Monday, January 30, 2012

Republi-CON Budget Drama, Much To Do About Nothing

UPDATE II: "You’re not still worried about the federal deficit, are you? That is so 2010! Get over it! The presidential candidates certainly have." Read the Washington Post, Growing federal debt recedes as political issue.

The Republi-CONs conned the Tea Party.

UPDATE: "[I]n their first major act of 2012, House Republicans picked up exactly where they left off: They staged a duplicitous debate in which they pretended that they were going to deny President Obama permission to increase the government’s borrowing limit.

The pretense had been clear since last summer, when 174 House Republicans voted for a budget deal that guaranteed that the debt limit would continue to increase this year unless two-thirds of the House and Senate voted otherwise — a practical impossibility.

But that didn’t stop many of those same 174 Republicans from marching to the floor Wednesday afternoon to vote for a resolution “disapproving” of the very same debt-limit increase they had already blessed. It was a model of deception: claiming to oppose something they had guaranteed would take effect."

Read the Washington Post, For House Republicans, a game of debt charades.

Last week the national "debt stood at $15.1 trillion, $1 trillion more than when the [Republi-con House] got to town. By the end of next year, projections show, it will grow by an additional $1 trillion."

And how much did the Republi-con House cut next years budget? "[B]y only about $7 billion, a sliver so tiny [you] could measure its impact in minutes."

Read the Washington Post, Washington’s year of drama leaves little done regarding debt.

As I say each show, I'm waiting, where's the balanced budget. But don't hold you breath because the Republi-CONs conned the Tea Party, there'll be no $100 billion budget cut, and let's admit the obvious, the Republi-CONs are not serious about deficits.

I also point out that to balance the budget, Congress should do nothing.

It's Not Who You Are, It's Who You Know

So much for the Republi-CON 'classless merit-based society' myth, especially in Mississippi:

"A look at the clemency applications of felons who were pardoned reveal that many contained personal appeals from friends of Gov. Haley Barbour and major Republican donors.

Read The New York Times, Many Pardon Applicants Stressed Connection to Mississippi Governor.

More proof that "the instinct to favor family [and friends] never disappears and will reassert itself whenever possible."

Cap and Trade and Save

"Criticism of cap-and-trade programs often centers on the costs they impose on electric power companies and their consumers. But as I report in Friday’s Times, New York and other Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states that are trying out such a system have found that those costs can be offset by energy efficiency measures paid for by the cap-and-trade program itself."

Read The New York Times, Reaping a Bonus From Cap-and-Trade.

And if you don't believe in global warming, then explain what happens to 35 gigatons of CO2 each year.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gingrich the Republi-CON

UPDATE V: BTW, not only does the media love The Great Lecherer, he loves them back. Read The New York Times, Gingrich, Offstage.

UPDATE VI: "He won with a glower. After Newt Gingrich in the Jan. 19 Republican debate fought off a totally reasonable question about an ex-wife’s account of his acknowledged adultery with an attack on “the elite media,” there was little doubt about what would happen. South Carolina is the rawest of GOP states, the political embodiment of the legacy of the man Gingrich was channeling with that stare and orchestrated outrage onstage: Richard Nixon." Read Time, Why Newt Is like Nixon.

UPDATE V: Did you hear the show on Friday with Pastor Flip-Flopper (aka Pastor Truthiness (formerly known as Pastor Poppins)), first defending The Great Lecherer, then having to agree with his regular 'correspondents'.

The Pastor began by blaming the media. The truth is the media loves Gingrich.

But Vuoto had it right as well as some other pompous regular, and the Pastor had to reluctantly agree, (so-called) conservative support for The Great Lecherer, an admitted serial fornicator and adulterer, showed the moral rot in the party, and a vote for him would be a contract with the devil.

UPDATE IV: Really, the hypocrisy of the Great Lecherer of Morals now blaming the media. From The New York Times, Gingrich Attacks the News Media and Creates a Stir:

In response to a question from the CNN debate moderator, John King, about whether Mr. Gingrich had asked his former wife Marianne for an open marriage, an allegation she made in a recent ABC News interview, Mr. Gingrich said: 'I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.'

When Mr. King tried to explain the question, arguing that it was a major news subject of the moment, Mr. Gingrich had none of it.

'John, John,' he interjected. 'It was repeated by your network, you chose to start the debate with it. Don’t try to blame somebody else.'

Mr. Gingrich added, his voice pitched in anger, 'I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.' He received a standing ovation from the audience."

It was a rabid Republi-CON audience.

UPDATE III: What is more 'tawdry and inappropriate:'

Asking your wife for an 'open marriage' so you can sleep with you new lover while lecturing the world on morals,


Complaining about the revelation and refusing to answer questions?

Read the Washington Post, Newt Gingrich: Ex-wife Marianne's interview 'tawdry and inappropriate'.

BTW, does all this remind you of another oversexed Republi-con candidate?

UPDATE II: "We shouldn’t be surprised that Marianne has stepped forward. Indeed, how many other friends, staffers and colleagues have their own tales to tell about the speakership years? With Gingrich you are perpetually waiting for the next shoe to drop. And unlike Bill Clinton, who could drag Hillary into the picture for validation and redemption, Gingrich can’t very well sit down with Callista to explain their joint tale of deceit and adultery. . .

The origin of every Gingrich controversy (ethical, personal or political) is the same: Huge ambition unmoored to a code of conduct or fixed principles.

The reemergence of Marianne will give voters pause. It should. And if it’s the difference between victory or defeat in South Carolina? Well, some would call that Gingrich’s just desserts."

Read the Washington Post, Gingrich’s past catches up.

UPDATE: Today's lesson in Republi-CON history:

"[I]n 1999 [Gingrich] asked his second wife for an 'open marriage' or a divorce at the same time he was giving speeches around the country on family and religious values, his former wife, Marianne . . .

Shocked, Marianne Gingrich replied: 'Is there anybody else?' she recalled. 'He was quiet. Within two seconds, when he didn’t immediately answer, I knew.'

The next day, Newt Gingrich gave a speech titled 'The Demise of American Culture' to the Republican Women Leaders Forum in Erie, Pa., extolling the virtues of the founding fathers and criticizing liberal politicians for supporting tax increases, saying they hurt families and children.

'When a liberal talks about values, will he or she actually like us to teach American history?' Newt Gingrich told the women’s group. 'Will they actually like young people to learn that George Washington was an ethical man? A man of standards, a man who earned the right to be father of this country?'"

Read the Washington Post, Marianne Gingrich, Newt's ex-wife, says he wanted 'open marriage'.

"What seemed like genuine, bipartisan PR in 2008 now looks like conservative heresy by the current frontrunner in the Republican presidential race. Gingrich now calls that TV ad the 'dumbest single thing' he's ever done and insists his policy stance on the environment passes all conservative muster.

'If you notice, I never favored cap and trade,' he said in a candidate forum in New York City on Dec. 3, 2011.

Really? Never?

[But] did a little digging and it didn't take long to find that Gingrich has been inconsistent and has at times advocated cap and trade legislation when combined with other approaches."

Read, Newt Gingrich claims he 'never favored cap and trade'.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama's New BFF

UPDATE: Methinks there is a civil war abrew in the Republi-con party, and they're picking sides now:

On Monday night Palin "took on New Jersey’s blunt-talking governor, her fellow Republican Chris Christie, declaring that he had gotten “his panties in a wad” in a “rookie mistake” that reflected a “lack of self discipline.”

Mr. Christie is the most prominent surrogate for Mitt Romney, who now finds himself locked in an increasingly caustic duel for the Republican presidential nomination with Newt Gingrich."

Read The New York Times, Palin Has a Few Choice Words for Christie.

"The most important figure in Tuesday night’s State of the Union address wasn’t on the House floor. In fact, he hasn’t taken a seat in front of the chamber in 13 years.

But as he campaigned for the Republican presidential nomination in Florida, former House speaker Newt Gingrich was doing more to boost President Obama’s reelection prospects than anything Obama himself could do. While Obama was using the speech to portray the Republicans as plutocrats, Gingrich was doing all he could to prove the caricature true."

Read the Washington Post, Gingrich is Obama’s best surrogate.

For further proof, read CBS News, Gingrich-Romney lives in world of "Swiss bank accounts" and $20 million income and the Washington Post, Gingrich mocks Romney’s 'self-deportation' plan for illegal immigrants.

Keep your fingers crossed that The Great Lecherer, aka Newtenstein, wins the nomination and brings us many happy shows til November.

Even better, he could pick as his running mate Save Us, Sarah, Save Us! (<--editorial note: that term is copy righted by

Mass Incarceration in America

"For a great many poor people in America, particularly poor black men, prison is a destination that braids through an ordinary life, much as high school and college do for rich white ones. More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today—perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system—in prison, on probation, or on parole—than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under 'correctional supervision' in America—more than six million—than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height. That city of the confined and the controlled, Lockuptown, is now the second largest in the United States." Read The New Yorker, The Caging of America.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Class Today at NoBullU on WEBY, How Should I Vote Edition

UPDATE: Thank you to the caller for helping me, the newbie Republi-con, make this important decision. FYI, in the FL January 31 Presidential Preference Primary Election, I voted for the The Great Lecherer, aka Newtenstein. Keep your fingers crossed that he wins the nomination and brings us many happy shows til November.

Listen to the voice of wisdom and reason in a wilderness of partisan rhetoric -- no political insanity, no conservative hypocrisy, no liberal foolishness -- Just straight talk, straight at you, and that’s no bull!!

NoBullU will broadcast today from 4:05 to 6:00 p.m. at 1330 AM WEBY and on line.


Local Business/Event Shout-Out: TBD;

Follow-up: see below;

Fact-free fantasies of the shrieking hatemongers of right-wing rhetoric and partisan hackery: all part of the fundamentalist subculture of ignorance that embraces 'discredited, ridiculous and even dangerous ideas'

And America's preference for rhetorical fairy tales to unpleasant realities

One was gays in the military, funny thing, the world's still turning, not even a hurricane, earthquake or an oil well

And don't be duped by the Birthers, including our very own Pastor Dred Scott (you may remember the infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857, which asserted that African Americans were "beings of an inferior order" who "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." That ruling declared that African Americans could never be U.S. citizens and therefore could never be President),

See The Fogbow, "your best resource for debunking the lies of the 'birther' movement and discussing the birther antics" and, there is even a Birther Case Scorecard, 0-80 for the birthers;

Local and regional: Hasta la vista TEAM Santa Rosa and time to vote (Wednesday is deadline to request absentee ballot for primary)

National and international: I'm waiting, where's the balanced budget, don't hold you breath because the Republi-CONs Con the Tea Party, there'll be no $100 billion budget cut, and let's admit the obvious, the Republi-CONs are not serious about deficits, and who's responsible for the debt

Republi-CON budget drama, much to do about nothing

To balance the budget, do nothing

Still no sign of those 'invisible [Republi-CON] bond vigilantes'

Good news for the economy, bad news for Republi-CONs

Did Obama con the Republi-CONs?

The Republi-CON zombie myth that the government forced the banks to make bad loans

Economic stimulus told ya so, again

The myth of expansionary austerity

Pity the 1%, they control only 43% of the country's wealth

Republi-CONs in their Delusion-land

And the Republi-CON race cont., to find America’s Not-Mitt

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, Which Republi-CON, In Iowa They Still Don't Know

A NoBullU told ya so, it was SC stupid

What happened in SC?

FL here come the Republi-CONs

Still searching for the ideal Republican candidate: conservative, interested, electable

Romney: it's 'party ideology politics and obstructionism first', Romney: 'I like being able to fire people', Pity poor Obamney, McCain's Obamney playbook

Gingrich the Republi-CON, Gingrich is soft on crime, Gingrich supports child labor, Newtenstein, What goes around comes around

Colbert for Cain, and making a mockery of Republi-CONs

Obama in 2012?, Lookin better for Obama all the time


Déjà vu all over again, what to expect if it is Obama v. Romney

Save Us, Sarah, Save Us!

The Republi-CON Tea Party

Health Care Lawsuit Update

After reading two of the appellate opinions, it doesn't look good for the Republi-CONs


Is the can at the end of the road?, an update and was it worth it

The Republi-CON 'classless merit-based society' myth

The Republi-CON 'Obama's a socialist' myth

The myth of voter fraud

Watch Hedgehog News, be dumber than the dumb

Fun stuff: Now why didn't we think of this: urine-controlled video games


Donate to a good cause: TBD.

I'll discuss anything, but expect a no mercy take-down if you are a shrieking hatemonger of right-wing rhetoric and partisan hackery, pandering to fear, anger and hatred, because the truth sure makes it hard out there for the party pimps.

So tune-in, call-in, but only if you can handle the truth and some ass kickin' discussion of politics and current events.

What Happened in SC?

UPDATE III: This is priceless.

One Pulitzer Prize-winnering conservative political commentator begs Obamney to step up his game before The Great Lecherer 'cripples the Republican brand.' Read the Washington Post, Can Romney the turnaround artist do it again?

The Republi-con establishment has no one to blame but itself for their Newtenstein.

UPDATE: Has the right-wing media been too successful in dumbing-down the base? Read The Atlantic, Who Is to Blame for Newt Gingrich's Rise?, which notes:

"People bear responsibility for the media they consume. Voters ultimately own the politicians they elevate. But if you're wondering to which "thought leaders" his rise can be attributed, best to ask, "Whose approach to politics produces, as its logical conclusion, a candidacy like Gingrich 2012?" Surveying the centrality of attacks on the mainstream media, the casting of President Obama as a radical other, and the trick where you shrewdly repeat a racially provocative line, get accused of racism, and cast yourself as an aggrieved victim for political advantage, Gingrich '12 is modeled after the successful tactics of movement conservatism's demagogues. Is there any candidate in memory whose persona so closely resembles an egomaniacal talk-radio host? The rank-and-file in South Carolina accept a would-be president behaving that way because they're used to their "thought leaders" talking like that. They aren't in on the reality that a lot of what they hear on talk radio resembles performance art; they don't presume that the rhetoric and arguments employed daily on Fox News are often contrived or disingenuous.

What a political movement gets when it spends years marshaling more demagoguery than sound arguments against its opponents, what it gets when its intellectuals are deposed by its entertainers, what it gets when Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh are its agenda-setting personalities; what it gets when all these factors and more prevail, is a Newt Gingrich victory in South Carolina, where the voters, having been trained to elevate emotion and style over substance, didn't even realize that they've chosen as their champion a man who is neither conservative nor capable of leading anyone."

This election is teaching Republi-cons that what goes around comes around.

Do the "traditional rules of engagement in a nomination race still apply . . .

[That is] the nomination is technically decided by delegate counts, and somewhat less literally by the preferences of rank-and-file voters, ultimately the nominee is determined by a sort of open negotiation among the party elite, which includes elected officials, major donors and the partisan news media, among others.

Voter preferences can make some difference, but more as a lagging than a leading indicator. Being well-credentialed and building a traditional campaign matters, and candidates who do not do so may soar in polls but inevitably fall back to earth. Moreover, parties tend to come to fairly rational decisions about their nominee, placing heavy emphasis on electability. (This view is eloquently explained in the book The Party Decides, by the political scientists Marty Cohen and others.)

[Or has a paradigm shift] occurred in America’s political culture . . .

Under this interpretation, elite support and the ground game do not matter as much as usual. Instead, success is more idiosyncratic: personalities matter a lot, and nominations are determined based primarily on momentum and news media coverage."

Read The New York Times, Did Gingrich’s Win Break the Paradigm?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's SC Stupid

UPDATE XIV: The final tally:

Gingrich 40.4%
Romney 27.8%

From the Washington Post, Five lessons learned from the South Carolina primary:

"1. Debates matter. A lot . . .

2. It’s a marathon, not a sprint . . .

3. Frontrunners falter . . .

4. Mitt Romney has a base problem . . .

5. It’s going to get real nasty, real quick . . ."

And from Politico, South Carolina: 9 takeaways:

"1) Romney may not realize he’s having a near-death experience . . .

2) Newt needs to hold it together . . .

3) Paging Sheldon Adelson . . .

4) Rick Santorum has nothing to lose by going forward . . .

5) Mitch Daniels isn’t doing Romney any favors . . .

6) Nikki Haley suffered a big loss . . .

7) Rick Perry’s backing mattered . . .

8) Gingrich fared surprisingly well with women . . .

9) Romney is about to get all sorts of unsolicited public advice . . ."

UPDATE XIII: And for last projection before the primary, see The New York Times, South Carolina Primary Projections, which continues to momentum for The Great Lecherer:

Gingrich 38.7%
Vote range: 26 - 49

Romney 29.3%
Vote range: 19 - 39

Paul 15.6%
Vote range: 8 - 24

Santorum 13.9%
Vote range: 7 - 22

UPDATE XII: "Up with Newt. Down with dignity. That’s the way it goes.

Newt Gingrich is surging in South Carolina and has a good chance to win that state’s primary on Saturday. But, as he rises, so grows the dark shadow that he casts over his party and the grievous damage he does to its chances of unseating President Obama."

Read The New York Times, Newt’s Southern Strategy.

UPDATE XI: How can The Great Lecherer proclaim "himself the only conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. The reason for his rising popularity is not really because he’s more conservative than Mr. Santorum – he’s not – or because he will bring about more conservative change, as Rick Perry said in endorsing him today before leaving the race.

The reason, colorfully on display this morning in this history-soaked waterfront town, is that no other candidate in the race expresses the kind of visceral, full-bodied disgust with President Obama that Mr. Gingrich does. No one else can even come close to the kind of withering ridicule that Mr. Gingrich employs."

Read The New York Times, Newt Gingrich, Nutty Radio Talk Show Host.

The power of pandering to fear, anger and hatred is on full display this election season.

UPDATE X: "By avoiding direct confrontations with his opponents while giving evasive answers on a range of issues in debates this week, Mitt Romney has allowed Newt Gingrich to become the slight favorite to win in South Carolina." Read The New York Times, Romney’s ‘Prevent Defense’ Yielding Big Gains to Opponents.

And the day before the primary, from The New York Times, South Carolina Primary Projections, here are the forecasts, "formulated from an average of recent surveys, with adjustments made to account for a polling firm's accuracy, freshness of a poll and each candidate's momentum:

Gingrich 35.1%
Vote range: 22 - 46

Romney 32.8%
Vote range: 21 - 43

Paul 15.9%
Vote range: 8 - 25

Santorum 12.9%
Vote range: 5 - 22

UPDATE IX: Taken before the day's upheaval, polls show Obamney and Gingrich in a virtual tie.

UPDATE VIII: It now appears that Santorum edged Obamney "in the Iowa caucuses by 34 votes, but can’t be declared the winner because results from eight precincts are missing."

Other news:

Santorum is the nominal conservative Obamney alternative.

But Gingrich had a bellicose debate performance and has a Palin sort-of-endorsement and Perry dropping out endorsement, but has yet to answer renewed questions about his moral character (see this interview with one of Newt Gingrich’s ex-wives about his open-marriage idea).

There is also that other guy still running, and the vote for Cain for Colbert effort.

UPDATE VII: Obamney “rivals enter the final four days of the South Carolina primary in search of something — anything — to significantly alter the basic trajectory of their party’s presidential nominating contest. . .

[H]owever, they are running out of time." Read The New York Times, Time Running Out for Romney’s Rivals, which notes "that political fortunes can change more quickly than anyone expects. That may be even more true in the age of Twitter, when small moments on the campaign trail can quickly become global phenomenon.

So what might yet happen in the next four days? Here are some possibilities":



3. A NEW ATTACK? . .




UPDATE VI: "Another day, another [Republi-con] presidential debate."

For a recap, read the Washington Post, South Carolina Republican debate: Winners and losers and Fact Checking the Fox News-WSJ debate in South Carolina, and CNN, Five things we learned from Monday's debate.

"The debate last night demonstrated the essential problem that the top three not-Romney contenders face in South Carolina and beyond: No one has been strong enough and focused enough to oust Mitt Romney, but none is so weak as to drop out." Read the Washington Post, Romney’s path to the Republican nomination.

UPDATE V: "As Republican leaders watch with horror Newt Gingrich’s one-man campaign to bring down the party’s likely presidential nominee, they should remind themselves of this: Gingrich is a monster of their own making." Read the Washington Post, Kamikaze Gingrich, on the loose in South Carolina, which notes:

Romney, on his way to South Carolina, complained explicitly that Gingrich was against 'free enterprise.'

Romney has it wrong. Gingrich’s attacks on him are the very essence of free enterprise: They’re helped by campaign finance laws that sell elections to the highest bidder. For those Republicans who thought that unlimited political contributions would be a good thing for their party, it’s a delicious irony that a casino billionaire is using his money to underwrite a populist assault on the GOP front-runner.

'Crony capitalism, where people pay each other off at the expense of the people of this country, is not free enterprise, and raising questions about that is not wrong,' Gingrich said in South Carolina. Americans, he said, should know whether businesses are 'fair to the American people, or are the deals being cut on behalf of Wall Street institutions and very rich people.'

If Republican elites don’t like millions of dollars being spent to amplify that anti-Romney message, they have only themselves to blame."

UPDATE IV: "In South Carolina, they know who their enemy is. They’re just too busy attacking one another to fight [Romney]." Read The New York Times, The Tea Party’s Not-So-Civil War.

UPDATE III: "Voters in South Carolina will have plenty of opportunities to meet the Republican presidential candidates at town-hall-style meetings and campaign rallies over the next week and a half. But why even leave the house?

The state will be awash in campaign commercials, direct-mail fliers and automated phone calls in the days leading up to the Jan. 21 primary, all part of a full effort by the campaigns and their 'super PACs' to break through in what could be the kind of climactic contest that the New Hampshire primary was not."

Read The New York Times, Expensive and Bitter Media War Already Ignited.

UPDATE II: From the Washington Post, The five remaining scenarios in the GOP primary, read the article for "what they would mean for the overall GOP primary":

"Romney wins solidly in South Carolina . . .

Romney wins narrowly over Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, or Jon Huntsman . . .

Romney wins narrowly over Rick Santorum or Rick Perry . . .

Romney loses to Santorum or Perry . . .

Romney loses to Paul, Gingrich, or Huntsman . . ."

UPDATE: Which Mitt will show up in SC?

Will it be the "Mitt Romney who campaigned across New Hampshire the past few days entered the workforce 'at the bottom,' feared getting 'a pink slip,' doesn’t own four houses (although he thinks 'that's a good idea') and 'never imagined' he would run for office because, as he put it, 'I was just a high school kid like everybody else with skinny legs'"?

Read the Washington Post, Mitt Romney may face lasting damage from New Hampshire primary.

"The Republican primary race will come to a fork in the road in South Carolina. A win by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the Palmetto State effectively ends the GOP nomination fight. A loss by Romney likely means a protracted primary fight that continues through Super Tuesday on March 6. . .

The reality of the South Carolina vote, according to a number of well-informed GOP observers, is that it really amounts to two primaries in one.

In one primary is Romney — and to a MUCH lesser extent former Utah governor Jon Huntsman — who are competing for the establishment wing of the state’s GOP. These are voters who prize electability over all other factors and who gave Arizona Sen. John McCain 33 percent — and a win — in the 2008 South Carolina primary.

Romney is likely to win the lion’s share of those voters whether he spends a dime or $10 million on his South Carolina campaign since, unlike in 2008, he is clearly regarded by the smart set within the GOP as the most electable of the current field. (For why Huntsman isn’t likely to be a major figure in South Carolina, make sure to check out our post from this morning.)

That means Romney probably has a floor of about 30 percent in South Carolina and a ceiling around 35 percent almost no matter what he or his rivals do over the next 11 days.

The second primary is between former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — and, to a lesser extent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry. This primary is a fight for the mantle of consensus conservative candidate, a title that remains very much up for grabs at the moment.

The central dynamic of the race then is not then Romney versus Santorum/Gingrich/Perry but rather a three-way cage match — yes, the Fix was/is a huge pro wrestling fan — between Santorum vs Gingrich vs Perry.

(There is even a third primary within the primary and that one is where Texas Rep. Ron Paul resides. In South Carolina, Paul has a slightly smaller following than he has shown in Iowa and New Hampshire though they are no less dedicated. Polling suggests Paul is in low double digits at the moment in the Palmetto State.)"

Read the Washington Post, Why South Carolina matters more than New Hampshire.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How Fast Can You React

Reaction time is the elapsed time between the presentation of a sensory stimulus and the subsequent behavioral response.

Shot some sheep and test your reaction time. Click the tranquilizer dart (no aiming necessary) when a sheep leaves the flock and runs for freedom.

Be very careful, this can be addictive.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Republi-CON Tea Party

"The Tea Party’s influence is diminishing as conservatives seem to be inching toward nominating Mitt Romney," the Republi-con establishment candidate.

Read The New York Times, History vs. the Tea Party, which notes that:

The Tea Party was just "the latest in a cycle of insurgencies on the Republican right," quickly captured by establishment insiders and molded to the party's purpose, doing little more than emphasizing "quixotic crusades" with ""no real plans for reducing government expenditures beyond the conservative pursuit of politics-as-warfare."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Making a Mockery of Republi-CONs

UPDATE III: "Colbert will join forces with former candidate Herman Cain in South Carolina on Friday, hosting an event called 'The Rock Me Like a Herman Cain: South Cain-olina Primary Rally.'" Read Politico, Stephen Colbert's 'South Cain-olina' rally.

UPDATE II: Colbert, with help from Stewart, is also making a mockery of the Supreme Court's Citizen's United decision that corporations were people. Watch The Daily Show, Colbert Super PAC - Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert:

UPDATE: "Stephen Colbert's 'super PAC' is out with a new ad, this time urging South Carolina voters to pick a candidate who really is on the ballot for Saturday's primary.

The candidate? Herman Cain. No, wait. Why does he look like ... Colbert?"

Read USA Today, Colbert ad urges vote for ... Herman Cain?

And watch the campaign ad:

"Colbert is a serious performer playing a silly character, while the media and political world are deeply silly but pretending to be serious . . .

What makes Mr. Colbert such an ingenious satirist is not just that he exposes political fantasy but that he also takes it to its illogical conclusion. "

Read The New York Times, Beneath a Deeply Silly Campaign, a Deeply Serious Performer.

Nobody is better at mocking the Republi-CONs than Colbert. Remember his roast of Bush at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner:

It Takes a Republi-CON to Know a Republi-CON

From BuzzFeed, The Book On Mitt Romney: Here Is John McCain's Entire Opposition Research File, "John McCain's entire, 200-page opposition research file — or 'book' — on Mitt Romney from 2008, the year they were bitter rivals":

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Republi-CON 'Obama's a Socialist' Myth

UPDATE: If Obama is a socialist, so was Reagan. "Obama's tax policy relies on the same progressive approach that has been the cornerstone of American tax policy since the federal government first collected an income tax in 1863, an approach embraced by Republicans and Democrats. It was based on the Tax Act of 1862, which President Abraham Lincoln signed, and which imposed a 'duty of three per centum' on all income over $600, and five percent on income over $10,000.

The idea is that the wealthy pay a larger share of their income because they are more able to afford it. To the extent the government then gives some of the money to the less-wealthy through various programs, you could say the income is being redistributed. But that concept has been embraced by Republicans and Democrats for well over a century.

That's a far cry from true socialism, which is defined as support for 'governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods.'

That's enough for us to set the Truth-O-Meter ablaze, but let's dig a little deeper to explore whether Obama's main policies can accurately be called socialism.

Read Politifact, Rick Perry says Barack Obama is a socialist, which finds the claim a Pants on Fire lie.

"[I]f Obama’s [tax] proposal is intended as a huge redistributionist scheme designed to level our society by bringing about government-imposed equality, then it can already been seen as a pretty massive failure." Read the Washington Post, How Obama’s tax hikes would really impact the rich, in three easy charts, one of which shows "what taxes people would pay in 2013 under various tax regimes, when the Obama proposals would take effect":

Plan For Life

From an email:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, "My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all. One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Friday, January 13, 2012

What is Your Civic Literacy?

"Are you more knowledgeable than the average citizen? The average score for all 2,508 Americans taking the following test was 49%; college educators scored 55%. Can you do better? Questions were drawn from past ISI surveys, as well as other nationally recognized exams." Take the civic literacy exam.

And post your score in the comments.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How Now NH

UPDATE VI: With 95% of the precincts reporting, the Washington Post reports:

Romney 39.4%
Paul 22.8%
Huntsman 16.8%
Gingrich 9.4%
Santorum 9.3%
Perry 0.7%

UPDATE V: From The New York Times, New Hampshire Primary Overview and Forecast, here is "each candidate’s FiveThirtyEight forecast for New Hampshire along with what the forecast model deems to be his 90 percent confidence interval":

Mitt Romney
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 39 percent
High end of forecast range: 47 percent
Low end of forecast range: 27 percent
. . .

Ron Paul
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 19 percent
High end of forecast range: 27 percent
Low end of forecast range: 11 percent
. . .

Jon M. Huntsman Jr.
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 17 percent
High end of forecast range: 26 percent
Low end of forecast range: 9 percent
. . .

Rick Santorum
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 12 percent
High end of forecast range: 20 percent
Low end of forecast range: 6 percent
. . .

Newt Gingrich
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 11 percent
High end of forecast range: 19 percent
Low end of forecast range: 5 percent
. . .

Rick Perry
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 1 percent
High end of forecast range: 3 percent
Low end of forecast range: 0 percent

UPDATE IV: And the day before the NH primary, the FiveThirtyEight NH forecast model predicts:

Romney with 39.3%, and a vote range of 26-49%

Paul with 19.4%, and a vote range of 10-29%

Huntsman with 15.6%, and a vote range of 7-26%

Santorum with 12.1%, and a vote range of 5-21%

Gingrich with 11.3%, and a vote range of 4-20%, and

Perry with 1.4%, and a vote range of 0-3%.

The forecasts "are formulated from an average of recent surveys, with adjustments made to account for a polling firm's accuracy, freshness of a poll and each candidate's momentum. Although this improves accuracy, there is still considerable uncertainty in the forecast as is reflected in the range of possible vote totals for each candidate."

UPDATE III: From The New York Times, New Hampshire Debates: Five Things to Watch:

"Six Republican candidates will gather Saturday night for a two-hour debate sponsored by ABC News, Yahoo and WMUR-TV. Ten hours later, they will reconvene, this time on the set of NBC‘s “Meet the Press” program for another debate.

The twin face-offs have the potential to be the highest-stakes events in a campaign that has been shaped by debate performances. And for these debates, there will be no net — New Hampshire voters will vote less than two days later, giving candidates little time to recover from a blunder.

With new polls showing Mr. Romney maintaining his wide lead in New Hampshire, his rivals are all but certain to aim their attacks at him. But Mr. Romney has proven himself to be a skilled debater in this campaign and is no doubt preparing for the expected onslaught.

Here are five things to watch for during the debates:




4. NO MORE 'OOPS' . . .

5. PAUL’S ATTACKS . . ."

UPDATE II: "Independents are a finicky and fickle bunch. They are deeply dissatisfied with the direction of the country, with an overwhelming majority saying things are badly off track. Social issues do not concern them. Many of them voted for President Obama.

And now, this critical voting bloc — which makes up as much as 45 percent of the New Hampshire electorate — is about to take center stage. If the Iowa contest exposed the conflicted mood and sharp divisions within the GOP, then New Hampshire will offer a broader snapshot of a hard-to-pin-down sliver of the electorate that has an outsize impact on elections, particularly in this swing state."

Read the Washington Post, Independents represent a major unknown in the N.H. primary.

"The Iowa caucuses answered some questions — no, Michele Bachmann isn’t going to be president — but raised lots and lots of others.

As the race moves to New Hampshire (Jan. 10) and then South Carolina (Jan. 21), here’s a look at five key questions — the answers to which will tell us a lot about the shape of the race going forward.

1. Does Newt Gingrich go on a kamikaze mission? . . .

2. Can Rick Santorum stand the heat? . . .

3. How much more money does Restore Our Future have? . . .

4. Does Rick Perry stay viable? . . .

5. Do conservatives unite? . . ."

Read the Washington Post, The 5 key questions of the Republican presidential race.

Romney: It's 'Party Ideology Politics and Obstructionism First'

"[C]utting through Mr. Romney’s expensive armor and exposing the hollow core within. Read The New York Times, Huntsman's "Country First" Slogan.

Economic Stimulus Told Ya So, Again

On December 12, 2008, more than three years ago I (and a few others) suggested mortgage refinancing as an economic stimulus for Main Streeters. And I suggested it again in February 2009, and yet again several other times over the years.

Guess what the big-shot economist are suggesting now. Read the Washington Post, By promoting mortgage refinancing, Obama could win big, which notes:

"From 2001 to 2003, Glenn Hubbard served as President George W. Bush’s chief economist. Today, he’s dean of Columbia University’s School of Business and one of Mitt Romney’s top economic advisers. But right now, the candidate who could most benefit from his advice is President Obama.

Hubbard is an advocate for using Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to set off a nationwide wave of mortgage refinancing. In a paper co-authored with Columbia economist Christopher Mayer, Hubbard estimates that more than 75 percent of the homeowners with 30-year mortgages backed by Fannie or Freddie are paying interest rates higher than 5 percent. But for the past two years, interest rates have been closer to 4 percent. That means tens of millions of Americans are paying more than they need to every single month. . .

The effect on the economy would be twofold: First, the refinancings would act like a high-powered tax cut for those homeowners who took advantage of them. As Hubbard and Mayer write, 'Empirical evidence suggests that consumers spend a larger portion of permanent increases in income than temporary increases.' And as these refinancings would lower payments, they’re as permanent as you can get in government policy. Second, it would make the Fed’s efforts to keep interest rates low more effective in stimulating the economy."

Better late than never I suppose, but is it too late for Obama?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

From the Pensacola Streets of 'Deaths and Drugs'

UPDATE: "Warrington is rife with violence, drugs and poverty -- deadly realities for those who live in the heavily wooded area just southwest of Pensacola, Fla. The Alabama junior tailback is lucky to have escaped it, but others haven't been so fortunate.

Last year, three of Richardson's friends were murdered."

Read FOX Sports, Richardson won't turn back on his roots.

"Trent Richardson went to the same high school as Emmitt Smith, who calls Richardson 'the best running-back prospect in a long time.'" Read The New York Times, With Family as Foundation, Alabama’s Richardson Perseveres.

Given his comment, I'm not sure the city will make him an honorary mayor any time soon.

Maybe if he makes it big he can use some of his wealth and fame to make Pensacola a better place.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Republi-CON 'Classless Merit-Based Society' Myth

UPDATE: "Americans are much more likely than citizens of other nations to believe that they live in a meritocracy. But this self-image is a fantasy: as a report in The Times last week pointed out, America actually stands out as the advanced country in which it matters most who your parents were, the country in which those born on one of society’s lower rungs have the least chance of climbing to the top or even to the middle.

And if you ask why America is more class-bound in practice than the rest of the Western world, a large part of the reason is that our government falls down on the job of creating equal opportunity. . .

So where is the evidence that Mr. Romney or his party actually believes in equal opportunity? Judging by their actions, they seem to prefer a society in which your station in life is largely determined by that of your parents — and in which the children of the very rich get to inherit their estates tax-free. Teddy Roosevelt would not have approved."

Read The New York Times, America’s Unlevel Field.

Republi-CON assertions to the contrary, "Europe’s social democracies now fit the description of 'merit-based opportunity societies' much more than ours does.

The best way to measure a nation’s merit-based status is to look at its intergenerational economic mobility: Do children move up and down the economic ladder based on their own abilities, or does their economic standing simply replicate their parents’? Sadly, as the American middle class has thinned out over recent decades, the idea of America as the land of opportunity has become a farce. As a paper by Julia Isaacs of the Brookings Institution has shown, sons’ earnings approximate those of their fathers about three times more frequently in the United States than they do in Denmark, Norway and Finland, and about 11 / 2 times more frequently than they do in Germany. The European social democracies — where taxes, entitlements and the rate of unionization greatly exceed America’s — are demonstrably more merit-based than the United States."

Read the Washington Post, No longer the land of opportunity.

As a result of the study, "researchers have reached a conclusion that turns conventional wisdom on its head: Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much of Western Europe. . .

Despite frequent references to the United States as a classless society, about 62 percent of Americans (male and female) raised in the top fifth of incomes stay in the top two-fifths, according to research by the Economic Mobility Project of the Pew Charitable Trusts. Similarly, 65 percent born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths. . .

While liberals often complain that the United States has unusually large income gaps, many conservatives have argued that the system is fair because mobility is especially high, too: everyone can climb the ladder. Now the evidence suggests that America is not only less equal, but also less mobile."

Read The New York Times, Harder for Americans to Rise From Lower Rungs.

Obama in 2012?

UPDATE III: And what might help Obama's re-election chances? "Why Hillary Clinton is the answer. Seriously." Read The New York Times, Just the Ticket.

UPDATE II: "'IT'S the economy, stupid' may not be either party’s official slogan in this year’s presidential campaign. But it might as well be.

Will Barack Obama win re-election? Well, that depends mainly on the economy.

If the economy surges, he’s likely to win. If it lurches into a recession, he will quite probably lose. And if it simply muddles along at a sluggish pace, more or less as it has been doing for months now, the election could easily be a photo finish.

Those are the latest projections of Ray C. Fair, the Yale economics professor who has been studying the economy’s effect on American elections for decades.

His current calculations, which he shared with me last week, show President Obama with 50.17 percent of the vote, giving him a margin so small that it falls within the 2.5 percent 'standard error' of the equations. . .

These calculations suggest the quandary faced by the opposition party. New measures that stimulate the economy could decide a close election. But if the Republicans are obviously obstructionist, they could take some blame for a weak economy. The equations may not capture this kind of political calculus."

Read The New York Times, Through an Economic Lens, an Election Too Close to Call.

UPDATE: Does this model "overestimates the effect of candidate ideology on election outcomes"? Read the Washington Post, Candidate ideology probably only accounts for 1-2 percent in elections.

For a "killer calculus of the president’s re-election chances," read The New York Times, Is Obama Toast? Handicapping the 2012 Election, which uses a three-factor model "approval ratings in the year before the election, G.D.P. growth during the election year itself and the ideology score of the opposition candidate" to come up with a forecast of next year’s election.

The article uses the book, 'The Party Decides,' by the political scientist Marty Cohen and his colleagues "estimated the ideological positioning of past opposition-party nominees based on a combination of objective indicators like Congressional voting records and surveys of presidential historians . . . [and translated the estimate] to a scale that runs from 0 for an extremely moderate nominee to 100 for an extremely liberal or conservative one, with 50 representing the average."

The article then "estimated extremism scores for this year’s Republican candidates by combining data from the three principal objective methods that are used to estimate ideology, one based on Congressional voting, one based on fund-raising contributions and the other based on voters’ assessments of the candidates’ ideology in polls . . . [and] placed the Republicans onto the scale based on how their figures compared with past candidates. Here’s how they stacked up:

Jon Huntsman 40
Mitt Romney 49
Herman Cain 60
Gary Johnson 63
Rick Santorum 64
Rick Perry 67
Newt Gingrich 68
Michele Bachmann 83
Ron Paul 96"

The article includes an interactive graph, What Are the Chances for Republicans?, that shows the "likelihood of each candidate winning the popular vote based on 2012 G.D.P. growth, President Obama’s current approval rating and the ideology of the candidate."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Is Santorum History?

As I said before, Americans prefer rhetorical fairy tales to unpleasant realities.

"Modern American politicians almost never use their campaign rhetoric to deliver bad news or to challenge the citizenry." Read the Los Angeles Times , The coddled American voter.

And Santorum is about to find out why. Read the Washington Post, Santorum says debt crisis demands immediate cuts in Social Security, even if it hurts.

Lookin Better and Better for Obama

UPDATE: First, good news for the economy, bad news for Republi-CONs.

Now complaints that his proposed tax plan that saves top 1 percenter only $82,000, makes Romney an Obama neo-socialist in disguise?!

It's looking more and more like President Obama for four more years.

"With the Republican presidential field as fractured as ever, talk of a brokered GOP national convention is increasing in Republican circles. And a big reason is that Rep. Ron Paul of Texas is positioned to, at minimum, earn a large enough bloc of delegates in next year's caucuses and primaries to be a real force." Read U.S. News, GOP Nightmare Scenario: A Brokered Convention.

In the meantime, a "rare showdown between House and Senate Republicans over a temporary extension of the payroll tax cut poses a political threat to the party’s members on both sides of the Capitol heading into the 2012 elections.

It feeds into President Barack Obama’s campaign narrative that House Republicans’ obstructionism has resulted in a do- nothing Congress at a time when middle-class Americans need help in a struggling economy. At the same time, it fuels Tea Party opposition to Senate Republicans who teamed with Democrats to pass a two-month extension instead of a longer-term fix." Read Bloomberg, Tax Politics Pose Risk for Republicans.

"Given how [GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell] and House Speaker John Boehner have handled the payroll tax debate, we wonder if they might end up re-electing the President before the 2012 campaign even begins in earnest." Read the Wall Street Journal, The GOP's Payroll Tax Fiasco, How did Republicans manage to lose the tax issue to Obama?

It's all part of "Obama 2.0, a feistier president willing to take the fight to Republicans," with new and improved approval ratings. Read the Washington Post, Post and CNN polls show Obama’s fight is working, which includes this graph:

And don't forget, for a "killer calculus of the president’s re-election chances," see this prior post, Obama in 2012?

Modern Family: A Man, A Women, and Her First Husband

A relationship in violation of the Defense of Marriage Act, "whereby the federal government defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman."

But she says "it's not the legal arrangement, it’s the emotional arrangement, that emotional commitment" that makes them family.

Read the Washington Post, A family learns the true meaning of the vow 'in sickness and in health'.

Is the Can at the End of the Road?, An Update

UPDATE V: News that is unlikely to comfort the families of Americans who died in Iraq:

"It was one of the deadliest insurgent groups in Iraq in recent years, an Iranian-backed militia that bombed American military convoys and bases, assassinated dozens of Iraqi officials and tried to kidnap Americans even as the last soldiers withdrew.

But now the Shiite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is welcoming the militant group into Iraq’s political system, a move that could tilt the nation’s center of gravity closer to Iran. The government’s support for the militia, which only just swore off violence, has opened new sectarian fault lines in Iraq’s political crisis while potentially empowering Iran at a moment of rising military and economic tensions between Tehran and Washington.

The militant group, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, broke away from the fierce Shiite militia commanded by the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, who has strong ties to Tehran. The American military has long maintained that the group, led by a former spokesman for Mr. Sadr, Qais al-Khazali, was trained and financed by Iran’s elite Quds Force — something that Iran denies."

Read The New York Times, Political Role for Militants Worsens Fault Lines in Iraq.

UPDATE IV: Iraq continues to unravel. Read The New York Times, Attacks on Shiites in Iraq Kill at Least 60.

UPDATE III: "With the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops from Iraq, we’re finally going to get the answer to the core question about that country: Was Iraq the way Iraq was because Saddam was the way Saddam was, or was Saddam the way Saddam was because Iraq is the way Iraq is — a collection of sects and tribes unable to live together except under an iron fist. Now we’re going to get the answer because both the internal iron fist that held Iraq together (Saddam Hussein) and the external iron fist (the U.S. armed forces) have been removed. Now we will see whether Iraqis can govern themselves in a decent manner that will enable their society to progress — or end up with a new iron fist. You have to hope for the best because so much is riding on it, but the early signs are worrying." Read The New York Times, The End, for Now.

UPDATE II: The end of the road? Read the Washington Post, Iraq war draws to a quiet close and Arc of Iraq war told in images and The New York Times, Ravaged and Remade, Iraq Is on Its Own.

And consider an Iraq what-might-have-been.

UPDATE: As we debate the debt ceiling, it should be asked again, after the all the blood and treasure, was the Iraq war worth the price? Before you decide, read The New York Times, U.S. Report Finds Security Deteriorating in Iraq, which reports:

"Over the past year, security in Iraq has deteriorated and electricity shortages and corruption have continued unabated, according to a report released Saturday by a special inspector appointed by Congress to oversee Iraq’s reconstruction.

The report, released five months before the United States is scheduled to withdraw 47,000 troops from Iraq, paints a bleaker picture of the country’s stability than assessments by diplomatic officials."

As asked before, what good did the can kicking do? Read the Guardian, Fears of al–Qaida return in Iraq as US–backed fighters defect.

After the all the blood and treasure, was it worth the price?

Friday, January 6, 2012

In Case You Missed It, Colbert Recaps the Iowa Caucus

First, Romney's victory speech as he was moved by the moment, "but Rick Santorum proves that a man with a vision, a willingness to work hard and a laser-like homophobia can make a mark":

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Indecision 2012 - Iowa Caucus - Mitt Romney's Victory Speech & Rick Santorum's Coup
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Then, what goes around comes around, but "Romney denies coordinating with Restore Our Future, the pro-Romney super PAC responsible for a barrage of negative ads against Newt Gingrich":

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Indecision 2012 - Iowa Caucus - Not Mitt Romney's Super PAC
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

And for a little context regarding SuperPACs and to understand the irony of Newt's destruction, read The New York Times, Newt’s Shop of Horrors, which noted that:

"There must be a Greek tragedy, a Shakespeare play or a 'Daily Show' parody to explain the exquisite irony of Newt Gingrich being destroyed by the very forces he unleashed — a smack-down that sets up 2012 as the year the moneyed elite learn to use the limitless power granted them by the Supreme Court.

The deflated Newt balloon is pathetic, to use one of his favorite words. There he was, tired and bitter on election night, after getting carpet-bombed by advertisements painting him as a soulless hack tied to Washington like sea rust on the underside of a listing ship.

He complained about 'millionaire consultants' buying every television outlet to 'lie' about him. He whined about getting buried under 'an avalanche of negative ads' that left him 'drowning in negativity.' You get the picture: ugly, sudden death, the very life snuffed out of him by things he could not control.

And yet, of course, what killed Gingrich was in part his own creation, and not just because he himself is a millionaire consultant paid to destroy or inflate on demand. The Frankenstein’s monster emerged from his own shop of horrors.

Gingrich, for the last few years, has been partners in self-promotion with Citizens United, the group that prompted the worst Supreme Court decision of the nascent 21st century, the one that granted 'personhood' rights to corporations and green-lighted them to dominate American elections. More to the point, that 2010 case gave birth to shadowy super PACs that can annihilate a candidate, no holds barred, no responsibility to those pulling the strings.

If you live in Cedar Falls, and didn’t like seeing Iowa nice turned into the scene from 'Fargo' when a victim is ground up in the wood chipper, blame Citizens United, and the Supreme Court majority that Republicans can’t praise enough. Unlimited political filth by anonymous rich groups — this is John Roberts’s America."

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Who is the Fixer/Spoiler for the GOP Establishment in 2012?

UPDATE II: Here are "two [other] hypothetical (and deliberately exaggerated) scenarios on how [and why] Mr. Perry’s decision came about:

Hypothetical Scenario A: Although most of Mr. Perry’s strategists were urging him to drop out of the race, he prayed on the decision, talked it over with his wife, and decided to ignore their advice. There was a strong emotional element to the decision: Mr. Perry felt embarrassed by his performance in Iowa and wanted the opportunity to redeem himself and go out on a better note.

Hypothetical Scenario B: Mr. Perry was prepared to drop out of the race, but his advisers saw a credible path to victory and urged otherwise. Moreover, he received a string of phone calls, text messages and e-mails from major donors, Republican elected officials and conservative activists who expressed their support and told him that he should press on. These party elites were concerned that Mr. Romney was going to waltz to the nomination, and they were either poorly disposed toward Rick Santorum or convinced that Mr. Santorum lacked the resources to seriously challenge Mr. Romney."

Read The New York Times, Perry, Perry, Quite Contrary.

UPDATE: Although Obamney may be the inevitable nominee, he must still vanquish the ironic post-Iowa anti-establishment alliance of Gingrich-Santorum. Read the Washington Post, Romney’s not-a-mandate.

And the Republi-con civil war continues.

In 2008, Romney was generally disliked by the other candidates and not the favored nominee of the Republican establishment.

You may remember that "after his victory in Iowa, Mike Huckabee handed to McCain, who was waiting in New Hampshire, the responsibility of blocking Romney’s path to the Republican nomination." Read the Washington Post, Romney and McCain bury the past.

So after spending about $364 per vote, compared to Santorum, who spent about 73 cents per vote, who is the GOP establishment's fixer/spoiler this year? Read the Washington Post, Rick Perry: 'Here we come, South Carolina!'

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


"[I]n this Christian-leaning nation, there has to be something more politically powerful than the 'odor of mendacity' that has been emanating so strongly from the Iowa Caucuses? . . .

What I think we need is for 78 percent [of Americans who continue to identify themselves as Christians] to step up and say enough! – enough already of all this nattering about whether or not Jesus controls football results! What we as Christian-leaning Americans demand is that all presidential candidates …

1. Ask themselves this one simple question: If Jesus were running for president of the United States, what kind of campaign would He run?

2. Then, that they run that kind of campaigns."

Read the Washington Post, A truly ‘Christian’ candidate?

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, Which Republi-CON, In Iowa They Still Don't Know

UPDATE IX: For the record, it now appears that Santorum edged Obamney "in the Iowa caucuses by 34 votes, but can’t be declared the winner because results from eight precincts are missing."

[Note: the post date was not changed for this update.]

UPDATE VIII: An 8-vote victory and from the Washington Post, Eight lessons the Iowa caucuses taught us:

A ties goes to the underdog . . .

Romney is still the favorite . . .

Negative ads work but . . .

Late entrants don’t work . . .

Frontrunners get tested . . .

Ron Paul is like 'Friday Night Lights' . . .

Organization still matters . . .

Republicans are divided . . ."

UPDATE VII: Romney accomplished two most important things in Iowa:

"First, Mr. Romney eliminated Rick Perry from the nomination contest. . .

Mr. Perry was the only candidate other than Mr. Romney to rack up a significant number of endorsements, a key measure of party support. He was the only candidate other than Mr. Romney to raise enough money to run a full 50-state campaign from the start. He had better public-sector credentials than Mr. Romney — the sitting three-term governor of a large state rather than the former one-term governor of a medium-sized state — and his signature accomplishment in office was a strong job-creation record rather than shepherding the passage of a health care bill that is substantively similar to President Obama’s. He had no misgivings about confronting Mr. Romney — something candidates from Tim Pawlenty to Michele Bachmann were strangely reluctant to do. He had a speaking style that seemed to be more in line with the mood of the Republican base. Mr. Perry had a lot going for him, but his campaign appears to be at an end.

Mr. Romney’s second major accomplishment was that he avoided being 'vetoed' by Iowa voters. This is not meant to condemn Mr. Romney with faint praise, although I am sure it will sound like it. Until real votes start rolling in, there is always some chance that a candidate just won’t take well to actual voters, and there were reasons to think that Mr. Romney might have been one of them: he had faded down the stretch in both Iowa and New Hampshire in 2008, and candidates with Mr. Romney’s pedigree have historically underperformed in the Iowa caucuses. When you’re the favorite to become the nominee, eliminating downside scenarios is the name of the game, especially in an unpredictable state like Iowa, and Mr. Romney eliminated some of them on Tuesday night."

Read The New York Times, Winning Ugly, but Winning.

UPDATE VI: Eeny meeny miny moe, it is Obamney by less than a little toe!

"[H]is Iowa showing — finishing just eight votes ahead of former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) — highlighted the big problems that still dog Romney: suspicions about his avowed conservatism, struggles to connect with voters and an inability to rally more Republicans around his candidacy." Read the Washington Post, Romney leaves Iowa with same problems he had in 2008.

UPDATE V: "Predicting the outcome of the Iowa caucuses is challenging enough. Six different Republican candidates — Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — have led at least one poll of the state at some point in this cycle. A seventh, Rick Santorum, is closing fast in the polls and has a realistic chance to win on Tuesday night.

What may be even more challenging is predicting how the results of the caucuses will reverberate throughout New Hampshire and the other states. As the political scientist Jonathan Bernstein notes, and as my research has found, performance relative to expectations can matter almost as much as the order of finish. The Iowa caucuses are a two-step process: first comes the voting, then comes the spinning."

Read The New York Times, In Iowa, Six Candidates Compete to Beat Expectations, which includes "an attempt to consider how each candidate’s range of possible outcomes might play out in terms of the post-caucus narrative . . . The figures associated with each candidate represent the 90 percent confidence intervals from the FiveThirtyEight forecast model.

Mitt Romney
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 22 percent
High end of forecast range: 32 percent
Low end of forecast range: 12 percent
. . .

Ron Paul
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 21 percent
High end of forecast range: 31 percent
Low end of forecast range: 11 percent
. . .

Rick Santorum
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 19 percent
High end of forecast range: 29 percent
Low end of forecast range: 10 percent
. . .

Newt Gingrich
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 15 percent
High end of forecast range: 24 percent
Low end of forecast range: 7 percent
. . .

Rick Perry
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 10 percent
High end of forecast range: 18 percent
Low end of forecast range: 4 percent
. . .

Michele Bachmann
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 8 percent
High end of forecast range: 15 percent
Low end of forecast range: 2 percent
. . .

Jon M. Huntsman Jr.
538 forecast (most likely outcome): 4 percent
High end of forecast range: 8 percent
Low end of forecast range: 0 percent"

The forecasts "are formulated from an average of recent surveys, with adjustments made to account for a polling firm's accuracy, freshness of a poll and each candidate's momentum. Although this improves accuracy, there is still considerable uncertainty in the forecast as is reflected in the range of possible vote totals for each candidate."

UPDATE IV: As I said in August (gosh I'm good), Republi-cons are searching for the ideal Republican candidate: conservative, interested, and electable. And "[i]n the final days before the Iowa caucuses, many voters who once hoped for [conservative AND electable are] realizing that they may not be able to have it all." Read the Washington Post, Romney and Santorum surge as Iowa caucuses near.

And re-read The New York Times, Pondering Perry’s Electability, which sums it up with a graph that shows Romney just on the outside edge of 'reliably conservative.'

(The graph doesn't show Santorum, who, according to current New York Times' Republican Primary Projections, won't win, place, or show in the early primaries (Iowa, NH, SC, and Florida) except in Iowa.)

UPDATE III: "The first-in-the-nation caucuses are only a few days away! Frankly, people, it will be the first big nonevent of 2012." Read The New York Times, Feel Free to Ignore Iowa.

Except if Ron Paul wins. "A penchant for conspiracy theories has been a constant throughout his political career," and a win would reflect poorly on the party. Read The New Yirk Times, Campaign Stops: Ron Paul’s World.

But "[n]o matter what happens in Iowa, Mitt Romney has a safety net in New Hampshire." Read the Washington Post, New Hampshire looks like Romney’s granite fortress.

As noted two months ago, he's the inevitable nominee.

Then, as also noted two months ago: what goes around comes around.

"[Obama will] have hundreds of millions of dollars, the bully pulpit, Air Force One and high-profile supporters from Warren Buffet to Lady Gaga behind him. But President Obama’s chances of re-election could come down to a single strategic question: To what degree can the history of 2004 be repeated in 2012? . . .

The Obama team, he said, 'wants to make Mitt Romney into the Republican version of John Kerry.'"

UPDATE II: "One more thing to keep in mind with one week to go before Iowa: everyone in the system has strong incentives to exaggerate how volatile the presidential nomination contest is and how uncertain the outcome. Matt Glassman has a timely reminder of that today; he argues that even Mitt Romney may find it in his interest to pretend the race is wide open." Read the Washington Post, Prediction for Iowa: hype.

UPDATE: "Two new surveys show that Republicans are either dissatisfied with the field of candidates or have little commitment toward any one candidate." Read The New York Times, The Caucus: Polls Find G.O.P. Electorate in Flux.

"The contenders for the G.O.P. nomination – seven of them now that Herman Cain self-immolated – have given speeches, schmoozed diners at diners, and run TV ads. They’ve also participated in thousands of debates, which— like last night’s season finale— have amply demonstrated that no one on stage with a remote chance of winning is remotely suited to leading this country. . .

[This article tries is to] sort out the choices based on what Republican caucus goers might be looking for."

Read The New York Times, Beyond Eeny Meeny Miny Moe: Sorting Out the G.O.P. Field.