After Tuesday,100% of Republicans do too

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Friday, 7 November 2014

Poll:  39% of Democrats want Obama to run for a third term.

Comments Off

2014 Election Results

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Live feed continuously updated.  For a guideline of what I’m looking at, check out this earlier post.

1903 Eastern

Good news for Republicans.  Fox News has called Kentucky for Mitch McConnell.  Right on target with the 2010 result in Kentucky.

No surprise:  Georgia is too close to call.

Also good news for Republicans.  Virginia is too close to call.  The longer this goes on, the better the news this is for Republicans.

1925 Eastern

Good news for Democrats.  With 68% of precincts reporting, Grimes is exceeding Rand Paul’s level of support in Fayette County, home to Kentucky’s second largest city (Lexington) and the University of Kentucky.  She is up almost 6,000 votes and 9%.  Rand Paul lost Fayette by only 1,200 votes four years ago.  McConnell lost in 2008 by 8%.  And that was in a disastrous Republican year.  If those numbers hold, it’s a good sign for how Democrats and how they may be doing with younger voters.

1930 Eastern

No surprise.  Republicans pick up West Virginia.

No surprise.  John Kasich wins in Ohio.

No surprise.  North Carolina Senate is too close to call.

1935 Eastern

Bad news for Democrats.  Mark Warner still hasn’t won his race.  Exit poll internals are horrible for him. He is underwater on the favorable/unfavorable rating and Ed Gillespie is ahead on that question.  (See UPDATE at 1945)  This is not at all like anyone expected.  Keep in mind that exit polls have errors.  Right now, Democrats have to hope that the exit polls are wrong.

1940 Eastern

Michael Barone is reporting that with 100% reporting Gillespie is leading Culpepper County 64-33.  George Allen in a losing effort won Culpepper 58-42.  This is the kind of exurban county and the kind of margin that Ed Gillespie needs to win if he is to make a realistic go of Virginia.

1945 Eastern

Fox News just showed that Warner is winning the favorable/unfavorable race 56-43.  That’s different from what I first heard ten minutes ago.

2025 Eastern

Good news for Republicans.  Both CNN and Fox News are reporting that Mitch McConnell leads Allison Grimes 56-41.  Of course only 65% of precincts are reporting, but because the eastern half of the state has a one-hour head start in vote counting, the results from the western half of the state aren’t likely to diminish McConnell’s lead.  Bottom line:  if this vote holds up, Mitch McConnell’s 14-point margin will beat the 8-point two-way race spread predicted by RCP.  That would be HUGE.

2030 Eastern.

No surprise.  Fox News just called both Arkansas races for the GOP candidates Tom Cotton and Asa Hutchinson the moment the polls closed.

2035 Eastern

No surprise.  New Hampshire is still too close to call. But with 16% reporting, Jeanne Shaheen has an 8-point lead.

Potentially earth-shaking bad new for Democrats.  With 59% of the vote counted, Ed Gillespie has a 51-46 lead in Virginia.  No one expected this race to be uncalled 90 minutes after the polls closed.  Even if Gillespie loses, it shows that Democrats are fighting to hold their own terrain while Republicans have an advantage on offense.

2040 Eastern

Fox News is reporting bad news for the Clintons.  Bill Clinton campaigned hard in Arkansas and Kentucky.  His candidates lost fast.  On the other hand, I think that this really tells you how far gone the South is for Democrats.   (Juan Williams supports a version of this view.)  Of course, that wouldn’t be a good sign for Georgia, Louisiana, or North Carolina.

2045 Eastern

Speaking of which . . . Michael Barone is tweeting 100% counted counties in Georgia and Virginia that are showing better results for Republicans Perdue and Gillespie than Republicans in previous years.

2050 Eastern

Bad/Good news for both parties.  With 64% of the vote counted, Ed Gillespie still has a 5-point lead. Nobody expected this.  But what is really unexpected is that in neighboring North Carolina, which is a shade more red, Kay Hagan has a 7-point lead with 46% counted.  If the two results were reversed, I wouldn’t have batted an eye.  If both vote counts hold up, this will definitely merit a closer post-election look.

2055 Eastern

No surprise.  These results came in earlier–in fact, when the polls in both states closed.  Democrats won senate seats in New Jersey and Illinois handily.

2100 Eastern

No surprise.  The GOP picked up a third seat in South Dakota.

No surprise.  Michigan Dems hold the Senate seat there.

No surprise.  Colorado is too close to call.

No surprise.  Kansas is too close to call.

No surprise.  New Hampshire is still too close to call.  (But it’s looking like it’s just a matter of time until Shaheen gets the call.)

No surprise.  Georgia is still too close to call.

No surprise.  North Carolina is still too close to call.

No surprise.  Minnesota Dems hold on to the Senate and the Gubernatorial seats.

Big surprise and bad news for Dems.  Virginia is still too close to call two hours after the polls closed.

2110 Eastern

Some networks are calling VA10 for the GOP candidate John Foust.  That would be a good sign for Ed Gillespie.

2115 Eastern

With 78% counted Gillespie’s lead in VA is down to 2-points.  This race has the feel of ultimate Democratic victory.  But still, this is a race that is about 10 points off of the RCP average in the GOP’s favor.  Even as a former professional pollster, I’m heartened by the notion that voters matter more than polls.

On the flip side, Kay Hagan’s lead is down to two points with 60% counted.  It’s hard to see VA going red and NC staying blue.  If NC flips but VA doesn’t and both (obviously) are very close, that almost perfectly matches the 2012 results and would be strong indicator of the nationalization of these races.

2129 Eastern

Kay Hagan’s lead is down to 1% and 27,000 votes.

Gillespie’s lead is also 1% and 23,000 votes.

Meanwhile in GA, Perdue has 60% with 36% in.  Michael Barone is looking at the counties and thinking that this one is close to being called as a victory without a runoff required.

2130 Eastern

Jeanne Shaheen’s lead is down to 7,000 votes with 37% counted, a 4-point spread.  Still too close  to call.

Here’s where we are now.  Among the RCP tossup states in the Senate, none have been called.  The two “pink” seats (Arkansas and Kentucky) were called immediately.  The one “light blue” seat (Virginia) is still too close to call 150 minutes after the polls closed.  Bottom line: I’d rather be in the Republican’s shoes right now.

2138 Eastern

No surprise.  Louisiana will go to a runoff.

2139 Eastern

No surprise.  New Hampshire will stay blue.  Right now it looks like a 52-48 margin.  I’m not sure what we can extrapolate from this race for the rest of the field.  The key point is that this is the first “toss-up” state to be called for either side.

2145 Eastern

Let me get back to Kentucky.  With 94% counted, Mitch McConnell has a 15-point lead over Allison Grimes.  This is almost double his RCP lead.  Points to consider:

Nate Silver says that there is no such thing as momentum.  In a strictly mathematical sense, he’s right. But polling isn’t math, not entirely.  What we’ve seen in the last week is:

(1) A return to the state’s bright red hue.  I think we’re seeing the same thing in New Hampshire: a return to the bluish purple tint of that state.  If everything breaks the way that 2012 went, Republicans will win North Carolina and Georgia, while losing Colorado and Iowa.  I don’t think that’s going to be the way it ends, but we’ll see.

(2)  President Obama is creating a ceiling for Democrats.  I don’t think that anyone is surprised by that, but it certainly undercuts the argument that you’ve heard that says that Dem candidates should have embraced the president more.  Sorry, but Grimes was mired in the low 40s and that’s where she is going to end up.

2154 Eastern

Fox News just called Colorado for the GOP candidate Cory Gardner.  Huge news that it was called this early.  So much for the “war on women”.

2155 Eastern

From my earlier post:  (2014 results in bold)

Boone

2010 Sen:  R over D, 24,332 (74.4%) to 8,364 (25.6%) 23,200 to 9,800

2012 Pres:  R over D, 35,922 (68.4%) to 15,629 (29.8%)

Campbell:

2010 Sen:  R over D, 18,386 (64.9%) to 9,948 (35.1%) 17,600 to 11,000

2012 Pres:  R over D, 24,240 (60.3%) to 15,080 (37.5%)

Kenton:

2010 Sen:  R over D, 29,372 (66.8%) to 14,582 (33.2%)  28,300 to 16,700

2012 Pres:  R over D, 41,389 (61.1%) to 24,920 (36.8%)

In all three Cincinnati suburban ring counties McConnell didn’t match Rand Paul’s numbers from four years ago.  In fact, the numbers are exactly in alignment with what I would have expected if the RCP numbers were correct.  Remember, the RCP two-way race in 2010 projected an 11-point lead, when this year it anticipated an 8-point lead.  So a strong Republican win, albeit by a smaller amount than four years ago, is exactly what we should have expected in these three counties.  That Republicans have won so handily in Kentucky means that the result was decided by a large amount elsewhere in the state.

But where?  In Fayette County, McConnell lost by 6,000 votes, five times what Rand Paul lost by four years ago.  In Franklin County, McConnell beat Paul’s margin, but only by a mere 300 seats.  In Jefferson County, McConnell fell short of Paul’s margin by about 7,00o votes.

It looks like Eastern and Western Kentucky coal counties trounced the Dems.  If this is true, it means that rural and industrial labor may completely be divorced from Democrats forever.  (BTW, Elliott County hasn’t reported its votes.)

2220 Eastern

Meanwhile, it looks like Scott Walker is going to hold on to win Wisconsin for a third time in four years. And it looks like a margin of error greater than what RCP predicted.

2225 Eastern

Mark Warner is now ahead of Ed Gillespie by 2,500 votes.  And it looks like the remaining uncounted votes are in NOVA.  Great fight.  And a huge surprise, but it would appear that the Democrat candidate is going to hold on to win by a far narrower margin than anyone expected.

Meanwhile in North Carolina, Tom Tillis is up by 31,000 votes (2%) and only 15% of precincts remaining to be counted.  Of course, where those precincts are means a great deal.

Also in Georgia, there’s no question that Perdue is going to beat Nunn.  Perdue is now at 57%, with 64% of the vote counted.  If he stays over 50%, Republicans hold this seat.

2230 Eastern

I haven’t heard it mentioned yet.  One of the “streaks” that had been going against Republicans was their recent inability to beat a sitting incumbent.  So far, it looks like they have unseated Mark Udall in Colorado and Mark Pryor in Arkansas.

2235 Eastern

Pat Roberts has a 4-point lead in Kansas (17,000 votes).  No one knows was tracking this race eight weeks ago and there is no history of strong polling in this state.  Thus no one knows which way this might turn.

Meanwhile in Iowa, the returns are very spotty and Bruce Braley is up over Joni Ernst.

2240 Eastern

Tom Tillis’ margin is larger.  It’s still only 2%, but that is now 53,000 votes.

No surprise.  In Michigan the Republican governor won re-election.  Along with Wiconsin’s Walker, these are huge gains for budget-cutting governors and against government unions.

2245 Eastern

In Arizona the ice cream man won.  This was a Republican gubernatorial hold.

In Florida Republican Rick Scott is ahead by 80,000 votes with 97% counted.  Close to a call.

2246 Eastern

HUGE NEWS.  Republicans will hold Kansas.  If Dems don’t take Georgia (and it looks like they won’t), they have to hold Alaska, and North Carolina, and then Louisiana again next month.  Not likely.

In North Carolina, Tom Tillis still has a 52,000 vote lead and there’s only 7% of the vote left to count.  Karl Rove just named four counties where if Kay Hagan is going to win, she has to run up the vote.  Only one of those counties has enough uncounted votes left to count.  It is Mecklenburg (Charlotte).  Depending on where they are in the county will determine the outcome.  Still, it’s looking better for Tillis than I think the RCP average predicted yesterday. (538 is saying a similar thing:  Wake County (Raleigh) is not going to yield any more votes for Hagan.)

2300 Eastern

Democrats will flip no GOP seats.  The last possibility, Georgia, was just called for the Republican Perdue. The win of any one of these seats–Alaska, Iowa, North Carolina, or Virginia gives the 51st seat to the GOP.  If it doesn’t happen tonight, it could be Louisiana next month.

Right now, it looks to me like Republicans will win 53 seats, with 54 very possible, and 55 a still remote possibility.

2305 Eastern

HUGE news.  I will be able to buy wine in grocery stores.  If you don’t live in Tennessee, you won’t comprehend how incredibly stupid it is that has taken this long.  Worse still, the new law won’t take effect until July 2016.

2308 Eastern

Michael Grimm won NY-1.  He is under indictment for 20 felony counts.  And yet, he is still better than the other guy.  Watch the Jon Stewart story on this race and you’ll understand that the Democrat in this race is a complete idiot.  Congratulations, Staten Island.  In your choice between crook and the dunce, you chose the lesser of two very bad evils.  But seriously, is this the best you can do?

2310 Eastern and here’s an update.  The GOP has 50 senate seats already locked up and no seats that the Dems will take.  Here are the seats still in play:

North Carolina.  The margin is 46k in favor of the GOP with 4% remaining.

Virginia.  The margin is 11k in favor of the Dem with 7% remaining.

Iowa.  The Republican Joni Ernst is leading 50-47 with 53% of the vote in.

Alaska is still voting.

538 is giving Dems a 1% chance.

2322 Eastern

Game.  Set.  Match.  Joni Ernst wins Iowa.  Republicans unseated a third sitting Democratic senator and now have at least 51 seats.  Four more are possibilities, although Virginia is looking very unlikely.  Still, 54 is a very possible amount for the GOP.

Oh, BTW, I called it.  I said that Iowa would be the 51st seat.  (Of course, I didn’t expect that CO would be called by now and I expected NC already would have fallen.)

Here’s why that matters:  that’s a big cushion going into 2016 when the mix of states with seats up for grabs in the Senate is less favorable to the GOP.  Of course, being a presidential year, whomever wins that race will likely have coattails.  Dan McClaughlin makes the case that the Democrats don’t have a structural advantage going into 2016.  I agree and will make that case in the coming days.  But even if a Democrat wins the presidency, he might have to carry seats to get back to 50.  If the Republican wins, that’s a tall order for Democrats.

2329 Eastern

Speaking of North Carolina, Tom Tillis wins.  It’s now a net at least 7-seat victory for the GOP and at least four sitting senators fell to Republicans.

2340 Eastern

Let’s look at some of the gubernatorial races.

Right now Republicans have held tossup seats in Florida, Georgia (seriously, did Dems expect to win with a Carter?) Michigan, and Wisconsin.

Dems have held onto seats close seats in Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island.

The only gubernatorial change is that Republicans have picked up a seat in Illinois (metaphor alert). (UPDATE: I forgot Arkansas; that’s two. I also forgot Democrats won PA.  Both of these were off my radar because they weren’t really close.)

Here is where some of the other governor’s races sit:  Republicans lead in Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas (thanks to Pat Roberts–more specifically thanks to Democrats nationalizing the Kansas senate race), Massachusetts (seriously), Maryland (even more seriously) and Maine.  Dems hold the current lead in no gubernatorial race they don’t currently lead.  Four of the above seats would be GOP gains.

2345 Eastern

I’m glad she won and her past indicates that she has a strong future.  But Joni Ernst won’t ever realize that future if she doesn’t get rid of that annoying laugh of hers.

2350 Eastern

Martha Chokely will never be heard from again.  At least that’s what Massachusetts Democrats hope.  The GOP picked up that seat.

Also, I missed earlier that PA and AR were pickups (one Repub and one Dem) when I counted up the gubernatorial seats.  This now makes a net GOP +2 in governor’s races.

2356 Eastern

Mark Warner is the “apparent” winner in Virginia.  The margin is only 12k.  But that’s a lot to make up in a recount.  There are still votes outstanding.  But still it looks bad for the GOP candidate Ed Gillespie.  That said, he may be the biggest winner of the night.  I expect that in the morning they will look at what the final count looks like and then determine if there is anything there to contest.

0005 Eastern

Maryland and Virginia are both major surprises tonight.  Even if the GOP candidates end up losing, nobody expected these contests to be that close.  Question:  did the Redskins name controversy crush Democratic support?  It may seem like a little thing, but that’s the point.  Is the (former) Senate Majority Leader’s desire to use the federal government to change the name of a sports franchise a symbol of a massive overreach of federal power?  Discuss in the comments.

0015 Eastern

Republican Paul LePage holds on to win the governor’s seat in Maine.  Alaska, where voting is still ongoing, and Kansas, where Sam Brownback is holding a 2.5% lead with 17% of the vote left to count, are the only tossup incumbent seats held by the GOP that remain to be decided.  Meanwhile, Colorado and Connecticut could still flip to the GOP.  And in both, the Republican candidate currently is winning–albeit by less than a point in each race.

Bottom line:  Governor’s races were as nationalized in 2014 as were the senatorial races.  I’m not surprised by this, as it is a natural result of the 40-year ongoing ideological homogenization of the parties, as well as by the demographic stratification of the Democratic Party.  When your base is near unanimity among blacks, single women, and government workers, and huge negative margins with almost everyone else, you’re only going to do well where those demographics approach a majority.

Oh, btw, President Obama waded into governor’s races when it looked like senatorial candidates treated him like President Ebola.  Just like Clinton’s foray into the Southeast, that didn’t work out so well.

0035 Eastern

With 65% of the vote counted, the margin in the Connecticut governor’s race is 7.  Not seven percent, but seven votes.

0030 Eastern

HUGE Upset

Republican Larry Hogan will win the governor’s race in Maryland.  This is the fourth GOP pickup in gubernatorial races against only one loss.

Two lessons:  Barack Obama, who actually campaigned here, is now persona non grata everywhere.  And don’t run against the Redskins.

0033 Eastern

Sam Brownback will win Kansas.  I called this days ago.  By nationalizing the Pat Roberts senate race, Brownback got a boost.  I submit that Brownback was not going to win if the Roberts-Orman race had never heated up.  By playing games in Kansas, Dems lost both races.

0037 Eastern

538 is reporting that Dems had an apparent 6-point advantage in the senate polls and a 2-point apparent advantage in gubernatorial races.  I had a sense that it was going to be like this, although not by this much.  This is a wave, which I define as nearly every race tilting in the same direction.  That’s what happened tonight.

That said, two years ago, I made the analogy to polls being like hitting in major league baseball.  If we poll people randomly–relatively easy to do–we are only half the way there.  The harder part is knowing who is going to show up to vote.  The analogy I made then was that predicting electoral outcomes was like looking at a pitcher-batter lineup and being able to project exactly where the ball was going to land.  A good pollster can do that.  But what the pollster can’t do is to know in which ballpark the game is played. In baseball a long line drive to left field is a home run in Wrigley if the wind is blowing out.  It’s just a long single at Fenway.

Shorter and to the point: pollsters can tell you almost exactly how people are going to vote.  But they can’t tell you who will vote.

0059 Eastern

While I await the Alaska outcome, let’s summarize:

Republicans have won the Senate with at least 52 seats with another GOP gain likely in Louisiana and the GOP favored (at least for another minute) in Alaska.  That’s a net gain of 7 to 9 seats.

Republicans have gained at least a net three seats in governor’s races.  Colorado is looking like another gain.  Connecticut is still a possible gain.  And Alaska is the only remaining state where Dems can pick up a seat.  That’s a net GOP gain of 2 to 5 seats for the GOP when the predictions going into tonight were for a loss of 1 to 2 seats.  This is an astounding loss for Dems.  Look also where the GOP won:  Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, Wisconsin, and potentially Colorado.  These are presidential battleground seats.  New Hampshire and Pennsylvania are the only presidential battleground seats that Democrats won tonight.  This will have an effect in 2016.

In the House, West Virginia went all Republican.  So did Arkansas.  The GOP picked up all but one seat in Iowa.  I predicted this based on what happened up ticket.  In New Hampshire, Democrat Shea-Porter is again the former congressman from her district.  NY-24 flipped GOP.  A seat in Illinois flipped too.  Georgia and North Carolina house seats also benefitted from upstream GOP wins.  The only tossup that the Dems currently have taken is FL-27.  There are still dozens of seats left to be decided, but it looks like a double-digit gain in the House, and then some.

Finally, before I go to sleep for the night, let’s look at the exit polls in the national House races.

Whites voted 60-38 for the GOP.  That’s right in line with expectations.  What is unexpected is that whites made up 75% of the electorate.  Blacks went 89-10 for Dems.  Ten points is way more than anyone expected among blacks.  Latinos went 63-35 for Dems.  Worse still for Dems is that the Latino vote was only 8% of the total.  That’s a level of slippage that will crush Dems if it continues.  Asians split their vote, going 50-49 for the Dems.  That’s has huge implications for the future when you have one party that wants to treat all minorities alike.  Those minorities have a vote themselves.

Comments Off

GOP v. Tea Party

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Thursday, 11 September 2014

If Republicans wanted to ensure that the Kansas Senate seat stayed in GOP hands, they would join the suit by Democrat Senate candidate Chad Taylor and ask to have Pat Roberts’ name removed from the ballot so that it could be replaced by the primary’s runner-up, Milton Wolf.

That they would never even consider doing that tells you that the national party would rather lose a seat than to have it fall into Tea Party hands.

Comments Off

NATO: is the glass bat already broken?

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Tuesday, 25 March 2014

PJMedia picked up a piece I wrote the other day.  Go there and read the whole thing.  [Edited:  Below is an excerpt from the pre-edited version I wrote.  I think that it is a little more clear on a few points.]

The irony of NATO’s past quarter-century is that its most recent entrants are its most enthusiastically pro-NATO, and yet they offer the least reason to the other members to justify a united response in their defense.  They know the danger of Russian expansion.  They’ve lived it.  But the further east NATO expands, the less immediate the danger that the fall of those regions represents to the more western members.   More simply put:  Is there anybody who really thinks that Californians want to risk a nuclear war with Russia in order to save the likes of Albania?

For twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, until the Russian invasion of Georgia reminded them of what a mutual defense treaty really means, Americans forgot that NATO wasn’t a clubhouse; it was an actual club—the kind with which you beat an opponent to death.  And by admitting new members you agreed to swing that club if any one of the members was attacked.

Today, NATO is not a club; it’s a glass bat.  The power of a glass bat is in the threat of its swinging.  But once it makes contact it shatters into 28 pieces and loses all its power.  This is true of any large coalition, but especially one so culturally and geographically far-flung that it can’t seem to agree that Russia even is an enemy. 

Arguably, NATO is already shattered, the fault of which lies at the feet of America’s last President, who short-sightedly used its one-time-use power against a non-existential threat in Afghanistan.  (The truth is that President Bush could have received the help of most NATO nations in Afghanistan even without the NATO imprimatur and without swinging the glass bat.  After all, he did so in Iraq.)  Most of the 28 NATO nations gave all that they could give over the last 13 years in Afghanistan.  There is no more that they can reasonably expect to extract from their populaces.

Knowing all too well the real costs of warfare makes countries less inclined to intercede when there appears to be no real immediate importance to the threat.  It was because the memory of World War One was so fresh in the minds of the Allies, that Hitler was allowed to re-arm Germany, march into the Palatinate, annex Austria, and forcibly annex a portion of sovereign Czechoslovakia, all without Western Europeans lifting a finger to stop him.  And that was two decades after a war that the Allies won.  Immediately on the heels of the thirteen-year muddle of Afghanistan, there is even less likelihood that all 28 nations are going to sign on to the task of poking a Russian bear unless they really see that the bear is bearing down on them.

So when un-uniformed Russians appear in military formations in tiny Narva and say that they are there to protect Russian lives from Estonian transgressions (and there will be just enough merit to the claim to cloud the argument), how will NATO react?  Will it rush headlong into war, obeying its mutual defense obligations just as the Central Powers did after the assassination of a minor royalty in 1914?  Or will NATO react with a shrug, just as war-weary Europeans did when Hitler marched unopposed into Vienna?

I’m guessing that Russia thinks that NATO is an already-shattered glass bat and that it will pursue the latter course.  And if he’s right, Vladimir Putin can finally record the hour of NATO’s death.  Then Europe’s only Emperor will go about exercising greater authority over European affairs without American interference.

But if Putin is wrong in his calculation of NATO resolve . . .

Comments Off

Boehner blinks

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Thursday, 17 October 2013

I told you so:

“In the immediate weeks ahead, Democrats can’t cave for fear of losing votes.  Meanwhile, because it would be a violation of principles that gains them no tactical, operational, or strategic advantage, Tea Party Republicans will not cave.  If I had to guess, I would wager that Speaker Boehner will blink and negotiate a deal in order to preserve Republican-leaning big business groups under the GOP banner.”

It remains to be seen if the second half of my prediction comes true:

“But that in 2014 and 2016 Republicans will get crushed as the Tea Party goes rogue and that by 2020 the GOP will cease to exist.”

It’s 2,000 words, but read the whole thing.

The way the debt ceiling fight was so chronologically close to the Obamacare shutdown put the GOP at a disadvantage.  Republicans got snookered by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, who used “extraordinary measures” to extend the date of the debt ceiling debate to where it would be conflated with the Obamacare rollout.  Republicans aren’t known as the “stupid party” for nothing.

Now Tea Partiers are super pissed at the GOP.  GOP Elite are pissed at the Tea Party base of the party.  And Obama Democrats got everything they wanted.  If there was a scenario that gave Democrats any hope of taking over the House in 2014 in the face of a big Republican structural advantage, this was it.

RELATED:

Stu Rothenberg:

“The political fallout from the confrontation is very real. Republicans got almost nothing out of the deal to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling except, of course, that they lost another 10 percentage points in their favorable rating and looked less like an organized political party and more like a disorganized, confused rabble.

. . . Small donors will be disenchanted that Republican officeholders caved on both the shutdown and debt ceiling, while the larger donors, who tend to be more pragmatic, are likely to sit on their cash for fear that the GOP will do something else crazy to threaten the economy and the party’s electoral prospects.”

Louis Woodhill:

“Congressional Republicans will be very, very lucky if they manage to come out of the current government shutdown/debt ceiling fight with nothing. It’s more likely that, having gone to battle over the wrong issues with the wrong strategy, the Republicans will have actually lost ground, both politically and in terms of their policy objectives.”

The Nation offers an alternative view:

“Because the deal only includes minor concessions, the Beltway consensus is that it represents a resounding defeat for Republicans, who “surrendered” their original demands to defund or delay Obamacare. In the skirmish of opinion polls, that may be true, for now. But in the war of ideas, the Senate deal is but a stalemate, one made almost entirely on conservative terms. The GOP now goes into budget talks with sequestration as the new baseline, primed to demand longer-term cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And they still hold the gun of a US default to the nation’s head in the next debt ceiling showdown.

Surrender? Any more “victories” like this and Democrats will end up paying tribute into the GOP’s coffers.”

So too does Peter Beinart who complains that the deal locks in the sequestration cuts as the new baseline:  ”If this is Republican surrender, I hope I never see Republican victory.”

Comments Off

Peggy Noonan gets it almost right

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Thursday, 23 May 2013

The WSJ’s Peggy Noonan lays out the known facts of the IRS case and concludes that it requires a special prosecutor.  She’s right, and frankly, it’s amazing how in a week, the American media has pretty much come around from the question of if a special prosecutor is needed for the IRS investigation, to how broad should be the limits of the special prosecutor’s investigation?

But here’s where Noonan gets it wrong.  Right in the last paragraph:

“Again, if what happened at the IRS is not stopped now—if the internal corruption within it is not broken—it will never stop, and never be broken. The American people will never again be able to have the slightest confidence in the revenue-gathering arm of their government. And that, actually, would be tragic.”

Actually it wouldn’t be “tragic” if the American people were not to have confidence in this or any arm of their government.  It would be exactly what the Founders called for.

My favorite quotation from the entire 85 editions of the Federalist Papers is this one from Federalist 25 by Alexander Hamilton:

“The people are always most in danger when the means of injuring their rights are in the possession of those of whom they entertain the least suspicion.”

In fact, you could almost sum up the gist of the entire Constitution with that single statement, as the Constitution attempted to set up a system where no branch of government was in sole possession of the means of injuring our rights.  How far we have strayed, however, when the wing of the government that determines how much of our labors are to be taken into the Federal trough also inquires about our associations,  our religious practices, and soon, our medical care.

Peggy, you are right to call for a special investigator.  But you are wrong to assert that it is a tragedy if, as a result of this scandal, we no longer have  confidence in the IRS.  The real tragedies would occur as a result of believing that any branch of government was deserving of our unsuspicious confidence.

Comments (16)

A reading list for the next four years

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Friday, 9 November 2012

One of the things that I did in November 2008 was to begin writing a novel.  If I had to describe it in one sentence:  Frances Mayes meets Ayn Rand.

It’s the story of a young man in the early 1970s who wants nothing more than to make great wine.  So, not unlike the prospectors who travelled west a century before him, he went to California to find bottled gold.  He succeeds.  But that is when his troubles start.  Success breeds envy and contempt from others and he finds himself engaged in political battles to try and maintain what he has built.  That is when his political outlook begins to change.  Oh, and I should mention that the protagonist is gay.

I’m only about half done.  Life has a way of getting in the way.  Plus, I’ve never written one of these novel thingies, so it’s entirely new to me. 

One of the things I’ve done to help me research (beside the couple trips to California to meet with some legendary winemakers from that era) is to read more political philosophy.  It helps me to understand my message better so that I can then distill it into ideas that I can put into the novel. 

I say all this to say that Alert Reader Snorri Godhi commented on a recent post that she thought that in light of this week’s events that it might be a good idea for people to re-read a little Hayek.  Snorri’s comment has inspired me to start this post.

What books can help people, first, to understand our current political/social/economic environment, and then, second, to help them to refute contrary arguments and win over undecideds?

Below is my first stab at a reading list that I pulled from my Kindle.  What would you suggest to add/delete?

Bastiat, Frederic.  Economic Sophisms

Bastiat, Frederic.  Essays on Political Economy 

Bastiat, Frederic.  The Law

Friedman, Milton.  Capitalism and Freedom

Goldberg, Jonah.  Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left

Hamilton, Alexander, et al.  The Federalist Papers

Hayek, F.A.  The Road to Serfdom

Hobbes, Thomas.  Leviathon

Mackay, Charles.  Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (first three chapters)

Mill, John Stuart. On Liberty

von Mises, Ludwig.  The Theory of Money and Credit

Okrent, Daniel.  Last Call: the Rise and Fall of Prohibition 

O’Rourke, P.J.  On the Wealth of Nations

O’Rourke, P.J.  Parliament of Whores

Payne, Thomas.  Common Sense

Shlaes, Amity. The Forgotten Man

de Tocquevill, Alexis.  Democracy in America

Wolfe, Thomas.  The Bonfire of the Vanities

Comments (10)

vagina vagina vagina vagina vagina . . .

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Sunday, 4 November 2012

And now for some comic relief.  
This is the worst political endorsement ever.  Brought to you by your lady parts.

Comments Off

Milwaukee J-S Poll

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a poll of Wisconsin out this afternoon.  The top line has the race going from an Obama 1-point lead two weeks ago to an 8-point lead today.  That’s a shift that defies common sense. 

However, that doesn’t mean that they did the poll wrong.  Let me explain.

A poll of about a 1,200 respondents in its sample will have a margin of error of about 3% at the 90% confidence interval.  If the actual race is Obama 45 – Romney 45, and you select a hundred different random samples from the population, you would expect that 90% of those samples to give you a result of somewhere between Romney 42 and Romney 48.  The other ten polls will be outliers of more than the margin of error of 3 percentage points.

I don’t see anything necessarily wrong in the demographices of sample polled.  Nor did I observe anything done differently from the poll the J-S did two weeks ago.  However, with little reason to believe that the race moved 8-points in Barack Obama’s direction, it is likely that either the earlier poll or this one is an outlier.  Given where everyone else is showing the state of the race in Wisconsin, it is probably this most recent poll that is the outlier. 

But my standard state poll caution applies:  Be very wary of media and university polls of states that are not routinely performed time and time again.  Polling at the state level can be very screwy and there are a lot of one-off polls performed with shady methodologies.

Finally, there is one odd thing about this poll.  It shows a 100% likelihood of voting even as there are 51 respondents who report being unregistered.  Now I believe that Wisconsin has same-day registration, so that might explain the unregistered but likely respondents.  However, that wouldn’t explain the other issue.  See the table below:

marquette_poll.jpg

Either the J-S includes only those who say that they are absolutely certain to vote plus those who report that they have early voted in their likely voter sample, or some segment of this likely voter sample is lying about their intent to vote.  Anyone know?

Comments (1)

2008 called; they want their Obama groupies back

Byline: | Category: Uncategorized | Posted at: Friday, 26 October 2012

Obama Girl was cute.  Sorta.  But that was SO four years ago.  This?  This is just pathetic.  Really pathetic.  OMG I can’t believe how pathetic it is–it’s that pathetic.  See for yourself.

Comments Off