Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Random Thoughts ...

... I haven't had much time to write lately but I do have some random tidbits to share. Every blog I read seems to have some entry like this (called "remainders" or "outliers" or some such). I don't do that but here's my version of it.

CBS News reports that Roberts was originally on board with the conservatives to strike down the mandate but not the whole law and then he "switched." VERY interesting article and worth a read. Who knows who the sources are and who knows if it is all accurate? But here's the interesting question for the reporter who broke the story. Does this constitute a switch? No! As I pointed out the other day, Roberts did not uphold the mandate. And the CBS News article indicates that he never quite wanted to strike down the whole law. Here's how the article puts it:
In the court's private conference immediately after the arguments, he was aligned with the four conservatives to strike down the mandate. Roberts was less clear on whether that also meant the rest of the law must fall, the source said. The other four conservatives believed that the mandate could not be lopped off from the rest of the law and that, since one key part was unconstitutional, the entire law must be struck down.
So where's the shift here? Roberts never bought the commerce clause argument or the fact that there even was a mandate. And he apparently never wanted to strike down the whole law.

Obama seems to be doing just a tiny bit better of late. Nate Silver had a typically good piece on this the other day and the latest Gallup Poll (which is generally a very, very bad poll) has Obama doing a bit better. Is there any there there? In other words, is Obama actually doing better and, if so, why? It's hard to know for sure on the first question as it is not a big change and so it could well just be statistical noise. If we assume he's doing better, is it related to the healthcare decision? It is possible. We've also seen a little blip up in the number of people who approve of the law and a significant majority now says the Republicans should drop the issue and move on. But these are all pretty small movements so nothing very significant to see yet.

Charlie Cook is a genius but his recent piece dismissing the "obsessive" electoral vote watching is just dead wrong. One of Cook's main arguments is that we've had 56 presidential elections and the Electoral College has only failed to give the popular vote winner the victory 3 times. Sorry Charlie ... but that's a lot of times!!! And it almost happened in 2004 again. And it obviously happens more often when you have a very close election ... ya know, like in 2012. The Electoral College watching matters. Specifically, watching Ohio and Virginia matters.

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