Noam Scheiber at TNR relates the sad but true story of how Mitt and his advisers relied on the results of flawed internal polling almost exclusively in the waning days of the campaign to confidently predict that Romney would win by a comfortable margin.
Scheiber charts out the predicted outcomes in swing states from the internal polls, which were composed of 2 day averages taken over the weekend before the election, compared to the actual results in those states. The contrast is head shaking. The polls underestimated Obama’s vote totals from 2 points to as many as 7 points in these states, all of which were won by Obama and not, as the campaign expected, by Romney.
It really begs the question of whether they ever even wondered why their poll results were so out of line compared to other polls being taken over the same periods by independent sources. The differences appear to be misguided assumptions about the demographic make-up of voters who would turn out combined with a belief that Romney was experiencing a surge of momentum in several of the states (helped on, no doubt, by all the people clapping hard for it to be true).
But before you schedule the fireworks display and invite all your big donors to fly their private jets in and help celebrate (to the extent that the airport was apparently in danger of running out of plutocrat jet parking spots) and decide to forego the concession speech, wouldn’t you want to, you know, nail down your figures a little more? Take a hard look at the assumptions and reconcile them to the assumptions being made by the pollsters who weren’t projecting a Romney landslide? Question things just a leeetle bit more? So poor Tagg didn’t have to melt down and Egg didn’t need to cry? No stiff upper lips for the gob smacked after all.
Not if you do things Mitt Romney Style I guess. Which brings me to the central point. What a bullet we dodged! Someone who is so ready to believe in the complete veracity of their polls when all the other polls are saying “no, no” (well, not all, exactly; Faux News was still out there, but still) wouldn’t even have to try and fake the WMD stuff to take us to war with Iran. He’d just send the troops in with that smirk on his face.
If you thought that the GOP’s latest spanking might cause any movement conservatives to silence their inner sociopaths you’d be wrong, wrong, wrong. Timeouts for introspection have expired and a goodly portion of Republican politicians and pundits are still noticeably mental . . .
Here’s a little audio/video round-up of the crazy that still has the Republican Party firmly in its grip . . .
First up: Here’s Fox News legal analyst Peter Johnson Jr. alternately wringing his hands and clutching his pearls because society, as we know it, will change “forever,” (anthropologically, no less), if Washington state moves forward with creating gender-neutral marriage certificates. [While watching this, keep reminding yourself that this man has a law degree]
As America lurches toward the “fiscal cliff,” 90 or so of the most powerful and civic-minded CEOs in the country have banded together, in a patriotic little cabal called “Fix the Debt” to save us all from our profligate ways. Ostensibly these guys know more about money—how to make it, how to use it, how to make it grow—than anyone else in the country, so they are “natural-go-tos” for making the debt go away . . . right? Well, maaaayybe.
I’m no economist but when politicians start talking about cutting Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid to keep a bloated defense industry afloat, and corporate tax breaks in place, CEOs’ brains are not the first ones I’d choose to pick for balanced solutions. These are guys who make obscene amounts of money finding ways to keep their bottom lines meaty, come hell or high water. They are rewarded by their shareholders, specifically, for elevating single-minded self-interest to an art.
And when they volunteer to help the administration solve its problems, and pony up $60 million to “socialize” their ideas, you can be sure they have not taken their eye off the prize for a second. These particular CEOs have presided over the most enormous declines in private retirement pension plans in US labor history and those who still provide traditional pension plans for their employees have looted them and left their plans seriously underfunded.
With their own employees retirement plans far more uncertain, these are the guys relentlessly arguing that the president needs to lead by cutting back on the only piece of retirement planning that is reliable—Social Security and Medicare. They suggest raising the retirement age and lowering retiree expectations (i.e., cutting benefits). The Institute for Policy Studies has gathered all of the gory details in a report that they subtitle “Pension Deficit Disorder.”
Well, a Speaker’s work is never done. While less important members of Congress get to lamely splash around in the shallow end of the Lame Duck session, sober serious men of import have things to do. So it is that Speaker John Boehner has spent the last few days consulting his personnel binders, astrological charts and donor lists to determine who’s been naughty/who’s been nice and who wins the Chairs of the Various House Committees. And, at last, the list of winners for the 113th Congress’ House Lobbyist Windfall Sweepstakes have been announced. And guess what? everyone on the list just happened to turn out to be Caucasian with a prominent Y-chromosome!
Yep, Speaker Boehner consulted his collection of White Dude Binders and found the perfect match for every House Chairmanship. What’re the odds they’d all be WHITE MALES?? Way to go, GOP! That ought to be a base broadener.
Boehner’s picks are pretty unremarkable except for a few boners (erm, pardon the pun) like appointing climate change skeptic, Lamar Smith (R-TX) to head up the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. (Maybe he got confused because Smith is a Christian Scientist?)
Another “notable” on Boehner’s short list is Paul Ryan to do an encore as Budget Committee Chair despite the fact that Ryan needed a special waiver because his term-limit was up. Guess it’s just unimaginable to have budget committee without Boy Blunder at the helm? Maybe a Special Extraconstitutional Proclamation naming Ryan Committee Chair for Life?
So Roasters, hoist yourselves another hearty holiday draught of Schadenfreude 2012 and drink deeply! mid-term elections will be here before we know it.
Back in the mid ‘80s I spent most of my weekends chilling on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where I dated one of the daughters of America’s original “Beat” writer, Chandler Brossard. One day, when she was engaged in her casting job for TV’s “Another World” soap opera, I received a phone call from Andy Warhol’s nephew, James, who lived in Queens. It seems James needed a human model for a book cover he was painting, and he thought I could fill the bill. And since my gal was busy tending to the needs of a TV show cast which included a budding juvenile Jane Krakowski, I decided to help him out.
Forty-five minutes later, the L train dropped me in front of James’s industrial-style loft in Queens. He didn’t have any official props, but he equipped me with a mop-bucket helmet, a bathroom-rug cape, and a plastic broom handle to stand in for my ray gun.
You can see the results above, in the appropriately titled, “Nightmare Machine” installment of the Battlestar Galactica chronicles. And thanks to James for visiting me in the trauma hospital, remembering that he had painted this, and offering to send me the original canvas to hang in my home. How’s your life, cousins?
All of a sudden America’s CEOs are terribly concerned about the federal government’s debt. They are so concerned, in fact, that they have launched a group project that they are calling The Campaign to Fix the Debt, under the auspices of Pete Peterson’s Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), complete with website and activist power tools. The campaign appears to be based on a presumption that the majority of Americans are too stupid and/or self-involved to remember that these are the very same buckaroos who made the US debt what it is today, or to recognize an opportunistic power grab by insatiable plutocrats when they see one.
The cast of characters listed on the CEO Fiscal Leadership Council (gawd, do you believe it?) reads like a Who’s Who of stimulus-sucking, tax evading, government contract vampires and not only are they barnstorming the media with their “fiscal leadership” strategies but there is a concerted effort to continue to pressure their employees to take an active political part in their bosses’ agenda. Their website provides canned presentations for in-house use, and form letters for employee outreach as well as form letters that can be distributed to employees to send to their Congressional representatives.
Every month, for the past six years, I have been riding the subway to Brooklyn to attend the monthly Secret Science Club events. The first meeting of The Secret Science Club took place in the basement of the Union Hall bar in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn, it was an irreverent career retrospective from a marine biologist. Like some sort of sea creature, I was hooked. At first, the lectures seemed a little ilicit, a group of passionate people meeting in the basement of a tavern. To me, it was part of the pushback against stupidity- reasonable people were getting behind reason in the wake of the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District victory. The forces of dogma and magical thinking had lost a monkey trial waged north of the Mason-Dixon line... they had been beaten back, now it was time for the troglodytes to be beaten down. Arranging informal science lectures in bars was a wonderful thing, an effort to show that science was not something limited to those in the ivory/ivy towers of academia.
Now, six years later, the S.S.C. meets in The Bell House, a much larger venue owned by the same consortium of owners as Union Hall. Every month, the lectures play to a standing-room-only crowd. Every month, I write a recap of the lecture for my blog. Since the lectures aren’t political, I have never posted a recap here, but inspired by Vixen Strangely’s latest blog post about ocean acidification and the fact that Hurricane Sandy was such a newsworthy event, and an event that had political repercussions, I’m going to post the latest lecture, a discussion of Superstorm Sandy, below the fold. Put on your lab coats, dear readers, it’s going to get, uh, scientific...
This clip is a little old, about two weeks. The bottom line is—just how important is this funny little “fiscal cliff” anyway? And is someone a “poopyhead”(INTERROBANG!) for thinking rich people should somehow be taxed less because they make the jobs happen? Huh. Since Norquist mentions it—there doesn’t really seem to be a particular correspondence between tax cuts and growth, and tax raises don’t really necessarily kill the economy—just going by recent history. Clinton had a higher tax rate and the the economy went to “irationally exuberant”. George Bush the Lesser lowered tax rates on the job creators and we didn’t see rapid expansion of that good old George Bush economy.
One of the problems with relying on Grover Norquist’s opinions is that he is an apparent adult baby in terms of his little pissy pledge that no one has to have the indignity of paying for the government we all benefit from. His “No Tax” pledge stems from his being a wee bairn who resented a bite from his ice cream cone. That is to say. his justification for not liking taxes now dates back to a bite by his old man of a treat (not a meal) for which he got nothing in return—whereas people who pay taxes should understand they get a lot of protections and so on from the federal government..
So it makes news when any Republican contradicts St. Grover. But that is just what a Republican, currently serving, like, say, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, up and did. No, not for the right reasons, him being a Republican and all—but still. So let it be said—Norquist is so probably an adult baby. And he lurches off to have a right snit over how people sometimes ever vote in their self-interest. The bastards. The poopyheads.
I might not mind if Norquist ever had a face to face challenge by real members of the hoi polloi, for whom taxation is very much a secondary issue. But I don’t think he’d do well in that venue. He really couldn’t run for office.
But as a mindfullness study, I do recommend that everyone recall that Grover Norquist was a human, once. An immature human. A larva. And he still says “poopyhead.”
The month of November, in any US presidential election year is always an interesting melange of victory and defeat, affirmations and soul-searching, rebirth and post mortem. Winners are anxious to consolidate their gains and get to work and losers get serious about figuring out a way to win next time.
This year, is particularly entertaining because, if they are to be believed, Republicans were “shell-shocked” by their loss—an interesting choice of metaphor in itself. If anyone in this country were suffering the effects of a “siege mentality,” my first guess at “who” would not be the GOP.
Nevertheless the conservative punditocracy have slogged their way through about three of the stages of grief, and now, apparently, it is the turn of the Right-thinking pseudo-intellectuals to weigh in with their Sober and Serious recommendations for the path forward. So far, their ruminations and prescriptions are remarkable for their unremarkability and, at this point, I’m not expecting many surprises beyond the Court Martial and banishment of Grover Norquist which, truth be told, is exceptionally overdue. Only in the Republican party of the last half of the 20th century could such a tiresome little martinet have held such sway.
And, of course, Norquist himself is symptomatic of what has gone so terribly wrong with the Cult of Republican ideology—a pathology so virulent and advanced that there is little hope that its host will actually survive. But for those who come after, there are definitely lessons to be learned.
One of the predominant themes during this past election was the mostly honest bewilderment of a large portion of the electorate who found themselves either wondering or asking out loud “how can they say that? how can they repeat that lie? do they think we’re stupid enough to buy that idea? how can they make proposals and refuse to give details? do they actually believe these things that they are touting? do they think these sexist, agist, racist, elitist things they say are OK with the rest of us?
I have bittersweet feelings, as an atheist, about the Thanksgiving season, because it is the gateway to Christmastown. I have things to be thankful about (Obama winning the election, the dying out of Rush Limbaugh’s audience, the tendency of major events to show science is, like, a real thing, not a hobby people in lab coats do for shits’n'grins, Y’know, like how global warming is real, or how contraception means “not conceiving”—those kinds of things.)
Anyway, I do sort of hate Christmas, and yet, I don’t begrudge believers their thing. No, seriously. If they pay homage to the Christ within their fellow humans by providing those near and dear to them with gifts, or sing songs, or make any kind of merry—I am totally down with the merry-making. I and merry-making have been one for the longest. I am a wassailing fool. I am a gift-wrapping, toe-tapping, high-spending, season-ending, bell-ringing, hotdish-bringing you-know-what of an atheist. I celebrate. I am not stealing or co-opting your joy. I have the spirit, you know?
But there’s this little thing with the all-Xmas radio channels and the in-store Xmas Musak. So many, many of my peeps are retail folks. So many, many of them are living with “Rum, tum, tum tum.” ringing in their ears, and regardless of belief, that regular aural assault on the eardrums of fala-lala-la is not healthy. It’s been used as a form of psyops by no less than Sheriff Arpaio.. As a member of student choirs since I was very young, I was exposed to a kind of SERE training against overt aural Xmas Ear Assault behaviors by the major retail establishments. But I know full well what they are and how they demoralize retail workers while trying to send Christmas telegraphs to regular folks—all about the same thing: the need for too muchnesss, and the availability of right jolly old elves who serve the Christmas spirit,
Me, I think the Christmas spirit is that thing you have when you aren’t even doing Christmas stuff, And I believe a Christmas is done best when it’s commercialized least—which is why I stand with Black Friday protestors, and support people espousing Small Business Saturday.
Your milage may vary. But I say just a little less “jingle” might better serve the better Kringles of our human nature. I am for the Matthew gospel of the season—more than the buy it now button of our culture. And I think its the outcasts and weirdos who espouse it better than some of the Christmas Warriors..
There, now. That’s over—the annual American Festival of Family Dysfunction that we like to call “Thanksgiving.” The day when American families of all sizes and backgrounds come together, whether they like it or not, to reaffirm their understanding that democracy, even at the lowest common denominator—the Family Unit—is a colorfully messy and overwrought business that leads to gorging and pathological excesses.
Our national holiday for giving thanks has necessarily turned into a four day Jamboree of Capitalism and Retail Mania signifying just how damned exceptional Americans truly are. Here’s hoping that all of you Thankful drank hearty, ate huge American over-sized portions of traditional-food-that-is-bad-for-you-unless-you’re-a-cowboy-or-farm-hand-or Michael Phelps-who-burns-12K-calories/day and are now prepared for the traditional Black Friday hangover cure of standing in long lines in the fresh air outside Big Box stores, for the opportunity to scarf up retailer-rigged bargains on junk from China (just don’t cross that Walmart picket line).
One of the less talked about benefits of Thanksgiving reunions is, of course, the chance to catch-up with that notorious experiment-in-genetics-gone-horribly-wrong that every family harbors (come on, admit it) and usually welcomes back to its bosom ONCE per year. This is the relative who shows up with a battery-operated dancing roast turkey on his/her head, an already opened litre of vodka in a brown bag and who arrives demented and/or drunk or gets there remarkably quickly. This is also the guest who is not too lily-livered to broach the subjects of politics, religion, race, queers or family history hot buttons to get the conversational ball rolling.
Trust me, this is all going somewhere relevant, because the very first thing that I read this morning, Black Friday 2012, was a bit about Crazy Uncle Pat Robertson admitting he got a few things wrong about this years predictions after his January Summit Meeting with The Lord. My first reaction to reading that item was “how long will this monstrous chucklehead receive national media attention for his racist, bigoted, xenophobic chats with God and his Magic 8 Ball?
Well, I guess Republicans just plain have a hard time curbing those GOP talking points, bless their hearts . . . even when opening their pieholes means still more embarrassment for the GOP. Evidently, Sen Rob Portman (R-OH) is not buying into the “better branding for tired out ideology” school of Republican Resuscitation.
You’ll probably remember Portman in his most recent role as the Obama Stand-In for the Rmoney Master-Debater Club. You may have forgotten by now, however, that Portman served several useful purposes during the George W. Bush administration, including Budget Director (2006-2007) for the administration which presided over turning a surplus into a record-breaking deficit. Let’s not forget that Dubya was the only President in US history profligate enough to pass an unfunded Medicare Advantage bill, two tax cuts and start two wars at the same time, yelling “deficits don’t matter” all the while.
One might expect that a “serious” person with world-class fiscal silliness like that on his resume might take a seat and be quiet for a while when the subject turns to the economy. But one would be underestimating the arrogance and puffery of the GOP which refuses to retire the nonsense about tax cuts for the wealthy creating jobs . . . or the foolishness about generating revenue through tax reform.
But noooooo . . . Portman campaigned for Romney and was considered for the Vice Presidency of an administration that promised to continue and reinforce those voodoo economic policies without bothering to share with the electorate how they expected to make it work after 30 years of documented failure. Portman probably considers himself a serious contender for 2016 and he’s still a standard-bearer for that failed Romney message:
I saw Nancy Pelosi’s comments … saying you can’t get enough revenues through the itemized deductions and closing loopholes. That’s just not accurate. I mean, it’s just not accurate. You can.
You can get more revenue if you wanted to. So I don’t know where her math is coming from. It sounds to me like it’s more just a matter of Democrat dogma that they want to be sure that people’s tax rates go up.
The problem with that is, it’s going to result in more lost jobs at a time when we’ve already lost too many.
Portman is probably referring to the idea that Romney floated, late in the campaign, to cap deductions. But from Obama’s perspective, the expiration of the Bush Tax Cuts is one thing and the subsequent negotiations over reducing the deficit are another. Obama comes off the election with a strong hand to play on raising tax rates on the top 2%—NOW.
Howard Gleckman, of The Tax Policy Center, explains how capping deductions might work and why it might not work for Obama:
The politics of this would still be very tough. For instance, a deduction cap would hammer charities and they are already gearing up to fight it. TPC estimates that revenues would be cut by one-third if charitable gifts are excluded from a $50,000 deduction cap.
I’m not even sure these changes would get lawmakers all the way there. But they show a compromise is possible. There are ways, crude as they are, to hike taxes on the wealthy without raising their rates as much as Obama would like.
Still, there is another important issue to keep in mind. A cap would only fill the hole left by preserving the low rates now enjoyed by the wealthy. Thus, revenues from such deduction limits would no longer be available to help reduce the long-term deficit—a job that would then be more heavily weighted to spending cuts. And that may be the real reason why Obama is reluctant to use this tool in the short run.
Meanwhile, smart people who are sincere about job creation know that the thing that drives job creation is demand for goods and services. Smart people who are interested in long-term fiscal policy and “lessons learned from history” know that concentration of wealth always results in economic contraction.
__________________ is a great American success story. This is what America is all about. A young woman who grew up in a segregated part of America where Americans were not treated equally, to rise to the position of secretary of state. We should have been celebrating, I believe, this remarkable American success story.
Also, I thought that some of the remarks — and I’m not going to mention my colleagues’ names — some of the remarks aimed at her during the hearings challenged her integrity. We can disagree on policy and we disagree on a lot of things, but I think it is very clear that _______________ is a person of integrity. And yes, I see this, some lingering bitterness over a very tough campaign. I hope it dissipates soon.
I can only conclude we’re doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness at the outcome of the elections.
If you guessed Sen. John McCain, “Bingo!” That was Senator McCain waxing all “America, Land of Opportunity” over the confirmation of Condoleezza Rice back in 2005. McCain seemed quite impressed with the other Rice’s indisputable “integrity” despite the fact that, as National Security Advisor to George W. Bush, she lied through her teeth about Saddam Hussein’s WMDS, resulting in the deaths of thousands of American troops and countless Iraqi civilians over ten years in Iraq.
In light of those glowing accolades, as opposed to Sen. McCain’s current character assassination of Susan Rice, I can only conclude that he’s doing this for no other reason than because of lingering bitterness at the outcome of the elections.
We need an ambassador who has the trust of the president and the secretary of State . . . elections have consequences, and one consequence of President ________ re-election is that he has the right to appoint officials of his choice.
A president has a right to put into place the team that he believes will serve him best.
Wow! that McCain has a silver tongue, doesn’t he? That was 2005 again, when McCain spoke up for Dubya’s nomination of John Bolton for Ambassador to the UN. At the time, Bolton’s opponents said he was unfit for the job because, among other things, he allegedly tried to get a State Department analyst to change an intelligence finding to support his own world view. But John McCain said “Fiddlesticks!”
Of course, McCain has had a terrible decade: he was beaten by a landslide by a black man who refuses to kiss McCain’s ring. The little trolls in McCain’s head keep telling him “It should be ME! in that Oval Office, and commanding SEAL teams from the SitRoom! And I have to stomach this “uppity pretender” strutting his stuff and being Friended all over FaceBook and, and IT. SHOULD. BE. ME! (and Caribou Barbie) running things.
If you think “hell hath no fury like a Senate Minority Leader scorned,” wait’ll you see how long McCain can hold his breath.
Yes, because when you’re as concerned as McCain assures us he is that the foreign policy of the United States is coming unraveled, the best patriotic solution is to work as hard as you can to keep the State Department leaderless until the fires of your personal tantrum cool. It’s hard to believe Hank Paulson didn’t listen to him back in 2008.
It is eating Republicans alive that Benghazi didn’t “Watergate” Obama. They have lost the presidential election, some of their heft in the House (202 Democrats - 234 Republicans), the fever dream of a Senate majority and a lot of their credibility as the go-to party for national security matters.
Now that Romeo Petraeus has testified and the whole Susan Rice incident is quickly shriveling up into a nothingness, Republicans are doing their version of political strategizing to keep the story alive (despite the fact that events in the Mid-East keep stealing their news cycles).
Whether Rice would fail to win a hearing at, say, the Saudi king’s palace because of this one trip around the talk show circuit is hard enough to swallow. But when you think about it, the letter also entails a certain chutzpah. If being “widely viewed” as incompetent or dishonest is such a problem, shouldn’t most of the people who signed that letter, being members of Congress and all, themselves be out of a job?
But, in politics, there’s always a hidden agenda, isn’t there? The hidden agenda here is that Republicans are guessing that if Obama doesn’t want to go through one of their signature fili-blustery confirmation hearings, he would nominate John Kerry (D-Mass), who would most likely cruise unimpeded into the SoS position. BUT—that would mean vacating his Senate seat, setting up a special election for a Massachussetts senate seat that Scott Brown would almost certainly run for and win thus diminishing Democratic power in the Senate at a time when each of those seats were hard-won.
There you have it, business as usual. Obviously, the GOP would rather lumber into a tar pit than change anything about their winning ways. Meanwhile, if you care about Susan Rice’s career, hop on over to whitehouse.gov where I’ve put up a petition calling for John McCain to issue a public apology to her for defaming her character.