Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, November 30, 2012

Rarely Is It Asked, Is Our Presidents Learning?


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/30/us/politics/fiscal-talks-in-congress-seem-to-reach-impasse.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1&

So for the last four years - and especially the last two - negotiations between Obama and the GOP leadership in Congress have basically taken this form:

- Obama and the GOP are far apart.
- Obama offers up a middle position designed to accommodate GOP demands in return for a few concessions to Democratic demands.  In effect, he offers up the outlines for the eventual compromise.
- The GOP uses this compromise position as the new Democratic position and seek to negotiate from there.

Needless to say this is how we got into the fiscal cliff austerity bomb issue in the first place, because of the disastrous GOP negotiations over the debt ceiling.

This time around, Obama is basically saying, "These are our positions.  What are yours?"  In other words, he's treating this as a negotiation between political adversaries rather than as an effort between civic minded public servants to reach a rational compromise.  More succinctly, Obama has recognized the reality of the modern GOP.

One of the many problems that the GOP has is that their cuts are not very popular.  The cuts that actually ARE popular - cuts to defense and ag subsidies - are in the Democratic position.  Basically, Obama is saying, "Here is what we believe.  Here are our positions.  What are yours?"

The GOP response has been, "Why won't you embrace our positions?  Why won't you be the one to offer up what we want?"  When Mitch McConnell says "The President is not being serious about spending cuts" the obvious response is, "Of course he isn't.  That's YOUR job to offer up spending cuts.  The spending cuts he wants to offer are in his plan.  You want more?  Ask for them."

When I started this blog, I kept saying that the GOP was bad at governing, but good at winning elections.  Increasingly, they are good at neither.  In fact, they can't even seem to embrace the time honored American practice of horse trading and compromise.  This morning I heard a GOP House member from Idaho say that comprehensive immigration reform was impossible because you'd be left with a bill that would have something in it that everyone would hate.

Exactly.

The old definition of a compromise is a deal that leaves you angry, but consoles you with the knowledge that the other guy is angry, too.

The modern GOP is really not interested in compromise, because it's not especially interested in the process of governing.  They see themselves as revolutionaries.  They are ideologues clinging to an absolutest position.  Zealots don't compromise.  Therefore zealots can't govern,

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Meet The New Corporate Messiah


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/business/yourmoney/17costco.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Jim Sinegal is my new hero.  Check out this quote:

Mr. Sinegal, whose father was a coal miner and steelworker, gave a simple explanation. "On Wall Street, they're in the business of making money between now and next Thursday," he said. "I don't say that with any bitterness, but we can't take that view. We want to build a company that will still be here 50 and 60 years from now."

This is my main beef with our economy right now.

We bend the knee to the vultures on Wall Street who are only concerned with short term profits.  This means squeezing the customer, squeezing the employee and feeding the shareholder. Want evidence?


Emme Kozloff, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Company, faulted Mr. Sinegal as being too generous to employees, noting that when analysts complained that Costco's workers were paying just 4 percent toward their health costs, he raised that percentage only to 8 percent, when the retail average is 25 percent.

"He has been too benevolent," she said. "He's right that a happy employee is a productive long-term employee, but he could force employees to pick up a little more of the burden."


It gets better.

Despite Costco's impressive record, Mr. Sinegal's salary is just $350,000, although he also received a $200,000 bonus last year. That puts him at less than 10 percent of many other chief executives, though Costco ranks 29th in revenue among all American companies.

What does this filthy socialist do?


Besides paying considerably more than competitors, for example, Costco contributes generously to its workers' 401(k) plans, starting with 3 percent of salary the second year and rising to 9 percent after 25 years.

ITS insurance plans absorb most dental expenses, and part-time workers are eligible for health insurance after just six months on the job, compared with two years at Wal-Mart. Eighty-five percent of Costco's workers have health insurance, compared with less than half at Wal-Mart and Target.

Costco also has not shut out unions, as some of its rivals have. The Teamsters union, for example, represents 14,000 of Costco's 113,000 employees. "They gave us the best agreement of any retailer in the country," said Rome Aloise, the union's chief negotiator with Costco. The contract guarantees employees at least 25 hours of work a week, he said, and requires that at least half of a store's workers be full time.

Workers seem enthusiastic. Beth Wagner, 36, used to manage a Rite Aid drugstore, where she made $24,000 a year and paid nearly $4,000 a year for health coverage. She quit five years ago to work at Costco, taking a cut in pay. She started at $10.50 an hour - $22,000 a year - but now makes $18 an hour as a receiving clerk. With annual bonuses, her income is about $40,000.
"I want to retire here," she said. "I love it here."


You want to know what's wrong with the American economy?

There aren't more people like Jim Sinegal.


Slow Progress

Crazy fiscal kung fu skilz.

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/11/29/revision-of-labor/

The rule of thumb is that when you enter a recession, the metrics underestimate the severity of the decline.  That was certainly true of 2008-9.  But they also underestimate the pace of the recovery.

We are seeing upward revisions to the economic numbers, consumer confidence is rising and jobless claims are down.

I am not especially worried about the fiscal cliff - BECAUSE IT'S NOT A FISCAL CLIFF!  Going "over the cliff" would be AWESOME for the federal government's bottom line.  Deficits be gone!

The problem with the "cliff" is that it's really an Austerity Bomb.

Except it's not that either.

The austerity that will come with the rolling over of the calender will not take place all at once.  Taxes will go up immediately, spending will get slashed immediately, but the effect of those austerity measures won't be felt for weeks or months.

This is why the Democrats are fine "going over the cliff".  It completely changes the negotiation calculus, from the Norquist pledge to where the pressure will fall.  If the GOP holds tax cuts for the middle class hostage in order to win additional tax cuts for the rich, they will get hammered.  The smart ones know this.  This is why they are desperately flogging Romney's tax plan now.  It's a non-starter, of course.  Romney lost and not be a little.  That vision was rejected.

But the GOP leaders must know that once January 1st rolls around, the pressure will be on them to approve the tax cuts for everyone, but not the additional cuts for the rich.

The only caveat on the Democratic side is that the recovery - while strengthening - is still weak by historical standards.  In large part this is because of austerity in Europe that has tipped them back into a recession.  If the austerity bomb finally has an impact here, that would tip things back into recession and ruin the Democrats' hope for a long term hold on the national offices.

But all things considered, a good economic report like this one helps strengthen the Democrats hand even more.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Things White People Don't Like


Talkingpoints Memo has run an really interesting series of letters from voters who turned from the GOP because all the "racist dogwhistling" that went on was not only audible to the essential GOP cracker demographic, but to minorities as well.

Have a read.

It started with this observation:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/11/wham_bam_thank_you_mitt_1.php

Then this point was made:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/11/reaping_the_whirlwind_1.php

And then this conclusion:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/11/it_was_the_email_from.php

It's an interesting thread.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Gift That Keeps On Giving


http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/11/generation-d-americas-liberal-future.html

Interesting piece from Chait, as usual.

But I think he leaves out two things.

First, the Baby Boom generation is - I think - slightly more conservative than liberal.  They grew up with Vietnam and social spending on blah people, and came to blame both on liberals.  Ironically, they don't blame noted liberal LBJ for getting us into Vietnam, but rather the dirty hippies who caused us to lose the war, by not shaving and having sex to Joan Baez albums.  The experience of working class Boomers who saw "their money going to those people" was what created the "Reagan Democrat" experience.  I think there is something of this in the abortion/drugs/ fear of ghey people social issues, too.

I'm not a Millennial, I'm Gen X, but I certainly hate the Boomers.  Anything they are for, I'm against, as a rule of thumb.

Secondly, there is He Who Shall Not Be Named.  Not Voldemort, George W. Bush.  The generation that came of political age in the last ten to twenty years is going to be seared by their memory of C-Plus Augustus, by Iraq, by Katrina, by the Homeland Security state.  Bush helped create a generation of liberals, if the trend Chait observes is correct.

Yes, race is a part of this, as Millennials are swarthier than earlier generations.  But the basic attitude towards government is changing precisely because the antipathy towards government in large swaths of the Boomer electorate was based on subliminal racial resentment.  It was not overt racism, but rather the idea that MY money was going to THOSE people.

Countries with homogeneous populations tend to have larger, more comprehensive welfare states, for the simple reason that we are perfectly content to share with PLUs (People Like Us).  We are generally NOT OK subsidizing people who we don't see as "real Americans".   We love our kid's teacher, but we choke on paying for the inner city school district's ESL program.

What the Millennial generation sees is an America that looks like them: racially diverse and racially mixed.  Everyone is a PLU, so everyone deserves help... sorry, "gifts".

So, the Millennials are breaking with the Boomers and some of Gen X in seeing America as more diverse and therefore they are more accepting of governmental solutions to societal problems.  And Dubya made conservatism look intellectually moribund and technically inept.

But if the GOP just nominates a true conservative in 2016, I'm sure they will once again ride to victory.

Nothing New Under The Sun

The GOP continues to convince itself that, by golly, they just weren't conservative enough to win in 2012.

The fiscal cliff austerity bomb lingers on the edge of the event horizon.

It continues to suck to work retail in America.

Someone without blinkers on notes that Fox News is a GOP shill.

Oh, one thing is new.  France is apparently going to recognize the Palestinian state.  Expect the more rabid neo-cons to bring up the Dreyfuss Affair in 3...2...1....

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Walking Dead Liveblog


Ah, Merle...

Carol is quite the actress.  The scene with her and Rick was incredibly moving and done without words.  Very good.

I would very much like to see Michonne and Rick bring the whupass.
***
Science!

Actually, Glen can bring some whupass his own self.
***
The Governor is slicker than snot.

Oh, and sicker than snot, too.
***
The coming internal conflict with Daryl over Meryl should be interesting.

Oh good.  Crazy man alone in his house with a dead dog.  What could go wrong?
***
Glenn is going to kill him somebody.

Can't really wait for next week... Better get that grading done.

And of COURSE it's the midseason finale.


My Thanksgiving

In many ways, this was the worst Thanksgiving I can remember.

It started with Thing One getting in trouble in school.  Always awesome.

Then when we got to Nantucket, my parents were sick.  Then we got sick.  Emphatically.

Finally, today our scheduled ferry was cancelled due to high winds.  So we had to take the slower, later ferry, which meant we got home, oh, about six or seven hours later than we wanted to.  So much for getting on top of that grading.

Plus, the ferry was packed.  It was like a preppy Dunkirk.  Instead of khaki and berets it was Barbour jackets and Vineyard Vines.  You could smell the fear, desperation and imported, organically sustainable gourmet coffee in the air.

But you know what?

Who cares.

Thanksgiving is about being thankful.  As I was laying their shivering as my butt turned into Old Faithful, I came up with a Thanksgiving prayer that offered up (even though I was too sick to eat with everyone else).

Minus the preamble and other folderol it went like this:

Because we have known sickness, let us be thankful for health.
Because we have known sorrow, lets us be thankful for laughter.
Because we have known loneliness, let us be thankful for family.
And throughout the year, give us the heart and eyes to know the difference between the things we should be thankful for and the troubles we should ignore.

So Thanksgiving could have been better.

But that doesn't mean I shouldn't be thankful for every minute of it.




Minus the projectile vomiting.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Fruits Of Repealing DADT


To be fair it is in response to this:

So either we now have the gayest army since the Ottoman Empire's Janissaries, or simply the best at making video knockoffs.

Friday, November 23, 2012

My Turn


The family is on the mend.

I have malaria.

I swear.  Malaria.

They will eat the Thanksgiving feast tonight and I will hope for leftovers tomorrow.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Vignette

"Hey, Mom!  Are we having turkey for thanksgiving?"

"No, kids."

"Awwww."

"We're having a gastrointestinal illness!"

"Yay!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

History!


http://www.gingrichproductions.com/2012/11/the-very-first-americans/

Newt Gingrich, who has a PhD in history, sent out the above. In it, he calls the Pilgrims "the very first Americans".

I realize that he was talking about American Exceptionalism, religious faith, etc.

But let's unpack this.

First of all, English colonists had been living in the New World for 13 year prior to Plymouth.  And Spanish colonists had been living in Santa Fe for 12 years.

Second, it's a bit ironic that Newt - born again Catholic - lauds the Pilgrims who fled to the wilds of the New World because the Anglican church veered too close to papacy.

Third, the letter speaks glowing of people who brave great hardships to come to America with no guarantees.  Today we call those people Mexicans.

Fourth and most glaringly, there were millions of people living in the New World before Europeans started showing up.  The Pilgrims were no different than other Europeans in their contempt and murderous intent towards the Indians.  The Pilgrims committed what we would call war crimes against the Pequot Indians, burning their women and children alive in fires.

So, yes, let's take a moment to be thankful that 400 years ago, Europeans came to this continent with a host of microbial illnesses that wiped out 90% of the people already living here, so that steel and gunpowder could conquer the rest.


Deep Question

Why does my minivan's speedometer go to 160MPH?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Nihilists


http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/11/20/93358/121

So the GOP, having lost two elections in a row that were based at least in part on wealth inequality, having lost in the Supreme Court are now going to screw over ACA at the state level.

By not setting up exchanges, they can use a loophole in the law to prevent its implementation - perhaps -  in their states.

Again, the question becomes: What does the GOP offer America?  What is their positive agenda?

ACA was effectively a GOP idea.  That they could derail it on the bases of some Federalist clap-trap is kind of outrageous.

But it also validates the idea of a public option, which could have come in real handy about now.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Internet Geekery

Sometimes, when I'm feeling purposeless and blue, I'll just go over to HBO GO and listen to the Game of Thrones theme song.

But then I thought... YouTube!


#facepalm

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/11/rubio_im_not_a_scientist_man.php?ref=fpblg

And what color dinosaur did Jesus ride?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Ultimate Post-Mortem


http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/11/18/84128/346

Booman is so often my blogging alter-ego (albeit on a blog that is widely read), that I feel like I need to meet this guy.

Anyway, he and I both settled on the "Romney is a dick" theme, at least in part because you could tell that the Obama campaign telegraphed that they would pursue this line of attack back in 2011.  I think it was Jim Messina who said that Romney was a "little odd".  The hyper-sensitive made this a slur on his Mormonism, but it was clear they were going to go after the Romney-bot who constantly made awkward jokes, strapped dogs to the roof of his car and seemed tone deaf to human concerns and political realities.

Inevitably, these articles about why Romney got shellacked turn to "what should the GOP do next" and here there are some problems.

Because the modern GOP grew up in Newt Gingrich's world and the world of conservative, quasi-libertarian think tanks, it has essentially become an anti-government party.  Their entire raison d'etre is to cut taxes on the wealthy.  That - in turn - will shrink government.  And the functions that they LIKE about government - rewarding military contractors with fat contracts - will simply be funded on the national credit card.  That has been the consistent theme of the last 30 years.

Romney's "gifts" comment exposes this problem.  Romney sees the government providing services to people as "gifts".  They aren't.  They are public goods.  Health care should no longer be a privilege, but a public good that we can all expect to receive.  Republicans have been in mortal terror of a Democrat actually making health care a public good, because people tend to LIKE public goods.  The fact that they went and called it "Obamacare" is just a plus.  For the next 20 years what is likely to be an increasingly popular program will have Obama's name on it.

Because the GOP does not want to actually DO anything for people, they have a tough electoral message to sell.  Effectively they are left with: Don't you hate it when brown people get stuff?

And you know who believes that?  Dicks.

Romney is a dick.  But so were Santorum and Gingrich and Cain.  So it Scott Walker.  Chris Christie is a dick, too, if a more entertaining one.  Bob McDonnell is a vaginal wand, which is just an artificial dick.

Bob Huntsman is not a dick and Bobby Jindal is trying not to be a dick, but does anyone honestly think that the party of angry white men is going to embrace someone who isn't a dick in 2016?

The Republican party used to understand that the American people do expect things from their government.  That's why Reagan agreed to save Social Security and granted amnesty to illegal immigrants.  That's why Dubya did Medicare Plan D, even if it was an incredibly poorly designed program. Romney's positive movement in the polls coincided with his Etch-A-Sketching his way into more moderate territory.  Territory that included promising to do all the things Obama did but "better".

The problem is: what will they offer the people?  Aside from tax breaks for the rich, what exactly is their positive agenda for America?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Well, That Settles It

Rice 's statements were based on the CIA assessmentgiven to the White House at the time, which was confirmed on  Friday, when former CIA director David Petraeus addressed the conspiracy theories during closed-door testimony before Congress. Petraeus testified that while the reporthad initially referred to Benghazi as a terrorist attack, language labeling it as such had been "removed from the public explanation of what caused the attack so as not to tip off the groups that the U.S. intelligence community was on their trail." According to lawmakers who attended the meeting, Petraeus was "adamant" that the changes were not politically motivated, nor were they the result of White House interference. 

This seems imminently reasonable and gibes with the facts.

I guess we'll never hear about Benghazi ever again....

Obama Unimpressed With Boehner's Offer

How do I know?

Do I have some secret source from the West Wing?

No, I have the internet.

And the internet gave me the best picture of a president I have ever seen ever.


Friday, November 16, 2012

How Can We Miss You If You Won't Go Away


Mitt Romney opened his mouth to explain why he got McCained last week and the truth fell out.  Once again, Mr. 1% started bad mouthing those 47% moochers and takers.  In other words - surprise! - Mitt really did mean those 47% comments.

Hoocoodanode?

What's been interesting is finding a GOP figure to defend him.  Romney would have an easier time getting someone from PETA to have his back at this point.

This goes back to two things.

First, Mitt Romney is a dick and not a lot of people like him.  As a politician he is so false and calculating that he winds up pissing off all sorts of people.  Romney is a political hobbyist who decided to run for office and then proceeded to kind of pee on all the ideas and principles of those who made a career of it.  It's like he wandered into a stream full of fly fishermen and started chucking dynamite into the water.  Very expensive dynamite.

Second, this really tells us a lot about the GOP.  All the people who were singing R-Money's hosannas are now jostling with each other to see who can most vigorously throw him under the bus.

Part of this is that the GOP - as a party - is a tremendously hierarchical and top-down institution.  To quote James Carville about presidential candidates: "Democrats have to fall in love, Republicans just fall in line."  The lengthy primary season/clown show demonstrated that the GOP had a LOT of trouble falling in line behind him.

But fall in line they did.  And now that they don't have to be good soldiers, they are breaking ranks and ripping him to pieces.

And that's the other thing about the GOP: they don't tolerate losers well.  Democrats have come to like Jimmy Carter and Al Gore.  John Kerry might be elevated to Obama's cabinet.

Republican losers disappear into Viagra ads or even worse Meet the Press.  It's probably not a coincidence that John McCain had a little meltdown at a CNN reporter for pointing out that McCain seems more interested in scoring political points on Benghazi than actually going to the briefing.  McCain has to be poking at some old wounds this week.

The GOP is a party that needs to control the Presidency in order to have institutional structure.  They need that big, strong daddy figure to keep all the unruly Teatards in line.  Because conservatives in general tend to venerate the "Great Man", they need someone to tell them what's going to happen.

Right now - and for the past four years - they've been buffeted between Boehner and McConnell and Limbaugh and Beck and Palin and Romney and Ryan.  It must have been exhausting.

Romney gave them some focus.  But now he is a liability, and they can't get rid of him fast enough.

But, dear reader, who will they turn to next?

Biden, The Ladies Man

http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/biden-makes-cameo-appearance-on-nbcs-parks-recreation

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Other Wes Moore


From time to time, my school brings in outside speakers.  Some of them are fairly impressive people.  Some of them are fairly impressive speakers.  A few of them are both.

Today, Wes Moore came and spoke.

I wish I could do justice to what he said, but I can't.  He spoke without notes for 40 minutes and you could have heard a pin drop.  His message was both inspirational and cautionary, which is a phenomenally tough trick to pull off.

He noted that what matters more than anything else in our lives is context.  There is not one thing that separates Wes Moore, Rhodes Scholar, from Wes Moore, convicted murderer.  It is in fact so many things.  Not just education, but expectations.  Not just community, but mentors.

I only have one regret and that is that my sons were not there to hear him.  They are young and a lot of it would have gone over their heads.  I'm sure they would have gotten bored, too.

So maybe the idea isn't that they needed to hear what he had to say, but that I have to live it for them.

There was a story on NPR about the cultural differences between Eastern and Western education.  Eastern education is precisely ABOUT the struggle, whereas Western education is about the validation of the result.

Thing One struggles.  It seems everyday is a struggle to make the right choices and do the right thing.  He's gotten immeasurably better, but he still has times when his choices are not great, and because of his reputation as someone who makes poor choices, he is a magnet for problems.

Clearly, what we need to do as parents is both encourage and challenge him.  And what's more, we need to embrace the struggle so that HE can embrace the struggle.

My hope is that having to struggle with so many things at a young age, having had to deal with issues beyond what a little boy should have to deal with, he will grow up to be a man who knows how to embrace the struggle, not just for himself but for others.

In the past few months, I've seen more decency in the boy.  And that gives me such great hope.  He has always been kind and gentle with younger kids.  I hope he is learning to be kind and gentle to everyone.

Especially himself.

Because - as Wes Moore said -  we are all in this together.  We enrich each other or we impoverish each other by the choices we make.

I know the little guy has enriched my life.  I hope I can do the same for him.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mitt Romney: Still A Dick


http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/11/mitt-romney-still-hates-47-percent-of-america.html

Heavy Petraeus

All about the sexy...

Well, I'm trying not to follow this too closely for the same reason I avoided Jon Benet Ramsay and Chandra Levy.

Nevertheless, here is the best thing I've read about this so far:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8624514/chuck-klosterman-david-petraeus-scandal-living-cia-conspiracy-theory

I have no idea what caused David Petraeus to cheat on his wedding vows.  I can't say I care.  I also can't say I'm surprised a powerful man who spends weeks and months away from his wife fell into the arms of a younger woman who both adored him and was near him. Dude is human and adoration is pretty powerful (I would guess).

The surrounding farcical cast of characters makes this somewhat amusing, I guess.

But I have to echo Chuck Klosterman: what have I learned?  Not a damned thing.

UPDATE:  This is pretty good, too.
http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/borowitzreport/2012/11/how-to-tell-if-youre-involved-in-the-petraeus-scandal.html#ixzz2C8rTUHvj

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We're America, DAMNIT!

Let the damned eagle SOAR!

Arizona is still counting ballots.  More than a quarter of all ballots cast have not been counted, and most of those from Maricopa County.  Richard Carmona is only about 80,000 votes behind with over 400,000 left to be counted.

There are still uncalled House races.

People in Florida waited in line for hours.  Let me re-phrase: dusky hued people waited in line for hours in Florida.  I voted in three minutes.  As Thing One, who accompanied me, said, "Is that it?"

The 2000 election demonstrated some of the problems in our electoral system.  A few half-assed reforms were made.  Much work still needs to be done.

But since the GOP has made vote suppression its only viable path to 270, we can kiss any chance of real elections reform from happening goodbye.

Also, the GOP majority on the Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the Voting Rights Act.

The fact that the world's oldest representative democracy can't manage its own elections is a travesty and an embarrassment.

Monday, November 12, 2012

This Is Too Good To Pass Up


Pundits are atrocious.  GOP ones especially so.

Here are some predictions from before election day.

From Wonkblog.

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight:Obama 332, Romney 203. This appears to be the most likely scenario in Silver’s model, which now gives Obama a 91 percent chance of winning and shows Florida as basically a tossup. “In order for Mr. Romney to win the Electoral College, a large number of polls, across these states and others, would have to be in error, perhaps because they overestimated Democratic turnout.,” Silver writes.

Yeah, we know.  You're good at math.

Michael Barone, The Examiner: Romney 315, Obama 223. “Both national and target state polls show that independents, voters who don’t identify themselves as Democrats or Republicans, break for Romney.”

Yeah, we know.  You aren't.

Jay Cost, Weekly Standard: Romney victory. “For two reasons,” Cost writes. “(1) Romney leads among voters on trust to get the economy going again. (2) Romney leads among independents.”

(3) You are cherry picking your data.

Ross Douthat, New York Times: Obama 271, Romney 267. ” In general, I think that the political class tends to overestimate the power of the Hispanic bloc, whose influence is growing more slowly than many pundits and strategists acknowledge. In general, I think that the political class tends to overestimate swing voters’ sympathy for strident social liberalism, and to imagine a lockstep support for legal abortion among female voters that doesn’t actually exist.”

I am not so stupid to think Romney can win, but I am so narrow-minded that I think other people share my pinched view of Catholic school morality.  Also, too, lazy brown people.

George Will, The Washington Post: Romney 321, Obama 217. “ I guess the wild card in what I’ve projected is I’m projecting Minnesota to go for Romney. Now, that’s the only state in the union, because Mondale held it — native son Mondale held it when Romney was — when Reagan was getting 49 states — the only state that’s voted Democratic in nine consecutive elections. But this year, there’s a marriage amendment on the ballot that will bring out the evangelicals and I think could make the difference.”

If someone can explain to me why this f-king yutz still gets to bloviate on my TeeVee every Sunday, I'd be fascinated to know.  In a sane world, ABC would fire him and hire... well... I'm free Sunday mornings.

Ben Domenech, The Transom: Romney 278, Obama 260. “In sum, I see the bottom slipping out from under Obama’s feet, and a campaign hoping to hold on just long enough to salvage a slim victory, one where he is almost certain to lose the popular vote. He is underperforming among whites and independents, and particularly among those likeliest to vote. I have never believed in running the prevent defense, and Obama has been running it for months.”

Look!  My home schooling paid off!  Also, too, WHITE PEOPLE!

Karl Rove: Romney 285, Obama 253. He’s got Romney winning Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida. 

"Turn those machines back on!  Turn those machines back on!"

James Pethokoukis: Romney 301, Obama 227. “Many pollsters are not catching the stratospheric GOP enthusiasm, particularly among voters of faith, in voting for Romney and Paul Ryan — not just against Obama and Joe Biden. In this way, the Bush-Kerry parallel from 2004 does not hold up”

The more enthusiastic you are, the more votes you get.  Democracy!

Dick Morris, FoxNews: Romney 325, Obama 213. ”It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history,” Morris said. “It will rekindle the whole question on why the media played this race as a nailbiter where in fact Romney’s going to win by quite a bit.”

Replace "Romney's" with "Obama's" and you have a point.  As it is, the biggest surprise is that you have any credibility left with anyone, you toe sucking freak.

Dean Chambers, UnskewedPolls.com: Romney 275, Obama 263. “Many others in the media project very favorable maps and projections for Obama but those doing so fail to realize or accept how heavily-skewed polls distort any average or analysis that relies on them.”

Those "skewed polls"... right.

Sorry if this is vindictive.  I've had to be really gentle with the Romnoids in my classes and I need to vent a little.

Finally, the Great Orange Satan weighs in:

Markos Moulitsas: Obama 332, Romney 206. “Currently, national polling assumes a big dropoff from registered voters to likely voters. I don’t believe that’ll be the case, and we’re certainly not seeing it in the early vote—Democratic turnout is up. And the RV models have been more accurate historically.” 

Heh, indeedy.  

The Fiscal Cliff

This otter has more leverage than John Boehner right now.  He has a hammer.


The "fiscal cliff" is all the rage in Washington right now.  Even though seven House races and possibly one Senate race are still up in the air, we have to move on to the next thing.

First of all, the fiscal cliff is poorly named.  It is not a fiscal cliff.  It is a fiscal solution.  If no deal is made, taxes go up and spending goes down... bye bye budget deficit, hello austerity driven recession.  The economy will suck some more, but the deficit will largely be taken care of.

Second, it's pretty obvious that Obama holds most of the cards here.  Unlike the summer of 2011, he doesn't have to give in to the hostage takers in order to win re-election.

Finally, the GOP have committed to some stupid-ass pledge about not raising taxes.  Ever.  Under penalty of death.

Fine.

On January 1st, taxes go up on everyone.  The GOP won't have to vote on it, it will just happen.

Then, on January 2nd, they can pass a bill cutting taxes on everyone but the top earners.  They haven't violated their pledge to Norquist and they have cut taxes on millions of Americans.

This doesn't address the sequester, which is a separate and more complicated problem.  But there is common ground there in that many of the cuts happen to defense, so the GOP will have to negotiate something.

Sadly, this means we won't tackle real tax reform, like getting rid of the carried interest loophole, but the "fiscal cliff" is not a crisis like the debt ceiling was.

That won't come until February.

The Big Question

Damn right we do.

Since political blogs never stop, the big question everyone is asking is: Did Romney really believe he had a chance to win?

No.

He did not.

When he says he did have a chance to win, he was lying.

How do I know this?

He's Mitt Romney.  The guy who made Nixon look like Abe Lincoln.

There may not even be any purpose to the lie.

At this point it's just a reflex.

Where Schadenfreude Merges Into Sadness


Where will their anger go?

http://www.boomantribune.com/story/2012/11/12/9113/0126

Booman might be too hopeful.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Walking Dead Liveblog


Well, after the most unbelievable gut wrenching episode of any show ever, let's see what's in store for us tonight.

I personally am waiting for the epic Michonne shitstorm.  Oh, and the Governor is one twisted SOB, and yet... sad.
***
Rick appears to be preparing for the Lumberjack games.

Oh, that was a nice shitstorm.  Not the one I was expecting, but still...
***
The "research team" is quite the euphemism.

This is a form of Rick Roll that I am unfamiliar with.
***
They harvest walkers?  Reminds me of a design I saw for a zombie survival vessel that turned zombies into bio-diesel.

Oh, zombie preschool.  That's not creepy at all.

Where does Daryl keep getting new crossbow bolts?  Does he make his own?

Mmm, delicious opossum.

A lot of the shots tonight look like frames from the graphic novels.
***
Daryl is a good daddy.  And he brings home possum meat, too!

OK, that's just gross....
***
So I guess Carol really did die.  I thought maybe she escaped.  Oops, no, just saw the preview for next week.  Carol made it.

Um, who's on the phone?

Screw The Saints

I knew the Falcons wouldn't go undefeated, but why did we have to lose to the Saints?

Friday, November 9, 2012

Two More Reasons Why The GOP Is In Trouble


Their top-down, MBA management style does not DO retail politics:
http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/11/09/fail-whale/

They have no contact with reality:
http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/11/09/this-is-amazing-and-yet-not-a-surprise/

Their understanding of their problem is filtered by the fact they don't understand that brown people are not clamoring for capital gains tax cuts:
http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/11/republican-immigration-reform-is-a-thing-now.html

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Binders Full Of Senators


The Sobering Truth


After watching that wonderful clip of Rachel Maddow and wading through the delectable salty tears of the deranged dead-enders, I thought some sobering perspective was in order.

The American people returned a GOP House of Representatives.  This is despite the fact that the Democrats won 500,000 more House votes nationwide than did the GOP.  In other words, the public as a whole preferred a Democratic House.  Here the story.

But our system does not work that way.  Some do.  South Africa, for instance, has a system where everyone votes in a single, nationwide district and the percentage of votes each party gets determines how many seats in the legislature they get.

There are reasons why this is not a good thing, primarily in that you don't have a direct representative in the government.  Parties also become more powerful than voters. So I'm not advocating for a pure proportional representation system.

No, this is about gerrymandering.

In Pennsylvania, Obama won by 5% points, but Democrats won 5 of the 18 House seats.  In Virginia, Obama won a squeaker, Democrats won 3 of 11 House seats.  In Ohio, Obama won, but the Democrats won 4 of the 16 House seats.

That's gerrymandering.

Even where Obama won... In Georgia, Obama won 45% of the vote, Democrats won 5 of 14 House seats.  Mitt Romney won 40% of the vote in Connecticut, the GOP got 0 Representatives.  Looking at my own district, a conscious decision was made to incorporate as many cities into the 5th District as possible, and those cities provided Elizabeth Esty with her margin of victory.

To look at a congressional map is to look at the fine parsing of demographic lines.

The real tragedy of 2010 was not losing control of the House, but losing control of the state houses.  That was where the decisions were made to redraw the lines to return a disproportionate share of Republicans.

In Pennsylvania, for instance, the following districts gave the GOP candidate more than 60% of the vote: the 4th, 5th, 9th, 10th and 18th.  None of them won more than 66% of the vote. Here's a list of the five districts the Democrats won and the percentage of the vote they won: 1st/85%, 2nd/89%, 13th/69%, 14th/77%, 17th/61%.

In Ohio, the lowest percentage of vote for a winning Democratic House member was 68%.  The highest percentage for a winning GOP candidate was 64% (not counting Boehner who ran unopposed).

I could go on, but...

The result is that the current crop of legislative nihilists have no desire to compromise and no need to.  They are from safe districts until 2022.

California re-drew their districts based on less partisan lines, using a citizen commission.  The result?  Incumbents went down to defeat, and perhaps not coincidentally, their delegation went from a 34/19 split to 35/15 with 3 too close to call, but the Democrats leading in all three.

In the end, probably the only way around gerrymandering is a constitutional amendment.

I have a hunch that won't happen.

Romney Concedes Florida

My predictive powers are awesome indeed.

So as not to double up posts, here is something that is purely distilled schadenfreude:

http://whitepeoplemourningromney.tumblr.com/

While, yes, these are a bunch of very white people, I was surprised at how many of them were young-ish.  I'd say a 50-50 split between grumpy old geezers and young white people who still think Bush was a great president.

On another note, reading through the schadenfreude files, it is stunning how melodramatic and historically wrong the Right has become.  Part of it, was that they had bought into their own bullshit.  They really thought Romney was going to win.  He was never going to win.

Secondly, they bought into their hype about Obama.  That's also bullshit.  So now, having convinced themselves that Obama is a Muslim, Kenyan, Marxist Socialist, they are convinced America is doomed.  The reasons America is doomed are - of course - unhinged.  America might be doomed, but that's only if the nihilist caucus in the House gets their way again.

Obama is a rational, measured hawk.  He refused to nationalize the banks or the health care system.  He passed a modest form of banking reform.  He believes that the rich should pay the same rate they paid under Clinton.  He believes women should be able to get contraception without being hassled over it.

And for this he is a monster.

Sometimes, when a psychotic is confronted by the depth of their delusions, they are able to snap out of it a little.  But for most, it simply reinforces the delusion.

Sadly, I think the GOP is going to sink deeper into delusion.

The Victory Lap

Find yourself 15 minutes of free time.

Find a comfortable spot - a chair, a couch - and maybe bring a snack or a frosty beverage.

Make sure your internet connection is strong.

And enjoy:

http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2012/11/07/there-are-real-problems-in-the-world/


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Most Beautiful Thing You Will Read Today

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/barack-obama-2012-14524219

Poetry.

The Saddest Thing You'll Read All Day

http://news.yahoo.com/race-2016-starts-today-110030968--abc-news-politics.html

Historical Note


If Obama pulls out a majority of the popular vote, he will be the third Democratic president to win two popular vote majorities, after Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt.

The Death Of The Wedge Issue


Voters in several states had two wedge issues on the ballot: same sex marriage and marijuana laws.

In Maryland, Maine and Washington, voters - for the first time - explicitly and directly legalized same sex marriage.  Particularly in Maryland (Baltimore) I think Obama's endorsement of same sex marriage made a real difference.

In Massachusetts, suddenly a lot of people developed glaucoma, as they legalized medical marijuana.  In Colorado and Washington, they said, "Forget nausea and PTSD, just spark up dude!"  The legalization of small amounts of marijuana is a remarkable thing to happen by ballot initiative.  Medical marijuana only barely failed in Arkansas.

Arkansas.

The War on Drugs and the War on "Traditional Marriage" have been conservative vote getters for decades.  Gay marriage may have cost John Kerry the presidency.

Those days are gone, apparently, although we might see a marijuana backlash at some point.

Watching the presidential returns was like watching a DVR'ed football game, where you already knew who won, but you were waiting to see how it played out.

But the ballot initiatives were truly interesting.

Nate Silver Is A God


He should seriously strut through the NY Times newsroom in a gold plated jockstrap.

If Mike Trout wins the AL MVP, he may ascend to heaven on a cloud of cherubim and slide rulers.

Favorite moment of the night was the numbers people at Fox explaining to Rove that he's basically innumerate.

Silver's model called every state, including Florida being a "hung jury".  To be fair, he may have blown Montana and North Dakota senate races by being too GOP leaning.

Here's live footage of Silver going on Morning Joe:

Not Bad

Looks like I got the Electoral College, but missed the Nevada Senate.  And in the House controlling the redistricting means controlling the composition of the House.  More on that later perhaps.

Great night for LGBT rights and pot heads.  Bad night for rape.

Now it comes down to the House of Representatives.  Will they be arsonists again?  Or will they try and govern?

I am definitely getting sick.  Runny nose, pounding headache.

But that's OK if it's a pre-existing condition now.

UPDATE: So I called NV and ND wrong, as things stand now.  If Tester and Heitkamp win, I will have gotten the number of Dems in the Senate right while messing up which states will send them there.  My number show a Dem pick-up of five seats in the House, I predicted 5-10 and there are a few seats still to be decided.

I may have actually outpredicted Nate Silver on the Senate races.

UPDATE 2: Tester wins.  Suck on it, Silver!  Who's a wizard now?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Live Blogging 3.0

11:05 John Oliver is punking Wolf Blizter.

11:09 Long way to go, but marriage equality is winning in Maine, Maryland and Minnesota.  Yay, equality!

11:14 Obama wins a second term.  Suck on that, Mitch McConnell.

11:20 Speaking of which:
Mitch McConnell vows to make Barack Obama a two-term president.
— @dceiver via TweetDeck

11:22 I've got the Electoral College at 290-219 with two states (FL/VA) still to come.

11:29 Killed a bottle of chardonnay.  Not sure how that happened.  Glad I don't have the 7:30 carpool.

11:33 Nate Silver is a god walking among men, by the way.

11:39 MLB Trade Rumors just popped into my Twitter feed #inappropriate

11:41 Medical marijuana legalized in Massachusetts.  All of my students just developed glaucoma.

11:50 My 332 prediction is looking Boss right now.  I am awesome.

11:52 Donald Trump wants a revolution.  Does that mean I can shoot him now?

11:54 Karl Rove is apparently going Mortimer Duke on Fox.  "Turn these machines back on!"

11:56 Chris Matthews schools me in history (tough to take).  If Obama wins 50% of the popular vote, he will become the second Democrat since the Civil War to win two elections at 50% of the popular vote.  # Democrat Reagan

11:59 Rachel Maddow is making me wish I was a lesbian.  She's calling out the GOP for their wholesale rejection of objective fact.

12:09 Marriage Equality and legalized pot winning on the ballot.  Times do change don't they.

12:18  Getting sleeeeeeeepy.  I assume I will wake up tomorrow and Romney will have won with 206 electoral votes and while Obama will be inaugurated he should probably defer to Mitt Romney's judgment.

12:25 This is great:
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2012/11/for_the_ages_4.php?ref=fpblg

12:31 Rove/Romney still holding out.  Despite the fact that if Nevada and Colorado went for Obama (which they did) the election is still over.

Going to bed.

Live Blogging 2.0

The last live blog was getting crowded.

Chuck Todd is pointing out that Obama is meeting his expectations in the early voting.

I can't help but think that the failure to call PA and OH is to keep viewer and voter interest.

9:15  PA called for Obama.  Romney's Hail Mary predictably fell on the 15 yard line to the bemusement of all.

9:20 Stephanie Cutter is like Claire from Modern Family but with political chops.  And she, too, is wearing a shit eating grin.

9:22 Twitter is telling me Tammy Baldwin is a Senator.  Awesome.  First LGBT Senator.  Well, first OPENLY LGBT Senator.  Let's not forget Larry Craig.  Or James Buchanan.

9:25  Now Twitter is telling me it's not Baldwin. Oh, Twitter.  My guess is that this is a formality.

9:32 Sherrod Brown wins Ohio.  Romney lost Massachusetts.  Ryan lost Wisconsin.  When did THAT happen?

9:35 Well, it happened in 1972...

9:38 New Hampster to Obama.  Romney has lost three of his four home states, and will lose California.

9:41 A lot of the marriage equality measures are doing well.  Yea, equality.

MSNBC calls it for Warren, and one of the guys on MSNBC just orgasmed, I think.

9:46 My crawl said Alan Grayson is returning to the House.  I didn't know he was running.

9:50 Chuck Todd's goatee just told me that this election is about demographics, especially Hispanics.  True, but another story in this election is the validation of LGBT rights.  First Baldwin and now let's see how marriage equality does on ballot initiatives.

9:56 People are still voting in Miami-Dade.  Obama will win Florida.

10:06  Claire McCaskill sends  pro-rape candidates to 0-2.

10:10 Tweet of the night:

Disappointing night for rape

10:15  North Carolina not called yet.  That's interesting.

10:17 Robert Gibbs gloating over what looks like a surprise win in Florida.

10:19 Joe Walsh, GOP neanderthal in the Illinois House, goes down to defeat.  To another Vagina American.

10:21 Rachel Maddow asks Robert Gibbs what he will do tomorrow.  Gibbs surprisingly says he will party with five hookers and a crate of Moet et Chandon.

10:30 A half hour away from the Pacific Coast coming in for Obama.  At which point, we might finally see them call Ohio for Obama.

10:36  This is getting boring.  Call Ohio, people.

Howard Fineman says that the Romney campaign is ready to baptize Romney's campaign retroactively.

10:39 Can we fucking run an election properly?  Why are people still waiting in line to vote?  That is an absolute disgrace.

10:41 Chuck Todd: Absentee ballot nonsense keeps us with people watching us until 11:00 pm.  Hey, Chuck, I'm switching to Jon Stewart at 11.

11:00 Switched to Daily Show, because why not.

Live Blogging The Freaking End

7:32 Finally.  No more poll parsing or "unskewing".  No more focus groups of dumb-assed morons undecided voters.  No more caring about how the GM bailout played in Cuyahoga county.

The end of our long national nightmare is over, and we can return to the national nightmare of a nihilistic GOP majority in the House.

Exit polls suck.  So says the guy who got elated by exit polls in 2004.  Having said that, the important information coming out so far really favors Obama.

For instance:
Alex Castellanos looked defeated on CNN just now when talking about the exit polls. Said they must be wrong. Ouch.

The CBS exit poll had a 73% white electorate.  If that's even remotely true, then Obama can stop being the Black Jimmy Carter and start being the Democratic Ronald Reagan.

7:38 Looks like Richard "Rape Babies Are A Gift From God" is going down to defeat.

7:54 Twitter is not helping...

8:14 Chuck Todd says Florida is a must-win for Romney.  I concur, sir.  My boldest prediction on the electoral college was Obama winning Florida.  My guess is we won't know the winner of Florida for a week.

8:18 Twitter comes through for me.  Apparently Fox Talkers are ripping in Chris Christie.  Meanwhile on MarxistSocialistNBC, there seems to be a barely concealed sense of gloating.  Too early yet to say the exit polls are right, but that's what the vibe is.

8:21  Apparently they will crucify Chris Christie for Romney's sins.  Of course, they will need a forklift to get him up on that cross.

8:25 Exit polls suck, but they are trending hard to Obama.  He's CRUSHING the Hispanic vote.  Probably not as big as this, but Fineman was talking about a 60 point margin among some state Hispanic populations.

8:30 CHRIS MURPHY WINS!!!!  Outside of an Obama win, this is the best news of the night.  Freaking hate Linda McMahon.

8:35 Linda McMahon just spent about $200M over five years to prove that she really knows how to waste $200M.

8:43 I started getting a headache and a bad stomach around 4pm.  Currently treating it with chardonnay and Chris Matthews shit-eating grin.

9:00 NH Gov stays Dem, so does PA Senate.

9:06 Elizabeth Warren displaces Scott Brown.

9:08 MSNBC somehow calls House control for the GOP.  Not sure how they can do that, but OK.

Who Will Win???!!!

I know, let's ask the punditry!  These learned sages will undoubtedly have all the answers!

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/11/exhaustive-collection-of-pundit-predictions.html

Or perhaps they will be all over the map.

Note, however, the polls.  Stupid numbers.

Wonkette Made Me Cry

http://wonkette.com/488859/obama-sends-letter-to-girl-who-wrote-to-him-about-her-two-dads-that-will-not-make-you-cry-at-all#more-488859

Voting FAQs

I may have posted this before but....

http://www.theonion.com/articles/election-faq,30158/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=standard-post:other:default

Prediction


I'm optimistic.

Presidential Election:

Obama 332
Romney 206

But that depends on shenanigans being kept to a minimum in Florida and....

The Senate

Maine - Angus King +1 Dem
Massachusetts - Elizabeth Warren +1 Dem
Connecticut - Chris Murphy
Pennsylvania - Bob Casey
Ohio - Sherrod Brown
Indiana - Joe Donnelly +1 Dem
Virginia - Tim Kaine
Missouri - Claire McCaskill
Wisconsin - Tammy Baldwin
North Dakota - Rick Berg Rep +1
Montana - Jon Tester
New Mexico - Martin Heinrich
Arizona - Jeff Flake
Nevada - Shelly Berkeley Dem +1

The last is my upset pick of the night.  If Harry "I'm not a pornstar" Reid can mobilize his machine, Berkeley pulls off the upset

Democrats pick up three seats.  But Baldwin could lose and Heitkamp could win, so it could be a net of zero to a gain of five.  Arizona isn't out of the equation, either.

(Also note that I'm assuming Angus King caucuses with the Democrats, and I resisted the urge to list Murphy as a Democrat pick up with the ouster of Joe Lieberman.)

The House

Who the hell knows?  I say the Democrats pick up 5-10 seats.

Comparison

Look at the NRO four years ago.
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/226223/predicting-tonight/nro-symposium#

I'll take Nate Silver...

Monday, November 5, 2012

Cut And Paste Blogging


Party Roles are Changing

by BooMan
Mon Nov 5th, 2012 at 11:20:11 AM EST
In 1988, the Democrats lost very badly for the third presidential election in a row, and for the fifth time in six attempts going back to the debacle in 1968. Without the Watergate scandal and President Ford's unpopular pardon of Richard Nixon, it probably would have been a complete shutout. But, since 1988, the Republicans have lost three out of five elections and are poised to lose four out of six. And, in the two years that the GOP "won," they did so by the narrowest possible margin. In 2000, they lost the popular vote and only won the Electoral College because of a decision by the Supreme Court which handed Florida to George W. Bush. In 2004, Bush would have lost if not for Ohio. Since 1988, no Republican nominee has received more than 286 Electoral College votes. In this cycle, there was never much chance that Romney could exceed that number.

Assuming Romney loses, he will be the one who gets most of the blame, but the GOP needs to start worrying about the fact that they have a coalition that must basically win every battleground state to have any chance at winning the White House. To give you an idea of what I am talking about, consider this. If Obama wins in Nevada and Colorado in the West, New Hampshire in New England, and in Iowa, Ohio, and Wisconsin in the Midwest, he will have 290 electoral votes even while losing Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. That is 20 more electoral votes than he needs to be reelected. In other words, the Southern coalition is not big enough to compete for the White House. For the foreseeable future, any respectable Democratic nominee for president is going to be just one big state away from winning the election before the campaigning even begins. Winning Ohio will likely be sufficient, and if it is not, winning Virginia and one other state will get it done.

Now, Obama could wind up winning Florida and Virginia and North Carolina, but those states will probably remain competitive in future presidential elections. The problem is, they are not enough for the GOP to win. This is a structural change from the second half of the 20th Century. The Republicans had a lot of success winning the presidency from 1952-1988, but they controlled the House of Representatives for only two of those years and the Senate for only eight. The way things look now, we should see nearly the opposite. The GOP will be hard to dislodge from the House and will trade the Senate back and forth, but the Democrats will dominate the presidential elections. The problem is that the two parties are not built to work that way. The Republicans are not legislators and they do not know how to work with an executive from the opposing party. It's impossible to understand modern conservatism without understanding that they developed a hatred of the federal government precisely because they almost never controlled the pursestrings from 1933-1994. The have the ideology and mentality of a minority party. Meanwhile, progressive Democrats have developed a deep suspicion of executive power both because of the mistakes of the Vietnam era and because of abuses under Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. To a certain degree, Democrats are less comfortable wielding executive power. These are legacies of the 20th-Century, but they will probably unwind in some ways as this new power dynamic takes hold.

In the short term, it's a recipe for dysfunction. Our only hope for avoiding this in the short term is to win the House tomorrow. But the real solution to the problem is for the GOP to go through a wrenching civil war and come out the other side with a new ideology more suited to being legislators. They also need to do something to appeal more to non-white voters or their advantage in Congress will dry up before too long.

Said This A Year Ago

http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/11/unions-say-romney-paying-the-price-for-labor-fights-in-ohio-wisc.php?ref=fpblg

Obama is not just winning Ohio and Wisconsin because he bailed out the auto industry.  He's winning because the people in those states who belong to unions HATE their local GOP.  And that trickles upwards.

I thought Rick Scott (aka Governor Bat Boy) would prove to be the same liability in Florida.  Not sure if that will hold.

VOTE!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Walking Dead

TWD and the Falcons are on at the same time.

Massive conflict of interest.  Went with The Walking Dead because...

Anyway... holy body count, Batman.

Few other shows will just up and kill off major characters like this.  Lori?  T-Dog?  Maybe Carol?

Wow.

Vote For The White Guy


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Only A Democrat

Can kill bin Laden, save GM, create universal health care, negotiate the START treaty, save the country from depression and end DADT and be told: You can't run on your record.

http://www.barackobama.com/news/entry/what-obamas-accomplished

I Just... I... Jesus


I have been hearing about this video for a couple of days now.  I tried not to watch it.  Not sure "nut picking" is healthy.

But holy crap.

The level of pig ignorance is obscene.  But then again, I obsess about this stuff.  When I moderated the student mock presidential debate, I was stunned that very bright students - when given the questions in advance - could not come up with better answers.

Then again, I do follow this stuff compulsively.  Both the politics and the policy.  It's my hobby.  You could probably do the same sort of interview at an Obama rally.  It wouldn't be quite so blatantly surreal, though.  You wouldn't have the parroted attack lines that are demonstrably false.  The apology tour, the socialism, the atheistic, communistic Muslim.  Instead you'd get some boilerplate about health care or "caring about us" that wouldn't hold up to much scrutiny.

All of which suggests three things to me.

First, is that populism is dangerous.  It's unavoidable, perhaps, but dangerous.  I thought Obama should embrace the OWS message more closely, be more stridently populist.  Instead he has a sort of apologetic populism.  "You know, maybe we should raise taxes a little bit on those like me who are already well off."  Mary Ellen Lease he is not.

But mindless populist attacks create mindless voters.  The big worry at the moment is that Obama is going to win a narrow popular vote victory and a more comfortable electoral college victory.  But the Fox News Wurlitzer has been spinning the "Romney is winning" theme for weeks.  When he loses... well all those mouth breathing idiots above will just "know" that the election was stolen.  They will know this the same way they "know" Obama is a communist, an atheist and a Muslim at the same time.  They will know this in the same way they "know" Obama is taking away freedom of religion and flying drones overhead to keep an eye on gun owners.

Second, that there is a place for expertise.  And that place should be at the top of presidential tickets.  I would bet you dollars to doughnuts that the overwhelming majority of the people in those interviews loved Sarah Palin.  Loved her.

Mitt Romney may very well be a moderate technocrat in some sense.  Maybe.  Who the hell knows?  He has run such a fundamentally dishonest campaign - see the Jeep attack recently - that he seriously makes Nixon look like Adlai Stevenson.

The character of Romney's campaign should disqualify him from any rational person's ballot.

But it won't.

Finally, this thundering ignorance of policy specifics suggests that there is some merit in having actual ideological parties.  The GOP is already there and the Democrats are right on their heels.  Of course, you can't have only TWO parties in an ideological party system.  You need more.  But our electoral system cannot tolerate third parties.

And so we are left with a system that both polarizes left and right, but an electorate that - in order to justify their vote - has to embrace ridiculous positions that they don't even examine because they have to support them as partisans. And with the GOP moving even further right, then their voters have to take the positions of the Tea Party, no matter how ridiculous those positions might be.

Just like Mitt Romney has done.

So don't think that Romney - if he gets elected - will somehow morph back into Massachusetts Mitt.

He's a member of the modern GOP and the people above are his people.