Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Loaded and Ready to Misfire

Gerard N. Magliocca

Mitt Romney put it a very strong debate performance tonight that will, I think, alter the conventional wisdom that President Obama is the favorite.  At least in the popular vote.

The most important fact about this campaign is that no Republican has ever won the White House without carrying Ohio.  But the economy in Ohio is doing relatively well (unemployment there is less than the national average) and thus the President is outperforming his national polls there.  While it is possible for Romney to win without Ohio, he would have to run the table on the tossup states.

Thus, I wonder if we are entering "Electoral College Failure" territory (i.e., the popular vote loser wins the Electoral College).  Again.


The sample size is way too small to worry about "No X has Y!" type observations. That's really all I have to say on the topic; N=37, who gives a darn what hasn't happened before?

The last electoral college map I saw showed that if Romney won all of the current toss-up states we would have an electoral college tie. That would give some power to those Ron Paul delegates, huh?

Even the popular vote shouldn't be taken for granted. I wonder if the President might have been "shorting" Romney in the debates. This is the first of 3. The narrative is always strongest if you come back from behind. Could this have been calculated?

In a word, no.

How much are the debates a product of the institutional rules of the debate format? Last night Lehrer let Romney have the first and last word on most of the 'segments.' I think lawyers would appreciate the benefits of that. I wonder if this has been studied, that is, how much of a debaters performance is a product of the debater, and how much the product of the format?

Mr. W:

Last night boiled down to Romney being prepared and Obama was not. Obama apparently believed that he had the election wrapped up and mailed it in last night.

This debate very much resembled Obama's televised health care summit with congressional leaders back in 2010. Ryan came in loaded for bear with briefing books and dismantled the Obamacare legislation. Obama was in turns petulant and disjointed, showing he did not possess detailed knowledge about this own policies.

Obama strikes me as an exceedingly arrogant man who has rarely been publicly challenged and does not know how to think on his feet when he is challenged. McCain did not challenge him, Romney did.


The Ohio polls do not reflect the reality in the ground. Beware what you are being spoon fed.


I'm not sure you addressed my point, re: the structure and format of the debate.

Mr. W:

The debate format gave both men ample back and forth on all of the issues addressed. I dud not notice that Obama was deprived the last word and indeed took the most time speaking.

My point was the difference was preparation.

Blankshot, when your boy is calling 47% of the country, including many of the people who will vote for him, parasitic moochers, you're not really in a position to call the other candidate "arrogant".

Fine performance but how much it shifted outcomes remains an open question. Robert Kaiser points out that decided votes are by definition not in play, and:

"a CBS poll of undecided voters. 46% opf them said Romeny won; 22% said Obama won; 32% said it was a tie. But I note that a majority, 54%, either picked Obama or said 'tie.' Romney's 46% hardly constitutes a blowout. That's lower than the vote total he's been getting in national polls lately.

"Final point: "Winning" debates does not mean winning the election. I have a vivid memory of the 2004 Bush-Kerry debates. Kerry won all three, easily. In the first one he humiliated Bush, I thought. That didn't help him much in November, did it?"


Debates are important to challengers to stand next to the incumbent President and prove he is a viable alternative.

This is especially important for GOP challengers so they can get past the Democrat media filter and speak directly to the American people to define themselves.

Back in 1980, the Democrat media (without the alternatives of Fox News, talk radio and the internet) savaged Reagan as a right wing senile lunatic and Carter went into the debates with a lead. After voters saw that Reagan was a more than viable alternative, the election was over.

The Democrat media are worse than usual this cycle and Obama has been carpet bombing the swing states with negative ads in a joint attempt to define Romney. Romney needed to portray himself as a strong leader to a large TV audience. Over 50 million tuned in to see Romney pretty much dominate the debate. We'll see if this is a replay of 1980.

"Could this have been calculated?"

Playing the prevent defense (as one media commentator compared it to) very well might have been. Blog posts like this will help the "narrative" where a single debate a month before the election is supposed to suddenly have changed everything that comes before it.

jpk's analysis is sensible. Moving past horse race commentary, if it turns on Ohio, Obama winning, who will be the Robert Kennedy of the right, I wonder?

I don't think anything that exciting will occur but if it does, it will be topical to Sandy Levinson's latest book.

Wouldn't R-MONEY be a great Harold Hill in a revival of "The Music Man"?

I understand that Bain, through R-MONEY's blind trust, is buying up Wendy's franchises to accommodate all his whoppers.

And how about R-MONEY starring in a remake of a sober Elmer Gantry.

David Brooks' NYTimes column for tomorrow, "Moderate Mitt Returns!", closes with this reference to R-MONEY:

" ...the former Mr. Right Winger."

That should inspire, if true, the Tea Party. But is this in truth a version of Harold Hill or a sober Elmer Gantry? Maybe The Mittster's blind investment trustee should have Bain look for IHOP franchises for The Mittster to flip and flop as he hops from position to position on just about every issue that he thinks might get him votes.


The Colbert Report last night reported on "George Will's Political Post-Racial Journalism" with Will's wisdom of all things baseball to play the race card for R-MONEY for firing America's first African-American President just like the Cleveland Indians fired Frank Robinson, the first African-American Major League Baseball manager. Will may be on of those angry white men (like Pat buchanan) that Sen. Lindsay Graham had referred to several weeks ago..

If R-MONEY is elected President and gets rid of Big Bird as promised, perhaps The Mittster's blind investment trustee will urge Bain to seek out Chick-fil-A franchises to put Big Bird to work - in sandwiches.

Wow, six in a row! I guess Romney really did win that debate, judging from Shag's frenzy.

We're looking forward to the VP debate, now. Wonder if Biden is going to go for the KO by revealing that Ryan is a mass murder? According to an anonymous caller who provided no evidence, of course... ;)


You can go through the transcript and see how many times the moderator wilts and gives Romney the last word on a segment. As you may remember the debate was broken up into segments. Romney, over the protest of the moderator, got the last word in on segment one (@ 21:24:40). Romney gets the last word in on segment two (right up to 21:39:49). Romney gets the last word in on the following segment (@ 21:54:42), then again on the following one (@ 22:11:10), and yet again in the one following that (also over the moderator) (@ 22:22:05). Obama gets the last word on a segment @ 22:25:57, and then of course Romney gets the last closing speech.


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Mr. W:

I will defer to your review of the tape. My memory was of an ongoing series of back and forths offering talking points and responding to those points. More like a long and badly managed motion hearing in court than a closing argument where the prosecutor opens with her case and then closes with a rebuttal.

Before Brett puts his socks back on, here's #7:

R-MONEY says he was "Completely wrong" on the 47% after 16 days from exposure - but many months AFTER making the statement at a private fund raiser. As a mea culpa, R-MONEY will refund the contributions raised at that fund raiser.

Will it tahit ke 16 days for The Mittster to withdraw his contract on Big Bird? Is this another Seamus (shameless?) moment for R-MONEY in his attempts to move to the middle? Do our dyslexic duo, Brat and Bert, [no, not Sesame Street's Ernie and Bert, kids] see this as a wink, wink by The Mittstert to extreme "white" wingers? Go back to his Ted Kennedy debates/campaign when The Mittster would flip, flop and fly on just about every position in attempts to induce voting support.

If The Mittster keeps this up, Atlas will do more than shrug.

And note The Mittster's Nixonian style "secret plan" on tax reform to be revealed only if elected. (And how long, and how ingloriously, did it take for Nixon's ending of the Vietnam war?)

The Mittster's next October surprise may be to disclose, if elected, where the "plates of gold" are buried [in his IRA?] and resolve the deficit, debt and financial crises. Yes, that will take a sober Elmer Gantry.

Moving on, the SCOTUS website has three new things from Stevens up, including a 10/2 h/t to Sandy Levinson's new book.

See also, Dean's take of the debate:

Immediately post-debate, pundits questioned why Obama did not bring up R-MONEY's "47%" comments. Perhaps Obama anticipated how The Mittster would have responded, as The Mittster did on Faux News post-debate by saying he was "Completely wrong." Perhaps at the debate, The Mittster would have come up with this Etch-A-Sketch remix directed to 50-60 million viewers with an empathetic tear in his eye.

Can we now expect an Etch-A-Sketch remix mea culpa from The Mittster on Seamus' car top trip to Canada?


You need to relax. Obama just lost a debate. It is not the end of the world.

You better start wrapping your mind around the very real possibility that voters fire Obama in a month.

Our yodeler seems concerned that moderate Republicans are finally surfacing, including R-MONEY, the Moderate Mittster, according to David Brooks of the NYTimes. And NYTimes editor Andrew Rosenthal has followed up Brooks on the NYTimes website with a post on "Moderate Mitt." [Note to our yodeler: Rosenthal mentions his mentor "Tom-Tom Tancredo" in the post. Is "Tom-Tom" now a moderate?]

Ayn Rand's ashy remains may be in a swirl with The Mittster's statement in the debate that regulations are necessary for the free market to work. (We'll soon hear from R-AYN, Mittster's tag team member of the libertarian following of her Rand-i-ness.) Maybe is such regulations were in place during the Bush/Cheney 8 years, we might have been spared from their 2008 Great Recession.

How did Wall Street and the market react to this? Or was that due to the new unemployment numbers?

There is reason to relax with The Mittster's born-again [recall his MA campaigning for Senator and Governor] moderation, unless he's kidding. [He's such a kidder!] There is a danger in excessive flip-flopping, as it just might screw The Mittster into the ground.

That drop in unemployment resulted from the hiring of comedy writers/comedians in anticipation of The Mittster's debate performances based upon upon the CCI ("Comis Confidence Index") and the ZI ("Zinger Index").

I thought it resulted from even more people giving up on finding a job. Reducing unemployment by lowering the denominator, rather than increasing the numerator. That seems to be the strategy here; Makes the numbers look better, AND increases the 47%.

Convenient, though; Finally drops below 8% just before the election, after literally years of above 8%.

Brett, with this:

"Convenient, though; Finally drops below 8% just before the election, after literally years of above 8%.:

seems to fall in line with conspiracy theorist Jack Welch, who may or may not have been involved with the John Birch Society founded here in MA, where Jack grew up and where he helped polluted waters in the western part of our state. Just a couple of oracles without follicles.

Well, the thing about conspiracies is that they actually happen. Just not on a large scale, without being discovered, which is why I seriously doubted the talk about Obama's birth certificate.

But a government agency controlled by the President, fudging the numbers for just a few weeks, before correcting the error right after the election, when it doesn't matter if it gets out? Not utterly implausible.

Especially in an administration which seems to make a habit of coverups.

No, the drop in unemployment didn't result from fewer people looking for a job. The employment/population ratio rose in September. See here.

I guess that still leaves the vast left wing conspiracy available as an explanation. One might wonder, though, why they didn't start dropping the numbers a couple of months ago. Pretty inept conspirators if you ask me, and that's assuming the conspiracy is limited to this issue. I mean, a really good conspiracy could find lots more to "improve".


"Especially in an administration which seems to make a habit of coverups."

brings to mind the Bush/Cheney Administration's WMDs and other allegations to justify the invasion of Iraq that resulted in how many deaths, injuries, and contributions to the deficits left by Bush/Cheney. Alas, Brett has no hair to tear out so he looks for conspiracies.

But how about that conspiracy between the pre-debate Mitt and the debate Mitt?

By the way, rumor has it that Big Bird will temporarily leave Sesame St. and be replaced by Willard (the Rat) to address The Mittster's "Close Sesame" project. Good casting.

Brett is correct that the SOP for the Obama BLS has been to stop counting millions of unemployed as part of the labor force (1.1 million in just over the past year) to artificially lower the U3 unemployment rate. They have also been playing games with the birth/death statistical adjustment.

Mark is correct that BLS did not reduce the labor force in this case.

In this case, the BLS employer survey found the usual employment growth insufficient to keep up with population growth - 114k. No surprise there.

However, the BLS household survey miraculously found another 580k of new part time workers. Based on this survey and some other adjustments no one seems to understand yet, the Obama BLS claims that the economy added over 800k in new workers.

None of this alleged new hiring was reported in the employer survey.

This kind of growth has not occurred since the Reagan boom with nearly 10% GDP growth, not the current 1.3% GDP growth, which again is insufficient to grow enough jobs to keep up with population growth.

In sum, the Obama BLS result is complete nonsense.

There are two explanations: The household survey is a world record outlier or the survey was gamed for an October surprise.

BTW, the conservative press has already indentified two "career civil servant" BLS economists who were Obama donors. BLS would make a dandy House oversight committee investigation next year if Obama manages to avoid being fired.

"There are two explanations: The household survey is a world record outlier or the survey was gamed for an October surprise."

I would not rule out a third possibility, namely that you may not understand what's going on as much as you think you do.


Here's some run down on Bart's line about the two BLS employees who gave to Obama.

But of course, one need not have seen this more in-dpth analysis. Who in the world would take it as strong evidence that the BLS, which employs many, many people and which knows their numbers are going to be subject to tremondous criticism, must be cooking the books because two people that work there gave money to Democrats?

This is what selection bias run amok looks like...

Media Matters? Who can trust them?

I like the word "tremondous."

Hope Shag's eyes are better. If so, plenty of reading to catch up.


[snark alert]

My eyesight is improving and I have been reading some articles that I have downloaded. I am reading more online since learning to enlarge text with the control/mouse method my son brought to my attention. Fortunately I have not been limited in cooking meals, etc. In fact, today I put up a gallon and a half of pickled green tomatoes that should be ready in about 7-8 days since I cut the tomatoes into bite sized segments (without cutting myself!). The hot brine is 3 parts water to 2 parts white vinegar, enhanced with Kosher salt and fresh dill. I add fresh dill, whole coriander seeds and chopped garlic to the tomatoes in large Mason jars. I keep the gallon for myself and give the half-gallon to my neighbor who supplied the tomatoes from her garden. I use the same pickling method year-round with pickling cukes, celery and multi-colored peppers (and occasionally cauliflower). The process is not the same as long term canning. Rather, a batch is devoured in a matter of a couple of weeks. (I enjoy half sour pickles but the process - which I learned does not include vinegar - and curing takes too long. There are very few real good Jewish delis in the Boston area. Oh for a tongue sandwich on rye with good mustard; or a delicate pastrami! Back in the late 1930s, '40s, there was the Essex deli on Washington St. in downtown Boston with pickle bowls on the counters readily available.) While waiting for the tomatoes to cure, I'll be finishing up my pickled cukes.

So if you're in the neighborhood in a week or so, do drop by. I've got some Trader Jose in the fridge. (It's a diet beer, in the sense that a bottle contains only 11.2 ounces of good Mexican beer, based upon German brewing, I've been told.)

Hopefully by the time this new batch of pickles is ready, I can attack my reading pile, which includes several articles on originalism. Meantime, I await an article by Jack Balkin on "The Second Gilded Age," which reminds me of "R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012." We may yet have another gold rush for the plates of gold. (No, they're not located at Fort Knox.) Maybe a return to the gold standard will resolve the deficit, debt, etc. In the meantime, I recall a tune from my youth listening to Jack Benny on the radio: "Pickle in the middle Mitt the mustard on top, just the way you like 'em and they're all red hot." [Actually, it's "with," not "Mitt." but I don't want to stray too far from the thread of this post.]

I trust Brett hasn't lost count, assuming he still has his socks off, as he engages in his conspiracy with our yodeler on labor statistics. Ayn Rand probably enjoyed a good pickle in her day and has passed such enjoyment on to her following of libertarians. I understand that Ayn was somewhat of a libertine as well. Maybe that's the next debate over at the VC.

1%-ers like me can afford to access Paul Krugman's Blog at the NYTimes website for his latest post: "Constant-demography Employment (Wonkish But Relevant)" on employment statistics. The post closes with a link to "conspiracy socialist statisticians" that might interest our dyslexic duo Brat and Bert.

Mr. W:

My point about the political donations is to rebut the Democrat talking point defending the bureaucracy as neutral "career civil servants" seeking the truth whenever they come up with something outrageous.

This is the kissing cousin to Obama citing leftist think tank "studies" designed to advance Democrat programs and oppose GOP programs as "non-partisan studies" that should resolve any discussion in his debate with Romney.

The bureacracy is a creature of progressive politics and almost without exception advances progressive policies. EPA and other bureacracies have been caught by the courts gaming or inventing data to advance these policies. Why is it so hard to suspect that the bureaucracy would alao game or invent data to support a president who supports these policies?

Did that happen here? We do not have the evidence yet. However, for the reasons I gave above, the Obama BLS product is ridiculous on its face and its timing smells to the rafters.


The NYT allows a certain number of free hits to its online content each month and anyone who did not reach that limit can read the Krugman post here:

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Krugman basically agreed with the reality of a substantial shrinkage of the work force. He misses the fact that those over 55 often "retire" involuntarily due to a lack of job prospects, but his last chart is basically accurate. When Krugman calls the trough during the Obama administration at the end of his own chart a real recovery, you just want to pat Paul on the head and have the nurses wheel him back to his room at the home of hopeless socialist statisticians.

Our yodeler's:

"Did that happen here? We do not have the evidence yet. However, for the reasons I gave above, the Obama BLS product is ridiculous on its face and its timing smells to the rafters."

olfactory sense was apparently lost during the eight (8) Bush/Cheney years with its stenches that gave us their 2008 Great Recession.

Our yodeler can dig through the pile to find that pony that The Mittster can prepare for the next Olympics and take tax deductions for the "business" losses associated with training that pony to flip, flop and fly in pursuit of the plates of gold.

Jack, the Welch-er, had a hunch, no evidence. Nor does our yodeler.

Once again our yodeler tries to show his economics chops, in his minor way, in challenging Paul Krugman, Nobel Laureate (Economics). Krugman provides details, facts, charts. Our yodeler provides zilch, just his "white" zinger hunches.

If our yodeler finds that pony for The Mittster, the latter can ride it to accommodate his Gish Gallop technique at the first debate.

Wonderful post but I was wondering if you could write a little more on this topic? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Thank you!


"My point about the political donations is to rebut the Democrat talking point defending the bureaucracy as neutral "career civil servants""

But the fact that someone may have given their personal money to a candidate does not mean they cannot also be careeer civil servants neutral in their work. Mailmen might be Republicans or Democrats, but I bet most of them deliver the mail to people that are the other affiliation just fine.

There's all kinds of reasons to doubt this gaming occurred. There are lots of people who work on these reports (As we see, some who give to Republicans). There are professional standards that people try to live up to. There's the knowledge that the public is going to comb through their numbers and the personal shame of getting caught fudging, and the knowledge that while today's party in power might be one you like, tomorrow's may not be.

"The bureacracy is a creature of progressive politics and almost without exception advances progressive policies"

I'm not sure this is true at all. The bureaucracy can, say, fudget WMD data for a GOP administration as easily it could EPA data for a Dem one. Bureaucracy can be found in every major private sector corporation, the military, etc. It's not just found in progressive organizations.


Mr. W:

Actually, the gaming is quite easy. BLS does not need to change the raw data they collect, but rather subtly and indirectly reweight it.

National polling almost never uses raw data. Rather, that polling incorporates a variety of assumptions as to what the respondent pool ought to look like and then pollsters reweight their actual respondents to conform to those assumptions. If you tweak your assumptions and respondent weighting, you end up with substantially different results.

For example, in their presidential horserace polls, the Democrat media pollsters nearly all assume the electorate will look like 2008 (D+7) or better for the Dems rather than like the partisan ties of 2004 and 2010. Thus, they arrive at Obama leads.

If you reweight those same Democrat media polls to look like 2004/2010, Romney leads all the polls.

You do not have to directly reweight the polls by partisan self identification in order to game partisan weighting, though. The pollsters are instead reweighting their polls by race and ethnicity to reflect the 2010 census to arrive at a more minority and Democrat heavy respondent pool, which varies substantially from the racial and ethnic makeup of registered voters.

The political polls often release their cross tabs so you can determine the makeup of their respondent pools. BLS does not and we have no real idea how they are changing the weighting of their respondents or why. It does not take much, however, to artificially create a 3/10ths change in the unemployment rate.

BD: "The bureacracy is a creature of progressive politics and almost without exception advances progressive policies"

Mr. W: I'm not sure this is true at all. The bureaucracy can, say, fudget WMD data for a GOP administration as easily it could EPA data for a Dem one. Bureaucracy can be found in every major private sector corporation, the military, etc. It's not just found in progressive organizations.

We are discussing the government bureaucracy, not private ones.

The progressives imported the administrative state from authoritarian Napoleonic France and especially Bismarkian Germany to bypass the Constitution's checks, balances and democracy to impose a "rule of experts."

The progressive FDR created the modern military bureaucracy to bypass Congress and impose his international policy. This is a very progressive policy even though conservative presidents also have adopted this extra-constitutional power.

Your discussion on polling reweighting is interesting but doesn't address the factors I mentioned that make it unlikely the BLS would release false data to influence an election.

"We are discussing the government bureaucracy, not private ones."

You did not make that qualification, you said "The bureacracy is a creature of progressive politics and almost without exception advances progressive policies"

I pointed to military and private sector bureaucracy to note that bureaucratic organization seems to be a result of some broad, modernizing forces rather than the rise of progressive politics. There have been many benefits of this type of organization; consider it was pushed as an alternative to the rotten, Tammany Hall type patronage systems that were so ascendant before the 'progressive' movement in the United States.

"The progressive FDR created the modern military bureaucracy"

This statement strikes me as equal parts unclear and in need of evidence. Do you mean bureaucratic structures and policies FDR put into place are the ones the military has today, or that these started with FDR? That strikes anyone who has even browsed through primary sources from, say, the Civil War period as incorrect.


Mr. W:

Prior to WWII, the peacetime military was tiny and no intelligence commnity of note.

Diring WWII, we built a very large military and intelligence commnity of international reach and a bureaucracy to support it.

After WWII, the military only partially demobilized and has stayed in a wartime posture ever since. The military and intelligence bureaucracies are massive.

Like all progressive bureaucraies, our "military industrial complex" exists to expand its funding and power. When Congress tries to cut its size as in this sequester, the bureaucracy does not salute and say yes sir as prior to WWII, it starts lying to the public saying it can't defend the country and tries to scare them about lost jobs.


Like I said, it's just incorrect to one with even a cursory reading of Civil War history and primary sources at the time that the military was small and lacking in bureaucracy prior to WWII (not to mention, say, the Freedman's Bureau, the war pension offices, and of course the mobilization for WWI).

"Like all progressive bureaucraies, our "military industrial complex" exists to expand its funding and power. When Congress tries to cut its size as in this sequester, the bureaucracy does not salute and say yes sir as prior to WWII, it starts lying to the public"

So is the US military bureaucracy lying to the public in the face of its potential cuts? Of course, Romney and the GOP are promising to raise their budgets in the wake of this caterwailing...

Our yodeler with this:

"Like all progressive bureaucraies, our 'military industrial complex' exists to expand its funding and power."

ignores history. What is progressive about the military industrial complex? Recall Pres. Ike's warnings on the complex as his second term was ending? That was not a waring about political progressives; rather it was aimed at the Republican support for that complex. That complex feared Democrats. That complex favored Republicans, the War Party politically. Even now, R-ROMNEY/R-AYN 2012" wish to substantially expand the military budget that will benefit the complex executives who provide political contributions to their - and their Super Pacs - campaigns. Is The Mittster's proposed substantial increases in military spending that will benefit the complex - and his political contributors - a counter to "trickle-down" government, turning it into a "torrent"?

Mr. W:

Your Civil War reference is to the temporary military occupation of a rebel nation. Once the occupation was through, the U.S. Army melted away to a handful of regiments on Indian duty. There was never anything close to the scale of the permanent military and intelligence bureaucracies established by the progressives starting in WWII.



What is progressive about the military industrial complex?

What the Progressives called the "administrative state" was intended first and foremost to support a military industrial complex.

The Progressives adopted the "administrative state" from Napoleon and Bismark, who themselves created it to support their war machines. Using the bureaucracy to direct a peacetime economy was not its first purpose.

On our side of the pond, Progressives invented the "military industrial complex."

During WWI, Wilson's progressive government adopted elements of German "war socialism" directing the economy and so thoroughly distorted our price structure that we plunged into depression in 1920.

During WWII, FDR's progressive government adopted German "war socialism" in whole and ran most of the economy. Most folks who were educated under the patriotic whitewash of the era in our schoolbooks do not realize how close to economic collapse we came by 1945. The only reason the sharp 1946 recession did not turn into another depression is that Truman rapidly dismantled the bureaucracy's direction of the economy and cut federal spending by over half.

Progressives only started to flirt with isolationism during Vietnam

Our yodeler revises history once again. But note he avoids both Mr. Whiska's and my references to the "R-MONEY/R-AYN 2012" goal to significantly increase the military budgets that fuel the complex. Perhaps our yodeler now will attempt to identify the Democrats as isolationists, yet further yodeler revisionism.


The GOP is trying to score political points off the sequester with its foreign plicy hawks during an election.

The fiscal reality is that we are broke and rapidly sprinting toward sovereign insolvency.

No matter who controls the government, we are headed back to a 2000 level of military spending, and probably lower.


Of course the military became smaller after the Civil War. It grew again in times of major war, such as WWI. It did not go back to small after WWII because of something called the Cold War. It's a particularly hilarious revisionism which tries to christen the Cold War military complex at the hands of Progressives (for starters, note the actual Progressive Party candidate Henry Wallace who argued against it).

Yes, the fighting of major wars led to administrative growth. As you yourself note this was true during the fighting of the Civil War as well, hardly a 'progressive' conspiracy there. Note that after WWI the military shrank down as well, and all under an honset-to-goodness Progressive (Wilson)!

So it seems history supports the idea that large administrative rises via military came in response to, well, wars and threats, not Progressive plots.


"Progressives only started to flirt with isolationism during Vietnam"

I'm curious, were Progressive Party Presidential candidates Robert LaFollette and Henry Wallace, who opposed US involvement in WWI and Cold War interventions, not progressives?

Mr. W:

The bureacracy is not a progressive "conspiracy," it is the heart of their political economy.

Progressives believe in the rule of experts over everything, including foreign and military policy.

"The bureacracy is not a progressive "conspiracy," it is the heart of their political economy. "

And yet, as I've shown, the bureaucracy in the military seemed to grow not in alignment with progressive governmental rule, but in response to wars and threats, the latter of which, the Cold War, was much more of a conservative darling than a progressive baby.

Mr. W:

the Cold War, was much more of a conservative darling than a progressive baby...

You are kidding, right?

Korea - Truman

Vietnam - Kennedy/Johnson

Republicans ended each war after it was badly mismanaged and, in Vietnam's case, lost.

Reagan won the Cold War without the US military firing a shot.

BD: "Progressives only started to flirt with isolationism during Vietnam"

Mr. W: I'm curious, were Progressive Party Presidential candidates Robert LaFollette and Henry Wallace, who opposed US involvement in WWI and Cold War interventions, not progressives?

Exceptions to the rule.

Mr. W: Note that after WWI the military shrank down as well, and all under an honset-to-goodness Progressive (Wilson)!

Sorry, but Wilson and the Democrats increased military spending after WWI was won.

The voters fired the Democrat Senate in 1918 and the rest in 1920 and the laissez faire Republicans cut the military back to its usual peacetime size starting in FY 1920.

"Reagan won the Cold War without the US military firing a shot."

You're moving your goalposts. You've argued that the build up of bureaucracy after WWII was some progressive thing. But of course the military kept expanding in response to the Cold War we engaged in after WWII. It was not Progressives who pushed the Cold War the most, it was a constant right wing criticism and rallying point that more, stronger measures, including a stronger military, were necssary to hold off the 'godless communists.' Conservative intellectuals frankly admit that anti-communism was the essential glue that held conservatives of various stripes together for decades.

Yes, there were Democrats who pushed that and/or went along with that idea. But the more Progressive wing of the party (people like Wallace, or McGovern) not only resisted the idea, they were regularly and roundly criticized by the Right as being "weak on communism" and "weak on defense."

For you to point to the two most popular actual Progressive Party Presidential candidates' opposition to military build up and foriegn intervention as 'exceptions' to Progressives leaders on this issue is, frankly, hilarious.

"Wilson and the Democrats increased military spending after WWI was won."

Huh? The War did not end until Nov. 1918, and as you mention yourself the Dems lost the Senate that very year...

Our yodeler's:

"... and the laissez faire Republicans cut the military back to its usual peacetime size starting in FY 1920."

neglects to reference the failed peace process in 1919 in Paris, failure that had the support of the laissez faire Republicans who followed for 12 years after 1920. Who can forget Republicans Harding and Coolidge, who dumped the crash of 1929 on Republican Hoover, who had three years left to address the Great Depression, but failed. Meantime, what was happening in Germany? Under FDR America had to quickly play catch-up in defense in preparing for its entry into WW II despite the efforts of Republican isolationists, America firsters, etc.

C. Wright Mills' "The Power Elite," published in 1956, recognized the military-industrial complex before Pres. Ike's departing speech warning of this complex at the end of his second term. Those interested in Mills' view should check out Chapter 9, "The Military Ascendancy." I don't know if Ike was influenced by Mills.

Mr. W:

The Democrats enacted the FY 1919 increase in defense spending after the war was plainly won and the military had already begun plans to return home. Once the GOP took over the Senate in 1919, defense spending was massively cut in the FY1920 budget.

Until WWII, the GOP was the party of isolationism.

Our yodeler's version of the "good old days" of Republican laissez faire:

"Until WWII, the GOP was the party of isolationism."

Flip-flopping "The Real Mittster" now believes in regulated laissez faire, aka "free markets" that are not so free.

When was the fiscal year 1919 budget enacted? If before the Armistice in November 1918 one could forgive the Congress for not assuming the war was over (since it was, well, not).

Also, the GOP was totally in power from 1952-54, and defense spending did not decrease during that period. Nor, for example, the last time we had total GOP control.

So perhaps the Cold War was the Cold War, not some Progressive government build up...

Here's a link:

to: "Will The Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up?"

This is evolutionary and creative stand up comedy.


Chill out with the partisan nonsense. Everyone already knows that I am a Republican, you are a Democrat and we do not like the opposing parties. News at 11.

Mr. W and I are discussing the origins of the administrative state and the military industrial complex. If you want to add something useful to that conversation, fell free to do so.

Mr. W:

The German Army on the Western Front was in retreat by June 1918 and deserting en masse.

By August 1918, the German troops started surrendering and Wilson and the Allies were planning on moving troops to Russia to support the Whites against the Reds in the Russian Civil War.

Wilson and his Congress knew WWI was over and were spending to maintain a standing army for operations elsewhere.


As for the brief GOP assumption of power in the White House and Congress the early 1950s, we were at war in Korea at that time and neither party was going to cut off support for the troops.

After the war, Eisenhower did cut military spending somewhat and Kennedy won election in 1960 in part by promising to rebuild the military.

My friend, the military industrial complex was a progressive idea from the start. The progressives did not go isolationist until Vietnam.

You have to understand that when Blankshot Bart says "isolationist", he really means "no longer interested in pissing away lives and money in pointless wars". Blankshot does not believe in real world definitions of words.

The budget would have been worked on and passed before the date this was all so clear, and of course it was unknown what the terms or fall out would be as well. Do you have any evidence that the Republicans in Congress voted against the military budget at the time?

It's interesting, with the GOP in power during Korea and not cutting defense you excuse them because soldiers were in the feild (the Armistice there was signed in 1953); but with the same situation under Wilson you don't.

Another snag is this: FDR was in power, total power, for eight years prior to WWII and yet he only ramped up military spending and bureaucracy in response to the war. That such spending was continued after the war was a response to the Cold War (are you really denying conservatives did not identify as hard core 'cold warriors' critiquing dissenters of that as 'weak on communism and defense?'). This of course corresponds with what we saw during the Civil War, do you want to engage in revisionism blaming that on progressives too?

Everyone already knows that I am a Republican

# posted by Bart DePalma : 12:50 PM

Republican?? I thought you belonged to the Tea Party? Is that scam now over?

Mr. W:

Opposition to socialism/communism and belief in a large standing army with a supporting bureaucracy are not the same thing.

GOP conservatives from the industrial revolution to WWII both opposed socialism/communism and believed in a small standing army.

After Pearl Harbor, nearly all Americans became born again internationalists.

This does not change the fact that the progressives established the military industrial complex.


Here's what you said earlier:

"FDR created the modern military bureaucracy"

And now you say:

"After Pearl Harbor, nearly all Americans became born again internationalists."

If you're making the argument that the GOP was for the most part isolationist from 1900-WWII then I would agree. But as you seem to concede now once WWII began the GOP was happy to support the military build up we've been discussing. Ironically given your contentions, there was one political movement and Party that contemporanously resisted the post-WWII military build up and interventionism: Henry Wallace's Progressive Party!

That a Democratic President presided over a military build up during WWI seems to me as unremarkable for modern politics as that a GOP President presided over a military build up during the Civil War.

Mr. W:

The Democrats ran the entire federal government during WWII. The GOP had no power and their opinions were almost entirely ignored.

The Democrats running the government created the military industrial complex.


As you have conceded the GOP was there supporting them every step of the way.

You know who was opposing them? The Progressives such as Henry Wallace.

"If you're making the argument that the GOP was for the most part isolationist from 1900-WWII then I would agree."

Theodore Roosevelt (R) was not "isolationist" during his presidency, nor to my knowledge standing alone from his party, the leadership of whom got us into the Spanish-American War. The head of the Democrats (Bryan) was more isolationist there, including regarding overseas territories.

This would entail 1900-10. Republicans were not isolationist during WWII "for the post part." As for the rest of the time, I think more accurately the party had internationalist and isolationist wings.

I would not concede too much in the promotion of answering clearer error.

Our yodeler now wants to set the rules for this forum, with his chill out diatribe:

"If you want to add something useful to that conversation, fell free to do so."

Our yodeler apparently chose not to pursue my comment concerning C. Wright Mills' Chapter 9 on "The Military Ascendancy."

Is it fair to assume that members of the military-industrial complex lean more to 1% than the 99%? To contributing to GOP Super Pacs? The Mittster's screed today on foreign policy has the support of the military-industrial complex.

Mr. Whiskas has more than demolished our yodeler's progressive claims. It's quite obvious from our yodeler's commentary over the years, especially during his adulation of everything Bush/Cheney, that he is a supporter of the goals of the military-industrial complex (although not a financial beneficiary). But just about everything our yodeler spews is partisan nonsense.


I largely agree with what you wrote, except I would point out that while he was a strong anti-imperialist and as such opposed the annexation of the Philipines and such, Bryan supported the Spanish-American War rather strongly.

You are correct though that it was McKinley who led us into that war. Perhaps Bart would argue that the Democratic party and press pushed for the war strongly, and he'd be correct in that. Of course, an even casual historian could also point out that the Republicans, and especially conservatives, pressed Truman and other post-WWII Democratic leaders to be tougher on communism and stronger and defense...

Uh huh. I guess the fact that President Cleveland (D) was wary of efforts to push the U.S. into war over Cuba would be argued around somehow. Cf. your nuanced statement as to Bryan, noting the complexity of actual history.


Yes, indeed, as Joe notes, " ... the complexity of actual history." Yes, there is a tad too much of cherry-picking parts of the past out of context to attempt to score political points. Yes, there is revisionism of history on an ongoing basis. Yes, there is a military-industrial complex, and it is quite complex. It's about war, and trying to avoid war. But from WW II to date, this complex complex may be summed up in Tom Englehardt's 10/9/12 LATimes article "An America eternally 'at war' - Military actions have become the tics of an overwrought great power." The complex military-industrial complex looks like it's here to stay, regardless of the American political party in power. The end of the Cold War did not end wars, just as the Civil War did not end discrimination. So if the complex is a lemon, let's made lemonade. [Snark!]

Pres. Wilson has been mentioned several times in this thread on the military-industrial complex. Take a peek at:,_1916#The_fall_campaign

for Wikipedia's "United States presidential election, 1916," and compare its foreign policy issues with today's. Despite Wilson's slogan "He kept us out of war," America entered the war in 1917. The Republican candidate, Hughes, had a more aggressive foreign policy during the campaign.

The Onion (10/8/12) Romney interview "Romney Proudly Explains How He's Turned Campaign Around - 'I'm Lying More,' He Says" peels off more truth than fiction.

Mr. Whiskas said...

"As you have conceded the GOP was there supporting them every step of the way."

The GOP declining to oppose a popular wartime president in his construction of the military industrial complex is not the same as participating in the construction.

Once again, the GOP did not set policy to any degree in the federal government from 1933 to 1946.


TR was a progressive who parted from the standard laissez faire and isolationist GOP platform of that era.

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Despite Wilson's slogan "He kept us out of war," America entered the war in 1917.

A party's policies are what they do after safely elected.

The nation was isolationist and had no desire to join the European bloodbath, so Wilson told the voters what they wanted to hear.

After the election, Wilson and the progressive Democrats joined the war and started the creation of the military industrial complex that FDR later finished.

This is very similar to Obama and the Democrats campaigning in 2008 on lowering spending and tax cuts, only to do the opposite after they were elected.


It strikes me as a very odd thing to lay total credit for the creation of the military industrial complex at the hands of progressives when 1. the GOP and conservatives by your own admission supported it 2. the GOP, when it came into total power shortly following its creation actually increased spending on it and 3. the only national political movements that were explicitly opposed to it were, well, the Progressives (such as Henry Wallace).


Back to the effect of the Romney debate victory...

The 2012 electorate is the same as 2010 – a center-right coalition of energized GOP base joined by a heavy majority of Independents.

All voters needed was a reason to consider Romney a competent alternative and the dam broke.


No, yodeler, this:

"This is very similar to Obama and the Democrats campaigning in 2008 on lowering spending and tax cuts, only to do the opposite after they were elected."
was not similar. Consider when the 2008 Bush/Cheney Great Recession fell to earth and the initial steps that had to be taken by Bush/Cheney even before Obama took office to get out of that deep hole. Our yodeler once again resorts to partisan political claptrap and revisionism. Our yodeler fails to keep in mind that the 2008 campaign began at least in 2007, well before the Bush/Cheney crash; and the full extent of the Bush/Cheney crash/crisis was not known until after Obama took office on 1/20/09.

And here's the link to "Breading News" on Jack Welch-er:

"Jack Welch Takes His Column and Goes Home"

Can we expect The Mittster (aka Richie Rich) to take his polo fie-ld home? Rumor has it that R-MONEY goes pants-less to avoid so many "pants on fire" awards by fact checkers..

"The 2012 electorate is the same as 2010"

Bart, why would one assume that the upcoming electorate will be the same as the 2010 one (and I'm not sure what you mean by that, I'm guessing you mean the demographics of those likely to vote and where they lean)? Presidential elections in general usually bring out a great deal more voters, especially certain kinds of voters (minorities, young people, irregular voters) and President Obama targets many of those groups. Congressional electorates rarely look like Presidential year electorates, right?

I suppose Romney's hope is that "after four years of economic misery and crony corruption" electorates don't look a lot like "opportunity to vote for the first black President in history" electorates.

Obama has a record to run on now, not "hope and change", and it's not a pretty record. Half of it would doom any Republican running on it, and there's only so much the media can do to help him.


"I suppose Romney's hope is that 'after four years of economic misery and crony corruption' electorates don't look a lot like 'opportunity to vote for the first black President in history' electorates. "

is not very subtle about the message he really, really want to get across. The inner quotes clearly are not objective. They ignore the 8 misery years of Bush/Cheney passed onto Americans and Obama. And Obama's not quite 4 years are much prettier than the 8 years of Bush/Cheney ending with the 2008 Bush/Cheney Great REcession.

Half of it would doom any Republican running on it
# posted by Brett : 7:18 PM

Presumably what dooms most Rethuglicans is the memory of Cheney/Bush and clowns like you.

Damn a Republican?

Heck, the party would be for a coronation just on killing OBL alone. Toss in a health plan with a central feature that is free market associated and heck apparently (see debate prep guy Ted Olson) even gay rights is conservative these days.

But, you know, if he could, deep in his heart, he would vote against guns. Not that he did mind ya. As Rachel Maddow noted, by the laws signed in office, Republicans should support him over some of what Romney said in the past too.

Oh, Brett is making it about color again as if him being a black President was the primary thing people voted for in '08. But, you know, he isn't the one "racist" about such things. The other side is.

When did I step in to the spin room at FOX News?



Regardless of specific issues like the poor economy, I just don't think I've heard of a Presidential election where more minorities and young people did not turn out than in the previous mid-term. I guess you can argue that the turnout of these groups won't be as high as 2008, or that Obama won't get as much from these groups, but I think even if both were true that doesn't leave you with the same electorate as voted in a mid-term election...

One of the more famous traits of Pres. George W. Bush was his assignments of nicknames to people, especially his aides, e.g. Turd Blossom for the portly Karl Rove. I can imagine George W. coming up with a nickname for Willard Mitt Romney based upon The Mittster's "alleged" reputation for telling lies on the campaign trail, such as (drum roll, please):


"Here lies ...., and here, and here, and here and ...."

Imagine The Mittster going through life as "aka TOMBSTONE." [A little background music with: "FLIP, FLOP AND LIE."

"But, you know, if he could, deep in his heart, he would vote against guns. Not that he did mind ya."

Yes, yes, I know: The line among anti-gun Obama backers is that Obama is really pro-gun, really has a pro-gun voting record.

We're supposed to believe that Obama didn't actually read that candidate questionnaire he signed, stating that he wanted a gun ban.

We're supposed to not count various gun control laws he voted for as "anti-gun", because they didn't go so far as a complete ban.

We're supposed to ignore the way his nominee to the Supreme court voted in the McDonald case.

Basically, we're supposed to be as stupid as anti-gunners like to characterize us, and swallow the assurances from his anti-gun allies like good little idiots.

Is Romney ideal on gun control? Hell, no. That doesn't make Obama's record pro-gun.

Can we next expect from The Mittster:

"A Big Bird in every pot, a Cadillac elevator in every garage and a gun in every fist!"

BD: The 2012 electorate is the same as 2010 – a center-right coalition of energized GOP base joined by a heavy majority of Independents.

Mr. W: I'm not sure what you mean by that, I'm guessing you mean the demographics of those likely to vote and where they lean"

Actually, as you can see from my statement, I am referring to partisan self identification.

Although you are correct that the young and minorities tend to turn out in larger numbers for presidential elections, I doubt that demographic distribution will be more than a percentage point different than 2010 for any group apart from maybe African Americans showing up for Obama.

Enthusiasm to vote for the unemployed young and Hispanics has cratered, while that for conservative whites is in the stratosphere. This has translated into the largest GOP enthusiasm advantage since 1984.

The bipartisan Battleground poll provides nearly 500 pages of cross tabs and interestingly the demographic who is by far the most enthusiastic to vote are white married women. It is not even close. They are extremely worried about the economy and secondarily about government debt. And they are massively supporting Romney.

As a side note, the head of Suffolk U. polling told Fox last night in passing that they are pulling out of VA, FL and NC because they have calculated that Obama simply cannot get to 50% in any of these states.

Again, whatever he 'wants in his heart,' or whatever "gun ban" you are talking about, we have to go on what actually occurs in the real world when he is President.

There, what he did was sign into laws that expanded gun rights. Meanwhile, if we want to talk about questionnaires and such, as you tack on at the end, Romney is not ideal. On balance, in the real world, Obama actually did more PRO gun by signing legislation.

I didn't say he was "pro-gun" -- spin room time again -- my comment was to underline he is not actually acting that anti-gun. We are left with Sotomayor's vote, which didn't matter much in the end. If Reagan couldn't get Roe overturned, not seeing Obama getting Heller overturned.

Spinning some more, Brett speaks of "anti-gunners" in the reply. I'm not sure who these people are since he thinks Heller and McDonald, which allows lots of regulations, is weak sauce. I support those opinions myself but perhaps am not pure enough so fall in the "anti-gun" camp along with Scalia, who wrote Heller's regulation supporting opinion.

Bart, has there ever been a Presidential election you can point to in which the young person's turn out was only a percentage point higher than the previous mid-term election?

Mr. W:

Everyone turns out in larger numbers during presidential elections.

The total youth vote is generally a small percentage of the overall vote.

Thus, even if the youth vote increases to a larger degree than say the 65+ age group, that added net increase is only maybe 1% of the overall vote.


Perhaps I mistated my question. Can you point to a Presidential election in which the proportion of the electorate that was younger voters was only 1% higher than it was in the previous mid-term election.

Mr. W:

I am in court waiting on a sentencing hearing, but I will try to check the exit polling online tomorrow to see if they cover this.


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Baghdad, do you think Ryan will quit the race when people find out he voted to cut embassy security funding?


Keep a close eye on this Libya attack story in the lead up to the final foreign policy debate in a couple weeks.

The documentary evidence suggests that that our consulate in Libya was under attack before 9/11, the consulate repeatedly requested additional security and State denied those requests to project an image of peace and normalcy.

State has now admitted under oath that it knew there was never any demonstration, but only an al Qaeda attack on our consulate on 9/11.

This means everyone at the White House including the President, Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Rice and poor Jake Carney were almost certainly lying for weeks on end in an apparent CYA effort.

This could be HUGE.

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

It's starting to get entertaining; On the one hand, the media is having ever more difficulty keeping a lid on all the scandals, especially the recent ones. On the other hand, the election is less than a month away, so it's not like they need to keep the lid down for much longer.

Whether or not they manage it, it looks like they're going to finish destroying what remains of their credibility by the time the election is over.

Brett is entertained:

"On the one hand, the media is having ever more difficulty keeping a lid on all the scandals, especially the recent ones. On the other hand, the election is less than a month away, so it's not like they need to keep the lid down for much longer."

by the media. What is this lid? And what are these recent scandals and how has the media kept a lid on them? Perhaps both Brett and our yodeler should check out Dana Milbank's WaPo column today "letting us in on a secret" on Rep. Issa's committee. The media is out there with everything, including R-MONEY's lies and flip plopping without really challenging them. Why even Brett doesn't keep a lid on his own racism.

By the Bybee [expletives deleted], take a peek at Michael Kinsley's LATimes column today: "Kinsley: President (gulp) Romney? OK, maybe it wouldn't be the end of the world. But I'm still voting for Obama."

It is obvious that R-MONEY is moving towards the center and moderation. But is this for real? Will the "white wingers" swallow the shift or look at it as a "wink, wink"? Can the Tea Party and the other "white wingers" trust that a President R-MONEY would be an extreme conservative? R-MONEY has put on a dizzying performance going back to his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, ducking and weaving, telling lies, anything to win. Perhaps that is indeed the political philosophy of the Tea Party and "white wingers" (including libertarians).

Brett, if you're going to vote for Etch A Sketch, you're not really in a position to criticize anyone's credibility.

When is Shag and Brett doing their "I'm Not Rappaport" performance in the park?


Joe: That park would have to be in a state without "Stand Your Ground" gun laws because of Brett's absolutist Second Amendment views (despite Heller as you have pointed out) with his professed cache of weaponry.

Except for age, I don't fit the ethnicity of either of the characters in "I'm Not Rappaport." Nor am I aware that Brett does, or that he is elderly.

There was a time when Jewish-Americans were quite supportive of civil rights causes of African-Americans. Thurgood Marshall had the assistance of several Jewish-American attorneys in his battles for the NAACP before, during and after Brown v. Bd. of Educ. Segregationists, to their shame, tried to drive wedges between these groups. But in my experience, for the most part, these groups still share mutual interests, having suffered through discriminations for so many years, despite such efforts by the segregationist ilk. I don't know Brett's views on this aspect of the civil rights movement, but I have my suspicions.

So, Joe, perhaps you might consider meeting in a park with Brett to further explore your differences on the Second Amendment and gun controls under Heller and McCarthy, hopefully with only bare arms.

Nat: Hey, Rappaport! I haven't seen you in ages. How have you been?
Midge: I'm not Rappaport.
Nat: Rappaport, what happened to you? You used to be a short fat guy, and now you're a tall skinny guy.
Midge: I'm not Rappaport.
Nat: Rappaport, you used to be a young guy with a beard, and now you're an old guy with a mustache.
Midge: I'm not Rappaport.
Nat: Rappaport, how has this happened? You used to be a cowardly little white guy, and now you're a big imposing black guy.
Midge: I'm not Rappaport.
Nat: And you changed your name, too!

The focus for me is in the sparring and some of the nonsense involved. The age and ethnicity is flexible.

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CNN has now joined Fox News in fully covering the Libya consulate scandal, with video timelines of Obama and administration lying about a demonstration outside the consulate and now including an interview with the mother of a massacred consulate staff member who was almost crying while relating how the administration is in turns lying to her and freezing her out. The rest of the Democrat media like the NY Times is not going to be able to sit on this story much longer.

Once the video timelines showing clips of Obama, Clinton and Rice lying goes 24/7 in the cable networks and viral on Youtube, Team Obama can essentially kiss this election goodbye.

Talk about the mother of all self inflicted October surprises.



You don't see some dissonance in referring to CNN as "Democrat media" while pointing to their reporting of something that could devastate a Democratic President?

Joe, for context/background on the "I'm not Rappaport" schtick, here's the video link:

Perhaps a "High Noon" context might be appropriate for your duel in the park with Brett. Nonsense, like beauty or bigotry, may be in the eye of the beholder.

Mr Wiskas, there's no dissonance here; This particular scandal has gotten to obvious and ugly that even Democratic media can't pretend it didn't happen.

It's always a difficult judgement call when you're in the media, and biased: How far dare you push it? There's always a line beyond which you can't go, without so destroying your credibility that you cease to be of use in the future.

The Obama scandals are starting to pile up, at last, to the point where they're passing that line, and getting reported on.


You realize you're on the border of Non-Falsifiable Town, right?

If the 'Democrat media' don't report stories damaging to the Democrats, it's evidence they are they in cahoots with the Dems and hiding the truth.

On the other hand, if they do report such stories, it's just evidence that the story is so true even they have to admit the story is true!

You realize you're on the border of Non-Falsifiable Town, right?

No, he doesn't

Mr. W:

"You don't see some dissonance in referring to CNN as "Democrat media" while pointing to their reporting of something that could devastate a Democratic President?"

Not dissonance, but rather telling.

I was truly shocked when I first saw CNN taking the lead from Fox on this and just laying into Democrat surrogates on this scandal. They are being more aggressive than Fox.

There is no denying the Clinton News Network's political leanings and they did a magnificent job running interference for Clinton during the Lewinski scandal. Lanny Davis almost lived on that sound stage.

Today, however, CNN has the viewership of a small AM radio station after long ago losing conservatives to Fox and more recently losing losing the left to MSNBC. CNN is in danger of failing.

It appears to me that CNN has calculated that Obama is losing the election anyway and taking the lead on prosecuting this scandal will get them badly needed ratings. This scandal has it all - self serving lies to cover up government incompetence that opened the door for an implacable terrorist enemy to massacre Americans serving their country. The copy practically writes itself and is easily conveyed in video soundbites.

In sum, business survival over ideology.

Mr. W. highlights the charms of selective spin. Thanks for the video Shag.

In sum, business survival over ideology.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 9:03 PM

That sounds a lot like why you're going to vote for Mittens.

Bart, it appears you are joining Brett in Non-Falsifiable Town, though I fear you might have a permaneent residence there ;)

Again, you guys' position can't be proven false. The 'Democrat media' is in the tank for the Democrats even when, as you here concede, they are "being more aggressive than Fox" in reporting negative news against Democrats.


As I watched a video of The Daily Show segment (10/11/12) "Our New Election Economy" featuring John Oliver, I thought of how the Supreme Court's conservative majority in Citizens United (2010) might take credit for this "Economy" with the jobs created as a result of its Citizens United decision. Imagine, that majority as job creators, by means of the First Amendment!

Regarding the recent movement by The Mittster from an extreme conservative to the moderate center, check out the debate between Stephen Colbert and Stephen Colbert in yesterday's Report (10/11/12) segment: "Formidable Opponent - Mitt Romney." Can the Tea Party, "white wingers" and libertarians be sure of The Mittster's extreme conservatism, wink, wink, or be concerned with a reversion to a MA moderate?


The election is a referendum on Obama and for the Tea Party about firing Obama.

Romney will be on probation.

Romney will be on probation.
# posted by Bart DePalma : 10:13 AM

Blankshot, no one here is dumb enough to believe that you won't vote for Mittens in 2016 if he wins in 2012.

If our yodeler thinks that Mitt "Tombstone" Romney will, if elected, be on "probation," he doesn't have any idea of what Tombstone is all about. Here in MA, we have observed him both as a candidate and as Governor over a long period of time. Maybe in a sense Tombstone may cater to the Tea Party and other base GOP groups by saying whatever they want to here, a limited form of pre-election day probation; but if elected he would go his own way, whatever that may be, including shorting the Tea Party.


Romney knows where the wind is blowing and trimmed his sails accordingly back in 2011. He ran to the right of most of the GOP field.

If Romney forgets which way the wind blows after we elect him, a million of us in the Tea Party can show up in Washington D.C. during 2013 just like we did in 2009.


a million of us in the Tea Party can show up in Washington D.C. during 2013 just like we did in 2009.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 4:14 PM

That's pretty early for a 2016 Mittens campaign rally. Give it a couple years before you give up everything you claim to believe and start campaigning for the Mittster.

Does our yodeler know that a finger in the air not only can determine which way political winds are blowing but can also carry a separate message to the Tea Party? Keep in mind the background on The Mittster's new nickname, Tombstone.

I don't like commenting on those posts that don't have comments but a guest post can get a dispensation & I think the discussion on corporate personhood is informative.

Corporations have been "persons" in limited ways for centuries. It did not suddenly become so in the 1880s. And, the USSC in a few opinions before then assumed the EPC applied to corporations too.

As it should -- if the NYT as a corporation is treated differently from Washington Post as a corporation, it can be treated as a EPC problem. Meanwhile, corporations don't now or ever have all the rights of human people.

Corporations are simply another type of association of persons.

I see no reason why any association of persons does not enjoy the constitutional rights of persons.

If the First Amendment protects the right of a shareholder to speak individually, it protects the right of shareholders to speak collectively through their elected board (or union members through their elected union reps).

I need to finish reviewing all the new polling, but it appears that women are breaking for Romney is a big way, especially in the swing states where their initial opinion of Romney was formed by the tons of sludge the Obama campaign was dumping on their televisions over the past several months, because they saw in the debate Romney was nothing like that caricature.

"Corporations are simply another type of association of persons"

Well, with rather unique state granted privileges and protections...

"because they saw in the debate Romney was nothing like that"

I think we were all amazed at his shapeshift from 'severly conservative' to 'moderate Mitt.'


The shit that comes out of Mittens' mouth.

Mr. W:

During the debate, Romney pitched the classic Reagan playbook and called out Obama on a number of his misrepresentations of Romney plans.

There is now a website where you can see the details of the Mittens tax plan:

During the debate, Romney pitched the classic Reagan playbook

He lied shamelessly and hoped no one would call him on it.


I follow GOP politics quite closely and I have to say I did not hear Mitt expressing his love for teachers and how essential regulation is in the past few years before the debate.

Mr. W:

Reagan probably would have said regulation was necessary.

I am more libertarian than either Reagan or Romney and I believe that regulation is necessary. (I would just have Congress enact the rules and limit the rules to preventing people from harming one another)

In the debate, Romney was using this truism as a rhetorical device to attack some of the more absurd regulations Obama has imposed.

Finally, I have never heard a politician in either party generically criticize teachers, who are far more popular with the citizenry than politicians. Some of the gutsier conservatives and libertarians will take on the teach unions, but never the teachers.

Welcome to the year of the White Recession Wife.

The corporation post has been cited by Volokh Conspiracy (Orin Kerr) with various comments there.


Nice try but he said regulation was "essential. You can't have a free market without regulation." I never heard him say that in the primary debates of stump speeches.

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

we were assured last week.


Hillary Clinton fell on her sword instead of Rice attempting to protect Obama.

If Romney had not fumbled the ball on this issue during the debate , Rice may very well be gone now.


When it comes to predictions its not a save to say "if things hadn't turned out the way they did my prediction would have been right on."

I'm glad though you recognize that Romney fumbled that question badly. In a debate you should not turn your time over to your opponent and should'nt hang so much on whether something was said or not said when you have a biggrsloces14er point to make.

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

Still waiting!

oh but this other thing happened

Still waiting!

Your prediction was clear and specific.

Just like "these poll numbers are great for John McCain"

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

You might want to go back to vague mutterings. They don't expose your ignorance so quickly. Stick with what works for you: endless pointless rants that have make no specific identifiable assertion.


It appears that Team Obama is going to try to ride this scandal out over the next couple weeks.

Attempting to predict the thinking of the Obama reelection campaign is indeed a hit and miss effort.

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People that are very partisan often have considerable trouble predicting the 'other side's' actions, that shouldn't be surprising since they expend little effort to understanding their positions as well. And they often have trouble predicting how the general public will react because what seems to them to be an obvious and big deal, because they are so invested in the values at issue and so thoroughly convinced of the other side's rascally nature, will seem like a less obvious and smaller deal to those less invested and so convinced.

I suspected this 'scandal' would not go too far. While it is true that I think the administration got things wrong here I think at the very most that is all they did: get stuff wrong. It's not like they went out and invaded and occupied a country over their misperceptions...

Attempting to predict the thinking of the Obama reelection campaign is indeed a hit and miss effort

Or as we say in English, you blew it. Again.

But do keep trying to pretend that didn't happen. I know, I know; you were betrayed by reality.

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