Interesting Post Election Reads

The post election whining has begun!  Here are a couple of coulda-woulda-shoulda articles that caught my eye.

First, the Wall Street Journal continues its never ending crusade for open ended amnesty.  Amnesty now, amnesty tomorrow, and Amnesty forever!      ¡Estimados Republicanos!

But wait!  National Review has a rebuttal.  Polling shows that only 7% of Hispanics were turned off by the immigration position of Republicans.  Instead, they mostly hated everything else the party stands for:  Why Hispanics Don’t Vote for Republicans

Here is another NR article that doubles down on Heather MacDonald’s article, only with more polling data:  Now What?  Immigration Edition

Some People didn’t take the election news so well:  Obama has the “same goals” as Al-Qaida

Why Obama won:  Obama’s Edge: The Ground Game That Could Put Him Over the Top

Why Romney lost:  The Unmitigated Disaster Known As Project ORCA

This article posits that since the number of white voters fell from 2008 to 2012, that white voters stayed home.  I think it’s more likely that they just got old and died.   The Case of the Missing White Voters

In the “Heh” Department:

Blue States voted heavily for Obama…

Vote was astronomical for Obama in some Philadelphia wards

Castro and Saddam Hussein should be so lucky to get vote totals like these!

Even as the blue model of governance collapses all around them…

Philadelphia’s school commission borrows $300 million to pay its bills

And the Chicago way continues to show it’s a model for the nation… for politicians!

Jesse Jackson Jr. Wins Reelection From Mayo Clinic

Jesse Jackson Jr. wins even though he has been out of sight since June bouncing from addiction treatment centers to the Mayo Clinic.  Now that’s a politician!

But he does have time to make a plea deal with the Feds:  Jesse Jackson Jr.in Plea Deal Talks With Feds

I would say that’s a Congressional district that’s lost the ability to complain about the political system without the rest of us smirking!

I commented on another bloggers website why the Republicans were such sore losers.

One of my favorite columnists, The wittiest doomsayer in the Anglosphere, Mark Steyn, explains that we’re screwed, but at least he does it well:  Reality doesn’t need to win Electoral College

Looking for an escape plan from Obama tax hikes?  ‘Super-Earth’ Alien Planet May Be Habitable for Life

Although I imagine the trip will take many election cycles.

Anyway, this twitter message sums up how I feel about the election!

How Much Is Media Bias Worth?

Although the media consensus was that Obama won the 2nd debate “on points”, and the polling on who won seems to bear that out (Gallup Obama win 51%, Romney win 38%), he hasn’t had the big bounce back in the polls that one would expect.  With the extra help he had from the moderator from DNC, err… I mean, CNN, Candy Crowley, you would expect a rebound to bring the polls back to something similar to what they were before Romney’s big first debate win.  But it hasn’t happened.

HEMPSTEAD, NY - OCTOBER 16:  U.S. President Ba...

HEMPSTEAD, NY – OCTOBER 16: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) listens and moderator Candy Crowley (C) plots to help President Obama (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Why not?

In the days prior to the first debate, Gallup showed Obama at 50% and Romney at 45%, a five point advantage.  In the days after the first debate, the race had shifted substantially to dead even; Obama and Romney both at 47%.    After the second debate; the one that Obama won?  The Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll for Saturday the 20th shows Romney 49% and Obama 48%.  In other words, Obama didn’t benefit from his win.

There have been a couple of theories as to why Romney was able to make up such ground on the strength of one debate performance.  One is that Romney just looked more Alpha next to Obama on stage, helping Romney close the gender gapamong women voters.  Another is that this was the first opportunity much of the country has had to see Romney, and surprisingly, they liked what they saw.  Considering that Romney has been the prospective nominee for most of the year, how is it that just now, the American people are getting their first unfiltered look at the Presidential nominee mere weeks before the actual election?  Particularly with the amount of media attention shown on this race?

As I predicted back in February, this was going to be a campaign between the Republicans against the Democrats and the mainstream media working together.  That is a tough combination to beat, but from the moderating in the Republican Primaries to the moderating in the second debate, the MSM has abused the position of power they hold in our society to take sides in this political contest.  It’s hard to draw another conclusion when during the 2nd debate President Obama made reference to the moderator about a transcript of a speech he had made that the moderator just happened to have with her at the moderator podium. How would he know she had a copy with her?  And why, of all the data and information that she would have, would it include that particular speech?  Curious indeed.

Romney’s coverage in the media has consisted of Democratic attacks and then pundits sitting around and discussing those attack ads.  That was the bulk of the political coverage over the past few months.  With that sort of coverage model, how is the public ever going to be able to draw informed conclusions on the candidates?  So when the public actually got to see Mitt Romney for the first time, in a 90 minute unfiltered debate, he didn’t appear at all to be the image that had been carefully crafted of him by the media.  He didn’t seem to be a racist, sexist, homophobe, or a cross between Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, and Mr. Potter from, It’s a Wonderful Life.  Instead they saw a serious competent businessman, not a murderer or tax evader.

That wide divergence of perception explains the polls.  Even if Obama has another win “on points” in the 3rd debate on Monday, I don’t see the race changing based on the debate.  The perception of Romney has already changed.

So to my original question, how much is media bias worth?  Since Romney was 5 points down before the first debate and the race is neck and neck now, that’s your answer.

Five percentage points.

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The Talking Points Debate

When even the MSNBC hosts agree that Romney won last night’s debate with President Obama, and Chris Matthews looked like he had been crying off camera, then yeah, I guess Romney won.  I admit I called this one wrong.  Not that I didn’t think Romney would do well, but I thought no matter how well he did the MSM would call it a tie at best.  I figured they could only call it for Romney if Obama totally screwed the pooch, Obama wasn’t quite that bad (no major gaffes) but I honestly didn’t expect Obama to do as poorly as he did.

Obama was clearly poorly served by his debate preparation team.  His habit of scowling when hearing things he doesn’t like is well known, and he knew he was going to hear things he didn’t like so he should have been prepared for that.  Also his annoying habit of looking down and not looking at his opponent… come on guys, that’s basic freshman Speech class stuff!  All this from someone who allegedly prepared more for these debates, “than any sitting President in the modern era.

Obama didn’t even bother to offer “the audience a sandwich.”

Even Jeff Greenfield, no fan of the right, said:

Yes, it wasn’t the best atmospherics for Obama to look down, purse his lips, appear distracted, while Romney was attentive, engaged, relaxed. But this was much more than atmospherics. This was about one candidate who came with a frame for the evening, and who was prepared to engage on every question; and another who, perhaps because of his documented faith in his own abilities, felt he could wing it with snatches of familiar verbiage.

One really feels the loss of the teleprompter.

But optics and atmospherics aside, the real difference is that Romney came to the debate armed with facts and familiarity with the issues.  Obama came with his talking points, such as the one about the tax break for shipping jobs overseas.

Obama: “But I also want to close those loopholes that are giving incentives for companies that are shipping jobs overseas. I want to provide tax breaks for companies that are investing here in the United States,”
“Right now, you can actually take a deduction for moving a plant overseas. I think most Americans would say that doesn’t make sense. And all that raises revenue.”

Romney: “Look, I’ve been in business for 25 years. I have no idea what you’re talking about. I maybe need to get a new accountant, but the idea that you get a break for shipping jobs overseas is simply not the case.” 

There is no tax deduction for moving businesses overseas.  Costs of business are deductible, like closing (or opening) manufacturing plants, but that isn’t a deduction that gives a special break to a company to move overseas.  However this has been a leftie talking point for years.  They listen to themselves repeat the same things over and over until they never doubt the truth of it.  Romney made Obama look like he had no idea what he was talking about, which was actually the case; Obama didn’t know what he was talking about.  Sorry lefties, there is no special tax break for outsourcing American jobs.

 The other issue was that Romney’s tax plan would raise the deficit 5 trillion and raise taxes on the middle class in order to give the rich a tax cut.  Once again, Obama relied on his dubious talking points only to be confronted by a Romney denial that his tax plan would raise taxes on the middle class, lower taxes on the rich, and increase the deficit by 5 trillion dollars.  I know a little something about this issue since I demolished a claim made by the Tax Policy Center in August that Romney’s tax plan couldn’t work as planned.  You can get the details here, however the gist is:

Romney’s plan is revenue neutral, so there is no, I repeat, no cut in tax revenues.

Even though rates are lowered, the deductions and credits are removed to make up the difference.  This makes for a simpler tax code.

The Tax Policy Center admitted that the plan they actually scored, was only similar to Romney’s plans, and they had to make up the details.

The Tax Policy Center counts the 20% cuts in tax rates on top of the Bush tax cuts, which will no longer be in force when Romney would be President.

There were probably more talking point moments by Obama, but these were the big ones.  Meanwhile, over at MSNBC, the gang was apoplectic about Obama not using even more talking points!

Although one debate can probably be dismissed as a bump in the road, I hope that the President does take Chris Matthews advice and start getting his talking points from MSNBC.  Obama armed with even more inaccurate talking points would make the rest of the debates must see TV right up to the election.

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QE3 Sugar High

With less than two months to go until the Presidential Elections, in rides Ben Bernanke on top of a white horse named QE3, to help boost President Obama’s election chances by injecting a little cocaine into the national bloodstream. The FED

WASHINGTON - MAY 16:  Federal Reserve Chairman...

WASHINGTON – MAY 16: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during the conference ‘New Building Blocks for Jobs and Economic Growth’ May 16, 2011 at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. Bernanke spoke on the government’s role on promoting and research and development. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

announced today their latest program of quantitative easing, QE3.  However instead of Treasury bonds, this program will buy mortgage backed securities to attempt to further push down mortgage interest rates.

Unlike the other quantitative easing programs, this one is open ended.  The FED will buy 40 billion dollars in mortgage backed securities a month until “conditions improve”; or at least until January of 2014, when the FED chairman’s appointment ends.  This may be Bernanke’s attempt to keep his job, since Governor Romney has already stated that if elected President, he won’t re-appoint Bernanke.  President Obama hasn’t made promises (publically) either way, but if Bernanke can boost up the economy just long enough to drag Obama across the finish line for reelection, it’s a sure bet he will be staying on.

But this sounds suspiciously like how we ignited the financial crisis in the first place.  Even NPR looks upon this round of quantitative easing as a gimmick, as it amusingly collected some of the more common quantitative easing analogies.  I prefer the tried and true sugar high myself.  Injecting cash into the economy is a bit like some candy and soda (non diet of course).  That gives you the sugar high of high stock prices and an upward wobble in GDP growth, but then of course since there is no real economic growth to match, the market declines again, growth tapers back off, and the sugar crash occurs.

Long term however, like human cells subjected to constant rushes of glucose, the economy develops an insulin resistance, requiring greater and greater amounts of sugar to stir any growth.  My analogy breaks down right about here as our economy finally gets diabetes.  That’s when all of the excess cash in the economy causes inflation, which paradoxically pushes interest rates up; the opposite of what the FED is trying to accomplish.

Of course, since our economic recovery has remained rather sluggish, inflation hasn’t had much chance to rear its ugly head, although as I had written last year, what inflation there is has been kept fairly well hidden by the current government reporting methodology.  Now I know there are inflation doubters, who don’t see any connection between the supply of a currency and it’s value, but I did notice this little tidbit in a Bloomberg story:

U.S. stocks rallied, sending benchmark indexes to the highest levels since 2007, silver and gold surged while the dollar weakened as the Federal Reserve said it will buy mortgage securities to bolster the economy. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 1.6 percent to 1,459.99 at 4 p.m. in New York and rates on mortgage bonds tumbled to record lows. Ten-year Treasury yields slipped three basis points to 1.73 percent after rising as much as seven points earlier. Oil climbed 1.3 percent to $98.31 a barrel, a four-month high, while gold jumped to the highest price since February. The Dollar Index (DXY), a gauge of the currency against six peers, fell 0.6 percent to the lowest level since May.

Just saying…

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Romney goes all in with Ryan

This was not the Vice Presidential pick I was expecting.  I was going along with the conventional wisdom on this one and assuming either Rob Portman or Tim Pawlenty.  Usually, you almost always can count on going wrong when relying on the conventional wisdom, but Mitt Romney seems like a conventional wisdom kind of guy, so the safe guesses seemed likely to me.  So I was surprised when I heard on the news that Paul Ryan was Romney’s VP pick.

In general terms, Ryan is a good pick.  He’s bright; in fact, bright enough that the average IQ of the House of Representatives will drop a good deal when he leaves. He can also present his arguments clearly and concisely.  One of my favorite all time political video clips is the Obamacare Health Summit, in which Ryan demolished the fiscal rationale behind the Obamacare CBO report in a few minutes, with a scowling Obama looking on.

Ryan was right on Obamacare, but it still passed.

And that’s the problem with the Ryan pick.  The President’s campaign strategy for this year has been to avoid economic issues and engage in personal attacks and demagoguery.  That’s the purpose of the various “war on…” ads.  2010’s “Throw Granny off a Cliff,” featuring a Ryan look alike rolling a wheelchair bound grandmother type off the edge of a cliff, is a harbinger of the type of campaign we can expect from the Obama administration.  When Democrats portray Republicans, they are usually shown as either stupid or evil, depending on what they think fits better.  With Ryan, it’s clearly going to be evil.  Will we see ads portraying Ryan as a blade welding, hockey mask wearing killer, slicing and dicing the elderly in rest homes?  Don’t laugh; after throwing granny off a cliff, will Ryan stop at nothing?

Ryan doesn’t really bring the key battleground States, like Portman (Ohio) or Rubio (Florida) would.  Romney is going for an ideological and ideas pick.  With Ryan, he’s showing that the thrust of his administration is going to be to get our fiscal house in order.  That’s a great thing and a vital one, but it plays into the Obama administration’s yearlong campaign strategy.  The White House is probably popping the corks on the bottles of champagne.  If you’re running a campaign based on demagoguery, you couldn’t have hoped for better than a Ryan pick.

Just like on Obamacare, Ryan is right on our budgetary and fiscal issues, but as Obamacare shows, being right doesn’t mean you will win the votes.

Looking at the race in the beginning of the year, I figured it would be Obama winning in a squeaker.  Months later, with the Ryan pick, I still lean that way.  But at least the battle grounds are clearly drawn, and we know what the race is about: saving our country from fiscal chaos and trying to restore the nation, or stripping the treasury of every dollar and eating our seed corn; eat, drink, and be merry, because tomorrow we may be a third rate, ruined power.  I think if the American people are given that clear choice, they’ll make the right decision.  The problem is, the few undecided voters will be viewing the race through the lens of the big three network nightly news programs, and they are all three firmly on Team Obama.

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