention the Postal Service; it passed the Senate on Wednesday and is expected to clear the House on Thursday.

“The Postal Service does not want to make the tough decisions, which include cuts in personnel, pay and benefits. Instead, they are relying on a generous taxpayer bailout that will not solve any of their mid- or long-term problems,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who opposes the rate increase and congressional relief.

“Taxpayers should not be made to bail out a business-as-usual Postal Service,” Issa said.

“While it appears that the continuing resolution will not include USPS funding, service will not be compromised while the administration works with Congress and USPS to ensure that they have the tools and authorities necessary to remain viable well into the future,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement.

The administration and Postal Service have met this week to determine what portion, if not all, of the payment can be made by the close of the fiscal year Thursday, the OMB said.

The Postal Service has cut $10 billion in spending since 2008 and continues to trim its workforce through attrition.

Postmaster General John E. Potter canceled a Wednesday meeting with reporters that was meant to address the financial concerns.

“Ideally, what you’d like to do in the Postal Service is have access to about $5 [billion] to $6 billion in cash, whether that’s borrowing ability or cash on the books,” Potter said in an April interview that predicted this week’s turn of events. “That’s basically two payrolls.

That’s not a lot of breathing room. Without relief in the form of lowering our payments into the retirement trust fund this year, we are perilously close to running out of cash in October.”

Strong mail volume this month might add enough revenue to justify making the $5.5 billion payment to the government, but it would still leave little in postal coffers, said sources familiar with the process but not authorized to speak on the record.

Senate Democrats hope to introduce a bill during the lame-duck session that would give the Postal Service more flexibility to determine its delivery schedule and decide whether it needs to close thousands of branches.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.), also addresses how USPS could make the $5.5 billion annual payments in the future.

“I think this entire situation puts more pressure on the Postal Service and pressure on the legislators to address the issue comprehensively,” said

Tony Conway, executive director of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, which represents some of the mail agency’s biggest and most loyal customers.

We’re Not Ever Leaving’ Afghanistan

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

OK … Mr. President … what is the truth and more importantly how can “we” (that’s the American people) tell who (if anyone) is giving us the TRUTH…

Robert Gates: ‘We’re Not Ever Leaving’ Afghanistan …09-29-2010 •
InformationClearingHouse.info

In a shocking indication of a split between the White House and the Pentagon over the war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates believes that the U.S. military will never leave the war-torn country. During a dinner hosted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for Afghan President Hamid Karzai in May, Gates reminded the group that he still feels guilty for his role in the first President Bush’s decision to pull out of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, according to Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s Wars.”

And to express his commitment to not letting down the country again, he emphasized: “We’re not leaving Afghanistan prematurely,” Gates finally said. “In fact, we’re not ever leaving at all.”

Woodward notes that the group was shocked by the blunt comment: “At least one stunned participant put down his fork. Another wrote it down, verbatim, in his notes.”

The definitive statement seems to clash with President Obama’s assertion that he does not want to leave the war to his successor.

Though he has emphasized that the U.S. will stay in Afghanistan “until the job is done,” he wants almost all the US troops out before the end of his first term in January 2013, leaving in place a small contingency force.

Yet Obama’s public commitment to eventually leaving Afghanistan seems partly based on political calculation, reports Woodward.

When questioned by Republican Senator Lindsay Graham about the July 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing troops, Obama tells him: “Well, if you’d asked me that question, what I would say is, ‘We’re going to start leaving.’ I have to say that.

I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party… And people at home don’t want to hear we’re going to be there for ten years.”

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel privately refers to the war as “political flypaper” and the veteran of sharp-elbowed Chicago politics once got so frustrated with Karzai that he considered sending him “the equivalent of a dead fish with an imperial wrapping,” writes Woodward.

Emanuel’s threat — “Tell him we’re going to put our own governors in if we have to” — was ignored by the president during a meeting with military brass.

Gates, who is planning to leave his job before the 2012 presidential election, could be referring to that small contingency force with his comments.

But his remarks do seem to highlight the differences between the military brass and the White House over Afghan strategy from the type of warfare to the size of the troop increase, as outlined in Woodward’s book.

And it seems to further indicate the Pentagon’s commitment to staying in Afghanistan.

The commander of US troops in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, is quoted saying about the country: “You have to recognize that I don’t think you win this war. I think you keep fighting. You have to stay after it. This is the kind of fight we’re in for the rest of our lives and probably our kids’ lives.”

HOW CAN THIS BE WHEN THIS ISSUE DOES NOT EVEN SURFACE WHEN CANDIDATE$ HAWKING TO GET OUR VOTE NEVER UTTER A WORD…?

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

HOW CAN THIS BE WHEN THIS ISSUE DOES NOT EVEN SURFACE
WHEN CANDIDATE$ HAWKING TO GET OUR VOTE NEVER UTTER A WORD…?

Arizona budget deficit estimated to have grown to $825 million…Tucson Citizen and The Arizona Republic… Mary Jo Pitzl…http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2010/09/30/20100930arizona-budget-deficit-grows.html

More pain foreseen for state programs …Yuma Sun, Tribune, Sierra Vista Herald, Daily News Sun, Arizona Daily Sun and Arizona Daily Star… Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services …http://azstarnet.com/news/state-and-regional/article_9a5d66a2-764b-5d65-8c82-7d167a6924ed.html

Budget analysts: Arizona midyear shortfall growing …Sierra Vista Herald, Mohave Daily News and Arizona Daily Sun… Associated Press…http://www.azdailysun.com/news/state-and-regional/article_23d47446-8ed8-5ab9-8e63-4e7cd414f153.html

State budget not improving…Phoenix Business Journal… http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/phoenix/morning_call/2010/09/state_budget_not_improving.html?surround=lf

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

NOW WAIT JUST A MINUTE … Governor Brewer and the head of ADWR along with the corporatists from SRP and CAP … repeatedly tell us … NOT TO WORRY … Arizona does not have a water shortage issue…

Study: Most Arizona counties could face water shortages

… Arizona Range News… Dick Kamp … http://www.willcoxrangenews.com/articles/2010/09/29/news/news19.txt

You don’t suspect Governor Brewer and her “kitchen” cabinet is LYING to us … do you…?

is this how it’s really suppose to work…?

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

Responsibility to “clean-up” this contaminated water has passed from the original owner … Goodyear Tire & Rubber over the past 30 years to the newest corporate entity … Liberty Water …

and to date not one corporation has been held accountable nor “clean-up” the contamination …

it remains and grows and “we” (Az citizens) are fed more B.S. that new technology will magically arrive on the scene …

and presto … problem solved … in the mean time … people get sick and die
while attorneys on both side$ get rich … and Liberty Water customer$ pay more for water …

is this how it’s really suppose to work…?

Contaminated water has Southwest Valley cities on edge … by David Madrid … Sept. 29, 2010 11:03 AM .. The Arizona Republic

In the Southwest Valley, there is a growing plume of contamination that moves with groundwater flows and threatens drinking-water wells critical to three cities.

Officials in Litchfield Park, Avondale and Goodyear say the growth of the plume doesn’t bode well for the cities and that cleanup efforts haven’t been adequate.

The Phoenix Goodyear Airport superfund site contains two contaminated plumes, divided into north and south.

The north plume is growing. …While Litchfield Park is afraid the plume may impact its Tierra Verde Lake, a popular fishing area, Mayor Thomas Schoaf also worries about the city’s drinking water.

“That’s the big concern, because it (plume) is moving toward drinking-water wells that are run by Liberty Water … (see liberty water web site … http://www.libertywater.com/static/about_us.html?hipg=about ) … and moving toward drinking-water wells that are the main drinking-water wells in Avondale,” Schoaf said. “So it’s a very serious problem.”

Liberty Water provides water to Litchfield Park, Goodyear north of Interstate 10 and some unincorporated areas.

If the plume reaches the Avondale wells, it could become a very expensive problem, said Wayne Janis, Avondale’s water resources manager.
“We are not yet directly affected by the plume, but if the plume should affect us, it will affect a very important part of the water supply for Avondale for the next 50 to 100 years,” Janis said.

“An alternative to using groundwater would be using surface water, and that would require building a water-treatment plant that would cost the citizens of Avondale $80 (million) to $100 million to supply water. If you figure that currently, there are 80,000 citizens in Avondale, that’s quite a bit of money per citizen.”

Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh said the plume is moving from Goodyear toward other cities. Goodyear has shut down four wells over the past 10 years because of the contamination.

“We’ve had the problem since the early ’80s that it’s been recognized as a problem, and it’s only been the last five or six years that there’s been significant attention placed on it,” Cavanaugh said. “But attention to ‘let’s get this resolved; let’s stop the flow,’ we haven’t done that yet.

Once we’ve got control of the plume, then we need to start emphasizing the eradication of it.”
Plume site a national priority

…Both plumes originate in Goodyear, but the Phoenix Goodyear Airport south plume has been largely contained.

The source of the pollution in the north plume was Unidynamics Phoenix Inc., which was established in 1963 as a research, development and manufacturing plant for defense and aerospace equipment.

The plant basically disposed of its waste by dumping it into dry wells and unlined oxidation ponds.

Most of the contamination is trichloroethene, more commonly called TCE, which is a solvent. But there are more contaminants that were generated by the plant in the soil and groundwater such as toluene, acetone, methanol, cobalt nitrate, ammonium carbonate, perchloric acid and oil.

The Arizona Department of Health Services discovered the groundwater contamination in 1981, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added the site to the National Priorities List in September 1983.
Cities unhappy with cleanup …Crane Co., which now owns the site, is conducting the cleanup under the authority of a consent decree signed in June 2006. The company, based in Stamford, Conn., manufactures highly engineered industrial products.

The cities complain that Crane hasn’t taken the plume as serious as they would like, and that frequently, it drags its feet when it comes to the plume.

“Crane Co. is a very efficient and profitable company,” Janis said. “It runs many businesses by a business model that is very profitable, and they make a lot of money. It would seem that if they treated the contaminated plume as they would treat any other business . . . that they would be a lot more efficient in containing, correcting and eliminating the contamination so that they would . . . not have to worry about the pollution and could make money.”
Janis said that compared with the profits Crane makes, the money it spends on pollution control is “just a drop in the bucket.”

Schoaf said the consent decree governs the relationship between Crane and the EPA and gives the EPA a variety of powers, which it hasn’t used as effectively as it should.
“It appears that they (EPA) are becoming more aggressive,” Schoaf said. “I think they are starting to realize that if they don’t do something, this thing is going to continue getting bigger and bigger and bigger.”

Crane spokesman Richard Koch said the company has no comment.

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/2010/09/29/20100929southwest-valley-cities-contaminated-water.html#ixzz112UMDqYO

I don’t claim to have THE answer but one possibility might be …

A Perspective … in the end it’s all about disclosure & transparency

Barack Obama and the difficulty of energizing young voters

I don’t claim to have THE answer but one possibility might be …

Young voters are a product of more than 50 years to propaganda skillfully orchestrated by for-profit-mass-media-corporate-interest$ fully embracing immediate gratification …

What have you done for me lately…?

Can President Obama re-create the energy and enthusiasm among young voters that he enjoyed in 2008? REUTERS/Joshua Lott

President Barack Obama will be in Madison, Wisconsin later today for a rally designed to re-energize young people in advance of the Nov. 2 midterm elections

Obama and his senior political strategists have made no secret of the fact that they believe turning out college-age — and slightly older — voters, who formed one of the pillars of his own electoral victory in 2008, is essential to limiting Democratic losses in the House and Senate this fall.

“You can’t sit it out,” Obama told a group of college journalists on a conference call Monday previewing today’s visit. “

You can’t suddenly just check in once every 10 years or so, on an exciting presidential election, and then not pay attention during big midterm elections where we’ve got a real big choice between Democrats and Republicans.”

The problem for Obama is that he and his top advisers are fighting long-term historic trends that suggest that young people are doing just that — paying far less attention to this midterm race than they did to the presidential contest two years ago.

Before we get into those numbers, it’s important to clarify exactly why young voters mattered in 2008.

The myth that has grown up around that election is that young people — for the purposes of this discussion we are using that term to describe anyone between 18-29 years old– turned out in far greater numbers than in elections past.

Not true. … According to exit polling, young voters made up 18 percent of the electorate in 2008 while they comprised 17 percent of the electorate in 2004.

While young voters then weren’t a significantly larger chunk of the overall vote, they did vote far more heavily for Obama than they had for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004.
Obama took won voters aged 18-29 by 34 points in 2008, a margin almost four times as wide as Kerry carried them four years earlier.

The consolidation of young voters then was the story of the 2008 election, a rallying effect that — given Kerry’s far weaker showing in 2004 — seems attributable in no small part to a personal connection young people felt to Obama rather than to his party or a set of issues.
In the intervening two years, that shine has worn off somewhat among young voters — an almost-inevitable erosion that is the result of the differences between the excitement of a campaign and the mundane day in, day out-ness of governing.

(“The euphoria has dimmed down,” one college student told the Post’s Phil Rucker in advance of the President’s visit today.)

That “dimming” effect could well make it more difficult for Obama and Democrats to overcome historical trends — and more recent polling — that make clear that young people are simply not as interested in midterm elections as presidential ones.
In the 2006 midterm election, exit polling showed that voters aged 18-29 made up just 12 percent of the electorate although they voted for Democrats by 22 points.

In the 1998 midterm election, young voters comprised a similar 13 percent of the electorate — splitting their vote evenly between Democrats and Republicans. (The 2002 exit polls had widespread problems and, as a result, aren’t regarded as scientifically sound enough to cite.)

Those exit poll numbers, which suggest the youth vote drops by as much as a third between a presidential and a midterm election, are affirmed by more recent poll data regarding the approaching 2010 election.

In a recent Pew poll, 45 percent of voters aged 18-29 said they definitely planned to vote this fall as compared to 68 percent of voters aged 30-49 and a whopping 84 percent of voters 65 and older who said the same.

In past Pew data for midterms, the percentage of young voters who said they definitely planned to vote has varied from a low of 39 percent (in 2002) to a high of 48 percent (in 2006) but has never risen above 50 percent. (The 65+ numbers, by contrast have never dipped below 69 percent.)

All of that data doesn’t mean that the White House’s focus on young voters is for naught, however. David Plouffe, who managed Obama’s 2008 campaign, has suggested that even a slight uptick in young voters’ participation could matter in close contests; “races where you’re losing 52 to 48, you can flip it,” said Plouffe.
And, there are a number of competitive House races — Virginia’s 5th, Ohio’s 15th, Arizona’s 5th, Colorado’s 4th and Indiana’s 9th to name a few — that have large college/university populations where even a thousand or two votes from young people for Democrats could — and we emphasize could — make a difference.

But, historical facts are tough to dispute. In 2008, President Obama demonstrated an ability to consolidate the votes of young people that no president — Democrat or Republican — had come close to doing before.

To vastly increase — or even marginally increase — turnout among young voters would require him to again bend the curve of electoral history in midterm elections.

If there is any figure in modern politics who can do it, it’s Obama given his demonstrated electoral appeal among young people. But, the task before him is very tough. Can he buck the historical trend again?

By Chris Cillizza | September 28, 2010; 1:33 PM ET

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