1. Use polls to monitor the effectiveness of campaign lies:
It’s great that many media organizations have been fact-checking the claims of the presidential candidates and holding them accountable for blatant distortions. But with all the money they are spending on polls, why can’t they poll whether the lies are working?
For example, why not ask voters whether they believe the charge that President Obama has eliminated the work requirement in the welfare program? Or if they now believe that Obama cut $700 billion from Medicare benefits? Or that the Romney/Ryan budget plan would actually gut the deficit instead of balloon it?
And although I don’t want to imply equivalency of misstatements in the two campaigns, because there isn’t, pollsters could also ask about this Obama-side whopper: whether people think Governor Romney’s Bain Capital indirectly caused the death of a woman by depriving her husband of health insurance?
2. 9/11 anniversary ideas:
As the 11th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks approaches, here are some ideas the press might want to pursue:
a. Mission creep and budget creep at the Department of Homeland Security. I’ve written in prior columns about how the Department of Homeland Security seems to keep expanding into areas not associated with securing the homeland. Its spending seems to reflect that: The first DHS budget in 2003 was $37.7 billion. This year it’s $50 billion, and it’s up nearly 20 percent in just the last four years. How come?