Saturday, December 31, 2011

Des Moines Register Poll

The Des Moines Register Poll came out Saturday night and it shows Mitt Romney as the nominal leader at 24%. Ron Paul is second in the poll at 22% but the more recent two nights of polling (the poll was conducted over four nights) shows Rick Santorum still surging garnering 21% and Paul fading a bit.

So what are we to make of all this?

First, as Nate Silver points out, even with the best polls, there are a variety of reasons to be cautious in treating a polling result as a prediction. The most important reason in this case is that the poll was taken over four days with the most recent interviews conducted a full four days before the caucus. This is a particularly volatile electorate as 41% of caucus-goers said they could still change their minds.

But there are some things we can probably draw from this poll:

1) Romney's ceiling: Romney attracted 24% in the poll on the first two nights ... and on the second two nights. We can expect everyone's numbers to go up just a little bit as the undecideds find a home but it is clear that Romney is not going to go significantly higher. A really good guess for Romney's topline on Tuesday night is 28 - 30. I'd guess 28.

2) Paul's ceiling: This poll is particularly good for a lot of reasons. One of them is that it includes cell-phone only voters. Paul did a bit worse in the second two nights of polling as his crazy newsletters got more coverage and as Santorum's surge got more coverage. Paul is not likely to go away as his supporters are somewhat unique but he probably won't move much higher either. Moving lower is possible. A really good guess for Paul is probably right around what he got in the poll here ... 20 - 24 is my guess. UPDATE - Paul actually did a lot worse the second two nights. I'd revise my estimate for him down to 17 - 21. The attacks on him are taking a bigger toll that I had thought.

3) Santorum's surge: Santorum is the only one with real upside. He got just 15% in the four-night sample but did A LOT better on the last two nights. I have a good theory on what is happening. Conservatives who don't like Romney had gone from Bachmann to Perry to Cain to Gingrich and a few went to Paul when he surged. Now they are moving to Santorum. Bachmann, Gingrich, and Perry are not doing very well in this poll but there is still a combined 30% slice of likely caucus-goers supporting these three also-rans. The shift of some of their supporters moving to Santorum is what has fueled his surge in recent days. As more of those 30% see that Santorum is the conservative with the best shot (the Des Moines Register poll will get lots of coverage, especially in Iowa), I think some of those supporting these voters will move to Santorum. Will it be enough for Santorum to catch Romney? I doubt it ... but it is possible.

4) Partly for the reasons in #3, Gingrich, Perry, and Bachmann are done. Gingrich is the most likely to keep going as polls in South Carolina still show him in the lead. That will change quickly with a 4th or 5th place finish in Iowa though. Perry could keep going as he has money. It is hard to see what his path to the nomination would be but remember, logical reasoning is not his strong suit. Bachmann will likely pack it in.

5) Huntsman is still running for President. Seriously.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


With brilliance like this, how can he be losing???
“Every barrel of oil that comes out of those sands in Canada is a barrel of oil that we don’t have to buy from a foreign source,”
Pure genius!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Paul is Likely to Win Iowa ... And Why Democrats Should Hope I'm Wrong

Mark Blumenthal has a piece on the latest Iowa polling and argues that the polling doesn't provide very certain answers about the outcome. The crux of his argument is here:

But be wary of placing too much faith in Iowa's current polling snapshot. The coming week will bring another round of surveys that may once again reveal changes in the standings. Equally important, the state's Republican caucuses will attract a very narrow slice of the potential electorate, historically about 3 to 5 percent of Iowa's adult population -- a group that pollsters cannot identify with precision beforehand. Most of the recent surveys depend on automated methodologies, most are missing voters who don't have landline telephones, and all will face the challenge of reaching Iowa voters between Christmas and New Year's, a time when many Americans are traveling away from home.

All this is true. However, if Blumenthal is right about all this, and if you think about the people these polls are missing, it would seem a lot of Paul voters are getting left out. For instance, "most are missing voters who don't have landline telephones." Who doesn't have landline phones? The young voters Paul attracts. Pollsters are not reaching voters who are traveling over the holidays? I'll tell ya who is not traveling: older voters. In short, these latest polls have Paul with a slight lead and yet they seem to be oversampling voters who are not inclined to vote for him and undersampling voters who are likely to vote for him. Finally, everyone has made a big deal about the lack of organizing in this year's Iowa Caucuses. Maybe it won't matter. But the polls will not necessarily reflect the advantage a well-organized campaign has and, if anyone has that advantage in Iowa, it is Ron Paul.

If you're a Democrat and you're excited that Paul may knock off Romney in Iowa, don't be. This actually works more to Romney's benefit than anyone else's. We all know the race will boil down to Romney and someone else. If that someone else is Ron Paul, Romney wins easily. So, to the extent that Paul gets a boost from Iowa or (more importantly) Gingrich and the rest of the alternatives to Romney under-perform and fail to get a boost out of Iowa, Romney is better off for the long haul.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fundamentally Newt

Newt Gingrich is fundamentally full of s**t.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Memo to Mitt ... You're Losing

Each time someone (Trump, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, etc.) has risen to challenge Mitt Romney for the GOP nomination, they have fallen apart as fast as they rose. So Mitt might think this is what is going to happen with Newt.

I don't think so. If I had to bet who is going to win the nomination, I'd bet on Newt right now, not Mitt. Several reasons why:

1) Newt is ahead of Mitt in several national polls by statistically significant margins. I do not recall seeing that from any of the others. Perry was the closest to achieving this but he was such an awful candidate, he couldn't possibly remain up there.

2) The polling numbers out of some of the early states are particularly alarming for Mitt Romney. Gingrich has a solid lead in Iowa and in South Carolina. He has a massive lead in Florida. But Mitt does not even have a solid firewall in New Hampshire if the latest numbers are to be believed. If Mitt loses Iowa and New Hampshire to Newt, the game is over. And Newt is already close enough in New Hampshire that an Iowa win could push him over the top.

3) Much has been made of Newt's lack of a ground game. I think the ground game is important in Iowa but not as important as it used to be. In addition, Newt does still have time to build his ground game up a little. Right now, Iowa is probably Newt's to lose.

What's striking about Newt's rise in the polls is that national media, etc. are sticking with the view that Mitt is still the front-runner. But, we've always known that if the anti-Mitt folks coalesce around a non-Mitt candidate, Mitt would lose. Conservatives appear to be doing that.

If I were a betting man, I'd give Newt the better shot at the nomination right now.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Super Fail is Really Super Good ...

... and liberals typically can't figure it out.

If you saw my posts around the time the debt limit increase deal was adopted, you know that I felt then that Obama had done great. He's looking like even more of a genius now.

If you're a liberal, pay attention to these realities:

1) The first round of cuts included just $21 billion in cuts between now and the middle of 2013. Not very much.

2) The "automatic" cuts that are now triggered because of the super-committee failure are also back-loaded and are half in defense. It is not a mix of cuts Democrats should fear.

3) The Bush tax cuts will all expire at the end of 2012 unless something is done. In other words, Obama has leverage. We will not be making massive cuts without Obama getting his pound of flesh on that.

4) The public is angry at both parties but they also tell pollsters that they believe Republicans have been more intransigent. Obama has set up the argument for 2012 in exactly the right way. He's the reasonable guy who was willing to make a deal (he offered 3:1 spending cuts for tax increases remember). They were the ones who would make any deal that included any tax increases, even on only the very wealthy. At a Republican debate a couple of months ago, all the Republican presidential candidates were asked if they would accept a deal that was 10:1 spending cuts to tax increases. Not a single one raised their hand. Obama will cue up that video for his ads I'm sure.

The bottom line is that if you think Obama has given up the farm, you need to look more carefully at what has been done. Universal healthcare, largest stimulus in history, auto industry bailout re-paid in full. TARP mostly re-paid. Credit card companies regulated. Student loans made more affordable. Don't Ask Don't Tell Repealed. I could go on.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Herman Cain had some trouble figuring out whether he agreed to the President's approach on Libya:

The good news is that it was only the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The only way anyone will end up seeing it is if there was some way to spread the video virally through some kind of worldwide web of computers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


This is really Vladimir Putin's latest ad in his campaign for President. The campaign slogan is "Let's do it together." Can't tell if this ad is Leninist or Trotskyite:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This is What Perry Looks Like on Impact

3 words: Game. Ov. Er.

Meet Joe Walsh

An angry Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) screaming at his constituents that the banks are not to blame for the economic mess. Not the right message for the GOP or the right messenger ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cain Ad

It isn't often you see the narrator in a presidential ad go out of his way to take a long drag on a cigarette. Herman Cain's campaign goes there. Oh, and then there's that creepy smile from Cain himself ...

Of course, Colbert's take on the ad is much better ...

Monday, October 24, 2011


Here's a nifty chart to show you how you'd likely fare (hint: not good) under Herman Cain's 999 plan.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why Romney Isn't Pulling Away

Lots of people are speculating why Mitt Romney has failed to pull away from his Republican rivals in the race for the GOP nomination. Some say it is because his Mormonism is a non-starter for some fundamentalist Christians, some say it is because of his flip-flops, some say it is his links to Obamacare. The correct answer in a word ... God.

It turns out God has been working the phones encouraging many of the other candidates but there is no indication God has encouraged Romney. Chris Christie is a great endorsement to help with Republican voters in the northeast but God really has crossover appeal.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"It's Math"

The Obama campaign should make t-shirts, bumper stickers, lawn signs, and posters with this simple slogan. Here's what the President said this morning:

"Either we have to ask the wealthy to pay their fair share, or we have to ask seniors to pay more for medicare, or gut education. This is not class warfare. It's Math."

The Texas Miracle

It seems that Rick Perry's credentials as a "job creator" just took a bit of a hit. Some of the jobs in Texas were public sector jobs and, as there are less of those, Texas's unemployment rate is reverting towards the national average.

As the President said this morning ... "it's math."

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stuff That Makes You Say "Really?"

George W. Bush says the most nerve-wracking moment of his entire presidency was throwing out the first pitch in Game 3 of the 2001 World Series.

This explains a lot about his presidency actually.

I happened to be at the game and I can honestly tell you that wasn't even in the top 10 list of nerve-wracking things that day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Obama's Rope-A-Dope

I have long said that Obama employs a rope-a-dope strategy with his opponents. He's done it over and over beginning with his primary campaign against Hillary Clinton in 2007 and 2008.

For months and months, he has allowed the Republicans to punch and scream and yell and generally make asses of themselves. Many on the left have been disappointed and even angry with Obama for not punching back. But Obama knew two things:

1) Punching back was not going to work. He cannot beat public opinion into submission.

2) By not punching back, he allowed the Republicans to have center stage ... which is the absolute worst thing that could happen to them. It turns out their ideas and plans are simply crazy and nihilistic.

This first phase is now over and Obama is now Ali coming out of the crouch and punching back. Like Foreman, Republicans are now unsure what to do and are caught a little bit flat-footed.

If you've missed the 2008 Obama, he's coming to a television near you soon.

Friday, August 12, 2011

What the F*** Has Obama Done So Far?

My new favorite website

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Criticism of Obama

Maureen Dowd has a moronic op-ed out today. Drew Westen's is even dumber. I would link to them but the quota of ignorance in society has been reached. Check back tomorrow.

Regardless, Andrew Sprung and Jonathan Chait have dismembered Westen's stupidity well enough.

The important point in all of this is that liberals need to stop fantasizing about how they think the political system ought to work but never, never, ever has. Hey Krugman, you think the stimulus bill wasn't big enough and relied too much on tax cuts? Me too. When we play fantasy politics, maybe we can invent a political system run by liberal economists. In the real world, Obama got what he could get. Hey Moulistas, you think Obama sold us out on the public option? Show me the 60 votes you rounded up in the Senate in support of it.

Barack Obama is President in the real world where Republicans control the floor of the House of Representatives and have a veto over legislation on the floor of the U.S. Senate. For all his rhetorical gifts, Obama cannot move these unmovable objects. Neither could Reagan. Neither did FDR. Those are myths and fantasies.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What S&P Did Wrong

S&P downgraded US debt and argued it did so because the debt ceiling was not raised in a timely manner and because the US Congress and the administration are not working together well to resolve the long-term debt issues.

Now the blame game begins. Republicans will blame Obama and Obama will blame Republicans. That's how most Americans will see it anyway. Ezra Klein argues S&P was right to downgrade US debt, even arguing it was overdue. As a purely economic matter, S&P probably is right. But what Klein fails to point out and what the media will ignore (because of their "norm of objectivity" which is not actually objective) is this: S&P is to blame for the downgrade ... because they did not blame congressional Republicans. Had S&P and the larger Wall Street community stepped in and asked Republicans to be more reasonable and to stop playing around with the nation's debt ceiling, none of this would have happened. Because S&P tried to stay out of politics even when they knew who was right and who was wrong in this dispute, the Republicans pushed ahead with this outrageous and destructive political strategy. And worse, they now feel empowered to do it all over again and again and again. Even in the downgrade, S&P could have said that Republicans need to compromise on taxes. Instead, S&P said Republican intrangisence on taxes is equivalent to Democratic intrangisence on entitlements. That's just not true. It is untrue. It is wrong. S&P is lying ... in order to appear objective.

In essence, S&P is causing the downgrade

Thursday, August 4, 2011

GOP Opposition to Obama's Birthday

No agreement had been reached so Obama was forced to act unilaterally.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Deal

The New Deal it is not.

Sad that it has come to this and surely liberals will be outraged and will scream and holler that Obama has betrayed them and given in too much.

I am disappointed in the deal to be sure. But this is the kind of "deal" you get when you are negotiating with a group of terrorists and that's what the Republican Party has become. Those who think that Obama could have done better in these negotiations really need to picture him staked out outside of a bank with group of hostage takers making demands. The "deal" you make in that situation is going to be something like this. You're going to give them some money, a car to get out of town, and someone gets released from jail. The hope is that you will still nab these criminals once they've released the hostages. That part of the game is still to be caught.

My point is liberals should watch how Obama seeks to "catch" these criminals now. What is being enacted into law now is $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years. Another set of cuts will be coming. But all these cuts are down the road. All that stuff can still be revised any time Congress decides to do so. All that is guaranteed is what happens in the short term: 1) An increase in the debt ceiling through the next election and 2) some much smaller amount of cuts that will happen immediately.

Oh, and by the way, if you're upset about taxes not being a part of this deal ... remember that Obama still is holding that "hostage" too. The Bush tax cuts expire after 2012 ... all of them. So, if nothing else happens, taxes ARE going up. Some of those will be going up in ways we liberals don't like (the earned income tax credit expansion for instance). But taxes on the wealthy ARE going up unless some other change in law happens.

What matters most now is how this gets spun politically in the context of the coming election.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Not a Governing Party

I've been saying it all along here but Boehner's latest delay on a vote means he doesn't have the votes and the fact that he doesn't have the votes on something as pathetic as raising the debt ceiling for a few months to go with $915 billion in cuts is proof that the Republicans are not a party interested in governing. They just want to win elections.

Boehner now needs to:

1) Come to terms with the ideas above
2) Work with Democrats on coming up with legislation that can attract votes from members of both parties (a clean bill might do it actually or something like the Reid bill might do it)
3) Start sorting through how much of his stuff he wants to keep when he moves out of the Speaker's office

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Watch the House

Making predictions in politics is pretty much a fool's errand. It is far more a fool's errand in the case of the debt ceiling debate. But, if I had to guess, here's what I think will happen and why ...

I mentioned this yesterday but it does not seem to me that Boehner has the votes to pass his plan. He certainly does not have enough votes "among Republicans." There are probably some House Democrats who would be willing to vote for it but there are not many. There are only 25 "Blue Dog" Democrats left in the House after the 2010 election. Even if all of them were to vote for the Boehner plan (I don't think that would be the case), it would not be easy to pass his plan.

If Boehner's plan does pass the House, Reid has already said it is "dead on arrival" in the Senate. That's only partially true because Reid will absolutely bring Boehner's bill to the floor. He'll do this because, procedurally, it allows Reid to move the legislative vehicle through the Senate faster. At that point, Reid would amend Boehner's bill by subsituting his plan and kick it back to the House. The House would have a shot at passing this bill because it would get a majority, if not almost all, of the Democratic votes and it might get some Republican votes.

If Boehner's plan does not pass, he's got to pass something else. Remember that the House has not passed ANY bill to raise the debt ceiling. The so-called "cut, cap, and balance" nonsense did not raise the debt ceiling. If Boehner can't pass ANY bill to raise the debt ceiling, he looks pretty bad (and, by the way, we then face economic armageddon ... but that's a side point). At that point, he will likely have to negotiate with Reid and come up with something that can pass and it seems to me that would have to be something a lot like Reid's plan (perhaps with some face-saving concession to Boehner).

So the bottom line is that Boehner and House generally are the place to watch in the next 24 hours because he's got to take one of the paths above and that will then dictate what happens in the Senate. But Boehner's bill will not become law. Obama has said he would veto it. Reid has said it can't pass the Senate. The only question now is what is Boehner's Plan B?


Until tonight, I thought Boehner was the adult among Republicans. But the guy has been painting himself further and further into the corner ... and he just keeps painting!

I don't know how he passes any piece of legislation that raises the debt ceiling through the House. To get lots of Republican votes, you need to have massive Medicare cuts. And then you won't even get all of them (see Bachmann, Michele and all other nutjobs). To get the extra Democratic votes you need, you'd need to drop the Medicare nonsense and that means you'll hardly get any Republican votes.

And Boehner just keeps on painting. His speech tonight made matters worse.

Friday, July 22, 2011


This is what Obama looks like when he's angry. It would be nice if there was a little more pep. But at least he states the obvious: "If you wanna be a leader, then ya gotta lead."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

... Or Like Reagan Said ...

... I wonder if the party of Reagan is listening:

House Democrats now share Ronald Reagan's position. And House Republicans are truly living in another world.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Like I Said ...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Republican Voters Support Obama's Position on Debt Ceiling

They probably wouldn't support his position if they were told that they were supporting his position but they probably don't realize his position is the same as theirs. Got that?

A Gallup poll released today shows that only 20% of Americans prefer to cut the deficit "only with spending cuts." But just among Republicans, the number is not much higher. Just 26% of Republicans support cutting the deficit "only with spending cuts" while 41% of Republicans support "mostly with spending cuts." President Obama's proposal has been to cut the deficit with $3 of spending cuts for every $1 of tax increases while Eric Cantor's proposal has been $4 of spending cuts for every $0 (not a typo) of tax increases. I mention Eric Cantor here because John Boehner seems to agree with President Obama's proposal even if he can't quite verbalize it publicly. While just 26% of Republican voters agree with Cantor's position and 41% of Republican voters agree with President Obama's position, another 27% of Republican voters believe the deficit should be cut with an equal amount of tax increases and spending cuts or "mostly with tax increases" or "only with tax increases."

That's right ... more Republican voters are to the left of President Obama on this issue than to his right. Not bad for an anti-colonial socialist.

Monday, July 11, 2011

We No Longer Have Two Parties

The GOP really cannot be called a political party anymore. A classical political science definition of a party goes something like this: a coalition of political actors who organize to contest elections and who organize to govern once in office. And that latter part is where the GOP falls short. They just don't have a plan to govern, any interest in governing, or any plan to make a plan to govern.

This has been clear to me for some time but today's statements from Republican congressional leaders really brought it all home. Today, John Boehner and company jumped the shark (for information on the meaning of this phrase, see here) by saying that they have sacrificed in the debt limit increase negotiations by just agreeing to consider raising the debt limit in the first place. House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor (R-VA), said "A vote to increase the debt limit in this country is an existential question for a fiscal conservative."

If it is so "existential" for Cantor, why did he vote to increase the debt limit in June 2002 ... and again in May 2003 ... and again in November 2004 ... and again in March 2006 ... and again in September 2007? Perhaps he misspoke. He meant to say, "A SIXTH vote to increase the debt limit is an existential question."

Having dismissed Cantor as completely disingenuous (the debt ceiling has been raised 10 times in the last 10 years), let's consider a few points about the current situation:

1) Raising the debt ceiling is a made up issue. It is not necessary to be doing this. Democrats (Dick Gephardt to be exact) solved this a long time ago when they created a rule to effectively raise the debt ceiling when a budget resolution is agreed to. Republicans brought the debt ceiling votes back ... just to create pressure and crises like this one.

2) The President has met the Republicans more than halfway. He's met them about 75% of the way towards their position to be exact. He's proposed a package that is 75% spending cuts including deep cuts to entitlements sacred to Democrats and just 25% increases in revenues by eliminating many of the Bush tax cuts ... a year and a half from now. That's right. None of the revenue increases Obama is talking about would even kick in until 2013. I could go on. But the point here is that the Republicans are not a negotiating partner. They are seeking to accept a surrender. They are not willing to give in on anything at all.

3) Some Republicans have openly questioned whether the failure to increase the debt limit would be so bad. The Republican leadership has not gone quite that batshit crazy (it is a technical term) but they DO say they will not vote for a debt limit increase that has ANY tax increases on ANYONE and they will not vote for a debt limit increase without massive cuts to entitlements. This position is not so different. I call it "batshit crazy light." They accuse Obama of wanting to increase taxes on average Americans (not true) and of engaging in a spending binge (not true). They also argue the deficit can be tackled by simply cutting spending. This is technically true but would require such deep cuts that Americans have already overwhelmingly rejected the approach. Most importantly, the Republicans claim the American people do not support ANY tax increase. This is just not true. Americans do support "ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy."

So, in sum, we have an entire political party that has made up a fake issue to provoke a crisis (point #1), that has no sense of reality or facts (point #3) and, now that the crisis is here, will not agree to anything other than 100% of what they want (point #2).

This is not a political party. It is an electoral organization at best. At worst, they are a group of economic terrorists. This was the label Andrew Sullivan used a couple of weeks ago to describe John Boehner and his gang. At the time I thought it was a funny label and provocative. Now I think it is just plain correct. Terroists do things like strap explosives to themselves, threaten everyone around them, have only the haziest sense of reality, facts, and rationality, and it is, of course, impossible to negotiate with them. Aside from the physical explosives, what is different about what John Boehner and Eric Cantor are doing? They're threating to wreck the economy (including lots of damage to the powerful interests supporting the Republicans), they have no sense of facts or reality, and they are simply not a negotiating partner.

The only silver lining in all this is that Republicans are still an electoral organization. What I haven't been able to figure out in all this is why Wall Street and other powerful financial interests have allowed Republicans to take their game of chicken this far. Smart people I've posed this question to respond by saying these powerful interests have already hedged their bets and have come up with ways to make money if the government defaults. I don't quite buy that argument. It is not clear to me how that works financially for any but a very small number of people.

Maybe I'm just not cynical enough yet.

UPDATE: Making a similar argument to the one I've laid out above, Jonathan Rauch posted a short piece today declaring "these people are dangerous" and "Republicans ought to remember that nothing would whisk them back to long-term minority status faster than being perceived by the broad middle as unfit to govern."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Independent Voters are Not Actually Independent or Voters ... Discuss

Alan Abramowitz points out that the vast majority of people who identify as "independents" are actually closet partisans and they have lower rates of voter turnout anyway. The takeaway point is that independents will not likely determine the outcome of the election. Instead the election will likely be determined by turnout among partisans.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

This would be as good a time as any to make fun of the British:

Friday, July 1, 2011

Mark Halperin is a Bad Word

In case you missed it, in his appearance on Morning Joe on Thursday morning, Halperin said Obama was acting like "a dick." He has been suspended indefinitely ... and the quality of life improves.

Alex Pareene absolutely nails what a total (insert bad word here) Halperin is.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Mom, Please Pick Up ...

Same-Sex Marriage Soon Legal in NY

This is a great civil rights victory and I suspect California is not going to be far behind in getting this done (through the courts and at the ballot box). And, of course, the substantive policy change is what really matters most.

But, since this is a site focused on politics, let's take a moment to think about the politics of the NY vote. Andrew Cuomo is a big, big winner in all of this. This happened because of his dogged determination to get it done and he made it happen by working with the handful of Republican state senators he needed to get on board. In a previous post, I commented on Cuomo's very high approval rating despite the fact that most governors (from either party) are not very popular right now. Cuomo is going to be discussed as a 2016 presidential contender and this is going to accelerate that kind of talk.

Want to identify a loser in all this? How about Mitt Romney? New York is not a bellweather state nationally so you might think this does not tell us much that is useful about the policy issue nationally or about where the nation is headed nationally. But this bill doesn't pass in NY without the support of some Republican legislators from Republican districts. Those Republicans that vote for this legislation are looking at where the independent voters in their districts are headed and they know that it is not just right to be for the bill but it is good politics. Now, cut to a picture of Mitt Romney. Whatever Romney's real, private thoughts on same-sex marriage, Romney knows he cannot win the Republican nomination without being opposed to same-sex marriage. So, he will tow the party line on this issue. When the general election rolls around, taking that position will help Romney in the key swing states of Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Utah. But it will not help him in Colorado or in Virginia or in Wisconsin or in Minnesota. All of these are states Obama won in 2008 but Colorado and Virginia in particular are states the Republicans need to win back to defeat Obama in 2012. As independents rapidly move towards approving of same-sex marriage, absolutist positions like the one Romney is going to have to take are not going to be winning positions.

UPDATE: And now it is done. Here is Andrew Cuomo's speech after the vote. Skip to the 2:50 minute mark and you can see the presidential campaign roll out before your eyes.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Redistricting and the 2012 House Elections

After the 2010 elections, the conventional wisdom was that Democrats had virtually no chance to take the House back in 2012 both because of the toxic political atmosphere for Democrats and because the Republicans had won control of a lot of state legislatures so they would stand to gain another cushion through the redistricting process.

Since then, both variables have changed in the Democrats favor. The Democratic brand is doing better (though it is probably more accurate to say the Republican brand is really hurting again) and Democrats appear to be doing much better in the redistricting processes around the country than most analysts first thought. Stu Rothenberg argues that Democrats will likely gain a handful of seats through redistricting alone and, as a result, Democrats will only need to pick up a net of another 20 seats from the 60+ districts Republicans won in 2010 but that Obama won in 2008. That is still a very tall order (see incumbency effect) but it is not impossible.

The bottom line is that the House is in play in 2012.

Republican NY State Senator Roy McDonald

I like this guy. A Republican state senator in New York who came out in favor of gay marriage, he was asked to explain why he was a "yes" vote. Andrew Sullivan posted his response:

"You get to the point where you evolve in your life where everything isn't black and white, good and bad, and you try to do the right thing. You might not like that. You might be very cynical about that. Well, fuck it, I don't care what you think. I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm tired of Republican-Democrat politics. They can take the job and shove it. I come from a blue-collar background. I'm trying to do the right thing, and that's where I'm going with this."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Demographics and the 2012 Election

It is true that some states Obama won in 2008 (like Indiana) are not likely to be blue states in 2012. But it is also true that there are some states that Obama did not win in 2008 that are going to be in play in 2012.

I came across this fascinating interactive map from the Economist that provides demographic, economic, and political data by state. If you look at some of the demographic data, you can see why Obama's people think some states like Arizona and even Texas can be in play in 2012. Obama lost Arizona by just 8.5 points in 2008 despite it being McCain's home state. The large numbers of Hispanic voters in Arizona can flip the state in 2012 just as they have flipped states like New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado. Texas is 37% Hispanic and 12% Black. Assuming Rick Perry is not the GOP nominee, Obama's people believe Texas will be in play in 2012. And if Perry is the GOP nominee, the GOP will likely win Texas (though even that is no sure thing as this new poll has Obama's approval rating in Texas at 51% and not far behind Perry) but will have a whole bunch of other problems.

Another interesting data category in this map is age. Pennsylvania's population is one of the older populations in the country and that tells you a lot about why Obama had a little more trouble nailing down this blue state. But old people are not happy about the Ryan Medicare plan and that means Obama is gaining among older voters in states like Florida and ... Arizona.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Anthony Weiner

Just wanted to post that name to improve the traffic on the blog. Nobody will read what's here otherwise.

And, on the topic of Weiner, I like this piece by Peter Beinart. Weiner should not resign.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy, Rudy

Somebody needs to start the slow clap because Rudy Giuliani is looking like he's going to run again.

But here's the really stupid part. Bill Kristol says:

"Rudy's theory of the race: In the fall of 2007, he decided he couldn't compete with both Mitt Romney and John McCain in New Hampshire, and disastrously decided to try to pull back there and pitch his tent in Florida. This year, he'll commit everything to New Hampshire, where he thinks he has a good shot at beating Romney -- whom he criticized there earlier this week. He then thinks he can beat whichever more socially conservative candidate(s) is left by winning what are still likely to be winner-take-all primaries in big states like California, New York, and New Jersey."
That's arguably the most idiotic "theory of the race" I've heard yet. How many poor assumptions can you count here?
1) "Committing everything to New Hampshire." Who has that ever worked for? McCain tried it in 2000 and eviscerated Bush there ... and then got his clock cleaned the rest of the way. Lieberman tried it in 2004. Romney tried it in 2008. Do I need to go on?
2) New Hampshire ... "where he thinks he has a good shot at beating Romney." Yeah, because New Hampshire loves people who ignored them for years and certainly has no ties to Romney. Romney may or may not win New Hampshire. But he WON'T lose it to Giuliani.
3) "He thinks he can beat whichever more socially conservative candidate is left" by winning big states like CA, NJ, and NY. Right. Because McCain had no trouble beating Bush in liberal CA in 2000. Oh, wait ...
Bottom line ... Rudy has as much of a chance of winning the Republican nomination as I do.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Run Sarah Run

As Andrew Sullivan noted today, does this look like she's not running?

Palin's looking more and more like a (really bad) candidate.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hochul Wins NY-26

That's really, really good news for Democrats from Obama to Pelosi and really, really bad news for Republicans. This is a district Democrats lost in 2006 (Democratic wave year) and that Obama lost to McCain in 2008.

What it suggests is that, on a national level, the House is now in play. Republicans are saying that the Tea Party candidate in this race drew votes away from the Republican (Corwin) and cost her the election. That's not true. Some of Davis's votes would have gone to Corwin but not all of them. More importantly, even if you give Corwin all of Davis's votes, she still only wins by about the same margin as the Republican who won this district in 2006 ... which was a really, really good year for Democrats and a really, really bad year for Republicans.

The House is back in play for 2012.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Daniels Not Running

Mitch Daniels, Governor of Indiana, has just announced he's not running for president.

This is good news for Obama in two ways:

1) Daniels would have been the strongest general election candidate so far in a field of fairly weak general election candidates on the GOP side.
2) Daniels says the main reason he's not running is family considerations and that's probably mostly true. But he probably also figured that that putting his family through all the troubles of a presidential campaign would be less defensible if you don't have a strong chance of winning in November 2012. Daniels would have had a shot against Obama but it is not currently a 50% shot.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Obama's Re-Election Campaign

The Washington Post has a good article this morning about the Obama re-election campaign getting started sooner rather than later. The most notable aspect of the article is just the top line. Republican candidates all seem to be getting started very late this cycle. Obama announced his candidacy (officially) on February 10, 2007. Several other candidates had done so as well by this point. The Republicans in 2011 have no major officially declared candidates and very few who have formed exploratory committees. It is true that the primaries are likely to get started a little later in 2012 than they did in 2008 and there is more oxygen in the room since there is no competitive primary on the Democratic side. But I think the Republicans are moving too slowly. Undeclared candidates like Huckabee and Palin continue to brand the party and suck up all the oxygen out there.

Republican candidates would be wise to remember that running a primary campaign is not just about winning the primary. It is also about laying the foundation for a strong general election campaign. The state of Indiana in 2008 is the lesson. Obama was the first Democrat to win the state since 1964. That shift was not just the result of a good year for Democrats. It was also the result of a fierce competition to win Indiana between then Sens. Clinton and Obama (Hillary won it very narrowly) in the primary. Obama built a strong organization in the state and McCain did not.

Romney et. al. need to be building up volunteer and activist bases in key early states as well as other states at this point, not to mention raising money. And they are not doing it yet. I suspect they will pay a price for this in November 2012.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Welcome back!

I am getting ready to re-launch this blog for the 2012 campaign.

In the meantime, just to wet your appetite, here's an article I'm actually dumber for having read. The author argues that this Gallup poll has "bad news" for Dems and Obama for 2012 because there is a drop in the number of voters self-identifying as Dems in many states. Among the most dramatic drops are Tennessee, Virginia, and Missouri. Newsflash: Tennessee wasn't competitive anyway and Missouri is a state Obama barely lost in 2008 and he's likely to lose in 2012 even if Dems weren't doing badly there.

The more important problem with this piece is that, even after the "bad news," Dems still outnumber Republicans in virtually all the key states Obama needs to win. Indeed, the only states where Republicans outnumber Dems have pretty low population (and few electoral votes). Most telling is the fact that the ONLY state Obama won among the states where Republicans outnumber Democrats is New Hampshire ... and Obama will be competitive there in 2012 anyway.

Is this poll good news? No. But it is a bit of a classic media hype story to think Obama is biting his nails over this poll.

I am dumber for having read this ... so you should read it too.