Politico: Young moderates – A fragile coalition

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published October 28, 2008

This election promises to offer a fundamental realignment that could stand for decades to come as young moderate voters become the driving force for change in the presidential race. These more socially tolerant, opportunity-oriented voters are the ones likely to put Barack Obama in the White House next week.

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Politico: What’s ‘in’ is now ‘out’

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published October 14, 2008

As Monty Python used to say, “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition” — which is another way of saying that no one expects the unexpected. And recent unanticipated political and financial events are a good reminder that everything could change in one fell swoop.

In a sense, the worsening financial crisis should come as no surprise — hedge fund managers I’ve met with over the past year and a half predicted almost perfectly what would happen. And Hillary Rodham Clinton was the first presidential candidate to warn repeatedly of financial danger while the president, Treasury secretary and Federal Reserve chairman all downplayed it.

Now the voters have shifted in Barack Obama’s direction, largely because he seems better able than John McCain to tackle these types of complex problems but also because the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, performed so well during times of economic concern. In such situations, voters now instinctively reach for a Democrat rather than a Republican. And it has shaken up the presidential race.

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Mark Penn Participates in Time Warner’s Politics 2008 Summit

Mark Penn Participates in Time Warner's Politics Summit 2008

Mark Penn participates in panel entitled “Media Power Vs. Political Power: The 2008 Election Re-defining the Relationship” alongside senior correspondents from the major news outlets, as part of Time Warner’s Politics 2008 Summit: The Media Conference for the Election of the President. To view the video, please visit the Digital Hollywood Time Warner Summit Conference page.

Politico: Bailout vote is proof: The center holds

Politico

By MARK PENN
Published October 7, 2008

My polling over the years has found that about two-thirds of Democrats define themselves as moderate, while two-thirds of Republicans see themselves as conservative. That polling trend was mirrored in the initial unsuccessful Sept. 29 House vote on the financial bailout proposal: Democrats were divided, with 60 percent of members in favor, while Republicans opposed the measure 2-to-1.

The 228-205 defeat saw the left and right team up against the center, revealing the fundamental unfulfilled divide in American politics today. Centrists viewed it as common sense to shore up the credit markets to stabilize America’s economic condition, which the president and others saw as on the verge of collapse. Yet to the right, it was an unacceptable intrusion by the federal government into the marketplace. And to the left, it was an unacceptable bailout of the rich on Wall Street. Together, they were successful in holding back the winds of change, if only temporarily, as a modified version of the bailout proposal was enacted four days later.

The two-party system works against moderates in Congress: Each side is a fusion of moderate and either left or right elements. So even though voters have repeatedly rejected politics too far to the right or left, the vital center often gets lost in the debate.

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