Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Republi-CON Team Rape

Colbert "enlightens his fellow conservatives on rape's approval rating" because "[c]ome on, they're kind of asking for it."  Watch the Colbert Report, Richard Mourdock's Rape Comment:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Did The Bailout and Stimulus Work?

UPDATE II:  "The reason the fiscal cliff is such a threat to 2013?s economy isn’t that it’s too little deficit reduction — it’s that it’s too much all at once, totaling about $720 billion, or 5.1 percent of GDP in a single year, which could throw the economy into recession.

Republicans agree on that. Democrats agree on that. And in agreeing on that, both sides appear to be embracing an argument that’s been rather contentious in recent years: that fiscal stimulus boosts short-term economic growth and budget cuts hurt it."

Read the Washington Post, Worried about the fiscal cliff? Then you’re a Keynesian.

You can bet that if the Republi-cons win the election, budget deficits will no longer be an issue.

UPDATE:  "Increasingly, the evidence suggests that the United States has come out of the financial crisis of 2008 in better shape than its peers — because of the actions of its government." Read the Washington Post, The U.S. economy is recovering well

You betcha.  Read the Washington Post, Does this graph prove the bailout and the stimulus worked?, which notes it was your "garden variety, severe financial crisis," and while the policy response wasn't perfect, it worked, as these graphs show:

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Who Will Win?

UPDATE VIII:  "In recent days, the vibe emanating from Mitt Romney’s campaign has grown downright giddy. Despite a lack of any evident positive momentum over the last week — indeed, in the face of a slight decline from its post-Denver high — the Romney camp is suddenly bursting with talk that it will not only win but win handily. (“We’re going to win,” said one of the former Massachusetts governor’s closest advisers. “Seriously, 305 electoral votes.”)

This is a bluff. Romney is carefully attempting to project an atmosphere of momentum, in the hopes of winning positive media coverage and, thus, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy."  Read New York Magazine, Romney Says He’s Winning — It’s a Bluff. 

Also, read The Atlantic, Despite a Strong Debate Campaign, Romney's Path to 270 Remains Steep,  which notes "[n]ational polls show a tight race, but the campaign has stabilized and the map still favors Obama. . .

If Obama carries Ohio and Wisconsin, where he is ahead in most polling, he gets the 270 with one electoral vote to spare, so Romney could sweep Colorado, Florida, Iowa, and New Hampshire and still come up short. No matter how you cut it, Ohio is the pivotal state, and it isn't just the history of having gone with every winner from 1964 on and with no Republican ever capturing the White House without it.

To be sure, this race is so close that it clearly can go either way, but the Obama electoral path looks less steep than the one Romney must traverse, and the final debate seems unlikely to have altered that fact."

UPDATE VII:  If forecasts are correct there are now only seven of an original nine battleground states left to be decided: "Ohio, Iowa, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, Florida and Wisconsin."  Read Politico, 2012: The battle for 7 states

From below you'll note that the swing state most likely to flip to Romney was North Carolina, and it is expected to.  However, it appears that Nevada will not. And according to that earlier estimate, if Romney can't win Ohio, Wisconsin, or New Hampshire he won't get at least 270 electoral votes.

UPDATE VI:  For up-to-the-date polling on the election and who is favored to win, see Real Clear Politics, General Election: Romney vs. Obama, which includes links to Electoral College predictions.

UPDATE V:  "Four stories are at the heart of any campaign. If you understand them, you know who controls the message — and with it, perhaps the election. These stories make up what campaign strategists call the 'message grid,' which has four quadrants. The first two comprise the positive stories the candidates are telling about themselves; the other two feature the negative stories each candidate is telling about the other.

In some elections, one quadrant of the grid dominates the conversation — for example, when the economy or a candidate is particularly strong or weak. Campaigns jostle for position on the grid, trying to emphasize the stories they prefer and to alter elements of the stories their opponents are effectively telling. In 2008, the stars were aligned for a new and exciting candidate to tell a story about hope and change after eight years of fear and loathing, skillfully turning his 'different-ness' into an asset.

But 2012 is not 2008. This year, the stories President Obama and Mitt Romney can tell about themselves are just not that compelling. In contrast, the stories they have to tell about each other are far more powerful."

Read the Washington Post, The candidates’ message: I might be so-so, but the other guy is terrible.

UPDATE IV:  Read the Washington Post, Forecasting the election: Most models say Obama will win. But not all.

UPDATE III:  "[T]he campaigns themselves don’t much care about national polls. They’re focused on 8-12 battleground states. That’s pretty much all they care about. And they have a lot of information on what’s going on in those states. . .

[The] list the swing states from most likely to flip to Romney to least likely to flip to Romney:

    1. North Carolina
    2. Iowa
    3. Florida
    4. Colorado
    5. Virginia
    6. Nevada
    7. Ohio
    8. Wisconsin
    9. New Hampshire

Their conclusion:

'What’s striking about this list is if you give Romney the Top 4 (NC, IA, FL, and CO) that only gets him to 250 electoral votes. And if you give him the next two on the list (VA and NV), he’s still one short of 270 (bringing us to that 269-269 tie). That means he has to put one of Ohio, Wisconsin, or New Hampshire into the mix to get past 270. Bottom line: Romney’s map to 270 is more than doable, but it’s also a high-wire act.'

Read the Washington Post, Romney’s tough road to 270.  

UPDATE II: National polls show Obama leading Obamney by an average of 1.3%.  But a more complicated analysis estimates Obama's lead at about 3.5%.  Why?

Because, the "United States of America is a constitutional republic made up of 50 states and the District of Columbia."

Read The New York Times, State and National Polls Tell Different Tales About State of Campaign.

UPDATE: The latest prediction, from the Washington Post:

"The first look at the 2012 FiveThirtyEight presidential forecast has Barack Obama as a very slight favorite to win re-election. But his advantage equates to only a two-point lead in the national popular vote, and the edge could easily swing to Mitt Romney on the basis of further bad economic news.

Mr. Obama remains slightly ahead of Mr. Romney in most national polls, and he has had a somewhat clearer advantage in polling conducted at the state level. Mr. Obama would be about 80 percent likely to win an election held today, according to the model.

However, the outlook for the Nov. 6 election is much less certain, with Mr. Obama having winning odds of just over 60 percent. The forecast currently calls for Mr. Obama to win roughly 290 electoral votes, but outcomes ranging everywhere from about 160 to 390 electoral votes are plausible, given the long lead time until the election and the amount of news that could occur between now and then. Both polls and economic indicators are a pretty rough guide five months before an election."

For an in-depth analysis of the 2012 general election, read The New York Times, Election Forecast: Obama Begins With Tenuous Advantage.

And for a "killer calculus of the president’s re-election chances," read these prior posts, Obama in 2012 and Obama in 2012?, Another Forecast Model.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Economist Ideal Candidate

"Recently, the smart folks over at NPR’s Planet Money decided, just for kicks, to ask five economists from across the political spectrum to design their dream candidate for president. Essentially, they wanted to know, what are the policies that virtually all economists will endorse, at least in principle?

Here’s the resulting platform:

    * Get rid of the tax deduction for mortgage interest on homes, raising about $90 billion.

    * Get rid of the tax benefit for employer health care, raising $184.5 billion.

    * Eliminate the corporate income tax. Entirely.

    * Reform the entire tax code so that we tax consumption (in a progressive way) rather than income, in order to boost growth.

    * Put a tax on carbon emissions.

    * Legalize marijuana–just tax it and regulate it."

Read the Washington Post, Economists design their dream candidate. But could he ever get elected?

Who is the Real Obamney?

UPDATE IV: "After an evening of light-hearted jabs, President Barack Obama returned to his cutting criticism of rival Mitt Romney Friday, accusing the GOP nominee of forgetting the hard right positions he took during the GOP primary in order to seem more moderate.

Obama, speaking at a rally in the Northern Virginia suburb of Fairfax, told the crowd his opponent was suffering "Romnesia" after seeming to change his position on contraception, coal, equal pay, and taxes."
Read CNN, Obama diagnoses 'Romnesia'

UPDATE III:  "Scrubbing one’s brain clean of previous positions has been Mitt Romney’s stock in trade. In fact, his foreign-policy speech Monday to the Virginia Military Institute was one long gargle-and-rinse of the candidate’s previous positions.

Last year, Romney called the Obama administration’s intervention in Libya 'mission creep and mission muddle.' On Monday, he accused Obama of declining to use 'America’s greatest power to shape history' and of eschewing 'our best examples of world leadership' in that same corner of the world.

Last year, Romney said American troops 'shouldn’t go off and try to fight a war of independence for another nation. Only the Afghanis can win Afghanistan’s independence from the Taliban.' On Monday, he spoke of that same conflict as a matter of the utmost national importance, saying the route to 'attacks here at home is a politically timed retreat that abandons the Afghan people to the same extremists who ravaged their country and used it to launch the attacks of 9/11.'

Last year, Romney reversed his earlier support for the Iraq war, saying, 'If we knew at the time of our entry into Iraq that there were no weapons of mass destruction . . . obviously we would not have gone in.' On Monday, he was back to his original view, accusing the Obama administration of an 'abrupt withdrawal' from Iraq and portraying the situation there as part of 'a struggle between liberty and tyranny, justice and oppression, hope and despair.'

Just a few months ago, Romney said 'there’s just no way' to achieve peace between the Israelis and Palestinians because Palestinians are 'not wanting to see peace.' He said it was necessary to 'recognize this is going to remain an unsolved problem.' On Monday, he said he would 'recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security' with Israel.

Rub-a-dub-dub! Four positions got scrubbed."

Read the Washington Post, A scrubbing on foreign policy.

Read also, Slate, Mitt Romney’s Most Dishonest Speech

UPDATE II:  "Romney isn’t an ideological moderate. He’s a pragmatic executive. When he needs to govern from the center, he does. When he needs to lurch to the right, off he goes. So if you want to know how he’ll govern, don’t listen to what he says. Look at who he has reason to fear."  Read the Washington Post, Moderate Mitt isn’t so moderate.  

UPDATE:  Old Obamney couldn't win, so meet new Obamney, who has a history "of shifts, equivocations, and reversals, coupled with ongoing revisions of his image and his autobiography". Read New York Magazine, Can Obama Discredit the New Romney.  

Is he the "severe conservative" he claimed to be in the primary, or the 'spirited' moderate who threw the tea party under the bus by denying policies he promised before the debate?

Read the Washington Post, Romney’s personality shift; Slate, In Domestic Debate, Mitt Romney Shakes The Etch-a-Sketch; The New York Times, Entering Stage Right, Romney Moved to Center and Moderate Mitt Returns!; New York Magazine, The Return of Massachusetts Mitt

During the debate I was reminded of what The Great Lecherer, aka Newtenstein, said of Obamney:  "Lincoln once said if a man won't agree that two plus two equals four then you'll never win the argument because facts don't matter, Romney's the first candidate I've seen who fits the Lincoln description."

Obamney has proven he is just another Republi-CON.

Monday, October 22, 2012

You're So Wonderful, Not

UPDATE IV:  "Imagine a presidential candidate who spoke with blunt honesty about American problems, dwelling on measures by which the United States lags its economic peers. . .

[Talk of American exceptionalism] may inspire some people and politicians to perform heroically, rising to the level of our self-image. But during a presidential campaign, it can be deeply dysfunctional, ensuring that many major issues are barely discussed. Problems that cannot be candidly described and vigorously debated are unlikely to be addressed seriously. In a country where citizens think of themselves as practical problem-solvers and realists, this aversion to bad news is a surprising feature of the democratic process."

Read The New York Times, The Opiate of Exceptionalism

UPDATE III: "The Anthony Weiner story is really about narcissism." Read The New York Times, The Online Looking Glass.

UPDATE II: "America needs to adjust its message to college graduates." Read The New York Times, It’s Not About You.

UPDATE: American 'exceptionalism' "discourages compromise, for what God has made exceptional, man must not alter. And yet clearly America must change fundamentally or continue to decline. It could begin by junking a phase that reeks of arrogance and discourages compromise. American exceptionalism ought to be called American narcissism." Read the Washington Post, The myth of American exceptionalism.

"Americans’ tendency toward overconfidence is corroding our citizenship" and may be responsible for our unwillingness "to support the sacrifices that will be required to avert fiscal catastrophe." Read The New York Times, The Modesty Manifesto.

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Obamney Snow Job

The Obamney campaign was asked "to substantiate their claim that his policies will create 12 million jobs during his first term. The results were, as the kids say, LOL-worthy.

One study said a Romney-like tax plan could create 7 million jobs. The only problem? That was over 10 years, not four years. Worse, the study assumed that a Romney-like tax plan would be completely paid for and would happen in an economy at full employment. Neither is likely.

The next study was a Citigroup Global Markets effort that projected 3 million energy-related jobs. The only problems? It was over eight years, not four. Oh, and it wasn’t evaluating any of Romney’s policies at all. It was actually looking at current trends and policies — which is to say, Obama’s policies.

Then there’s the 2 million jobs that a 2011 International Trade Commission report estimated we could create if China stopped violating our intellectual property rights. This study wasn’t looking at either Obama or Romney’s policies, and no one thinks that any U.S. president could get Chinese businesses to respect American patents.

So Romney’s claim of 12 million jobs over four years breaks down to 7 million jobs over 10 years in an economy that’s already at full employment, 3 million jobs over eight years that have nothing to do with any of Romney’s policies, and 2 million jobs if China suddenly became very, very respectful of U.S. intellectual property laws."

Read the Washington Post, The Romney campaign’s job math is just as bad as its tax math.

"[T]he true Romney plan is to create an economic boom through the sheer power of Mr. Romney’s personal awesomeness. But the campaign doesn’t dare say that, for fear that voters would (rightly) consider it ridiculous. So what we’re getting instead is an attempt to brazen it out with nakedly false claims. There’s no jobs plan; just a plan for a snow job on the American people"

Read The New York Times, Snow Job on Jobs

More of Those Republi-CON and So-Call Christian Family Values

"Conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza was forced to quit as president of an evangelical Christian college in Manhattan after it came to light that he became engaged to a young woman while he was still married.

D’Souza, 51, had brought his 29-year-old fiancĂ©e to a religious conference, and they shared a hotel room.

His resignation from The King’s College was announced Thursday by Andy Mills, chairman of the institution’s board of trustees.

A former Ronald Reagan aide, D’Souza is a best-selling conservative author and director of the controversial documentary “2016: Obama’s America” — which cast a critical eye at the President’s upbringing and early influences."

Read the New York Daily News, Conservative pundit Dinesh D'Souza steps down from Manhattan evangelical Christian college after unholy tryst

I guess his CONservative success went to his head (the little one that is).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Republi-CON CONcern for the Poor

Who stopped by a soup kitchen on his way to the airport for a 15 minutes photo op washing clean dishes?  Read the Washington Post, Charity president unhappy about Paul Ryan soup kitchen ‘photo op’, which includes this video showing the shameless political stunt:

A perfect metaphor of 'the GOP disrespect for the poor.'

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Republi-CON Budget Con

The Republi-cons can't even explain their budget proposal to their media cronies at Hedgehog News, "[i]t would take me too long to go through all the math."

But "the problem isn’t that the math on their plan takes too long to detail. It’s that the math on their plan can’t be done. Or, it can be done, but when you do it, you get answers the Romney campaign doesn’t like — for instance, that the tax plan will either raise taxes on the middle class or add to the deficit."
Read the Washington Post, This is how you quickly do the math on the Romney-Ryan tax plan