Moderate Moment | Moderate Moms

Archive for October, 2012

The Home Stretch

What an amazing year to dial into politics. None of us has a crystal ball but it will sure be interesting to see which way the moderate Moms across this country vote next Tuesday. I think we’ve all learned a lot, haven’t we? First of all, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. Second, everyone has gotten a lot more independent in their thinking. Not just the Independents. Women are not so easily corralled over birth control and abortion. While I believe Gallup is experienced enough at what they do to be right about Mitt Romney winning this thing, even polling isn’t the same. I just read a great article about the fact that people don’t feel comfortable answering questions about who they are voting for over a cell phone connection which could possibly skew poll results, especially among young voters who primarily use their cell phones to communicate.

There were times when I liked the Mitt Romney who ran Massachusetts better than the Presidential candidate. Back when it was okay to be a Republican and say you were pro-choice, pro-stem cell and heck ya’, you cared if people could get health insurance or not. But I blame the process and not the person. How else does a moderate Republican get the nomination when the social conservatives have gummed up the process?

A lot of moderate Moms might not feel good about voting for Romney if they believed he was going to be the guy at the top when abortion rights unraveled. Personally, I’m hoping he’s going to be too busy turning the economy around and leave the fight over abortion to Congress and the states.  And when the engine starts revving again, and people are busy working, that government intrusion into the bedroom will be relegated to the back burner.  That’s usually the way it works, isn’t it? Hopefully, when jobs open up and the economy improves, women will stop being used as targets.  Call me naive but today’s modern woman, as nuanced a thinker, as capable a breadwinner and as fickle a voter as she is, is not going to stand by while legislaters try to unravel rights we earned more than 40 years ago.

Looking back at this year, I think we Moms learned a lot. For me, blogging helped me to stay informed and really consider my vote. A single Mom, trying to pay the mortgage, trying to find paying work and having to borrow money, I could relate to what was happening to our country and to a lot of my fellow Moms. I realized firsthand, it’s about downsizing and reconsidering priorities with a goal to a healthier financial future. I guess I just trust the Republican candidates more to do the same thing on a larger scale.

Once Jon Huntsman went by the wayside, I turned to Mitt Romney and the more I listened to him talk about turning organizations around, the more I liked what I saw. And once the filter between Romney and the voters was removed, the way it was in the debates, Americans warmed up to him, too. 

A moderate, I was surprised about how my resolve against re-electing Obama really strengthened over the course of the campaign. I just saw the Democrats and the press giving Obama a free ride when he was playing the very campaign tricks the social conservatives once had a lock on.  Like trying to divide and distract women by trotting out social issues.

Whoever is elected, let’s hope the interest in the Moderate or Independent voice lives on past next Tuesday. Because most moderate Moms seem to be saying our top concern is the economy, we want to feel like our government can protect us from threats from abroad but we need to know we are not making ourselves vulnerable here on the home front by being in such poor shape financially, we want to take care of our planet but we need to develop energy independence, we want our kids to have a good education and we want to feel good about our country again.

I don’t have the answers but I think Moms can define and tackle almost any problem when it involves their kids. I just hope they turn out in droves to vote next week! And that more of them will consider running for public office. And inspiring those kids, errr, I mean political parties to be nice and work harder to fix this country’s problems! And yes, I admit it. I hope they vote for Romney.




Portabella Pizza


Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 1 serving Change Servings
  • 1 large portobello mushroom, stem removed

  • 1 tablespoon spaghetti sauce

  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

  • 1/2 tablespoon sliced black olives

  • 4 slices pepperoni sausage

  • 1 clove garlic, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Place the mushroom on a baking sheet, and bake for 5 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from the oven, and spread spaghetti sauce in the cup of the cap. Top with cheese, olives, pepperoni and garlic.
  3. Bake for an additional 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and golden.

Kitchen-Friendly View

  • PREP 15 mins
  • COOK 25 mins
  • READY IN 40 mins

One Vote Kids Ballot

National student online poll has called four elections correctly

By NCC Staff | National Constitution Center – Wed, Oct 24, 2012

An online poll taken by millions of American students has forecast four presidential elections correctly. But will it get another election correct next Monday, when the public finds out the results from the OneVote 2012 project?

onevoteChannel One, the education media service, ran the elaborate polls in 1992, 2000, 2004, and 2008, and the middle- and high-school students picked Bill Clinton, George Bush (twice), and Barack Obama correctly.

The students and teachers involved in the OneVote project aren’t taking a simple straw poll.

Students across the country are filling out ballots this week, which are vetted in the classroom by their teachers. The educators file the votes on the OneVote website. Voting ends at 10 p.m. ET on Friday.

A team at OneVote then looks at polling patterns to make sure there aren’t any irregularities.

The final results will be listed at

It’s unknown if political pollsters and the campaigns will slice and dice the OneVote results like they examine political tracking polls.

But OneVote could be a window into the future of voting, since all the votes are submitted electronically after the students fill our paper ballots (no hanging chads here).

The OneVote project also mimics other institutions in the mainstream voting world. Teams of students work on videos throughout the fall, which classes watch as students prepare to research issues.

The candidates have student “surrogates” who write about their parties, and there will be a post-election spin room where the results are argued about and analyzed.

The results from past elections, though, varied greatly from this year’s election.

For example, in 2000, Bush won the student election with 58.9 percent of the 877,497 middle- and high-school students who voted. The biggest issue to students then was crime and violence.

In 2004, Bush won again with 55 percent out of 1.4 million student votes. He even won Pennsylvania and had a near sweep of the swing states.

In 2008, Obama had a big win with 58.5 percent of the student vote, according to OneVote’s press release. The economy was the biggest issue, followed by the war in Iraq.

Currently, the economy is the biggest issue on students’ minds, based on survey data from OneVote.


The Mom Vivant / Debbie Baldwin of Ladue News

By Debbie Baldwin

It has been a strange week. Normally I write this column on a Thursday, a nice, relaxing day—no pressure. Usually Cranky Whiny and Punch have engaged in some sort of hijinks—a soccer mishap or a bake-sale fiasco—but for some reason, this week was different. I was out of gas—literally and figuratively: I had no column and my car ran out of gas (I say that like it’s my car’s fault). Now, normally when life hands me lemons…but not today.

When Friday rolled around, I still had nothing. Cranky was invited to a homecoming dance, Whiny was hitting a haunted house, Punch was going to his first league dance; but still, no light bulb. Well, there’s always Saturday, I calmed my panic, I will write on Saturday…

Saturday, as it happens, was my high school reunion. Surely, that would be the source of some inspiration—reconnecting, aging gracefully, the circle of life…nothing. Well, there’s always Sunday, the Lord’s day, surely inspiration will strike. The only thing that struck that day was a misplaced soccer kick to Punch’s foot and an afternoon of X-rays. I’ve already written about the trip to Urgent Care. Is it worth a visit from child services to get a darned article? I pondered it.

Then Monday rolled around—it’s go time. I parked in front of my keyboard and stared at my computer screen. Write, d@mn it. Write something, anything. Write a trivia quiz or something snarky about movie sequels and remakes, but my fingers just wouldn’t hit the keys. And that’s when I got a text from Cranky: Mom, I think I’m going to throw up. So I picked her up from school, parked her on the couch with a 7-Up, remembered Whiny needed to be at the eye doctor in an hour, and Punch needed a follow-up exam for his foot—and I apparently needed some sort of mood stabilizer. In the end, I had 35 minutes to do what I had six days to complete. Hopefully, I learned my lesson. Truth be told, I’m a fan of procrastination–it’s one of the few things I don’t put off.

Independent Voters Moving to Romney

6:14 PM, Oct 25, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
The latest Washington Post/ABC tracking poll shows voters moving toward Romney since the third debate: 

As Romney hits 50, the president stands at 47 percent, his lowest tally in Post-ABC polling since before the national party conventions. A three-point edge gives Romney his first apparent advantage in the national popular vote, but it is not one that is statistically significant with a conventional level of 95 percent confidence.

Results from the tracking poll were first released Monday evening, and had Obama at 49 percent, and Romney at 48. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the results were flipped, with Romney at 49 and the president at 48. All of the results are among likely voters. […]

Two of the four nights reported here include interviews conducted entirely after Monday’s debate in Boca Raton

The poll shows Romney winning independents by 19 percentage points: 

Should that advantage stick, it would be the sharpest tilt among independents in a  presidential election since Ronald Reagan’s 1984 landslide win. (Reagan won independent and other unaffiliated voters 63 to 36 percent, according to the exit poll). Obama won them by eight in 2008.

A battle for 7 states

By JONATHAN MARTIN | 10/23/12 4:37 AM EDT

BOCA RATON, Fla. — The two presidential campaigns are sounding sharply different notes about how they can get to 270 electoral votes, but beneath the post-debate bravado from both sides there is a rough consensus about the shape of the race in its final two weeks.

Top strategists for both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney flooded the media center following the third and final presidential debate here Monday night, and made clear they will be primarily fighting over seven states and will spend most of their time and money in them between now and Nov. 6.

Continue Reading

Spin room reactions

Campaigns describe final push

Obama, Romney best lines


(Also on POLITICO: 7 takeaways from final debate)

The main battlegrounds: Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Wisconsin. The late inclusion of Wisconsin on this list reflects a bet by Romney — buoyed by some polls showing an opportunity for him there — that he can turn a state that has not voted for a Republican presidential nominee since 1984.

Romney officials, eyeing steady gains in the polls, have not ruled out attempting to broaden the map in other states — claims met with disparagement by Obama aides, who say they remain confident their electoral college firewall is intact even amid a tightening national race and signs that three swing states in the South are looking more favorable for the GOP nominee.

Republicans are genuinely intrigued by the prospect of a strike in Pennsylvania and, POLITICO has learned, are considering going up on TV there outside the expensive Philadelphia market. But what Romney officials worry about, both in Pennsylvania and Michigan, is that if they put some cash down or use precious hours to send their candidate there Obama will respond by crushing their offensive with a big ad buy of his own.

(Also on POLITICO: 6 questions that will settle the election)

So while Boston is open to the idea of going into such traditional Democratic strongholds, it is still mostly playing within the same map the two candidates have been locked in for months. And, increasingly, it is narrowing its focus as prospects improve in North Carolina, Florida and Virginia.

“That states that we’re playing in are the states we need to win,” noted Romney strategist Russ Schriefer. “We’ll see what happens in the next two weeks. We’re going to concentrate on Ohio and Colorado and Iowa and New Hampshire.”

“We’ll be in Ohio a lot,” added Romney strategist Stuart Stevens.

The Romney campaign is already airing TV ads in Wisconsin. The former Massachusetts governor has not been to the state since he tapped Paul Ryan as his running mate in August but is headed back soon.

(Also on POLITICO: Mitt Romney: I come in peace)

“We’ll be back in Wisconsin,” said Eric Fehrnstrom. “Wisconsin is definitely in play.”

Obama officials, meanwhile, are convinced that they have a lead in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada — and aren’t yet willing to write off Colorado, Florida and Virginia.

But senior Democrats increasingly recognize that their path to 270 electoral votes is not in the latter three but in the Midwest.

“Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio are crucial — if we win those three states, the president is reelected,” said Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), a close Obama ally.

(Also on POLITICO: Media: Obama in fighting mood)

Obama adviser Robert Gibbs put it another way, saying Romney’s fate would depend on whether he can sweep the trio of Big 10 states.

“We intend to go out and win each of the three of those states,” said Gibbs.

And Pennsylvania and Michigan? They’re not worried and aren’t likely to send Obama there.

“Probably not, no,” said Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter when asked if the president would rally supporters in the two traditionally Democratic electoral troves. “We have significant resources there. We are invested in those states at a much higher level than Gov. Romney is.”

Moderate Moms on Cafe Mom

GQ’s Korean BBQ

Pork Butt

1 whole bone-in pork butt or picnic ham (8 to 10 pounds)

1 cup white sugar

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon kosher salt

7 tablespoons brown sugar

Ginger-Scallion Sauce

2½ cups thinly sliced scallions, both green and white parts

½ cup peeled, minced fresh ginger

¼ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)

1½ teaspoons light soy sauce

1 scant teaspoon sherry vinegar

½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste

Ssam Sauce

2 tablespoons fermented bean-and- chili paste (ssamjang, available in many Asian markets, and online)

1 tablespoon chili paste (kochujang, available in many Asian markets, and online)

½ cup sherry vinegar

½ cup neutral oil (like grapeseed)


2 cups plain white rice, cooked

3 heads bibb lettuce, leaves separated, washed and dried

1 dozen or more fresh oysters (optional)

Kimchi (available in many Asian markets, and online).

1. Place the pork in a large, shallow bowl. Mix the white sugar and 1 cup of the salt together in another bowl, then rub the mixture all over the meat. Cover it with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight.

2. When you’re ready to cook, heat oven to 300. Remove pork from refrigerator and discard any juices. Place the pork in a roasting pan and set in the oven and cook for approximately 6 hours, or until it collapses, yielding easily to the tines of a fork. (After the first hour, baste hourly with pan juices.) At this point, you may remove the meat from the oven and allow it to rest for up to an hour.

3. Meanwhile, make the ginger-scallion sauce. In a large bowl, combine the scallions with the rest of the ingredients. Mix well and taste, adding salt if needed.

4. Make the ssam sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the chili pastes with the vinegar and oil, and mix well.

5. Prepare rice, wash lettuce and, if using, shuck the oysters. Put kimchi and sauces into serving bowls.

6. When your accompaniments are prepared and you are ready to serve the food, turn oven to 500. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining tablespoon of salt with the brown sugar. Rub this mixture all over the cooked pork. Place in oven for approximately 10 to 15 minutes, or until a dark caramel crust has developed on the meat. Serve hot, with the accompaniments.

The Mom Vivant / Debate watching parties

So, I was thinking I should write a column with a debate themed recipe for tonight’s foreign policy debate when I hit google search to find some good ones. Then I thought the suggestions on there were so funny that I had to write a Mom Vivant about it instead. First of all, Barack suggests a marshmallow throwing event where, if you don’t like something Romney says, you can throw a marshmallow at the television screen. I would say that’s because, so far, the Obama folks haven’t had anything hard to hit him with! Then had a column on drinking games you could play which I would say had more to do with the sorry state of us Moms during the witching hour between dinner, homework, baths and bed than the sorry state of our country right now. The New Diplomat’s wife is in Vienna, happily ensconsed in the most diplomatic and lovely of all foreign places to watch what will undoubtedly be a down and dirty fight for dominance in this race.  But hands down the most outrageous suggestions for a debate watching party come from GQ. I will say the only one I feel comfortable printing here is this one:

“Make Korean BBQ.  This pork shoulder is INSANE. I never knew scallions could be so delicious!”

I still haven’t come up with anything for dinner but am thinking this might be a good night for something we can 1) take out and 2) not spend a lot of money on.  Maybe Chinese? Maybe hummus and pita since the Middle East will be front and center in tonight’s discussion. I wish I had some ideas about traditional Afghan or Persian food. But unless it comes as take out ….

Civics for Kids – Elephant and Donkey were holding an election …

Bookworm: ‘Vote for ME!’ by Ben Clanton

"Vote for ME!" by Ben Clanton. $16.95, 40 pages
Lately, your parents have been grumbling at the TV a lot.

Your dad hits the “quiet” button on and off all night long. He might even throw things at the TV, or rip up some of his mail. Your mother shakes her head and avoids the telephone, and you think you know why: There’s an election going on this year, and grown-ups are fierce about who should win the contest.

It’s odd, isn’t it? And it might not make a whole lot of sense to you, but read the new book “Vote for ME!” by Ben Clanton, and you may understand a little bit better.

Elephant and Donkey were holding an election. Both of them wanted to win but, of course, only one or the other could.

Donkey said that people should vote for him because he was Number One. Elephant said Donkey was Number One Bighead.

Then Elephant said he was “super cute.” He thought everyone should vote for him because he was adorable. Donkey thought that was ridiculous.

Donkey offered to hand out candy if everyone voted for him. Elephant offered to hand out peanuts. Donkey said he was like family and you have to vote for family. Elephant thought that was ridiculous.

Donkey rolled out a long, long, lo-o-o-ng list of reasons why everyone should vote Donkey. One of the things was “Elephants Stink.”

Elephant didn’t like that much. He started to throw big gobs of mud at Donkey. They began calling one another names and the mud-slinging was everywhere. The names were loud and they were really mean. Things got nasty because Elephant and Donkey were angry at one another.

And when you’re very, very angry, it’s easy for someone to get their feelings hurt – which is exactly what happened. Donkey and Elephant were both sad for that. They apologized and decided that they could still be friends.

But friendship doesn’t settle the vote and somebody still needed to be chosen for First-Place. Who would you vote for? And who do you suppose was the all-time big vote-collecting winner?

You know that little kids have big ears, so there’s no doubt your child has been listening to what’s going on in the country. But does (s)he understand? Maybe not, so “Vote for ME!” is a book to find.

Using iconic symbols for the Republican and Democratic parties, as well as a story that perfectly illustrates the squabbling that happens, author Ben Clanton shows kids that all the yelling and literal (in this book) mud-slinging might be scary and mean but, in the end, we can all try to get along again.

Kids will appreciate that message because it makes this grown-up fight seem rather silly. Along those lines, I think this book will charm the socks off adults, too, whether they’re foam-at-the-mouth politicos or just tired of the whole darn thing.

If the election has been Topic One at your house, then take a second look at this book. For you and your child both, “Vote for ME!” should be a front-runner.

Terri Schlichenmeyer has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.