The perils of Balkanizing the electorate. “The number of black and Hispanic registered voters has fallen sharply since 2008, posing a serious challenge to the Obama campaign in an election that could turn on the participation of minority voters. Voter rolls typically shrink in non-presidential election years and registrations fell among whites as well, but this is the first time in nearly four decades that the number of registered Hispanics has dropped significantly.”

The danger in making deals with the Chinese Foreign Ministry. “The Foreign Ministry may have had every intention of sticking to its word that Chen would be protected. But local authorities and security services could simply have ignored the central government’s word and begun to threaten Chen and his family. We do not know who calls the shots in China; we do know the Foreign Ministry is the most conciliatory of agencies.”

The risk in letting true believers create campaign materials. “Back in his Wisconsin district . . . to hold a series of listening sessions, House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan commented on President Obama’s latest campaign mascot, a hypothetical woman whom the campaign calls ‘Julia.’ Ryan called the imaginary character ‘creepy’ and called the idea of creating a fictional woman dependent on the government ‘demeaning.’ ”

I’ll hazard a guess that most Americans will side with conservatives on this even if they have no idea who Leo Strauss was. “In his likening likening of the nation to an army, Obama once again reduces the conflict between conservatism and liberalism to its core. The goal of modern liberalism, wrote Leo Strauss, ‘may be said to be the universal and classless society or, to use the correction proposed by Kojève, the universal and homogenous state of which every adult human being is a full member.’ That sounds very much like membership in a battalion. Against this, modern conservatives propose the goal of a constitutional federal republic, where the equal protection of natural rights necessarily will result in inequalities of property or achievement simply because men have different skills and talents. ‘Conservatives look with greater sympathy than liberals on the particular or particularist and the heterogeneous,’ Strauss wrote.”

The biggest threat to Obama’s reelection is still his economic record. “Friday’s report was weak across categories. Manufacturing employment, an area of strength in recent months, grew by a disappointing 16,000 jobs. Construction employment fell slightly. Full-time employment plunged by more than 800,000 jobs. The report follows other recent signs that the economic recovery is faltering. Last . . . [month], the government said overall economic growth slowed in the first three months of the year amid government budget cuts and weaker business investment. Consumer spending has emerged as an economic bright spot in recent weeks, but Friday’s report showed that hourly earnings barely picked up in April, which could give consumers little room to further boost their spending.”

The menace (not) of gubernatorial travel records. “In his run of the first run for the presidency in 2006, Mitt Romney spent a total of 219 days outside of the Massachusetts, an average of four days each week. Romney visited over 35 states in the efforts to build his Presidential network, with state taxpayers picking up the tab for his security detail. I can’t image a single vote is changed by this, especially since, “Many of the trips were funded by Romney’s political action committees, the Commonwealth PACs, with some trips being funded by the Republican Governors Association, of which he was the Chair.”

Obama is in jeopardy. “The economic picture is the bleakest for any president seeking reelection in a long time. . . .[A] composite view of the economic data suggests 2012 is a worse economic climate than 1968, 1976, 1992, and 2000 — in all those years, the incumbent party lost. It is comparable to 1960 (another losing year for the incumbent party) and only the disastrous cycles of 2008 and 1980 saw a worse economic climate for the incumbent party. In other words, no incumbent party has won reelection in a negative climate quite like this.” Hence, the war on women, Osama bin Laden high-fiving and the excessively negative campaign.