Must Reads

The Independent Rundown, October 17

The day’s essential reads for independents and centrists.

Independent Nation gives you 7 must reads (and one extra) for independents and centrists for Wednesday, October 17.

1. “Manufacturing Jobs Aren’t Coming Back, No Matter Who’s President,” at NPR

The decline in manufacturing jobs has continued on a bipartisan basis, moving downward under Presidents Obama, Bush fils, Clinton, Bush père, and Reagan alike, reports NPR’s Planet Money. Technology and globalization, neither of which will appear on November ballots, are to blame for the decline in American manufacturing jobs, and those trends will continue no matter who holds the reins of government.

Read more at NPR.

2. “Romney Ad Casts Candidate as Moderate on Abortion,” at CNN

A new ad casting Mitt Romney as an abortion moderate appeared on Washington, D.C. televisions the morning after the second presidential debate. The ad depicts a woman who does online searches on Mitt Romney’s abortion stance and finds out that the Republican candidate “doesn’t oppose contraception at all.” The only people more surprised to learn about Mitt the prophylactic moderate were likely the folks at Planned Parenthood and Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Read more at CNN.

3. “A Brief History of ‘Trickle-Down Government,’” at The New Republic

What the Willard is “trickle-down government?” The phrase Mitt Romney keeps bringing up first made the public record in a 1984 Associated Press article, and over various mutations in meaning has been thrown around in both neutral and pejorative senses. Bill Clinton picked it up in 1992, though there’s no evidence he used the phrase more than once. “Trickle-down government” is just another piece of American political driftwood to wash ashore this year.

Read more at The New Republic.

4. “Allen West Plagued by Scam PACs,” at Politico

A bizarre breed of political snake-oil salesman has sprung from the primordial gunk of post-Citizens United campaign finance – organizations that purport to raise money to support the campaigns of lawmakers like Florida Representative Allen West, but which keep the money and contact list they amass for themselves. Activists say such groups have always lurked at the conservative fringe, but these new pretenders are steroidal step-cousins that just seem to be in it for the dough.

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Read more at Politico.

5. “The Campaign Finance Free-For-All: How We Got to This Point,” at ProPublica

The evidence that dark money is corroding democracy continues to mount. Columbia Law School Professor Richard Briffault has penned a law review article in which he argues that super PACs are “effectively ending the post-Watergate era of campaign finance laws,” and in this interview, Briffault unravels the twisted legislative history that got us to this point.

Read more at ProPublica.

6. “The Four Ls and Four States: What’s Next in the Obama-Romney Duel,” at the National Journal

“Libya, Ledbetter, Lying, and Lame.” Major Garrett writes that those four key points, each of them shorthand for larger issues, will dominate what remains of the campaign season. How those narratives play out among voters in the battleground states of Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada will determine the next occupant of the White House.

Read more at the National Journal.

7. “The Sound of Chugging Kool-Aid,” at The Daily Beast

Party-loyal conservative pundits punchdrunk on their own spin prefer to say that Romney ran away with Tuesday night’s debate, and damn whatever the polls say, writes John Avlon. The line to remember: “Look, non-partisan doesn’t mean neutral … an independent perspective is about refusing to reflexively support one party.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

8. “Will Treasury’s Crackdown on MS-13 Work?,” at The Daily Beast

To veer wildly from politics for a moment, I have a story up today on the Treasury Department’s decision to classify the street gang MS-13 – thought to be active in 46 states – a transnational criminal organization. Officials hope to prevent the gang from becoming “the next global cartel.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

Send questions, comments, queries, concerns, and suggestions to Matt DeLuca at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @DeLucaMattS.