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
There are five new national level polls out today. The top line on them is R+3, R+3, R+3, R+2, and O+2. The lone outlier is the IBD/TIPP with its poll of 948 ”likely” voters from a pool of 1,091 registered, giving it a sample turnout of 87 percent. Of course that’s down from yesterday’s IBD/TIPP poll where the presumed turnout was 93%, which might explain why Romney gained a point since then.
But ignore the top line. As I’ve said before, the number to track is the President’s level of support. In those five polls Barack Obama sits at 45, 47, 47, 47, and 47. Even the poll showing him with a two point lead has him stuck at 47%. With ten days left in the 2004 race George W. Bush was fluctuating between 48 and 50 percent in most polls. Barack Obama isn’t that high in a single one of today’s results. Meanwhile Mitt Romney is tracking two points higher than John Kerry at this point in the race. And the trends aren’t working in Obama’s favor. The Gallup poll gave back some ground, but three of the others show Romney climbing–not to mention, three of them have the challenger sitting at 50%.
Something else you can also ignore: state polls. They are conducted less frequently and most are conducted less reputably. Small sample sizes with loose voter screens give unreliable results. (Less reliable than even the porous national level likely voter screens.) That’s why you see two and three point shifts in the national polls, but occasional shifts as large as ten points at the state level. If the margin of this race is greater than two points, it doesn’t matter what the polls in Ohio and Wisconsin indicate; the winner of the national popular vote will win the electoral vote too.
And that’s the danger for Barack Obama. 47% is disaster territory for an incumbent. After four years of introducing himself to the electorate, an incumbent doesn’t usually gain last minute support. His best chance now is that he can hold Romney’s vote down. But when you’re an incumbent starting with 53% of the electorate against you that means that you have to hamstring the challenger by at least four points just so that you can get the race close enough to eke out an electoral college win. Expect a lot of nastiness from the Obama camp the next ten days. But unless he can make something stick, it can easily backfire and lead to an erosion of his already anemic support.
There is still a little time for trends to reverse, but now that the conventions and the debates are over, there is less opportunity for an incumbent to control remaining events. For Obama, this is “hope time.” As in, I hope that Gloria Alred can produce a Romney scandal. Or I hope that next Friday’s BLS report comes out with a 6.5% unemployment rate. Or I hope that Mahmoud Ahmadenijad falls into a nuclear reactor and sets of an uncontrolled chain reaction in the core.
Failing that, he’s toast.Comments Off
They’re called submarines . . . or another synonym: Barack Obama’s popularity ratings.Comments Off
It’s getting bad for President Obama. His poll numbers are anemic–well under the magic 50% mark an incumbent needs. Swing voters have deserted him and don’t seem to be inclined to come back. Youth, Hispanics, and white women–demographics that strongly favored him in 2008 have fallen away, if not in the percentage that support him, in the percentage that is excited about actually voting. His fundraising is way down, his biggest backers are silent, his party’s elected officials increasingly are against him on his two biggest achievements: Obamacare and stopping domestic energy production. Even support from the media, his last holdout, is crumbling. Sure, there is a lot of time left, but the trends are not in his favor. Obama is in big trouble. He knows it and it shows.
Democrats, both behind the scenes, and in down-ticket races are scared. Sen. Manchin, who is up for re-election in a dark red state, has openly broken with him. He won’t be the last, as most of the swing states where the President will spend most of the next 200 days are represented by incumbent Democratic senators running for re-election. If they sense that Obama is a drag on them, they will throw him under the bus. A few more bad weeks is all that it will take for the open revolt to be apparent to all.
So how do Democrats save themselves? In 1980, they put Ted Kennedy up against Carter in the primary. Conventional Wisdom is that the intra-party contest hurt Carter. It didn’t. Carter was already mortally wounded when Kennedy struck his blows. His loss was pre-ordained by the economy and abroad, just as Obama’s loss is a fait accompli absent some remarkable and unforeseen outside force. But Democrats don’t have another option this year. Or do they?
Hillary Clinton is the logical choice, and I suspect that in quiet introspective moments when the lights are off and they’re along with their thoughts, that most Democrats wish that she were president now. They know that she would not have made Obama’s mistakes of incompetence.
So how do they pull it off? How do they make her the nominee without losing the almost one-quarter of the party that is black and will revolt at the attempted coup?
First, they have to plant the idea that President Obama is sick. Drudge helped them out a few weeks ago when he posted a series of photos showing the President looking unhealthy and gaunt. Then they have to let it be known that Hillary Clinton is done with politics. She has to be seen as Cincinnatus, and not as a usurper. Then, there has to be an announcement: something serious is wrong with the president; sympathy is the goal. Then there has to be the ask by the President himself, followed by reluctant acceptance and outreach, and the best way to achieve that is for Hillary Clinton to put Michelle Obama on the ticket with her. Blacks, women, and progressives. It’s an unbeatable combination that Mitt Romney could not overcome.
Is it a crazy plan? Yes. But it would work. And you know what they say: if it sounds crazy and it works, it isn’t crazy. After a few more bad weeks for the President, it won’t even sound crazy.Comments Off
If you are going to use a sports analogy, you better know what you’re talking about.
Case in point: Nancy Pelosi, talking about this week’s Supreme Court proceedings to determine the constitutionality of Obamacare. She was asked, “Have you had any conversations or what have the conversations been between you and the White House or colleagues about what to do about health care if parts–significant parts–the individual mandate, or other parts of the health care law are struck down by the Supreme Court?
Nancy Pelosi: “This game isn’t over. In March Madness, what happens when your team doesn’t win one?”
Answer: You lose. Season over. Go home. And for many of your players, it’s the last time they will ever play the game.Comments Off
“You can mark the point — page 14 — when the liberal justices decide Verrilli is screwing up and step in to make his argument for him.”
When Ezra Klein–Ezra Klein!–makes that observation, I don’t know who that damns more: Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, whose job it is to make the argument, or the “liberal justices,” whose role is to be independent.
Actually, that question answers itself. For the approved solution to this quandary, see here.Comments (6)
GDP is down, consumer prices are up, unemployment is moving sideways, and the dollar is falling. At the low end of the economic ladder, inflation is rising faster than employment and wages. At the high end, home prices are still in free fall. It won’t be long before people who bought multi-million dollar foreclosures are now themselves in foreclosure.
But at least the market is up, right? Wrong. It’s up only if you price the market in dollars. But the dollar is down. In Euros the Dow Jones gained barely two percent in a year–kind of like the growth in GDP. (Gee, I wonder if there’s a connection.) In Swiss Francs and Australian Dollars–two currencies that have purposefully tried to stay strong over the last couple years–the Dow Jones actually lost money.
If you’ll recall, a couple days ago we looked at commodity prices in various currencies and discovered that, while in the US prices are dramatically up for oil, wheat, and gold. In other denominations, price increases are not dramatically higher. And as we see below, the one bright spot–Wall Street–is just more of the same. It only looks good if you count your money in declining dollars. This is what prosperity looks like–at least prosperity as defined by Washington and the Fed.
(BTW, it’s not just the Dow Jones. Below is the S&P, which is even worse than the Dow when dollar devaluation is taken into account.)
It’s the time of year when people pretend to predict the future. So, for what it’s worth, here is how I see 2011 shaping up:
1. Neither Italy nor Spain will require a major bailout . . . much to Europe’s growing chagrin. The default of either country would be the death knell of the Euro. Instead of a heart attack, the patient will linger with terminal cancer and be further weakened by chemotherapeutic attempts to shore up confidence in Greece, Portugal, and newly stricken Belgium.
2. Austria will join the growing list of countries of economic concern. It is over the 60% debt to GDP threshold that is often the dividing line between sustainable and unsustainable systems. And its banks are especially exposed to Eastern Europe. But perhaps most disturbing, because it is on the Euro, its largest industry, tourism, isn’t able to take advantage of a declining economic condition. In that regard, Austria will be on the leading edge of a second round of sick European economies who recognize that the Euro is more hindrance than help.
3. Germany will continue to be damned if it does, damned if it doesn’t. Its debtor neighbors will resent having to continue begging the Deutsch for dough. But once they get it, they’ll resent even more the restrictions that come with the loans. Through currency, Merkel accomplished what Frederick, Bismarck, and Hitler never could by force: a Continent united under rule by Berlin. It won’t continue. At some point resentment will bubble over into conflict. While at home, Germans will come to the realization that they’re sitting atop an unsustainable spiral scheme of loaning their already overly indebted neighbors even more money so that they can continue to buy even more from Germany on credit. However it ends, it won’t be pretty. It won’t end this year. But it will end soon. And it’s a cautionary tale to the US-Chinese relationship.
4. The biggest foreign economic surprise of the year will be Luxembourg. With just a half-million citizens, the tiny nation has the same population as Nashville. Yet its banking industry is one of the world’s largest, containing nearly a trillion dollars in assets. Worldwide decline in confidence of the Euro in 2011 will deplete those assets, primarily benefitting Switzerland and to a lesser extent the UK. While Luxembourg’s public debt is a relatively low 14% of GDP, its total external debt is the world’s largest: 38 times larger than GDP. No, I didn’t say 38 percent, I said 38 times. As investors flee the Euro, Luxembourg will feel the pinch.
5. No American state will default on its debts in 2011. Even California will somehow muddle through, though it will issue IOUs instead of money for months. The following year, however, won’t end so well.
6. At least one mid-size American city will go into bankruptcy. Others will be queued up behind them. There will be no federal bailout, although an unholy alliance of Democrats beholden to public employee unions and Republicans in hock to the banks, will pressure Congress and the President to act. Tea Party outrage at the idea of further bailouts ends the attempt. The Fed, however, acts by buying munis. It doesn’t work. Across the country municipal bond rates will skyrocket. Public construction projects will dry up for lack of funds. For a time in early 2011 it will look like the private economy is coming back just in time to take over from a period of overextended public spending. But by late in 2011 bonds and banks will be in crisis and private construction will join public construction on the sidelines.
7. Early 2011 optimism will give way to a dark economic reality. The only question: is it a double-dip? Or did the first recession never really end? The one area where almost everyone agrees: Keynes is dead. Paul Krugman never gets past denial. Incredible as it might seem, his lamentations grow even more shrill.
8. Gold will fall early in the year, dropping into the 1200s, if not lower, before June. The bond crisis and a growing consensus that the Euro is in its final days will inflate gold to back over $1400, where it will end the year before really taking off in 2012.
9. Multiple economic crises and presidential politics will combine to make the President announce that American combat forces will be gone from Afghanistan by the end of 2012 and all forces will depart by 2014. NATO will announce that its Afghanistan mission will end in 2012. The last American brigade will leave Iraq in 2011.
10. President Obama will receive pressure from activists on the internet left and pundits from the middle to drop out of the race, but then what? Hillary Clinton will not run for President. Russ Feingold will not run. Howard Dean will not run. The simple fact is that there is no room to Obama’s left and no Democrats remaining to his right; hence no challenger. Instead, most realistic Democrats will resign themselves to the fact that they are likely to suffer an enormous presidential defeat, and no one of any consequence steps up to be the next McGovern. By year end Barack Obama will have only token opposition in a race to secure a nomination that no one wants.
11. Republicans, meanwhile, will provide lots of electoral entertainment. By the middle of 2011 the pundits will announce that the race is a contest between Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. Neither will be the favorite by the end of the year. Instead, the shortest man in the race will cast quite a long shadow.
12. Republicans in Congress will be a big disappointment. There will be many individual bright spots, but not enough Paul Ryans to overcome the Lisa Murkowskis. A real third-party challenge will begin to coalesce. 2012 will begin with the question: will the splintering of the GOP be enough to cause the re-election a President with a sub-40 approval rating? It becomes the Democrats only hope and the media’s clarion call to highlight disaffected conservatives.
13. As bad as this forecast is, it might be worse. The question of the year is: what happens in Asia? Will it be bad, or will it be worse? The bad will come as a result of a booming Asian economy (except, of course, Japan). Commodity inflation will result. We’re already seeing it. The consumer price index was up only 1.1% year on year. However, the producer price index was up three-and-a-half percent during the same period. Producers can’t continue to absorb higher costs without pushing them on to consumers–not without even higher unemployment. A raging Asian economy exacerbates this problem making 2011 bad for the West. But worse, is what happens if the Chinese bubble bursts–or, God forbid, the Yen finally collapses under its own weight–a foregone conclusion whose date is the only thing in doubt.
With that, may you have a happy 2011!
BTW, Can we finally stop calling it “Two thousand-something”? My resolution is to pronounce this year, “Twenty-eleven.”Comments (1)
Below is the transcript of a television ad running in the DC area for NRG Electric:
The future is here.
At NRG we’re providing clean energy and now charging stations to make the electric car a reality. Kind of makes you want to boogie woogie, doesn’t it?
NRG: moving clean energy forward.
The music accompanying the ad? Marcia Griffiths’ Electric Boogie.
Yes, not only did NRG choose, what is perhaps the worst wedding reception standard since the Chicken Dance, they selected a song from deep in the heart of the late 70s disco era–the most regrettable half-decade of American 20th Century history–to demonstrate how NRG is moving energy forward.
As Glenn likes to say, a repeat of the Carter era is starting to look like a best case scenario these days.Comments Off
I got this message yesterday from Army Reserve leadership:
As a security reminder to all Soldiers, individuals should not access the WikiLeaks web site to view, download, or print any information which is potentially classified. All personnel are reminded that the accessing of classified information on an unclassified network, either on government or privately owned computers, could constitute a security violation or place our national security at risk.In accordance with Executive Order 13526, classified information shall not be declassified automatically as a result of any unauthorized disclosure and will remain classified until it is formally declassified by an appropriate authority. Therefore, information on the internet which is or appears to be classified should be handled as such until it is properly declassified. The unauthorized disclosure, unauthorized retention, or negligent handling of classified information may result in termination of security clearance, termination of employment, or prosecution.
You, on the other hand–assuming that you aren’t a military member, government employee, or holder of a current security clearance–are not prohibited by this Executive Order from accessing classified information via wikileaks.
Does anyone else find this to be like the idiocy of restrictive gun laws:
If only uncleared personnel are able to access classified information, then the only people with access to classified information will be those without security clearances.
Horse. Stampede. Barndoor.
Jay made the analogy to finding a classified document on a copying machine. You’re not permitted to read it. But the analogy, as he pointed out, is extreme. A copying machine in a secure facility is not the internet.
Question: If instead of Wikileaks, it was the Washington Post that had printed/posted these documents, would it then be open source information? Yes. Now that’s not to say that someone with a clearance would then be permitted to confirm the documents’ authenticity. But I don’t think you’d see a push to prevent cleared people from reading the newspaper. The regulations haven’t caught up to the fact that whether it’s a website or a newspaper, they’re both open sources of information.
As I said in my previous post on the subject:
This is really the same problem that has long confronted recording artists, the motion picture industry, and other creators of intellectual content: electronic data is easily copied, easily shared, and not easily restricted to paying customers or rightful recipients. The RCIA and MPA have had more than a decade to formulate new business models to the threat of file sharing . . . with varying degrees of success. The federal government is late to recognizing this as a problem, but has the advantage of being able to quickly learn from those who came first.Comments (15)