The Independent Rundown, October 16

The day’s essential reads for independents and centrists.

10.17.12 12:14 AM ET

Watch our live debate coverage on The Daily Beast with John Avlon, David Frum, Michelle Cottle, and special guests.

1. “Rules for Craftsmen,” in The New York Times

What would it take for a politician to really break through the Washington gridlock? So asks David Brooks in this insightful and timely column. Some of the suggestions seem simple (Read Robert Caro on LBJ in the Senate if you want to know why “the ability to count” lends power) but they could add up to a leader who can deliver on what he promises.

 2. “Against Our Debate Obsession,” in The New Republic

 Word is there’s some sort of debate planned for Tuesday evening. Alec MacGillis of The New Republic argues that we could all afford to be a bit more blasé about what’s at stake in the debates, however. “Debate preoccupation is no new thing,” MacGillis writes, and we’d all do well with a dose of perspective. Perhaps taken while watching the Beast’s live debate coverage.

Read it at The New Republic.

 3. “Dem Strategists See Campaign in Peril, Says Obama Must Step Up,” in the Los Angeles Times

With weeks to go before the election and the sword of Damocles a seeming hair’s breadth from Obama’s hold on the White House, Democratic strategists James Carville, Stan Greenberg, and Peter Hart say that they’re not confident the president will win reelection, and wonder how he could have squandered what seemed like a foregone conclusion.

Read it at the Los Angeles Times.

 4. “Mitt Romney: The Great Deformer,” in Newsweek

Ronald Reagan budget director David Stockman slices and dices Mitt Romney’s job-creator claims, saying that the idea that his Bain Capital experience qualifies him to occupy the Oval Office is a load of stump-speech hogwash.

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 Read it at The Daily Beast.

  5. “Obama Grabs Wide Lead Among Those Who Have Already Voted: Reuters/Ipsos Poll,” at Reuters

The key number here: Obama leads 59 percent to 31 percent among those who have already voted, according to a new poll conducted by Reuters and Ipsos. “The online poll is another sign that early voting is likely to play a bigger role this year than in 2008,” Reuters reports.

Read it at Reuters.

 6. “Legislator Says Officials ‘Should Be Shot’ As Lousy Tax Stewards,” in The Sacramento Bee

 Inaugurating our wingnut bullet or ballot tracker is this story. California State Assemblyman Mike Morrell was caught on a video released by his opponent saying that officials “should be shot” for mismanagement of the state’s tax money. Morrell did not immediately respond to requests for comment by the Bee.

  7. “Romney Is Attacked by His Father’s Longtime Aide,” in The New York Times

Former George Romney aide Walter De Vries is not showing any love for his boss’s progeny, circulating a acid critique among reporters saying that Mitt Romney’s presidential bid was “a far cry” from when De Vries worked with his father. “George would never have been seen with the likes of Sheldon Adelson or Donald Trump,” De Vries told the Times.