Archive for the ‘Politics – General’ Category

Odds: I bet you’re a Democrat …

October 18, 2017

… if your parents were Democrats.

And, I bet if your parents were Republicans, then you’re a Republican.

According to Smithsonian.com

“The party affiliation of someone’s parents can predict the child’s political leanings about around 70 percent of the time.”

That’s pretty good, but “new research suggests ideological differences between partisans may reflect distinct neural processes.”

image

More specifically, researchers say that they can predict who’s right and who’s left of center politically with 82.9 % accuracy.

Here’s the study and its implications …

(more…)

America’s political polarization in 3 charts …

August 21, 2017

Interesting analysis from NBC’s Chuck Todd.

========

It’s no secret that American politics has become increasingly – and maybe, irreversibly – polarized.

As Meet the Press host Chuck Todd puts it:

Polarization is no longer just polluting the system — it’s paralyzing it.

The deepening divide between the right and the left has largely hollowed out the center of American politics.

Gone are the politicians who once occupied the large “middle” and the voters who once gravitated to them.

=========

The Pew Research Center has tracked party identity and ideology for decades.

One way they do it is by scoring the Republicans and Democrats on a 10-item scale of political values.

Here’s where we stand today:

clip_image002

=========

What the chart means …

Democrats cluster to the left, Republicans cluster to the right.

There is less than 10% in each party leaning ideologically to the left (or right) of the other party’s median.

That’s where we are today.

How did we get here?

(more…)

America’s political polarization in 3 charts …

May 23, 2017

Interesting analysis from NBC’s Chuck Todd.

========

It’s no secret that American politics has become increasingly – and maybe, irreversibly – polarized.

As Meet the Press host Chuck Todd puts it:

Polarization is no longer just polluting the system — it’s paralyzing it.

The deepening divide between the right and the left has largely hollowed out the center of American politics.

Gone are the politicians who once occupied the large “middle” and the voters who once gravitated to them.

=========

The Pew Research Center has tracked party identity and ideology for decades.

One way they do it is by scoring the Republicans and Democrats on a 10-item scale of political values.

Here’s where we stand today:

clip_image002

=========

What the chart means …

Democrats cluster to the left, Republicans cluster to the right.

There is less than 10% in each party leaning ideologically to the left (or right) of the other party’s median.

That’s where we are today.

How did we get here?

(more…)

America’s political polarization in 3 charts …

March 28, 2017

Interesting analysis from NBC’s Chuck Todd.

========

It’s no secret that American politics has become increasingly – and maybe, irreversibly – polarized.

As Meet the Press host Chuck Todd puts it:

Polarization is no longer just polluting the system — it’s paralyzing it.

The deepening divide between the right and the left has largely hollowed out the center of American politics.

Gone are the politicians who once occupied the large “middle” and the voters who once gravitated to them.

=========

The Pew Research Center has tracked party identity and ideology for decades.

One way they do it is by scoring the Republicans and Democrats on a 10-item scale of political values.

Here’s where we stand today:

clip_image002

=========

What the chart means …

Democrats cluster to the left, Republicans cluster to the right.

There is less than 10% in each party leaning ideologically to the left (or right) of the other party’s median.

That’s where we are today.

How did we get here?

(more…)

Odds: I bet you’re a Democrat …

June 23, 2016

… if your parents were Democrats.

And, I bet if your parents were Republicans, then you’re a Republican.

According to Smithsonian.com

“The party affiliation of someone’s parents can predict the child’s political leanings about around 70 percent of the time.”

That’s pretty good, but “new research suggests ideological differences between partisans may reflect distinct neural processes.”

image

More specifically, researchers say that they can predict who’s right and who’s left of center politically with 82.9 % accuracy.

Here’s the study and its implications …

(more…)

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu (aka Trump) for President

March 9, 2016

This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original WSJ article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

trump rubio cruz kasich

The analysis has relevancy these days, given the way that the not-Trump vote is being carved thin among the array of GOP presidential contenders.

Let’s see how Iowa turns out tonight …

(more…)

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu (aka Trump) for President

February 1, 2016

This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original WSJ article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

image.png

The analysis has relevancy these days, given the way that the not-Trump vote is being carved thin among many GOP presidential contenders.

Let’s see how Iowa turns out tonight …

(more…)

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu for President

August 10, 2015

This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

The analysis has relevancy these days, given the way that the not-Trump vote is being carved thin among many GOP presidential contenders.

* * * * *
Excerpted from WSJ: How Beef-Hungry Voters Can Get Tofu for President, March 14, 2003

Those odd ducks who scrutinize returns, calculate how each additional candidate affects the others’ chances and analyze strategic voting are hard at work. I refer, of course, to mathematicians.

Yes, there is a mathematics of elections.

Research has identified various voting systems world-wide in which, paradoxically, becoming more popular can make a candidate lose, abstaining gives your preferred candidate a better chance, and picking a winner means accepting someone a majority of voters don’t want.

This last paradox characterizes the U.S. system of plurality voting (vote for one; the top vote-getter wins). It works fine when there are two candidates, but with three or more, plurality voting can come up short.

For a democracy, the mathematicians’ most robust result is chilling. “It’s surprisingly difficult to identify a voting system that accurately captures the will of the people”.

* * * * *

The Election

So as not to inflame passions with current political examples I’ll illustrate his point with food.

You and two colleagues are planning an office party, and the caterer offers chicken, steak or tofu. You poll 17 invitees:

5 people prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

2 people prefer chicken to tofu to steak.

4 people prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

4 people prefer tofu to steak to chicken.

2 people prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

One organizer tallies the ballots by the plurality method, counting only first-place votes. Chicken wins (7 votes), while steak is last (4 votes).

A second organizer uses “approval voting,” in which voters mark all acceptable choices (everyone’s top two choices are acceptable). Now steak wins with 13, tofu gets 12 and chicken is last with 9.

The third organizer uses a point system that gives their first choices 2 points, second choices 1 and last picks 0. Now tofu wins with 18, steak gets 17, chicken 16.

The ‘winner’ changes with the choice of election procedureAn ‘election winner’ could reflect the choice of an election procedure” rather than the will of the people.

* * * * *

It gets better. Thanks to a mathematical property called non-monotonicity, in some voting systems, ranking a choice higher can defeat it.

In a plurality-with-runoff system, the two candidates with the most first-place votes face one another in round two.

This time, we invite other departments to our office party, and get this first-round result:

27 prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

42 prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

24 prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

Chicken (27 votes) and tofu (42) reach the runoff. Assuming steak fans maintain their preference and give their second-round votes to tofu, tofu wins the runoff.

That seems fair.

But what if four people in the group of 27 chicken lovers are last-minute converts to vegetarianism and, in round one, prefer tofu to chicken to steak, like the group of 42?

Now steak (24 first-place votes) and tofu (46) make the runoff, in which steak beats tofu 47 to 46. Tofu’s late surge turned its win into a loss.

* * * * *

Such paradoxes tend to occur under specific but far from unusual circumstances.

With plurality voting, the most common is when two centrists face an extremist. The majority splits its vote between the centrists, allowing the fringe candidate to squeak in. In Minnesota’s 1998 governor’s race, Hubert Humphrey got 28% of the vote, Norm Coleman 34% and Jesse Ventura won with 37%, even though most voters ranked him last.

* * * * *

Thanks to such outcomes, scientists say what’s most needed is “a way for voters to register their second and third choices … especially in primaries, where there tends to be a large field.” Both a ranking system (give candidates 4, 3, 2 or 1 point) and approval voting accomplish that.

The U.N. chooses a secretary-general by approval voting. “It is particularly appealing in elections with many candidates … If your favorite candidate is a long shot, you can vote for both him and a candidate with a better chance without wasting your vote on the long shot. Approval voting would do a lot to address the problem of presidential-primary victors not being the choice of most voters.” Approval voting could well make more people (especially supporters of long shots) feel their ballot matters.

Still, no system is perfect. As Nobel-winning economist Kenneth Arrow proved mathematically in 1951, no voting system is guaranteed to be free of paradoxes in a race with three or more candidates, except one — a dictatorship.

Some people just shouldn’t vote!

October 30, 2014

Since we’re in the stretch run to an election …

Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder whether “one man, one vote” makes sense.

Polls routinely reveal that a majority of Americans have marginal knowledge of government, politics, and political issues.

Try this: ask folks to explain the difference between the Federal deficit and the Federal debt … ask them where the money money that funds, say unemployment benefits, comes from.

Jason Brennan is a young prof at MSB … his research is at the nexus of ethics and politics.

He has written an insightful book called The Ethics of Voting

image

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Here’s the  essence of Jason’s argument …

(more…)

Odds: I bet you’re a Democrat …

February 20, 2013

… if your parents were Democrats.

And, I bet if your parents were Republicans, then you’re a Republican.

According to Smithsonian.com

“The party affiliation of someone’s parents can predict the child’s political leanings about around 70 percent of the time.”

That’s pretty good, but “new research suggests ideological differences between partisans may reflect distinct neural processes.”

image

More specifically, researchers say that they can predict who’s right and who’s left of center politically with 82.9 % accuracy.

Here’s the study and its implications …

(more…)

Politics: Red, blue or green (as in money)?

January 29, 2013

When Obama was elected in November 2008, GE CEO Jeff Imment told his troops: “We’re all Democrats now”.

It wasn’t a political statement as much as a practical business reality.

Now, Forbes is asking “Are Apple, Whole Foods and Google Democrats or Republicans?”

image

Forbes’ central thesis:

Welcome, in short, to a new, neutral … U.S. corporate environment — thanks in no small part to the increasingly polarized politics of this country.

“Companies know if they align too much with one party or political view they will alienate one half of the buying public.”

Companies might lean Red or Blue in politics but in the end the only color that really counts is green.

Here are Forbes’ poster children of the new neutral …

(more…)

Some people just shouldn’t vote!

September 13, 2012

Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder whether “one man, one vote” makes sense.

Polls routinely reveal that a majority of Americans have marginal knowledge of government, politics, and political issues.

Try this: ask folks to explain the difference between the Federal deficit and the Federal debt … ask them where the money money that funds, say unemployment benefits, comes from.

Jason Brennan is a young prof at MSB … his research is at the nexus of ethics and politics.

He has written an insightful book called The Ethics of Voting

image

The essence of Jason’s argument is that all adult citizens have the right to vote … but that they shouldn’t exercise that right unless they are informed, rational, and aiming for the common good.

More specifically, he argues:

“If a citizen has a right to vote, this means at minimum that she ought to be permitted to vote — no one should stop her or deprive her of the vote — and that her vote must be counted.

However, if citizens do vote, they must vote well, on the basis of sound evidence for what is likely to promote the common good.

That is, in general, they must vote for the common good rather than for narrow self-interest.

Citizens who lack the motive, knowledge, rationality, or ability to vote well should abstain from voting.

Some voters are well informed about what candidates are likely to do.

They know what policies candidates endorse and whether the candidates are sincere.

They know the track records and general trends of different political parties.

Other voters are ignorant of such things.

Another way voters vary is in their degree of rationality .

Some voters are scrupulously rational, while others are irrational.

Some have patently stupid beliefs.

[Some citizens] are politically engaged, but they are nonetheless often ignorant of or misinformed about the relevant facts or, worse, are simply irrational.

Though they intend to promote the common good, they all too often lack sufficient evidence to justify the policies they advocate.

When they do vote, I argue, they pollute democracy with their votes and make it more likely that we will have to suffer from bad governance.”

* * * * *

Ken’s Take: An interesting perspective that has been constantly on my mind during this election cycle.

At least read the sample chapter … book is available in paperback at Amazon.

>> Latest Posts

While Dems sip Starbuck’s latte, Republicans run on Dunkin’ … go figure.

June 18, 2012

Punch line:  Democrats and Republicans have wildly different taste when it comes to certain brands.  Politicians are starting to see the value in understanding these differences, and the link to voters’ decision making process.

* * * * *
Excerpted from brandchannel.com’s, “Brand Decision 2012: Dems are from Starbucks, Republicans are from Dunkin’

America is settling in for a long summer of campaigning between the Democratic candidate President Obama and the Grand Old Party’s Mitt Romney.

News of minor flubs by candidates and those who work for them will come up at bars, barbecues, and ice-cream joints across the land (or be completely avoided, for everyone’s safety).

… Members of the two political parties don’t just disagree on their candidates. They also mostly disagree on the brands they love, though there are three that help bring them together. Next time a president wants to have a bipartisan summit of some sort, he or she might want to involve Coke, Apple, and Visa.

Both candidates and brands have never fought harder for our affection and our votes, … It’s never been more important to understand why people make the choices that they do. Brands can learn a lot by having a deeper understanding of the deep-seated connections that drive our decision-making.

Edit by BJP

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“If Martha Stewart was convicted, why no one from Goldman Sachs?”

May 15, 2012

Punch line: Liberals do an excellent job painting conservatives as heartless, greedy villains.  Frank Luntz — right leaning pollster —  fights back with some survey results that debunk some myths about conservatives

* * * * *
Excerpted from the Washington Post: Five myths about conservative voters

Myth #1. Conservatives care most about the size of government.

conservatives don’t want a reduced government so much as one that works better and wastes less.

In a poll we completed among self-identified conservatives just before the 2010 elections,“efficient” and “effective” government clearly beat “less” and “smaller” government.

For conservatives, this debate is less about size than about results, along with a demand that elected officials demonstrate accountability and respect for the taxpayer, regardless of whether they’re spending $1 million or $1 trillion.

Myth #2. Conservatives want to deport all illegal immigrants.

Yes, conservatives want effective border control right away. And more than 80 percent are dissatisfied with America’s immigration system. Conservatives don’t want to round up all the illegal immigrants and deport them.

But, conservatives embrace legal immigration. A solid majority believe that there should be an eventual path to earned legal status.

According to our polling in November, seven in 10 conservatives agree with the following statement: “America’s immigration policy should consist of tall fences and wide gates. We need to aggressively prevent illegal immigration, but let those stay that have worked hard and demonstrated a real, measurable commitment to this country through military or public service.”

Myth #3. They worship Wall Street.

Conservatives are highly critical of Wall Street and wholeheartedly celebrate Main Street.

The business leaders that conservatives respect most are entrepreneurs, not chief executives; conservatives value small-business owners above big bankers.

In a poll conducted early this year, I asked conservatives whom they most trusted to get our country on the right economic track. By nearly two to one, they chose small-business owners over corporate America (only “political leaders” did worse).

Most agree with moderates and liberals that things on Wall Street have gotten out of hand. They believe that those who abuse the system should be held accountable and that those who work hard and play by the rules should be free to advance.

Myth #4. Conservatives want to slash Social Security and Medicare.

Conservatives want the programs strengthened, not dismantled. They know Social Security & Medicare need reform, but they want changes to be effective and reasonable.

Conservatives believe in such simple principles as personal choice and greater competition, and they are more confident than liberals in people’s ability to make the right decisions.

For example, 78 percent agree with the statement: “Increasing patient choice in Medicare will help save Medicare from bankruptcy. When patients can shop for better care . . . it will force insurance companies to compete against each other, which lowers costs and increases care.”

Myth #5. Conservatives don’t care about inequality.

Fully 66 percent of conservatives consider the growing gap between the rich and the poor a “problem,”  while 21 percent call it a “crisis.”

The big difference between left and right is the difference between opportunity and outcome.

Conservatives want to increase opportunity, giving everyone the freedom and tools to prosper, so that the poor may someday become rich.

Liberals want to redistribute income, making the rich — quite simply — less rich.

* * * * *

Bonus Myth. Conservatives don’t want regulations enforced.

Conservatives also believe that we need better enforcement of the regulations we already have, not more rules.

Like all Americans, they are outraged that there hasn’t been a single prosecution by the Obama administration for the corporate abuses that led to the economic meltdown.

As a focus group participant once asked: “If Martha Stewart was convicted, why no one from Goldman Sachs?”

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Timing is everything …

January 18, 2012

Interesting op-ed in the WSJ over the weekend: The Truth About Bain and Jobs

The article’s punch line: Job creation and destruction are both relentless. The small difference between the two is what we call prosperity.

Painstaking research by economists Steven J. Davis and John Haltiwanger revealed a side of America’s dynamism that isn’t always pretty.

Between 1977 and 2005, years roughly overlapping Mr. Romney’s business career, some 15% of all jobs were destroyed every year, even as total jobs grew by an average of 2% a year.

Job creation and destruction are both relentless, the authors showed in paper after paper.

The small difference between the two is what we call prosperity.

Good point !

For me, a second point hit very close to home:

Nobody—not even those whose billions were earned in private equity  —envisioned the astounding rise in business values in the gilded ’80s and ’90s.

When Mr. Romney was asked by his boss to start Bain Capital in 1983, the Dow was at 1086.50.

When he left on Feb. 11, 1999 to run the Olympics, it was 9363.46.

His is not the only recent fortune owed partly to this accident of timing (Warren Buffett’s and many others come to mind).

Indeed, if we’re being honest, Mitt here is representative of a generation of professionals whose serendipity it was to have spent the 1970s on our education and then to be spit into the job market just as one of history’s great economic liftoffs was taking place.

But, when private-equity investors sniff a profit opportunity, they are probabusually one step ahead of everybody else.

Of course, I like the swipe at Warren Buffett who, in my opinion, is way over-rated.

But, the author reminds me that I owe a lot to timing, too.

As Grandma Homa used to say: “Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than to be smart.”

>> Latest Posts

What if PEs stop trying to turnaround failing companies?

January 17, 2012

The fanned hysteria against private equity firms is ripe with hypocrisy and unintended consequences.

The hypocrisy is almost comedic.

Gingrich was on the board of Forstman-Little.

Obama just promoted Jack Lew – formerly head of Citi’s PE group – to be his chief of staff.  And, don’t forget that Team Obama picked Dan Akerson to run Government Motors. What’s his background?

Prior to joining GM, Akerson was a managing director and head of global buyout for The Carlyle Group in Washington, D.C. In this position, Akerson managed more than $50 billion in assets and more than 200 portfolio companies with several hundred thousand employees around the world. He was instrumental in helping Carlyle achieve 30 percent gross internal rates of returns in the firm’s corporate private equity business.

Gee, sounds a bit like Romney doesn’t it?  I’d even be willing to bet that Akerson closed a few plants and laid off a few people in his time.

That’s not bad.  That’s how failing businesses are turned around.

Which leads me to my bigger point.

Connecting some dots, I see a disturbing trend.

  • A doctor friend of mine opined that if MDs start getting paid based on “success rates” then docs will simply start taking fewer difficult cases … why risk your pay check on on high risk patients? … treat the ones that are certainly curable … bingo, high success rate
  • Similar story with a dedicated teacher friend … asked about pay based on students success (e.g. test score improvement) … he parried: fine, then who’s going to teach the mainstreamed special needs students … or the incorrigible discipline students …  not the teachers striving for high success rates.

Easy to project those stories into the PE debate,

PEs go into turnaround situations knowing that tough actions will need to be taken, that companies will need to be restructured, and that some managers won’t make the cut.  That’s the way businesses are turned around

And, they know that – despite their best efforts – some turnarounds will fail.  That’s part of the game.

If the world lasers in on the unsuccessful attempts, who is going to step-in and start taking on the toughest turnarounds?

If the answer is nobody – or worse yet, the Feds – then those failing companies are certain for demise.

Is that what Gingrich and Obama want?

>> Latest Posts

But people still like him … oh, really?

January 16, 2012

According to the NY Times

A CNN poll released Friday found that 49 percent of Americans have a favorable view of President Obama and 49 percent an unfavorable view.

Hmmm.

For comparison, 43 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Mitt Romney and 42 percent an unfavorable view.

image

>> Latest Posts

Reprise: How Beef-Loving Voters Can Get Tofu for President

January 11, 2012

Ken’s Take: This is from the HomaFiles archives – one of my favs.

The original article was inspired by Clinton’s win over elder Bush (the Perot factor), younger Bush’s win over Gore (the Nader factor), and Jesse Ventura’s gov win in Minnesota.

The analysis has relevancy these days, given the way that the not-Romney vote is being carved thin among many conservative GOP presidential contenders.

* * * * *
Excerpted from WSJ: How Beef-Hungry Voters Can Get Tofu for President, March 14, 2003

Those odd ducks who scrutinize returns, calculate how each additional candidate affects the others’ chances and analyze strategic voting are hard at work. I refer, of course, to mathematicians.

Yes, there is a mathematics of elections.

Research has identified various voting systems world-wide in which, paradoxically, becoming more popular can make a candidate lose, abstaining gives your preferred candidate a better chance, and picking a winner means accepting someone a majority of voters don’t want.

This last paradox characterizes the U.S. system of plurality voting (vote for one; the top vote-getter wins). It works fine when there are two candidates, but with three or more, plurality voting can come up short.

For a democracy, the mathematicians’ most robust result is chilling. “It’s surprisingly difficult to identify a voting system that accurately captures the will of the people”.

* * * * *

The Election

So as not to inflame passions with current political examples I’ll illustrate his point with food.

You and two colleagues are planning an office party, and the caterer offers chicken, steak or tofu. You poll 17 invitees:

5 people prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

2 people prefer chicken to tofu to steak.

4 people prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

4 people prefer tofu to steak to chicken.

2 people prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

One organizer tallies the ballots by the plurality method, counting only first-place votes. Chicken wins (7 votes), while steak is last (4 votes).

A second organizer uses “approval voting,” in which voters mark all acceptable choices (everyone’s top two choices are acceptable). Now steak wins with 13, tofu gets 12 and chicken is last with 9.

The third organizer uses a point system that gives their first choices 2 points, second choices 1 and last picks 0. Now tofu wins with 18, steak gets 17, chicken 16.

The ‘winner’ changes with the choice of election procedureAn ‘election winner’ could reflect the choice of an election procedure” rather than the will of the people.

* * * * *

It gets better. Thanks to a mathematical property called non-monotonicity, in some voting systems, ranking a choice higher can defeat it.

In a plurality-with-runoff system, the two candidates with the most first-place votes face one another in round two.

This time, we invite other departments to our office party, and get this first-round result:

27 prefer chicken to steak to tofu.

42 prefer tofu to chicken to steak.

24 prefer steak to tofu to chicken.

Chicken (27 votes) and tofu (42) reach the runoff. Assuming steak fans maintain their preference and give their second-round votes to tofu, tofu wins the runoff.

That seems fair.

But what if four people in the group of 27 chicken lovers are last-minute converts to vegetarianism and, in round one, prefer tofu to chicken to steak, like the group of 42?

Now steak (24 first-place votes) and tofu (46) make the runoff, in which steak beats tofu 47 to 46. Tofu’s late surge turned its win into a loss.

* * * * *

Such paradoxes tend to occur under specific but far from unusual circumstances.

With plurality voting, the most common is when two centrists face an extremist. The majority splits its vote between the centrists, allowing the fringe candidate to squeak in. In Minnesota’s 1998 governor’s race, Hubert Humphrey got 28% of the vote, Norm Coleman 34% and Jesse Ventura won with 37%, even though most voters ranked him last.

* * * * *

Thanks to such outcomes, scientists say what’s most needed is “a way for voters to register their second and third choices … especially in primaries, where there tends to be a large field.” Both a ranking system (give candidates 4, 3, 2 or 1 point) and approval voting accomplish that.

The U.N. chooses a secretary-general by approval voting. “It is particularly appealing in elections with many candidates … If your favorite candidate is a long shot, you can vote for both him and a candidate with a better chance without wasting your vote on the long shot. Approval voting would do a lot to address the problem of presidential-primary victors not being the choice of most voters.” Approval voting could well make more people (especially supporters of long shots) feel their ballot matters.

Still, no system is perfect. As Nobel-winning economist Kenneth Arrow proved mathematically in 1951, no voting system is guaranteed to be free of paradoxes in a race with three or more candidates, except one — a dictatorship.

Since O’s election, Democratic ranks shrinking …

January 10, 2012

According to Rasmussen:

  • 35.4% of Americans consider themselves Republicans
  • 32.7% of adults say they are Democrats,
  • 32.0% say they are independents — not affiliated with either of the major political parties

Versus 2009 (end of Obama’s first year in office):

  • Democrats’ affiliation is down, 2.8 percentage points (about 8%)
  • Republicans’ affiliation is up 1.4 percentage points (about 4%)
  • Independents are up 1.4 percentage points (about 4%)

All of which squares with my observation that I haven’t run into a single McCain voter who says they’ll vote for Obama in 2012 … but, I’ve run into many Obama ‘08 voters who say they won’t vote for him again.

image

Source: Rasmussen

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Uh-oh: Obama slips among youth and independents …

December 19, 2011

I’ve said before: I have run into folks who voted for Obama in 2008 who say they won’t vote for him in 2012, but haven’t run into anybody who didn’t vote for him in 2008 who say they will in 2012.

Data seems to confirm my random anecdotal evidence …

From the latest Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor poll:

Not only is Pres. Obama’s overall approval rating lagging, but he’s lost as much (or even more) ground among groups that favored him in 2008 as among those who resisted him last time.

Overall, Obama has slipped from 52.8 percent of the vote in 2008 to 44 percent approval in the new survey with 49 percent disapproving.

As the chart below shows, Obama has declined not only in the groups that were always dubious of him, but also with several that enthusiastically joined his winning 2008 majority.

The groups that have proven most resistant to this trend are Hispanics (where Obama’s latest approval rating has slipped just three percentage points from his 2008 vote share); seniors (where he’s actually running slightly ahead) and families earning at least $100,000 annually (where he’s also fallen just three percentage points.)

image

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Apparently the “thrill up the leg” is gone … too bad.

December 6, 2011

During the 2008 presidential campaign, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews made headlines with his creepy comment “Obama sends a thrill up my leg”.

I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech.

My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.

click to view video
image

Well, it seems that the thrill is gone from Matthews leg.

Now, he’s criticizing Obama for being out-of-touch, ineffective, and shirking leadership.

click to view video
image.

Oh my.  How things have changed in 3 years.

As a friend of mine observed:

I’ve talked to plenty of people who voted for Obama in 2008 who say they will not vote for him again.

I haven’t run into a single person who did not vote for Obama who say that they will vote for him in 2012

That says a lot, doesn’t it.

>> Latest Posts

O’s campaign slogan: From “Hope & Change” to “Let’s do some gangsta &%#@”

November 11, 2011

Some political commentary from Obama-supporter Chris Rock.

Just can’t make this stuff up …

According to Politico:

Chris Rock — comedian and actor – says that he’s “fine with the president,”  because he understands that the president has to keep his most aggressive policies on the back burner until he earns a second term.

More specifically …

“There’s a f——— art to the first term because you’re always running for a second term the whole time.  You can’t really do your gangsta sh— until your second term.”.

“ I want more action. But I understand that he’s trying not to piss off a lot of people. But I believe wholeheartedly if he’s back in, he’s going to do some gangsta sh—.

Can’t you just imagine the bumper sticker?

>> Latest Posts

Occupy Wall Street … by the numbers.

October 19, 2011

According to Democratic pollster Doug Schoen:

Research shows clearly that the movement doesn’t represent unemployed America and is not ideologically diverse.

Rather, it comprises an unrepresentative segment of the electorate that believes in radical redistribution of wealth, civil disobedience and, in some instances, violence.

Specifically …

  • Half (52%) have participated in a political movement before
  • Virtually all (98%) say they would support civil disobedience to achieve their goals
  • Nearly one-third (31%) would support violence to advance their agenda.
  • The vast majority of demonstrators are actually employed
  • An overwhelming majority of demonstrators supported Barack Obama in 2008.
  • Now 48% say they will vote to re-elect him in 2012, while at least a quarter won’t vote.
  • 65% say that government has a moral responsibility to guarantee all citizens access to affordable health care, a college education, and a secure retirement—no matter the cost.
  • By a large margin (77%-22%), they support raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, but 58% oppose raising taxes for everybody,

Schoen’s bottom line: Occupy Wall Street is a group of engaged progressives who are disillusioned with the capitalist system and have a distinct activist orientation.

>> Latest Posts

Conservatives more open-minded than liberals … at least when it comes to dating

August 4, 2011

An interesting piece of irony …

According to Match.com insiders ….

… conservatives are more open-minded to dating someone outside their political circle than liberals.

This insight comes from an engineer at Match who works on their algorithm.

He notes that when they started focusing on how users actually behaved versus what they said they wanted, they found some unlikely results:

As a result, Match began “weighting” variables differently, according to how users behaved.

For example, if conservative users were actually looking at profiles of liberals, the algorithm would learn from that and recommend more liberal users to them.

Indeed, “the politics one is quite interesting. Conservatives are far more open to reaching out to someone with a different point of view than a liberal is.”

That is, when it comes to looking for love, conservatives are more open-minded than liberals.

Ken’s Take: Conservatives like to debate the issues … liberals are on the prowl for  reinforcement of their established views.

 

 

Agree?

>> Latest Posts

Answer: $514,327,670 … What’s the question?

March 14, 2011

The amount of money that 24 Unions donated to Dem political campaigns over the past 20 years.

Yep – over half-a-BILLION dollars.

That’s why Dems think that automatic payroll deductions for dues is so important.

Maybe if it’s not automatic, then some folks might decide that the union is serving them well .. especially when they simply serve as a financial conduit to Dem politicos.

Hmmm.

Note on the list the prominent position of gov’t employee unions … and quasi gov’t unions like the UAW and the SEIU.

click the chart to enlarge it 

image

Here’s a post from last fall that puts the numbers in context:

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics …

  • Business PACs gave 52% of their $72.2 million in total donations to Republican candidates from January through July. In the same period of 2009, corporate PACs had sent 59% of their $64 million in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates,
  • Overall, big banks, securities firms and other financial-services companies gave 55% of $18.5 million in campaign donations to Republicans in the January-through-July period. That’s a reversal from the same period last year, when they gave 65% of PAC donations to Democrats.
  • PACs that are run by labor unions give an overwhelming share of their donations to Democrats. Sixteen of the top 20 PAC donors to Democrats so far this election are operated by labor unions.  None of the top 20 PAC donors to Republicans have been labor unions in the current election cycle.

WSJ, Corporate Political Giving Swings Toward the GOP, Sept 21, 2010 

Thanks to JC for feeding the lead.

My GE roller-coaster … the Immelt appointment.

January 25, 2011

OK, the stock got a bump on Friday thanks to a sweet earnings report … and, perhaps, thanks to Obama naming CEO Immelt to head up his recovery board of advisers.

I’m conflicted, for a couple of reasons.

First,  GE stock  has steadily lost value during Immelt’s tenure … which started in 2001.

image

Yeah, there was 9/11 and the financial crisis, but the rest of the world – measured by the S&P 500 has pretty much gotten back its losses. 

 GE is still down 50% from when Immelt took over.

But, it makes you wonder: why didn’t Obama pick a CEO with a record of success?

Say, like Immelt’s predecessor –- Jack Welch – who knows how to cut costs and drive innovation.

I guess Obama wanted somebody he could count on to support his healthcare and cap & trade initiatives.

FoxNews has taken to calling GE “Government Electric”  because it yapped the TARP program, it takes a heavy dose of government contracts, and its media outlets (NBC and MSNBC) cheerlead for Obama..

There are a few companies on the Obama corporate A List – Democratic patrons Google and Goldman Sachs both turn up again and again at White House functions and for special recognition – but no company seems to get the VIP treatment that General Electric receives.

While most corporate leaders have taken a wait and see approach to Obama’s occasional overtures to the private sector, G.E., along with Google, Goldman and few others, have backed him to the hilt.

Whether it is pushing the president’s plan for global warming fees in order to create demand for his “Ecomagination” line of windmills, solar panels, etc., boosting the president’s national health-care law as part of an effort to sell more medical equipment, or enthusing over the Obama strategy of making loans available for industrial exporters, Immelt has been an Obama stalwart all along.

Immelt has also consistently argued to shareholders that there is big money to be made in advancing the Democratic agenda, in huge government contracts,   subsidies and incentives.

FoxNews.com, Obama Teams Up With GE, January 21, 2011

That raises some major angst for me – my political philosophy is on one side, and my wallet is on the other.

Oh my.

“Gotta run… my wife’s waiting”

December 13, 2010

Bill Clinton’s press conference on Friday was amazing in several respects.

  1. Though the guy is a convicted liar, he is so engaging as a speaker that it’s hard not to get sucked it by him. My head was nodding yes to tax credits for windmills.  Yipes.
  2. No notes, no teleprompter, no ums & ahs, no name calling, no whining … he acted kinda like a President.
  3. In control … wouldn’t let Barry take back the podium … Obama had to lean across him to speak into the mic … talk about symbolism.
  4. Kept the audience engaged for an hour … and left the reporters wanting more                   

Most amazing was Obama’s clutzy exit.

  1. Unfazed by the fact that this is the most important domestic economic  issue of the moment … gotta run.
  2. Not to call Putin or Petraeus … to meet up with Michelle for Friday date nite … “We’ve got 2 holiday parties to attend” … are you kidding me?
  3. Left Clinton in charge … of the press conference … and symbolically, of the economy.

Watch the video — it’s a hoot:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/12/10/obama_ditches_tax_cut_presser_after_bill_clinton_takes_control.html

The Clinton gambit may get Dems votes for the tax plan, but it has its downside.

It highlighted just how unprepared and ineffective Obama is, and even made folks like me yearn for Clinton again.

Obama’s lucky Clinton can’t run again.

But wait, there’s another Clinton in the wings.

Uh-oh for O.

                      image

Available: One military jet … previously used by Madam Pelosi

November 12, 2010

One of my wife’s hot button the past couple of years has been Speaker Pelosi’s use of a large military passenger jet to cart her and her posse back & forth between DC and San Francisco. 

Ms. Pelosi said she took the military flights on the advice of the House Sergeant-at-Arms office.

Well, score one for GOP frugality.

Rep. John Boehner, the House speaker-to-be, said he plans to continue commuting on commercial flights from his district in Ohio to Washington, D.C.

Guess the House Sergeant-at-Arms changed his mind about security for the person who’s third-in-line for the Presidency.

Hmmm.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/11/10/boehner-flying-commercial/

Most Voters Think House GOP Likely To Disappoint By 2012

November 8, 2010

According to the Rasmussen Reports …

Hold the celebration.

Most voters expected Republicans to win control of the House of Representatives on Election Day, but nearly as many expect to be disappointed with how they perform by the time the 2012 elections roll around.

Voters certainly weren’t surprised by the outcome in the House on Election Day.

78% said it was at least somewhat likely that the GOP would win control of the House in the survey taken Monday and Tuesday night.

59% of Likely U.S. Voters think it is at least somewhat likely that most voters will be disappointed with Republicans in Congress before the next national elections.

Voters overwhelmingly believe the new Republican-controlled House is likely to vote to repeal the unpopular national health care law.

They’re less confident that taxes and government spending will go down with the GOP in charge of the House.

50% view the Pledge as a campaign gimmick rather than a serious policy document.

For most voters, however, the election was a referendum on President Obama’s agenda, and they think he should change course with Republicans now in control of the House.  But most don’t expect him to make that change.

Most Voters Think House GOP Likely To Disappoint By 2012, November 03, 2010 http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/november_2010/most_voters_think_house_gop_likely_to_disappoint_by_2012

Uh-oh for California and New York …

November 4, 2010

Here’s an implication of yesterday’s landslide that I haven’t heard any of the pundits pick-up on yet …

Both CA and NY stayed comfortably in the hands of spend and tax Dems.

Both states are rapidly approaching bankruptcy … largely due to the gov’t payrolls — bloated with public union employees … and subject to inefficient work rules, high pay, life-time job security and ridiculous pensions.

None of the elected Dems will pull a Chris Christie and go after the public employee unions — in part because the don’t want to, and part because the they can’t — the unions carried them to victory.

These states were bailed out by Obama’s save-the-states stimulus program.

Well, well, well.

Now, what are the chances that a GOP House will pass bills to bail out CA & NY ?

I think the chances range from slim to none.

So, Brown and Cuomo will be stuck facing up to their state’s problems.

It’ll be interesting to see what they do  …

It’s ok (maybe better) if Dems keep Senate and Reid wins …

November 2, 2010

First, it’s a given that the GOP will retake the House.

That’s good … real good … because:

  • Revenue (i.e. tax) bills originate in the House not the Senate … so, the House can keep passing sensible tax laws and, even if they get stopped in the Senate or vetoed by Obama, members of the House & Senate will have votes on record for 2012
  • The House has subpoena power … so there’ll be a constant string of public hearings on ObamaCare, tax policy, the economy etc. … I doubt that Steven Colbert will get a 2nd bite at the apple
  • While I’d prefer a young gun like Paul Ryan or Kevin McCarthy as the face of the GOP in the House, I think Boehner — with some coaching — can play the role without causing major damage

I also think that a Reid-led Senate would be a good thing … because:

  • If the Dem majority shrinks to, say,  52 … they won’t be able to pass any more mega-destructive legislation … some moderate Dem senators will be running in 2012 … they’ll be less willing to vote like rubber-stamp lemmings
  • I want Reid to be a public face of the Democratic party … it’ll play as “business as usual” and continue to infuriate voters
  • I don’t want Mitch McConnell to be the face of the GOP … he “shows” almost as badly as Reid

In other words, I think a GOP sweep would help Obama’s 2012 re-election run.  He runs against demons, and he’ll have some.

Winning just the House takes some of the wind out of that sail, and lays the groundwork for the GOP in 2012.

How did your Congressman vote?

November 1, 2010

Nice recap from the League of Women’s Voter’s:

http://www.leagueofamericanvoters.com/CongressmenVotes.aspx

Why Liberals Don’t Get the Tea Party Movement

October 21, 2010

I had dinner recently with a liberal friend.  When the conversation turned to politics (sorry, my fault) he blasted Fox News and the Tea Party. Nothing specific, just the general sort of “dumb devils” stuff.

So, I asked my usual follow-up questions to verify that he hasn’t ever tuned in to Fox — it’s all what Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow say about Fox — and that he has simply bought into the drivel that the Tea Party are racists who nominate wacky candidates like Christine O’Donnell. Evidence of racism?  None except “they’re all white”. What about 91% of blacks siding with Obama? “That’s different”.  What about candidates like Harry Reid and Alan Grayson? “Yeah, we have some wingnuts, too.”

Always makes me wonder how some smart folks can get so passionate without diving deeper than the sound bites. I don’t question their sincerity, but do question their rigor.

As I’m thinking about this stuff, this op-ed popped up about why well educated libs think the way they do.

Bottom line: that’s what they were taught college, and all of the headlines re: Fox and Tea fit their learned model, so there’s no need to research any deeper.

Hmmm.

WSJ: Why Liberals Don’t Get the Tea Party Movement, October 16, 2010

The tea party movement’s focus on keeping government within bounds and answerable to the people reflects the devotion to limited government embodied in the Constitution.

One reason this is poorly understood among our best educated citizens is that American politics is poorly taught at the universities that credentialed them.

For the better part of two generations, the best political science departments have concentrated on equipping students with skills for performing empirical research.

Meanwhile, leading history departments have emphasized social history and issues of race, class and gender at the expense of constitutional history, diplomatic history and military history.

Neither professors of political science nor of history have made a priority of instructing students in the founding principles of American constitutional government.

Then there are the proliferating classes in practical ethics and moral reasoning. These expose students to hypothetical conundrums involving individuals in surreal circumstances suddenly facing life and death decisions, or present contentious public policy questions and explore the range of respectable progressive opinions for resolving them.

Such exercises may sharpen students’ ability to argue, but hey do little to teach about self-government.

Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704631504575531913602803980.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h

She’s not qualified to be Senator … so what?

October 20, 2010

Christine O’Donnell is taking a lot of flack for not being qualified to be a US Senator.

Hmmm.  Started me thinking.

What qualifies somebody to be a Senator?

Does an Ivy League law degree do it? Or, experience running a company?

How about a couple of decades of sleazy backroom dealing?

More directly, what difference does it make if Senators simply vote like lemmings along party lines?

Doesn’t seem like experience matters one bit.

An example: Mark Warner of VA touted his business credentials when he campaigned for the Senate.

Since he’s gotten there, he’s voted straight Dem on all significant issues.

As a former entrepreneur, he sees no risk in raising taxes during a recession. Really?

When he was a CEO, did he make business decisions based on numbers as flakey as the CBO’s?  I doubt it.

I’m not looking for qualifications any more.

I just want somebody who will vote the will of the people instead of the will of their party.

Period.

P.S. How come these people weren’t so concerned about qualifications in 2008 ?

Musings: “Hey dude, why are you snapping your fingers ?”

October 18, 2010

3 variants of a very old joke:

Original
A dazed guy is standing on a street corner snapping his fingers.  Curious guy approaches and asks “Hey dude, why are you snapping your fingers ?”  Dazed guy answers: “To keep away elephants”.  Curious guy says: “There aren’t any elephants around here.” Finger snapper says: “See.  It works.”

Recent Past Version
A President is standing on a street corner ordering troops to Iraq.  Curious guy approaches and asks “Hey dude, why are you ordering troops to Iraq ?”  Troop-sender answers: “To avert another terrorist attack”.  Curious guy says: “There haven’t been any terrorist attacks since 9-11.”  President says: “See.  It works.”

Current
A President is standing on a street corner spending like a drunken sailor.  Curious guy approaches and asks “Hey dude, why are you spending like a drunken sailor ?”  Free-spender answers: “To avert an economic depression”.  Curious guy says: “There’s no depression around here.”  President says: “See.  It works.”

Hmmm.

Why are only 2 of these counter-factuals considered far fetched by the media?

From the "fool me once" file: Business PACs shift $$$ to the GOP

September 22, 2010

According to data from the Center for Responsive Politics …

  • Business PACs gave 52% of their $72.2 million in total donations to Republican candidates from January through July. In the same period of 2009, corporate PACs had sent 59% of their $64 million in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates,
  • Overall, big banks, securities firms and other financial-services companies gave 55% of $18.5 million in campaign donations to Republicans in the January-through-July period. That’s a reversal from the same period last year, when they gave 65% of PAC donations to Democrats.
  • PACs that are run by labor unions give an overwhelming share of their donations to Democrats. Sixteen of the top 20 PAC donors to Democrats so far this election are operated by labor unions.  None of the top 20 PAC donors to Republicans have been labor unions in the current election cycle.

WSJ, Corporate Political Giving Swings Toward the GOP, Sept 21, 2010 
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703989304575503933125159928.html?mod=WSJ_hps_MIDDLETopStories

John who? … Somebody explain this to me, please.

September 10, 2010

Yesterday in Cleveland –– actually, Parma – a suburb that Clevelanders have made fun of for decades, since the days of Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson and Tim Conway –- a feisty President Obama turned attack dog and called out House Minority Leader John Boehner nine times.

Forget that it was unseemly for the President to do it.

The odd attack must have left most people scratching their heads, wondering “Who the heck is John Boehner?”

Think about it.

Less than 2/3s of Americans can identify the sitting Vice President .  (Note: that’s giving credit for people who think it’s Hillary Clinton or Joe Somebody)

Less than 30% of the public knows who Chief Justice John Roberts is. (see chart below)

A CNN poll released the day of Obama’s speech slots Boehner between Biden and Roberts — 55% either have never heard of Boehner or have no opinion about him.

So why would Obama elevate and attack somebody who is unknown to the majority of Americans?

I must be missing something …

* * * * *

Note: Accoding to Pew, more than 1 in 4 Americans don’t know that ObamaCare was passed … and they get to vote … that’s scary !

image

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1668/political-news-iq-update-7-2010-twitter-tarp-roberts

Voters’ shifting ideology …

August 2, 2010

Today …

  • 58 percent of voters see Democrats as liberal or very liberal, while 56 percent see Republicans as conservative or very conservative
  • 60 percent of Democrats place the Republican Party to the right of where they place themselves
  • 42 percent of Democrats self-identify as liberal or very liberal
  • 24 percent of Democrats describe themselves as conservative or very conservative
  • 83 percent of Republicans see the Democratic Party as more liberal than they themselves are
  • 65 percent of Republicans think of themselves as conservative or very conservative
  • 5 percent of Republicans call themselves liberal or very liberal

In 2005 …

  • 51 percent of Independents thought that the Republican Party was more conservative than they themselves were
  • 36 percent thought that the Democratic Party was more liberal.
  • Independents considered the Republican Party to be twice as distant from them ideologically as the Democratic Party.

Today …

  • 56 percent of Independents see the Democratic Party as more liberal than they themselves are
  • 39 percent see the Republican Party as more conservative.
  • Independents see the Democratic Party as three times farther away from them ideologically as the Republican Party.

How Americans’ Shifting Political Ideologies Threaten the Democrats, July 28, 2010
http://www.tnr.com/blog/william-galston/76631/democrats-republicans-popularity-new-demographics

For Obama, the chasm gets wider …

July 22, 2010

The headline from yesterday’s Quinnipiac University National Poll:
Obama Approval Drops To Lowest Point Ever
… 44% approve,  48% disapprove

And, when asked:  If the 2012 election for President were being held today, do you think you would vote for Barack Obama the Democratic candidate, or the Republican candidate? The unnamed ‘any’ GOP candidate beat Obama 39% to 36%. That can’t be good for the President.

Still, the bigger deal is the split by race, age, and income …

* * * * *

Approval among Blacks is still a sky high 91%,
but approval among whites has slipped below 40%
… a 54 point difference — that’s big.

image

* * * * *

Approval among young Americans has dipped below 50%
… approval among old folks like me has slipped below 40%

image

* * * * *

Approval among young Americans has stayed around 50%
…  a majority of those earning more than $50,000 (think “pay income taxes”) disapprove

 image


http://www.quinnipiac.edu/x1295.xml?ReleaseID=1478

Mavericky Brand Building 101

April 12, 2010

Takeaway: Many folks make fun of her, but does Sarah Palin know more about brand building than we MBAs do?

In a matter of months, and against all odds, Palin built herself into a multi-million dollar national brand with droves of loyal followers. How many classically-trained marketing whizzes can boast the same?

Palin may not be able to see Russia from her house, but marketers take note, she is likely to understand many Americans better than we do. This begs the question: What can we learn from Palin?
 
* * * * *

Excerpt from New York Times, “How Sarah Palin Became a Brand” by David Carr, April 4, 2010.

When Sarah Palin made her debut as the host of “Real American Stories” on Fox News, she described several triumphs of regular people over insurmountable odds, but she missed an obvious one: her own.

After her failed bid for the vice presidency, she was more or less told to head back to Alaska to serve out her term as governor.

Instead, she quit her day job and proceeded to become a one-woman national media empire, with the ratings and lucre to show for it.

With its tales of uplift and pluck, “Real American Stories” trades in the kind of easy sentimentality that provokes eye rolls among those of us who work in media while quickening the pulse and patriotic ardor of almost everyone else. At the beginning of the show, Ms. Palin promised that it would “reaffirm our pioneering spirit and unmatched generosity, here and around the world.”

“It’s not the kind of thing that’s going to excite you guys on the East Coast, but everyone else is dying to hear stories like these,” said one of her representatives.

Beyond her Tea Party theatrics, Palin has tunneled her own route into the public consciousness and gone into the Sarah Palin Across America business. And what a business it is.

She was paid a $1.25 million retainer by HarperCollins. Her book, “Going Rogue,” has sold 2.2 million copies, according to its publisher, and she has another tentatively scheduled for this fall.

She now has an actual television career, including appearances as a pundit on Fox News, her gig as the host of “Real American Stories” four times a year, and a coming eight-part series on TLC called “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” which will cost, according to some media reports, $1 million an episode.

Other people have crossed the border from politics to media to very good effect — George Stephanopoulos, Patrick Buchanan and Chris Matthews, to name a few — but the transition was far more gradual. Ms. Palin turned on a dime and was a ratings sensation from the word go: her first paid appearance, as a commentator on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Jan. 12, was good for an extra million viewers.

Her appeal doesn’t stop at the red states. When Ms. Palin stopped by to chat with Oprah Winfrey — not exactly friendly territory — the show achieved its biggest ratings in two years.

Ms. Palin didn’t go on the show to run for president as much as to become the next Oprah. And it seems to be working. So what are the rest of us missing?

Back in September 2008, when she was unveiled in St. Paul during the Republican convention, a longtime political reporter told me that her appeal would burn off over time. I wondered about that. I’m from Minnesota, which is sometimes considered the southernmost tip of Alaska, and her way of speaking in credulous golly-gee may have been off-putting to some, but there is a kind of authenticity there that no image handler could conjure.

In Ms. Palin’s America, everyone’s got bootstraps; they just need to have the gumption to find them. And her version is full of plain old folks spending a lot of time overcoming a great deal, including a government that she posits usually intends to do them harm.

She’s also imported the political trick of coming from the outside and ruling from the center. When she sets down the ear piece and leaves the studio lights, even the way she says the word “media” in her speeches — “MEE-dee-uh” — makes it sound like something yucky and foul, a swamp to be avoided at all costs. Unless, of course, you are promoting a show, a book or a cause.

Many observers thought her unwillingness to serve out her term would be fatal to her ambitions, but the fact that governance did not suit her — she resigned as governor back in July — has become a kind of credential.

Ms. Palin still gets a session in the media spanking machine every time she does anything, but the disapproval seems to further cement the support of her loyalists. Ms. Palin may or may not be qualified to represent America around the world, but she certainly represents vast swaths of the American public and has a lucrative new career to show for it.

If we don’t see why, then maybe we deserve the “lamestream media” label she likes to give us.
Edit by BHC
 
* * * * *
Full Article:
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/05/business/media/05carr.html?ref=media
* * * * *

The GOP strategy: revenge of the nerds ?

March 10, 2010

Excerpted from RCP: Revenge of the GOP Nerd, March 4, 2010

For Republicans, the nerd might not be the new jock. But the GOP jocks are increasingly letting the nerds in on the party.

Increasingly, nerds appear to be the life of the party. The GOP party, that is.

Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, used his nerd skills last week to “unpack” the Senate health care bill numbers. Some imagined Ryan as a future vice president.

Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, a potential presidential candidate, previously served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget. It’s a job only a nerd could love.

Perhaps in this era of the professorial president, Republicans decided to put forward their wonkish rock stars.

It helps to have number crunchers on the main stage when it’s all about the economy.

It’s enough to make the Prof-in-Chief jealous.

Full article:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/03/04/revenge_of_the_gop_nerd__104647.html

Is Congress dysfunctional … or working the way it’s supposed to?

February 19, 2010

An interesting take that cuts to the chase …

* * * * *

Excerpted from: The Economist:What’s gone wrong in Washington?, Feb 18, 2010

Washington seems incapable of fixing America’s deeper problems.  Certainly the system looks dysfunctional.

This, argue the critics, is what happens when

  • A mere 41 senators (in a 100-strong chamber) can filibuster a bill to death; when states like Wyoming (population: 500,000) have the same clout in the Senate as California (37m), so that senators representing less than 11% of the population can block bills.
  • Thanks to gerrymandering, many congressional seats are immune from competitive elections.
  • A tide of lobbying cash corrupts everything.

A criticism with more weight is that American government is good at solving acute problems (like averting a Depression) but less good at confronting chronic ones (like the burden of entitlements).

America’s political structure was designed to make legislation at the federal level difficult, not easy.

The founders believed that a country the size of America is best governed locally, not nationally.

The basic system works; but that is no excuse for ignoring areas where it could be reformed.

In the House the main outrage is gerrymandering. Tortuously shaped “safe” Republican and Democratic seats mean that the real battles are fought among party activists for their party’s nomination. This leads candidates to pander to extremes, and lessens the chances of bipartisan co-operation.

In the Senate the filibuster is used too often, in part because it is too easy. Senators who want to talk out a bill ought to be obliged to do just that, not rely on a simple procedural vote: voters could then see exactly who was obstructing what.

These defects and others should be corrected. But even if they are not, they do not add up to a system that is as broken as people now claim.

Full article
http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15545983&source=hptextfeature

The "Supreme" effect of Brown’s win …

January 26, 2010

Pundits have been so riveted on the impact Scott Brown’s election is having on ObamaCare that they are overlooking a bigger deal: Supreme Court appointments … likely to be a relatively frequent happening since the average age of Supreme Court justices is about 90 years old.

Pre-Brown, Pres Obama could name practically any wingnut he wanted when a Supreme Court vacancy occurred … tilting the Court further left. 

Now, #41 can join his GOP colleagues to block anybody designee who leans too far out of the mainstream.

This could come back to haunt Pres Obama since he voted against Alito, saying that he was “qualified but too conservative”. 

Those words will come back to haunt the President.   

Nuts and Creeps … both endangered species

January 22, 2010

Punch line: tax payers are no longer going to tolerate lying, cheating, secret-dealing, ineffective government operatives.

Nelson’s Cornhusker Kickback was a defining moment — even the people of Nebraska — the beneficiaries of the special deal — rejected it as just plain wrong.

Imagine … a constituency that can’t be bought off.

* * * * *

WSJ: The New Political Rumbling Massachusetts may signal an end to old ways of fighting , Peggy Noonan, Jan. 21, 2010

In the 2006 and 2008 elections, and at some point during the past decade, the ancestral war between Democrats and the Republicans began to take on a new look.

If you were a normal human sitting at home … chances are pretty good you came to see the two major parties not as the Dems versus the Reps, or the blue versus the bed, but as the Nuts versus the Creeps.

The Nuts were for high spending and taxing and the expansion of government no matter what. The Creeps were hypocrites who talked one thing and did another, who went along on the spending spree while lecturing on fiscal solvency.

In 2008, the voters went for Mr. Obama thinking he was not a Nut but a cool and sober moderate of the center-left sort.

In 2009 and 2010, they looked at Obama’s general governing attitudes as reflected in his preoccupations — health care, cap and trade — and their hidden, potential and obvious costs, and thought, “Uh-oh, he’s a Nut!”

Which meant they were left with the Creeps.

The contest between the Nuts and the Creeps may be ending.

The Nuts just got handed three big losses, and will have to have a meeting in Washington to discuss whether they’ve gotten too nutty.

But the Creeps have kind of had their meetings — in Virginia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. And what seems to be emerging from that is a new and nonsnarling Republicanism.

We’ll see …

Full article:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703699204575017503811443526.html?mod=djemEditorialPage

Day-after-pills: Dow 11,000 … rats jumping … Hillary smiling

January 20, 2010

OK, couple of morning after the election thoughts …

Dow Soars

I’m on record with friends and on the blog that the Dow would head to 7,500 if ObamaCare passed … and I expected that it would.

Now that the odds have shifted — at least temporarily — the market should get a huge boost.

I’m not a big Jim Cramer fan, but I agree with him on this one:

Former Barack Obama supporter Jim Cramer on Friday said the stock market would have a huge rally if Scott Brown defeats Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s special senatorial election in Massachusetts.
 http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/01/17/jim-cramer-brown-win-causes-huge-stock-rally-investors-nervous-about-#ixzz0d9GKbCfp

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Rats Jumping Ship

Last week I opined that some Dems might be secretly wishing for a Brown victory since it would take them off the hook re: ObamaCare.  They could let it die without casting a no vote.

Well, Democratic Senator Jim Webb of VA stepped up last night, pointing out the obvious:

In many ways the campaign in Massachusetts became a referendum not only on health care reform but also on the openness and integrity of our government process. It is vital that we restore the respect of the American people in our system of government and in our leaders. To that end, I believe it would only be fair and prudent that we suspend further votes on health care legislation until Senator-elect Brown is seated.
http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/health-care-comes-to-screeching-halt-sen-webb-no-hcr-votes-until-brown-seated.php

If Webb doesn’t get squashed by Reid and the White House today, watch for a flurry of “save my own hide” defections. 

* * * * *

Hillary Smiles

Soon after Obama’s inauguration, a plugged-in politico friend of mine told me that Hillary expected the Obama presidency to implode and was informally keeping part of her organization in place to be prepared to challenge Obama in 2012.  At the time. I dismissed the possibility as wishful thinking.

Well, now an implosion doesn’t appear to be such a wild possibility.

And, no less the the National Enquirer says:

A furious Michelle Obama has declared war on Oprah Winfrey – saying she has proof the talk-show titan is plotting with Hillary Clinton to take the White House from her husband.
http://www.nationalenquirer.com/michelle_obama_war_with_oprah_hillary_clinton/celebrity/67983

Remember, the Enquirer was right on Tiger and John Edwards. 

Hard to bet against them.

Bumper sticker says it all …

January 18, 2010

image

Mass Senate Race: the real Kennedy factor

January 14, 2010

Scott Brown scored when proclaimed “It’s not teddy Kennedy’s seat, it’s not the Democrats seat, it’s the people’s seat” — nice rhetorical play, for sure.

* * * **

Pundits say that the 3rd party candidate — who happens to be named Kennedy — will sap votes from Brown since their ideology is similar and Kennedy “shows” better than Brown

Pundits are wrong.

Friends know that I often half-joke that I’m not a big fan one man, one vote.  I argue that many voters are completely uninformed on the candidates and issues, so they vote based on precinct boss guidance, candidates’ gender and looks, or name recognition.

My bet: many left leaning Mass voters will pull the voting lever for Kennedy — thinking that they’re voting for a member of the famos clan.  These folks, if they had a clue, would vote for Coakley.

Bottom line: Kennedy factor will help Brown.

Haven’t heard that on TV, have you?

It’s cool to be independent … again.

December 3, 2009

Rasmusssen (and other pollsters) ask people to self-categorize themselves by political party.

I think the trends are pretty interesting:

During the final years of the Bush admin, the mix shifted from the GOP to independents.  Note the near mirror image of the red and green lines on the left half of the chart.

When Obamamania caught traction, the mix shifted from independents to Democrats.  Again, not the near mirror image of the green and blue lines on the right half of the chart.

Now, the mix is shifting again — from Dems to independents.

While Dems still have a statistically significant plurality, the country broken roughly in thirds across Dems, GOP and independents … with independent “swing voters” carrying determining sway.

image

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/partisan_trends

The "Pookie Effect" … no, I didn’t make Pookie up.

November 5, 2009

As expected, I got some pushback on yesterday’s election analysis — especially the “Pookie Effect”.

For those who missed the original post, here’s what I said:

The Pookie Factor:  At the risk of  political incorrectness … I know Pres Obama was just trying to be cute with his “get lazy cousin Pookie off the couch and get him to vote”.  I think there was some backlash to the comment.  I know a lot of folks who are repulsed by the thought of lazy cousin Pookie deciding the direction of the country.  Perhaps lazy cousin Pookie should get off the couch and get an education or get a job.
https://kenhoma.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/the-elections-checkbooks-adult-supervision-pookie-and-buyers-remorse/

No, I didn’t make Pookie up (even I CAN’T make that kind of stuff up) and, no, I didn’t just hear it on FoxNews.

My point: Corzine made a big mistake attacking Christy’s heft (pardon the pun).  Similarly, Obama may have inadvertently created a flashpoint issue by invoking Cousin Pookie.

* * * * *

Video Proof

FIrst, here’s the video proof: Obama stumping for failed candidate Deeds in Virginia … at 2 different venues.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Al6r8ESjAY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_293EQfM9Y

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Print Proof

Here’s  an AP report on CBSNews.com … hardly right wing sources of misinformation.

Excerpted from AP / CBSNews.com: Obama Invokes “Cousin Pookie” to Help Va. Dem, October 27, 2009

(AP )(NORFOLK, Va.) In a last-ditch, against-the-odds effort to help Creigh Deeds win election as governor of Virginia next week, President Obama invoked the assistance of “Cousin Pookie.”

Addressing a campaign rally for Deeds at an arena at Old Dominion University, Mr. Obama used a device that served him well during his presidential campaign – especially before African-American audiences.

“Go out and get your cousin who you had to drag to the polls last November, Cousin Pookie, you go out and get him and you tell him ‘you got to vote again this time.'”

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/10/27/politics/politicalhotsheet/entry5427510.shtml

* * * * *

So, who’s Pookie ?

Excerpted from HNIC Reports: “Who is Obama’s ‘Cousin Pookie’?”, March 13, 2007 <== Note the date

In remarks at Brown Chapel in Selma, Ala., Illinois Democratic Sen. Barack Obama made reference to the mysterious Cousin Pookie.

In his sermon Sunday at Brown Chapel in Selma, Ala., Barack Obama declared: “If Cousin Pookie would vote, if Uncle Jethro would get off the couch and stop watching SportsCenter and go register some folks and go to the polls, we might have a different kind of politics.”

It wasn’t the first time the Illinois senator and presidential aspirant has invoked “Pookie” … but for those not in the know, the question remains: Who is this Pookie?

The Obama campaign didn’t respond to requests for details. But Newhouse News Service asked some of America’s best minds on black culture, language and politics.

In their interviews and e-mails, Pookie emerges as a stock character of the black popular imagination, a name that has come to personify the kind of layabout kin who, if endearing, is also a source of some embarrassment and consternation to his more successful relations.

“Pookie means a whole lot of different things; none of them are good.”

Pookie is the kind of ghetto character played by Cedric the Entertainer or Chris Tucker in one of those “Barbershop” or “Friday” movies. In the 1960s and ’70s, he would have gone by Leroy, Tyrone or Otis.

Pookie goes way back, but he has come into his own only in the last decade, as a “metaphor for kin … who everybody knows is just a little trifling and a little lazy.”

“If you get it you get it, and if you don’t, you don’t care.” Kitwana said.

Pookie “may be a kinder, gentler take on Cosby’s reference to, and critique of, Shaniqua and Taliqua (as average black youth).

By referencing Cousin Pookie, he’s showing that he’s comfortable with Pookie without being condescending.

“By invoking the name of someone that might be familiar to a lot of black people, he’s attempting to personalize his appeal.”

How the Rev. Joseph Lowery hears it: The contemporary of Martin Luther King Jr. smiled at the mention of Pookie — not because he was familiar with the reference but because he knew, in context, who was being talked about: any of the hundreds of thousands of African-Americans.

Jethro is Pookie’s white counterpart, and by including him, Obama was making a cross-racial appeal to get off the couch.

http://thehnic.wordpress.com/2007/03/13/who-is-obamas-cousin-pookie/

The elections: Checkbooks, Adult Supervision, Pookie, and Buyer's Remorse …

November 4, 2009

Last night, most pundits reduced the election results to an older, whiter group of voters  taking a stand.

Here’s my take (trying to avoid the usual pundit bromides) …

Checkbooks: I’ve whined often about tax policies that have more than half of adults paying no income taxes, but drawing from the system. My hunch: the mix of voters last nite was disproportionately tax payers who are fed up with the reckless spending and taxation without meaningful representation (think Harry Reid behind closed doors).

Adult Supervision: Some elected officials have to start acting like  adults.  Start showing some sense of fiscal responsibility and stop throwing hizzie fits every time they get challenged.  Recognize that implementation and execution matter.  One of my takes last nite: Bob McDonnell won because he came across as an adult — he carries himself like a governor.

The Pookie Factor:  At the risk of  political incorrectness … I know Pres Obama was just trying to be cute with his “get lazy cousin Pookie off the couch and get him to vote”.  I think there was some backlash to the comment.  I know a lot of folks who are repulsed by the thought of lazy cousin Pookie deciding the direction of the country.  Perhaps lazy cousin Pookie should get off the couch and get an education or get a job. 

Buyer’s Remorse: Many middle-of-the-roaders, frustrated by  or angry at Bush, bought into Obama’s charismatic appeal for change and “coming together”.  My sense: lots of buyer’s remorse.  They got Chicago thugery, expensive rad-left programs, and divisiveness-on- steroids.  Change – yes, but maybe not the the change everybody was hoping for.  This was the first chance for folks to register their views free of recriminations.

It’ll be fun to see how the parties spin the results …