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Manic Monday Markup 10/22/12…

…And the World:

We begin in South Africa, where criticism of President Jacob Zuma is rising after months of labor unrest and complaints of corruption.  Zuma, in an effort to shore up support after the recent mine workers violence, has announced a jobs program.  However, he is now facing (indirect) criticism from his predecessor Thabo Mbeki, whom Zuma shunted out of the way in order to become president.  Some government ministers have also spoken out, but are now denying they made such comments.

Spain’s Government is breathing a sigh of relief after regional elections did not result in the governing party losing seats and subsequently influence as the country attempts to balance its books and tackle its debt.

Israeli politics in the spotlight once again, except this time a scandal has engulfed the two main governing parties.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Foreign Minister Avigdor Leiberman’s Yisraeli Beiteniu Members of the Knesset are subject to criticism for using state funds for expensive trips.

The Feds:

The death of former South Dakota Senator George McGovern, who also won only Massachusetts (and DC)  in the 1972 Presidential Election has prompted an outpouring of fond remembrances from across the country, like this one from former Republican Senator Bob Dole..

The polls are incredibly close as President Barack Obama and our former Governor Mitt Romney head into their last debate, which will focus on foreign policy.  The New York Times reports that George W. Bush and his foreign and economic policies, nevertheless, loom large tonight and in the race.

A cascade of endorsements from Newspapers have come in.  However, one of the most comprehensive, from the New Yorker, supports Obama.  Another interesting endorsement is from the Salt Lake Tribune, which did not back adopted home stater, Mitt Romney, deriding his multiple stands on multiple issues with the headline “Too Many Mitts“.  The Tribune’s money quote? “The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.”

Elsewhere in the endorsement cascade nationwide, south of the border in Connecticut, Congressman Chris Murphy has yielded the support of the Connecticut Post, The Day of New London, and the Norwich Bulletin as well as the New York Times.  The Bulletin’s condemnation of Murphy’s opponent, Linda McMahon is particularly damning saying her campaign is “void of substance.”

Bay State of the Race:

A new section for the last three Manic Mondays before Election Day!

Dueling rallies this past week as big names came out for both Scott Brown and Warren.  However, it appears that Warren got the lion’s share.  Al Franken kicked off a canvass in Springfield and former Georgia Senator Max Cleland did the same in Beverly and elsewhere in the east.  Warren rallied in Northampton yesterday, while Brown did the same in Lowell with New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte and Senator John McCain.

However, Brown, clearly trying to get Bay Staters to squint and equate “women-on-stage” to broad support of women may have taken on a risk by having Ayotte on stage.  Ayotte is not pro-choice at all and is against marriage equality and same-sex couple adoption.  Ayotte even resigned as New Hampshire’s Attorney General shortly after same-sex marriage became legal and urged opponents to get the law overturned.  Point of information.  They failed.  This comes even as gay rights groups, excluding Republican outfits, have lined up behind Warren.

Senate race potpourri, Reason Magazine‘s Garrett Quinn, a libertarian publication, got Warren on the record on why libertarians should support her.  The answer? Contract Law.  See that professorship isn’t a vice, after all.  Meanwhile, the Republican fact checks a Mass GOP mailer on Warren’s role in TARP, calling it “strange.”

The State of Things:

It is easy for Holyoke Municipal politics to mix into a state rep race when the whole district is the city.  Holyoke City Councilors Aaron Vega and Linda Vacon are competing for the open State Rep seat.  Vega, the Democrat is likely to complete his council term.  Vacon says she would resign.  Holding both positions is legal in Massachusetts, but rare and generally held only to complete another term and the record in the area for politicians doing this is mixed.

The Reminder provides additional details of the East Longmeadow Election fraud probe that in all likelihood ended the career of former Selectman Enrico Jack Villaimaino.  The new information reveals evidence of a sophisticated effort to rig an election.  By the way voter ID would have done nothing to stop this.  See next.

As David Bernstein says, Senate President Terry Murray may be the only endangered Democrat in the State Senate this cycle and she and her opponent squared off in a debate.  Voter ID appeared to be a point of contention.  We must say however, that comparing voting to other facets of everyday life like boarding an airplane forgets voting is a fundamental constitutional right.  Flights on airplanes? Not so much.

City Slickers:

Joining the fight against a casino in Springfield appears to be the Episcopal Church.  The American branch of the Anglican Communion in Springfield resolved to oppose the measure at their annual conference.

Mayor Domenic Sarno is said to favor giving acting Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant the job permanently rather than engaging in a search to find a replacement of  Gary Cassanelli who left earlier this year.

Twitter Chatter:

Although Mitt Romney’s pitch about the economy is by far his biggest focus an oft-overlooked component of his agenda is a bellicose foreign policy.  Romney, who news reports say does not seem to care about foreign policy, nevertheless has taken very aggressive approaches and has a foreign affairs team teeming with Bush leftovers.  It leaves us gravely concerned about what Romney’s imprint on the globe would be.  Today we award the tweet prize to Vice President Joe Biden, himself a foreign policy maven.  Quoting former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and linking to an Obama web video on foreign policy, he succinctly points out the risk American faces in putting Romney out as our face to the world.  In another tweet, he notes that Romney’s language throughout this campaign threatens to put us back into a Cold War mentality. Together, these tweets earn Joe Biden the tweet prize.

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