Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Featuring Jim Geraghty as Captain Obvious..."

There has been no hope, no change, no sudden Era of Good Feelings either here or abroad. The problems that Democrats insisted were the fault of Bush are in fact pervasive in the system of government. Obama pledged a government that was more efficient, more effective, more bang for the buck and more responsive to Americans. He has delivered none of this.
Here's the thing - he may have pledged those things, but there was no reason whatsoever to think that it was a pledge which he was capable of redeeming. Or, frankly, would even try to redeem. Nothing, absolutely nothing, about this administration has been surprising. The American electorate put an incapable, inexperienced, leftist narcissist into the White House, and the end result has been exactly what one would expect from an administration led by an incapable, inexperienced, leftist narcissist. This was all there for anyone to see, if they wanted to.  Yeah, the media lied about him, but there was plenty of evidence for anyone that wanted to see...

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and some fifers...


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The Bass line...

Not making as much noise, at this precise moment, as they are capable of making...


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Link of the day - NIV2011 comparison with NIV1984 and TNIV

The New International Version of the Bible is being released again in 2011 with an updated translation. In most cases, the translation has not been changed at all from the 1984 version, and in most places where it differs from the 1984, it's the same as the 2005 version. Less than 10% is actually different from previous editions.

This is today's link of the day, a very cool analysis of the changes, and a link to all of them, with the Greek and all of the different editions texts.

NIV2011 comparison with the NIV1984 and TNIV


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Good news

With Kirk's swearing-in, GOP formally claims Obama's old seat
Senate Republicans on Monday formally claimed President Obama’s former Senate seat with the swearing-in of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.).

As is customary, Kirk was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden twice — once on the Senate floor, which is closed to photographers, and again down the hall in the Old Senate Chamber, in front of the media.
 It's nice to start the day with happy stories...

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, C.S. Lewis!

Of course, he's been gone for almost 50 years now, but certainly not forgotten.  To celebrate, here are the closing paragraphs of Men Without Chests, the first of the three essays (originally lectures) that make up The Abolition of Man.

Where the old initiated, the new merely 'conditions'. The old dealt with its pupils as grown birds deal with young birds when they teach them to fly; the new deals with them more as the poultry-keeper deals with young birds— making them thus or thus for purposes of which the birds know nothing. In a word, the old was a kind of propagation—men transmitting manhood to men; the new is merely propaganda. 

It is to their credit that Gaius and Titius embrace the first alternative. Propaganda is their abomination: not because their own philosophy gives a ground for condemning it (or anything else) but because they are better than their principles. They probably have some vague notion (I will examine it in my next lecture) that valour and good faith and justice could be sufficiently commended to the pupil on what they would call 'rational' or 'biological' or 'modern' grounds, if it should ever become necessary. In the meantime, they leave the matter alone and get on with the business of debunking. But this course, though less inhuman, is not less disastrous than the opposite alternative of cynical propaganda. Let us suppose for a moment that the harder virtues could really be theoretically justified with no appeal to objective value. It still remains true that no justification of virtue will enable a man to be virtuous. Without the aid of trained emotions the intellect is powerless against the animal organism. I had sooner play cards against a man who was quite sceptical about ethics, but bred to believe that 'a gentleman does not cheat', than against an irreproachable moral philosopher who had been brought up among sharpers. In battle it is not syllogisms that will keep the reluctant nerves and muscles to their post in the third hour of the bombardment. The crudest sentimentalism (such as Gaius and Titius would wince at) about a flag or a country or a regiment will be of more use. We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the 'spirited element'. The head rules the belly through the chest—the seat, as Alanus tells us, of Magnanimity, of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments. The Chest-Magnanimity-Sentiment—these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal. 

The operation of The Green Book and its kind is to produce what may be called Men without Chests. It is an outrage that they should be commonly spoken of as Intellectuals. This gives them the chance to say that he who attacks them attacks Intelligence. It is not so. They are not distinguished from other men by any unusual skill in finding truth nor any virginal ardour to pursue her. Indeed it would be strange if they were: a persevering devotion to truth, a nice sense of intellectual honour, cannot be long maintained without the aid of a sentiment which Gaius and Titius could debunk as easily as any other. It is not excess of thought but defect of fertile and generous emotion that marks them out. Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so. 

And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.

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There's No Escaping Hauser's Law

From the Wall Street Journal - There's No Escaping Hauser's Law
Even amoebas learn by trial and error, but some economists and politicians do not. The Obama administration's budget projections claim that raising taxes on the top 2% of taxpayers, those individuals earning more than $200,000 and couples earning $250,000 or more, will increase revenues to the U.S. Treasury. The empirical evidence suggests otherwise. None of the personal income tax or capital gains tax increases enacted in the post-World War II period has raised the projected tax revenues.

Over the past six decades, tax revenues as a percentage of GDP have averaged just under 19% regardless of the top marginal personal income tax rate. The top marginal rate has been as high as 92% (1952-53) and as low as 28% (1988-90). This observation was first reported in an op-ed I wrote for this newspaper in March 1993. A wit later dubbed this "Hauser's Law."
Here's a picture of what he's talking about.

The red line represents the top marginal tax rate for individuals in the federal tax code; the blue line represents federal tax revenues as a percentage of GDP. Obviously, there are a lot of details and interactions that this doesn't reveal, but it's informative that the government has changed the top marginal rate between 28 and 92 without significantly increasing tax revenues as a percentage of GDP1.

This is all worth keeping in mind as the Obama administration fights to raise taxes on upper income Americans.  The storyline is "extension of the Bush tax cuts," but the real event in question is "imposition of the Obama tax increases."  No one's getting a tax cut.  The "Bush tax cuts," enacted in 2001, contained sunset provisions, because the Democrats were unwilling to make them permanent.  If Congress does not extend them before the end of the year, everyone gets a wonderful tax hike next year.  The administration is willing to extend some, but not all, not those on individuals (and small business owners) making $250,000 or more.  So the correct characterization is that the Obama administration is fighting for tax increases that the Republicans (and many congressional Democrats) are fighting against.

In any event, if history is any guide, Mr. Obama's desired tax cuts would have little to no impact on federal tax revenues as a percentage of GDP.  Given that they are also likely to decrease that GDP, it's obvious that there is no good economic reason for those tax increases.  There are reasons, of course, or he wouldn't be fighting for them, but, as poor as the economic knowledge displayed by this administration has been, the reasons are not fundamentally economic.  They are moral, as Obama thinks that those people "have made enough" and that the government should "spread the wealth around."  If you could prove to Barack Obama that raising taxes on high income Americans would hurt low income Americans, with lower economic growth and fewer jobs, he'd still be in favor of raising those taxes, because he believes in "social justice" and that it would just be more "fair."

And I'll give the last word to Mr. Hauser...
The Obama administration and members of Congress should study the record on how the economy reacts to changes in the tax code. The president's economic team has launched a three-pronged attack on capital: They are attacking the income group that is the most responsible for capital formation and jobs in the private sector, and then attacking the investment returns on capital formation in the form of dividends and capital gains. The out-year projections on revenues from these tax increases will prove to be phantom.

(H/T:  TaxProfBlog, via Instapundit)

1 - It's also worth noting how much the federal government's bite of the nation's economic output increased during the 30's and Roosevelt's New Deal...

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Sorry for the down time...

I've been busy (who hasn't, right?) and I've been lax.  I hope that everyone had a good Thanksgiving, and I'll have some stuff this week...

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So, the British observed Remembrance Sunday this past weekend, remembering the WWI armistice with poppies and moments of silence. And special memorial editions of the soccer match programmes...

Hey, everyone makes mistakes!

For what it's worth, the apology is a real apology. But that's a pretty painful mistake...


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A question for Rep. Mica

Naivete on parade...
Mica, one of the authors of the original TSA bill, has recently written to the heads of more than 150 airports nationwide suggesting they opt out of TSA screening. "When the TSA was established, it was never envisioned that it would become a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy which was soon to grow to 67,000 employees," Mica writes. "As TSA has grown larger, more impersonal, and administratively top-heavy, I believe it is important that airports across the country consider utilizing the opt-out provision provided by law."

Dear Representative Mica,

What program has the federal government ever established that did not become "a huge, unwieldy bureaucracy"? Which government agencies are not "impersonal, and administratively top-heavy"?

Contemptuously Sincerely yours,
Lyford Beverage

(H/T: Instapundit)

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'Defend the Humanities'--a Dishonest Slogan

This is an interesting article.

'Defend the Humanities'--a Dishonest Slogan
And so "Defend the Humanities" is a most attractive flag to sail under. The trouble is that for those who are now using it, it is a flag of convenience only, and a deeply dishonest one. For the conception of the humanities set out above is despised by those who now ask for our help in saving the departments they run. Long ago, they took aim at it, defeated it and abolished it, and that is precisely the source of their present troubles. The story of how they did it and why is well-known. A virulent strain of Marxist radicalism took refuge in college humanities programs just as it was being abandoned in the real world because of catastrophic results world-wide. This created a mismatch of temperaments: humanistic scholars are naturally animated by a profound respect for the legacy of our past, but all the instincts of political radicals go in the opposite direction. Their natural instinct is to denigrate the past in order to make the case for the sweeping social change that they want. That's why they don't look at the past and see accumulated knowledge and wisdom, but instead only a story of bigotry, inequality and racial and sexual prejudice that needs to be swept aside. Political radicals are interested in the utopian future and in their present- day attempts to achieve it, not the cultural past which must be overcome to get to where they want to be.


It is important to grasp the fact that the cry we are now hearing ("save the humanities") is not about saving the humanities. It is rather about saving the faculty, who long since destroyed them, from the devastating consequences of their own foolish actions. It asks for a bailout, so that those same people can continue enjoying the fiefdoms they created to replace what once were departments of the humanities. And to respond favorably to that appeal would be folly.
Click the link, read it all. There is a lot of good information in there, and it's absolutely right...

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Monday, November 15, 2010

There's good management and bad management. And then there's Washington...

Source: Donovan McNabb gets 5-year, $78M extension - ESPN
The Washington Redskins and quarterback Donovan McNabb have agreed to a five-year, $78 million extension that could be worth up to $88 million with incentives, a source with knowledge of the agreement told ESPN NFL Insider Michael Smith.

The source said $40 million of the deal will be guaranteed.
Gosh, how is that [Redskins owner] Daniel Snyder doesn't have a Super Bowl ring yet?

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Friday, November 12, 2010

The Truth about Entitlements

I strongly recommend this excellent paper by Arnold Kling, The Truth About Entitlements:
Social Security is not protected by its trust fund. The trust fund contains no real assets. It is simply an accounting device that indicates the promises that have been made to current workers to provide benefits to them in retirement. There is no way to avoid having Social Security absorb a large share of the budget during the years when the Baby Boomers are collecting benefits.
He addresses five myths about our current financial situation and the impending disasters that are Social Security and Medicare. It's not cheerful but it is important. It is an excellent presentation of the issues, clearly explained.

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"Commies? Good people, nothing wrong with them" - NY Times

Thought experiment: Read the following and answer this question - would the New York Times, or any other serious newspaper, run a story that began and ended this way?
Where Nazis Pontificate, and Play

IF National Socialists have a reputation for anything, it is seriousness. (And if you have seen old photos of Adolf Hitler, you know that he did not smile much.) But at the Reifenstahl Forum, a community center on West Street where revolutionaries and radicals gather daily to ponder and to pontificate, they also play. (Smiles abound.)

Amid the honeycomb of offices and hidden rooms on the ground floor of a shabby brick building facing the Hudson River, activists and agitators unite for classes like “Ernst Haeckel: Revolutionary Strategy and the Historic Bloc” and talks like “Envisioning a Post-Capitalist Future.” Networks of pipes snaking along the ceiling and glimpses of exposed brick give the space a slightly industrial feel, which seems fitting for discussions on labor theory and worker exploitation.

But there is also the monthly Game Night, when regulars put down their copies of “Mein Kampf” and immerse themselves in table tennis, foosball and a complicated Nazi version of Monopoly called, appropriately, Race Struggle.

In a city known for cynicism, the Reifenstahl, which survives on donations, is a surprisingly open and idealistic place.


While Mr. Balagun waved me out the front door, I imagined Hitler’s ghost floating in the hazy light of the evening, watching over the poker players. Beneath his famous mustache, I could almost see a grin.
Do you want a little more time to make your decision?

Of course not. They'd never run anything like that. Everyone recognizes the abomination which was the Nazi regime, and everything related to it is tainted.

So why is the Times running this?
Where Marxists Pontificate, and Play

IF communists have a reputation for anything, it is seriousness. (And if you have seen old photos of Karl Marx, you know that he did not smile much.) But at the Brecht Forum, a community center on West Street where revolutionaries and radicals gather daily to ponder and to pontificate, they also play. (Smiles abound.)

Amid the honeycomb of offices and hidden rooms on the ground floor of a shabby brick building facing the Hudson River, activists and agitators unite for classes like “Antonio Gramsci: Revolutionary Strategy and the Historic Bloc” and talks like “Envisioning a Post-Capitalist Future.” Networks of pipes snaking along the ceiling and glimpses of exposed brick give the space a slightly industrial feel, which seems fitting for discussions on labor theory and worker exploitation.

But there is also the monthly Game Night, when regulars put down their copies of “Das Kapital” and immerse themselves in table tennis, foosball and a complicated Marxist version of Monopoly called, appropriately, Class Struggle.

In a city known for cynicism, the Brecht, which survives on donations, is a surprisingly open and idealistic place.


While Mr. Balagun waved me out the front door, I imagined Marx’s ghost floating in the hazy light of the evening, watching over the poker players. Behind his famous thicket of a beard, I could almost see a grin.
Ho, ho, ho. That's so amusing. Those serious communists have a playful side!

Let's consider, for a moment, a little bit of historical perspective.

Death tolls:
  • Nazis - 10-25 million
  • Communists
    • Russia - 20-25 million
    • China - 50-65 million
    • Cambodia - ~2 million
    • North Korea - ~2 million
    • and more...
    Total - ~94 million
Someone tell me why the second excerpt, the one that actually ran in the New York Times, isn't more offensive than the first, which no one would ever run.

The answer, of course, is that, for the American left (of which the New York Times is both opinion leader and member), it was the anti-Communists who were wrong. It was Joe McCarthy and Richard Nixon that defined the domestic political opponent, in their eyes, and so whatever they opposed was to be supported. Hitler was a monster, of course, but was he more of one than Stalin? Was he more of one than Mao? Not by body count, he wasn't. Yet affection for those tyrannical monsters is an amusing or serious or admirable trait in the eyes of the Times...

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Federal pay hike? Let's start with a freeze, then cut 10 percent

Let's start with a freeze, then cut 10 percent...
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, calls a federal pay freeze a minimum first step toward what eventually should be a 10 percent cut across the board. If the GOP's historic landslide victory in the 2010 election was about letting Washington know it's time to rein in runaway government growth and put Main Street's needs before those at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, Chaffetz's proposal is the least that can be done. It is also the right time to do it, when the public is genuinely fed up with the status quo.
I'd rather cut 10 percent, then freeze...

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Well, yeah...

Daniel Henninger points out the pretty obvious in The 1099 Democrats in the Wall Street Journal.
Calvin Coolidge once said, "The chief business of the American people is business." The Democrats just lost America because they forgot that.

On second thought, you can't forget what you never knew. The Democrats running things the past two years proved they have no clue about the business of business. In their world, the real world of the private economy is an abstraction, a political figment.

Excellent piece - read it all...

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Media and political dictionary

Todays word is bipartisan.

bipartisan (adj.) 1Republican politicians who acquiesce to Democratic plans to increase the size and scope of government.   2Plans to expand the size of the government which are supported by both big-government statist Democrats and big-government statist Republicans.

As in,
A bipartisan pair of senators has urged President Obama’s debt commission to consider raising the gas tax to pay for infrastructure projects.

Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) have written to the chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform advocating for a 25-cent per gallon tax increase.

(Anyone think that the eventual debt commission recommendations won't be heavy on tax increases and light on spending cuts? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, me neither...)

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Cognitive dissonance

Schadenfreude alert
Statement from Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC:

I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended [Keith Olbermann] indefinitely without pay.

A couple of (occasionally contradictory) thoughts:
  • Keith Olbermann is as loathsome a person as there currently is in the media industrial complex. It's difficult not to feel real satisfaction in his being removed from the air, particularly for a self-inflicted wound like this one.
  • One of Keith's hobby-horses recently has apparently been the fact that some employees of NewsCorp, the parent company of Fox News, have made contributions, and how inappropriate that is. It's impossible not to feel real satisfaction in his being removed from the air.
  • The idea of him getting suspended for making monetary contributions to Democrats has a kind of Alice-In-Wonderful quality about it. Does MSNBC think that he's somehow revealed something that people didn't know beforehand? Has he let the mask slip? Has he ruined his reputation as an impartial journalist? I don't think so.
  • So he clearly violated a rule of his employer. The rule, in this case, is silly. It's nonsensical that he can give an in-kind contribution to Democrats with an hour of partisan info-tainment every single night, doing his best to support Democrats and ridicule Republicans, but actually giving less than $10K in real money is beyond the pale.
  • There is no first amendment argument here. MSNBC is not the government. Keith can do or say whatever he wants, but if he's going to use MSNBC's studios and bandwidth to do it, he's got to play by their rules.
I haven't watched MSNBC, and I'm not going to watch it now. I think that, given the way that they approved of him running his show, the infractions for which he's being suspended are silly. But I sure do enjoy the situation in which he's found himself...

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Gibbs: Senate will save Obamacare

He might be right.
Though Republicans are rattling their sabers with threats to repeal the new healthcare and financial regulatory laws, the White House feels safe with its buffer in the Democratic Senate.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday he does not think repeal legislation would make it out of both houses of Congress.

“I honestly don't think it will come to that,” Gibbs said...

I'm not sure that that's true. But even if it is, tremendous benefit accrues to the Republicans for pushing it and making the Senate vote.
  • It demonstrates to the people that they are listening, and that they're doing what they were sent to do.
  • It forces Ben Nelson and Sherrod Brown and Bill Nelson and Jon Tester and Kent Conrad and Jim Webb and Bob Casey and Dianne Feinstein and all of the rest of the class of 2012 Democratic incumbents to stand up, after the American people have clearly spoken, and defy the will of the people again.
That second one is the reason that I'm far less confident than Gibbs that the Senate will prevent the President from having to veto a repeal bill. Ben Nelson's may not win re-election anyway, but he's got no chance if he votes against repeal. Herb Kohl just watched Russ Feingold go down in a Republican wave over Wisconsin. Bill Nelson just saw Marco Rubio win a massive victory in Florida. Joe Manchin is already on record as opposing Obamacare. Can Jim Webb survive another pro-Obamacare vote?

The leadership obviously won't want it to get to the floor. And they may be able to prevent it, or filibuster it. If it actually comes to a vote, I'm not certain that there are 50 anti-repeal votes in that chamber. But even if there are, forcing them to declare it can only help Republicans, so they should be pushing it. Hard. Starting on day 1, and not stopping.

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In which I agree with the President. Again.

Press Conference
I think we’d be misreading the election if we thought that the American people want to see us for the next two years relitigate arguments that we had over the last two years.

Absolutely true. The American people very clearly, I think, said that they don't want to spend two more years "re-litigating" the health care debate. They don't want to redebate the health care bill, they want to repeal it. They've been saying so for the past 18 months. They screamed it out with the election of Scott Brown in January. You didn't listen then, are you listening now? They don't want that bill. They want it repealed.

Period. End of discussion.

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Another Islamophobe speaks out

Another Islamophobe speaks out:
I am against putting the mosque in that particular place. And I'll tell you why. For two reasons: first of all, those people behind the mosque have to respect, have to appreciate and have to defer to the people of New York, and not try to agitate the wound by saying 'we need to put the mosque next to the 9/11 site'...The wound is still there. Just because the wound is healing you can't say 'let's just go back to where we were pre-9/11'. I am against putting the mosque there out of respect for those people who have been wounded...
Who is this obviously vicious anti-Islamic racist?

Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

It's amazing how things keep interfering with the storyline, isn't it?

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Why good - even great - isn't good enough...

Jim Geraghty - "It’s the biggest Republican gain in two generations — and yet, because of a few key races, it feels a little disappointing."

That depends on where you're sitting. I'm thinking that New Hampshire Republicans and Wisconsin Republicans and Pennsylvania Republicans are all pretty happy. But I'm sitting here in Massachusetts this morning, and "disappointed" doesn't even begin to describe how I'm feeling. It may have been the "biggest Republican gain in two generations" but there wasn't a single pleasurable minute for me last night.

Part of this is expectations. We see this every quarter when companies report good results and stocks drop anyway, because the good news was "already baked in" - it was expected and, therefore, not news. Well, I called the Republicans taking back the house a year ago. Essentially, everything good that happened last night was "baked in" as far as I'm concerned. There was not a single upside-surprise reported last night (well, to me, anyway - I'm sure that there were some races that went to Republicans that weren't expected to, but not one that I was following.) One of the key elements of a really enjoyable election night is two or three big races where you hoped, but didn't really expect, to win, and there wasn't a single one yesterday.

Good news?
  • Marco Rubio won, as I expected him to.
  • Ron Johnson beat Russ Feingold, as I expected him to. (This race has given me pleasure over the last month, because I didn't thing Feingold could really be in trouble a month ago, but by last night, it was clearly over.)
  • Kelly Ayotte beat Paul Hodes, as I expected her to.
  • Pat Toomey beat Joe Sestak, as I expected him to.
  • Mark Kirk beat Alexi Giannoulis, as I expected him to.

All of that was baked in. So was a 70+ seat Republican takeover in the house, which they may not have quite reached.

So there's no great result, no "wow, that was fantastic" feeling associated with any particular race. Nothing exhilarating.

On the other hand
  • The voters in Massachusetts saw fit to give Deval Patrick four more years in the Governor's office.
  • The voters in Massachusetts' 4th district saw fit to send Barney Frank back to Washington, and I thought Sean Bielat might beat him.
  • The voters in Massachusetts' 5th district saw fit to send Niki Tsongas back to Washington, and I thought Jon Golnik might beat her.
  • The voters in Massachusetts' 6th district saw fit to send John Tierney back to Washington, and I thought Bill Hudak might beat him.
  • The voters in Massachusetts' 10th district saw fit to send Bill Keating to Washington, and I thought Jeff Perry might beat him.
  • The voters in Massachusetts saw fit to not cut the sales tax.
In fact, all of the incumbent statewide office holders were re-elected. As were all of the incumbent congressmen. And a Democrat won the one open congressional seat. There may have been a national wave, but it missed Massachusetts entirely. The legislature is still overwhelmingly Democratic, the Democratic imcumbents in the state legislature overwhelmingly won, and nothing changed other than a large bucket of cold water poured on the heads of Republicans who had hoped, after Scott Brown's victory in January, that they were making progress.

And moving outside of our borders
  • The voters of Maine sent Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud back to Washington (and, as a native, this has more impact on me than the results in neighboring NH, or anywhere else.)
  • I expected Richard Blumenthal to beat Linda McMahon, but thought it would be closer, and that there was a possibility of an upset.
  • I expected John Raese to beat Joe Manchin.
  • I expected Sharron Angle to beat Harry Reid.
  • I expected Carly Fiorina to beat Barbara Boxer.
Obviously, objectively speaking, it was a great night for the national Republican party. Holding the house gives them the ability to begin to impose some fiscal discipline on the US government, if they're willing to do it. (And if they're not, then the fact that they won is meaningless, and they're in the process of becoming extinct.) And the victories were, in many places, deep. They took over up to 16 different state legislatures, and several governorships, which puts them in excellent position for the upcoming redistricting.

But from my vantage point, the evening wasn't a "little disappointing" - it was a huge disappointment.


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Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Geraghty has sources that have exit polls...

The First Reactions to the Exits, if Not the Exits Themselves - Jim Geraghty
Indicator Number One: I am told that one Democratic strategist, helping a television network with Election Night analysis, just declared that the Democrats were experiencing something on par with mass murder. The GOP counterpart looked at the same numbers and concluded the Democrats are, so far, not getting the urban turnout they need; suburban and rural areas are seeing big turnouts.

Indicator Number Two: One Republican who is seeing early indicators in Florida says, “If this holds, we win everything.”
If you haven't voted yet, GET OUT AND VOTE!!! It could be a great night, even a historic night, but you've got to get out and vote!

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Self-Deception: The Sanity Rally just got...mind-blowing

More (unintentional) irony from the smugapalooza...

If you can't think of a better reason, wiping some of that smug away is surely an adequate reason to go to the polls and vote Republican today...

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Public Policy Polling: Obama a big drag

Public Policy Polling: Obama a big drag
If this election is a referendum on Barack Obama then o boy are Democrats in trouble. In our final round of 18 polls we found the President with a positive approval rating among likely voters in only 1 state- Connecticut. Even there only 46% of voters expressed support for the job he's doing. He's slightly under water in some of the bluest states out there- California, Washington, even his home state of Illinois.

As Ace said, "well, duh."

But this part of the analysis is preposterous.
There's a lot of good Democrats tonight- both incumbents and challengers- who are going to lose and it won't be because of anything they did wrong. It's just hard to overcome an incumbent President of your party being so unpopular with the people most motivated to vote.
Did those "good Democrats" vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker or Harry Reid for Majority Leader? Yes, they did.
Did those "good Democrats" vote for the stimulus bill? Yes, they did.
Did those "good Democrats" vote for Obamacare? Yes, they did.
Did those "good Democrats" go along with the reconciliation farce to force the Obamacare monstrosity through? Yes, they did.
Did they support the "Lousiana Purchase" and the "Cornhusker kickback"?  Yes, they did.

So why in God's name would someone say that they're going to lose and "it won't be because of anything they did wrong"? There's not a one of them for whom I feel a shred of sympathy. They're going to lose precisely because they've done everything wrong.

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Is Obama A Keynesian? Rally For Sanity, 10/30/10

There's an old internet saying that "any spelling flame will contain at least one spelling error." It's not a new thought, really - Shakespeare spoke of "being hoist on one's own petard" and Jesus warned men not to "look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye." But it can sometimes be amusing to see people hold themselves up as exemplars and then fail to justify the esteem in which they hold themselves.

So, for a little background, there are a couple of things that people ought to know about.

  • One is a fringe group called "birthers" who believe that Barack Obama was born in Kenya1, making him Kenyan rather than American.
  • Another is that John Maynard Keynes, the prominent 20th century British economist, was one of the prime movers of the theory that government ought to stimulate demand with deficit spending during down economic cycles, famously saying that "government should pay people to dig holes in the ground and then fill them up." The Obama stimulus plan was classic Keynesian economics.
  • Oh yes, one more fact relevant to the video is that proposition 19 is an initiative petition on the California ballot to legalize marijuana.

That brings us to the Jon Stewart-Stephen Colbert "Rally for Sanity" this past weekend on the national mall. Termed by some as a "smugapalooza," it was a day for the self-proclaimed "intellectual elite" and "reality-based community" to stand out and tell the rest of us how much smarter they are.

But someone else was there with "Obama=Keynesian?" sign and a video camera. Hilarity ensued...

I admit it, I laughed out loud...

1 - The existence of "birthers" is frequently blamed on Republicans or the Tea Parties, but the original birthers that started the story were Hillary Clinton supporters during the Democratic primary campaign.

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I voted.

Did you?


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Monday, November 01, 2010

Two kinds of people

There are two kinds of people in this world - those who will take a principled stand by never voting for any politicians that run negative ads, and voters.

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24 hours...

... until polls start closing.

It's our turn - don't blow it...

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Les Miserables - One Day More

One Day More

Tomorrow is the judgment day,
tomorrow we'll discover what our God in heaven has in store.
One more dawn,
one more day,
one day more...
You know who you are.  You know what you need to do.  Tomorrow, the citizens get to stand up and say, "we're citizens, not subjects."

Do you hear the people sing?  Singing the song of angry men,
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again...

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"...rejection of a bipartisan political elite that's lost touch with the people..."

Key advice for Republicans from Scott Rasmussen:
...None of this means that Republicans are winning. The reality is that voters in 2010 are doing the same thing they did in 2006 and 2008: They are voting against the party in power...it is a rejection of a bipartisan political elite that's lost touch with the people they are supposed to serve. Based on our polling, 51% now see Democrats as the party of big government and nearly as many see Republicans as the party of big business. That leaves no party left to represent the American people.

Voters today want hope and change every bit as much as in 2008. But most have come to recognize that if we have to rely on politicians for the change, there is no hope. At the same time, Americans instinctively understand that if we can unleash the collective wisdom and entrepreneurial spirit of the American people, there are no limits to what we can accomplish.

In this environment, it would be wise for all Republicans to remember that their team didn't win, the other team lost. Heading into 2012, voters will remain ready to vote against the party in power unless they are given a reason not to do so.
It isn't just the wise thing to do - it's the essential thing to do. It is clear that the economic policies of the political class cannot be sustained, and it is clear that the American people now recognize that. The Democrats may or may not win the elections of 2012, but if the Republicans think that they're going to continue playing politics as usual for the next two years, they're definitely going to lose...

Good piece, read it all.

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"I promise that I won't fix Social Security, but my opponent might..."

I am not certain whether I'm more amused or frightened by how many Democrats are running ads promising to not do ANY of the things that might actually "fix" the already bankrupt Social Security system. Actuarially and demographically speaking, the math just doesn't work. People retiring and taking full benefits at age 65 are taking far more out of the system than they ever paid in, and there are fewer workers supporting more retirees every year. If something can't go on indefinitely, it's a good bet that it won't go on indefinitely, but there's a lot of advertising out there promising that it will...

(Yes, I'm looking at you, Barney Frank, and you, Chellie Pingree, and you're not alone...)

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"I've worked hard to earn that title..."

The always excellent Michael Ramirez:

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The Campaign Spot

The Campaign Spot is the place to hang out for the next 36 hours. Except for the time that it takes for you to get out and vote.

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