Balkinization  

Monday, October 29, 2012

The October Surprise

Sandy Levinson

The Huffington Post has an absolutely essential piece  noting that Mitt Romney opposes FEMA and believes disaster relief should be either left to the states or to private organizations.  There is, in his world, apparently no role for the national government.  We're not all in this together, apparently. I am curious what Red States like Mississippii and Louisiana, who received millions upon millions of dollars (and perhaps not enough, even then) after Katrina, would think about living in Mitt-world.  They are, after all, the 47% that simply takes from the federal government. 

It would, perhaps, be tactless for President Obama to note that (almost) no one is going to rebuild his or her life following "Sandy" (I regret the name of this hurricane) by him/herself.  There will be lots and lots of help by others, including, quite obviously government.  (Incidentally, the libertarians who bewail the culture of "dependency" cannot logically praise private charity much, if any, more than public aid, for all of it represents an attack on the Ayn Rand/Paul Ryan vision that no one should expect or want a handout from anyone, period, full stop, end of conversation.  But, one hopes, every single Democrat (and democrat) in the country should be pouncing on Mitt for the next week and point out how completely disengaged he is from the very notion that one role of the national government is to provide for the Common Defense (against hurricanes as well as the reviving Red Menace of Mitt's dreams) and the General Welfare (including responding to massive hurricanes and floods). 

I suppose that Jack Welch will accuse Barack Obama of arranging for Sandy to devastate the East Coast simply to delude people into believing that Big Government and the Welfare State can actually help the country.  And, by the way, is Mitt any more respectful today than he was when delivering his acceptance speech that maybe, just maybe, the national government has a role to play in working with other countries to try to reduce the rise in sea level.   

Comments:

You know, there IS a tiny difference between, "The federal government doesn't have to be providing redundant services in areas states specialize in while it's running a trillion dollar deficit.", and "There's no role for the federal government in anything."

States exist. Try to keep reminding yourself of this. Things get done even if the federal government doesn't do them. Saying something isn't a job for the feds isn't the same as saying it shouldn't get done, it's merely recognizing that there's a division of responsibilities, not every single thing is a federal matter.

I see this kind of raving from liberals all the time. It's like you can't believe states actually, genuinely exist, and do things which, thus, don't need to be done by the federal government. It's as though you can't accept that anything gets done anywhere except in Washington...
 

The totalitarianism of the one-dimensional culture and slow death :

http://failedevolution.blogspot.gr/2012/09/the-totalitarianism-of-one-dimensional.html
 

Brett, before you accuse others of "raving," answer this question: do you seriously believe that Mississippi could have recovered from Katrina without federal help, on state dollars alone?

If you believe that kind of stuff I have a lovely bridge to sell you in New Orleans...
 

Before talking about "ravings," it is helpful to determine what they allegedly are. The word "anything" isn't there. The "no role" is in the context of FEMA and related interstate disaster relief.

States exist. The country as a whole also exists. The "general welfare" was a specific concern, a "more perfect union" provided by expanding its powers to deal with various national issues, including interstate weather related events.

Mitt Romney seems to be like the other two here who find various things in the Constitution problematic. The article note "Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction."

The Constitution teaches that the "general welfare" at times warrants looking to the national government. That is "the right direction," which was the very impetus of the document in the first place.
 

Yup. Might not have been as fast, but they'd have done it in time, and next time they'd have had an incentive to be better prepared, knowing they weren't going to be able to rely on other people to handle their expenses.

Think about the contrary case: Suppose that they *couldn't* recover without outside aid, ever. That would imply that it's uneconomic for people to be living in Mississippi. That the weather there is so bad that the population there is perpetually in need of subsidy.

You really believe that's the case?
 

Joe, " There is, in his world, apparently no role for the national government."

Perhaps you'd care to identify the qualifiers on that statement? Because I don't think their absence is an accident.
 

Brett

"next time they'd have had an incentive to be better prepared"

I don't believe in 'tough love' when lives are at stake, but I hope your candidate expresses that sentiment loudly and often between now and next Tuesday :)

I actually agree with you a bit that one should not assume that things won't get done if the federal government doesn't do it (especially considering that, as Romney says, the money that would have gone from the states would just go back to the states; either in block grant type things or in just not taxing them federally for the program in the first place). But I think the reason why national disasters are difficult to devolve to the state level is that, well, the state that needs it is the one that has just been hit by a disaster. States that have not been hit are in a better position to mobilize and get help than a place that has just been ravaged. As joe smartly points out if the Founders thought everything could best be handled via the states they could have stuck with the Articles of Confederation...
 

I think the reason that natural disaster relief is difficult to devolve to the state level, is that no politician wants to give up money somebody else got the blame for taxing away from people. Especially since the usual bargain is, you can turn down the aid, but the taxes are extracted from your state regardless.

Devolving responsibilities AND revenue? Quite a different calculus, if they're tied together.
 

Tomorrow's NYTimes editorializes on this. It's position is contrary to Brett's AYNalysis.
 

The truth is that most all our needs would best be met by individual, community and state action.

The federal gummint would do well to stick to delivering the mail, killing folks overseas, and controlling maritime trade, enforcing copyright and patents.

The problem is that we don't need 535 congressmen and all those executive minions to run the country well. If only we could pay them for doing NOTHING!
 

Brett, your side lost the Civil War. Get over it.
 

Sandy:

Did you read the transcripted remarks leading off the article? Romney side-stepped the set-up question and gave his oft repeated basic principle that, if you are not willing to borrow the money from China to pay for it, then you stop the spending. Romney never said he would elimnate FEMA and his campaign said he does not support doing so.

Too bad. FEMA is corrupt as hell and used by Presidents as a slush fund to buy votes. Congress should eliminate it in favor of a government backed wind, flood and earthquake insurance buiness owners and residents can purchase.

The National Guard and Red Cross can and do provide immediate secuity and emergency assistance.

The Corps of Engineers can remove debris.

Obama is grandstanding and has no role in the immediate emergency response. The Feds will start shoveling money after the NG and Red Cross have stabilized the situation. Sandy does, however, give Obama the chance to deep six the Libya scandal until after the election.
 

Our yodeler seems to be suggesting a conspiracy with Mother Nature as the October surprise. Or is this God's will in the manner of Mourdock/Akin et al?

Of course our yodeler had no problem with Bush/Cheney"s China credit card to finance tax cuts, two wars (with no WMDs), prescription drugs, etc, that led us into their 2008 Great Recession.

Unlike some forest fires in our yodeler's Wild West, hurricane Sandy was not man-made (except perhaps to the extent of possible global warming). For our yodeler to try to make political points with a natural disaster demonstrates his helMITTlessness. What a Maroon!
 

Shag:

No amount of grandstanding using a hurricane as a backdrop is going to save Obama.

I am far more concerned about my family in and around NYC.
 

Today's columns by Frank Bruni (NYTimes) "Sandy the Soothsayer" and by Eugene Robinson (WaPo) "Romney would pass the buck on disasters" debunk our yodeler's feeble attempts at grandstanding claims.

As for our yodeler's take on FEMA, his helMITTlessness has him back in the days of his heroes Bush/Cheney with Bush's ringing endorsement - "Heck of a job, Brownie" - of his FEMA head at the time of the Katrina disaster. Obama's FEMA obviously learned lessons from that debacle.

On a personal note, I can understand our own Sandy Levinson's regret with the name of this devastating hurricane. I'm personally thrilled that it does not bear my name. But in the early 1960s, my "stormy" relationship with a vivacious Sandy "inspired" my then Ode to her:

Sandy is the seashore,
So white and fine and pure.
Sandy is my lady fair,
But of her I'm not so sure.

Alas, hurricane Sandy has devastated seashores. Will they be restored? Should they be restored? Is there a global warming warning to be recognized? I got over the vivacious Sandy, without government involvement. But disasters like Katrina, Irene, Sandy, etc, are national issues involving domestic security.
 

Brett

I don't think you answered my point about how difficult it is for the state hit to deal with the disaster.

Bart

The Corps of Engineers can help? That's a federal agency, using my tax dollars to help take care of someone who was foolish enough to get in the path of a natural disaster! What are you, a socialist ;)?

More seriously I wonder without a FEMA who will provide, say, the temorary housing for disaster victims (the trailers)? Certainly the impacted state could not (if they had trailers they too would have been impacted from the disaster).
 

Sandy Levinson,

As long as we're playing "trivialize the other side," I strongly oppose your insistence that the federal government rebuild investment bankers' Hamptons mansions by taxing the middle class.
 

Mr. W:

The Red Cross and National Guard can provide temporary shelter until the displaced can move to alternative housing.

The Katrina trailer fiasco is just another reason why government slush funds like FEMA are a bad idea.
 

The Katrina trailer fiasco is just another reason why government slush funds like FEMA are a bad idea.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 11:18 AM


It's an even better argument for why Republicans should never be elected to any office higher than dog catcher.
 

Bart

Does the Red Cross have a fleet of trailers? And as to the National Guard, wouldn't shifting emergency response from FEMA to them be like robbing Peter to pay Paul?
 

Baghdad Bart thought that the government was capable of dealing with the disaster it created in Iraq. Odd that he doesn't think it's capable of responding to emergencies at home.
 

Baghdad Bart also had no problem with the Halliburton slush fund that Cheney/Bush set up. Consistency isn't really one of Baghdad's strengths.


 

Mr. W:

You put the displaced in places like school auditoriums and then tents until they can find alternative accommodations.

You do not need to set up semi-permanent trailer parks.
 

BB:

Military procurements are not slush funds and, despite the best efforts of people like you, we won the Iraq war back in 2007.
 

Dare one note that, according to the New York Times, "Mr. Christie, the [very Republican] governor of New Jersey, has spent the last several hours repeatedly heaping praise on Mr. Obama as effectively leading the federal government’s response to the huge storm that slammed into his state on Monday.

Eight days ago, Mr. Christie described Mr. Obama as “blindly walking around the White House looking for a clue.” On Tuesday morning, he was effusive about Mr. Obama’s administration, calling the storm response “wonderful,” “excellent” and “outstanding.”


There are two possible explanations: 1) Mr Christie, famed for his "candor," is calling them the way he sees them; 2) Mr. Christie, who looks in the mirror and sees as President in January 2017, has decided to stab Mitt (who cares about FEMA, let the Red Cross do it?) Romney in the back.

Although 2) fits the facts, I suspect the answer is 1), that Obama really is behaving extremely well (ditto FEMA) and that Christie knows how incredibly stupid Romney's position is.
 

Military procurements are not slush funds and, despite the best efforts of people like you, we won the Iraq war back in 2007.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 1:23 PM


Blankshot, military procurement slush funds are no different from national disaster slush funds. Although, it's quite comical that that you are completely oblivious to that.

BTW, we "won" the Iraq disaster before the first American soldier entered Iraq. There was no WMD.
 

All of the above. I'm sure that Christie was happy with the Obama response and happier still that it gave him an opportunity to stab Mittens in the back.
 

Bart

What do you mean by a slush fund and how are FEMA expenses in that category but military spending not?

"we won the Iraq war back in 2007"

Tell that to the 600 coalition casualties who lost their lives in 08-present, or the many more Iraqis in the same period.
 

Sandy:

Mr. Christie does call them as he sees them and Obama has very likely promised every state in the region a blank check.

That is the sum and substance of the President's "leadership" during a hurricane.

If you want to make a real difference, give money and supplies to the Red Cross. Along with the National Guard, these are the folks who are making an actual difference on the ground.
 

Mr. W:

FEMA has few, if any, rules on how and where it can spend money.

DoD has a library shelf of rules covering procurement and military suppliers.

DoD has been auditing and collecting misspent money from contractors (including Halliburton) for years during and after the war.
 

Mr. W:

Tell that to the 600 coalition casualties who lost their lives in 08-present, or the many more Iraqis in the same period.

I do. Our troops (including my brother) did a magnificent job in Iraq.

Let's see if the Democrat turnout in 2012 comes close to that in an average Iraqi election.
 

Mr. Christie does call them as he sees them and Obama has very likely promised every state in the region a blank check.

That is the sum and substance of the President's "leadership" during a hurricane.

If you want to make a real difference, give money and supplies to the Red Cross. Along with the National Guard, these are the folks who are making an actual difference on the ground.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 3:48 PM


That is an interesting evaluation.

Obama offers free check.

No difference.

You contribute $20

Real difference.

How does your head keep from exploding?
 

DoD has been auditing and collecting misspent money from contractors (including Halliburton) for years during and after the war.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 3:52 PM


Of course they are...

Baghdad, we pissed away a lot of money for nothing in Iraq. It was a Halliburton (et al)slush fund, you fucking imbecile.
 

Summary of Baghdad Bart's position:

1. Provide shelter for poor people displaced by a disaster

Slush fund.

2. Kill lots of innocent Muslims for no good reason.

Money well spent
 

"FEMA has few, if any, rules on how and where it can spend money."

You want more red tape there?

"DoD has a library shelf of rules covering procurement and military suppliers."

Along with no-bid contracts and $500 dollar toilet seats...Lots of wasteful defense spending, see the work of POGO and CATO on this.

As to Iraq, I wasn't criticizing the job done in Iraq, I was noting that it is hard to consider a war 'won' when hundreds of casualties follow.

 

BD: "FEMA has few, if any, rules on how and where it can spend money."

Mr. W: You want more red tape there?


I don't want any there there. We should abolish FEMA and replace it with an insurance plan. If we keep FEMA, then I sure as hell want some rules and preferably an IG overseeing the process.

BD: "DoD has a library shelf of rules covering procurement and military suppliers."

Mr. W: Along with no-bid contracts and $500 dollar toilet seats...Lots of wasteful defense spending, see the work of POGO and CATO on this.


You are talking to someone who believes most of the government is a corrupt waste of money, including a great deal of the military. The best we can do is pare down the spending to necessities and then try to ameliorate the resulting corruption the best we can.

Mr. W: As to Iraq, I wasn't criticizing the job done in Iraq, I was noting that it is hard to consider a war 'won' when hundreds of casualties follow.

All wars have casualties and the Iraq War had the lowest KIA and WIA rate for a war of this duration in American history.
 

Yes, Bart hates government waste. Fortunately, wars never seem to be a waste to Baghdad.
 

Yes, all wars have casualties, but when the foundations for going to war are false, e.g. Iraq, the loss of lives, military and civilian, as well an injured, at great expense, all over a long period of time, is regretful. That's what Bush/Cheney and the Neocons foisted on us, among other things. Our yodeler continues to whistle Dixie.
 

The theme song for R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012, especially as the days dwindle down, to a precious few:

JEEP-ERS, CREEP-ERS, WHERE'D YOU GET THOSE LIES?"

Just Rove-ing around?
 

"most of the government is a corrupt waste of money, including a great deal of the military"

So why would shifting FEMA's duties and funds there be much better?

"All wars have casualties and the Iraq War had the lowest KIA and WIA rate for a war of this duration in American history"

I'm certainly happy about that, but it dodges the point we've been discussing, your claim that the war was 'won' in 2007. As I said, I think that is hard to maintain when hundreds die after that date.
 

While American Motors and its Jeep were injected into the political campaign falsely by R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012, some visitors to this Blog might be too young to recall "CREEP." They might Google"

CREEP + Nixon

to open the Watergate sluice that stormed Hurricane Tricky Dick back in the early 1970s. As Halloween Eve falls upon us, "THEY'RE BACK!" Recall that Tricky Dick had his Vietnam "Secret Plan" in the 1968 campaign. Today R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 have their "Secret Economic Plan;" or is the really deep Secret Plan that of R-AYN based upon Randian selfishness?
 

Bart

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2012/10/fema-case-study-difference-between-democrats-and-republicans

Shut up
 

Mr.W:

Hundreds died after 2007? The US pulled its combat troops back to bases and was withdrawing.

Iraq continues to have a terrorsm problem with al Qaeda, but AQI controls nothing and has no prospect of doing so.
 

DG:

Mother Jones praising Democrats (or the sun riing in the East) is hardly evidence that FEMA is not a massively corrupt waste of money.
 

Iraq continues to have a terrorsm problem with al Qaeda, but AQI controls nothing and has no prospect of doing so.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 2:45 PM


Dumbfuck, the only thing that gave them a prospect of controlling anything in Iraq was the idiotic invasion.

 

Mother Jones praising Democrats (or the sun riing in the East) is hardly evidence that FEMA is not a massively corrupt waste of money.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 2:55 PM


It's certainly more evidence than the bullshit that spews out of you every day.
 

Bart

"Hundreds died after 2007? The US pulled its combat troops back to bases and was withdrawing."

Perhaps Fox News missed this, but yes. Over 300 US military casualties in 2008 alone.

http://icasualties.org/iraq/ByYear.aspx
 

My power was out for two days [which is nothing next to others but since people a few blocks away had power, it was kinda annoying] and sorry if this was answered already but as to Brett's question, here was the statement:

The Huffington Post has an absolutely essential piece noting that Mitt Romney opposes FEMA and believes disaster relief should be either left to the states or to private organizations. There is, in his world, apparently no role for the national government.

Reading context here the "no role" is for "disaster relief." Romney is running for President. I think he knows the federal government is there for something. I think SL knows that too. Before assuming a "stupidity" to allude to a book he co-wrote, a very reasonable alternative analysis of his statement is quite possible.
 

Here's my summation of R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 in the closing days with their lies on the auto bailout:

"unMITTigated GALT!":
 

JB (from today's post above): As of now it looks as if Obama is another preemptive president in the mold of Bill Clinton, swimming against the tide of conservative Republican politics, and forced to compromise and triangulate, and therefore perpetually to disappoint members of his own party, even as he enrages members of the other party.

Clinton did not swim against the wave of the center-right electorate which wiped out his Democrat Congress in 1994. Instead, Clinton hopped on his surf board, yelled out: "the era of big government is over," and rode that wave by offering the second most conservative administration of our lifetimes after Reagan. Clinton valued power far more than ideology. THAT two faced success is what infuriated the political class on both sides of the aisle and got him reelected in 1996.

In sharp contrast, Obama is very much a preemptive president who thinks he is a transformative one. Obama and his Democrat Congress rammed through a series of bills opposed by a plurality to majority of the center-right electorate. Unlike Clinton, Obama stayed his left course after the voters fired his Congress.

Obama's problem is that he is not a transformative president like FDR and Reagan who changed the ideological position of the voters to gain landslide reelection. The center right electorate still opposes Obama policy, which is why they will fire him on Tuesday.

When you try to swim against a wave, the wave wins every time.
 

Our yodeler describes, with this:

"When you try to swim against a wave, the wave wins every time."

his consistent wipeouts, as well as his liMITTations and AYNalyses on R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012. Once again, surfs up for our yodeler, and let's give him a pre-emptive wave.
 


These poll numbers are great news for John McCain!

MSNBC didn't televise the speech of a Hispanic or African American elected official or candidate at the RNC

Expect Rice to resign within the week and accept all responsibility to protect the President.

The center right electorate still opposes Obama policy, which is why they will fire him on Tuesday.


The hits just keep on coming.
 

Baghdad, how is that search for Iraq's WMD coming along?
 

Check out today's WaPo:

Editorial Board's "Mitt Romney's campaign insults voters"

and

Colbert King's "Mitt Romney could be the next Andrew Johnson"

Kin'g column should be read in conjunction with Jack Balkin's essay on "if Mitt wins." The editorial focuses on the flip flops and the Mendacious Mitt. Even the NYTimes' David Brooks has been holding his nose of late; in fact, his column yesterday looks like a back-door endorsement of Obama. Yes, Mitt is "The Music Man" with his "Jumbo Liar" schtick as R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 runs out of steam, despite Rev. Billy Graham's just recent removal of Mormonism from his evangelical cult list.

By the Bybee [expletives deleted], Jack Balkin's essays on "if Romney" and "if Obama" have been great. But I am still waiting, anxiously, for his essay on "The Second Gilded Age."
 

Shag:

Nothing like the smell of leftist hysteria in the morning.

King: Romney will bring back Jim Crow!

Shag: Romney will bring back the Guilded Age!

It smell's like....victory.

See you at the polls, gentlemen.
 

Our yodeler's invitation:

"See you at the polls, gentlemen."

seems to suggest that in the 3 days left before next Tuesday he will not be pointing out at this Blog polling data that he has pulled out of his derriere when he has had the runs for R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012, perhaps because he is now politically constipated. Alternatively, perhaps even our yodeler can no longer swallow or wallow in R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012's "Jumbo Liar" schtick.
 

It smell's like....victory

The hit's just keep on coming!
 

Blankshot, do you remember when us mocking Sarah Palin "smelled like victory"?
 

Shag:

"seems to suggest that in the 3 days left before next Tuesday he will not be pointing out at this Blog polling data that he has pulled out of his derriere..."

In anticipation of your request, I broke the election fundamentals down down at Citizen Pamphleteer. Actually, this was for the Tea Party social networks, but my friends here at Balkinization are free to share.

Take a stiff drink before reading the data because there is a 2010 level electoral tsunami coming .
 

Did I mention that the hits just keep on coming?

 

Our yodeler has visions of the elusive plates of gold while blinded by the Silver lining.
 

It's all about the fundamentals, and Baghdad fundamentally is not willing to accept that the poll numbers look really bad for his boy Mittens.
 

Is our yodeler really "sMITTen with Mittens"? Or is he holding his nose while voting for the Cream of the Crap that rose to the surface after dueling through the Republican debates (in Dating Game manner?), first enamored with Bachmann, then Cain, then Perry, then Santorum, then Gingrich, then Ron Paul. And then there was one, the Great Prevaricator. Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine offers:

"The Case Against Romney: At Heart He's a Delusional One-Percenter"

followed by his:

"The Case for Obama: Why He is a Great President. Yes, Great."

Listen for our yodeler with his political laryngitis.
 

Since Prof. Balkin didn't open comments on his thread, I'll put this question here:

Was any President, in his view, "reconstructive" based on his second term? As I interpret the "reconstructive" presidencies, they all seem to get that designation based on their first term. I guess there could be an argument for Jackson and Lincoln, but I think it's a stretch.

Assuming I'm right, then Obama is and will remain a "preemptive" president, all the more likely since he won't have a HoR majority.
 

Mark Field said: Was any President, in his view, "reconstructive" based on his second term?

Great question.

I can't think of any. Indeed, after the enactment of term limits, second term presidents are more often treated as lame ducks.
 

Regardless of the terms used by Jack Balkin )pre-emptive, reconstructive), consider what Clinton was able to accomplish during his second term despite the Republican efforts regarding his impeachment. Contrast this with the more serious (national security) failings of both Reagan and George W. during their second terms. Reagan got bailed out with the bi-partison tax reform act of '86, courtesy of MA's Tip O'Neill. George W. paid the price for his follies with the Bush/Cheney Great Recession of 2008. Clinton, with tax increases, increased the economy during his second term AND left a surplus (that George W. squandered) after SCOTUS appointed George W. to the presidency via Bush v. Gore. I'll take a Clinton lame duck over a cooked goose Reagan or George W anytime.

Per Jonathan Chait's essay on Obama I referred to in an earlier comment, Obama has had many accomplishments during his first term without bi-partison assistance what with the Right Wingers' from the git-go refusals in Congress to cooperate or compromise. So as a lame duck, in a second term he can call the bluffs of the Right Wingers to paint the scene for 2014 elections. So Obama can be reconstructive by building on his first term accomplishments despite the commitment of Right Wingers to oppose whatever he proposed from day one. An Obama second term would cause an uncivil war in the Republican Party. Obama will become reconstructive by pre-empting R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012.

Let's see if Jack Balkin responds to Mark, the yodeler and moi.
 

Shag:

You may have set a new record for the number of Democrat urban myths in one paragraph. You really believe that stuff, don't you?

In any case, that may be the first time I have seen Tip O'Neil credited for the Reagan 1986 tax reform, which BTW is the basis for both the Simpson/Bowles and Romney/Ryan plans.

When your policy principles are the standards used a generation after your administration and long after your death, you are a reconstructive president.
 

I don't know what our yodeler was doing in 1986, but I was in my 22nd year of law practice that included an emphasis on tax law. Yes, there was reform in the 1986 Tax Reform Act and Tip O'Neill played a significant bi-partisan role in its enactment. Consideration has to be given to the circumstances that brought about that reform, that did indeed bring tax rates down. But the rates for long term capital gains and dividends were significantly higher than resulted from George W's 2001 act that greatly reduced rates on unearned income. Since 1986, there have been several tax acts, some including reform, at least in name.

Times are different and what worked well in 1986 may not work well today. Perhaps someone with better eyesight and more time than I have might take Mitt's 2010 and 2011 tax returns he released to determine what his effective tax rate might have been if the 1986 reform were in effect.

My studies of federal taxes started in 1952, augmented years later with an LLM in taxation. Unearned income historically was taxed at high rates as opposed to earned income, perhaps because tax policy called for a higher rate where labor was not necessary, e.g., cutting coupons. This of course has changed as we have glided into the Second Gilded Age, resulting in greater and greater income inequality. (See Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz.)

History is not determined currently. Yes, time will tell how history will look back at Obama. I can wait, even at age 82. But it seems fairly clear what history will look like for Bush/Cheney with comparisons to Hebert [Old Joke] Hoover.

Let me ask our yodeler: Are you still sMITTen with Mittens?
 

Dear, dear, Bart: if you got your facts right, your opinions might be worth something.
 

Shag:

The Speaker of the House is always involved in tax bills.

Flattening and lowering the tax code was not O'Neil's idea.

O'Neil could not stop the tax reform. Unlike Obama shutting down the GOP from the outset, Reagan had cultivated dozens of House Democrats to enact his reforms.

So, O'Neil did what he could from a position of weakness.

When Romney wins, he needs to spend several dozen hours cultivating Democrat senators if he wants to reverse the Obama error and reform this government.
 

"Unlike Obama shutting down the GOP from the outset"

Yes, I distinctly remember when Obama said his number one goal was making sure the GOP congressperson's were not re-elected.
 

"Mark Field said: Was any President, in his view, "reconstructive" based on his second term?"

"Bart replied Great question.

I can't think of any."

I'd argue TR, though perhaps he's elminted by the technicality that his first term was really McKinley's. But I think it was mainly during his second term that he really instituted what we today would call the Progressive Era in politics.
 

Skowronek doesn't include TR as "reconstructive". Only Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln, FDR, and Reagan count.

In the full Atlantic article, Prof. Balkin says that Jackson "did not really become a transformative president until after his reelection in 1832." This strikes me as wrong. Jackson's real "reconstructive" actions came with the confirmation that the electorate would henceforth include all white males and that the federal government would play a minor role (as exemplified in the Maysville Road veto). In combination, these two features set the stage for the predominance of the Democratic Party until 1860.

The Bank was an important issue, no doubt, but I don't see it as the key to Jackson's presidency. Crushing the Bank (along with the Specie Circular) torpedoed Van Buren's presidency in the Panic of 1837, and only the fortuity of Harrison's death prevented a new Bank.
 

Why would TR not be reconstructive? Prior to TR people picked from candidates like Cleveland and McKinnley, aftewards we had the Progressive Era.
 

Mr. W:

In 2009, Obama called a meeting with GOP congressional leaders, rejected their ideas by telling them they needed to stop listening to Rush Limbaugh, and ended the meeting by observing "I won the election." That was the last time Obama spoke with a Republican in Congress for months.

You convince folks from across the aisle to support your plans by stroking them and convincing them that their constituents want this reform or trade something their constituents want in exchange for the reform.

LBJ and Reagan were masters at the art of assembling majority coalitions in this way.

In sharp contrast, Obama beleved he did not need the GOP and in turns attacked and ignored them. These are the actions of a community agitator and not someone experienced in governance.
 

I think TR doesn't qualify as "reconstructive" because he continued to work within the basic Northern Republican paradigm established in the Civil War. Yes, McKinley and Taft were on the conservative side of the party (as were the 1920s trio), but there wasn't any fundamental change: the Rs didn't follow TR into Progressivism, the Ds didn't switch parties, etc.

But it's not like I'm some kind of expert on Skowronek's classifications. I'm just making educated guesses on the basis of the 5 presidents identified.
 

With regard to my comment on the 1986 TRA, back at that time I had been practicing law for 32, not 22, years. And I neglected to point to the S & L crisis of earlier in the Reagan years resulting from deregulation that led to the 1986 TRA. Indeed, Tip O'Neill took an active role in its enactment. Imagine, a financial crisis leading to tax reform. But the GOP immediately after a much huger financial crisis (hint: the 2008 Bush/Cheney Great Recession) wasn't about to permit Congress to address tax reform. And the GOP has obstructed implementation of financial regulation under Dodd/Frank.
 

Shag:

The primary cause of both the S&L crisis and subprime home mortgage market crash was corruption arising from overt and implied taxpayer guarantees of the home mortgage industry to foster the American Dream.

This is very much a bipartisan problem.
 

Does our yodeler with this:

"This is very much a bipartisan problem."

conveniently forget the role of Sen John ("I've got short arms but my wife's got deep pockets") McCain in the S & L scandal? Yes, there were a few Democrats at the trough that was overcrowded with Republicans who favored and politically thrived on the deregulation that favored S & Ls and their political contributions, including to Sen. McCain.

The connection of the S & L scandal to the 2008 Bush/Cheney induced financial crises is the need for stronger regulation, even stronger than Dodd/Frank. But look at the money the few billionaires have put into the campaign to push for the interests of the 1%, including Karl ("Turd Blossom") Rove's Crossroads and the Koch-suckers. What is, and has been, clear is that without decent regulation, the greed of the .01% will take advantage of the 99%.

Our yodeler might take a look at E.J. Dionne's WaPo column today "The Gilded Age vs. the 21st century."

By the Bybee [expletives deleted, at they are being saved for R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012], our yodeler evades a response to my earlier question whether he is still "sMITTen with Mittens?"
 

Mark, whatever Skowronek's conclusions I would still argue it is hard not to see TR as reconstructive. Far from staying within "the basic Northern Republican paradigm established in the Civil War" TR revolutionized federal politics. Again, consider the differences between what McKinley and Cleveland offered and what TR and Woodrow Wilson would. The Progressive Era was a major shift in federal powers, one that is still debated today, and TR ushered it in.
 

This provides the usefulness of comments. Balkin closed comments because of sniping in comments. Unfortunate, especially he repeatedly, with respect, says things questionable and comments would be helpful there, plus adding conversation. It's the value of blogs, really.
 

Mr. W:

TR made progressivism respectable.

FDR implemented the transformation.
 

I was trying to work within Skowronke's framework, but I do find his list of "reconstructive" presidents different than the ones I'd name. For me, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR would be the only ones. Everyone else has worked within the basic framework they established.

But I think all of these classification schemes are judgment calls.
 

Shag: Our yodeler might take a look at E.J. Dionne's WaPo column today "The Gilded Age vs. the 21st century.

Why? E.J. Dionne competes with Fred Barnes as the most obsequious media cheerleader for his party. I do not waste my time reading either man's writing.

The idea that the recently reformed RINO Romney will reverse a century worth of progressive government growth is laughable on its face.

The most "radical" GOP candidate in this regard was Ron Paul and he proposed cutting a trillion dollars in spending, which of course would only return us to where we were in say 2001. (Scary how far off the tracks we have gone in just one decade).

Romney ain't no Ron Paul and almost certainly is no Ronald Reagan.

Romney will win election because he is not Barack Obama.

For anything beyond that, we will have to wait and see.
 

Progressivism was respectable such that TR recognized it. Progressivism continued, somewhat subdued as a result of WW I and the Roaring Twenties mismanaged by both Harding and Coolidge, leading to the '29 Crash and the Great Depression in the first year of Hoover's presidency. The span between TR and FDR did slow down progressivism. But progressivism survived with FDR and the New Deal. Our yodeler's:

"FDR implemented the transformation."

is a tad too modest in describing FDR's role. This may be a back-door effort on the part of our yodeler to credit TR because TR was a Republican. But TR would not fit with the current Republican Party, especially with its Tea Party contingent. TR, unlike Lochner, is not in need of rehabilitating.
 

(Scary how far off the tracks we have gone in just one decade)
# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:52 AM


Baghdad, for the first 8 years of that decade you were cheering for the guy who was driving us off the tracks. That's why there is no reason for anyone to take you seriously now.



 

Mark Field: I was trying to work within Skowronke's framework, but I do find his list of "reconstructive" presidents different than the ones I'd name. For me, Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and FDR would be the only ones. Everyone else has worked within the basic framework they established.

I would change Jefferson to Jackson.

Jackson was our first limited government populist, shut down the corruption of internal improvements and established a laissez faire system that arguably lasted to some extent until FDR.

I would add Reagan.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the United States was in decline and well on its way to Euro-style socialist democracy. Reagan (with a great deal of help internationally from Thatcher and Pope John Paul) destroyed the idea of socialism and reestablished the idea (if not always the reality) of limited government and free markets both here and across the world.

As even Jack admitted in his post, Obama was not the reconstructive president he had hoped and Reagan's principles still hold sway with a majority of the electorate.
 

I think joe's comment on the value of comments is instructive. It's odd to not open comments most of the time in my opinion.

"TR made progressivism respectable.

FDR implemented the transformation."

I'd argue 'making progressivism respectable' was transformative. As Shaq notes even Harding and Coolidge lived with most of the Progressive Era reforms. When FDR came in he instituted something different enough in degree to be in kind as well, imo.

 

It seems our yodeler is still smitten with libertarian Ron Paul and will hold his nose voting for Mittens.
 

Shag:

What part of FDR implemented the transformation did you miss? FDR and not his uncle convinced the American people to embrace the two key tenets of progressive government - regulation and social insurance.

TR would not fit with the current Republican Party, especially with its Tea Party contingent.

You are correct.

Once you get past the grade school myth of TR as some romantic Rough Rider who built the Panama Canal and start to read what he wrote, TR was an authoritarian to the core who flirted with socialism. If he was born in Louisiana instead of NYC, TR would have been Huey Long.

The president with whom the Tea Party would most identify was Andy Jackson, our first limited government populist who reversed the "stimulus" corruption of his own time.

Unfortunately, Romney is no Andy Jackson either.
 

Shag from Brookline said... It seems our yodeler is still smitten with libertarian Ron Paul and will hold his nose voting for Mittens.

:::heh:::

Folks like Paul are why I left the Libertarian Party many moons ago - absolutist and isolationist.

I will vote for Romney like when I agreed to probation for a first offender as a prosecutor - hopeful that he will do right, but deeply cynical about that possibility.

Unlike when Clinton was running for reelection in 1996 after changing his governance rightward, Obama makes it far, far easier to pull the lever for a questionable Republican.
 

Mr. W:

I think we are arguing a matter of degree, but these labels are a matter of degree.

TR made progressivism respectable (compared to say socialism), but FDR convinced the American people to embrace it.

To me, changing the common wisdom of the electorate is transformative.
 

Our yodeler's adulation of Rough & Ready Andy Jackson as a leader the Tea Party's cups would runneth over for is most interesting. Imagine if Andy had been effective in his attacks on banking we might not have had the 2008 Bush/Cheney Great Recession.

And despite his many statements to the contrary in recent times, our yodeler now claims not to be a libertarian?


 

Bart

I think both views are reasonable, I just think that the guy who put progressivism 'on the map' (a big enough event that, for better or for worse, we are still debating it today) is just as transformative as the guy who eventually 'sealed the deal' for progressivism. Note that much like the GOP Presidents that followed FDR not challenging the New Deal's basic structure, the President's that followed TR did not challenge the basic assumptions of progressivism either.

If you tea partiers want to claim Andy Jackson you're welcome to him. He was a strong supporter of slavery, championed the corrupt spoils system, and treated the Native Americans horribly. Interestingly enough, if Tea Partiers would identify most with Jackson it demonstrates what a sea change has occurred in conservatism: American conservatives at the time were mostly Whigs denouncing the 'uncouth' Jackson's cult of personality and mobocracy (as they saw it). Conservatism has traded Russel Kirk for Hannity and Limbaugh...
 

I balk at calling FDR a "Progressive" (as did the Progressives themselves). He did adopt a number of Progressive reforms, but he mixed in a lot of policies from the Asquith Liberals in England prior to WWI.

AFAIC, Jefferson established the basic theory of universal white male voting and limited federal government. Jackson simply confirmed that as the standard against a challenge by JQA/Clay from within Jefferson's own party. Ironically, Jefferson strongly opposed Jackson. However, I think reasonable people can see this differently.

TR is important (as is Jackson). I wouldn't deny that, and I'd place both of them on a rung just below my top 4 in importance.

Reagan is harder to judge because he's so recent; no good historian should be judging presidents until 40-50 years have passed. What I am inclined to say about him is that his "transformative" qualities are inherent in Nixon, but the impact of Nixon got derailed by Watergate; and that unlike the 4 I mentioned, Reagan's legacy appears to be entirely harmful to the nation as a whole (subject to my caveat above). The standards applicable to a rising empire can't and don't apply to a stable/declining one.
 

Mark's:

"What I am inclined to say about him is that his "transformative" qualities are inherent in Nixon, but the impact of Nixon got derailed by Watergate; ...."

relative to Nixon (not Reagan) must be examined as an event and its consequences that took place over a substantial - and crucial - period of time before being fully exposed. Also, Nixon had a dark history going back to his early congressional days in CA. Nixon's losses in 1960 and 1962 were salvaged by a narrow margin in 1968, when the nation was going through difficult times associated with not only Vietnam but also the Civil Rights movement, resulting in Nixon's Southern Strategy that politically continues to this day, more recently by the Tea Party's hatred of America's first African American President from day one of Obama inauguration. Nixon in 1968 had a secret plan for ending the Vietnam War, which continued through his first term but well into his second. Watergate started with Nixon's concerns as the 1972 presidential campaign was getting underway. Fortunately Nixon got caught. If Nixon had not been caught, he might have been a transformative President, but in a highly negative manner, a transformation by ruining America in the midst of the Cold War. Nixon was a real creep heading CREEP.
 

The transformative aspects of Nixon's presidency were two: emphasis on white, Southern voters (mostly men), thereby taking over the segregationist wing of the old Democratic party; and oligarchical policies combined with rhetorical emphasis on resentment. IMO, Reagan merely solidified that regime, but he did carry it further and it's easy to see why some attribute the ultimate success of that strategy to him.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Mr. W: Interestingly enough, if Tea Partiers would identify most with Jackson it demonstrates what a sea change has occurred in conservatism: American conservatives at the time were mostly Whigs denouncing the 'uncouth' Jackson's cult of personality and mobocracy (as they saw it). Conservatism has traded Russel Kirk for Hannity and Limbaugh...

A good point that I made in my book.

Classical liberalism theorized about a society based on individual liberty brought about by the people democratically choosing their own constitutionally limited government.

Jackson fully realized that dream (for whites at least) by being the first president outside the eastern elites, offering populist governance for the common man and enforcing limited government by emptying the federal pig trough.

Conservatives of that time (read the eastern elites), did indeed condemn and slander Jackson in a manner that would be very familiar to the Tea Party and folks like Sarah Palin.

The advent of progressivism/socialism turned the terms liberalism and conservatism on their heads. Liberals adopted a statist economic policy and conservatives inherited support for classical liberal free markets almost by default.

Conservatives did not fully embrace liberal free markets until Reagan, the nominal conservative who in many ways reestablished classical liberalism.
 

Slandered Palin?

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha...

There was no need to slander Palin.


 

BB:

Your timing in making my points is impeccable.
 

Your timing in making my points is impeccable.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 3:35 PM


Dumbfuck, there was no need to slander Palin. She was self-defeating. She was a disaster. We wanted MORE Palin.

 

By the way, the best part of Sarah Palin is that ignorant propaganda spewing trolls like you really have no idea how much of a disaster she is/was. It's the wingnut gift that keeps on giving.
 

We're due for a cherry picked exit poll showing good numbers for Mittens.
 

Put up or shut up time.

Once you normalize the polling to eliminate the Democrat bias, the final corrected poll average is Romney 49.6%, Obama 46.4%, Undecided 4% Independent voters are breaking to Romney by an average of 8.9%, which is a 16.9% swing away from Obama's 2008 support.

Assuming the undecided break heavily for the challenger (Romney) against the incumbent (Obama) as they have done in every election during the modern polling era (except when Bush split them with Kerry) and if Romney picks up most states where Obama is not showing 50% support, I guestimate that the election will end up Mitt Romney 52%/342 EVs, Barack Obama 47%/196 EVs, Other candidates 1%

Too optimistic? Consider the following:

Voter self identification with the GOP is surging while the Democrats remain in their 2010 hole.

Team Romney is essentially taunting Team Obama now, releasing their internal data showing a near tie in early voting and showing that they hold a massive lead in high propensity voters on election day.

In contrast, Team Obama is begging their supporters not to panic over what they apparently expect to be reports of Romney leads in the massively Democrat-leaning exit polls.

Anyone else want to give it a go?
 

Take a peek at the R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 internal polling, aka POLITICAL COLONOSCOPY at its RANDiest. R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 "taunting" (per our yodeler's ANYalysis) Obama with their numbers? Their number is #2, meaning deep doo-doo.

Vote early and vote often!
 

I predict that Bart's head is going to implode.
 

Bartbuster's prediction is based upon a principle of science:

"Nature abhors a vacuum (and yodelers).
 

Nice to have internet access in court now.

Reports of massive turnout in GOP and Dem coal counties in all the swing states, while the Dems apparently used their smaller cadre of likely voters in early voting.

My mountain county is 3:1 GOP and we passed 80% turnout early this afternoon.

Should be a fun and short evening.
 

Hmmm...

Can't find any reports of high turnout in Dem counties by the left blogosphere.

Just dire rumors of voter supression.

Now, if the DA would get out of court so can knock out our plea negotiations...
 

Ryan won ... his house race.


 

:::sigh:::

My guestimates were wildly wrong. Fox News has just called Ohio for Obama. A narrow plurality or majority American voters are apparently satisfied with the status quo of slow national decline and impending sovereign insolvency.

For my part, after finishing my ration of crow, I will start to invest my retirement savings in gold and silver tomorrow and look for additional ways to cut expenses in my law firm to ride out the ongoing economic depression.

Congratulations to you Democrats on the success of your negative campaign.

God save the Republic.
 

Bart, the stock market has soared since Obama was elected.

On the other hand, great call on the election. It was a short night, and it was enjoyable!

Now, go fuck yourself.
 

These poll numbers are great news for John McCain!

MSNBC didn't televise the speech of a Hispanic or African American elected official or candidate at the RNC

Expect Rice to resign within the week and accept all responsibility to protect the President.

The center right electorate still opposes Obama policy, which is why they will fire him on Tuesday.

Take a stiff drink before reading the data because there is a 2010 level electoral tsunami coming.


The hits just keep on coming.

Please don't ever let me stop you from making such a complete and total fool of yourself, guy.

And thank you, sincerely, for so clearly and definitively establishing exactly what your credibility is.

Thank you and good night.
 

Baghdad, look on the bright side, you get to make history again in 4 years when Hillary kicks your ass.
 

Apparently America has transformed from "center-right" to Kenyan Marxist Communism.

Bart was right, this is a LOT of FUN!
 

Here's the headline for the 2012 political polling Olympics:

"SILVER TAKES THE GOLD!"

Our yodeler indicates he will continue to follow his guru Glenn Beck's advice, at least investment-wise But CO by referendum vote may soothe our yodeler's post-election depression by making CO the Mile High State both medically and recreationally for Ganja, thus increasing legal DUI business.
 

Senate Minority Leader McConnell's main goal now is to limit Obama to a 2-term Presidency. Obama might credit Mitch for winning a second term as Mitch incentivized Obama with his previous goal of a one-term limit. But Mitch may not be back after 2014.

By the Bybee [expletives suspended on this happy occasion], my dyslexic bumper-stickers:

R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012

are being grabbed up by Romney/ Ryan supporters to cover over their non-dyslexic bumper-stickers to show their support for Obama.
 

Here's a thought to consider: Perhaps Obama can give the SCOTUS majority in Citizens United (5-4) a tip of the hat for his second-term win. Combining Buckley with Citizens United made for a lot of noise in the form of "free" speech funded to a great extent by billionaires, many of whom did not want their names disclosed, with Super Pacs. Stephen Colbert can be credited with putting the spotlight on Super Pacs with his spoofs of Super Pacs, including his own. Colbert's youthful audience is expanded via the Internet to geezers like me who are too cheap to pay for cable and who can't stay awake at the late hour of the program. Young people voted strongly for Obama and apparently avoided the noise of the Super Pacs. So perhaps there is a law of diminishing returns that applies to the excessive noise resulting from Buckley's money is speech to Citizens United's corporations are people. Instead of reversing Buckley and Citizens United, perhaps the better course would be to require full disclosure of contributors (and the form of their contributions), so that voters can follow the money.

With my tax background, I have been suspicious of the funding of Super Pacs. Presumably such funding would be with after tax dollars. Deductions (for income tax purposes) are not allowed for political contributions. Disclosure of the contributors and the amounts they contribute (whether in cash or in property) could provide valuable information in determining whether tax laws are being complied with. My experience in 50 + years of practicing law makes me suspicious that astute wealthy businessmen are using after tax dollars for their Super Pac contributions. Many billionaires have much of their wealth in highly appreciated securities. While gifts of such securities to a charity may result in a charitable deduction based upon fair market value, they do not result in the recognition of income to the contributor; rather, the charity sells the appreciated securities and because it is tax-exempt, it does not recognize income on the sale of such securities.

So a tip of the hat to the SCOTUS majority in Citizens United, and a wag of the finger to Congress to tighten Super Pac disclosure laws; that way we can make a better tomorrow today. [Sorry, Stephen]
 

Before the results were in, our yodeler early yesterday afternoon said:

"My mountain county is 3:1 GOP and we passed 80% turnout early this afternoon."

Apparently our yodeler's mountain county is an outlier in CO based upon the final voting. I understand that the Libertarian Party that our yodeler abandoned may have pulled votes away from Romney. There is always the dwindling Tea Party, the next caucus of which in our yodeler's mountain county may require only one tea bag. But as noted earlier, there is the recreational Ganja and its potential contribution DUI business in CO.
 

Bart

The confidence of your predictions seemed to have been matched by their wrongness. I hope you take some time to reflect on how you could be so sure of something that did not occur and hopefully start to inject some self-questioning, self-doubt and carefulness into your future opinion making. You're obviously a bright guy, but your zeal and overconfidence seem to lead you into some rather obvious blunders, you really should try to curb them unless you really like the tast of crow. That kind of thing might be common for conservative talk shows and movement punditry, but they live in a bubble and are often led into such blunders. You'd better serve your cause if you got outside of that bubble, methinks.

My $.02, take it for what it is worth :)

 

Bart, how is that tsunami thingy working out for you?
 

Mr. W:

I am confident in everything I do and that is not going to change. Second guessing yourself is no way to go through life.

Romney ended up nearly exactly where my corrected polling placed him.

The problem with my guestimate of the final result is that I assumed the undecided in that polling would follow historical patterns and go to the challenger, Romney.

The 2012 election made history - the first time the undecided went to an incumbent president. Given how much they disapproved of Obama's policies, that is really quite a remarkable event. This small swing vote apparently found Romney to be unacceptable in end.

It really is not any more complicated than that.
 

I am confident in everything I do and that is not going to change. Second guessing yourself is no way to go through life.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 10:04 AM


Considering your record you should probably consider doing some second guessing.
 

Re: our yodeler's:

"Romney ended up nearly exactly where my corrected polling placed him."

Was our yodeler's "corrected polling" disclosed at this Blog, at this thread? Or was it "secret polling" like Nixon's "secret plan" in 1968 or via R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012 internals (aka a political colonoscopy)?

The successful CO recreational Ganja referendum should provide our yodeler with enough DUI fees to help fund a couple more works of FRICTION on a second term for Obama whom he calls a socialist. What does it say that over 50% of the vote went to Obama? Is America a socialist nation, European style or otherwise?
 

Romney ended up nearly exactly where my corrected polling placed him.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 10:04 AM


Numbnuts, your "corrected" polling had Mittens at 49.6%. His current % is 48. You were wrong about everything, not just how the indies would break.

Like I said, this would be a good time for you to do some second guessing. Actually, that time was about 10 years ago, but who's counting...

And it only gets better. Hispanics hate your cause. Young voters hate your cause. Women hate your cause. You are screwed.
 

"I guestimate that the election will end up Mitt Romney 52%/342 EVs, Barack Obama 47%/196 EVs, Other candidates 1%"

Bart, these numbers are pretty far off. Your contentions about 'Democrat media polls' and 'enthusiasim gaps' were way off base, or to quote yourself your "guestimates were wildly wrong." For weeks you were so very confident of them, yet wildy wrong they were.

Admitting you were wrong just shows you are willing to say you are wiser today than you were yesterday.

From my, certainly fallible, point of view, you let your wishes become thought. That way leads to many wrong conclusions...
 

I am confident in everything I do

not unusual

Second guessing yourself is no way to go through life

Please don't let reality affect you in any way. Our Constitution and traditions fully support your freedom to be a fool. I would never dream of getting in your way. Reality may not be so accommodating, but oh well.
 

Dunning–Kruger effect

Wikipedia needs to add Bart's photo to that page.
 

The Daily Show and Stephen Colbert's Report last night (I watched reruns this morning) provided a good summary of the elections. This in particular caught my eye (the good one) at the Daily Show on two states that by referendum approved recreational Ganja:

WA CO

that was probably not an unsubtle message.

Colbert had as his guest Doris Kearns Goodwin whose "Team of Rivals" has been issued in paperback. It is understood that Obama heeded Lincoln's steps in assembling his Cabinet/advisors. The thought came to me (a nightmare) would Romney have followed the "Team of Rivals" strategy had he won? Might Bachmann, Gingrich, Paul, Santorum, Perry and/or Cain have been included in his Cabinet/advisors? (Clearly, Jon Huntsman would not have been asked and probably would not have accepted if asked.)
 

A cabinet of Bachmann, Gingrich, Paul, Santorum, Perry and/or Cain sounds like it could be a very funny comedy, as long as none of them gets past a White House security gate.
 

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