Nate Silver and the Blue Wall

After predicting the outcomes of the 2008 and 2012 Presidential Elections with remarkable foresight and clarity, Nate Silver has examined the “Blue Wall.” His conclusion – it does not exist.

Back in November I argued that the 2014 Election results revealed a disturbing trend. The Republican Party’s power was becoming geographically concentrated in a way that would render it impossible to influence future Presidential politics. Republicans’ biggest electoral wave in modern history obscured a nightmare. The party’s candidates and policies had solidly failed in a block of states I described as the “Blue Wall.”

With Virginia included in that category, as I argued it should be, the 2014 results revealed a geographic block of nearly impenetrable Democratic support so large as to shut Republicans out of national competitiveness for the near future. There are too many Californias and New Yorks, places where a Republican nominee has no hope of being competitive, for the party’s increasingly powerful influence in Texas, Mississippi and other solidly “red” states to matter nationally.

Silver dismisses this notion out of hand. His conclusion is founded on two arguments. First, past results do not predict future results. As an example, Silver points to a block of states that, up to the 1992 Election, had been a reliable bastion of Republican support. Clinton won nine of them. Four of them have been solidly Democratic ever since.

His second argument is that the Electoral College cannot necessarily be counted on to magnify Democratic electoral strength as some have claimed. To summarize, he explains “when commentators talk about the Democrats’ “blue wall,” all they’re really pointing out is that Democrats have had a pretty good run in presidential elections lately.”

As usual with Silver, his reasoning is airtight. Trouble comes from the straw men toward which that reasoning is directed. Evidence for the Blue Wall can be found in polling trends. However, the foundations for the Blue Wall’s reasoning are built not from polling assumptions, but from policy, demographics, and institutional factors. This description of New Hampshire’s slide behind the Blue Wall is a nice summary of the logic behind the assessment.

Having written a pretty sharply worded piece after the 2012 election about the dangers of betting against Nate Silver, I find myself, at least for the time being, in that very unhappy position myself. Your humble author is not enthusiastic about becoming the “unskewed polls” idiot of this election cycle. This development requires a careful rethink. Much to my discomfort, a closer look at the assumptions behind the Blue Wall leave me more convinced that Silver has it wrong.

Silver has developed the best strategy of our time for analyzing polling data. Consulting polls today for the 2016 Election renders few useful insights about the outcome. There are some interesting hints, like Clinton’s continued and consistent strength against every potential GOP candidate, but at this date voters are too disengaged for these numbers to have meaning. All you can really gauge at this point is name recognition and a shadow outline of support. On Silver’s home turf of polling data, his conclusion that Clinton has roughly a 50-50 shot of winning is mathematically and logically correct.

Now, consider a thought exercise.

What combination of candidate, policy, and wider political conditions would be needed in order for any remotely credible winner of the 2016 Republican primary to win California in the General Election? It is far too early to predict the outcome of the election in California just from polling data. Nevertheless, the Republican nominee, whoever it may be, is not even going to travel to California except to raise money. See the problem?

Why is California out of reach to a Republican Presidential nominee? As explained in a previous piece, the flight of the Dixiecrats into a largely empty Republican grassroots political structure across the South in the last third of the 20th Century has altered the calculus of politics nationally. Republicans are now trapped beneath the weight of a Neo-Confederate backlash. The party is producing policies that are radically popular across a poorly populated stretch of the country. Those same policies are political suicide outside the rural Midwest and the Jim Crow belt.

In the country’s wealthiest, more populous regions with the bulk of Electoral College votes, that agenda is a non-starter. There aren’t a lot of Southern Baptists in Minnesota and Oregon. A political agenda freighted with appeals to white nationalism can no longer compete nationally. Under present political alignments, no Republican Presidential nominee can establish enough distance from Ted Cruz to win in a Blue State, even if it is his home state.

As the party’s Dixie burden grows heavier, its alienation from the rest of the country grows with it. Republicans were jubilant about the state-level gains in 2014, but they missed the wider picture. That election was simply the end of a flip from one-party rule under Democrats to one-party rule under Republicans. The results nationwide revealed that the Republican win was a local and regional phenomenon, with serious negative consequences elsewhere.

But wait, Republicans also racked up wins in Governor’s races in Illinois, Massachusetts, and Maryland? Every one of those wins came from a Republican who ran away from the party. More detail on blue-state ticket-splitting here, but in short, there’s a good reason that Walker and Christie show no signs of being able to carry their respective home states if they manage to become the nominee. A bunch of people who think forced ultra-sounds are a “cool thing” and climate change is a hoax are not going to flip Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire next year.

Look at California, Illinois, or New York, states won by George H.W. Bush as recently as 1988, for an example of GOP’s worsening demographic crisis. Take the political, tactical, and institutional reasoning behind our inability to compete in those states, and apply that template across the country on a state-by-state basis. What you get from that analysis is the Blue Wall.

We can already logically expect that in 2016 we are going to get an electorate that is less white, less evangelical, less afraid of minorities, and less rural than in each previous Presidential election. Is there some logical reason to expect, under those conditions, that this electorate will be more favorably disposed to the person emerging from the 2016 Republican campaign than to Mitt Romney or John McCain? That’s the logic behind the Blue Wall. Perform the Electoral math based on those political and demographic assumptions and suddenly 2016 ceases to be close at all.

Silver, as a mathematician, may not have “a dog in that fight” as related to policy analysis. As a watcher of politics and history, I’m in no position to question (or frankly even understand) Silver’s math. Right now, the analysis I’m doing is the only one for which we have any reliable data. I’m stuck on the wrong end of an argument with Nate Silver where I’ll remain until next summer when the polls start to shed some light. Wish me luck. I’m going to need it.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in Election 2016
155 comments on “Nate Silver and the Blue Wall
  1. foxinsox says:

    I’m a fan both of Nate Silver and this blog. I think you’re both right in a way. But here’s some more to worry about on your side…

    Silver would respond that you think you’ve ‘thought of everything’ or at least ‘thought of all the important things’, and he would say that no one can thing of everything, it’s foolish to think so.

    For example, you have very interesting recurring analysis about how how the GOP has been taken over by racist southerners. For the moment let’s assume you’re right. With Obama in power, this comes to the forefront of national attention, as do many other race-related issues. This helps democrats not only with blacks but also hispanics, asians, and anyone who dislikes racism.

    How exactly does this work when Obama is not part of the equation? Won’t the GOP’s racism fade back a bit as it did with W? Suddenly the GOP will become the chauvinist party against HIllary (they are that too.)?

  2. flypusher says:

    Jindal’s going after a real big threat here:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/6/4/8731637/chafee-jindal-metric

  3. flypusher says:

    “So just who are these people? Unlike the Koch brother’s founder/father’s favorite group, the John Birch Society, the hand-wringers of wealth inequality can’t even name the foe in this vast conspiracy. Of course they except the philanthropists. And the self-made. And the people next door. So just who in the hell remains? Pogo’s observation is apt here, though those who buy into this silly class envy meme will never accept the answer.”-50

    Rather than names, I’ll give you some of the more objectionable actions/ effects. I posted this link on worker’s comp a while back:

    http://www.npr.org/2015/03/04/390441655/injured-workers-suffer-as-reforms-limit-workers-compensation-benefits

    Why is it that the financial effects of a disabling injury vary so much depending on what state the person lives in? Because in some states some people manged the lobby the state governments to slash those benefits. Who pushed for that? I can’t name specific names (not without a ton of research), but it’s a safe bet it wasn’t people who were poor or middle class. Likewise let’s consider the curcumstances that lead to the Kelo ruling by the SCOTUS (which is one of the absolute worst rulings I can recall). Somebody decided to corrupt the power of eminent domain to use the gov’t to transfer property from one private entity to another. Again, it’s a safe bet that the poor and middle class aren’t doing this. We have also mentioned in previous posts the very egregious reverse RobinHood thing going on in Kansas, where people receiving public aid are limited in how much cash they can withdraw at a time, and each withdrawal comes with a high service fee that goes to the bank. So who’s benefitting from that? I could list more examples, but I think you get the gist here. I don’t begrudge people having lots of $ that they either earned outright or lucked into via inheritance, but I do strongly object to the sorts of actions listed above, which allow the have-mores to take from the have-lesses/ have-almost-nothings. That is the real class warfare.

    • fiftyohm says:

      FP – It would seem your thesis here is to brand every inequity, every bit of corruption, every abuse of power by government, as a result of unequal wealth distribution. And therefore, by extension, all these ills will be cured with the solution to that ‘problem’.

      Sorry, but I ain’t buying it.

      • flypusher says:

        You’re overreaching here. I listed specific examples of corruption that benefits the upper classes. It does not follow that other classes can’t try to game to system, but more $ buys more power, and it’s one hell of an advantage. Also the whole reason we even bother with things like gov’t ITFP is to restrain the strong from running roughshod over the weak. When someone can work the system so that they can take someone’s perfectly good house away because they can make more $ off that property, something is very wrong and a fix is needed. It’s also wrong that some lower class people scam the safety net, but can you honesty say they do as much damage to as many people as the examples I cited?

      • fiftyohm says:

        I’m not ‘overreaching’ at all. Corruption, by its very nature, is associated with an imbalance of *power*. That may come from wealth, or political office, or other positions that have social influence like mass media. The list is very long.

        There will always be ‘little guys’ and ‘big guys’. In the end, I fear the influence of the big political guys – a group with the most egregious record, yet the one the left seems to generally desire to continuously and increasingly empower.

        When it comes to outright theft, the ‘rich’ don’t want to steal from you. The unethical ‘rich’ want to steal from the ‘rich’. Why? Well, in the famous mis-attribution of Willie Sutton, “because that’s where the money is”. Sure there are exceptions. Gangbangers kill other gangbangers. There is spillover. But the rule is true.

        So no – no overreach here. Just about every injustice I can think of could be attributed to some abuse of power by someone. The logical extension is therefore, ‘remove all power imbalances, and all problems go away’. It’s a flawed argument, and suggesting – no singling out – “the rich” as the primary perpetrators of injustice is fatuous.

      • flypusher says:

        “I’m not ‘overreaching’ at all. Corruption, by its very nature, is associated with an imbalance of *power*. That may come from wealth, or political office, or other positions that have social influence like mass media. The list is very long.”

        But the big problem you’re not addressing is how the system treats the people who engage in it. When poor people get caught scamming the system, they are actually more likely to be punished, as opposed to the system looking the other way or even aiding and abetting. For every Bernie Madoff who gets some of what he deserves, how many get to live happily ever after? How many heads have rolled (and by rolling heads I mean serious punishment for responsible individuals) for the financial shenanigans that triggered the Great Recession? We can agree that there are actually people who deserve blame, rather than this being a series of unfortunately coincidences, can’t we?

        “The unethical ‘rich’ want to steal from the ‘rich’. Why? Well, in the famous mis-attribution of Willie Sutton, “because that’s where the money is”. Sure there are exceptions.”

        There are lots of exceptions. If you can steal a little bit from many, many people, your can rake in a whole lot of ill gotten gain. Like this guy illegally scamming a penny here, a penny there from people buying gas at his stations:

        http://www.nytimes.com/1999/03/03/nyregion/millionaire-convicted-of-murder-in-gas-station-fraud-scheme.html

        I also recall hearing a story of a fairly high ranking oil company exec getting busted for doing such a thing on an even bigger scale, but I haven’t found it yet.

        Enron scammed a lot of not-rich people by artificially manipulating energy prices (I so want to know what happened to the total doosch caught on video laughing about zapping old people on fixed incomes-I could hope it was something bad). Skilling and Fastow et al., did get some prison time, but I bet they’re still financially better off than so many of their victims. And there is that odious matter of Linda Lay dumping 500,000 shares of Enron stock literally minutes before the collapse went public, and never getting even indicted. The employees with Enron stock didn’t get that option. The developers who co-opted local gov’t in Kelo, and the many other cases of eminent domain abuse were quite happy to take from those who weren’t rich. One advantage of that is that your victims can’t hire the same level of legal power. Taking from other rich people can get a higher payout, but it’s also higher risk.

      • fiftyohm says:

        FP – Of course the poor don’t receive a fair shake in the criminal justice system. Everyone knows that. That’s one of the huge problems with the stupid ‘war on drugs’. No new data here, and it says nothing about the evil ‘rich’.

        The Sikh in your example apparently *became rich* by scamming. Obviously criminal behavior, but again pretty much disassociated with your thesis.

        The gang of thieves at Enron were a mixed bag of opportunists, some rich, some no so much, and some who got that way with their ‘shenanigans’. But again, not great examples of the ‘vast conspiracy’ I spoke of above.

        I’m just not getting the entirely convincing argument you seem to think is lurking here.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Fly and Fifty, it may have nothing to do with an imbalance of power or wealth, but of society’s psychological, visceral tendency to blame the victim, to blame the disenfranchised for their predicament, to view them with contempt, and to therefore come down really hard on them when they commit the most minor offense.

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, You state that: “When it comes to outright theft, the ‘rich’ don’t want to steal from you. The unethical ‘rich’ want to steal from the ‘rich’.”

        There are many ways to steal – reduction of benefits: workmen’s comp, welfare, SNAP, formulas for SS, no family leave, health care access that is affordable as working people don’t get paid if they’re sick, poor schools for the poor, higher incarceration rates, wage stagnation, voting rights changes that penalize workers with fewer days to vote and elimination of weekends….just to name a few. My point is that for the poor, these benefits translate into real dollars. Now, I know you are going to focus on “who” provides those tax dollars that turn into programs/laws/policies that impact the poor. This group of people can afford the very best accountants and lawyers to help them maximize profits. That’s great for them but the cost to a civillized society may not be glaringly obvious to all, but it diminishes the quality of life and opportunity for those who want to work to become contributing members of society.

        In so far as the unethical rich stealing from the rich…I assume you’re talking about the same political leaders who are responsible for also playing Robin Hood with the poor.

        My “yadayada” list again, but it is real even if it is ridiculed or ignored. Pretending it is so doesn’t make it so.

      • bubbabobcat says:

        Great point Tutt. I agree that the poor suffer consequences and disdain disproportionately because sadly that is what this country has devolved to.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        50, is that a mote in your eye?

        Here’s an example that shows that a bank that helped cause the housing bubble and the great recession, causing homes to be devalued to less than their mortgage and market values, altering the economic lives of thousands, can still win big.

        BOA said the second loan might be repaid eventually if the property’s value rises in the future.

        The homeowners said the second loans were worthless.

        Despite the homes drastically reduced value, the justices said that the second mortgage was not an unsecured loan, eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy rules, which are used by lower-income people, says the NYT. EVEN THOUGH BANKS LIKE BOA CREATED THE DAMN’ SITUATION. THAT IS NOT JUSTICE.

        http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2015/06/01/high-court-bankrupt-homeowners-cant-void-second-mortgage

        Student loans are also very difficult to get covered by bankruptcy laws. Why is that? Because it is in a law passed by Congress and drafted by lobbyists.

        And those LIBOR banksters aren’t even going to jail, even though they’ve cost American consumers millions of dollars. (Too bad they didn’t work for FIFA, a similar international fraudulent organization.

        http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/rate-rigging-london-affects-us-consumers


        Mr. Resistance, I think you’ve got blinders on, intentionally blinding yourself. You need a new vision.

      • Tuttabella says:

        Bubba, I think it’s always been that way, and not just here. The poor are stigmatized. And I would venture to say that even many of those who would help the poor somehow look down on them. Rare is the person who views all his fellow human beings as true equals. We either look up to.people.or look down on them.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Bobo, correction: Fifty is Mr. Irresistable! 🙂

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Fifty is MR. IRRESISTIBLE. (I regret the misspelling.)

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Fifty, Fly – A ceo I am acquainted with was honestly embarrassed by the perks lavished on him. I suspect if you asked various ceos if they think it right that they make millions and the lowest paid in the company were struggling, you would get a varied response. Some would say yes, some would say no, and other would say they hadn’t thought about it, honestly.

        All this to say, it isn’t necessarily the recipient that is guilty. And sometime it is up to people like fly to stand up and just say, it’s not fair. It looks like its working.

    • Crogged says:

      BTW Canada has a well functioning workers comp program

    • flypusher says:

      “FP – Of course the poor don’t receive a fair shake in the criminal justice system. Everyone knows that. That’s one of the huge problems with the stupid ‘war on drugs’. No new data here, and it says nothing about the evil ‘rich’.”

      And that is a big crux of my argument. If the big fish got punished at the same rate as the little fish, I’d have a lot less complaint here. In this case my issue is with the system, not necessarily rich people.

      “The Sikh in your example apparently *became rich* by scamming. Obviously criminal behavior, but again pretty much disassociated with your thesis.”

      That one is a bit of chicken-&-egg, as it is not clear whether he got rich through scamming, or got rich and decided to get richer through scamming. Still can’t find the better example in my mind, it was something about a female executive at a fairly big energy company who secretly rounding up the price of each transaction at the company’s gas pumps.

      “The gang of thieves at Enron were a mixed bag of opportunists, some rich, some no so much, and some who got that way with their ‘shenanigans’. But again, not great examples of the ‘vast conspiracy’ I spoke of above.”

      But I wasn’t answering anything about conspiracies. I was answering a question about who were these rich people being complained about. I answered that I have complaints about people who are rich AND engage in illegal and/or unethical behavior that takes wealth away from others, especially when those victims are poor, and most especially when they get gov’t. to be their accomplices. That is not a complaint about all rich people or an indictment of the “billionaire class”.

      “I’m just not getting the entirely convincing argument you seem to think is lurking here.”

      Go back to those bank fees that are now going to be skimmed off of welfare payments in Kansas. I find that to be just as slimy, unethical, and downright evil as Enron artificially jacking up utility prices on low/fixed income people. The big difference between those two is that the current beneficiaries of this new let’s-take-from-the-poor caper managed to get official state government blessings on their shenanigans. If you don’t find that even a bit alarming, well, we’ll just be agreeing to disagree, because I think that is a problem.

      • 1mime says:

        Fly, how about tuition rates and student loans that are crippling our young graduates? That is another travesty.

  4. flypusher says:

    OT, but I found this interesting:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/2/16/8045875/best-and-worst-presidents

    There’s lots of rank-the-Presidents lists around. This one is a bit different. The very top of the list is what everyone would expect, but once you get past FDR, there are some interesting changes. Grant, Harding, and Carter get much better rankings than what you usually see. Likewise TR, Wilson, and Reagan are found lower ranked on this list. Although it’s obvious the author is coming from a liberal perspective, the rankings are quite bipartisan in nature; there’s a pretty even party distribution in the high, low and middle ranks.

    I totally agree with W’s low rank, but based more on Iraq than the economy. I’d put Nixon above him, because going to China deserves some credit.

  5. 1mime says:

    OK, Fifty. Yes, SCOTUS isn’t supposed to “care”, they’re also not supposed to be partisan. Scalia has been openly political which makes a mockery of the decorum and tradition (and respect) of the court. Shame on him. This SC has defied established case law on any number of occasions. Citizens United is a bad ruling because it: hides the identities of major donors, and opened the door for even greater influence of money in campaigns. You may like the ruling, I don’t. I would happily vote to repeal this law and would like more campaign finance regulation, not less. The framers you speak of also gave citizens the right to vote down changes we don’t want. I’m glad you would be OK with a majority vote to overturn the ruling, especially since you might be in the minority position wishing to retain it.

    I am not conflating anything. Income inequality is hurting people. I don’t have any animus against wealth. We’re comfortable and no one gave us anything and I don’t apologize for that. There will always be rich and poor. What concerns me is the loss of the middle class, and that is a real problem that we ignore at our peril. I care about people who are struggling. Laws are written to benefit the wealthy and the poor but the priority of this GOP has been focused on reducing benefits to the poor as fast as they can. How can you deny that? Responsibly just re-working the social safety net and defense spending would go a long way in helping our budget imbalance. And, I don’t believe a major country can or should strive for a balanced budget – responsible budget, yes.

    I respect the fact that we look at economic matters differently. But, that doesn’t make either of us right or wrong. In truth, we both care and that does matter.

    Sincerely,
    Your yadayada girl

    • vikinghou says:

      Hillary has stated that, if elected, she would work toward a Constitutional amendment repealing Citizens United.

    • fiftyohm says:

      A 2/3s majority of the *states* is a helluva lot different than a simple majority of the people. But it doesn’t really matter here. First off, the consequences of CU are overstated. Second, it’s pretty much about stupid people. My vote is about as influenced by campaign ads as my purchasing is by web page popups. (There’s an app for that.). And laws against direct influence peddling already exist. Waste of time, and little more than grandstanding.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m just going to restate my repugnance for the CU decision. We flat out disagree on this one. As for how money influences campaigns – you may be one of few who are not influenced by campaign ads. Unfortunately, millions are or campaign managers wouldn’t be spending money on ads. There are lots of ways to influence elections that are dubious but effective. For a recent spurious one, consider the “Swift Boat” travesty. I’m sure both parties are guilty of doing this but that doesn’t make it right nor less reprehensible.

        Try running for office sometime, Fifty. It would be an eye-opening experience, and not necessarily for the positive.

    • Creigh says:

      1mime, I’m not generally one for moralistic absolutes, but this is one thing I’m morally certain about. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision is based on the absurd (and immoral!) notions that corporations are people and money is speech. Corporations and money are not people or speech, they are in fact property owned by people. One of the few bedrock moral principles I ascribe to is that one must never treat people as property. A close corollary to that principle is that one must not make property into the moral equivalent of a person. That is what the so-called conservative majority of the SC did in Citizens United. And that was anything but a conservative decision.

      The legal system recognizes certain legal rights for corporations that are also recognized for actual people, including the right to own property and enter into legally enforceable contracts. These rights are necessary and appropriate. But they don’t mean we have to confer inappropriate personal rights on corporations; we can decide through our legislative representatives what corporations may and may not do, as we normally decide property rights. That is why Citizens United must be overturned.

      End of rant.

      • vikinghou says:

        I’m not an attorney; however, since the SCOTUS has ruled that corporations are people, can they now be subject to punishments that pertain to peoples’ behavior? For example, could GM be subject to capital punishment because of their willful decision not to inform drivers of vehicle defects that resulted in the drivers’ deaths? Could the ruling be to execute the corporation (i.e., force closure and liquidation of assets)? How far does this corporate personhood go?

      • 1mime says:

        Well stated, Creigh. The little that we can give to candidates and causes we support is almost laughable when you consider the huge dollars some can afford to give. It makes a mockery of our Democracy.

  6. rightonrush says:

    An idea for potholes. Arkansas, here’s how to dress up those 3 ft deep potholes. http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2015/06/flowers_potholes_protest_city.html

  7. rightonrush says:

    I’ll vote for the candidate that promises to do something and mean it about our failing infrastructure. I just came home from Ky and damn near lost a tire on I-35 in Arkansas. They have pot holes deep enough to hide a five year old kid. Plus, coming through Texas I passed “end of work” signs where there had not been a lick of work done. Sweet baby Jesus, screw foreign aide, lets get America back on her feet before we spread the bombs…err I mean love to other countries.

    • 1mime says:

      Here, here, Right on! President Obama proposed a jobs bill targeting infrastructure a long time ago. Think of how many people could have become employed and how many roads, bridges, etc could have been repaired. Think of the looming disaster that a failing bridge could mean in terms of lives and commerce interruption. Think of the politicians who preferred to defeat an infrastructure jobs bill purely because Obama proposed it. Now, think of an America where the people (NYT/CBS Poll) continue to stress jobs and the economy and politicians don’t listen.

      THAT is what the poll is telling us. That is what will motivate voters in 2016. If you think Obama came out badly in the poll, scroll down to Congress’ rating. People are fed up with obstruction, grandstanding, pettiness, and elected officials who are ignoring the real needs of our country. In TX, the fixation on border security is so hyped that the Legislature approved $800 million to supplement border security. $800 million! Yet, can’t get the potholes fixed, schools adequately funded, but business got a 25% tax cut.

      It’s priorities, righton, but “whose” priorities? That’s the question.

      • rightonrush says:

        At this time I would not even consider voting for any of the GOP clowns. If Huntsman were running I’d vote for him. However, he isn’t enough of a nut to appeal to most of the GOP. I do get a hoot outta Rand Paul. He sticks a pitchfork in the GOP’s proverbial arse and then retreats. He’s driving them even more nuts and that’s a good thing IMO.

  8. “…at this date voters are too disengaged for these numbers to have meaning.” Yup.

    As for me, I’m in the Peggy Noonan camp on the Hildebeast, swinging back and forth between “inevitable” and “impossible.” I suppose the deciding factor will be the percentage of Americans inured to political corruption. Funny how we don’t see any polls on that statistic.

    • flypusher says:

      Well Tracy, if you must choose between a corrupt candidate who’s closest in agreement to you on the issues, and candidates that at least appear less corrupt but you consider them to be off the deep end, you just may be wearing a gas mask in the voting booth.

      It’s way early, but thoughts of 3rd party protest voting are bring entertained on my part.

      • 1mime says:

        Careful with that Fly. Remember the scenario when Ralph Nader was the “happy spoiler” in the Gore/W election in 2000…Now, I admit, the choices there were pretty bad, but, if one votes on core values, the GOP doesn’t make the cut. Reality is, no matter which Republican might be President, you would still be in for a world of hurt with their social policies and right wing extremism.

      • Fly, having lived in New Orleans for a decade, and having observed politics from afar in places as diverse as Chicago, Albany, D.C., etc., it’s readily apparent that large swaths of the demos don’t really care whether their elected officials are corrupt. So we’ll see whether Hill’s penchant for pocket-lining whilst holding high (unelected) office will matter in the end.

        I’ll be doing some protest voting in the GOP primaries, but come election day I’ll probably hold my nose and pull the lever for the GOP nominee, God help me.

      • 1mime says:

        No, Tracy, God help everyone but you if you vote Republican in spite of knowing what the party stands for.

        What do you think of this analysis by Kaiser on the impact of a SCOTUS defeat of ACA subsidies…..with NOTHING substantive (or at all at this point) to protect these insureds?

        http://kff.org/interactive/king-v-burwell-effects/?utm_campaign=KFF:%20Health%20Reform&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=18065079&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_4PK1S5pewPHFeooyY8DabUN5-hwibRP0GFZ5s-3ibmxpMqmQENPe3iF8toCmN7yZvBoGLBkdd6KDCbfd1dSCsKuqqKA&_hsmi=18065079

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy, do you fit Larry Sabato’s voter profile? He notes:

        “…exceptionally high levels of party loyalty and straight-ticket voting combined with increasing reluctance to openly identify oneself as a party supporter reflect a fundamental change in the way Americans relate to the Democratic and Republican parties — the rise of negative partisanship. A growing number of Americans have been voting against the opposing party rather than for their own party.”

        http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/the-only-thing-we-have-to-fear-is-the-other-party/

      • flypusher says:

        1mime, since I’m in Texas, which is going to go for the GOP nominee no matter what. I have the “luxury” of a protest vote. I don’t claim any political courage for such an action, as I risk nothing should I do so.

        Tracy, likewise, I could share my observations about the “values voters” who gladly overlook so much hypocrisy among the GOP politicos who claim to champion “family values” (Dennis Hastert being the latest). The bottom line is that for all the talk about character, the stand on the issues is going to trump that almost every time. I’d love a candidate to back who is honest, and competent, and agrees with most of my stands on my most important issues. Who wouldn’t? But if you can only have two, or even just one of those three, what are you going to pick?

      • Well, Fly, first time around I voted for Clinton; second time around I did not. So there you go. Character, respect for the office, and respect for the rule of law actually mean something to me, regardless of one’s stand on the issues. The ends do not justify the means. But as we all know, I am an odd sort of (Burkean) duck when it comes to such things.

        As for Hastert, if the allegations be true, then (TRIGGER WARNING) all I have to say about it is that the man doesn’t have any issues that can’t be readily remedied by 230 grains of .45 caliber jacketed hollow point scootin’ along at about 900 feet per second.

      • johngalt says:

        Tracy, if you think corruption is a partisan issue, then god help you. Certainly there are no shortage of reasons to not vote for Hillary, but if you think she’s more corrupt than the average Koch-owned GOP politician then all I can say is that you ought to try being a little less intellectually lazy.

      • Doug says:

        I wonder if anyone here has considered exactly what “crimes” Hastert was indicted for?

        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/when-evading-government-spying-is-a-crime/394640/

      • 1mime says:

        It’s pretty clearly spelled out in this Vox article.

        http://www.vox.com/2015/6/1/8699769/structuring-hastert-explain

        “…withdrawing cash from his bank accounts in amounts and patterns designed to hide the payments; and 2) lying to the FBI about the purpose of those withdrawals once they detected them and then inquired with him.”

        The article points out Haster made fifteen $50K withdrawals before his bank started asking questions, then he continued to make withdrawals at the $9K level and lied about it when asked by the FBI. Why would the FBI be interested in these large, regular withdrawals? For one thing, Hastert was the number 3 man in government and as such, had a high security clearance. He also had a greater responsibility for truthfulness even if one tries to ignore the sexual molestation of the young man he abused years earlier.

      • Turtles Run says:

        Doug – The subversion law is another consequence from the failed drug wars. He may have avoided charges if he did not lie to the FBI about his actions. I remember Hastert was proud to have Clinton investigated and impeached for lying under oath for having consensual sex with an adult female. Shouldn’t he have taken his supposed strong ethics and just truthfully told the FBI the payments were not for the drug trade but to silence a former student he sexually molested as a school teacher.

        Or is lying under oath OK if your a family values Republican?

      • Turtles Run says:

        Or is lying under oath OK if you’re a family values Republican?

      • bubbabobcat says:

        How about lying to Federal agents Doug? And since he is paying the guy he molested to keep quiet, they are not pursuing the sexual assault angle. Yet. I’m guessing you were opposed to Bill Clinton’s impeachment and political witch hunt on a consensual relationship between 2 adults Doug? Riiiiight. Regardless of the political motivations, Bill perjured himself and brought the mess on himself. He could have done the Letterman mea culpa and been over and done with it.

      • flypusher says:

        Bill whiffed on multiple chances to avoid that mess. He could have just admitted the truth. He could have refused to answer that question ( I fail to see the relevance of a consensual affair to investigation of a harassment claim). He could have settled with Jones quietly behind the scenes. He weakened his Presidency and he can take the blame. But the hypocrites who lead the witch hunt deserve blame too. Although I think Larry Flynt is the lowest sort of scum-sucking bottom fodder, IMO he did this country a service in exposing them.

      • Doug says:

        “Or is lying under oath OK if your a family values Republican?”

        No, it’s not. But he didn’t do that. He lied to FBI agents in the investigation. IMO, given the somewhat unsavory tactics federal agents sometimes use, I think that law is a bit one-sided.

        I’m not taking up for Hastert. Maybe demonstrating a camel clutch got him a little too aroused and he couldn’t control himself. Maybe it was consensual. We don’t know. At minimum he’s a terrible hypocrite, and possibly guilty of a local crime for which the statute of limitations passed decades ago. Neither of these are federal issues.

        But “structuring” is an absolutely horrible, tyrannical law, and we shouldn’t cheer when a scumbag gets caught up in bad law.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “But “structuring” is an absolutely horrible, tyrannical law, and we shouldn’t cheer when a scumbag gets caught up in bad law.”

        This law has been on the books for decades. Yet now it seems to be an issue. Excuse me if I am not moved by your sudden concern.

      • Turtles Run says:

        “I’m not taking up for Hastert.”

        You are not taking up for Hastert but the rest of your paragraph is dedicated to minimizing his act of sexual molestation. Congratulations you just defended this repugnant act. I am sure the next Democrat in a sex scandal can expect you to come to their defense.

        “Maybe demonstrating a camel clutch got him a little too aroused and he couldn’t control himself. Maybe it was consensual. We don’t know. At minimum he’s a terrible hypocrite, and possibly guilty of a local crime for which the statute of limitations passed decades ago. Neither of these are federal issues”.

      • 1mime, I suppose I do fit Sabato’s profile. I have very little use for most of the candidates the GOP is fielding, but even less for those produced by the Democrats. In the last presidential election I voted against Obama, not for Romney. It’s really a rather sad state of affairs.

  9. RobA says:

    About the Bernie Sanders talk we had the ither day and how “crazy” it was to think the guy had great policies.

    http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/05/29/the-daily-show-blasts-medias-dismissive-coverag/203808

    Yep, totally bonkers eh? What kind of lunatic could be against too big to fail banks, the billionaire class, campaign finance reform and wealth inequality?

    Where the bigotry? The hatred of the poor? The science denial? The patriarchal sexism? The lack of priorities in lowering taxes for the rich above all else?

    What a loon!

    • Creigh says:

      Where’s the sucking up to corporations and the Sheldon Adelsons? The fearmongering of terrorists? Doesn’t he want to be taken seriously?

    • 1mime says:

      It would be a wild ride, but, oh so interesting….Sanders will definitely challenge the media and the other presidential aspirants with his fearless commitment to put real issues on the table. THAT is valuable. You’d think that the media who must be bored out of their gourds during these election debates would absolutely adore a candidate like Sanders who isn’t afraid to shake things up. Give him a chance to make this election one that is meaningful. No ducking discussion of real problems and real solutions that candidates typically gloss over in order to avoid taking a definitive position. Bernie is having no part of that. Isn’t everyone here tired of all the talking points and talking around substantive issues by these candidates? Let ‘er rip.

      I hope Sanders gets enough money to stay in the race long enough to force this to happen. American politicians have punted on crumbling infrastructure, the income divide, racism, quality public education, immigration, jobs, foreign policy, social safety net solvency and purpose, equal rights, our veterans care, health care access, energy policy including renewables, global warming, the federal deficit…..(no rank order here and hardly a comprehensive list just illustrative of neglected discussion and failed policies and priorities).

      Frankly, one of the disingenuous ploys of the GOP having so many people running is that it gives their candidates cover on to avoid in depth discussions. There’s simply not enough time or airwaves to get specific and thus be held accountable. That won’t happen if Sanders is given a real opportunity to advance his platform. He may lose but the American people and Democracy will win.

      I want more. Game on.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mosler – OK. Amend the Constitution to overturn the FEC decision. And while we’re at it, eliminate the Department of Labor, and make right-to-work universal. After all, there seems a slight inequity there. And let us not forget, and I’ve said this before, that we spent more in 2012 on Halloween candy than all the parties combined spent on the campaign.

        And yes, the government can, and does, spend more than it taxes. Last I checked, this was a decidedly bad thing, and not sustainable. Neither party believes in this. (Though both, ironically, seem to practice it).

        Finally, our government is empowered to tax us for what we collectively decide it should spend. It is not entitled to use taxes for some kind of grand social engineering experiment.

        A thought experiment: Completely level the playing field. Cut up the pie so that each and every citizen has an equal piece. Then, and without some sort of bullshit, unconstitutional social engineering, centrally planned scheme, see how long it takes until we’re back to where we are right now. Free societies are unequal. The very best we can do is to ensure equal opportunity. Beyond that, well, there are I guess, other options with which I want nothing to do.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        50…not to quibble, but that line includes Halloween costumes and decorations, not just candy. We do spend more in campaigning than we do for only candy.

        Eh, it is not the cost of the campaigning that is troublesome. It is the tone, tenor, and intellectual dishonesty of the campaigning that is more troublesome.

        Of course, this is not unlike normal advertisements. I mean, who knew that drinking Bud Light would not lead to a bevy of attractive bikini-clad women to join me around the swimming pool?

      • fiftyohm says:

        HT, my dear friend – Bud Light is disgusting. Bikinis are not. I wouldn’t drink light beer if drinking same would drown me in them! 😉

    • BigWilly says:

      I’m sorry, but you can’t have that.

    • fiftyohm says:

      RobA – Right. I am against the ” billionaire class”. All 1,400 of them on the freaking planet, at last count. Let’s take all their money. We’ll be able to fund the government for a few weeks. Once.

      And “wealth inequality”. Sure thing. There’s all sorts of stuff in our Constitution about fixing that.

      And those banks! Let’s give em to the unions! How about that? Wuddya mean, they’re different than GM? Why so?

      • johngalt says:

        Yes, indeed. The “let them eat cake” approach is definitely going to promote the long-term welfare of the nation. I have said before that I cannot detect an envy from average people for the true ground-breakers – Jobs, Brin/Page, Buffett, Gates, Musk, etc. – the people who really change the world. The animosity is directed toward rent-seekers who bend rules to maintain an illegitimate hegemony, protecting their own narrow and usually unproductive interests. You be right if you said it is hard to define the line between the two, but it exists and we might have a healthier and wealthier republic if we figured out how to promote the former and knock down the latter.

      • johngalt says:

        “You’d be”. Can’t even blame autocorrect for that.

      • 1mime says:

        “auto correct” ….The good news, JG, is that we all know each others’ intended wording so well, we figure it out without the correction (-:

        For what it’s worth, I agree with your arguments in response to Fifty and Tracy.

      • fiftyohm says:

        It seems to me that the animus against ‘the rich’ comes from anything but experience or actual knowledge.

        As I said, there is no “billionaire class”. 500 people in the US do not a ‘class’ make. And furthermore, take all their wealth, and you’d be able to run the government for a very short time. And then nothing. Zero. Zip Nada. (Of course, this is to say nothing about the utter impossibility of converting their holdings to actual cash as it primarily lies in investments in their own companies.) So let’s forget them for the moment.

        I suggest the interested read at least the first chapter of “The Millionaire Next Door”. https://www.nytimes.com/books/first/s/stanley-millionaire.html (You will note also the glaring, (autocorrect?) error in the title!) The facts rather roundly dispute the fat cat, rent-seeking meme of the left. In fact, I have a single personal friend on the Forbes list. He started from nothing. He has always driven a shitty car, and lives in the same old house that he lived in 35 years ago.

        So just who are these people? Unlike the Koch brother’s founder/father’s favorite group, the John Birch Society, the hand-wringers of wealth inequality can’t even name the foe in this vast conspiracy. Of course they except the philanthropists. And the self-made. And the people next door. So just who in the hell remains? Pogo’s observation is apt here, though those who buy into this silly class envy meme will never accept the answer.

      • Moslerfan says:

        RobA – “1400 billionaires’ money will be able to fund the government for a few weeks, once.” There’s a few of points to make regarding that objection. First, nobody is really proposing to do that. Second, the government (Federal, anyway) is not a currency user, it is a currency issuer. It does not need to tax before it can spend, so their money isn’t needed to fund government operations. And finally, taking all the billionaires’ money would prevent them from buying democracy, which is what they’re trying to do now.

        What I’d suggest instead of taking the billionaires’ money is passing a Constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United, and then pass some reasonable laws restricting campaign contributions. McCain-Feingold was a good start.

      • 1mime says:

        I am with you on this, Mosler. A frequent ploy of conservatives is to obfuscate the reality of the income divide by asserting that progressives expect the wealthy to bail out a flawed social system comprised of “takers”, not “makers”.

        Income disparity is a huge problem in the United States and it is real. It is destroying the middle class and it is and will continue to hurt economic growth going forward. Instead of finger pointing, why don’t conservatives offer solutions other than more cuts for the wealthy while cuting basic support programs for the struggling?

        I guess it depends on whose city/state is getting flooded, doesn’t it? Is another name for this “hypocrisy”?

      • Moslerfan says:

        Sorry, that was Fiffty’s comment…

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mosler – Er, um. Change the constitution to “overturn” Citizens United. Why not? Putin bans groups he doesn’t like; why can’t we?

        And to the currency issuer vs. user thing: I never thought of that! So why don’t we just print (issue) *all* the money that the government currently ‘uses’, and eliminate taxes altogether? To hell with ‘the rich’ then!

        Really?

      • 1mime says:

        Fifty, re “overturning Citizens United with a Constitutional Amendment”…..Congress could make the necessary changes, but that isn’t happening so the only recourse is a referendum. What better demonstration of the will of a nation’s people than a vote to amend the Constitution? This is hardly a “Putanesque” maneuver. The recent CBS/NYT poll attached in one of my posts documents that the number of people in America who think money has too much influence in our political process is significant, crossed party and income lines. Is anyone in Congress listening? Do you think our conservative majority on SCOTUS care?

        No one posting here has ever suggested a printing press mentality for America. What is being pointed out with great concern is the fact – yes, fact – that America’s middle class is disappearing and the income divide is hurting millions of people, and, by extension, the long term viability. Safety nets are important as are jobs to enable people who want to work, the opportunity to become gainfully employed. There is a cost for this to civilized societies. A cost that a great nation shoulders because it is the right thing to do not only for its people but for the country’s economic future. This is all, Fifty. Designing laws and policies that benefit a few at the expense of many is not smart or right. No one is suggesting we pillory the wealthy.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Fifty – I read the part of the book you linked. Not sure if intentional or not but it seemed the authors were trying to say, “You are class warriors and you are stupid and you think all millionaires set on a golden throne wearing ermine. Your complaints are caused by your envy and jealousy. Again you not smart enough to know how the world works”.

        The first thing I noticed was that the average age of the people in their cohort were 57 years old and the book was published in 1996. So some were younger and some older but lets go with the average. That means that the average man, notice the gender, started his working life in the late 40s or 50s. Most of the critics of today’s economic situation would say, “DUH”. Those were the years when growth caused by the ending of an extended depression and a world war exploded. We forget the pent up demand of those years. And we had free college education for veterans. And spending on infrastructure. The book also implies that these millionaires do not pay for the education of their children or pass on any inheritance. Its as if the way to become rich is start out with the most disadvantages, overcome them and, viola, you are rich.

        I remember when becoming a millionaire was a big deal and a multimillionaire was an even bigger deal. There was a tv show “The Millionaire”. It implied having a million dollars would end all of your problems and your extended families problems also.

        Sam Walton rode around Bentonville in an old pickup when I lived a couple of blocks from his first store on the square. I admire his ingenuity and his drive. That doesn’t mean that I believe his children and their money should have more political influence than I. Or that they should pay a lower tax rate on their inheritance than my pay for 40 hours.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Unarmed – I didn’t quite get the same message as you did. As a point of fact though, I can take little issue with what you posted other than to say that inherited wealth, while not a particularly great thing for our society in general, has many facets. Family farms and small businesses come to mind. Also is the fact that accumulated wealth has already been taxed once. Otherwise, believe it or not, we have no major disagreement.

        My point was, simply, that while you are (obviously) no “class warrior”, there are plenty among us, and yes – they are ” stupid”, as you said.

      • Moslerfan says:

        C’mon Fifty, I was referring to overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United vs FEC decision, not the political interest group.

        Also, I said that the Federal government didn’t need to tax in order to spend. There are other reasons for the gov to levy taxes. A comments section isn’t really the place to get into monetary theory, so I’ll leave it at that for now. But I still have two objections to our current level of inequality, which is largely a result of deliberate policy decisions, including tax policy. One is that having 1% of the people hoard all the money is bad for the economy. You just can’t have a vibrant economy if it’s not broad-based. The other thing was pointed out by Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis about the last Gilded Age: “You can have an extreme concentration of wealth or you can have democracy. You can’t have both.”

        It’s not about resenting people for their wealth. It’s about making the economy and government work for the many, not just the few.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Oh dammit Mosler – please see above. My reply ended up in the wrong place. Sorry.

      • fiftyohm says:

        Mime – In no order: FYI, the SCOTUS is not supposed to “care”. Remember that. They are constitutionally empowered to rule on law. Period. Take it up with the Framers.

        Next, this is not a popularity contest. If a huge, and pretty much impossible majority, votes to change the Constitutionality, well then, OK.

        Pretty much all of the rest you said – and I mean this with all due, and sincere respect – is all yadayadayada. I get the requirement of the safety net and all of that. But you are conflating ‘income inequality’ with ‘wealth inequality’. If you want to go there, fine. But no one is “designing laws” to do anything you’ve suggested. On the other hand, there are plenty of idiots that would attempt to ‘pillory the rich’. &@¢€ them.

      • fiftyohm says:

        “Constitution”

      • Crogged says:

        Think about this “1000 people fund United States government only for a few weeks” and acting as if the emphasis should be on the ‘only a few weeks’. We are losing our conception of the enormity of the wealth which has concentrated in this one percent-especially when noted that they pay an huge portion of all federal income tax and don’t leave this country like the wealthy in Britain did! It’s a drop in the fucking bucket.

      • Crogged says:

        Our nation was founded on concepts of liberty AND equality–they didn’t see how one was divorced from the other.

  10. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Yeah, yeah, OT:

    It’s time for the media to admit that Hillary Clinton is popular

    http://www.vox.com/2015/6/1/8676727/hillary-clinton-popularity

    Very interesting take on journalism and Mz. Clinton.

    I agree with this notion, which the article attributes to her:

    “the mainstream press got played like a cheap fiddle by the conservative press”

    • 1mime says:

      Good article, BoBo. I liked another point as well:

      According to Gallup, for example, she is the most admired woman in the world. What’s more, she has been the most admired woman in the world for 17 out of the past 18 years.

      In. The. World. 17 out of 18 years. I have to wonder who beat her out that one year (-:

    • Doug says:

      Funny…they don’t mention that the very same Quinnipiac poll found that only 39% think she’s “honest and trustworthy.”

      • 1mime says:

        Doug, you noted that the Quinnipiac poll finds Hillary Clinton with a 39% rating for honesty and trustworthiness…That percentage certainly raises some warning flags, but in looking at the entire paragraph, it also states 60-37% feel she has strong leadership qualities. Rubio came in at 31% for honesty, but only 42-28% strong leadership skills. Rand Paul rounds out the list at 46-27% honesty and 45-30% strong leadership.

        It’s funny, isn’t it, how high profile Americans are viewed in other world countries…Still, 17 out of 18 is a pretty good string, wouldn’t you say?

      • Doug says:

        Yep, a good string. Then again,dogs and horses are viewed as food in some other countries 😉

      • EJ says:

        Horses are delicious. Everyone in Britain knows that. I aspire to one day eat dog; not because I particularly think it’ll taste nice, but because I’m scared of dogs biting me and so I want to see how they like a little payback.

      • flypusher says:

        Technically, horses, dogs, cats, pigs, chickens, cattle, goats, etc. are all equally good protein sources.

      • Doug says:

        1mime, I misread the article, too. Or rather the sentence was misleading. According to Gallup Hillary is the most admired woman, from anywhere in the world, by people in the U.S. So the dog meat analogy doesn’t apply in this context. Laura Bush beat her in 2001. The same poll finds Obama the most admired man since 2008.

      • RobA says:

        All those polls go to support the “anybody but republican” meme that I think is going to play out, unless the GOP does a big 180 on social issues.

        It won’t be people voting for Hillary as much as voting for whoever is needed to ensure that one of these ancient dinosaurs with outdated thinking never gets near the Oval Office.

        I think hillary is very vulnerable. ……IF a viable democrat rises, OR one of the GOP candidates start to move away from stripping affordable healthcare from tens of millions, denying citizens rights, and forcing women to have babies against their will as their main platforms .

        The average American wants no part of that, but the average republican only listens to fox news so they think that THEIR values are wide spread. They think they have a much better chance of winning then they actually do.

      • vikinghou says:

        I think a lot of people, like me, will be voting with an eye on the SCOTUS. I read a commentary recently that said the new president may have as many as four Supreme Court vacancies to fill. Flawed as she may be, I prefer Hillary over any GOP candidate thus far.

      • 1mime says:

        Hillary is the grown up in the room. Flawed as she is (aren’t we all?), she will be sensible and she knows how politics works – which Obama didn’t.

      • RobA says:

        To add to this. I think Elizabeth Warren scares the hell out of Hillary, and she should.

        I know she says she won’t run, but this speech sounds pretty presidential (scroll down a bit). And she’s got a charisma and passion that Hillary can only dream of.

        http://www.vox.com/2015/6/2/8700177/elizabeth-warren-video-viral

      • fiftyohm says:

        EJ – You do not want to eat dog. Trust me on this.

      • EJ says:

        fiftyohm: You only make me even more curious about it. Now I want to eat dog in order to find out why I shouldn’t eat dog.

        Back on topic: In 1848 we had a revolution in Germany which arose at least partially because both sides were only reading their own newspapers and so expected the other side to conform to the straw-man version rather than the actual version. This meant that when the liberals rose in revolt it was utterly unexpected despite being widely and openly discussed for years beforehand; and a year later when the reactionaries picked their jaws up off the floor and sent in the armies to kill the liberals it was also utterly unexpected because the liberal narrative hadn’t included the idea that the armies would obey orders. When people believe that their opponents will behave like convenient caricatures of themselves, problems occur.

        In the modern American case, the idea that “Hillary Clinton is corrupt” may be a similar straw man, just like the idea that “Mike Huckabee supports rape” is a straw man. Yes, such ideas may be true, but they only matter to the extent that that person’s supporters care about it. If people who were going to vote for Clinton will still vote for her even though her finances stink to high heaven, then the Republican press gains nothing from talking it up, just as the Democrat press gains nothing from talking up the Republicans as theocrats, racists and misogynists.

        In this case, it looks like Clinton’s supporters don’t care. Claiming that they do is just a convenient caricature of them, and leads us to the mistake of 1848. This means that talking up Clinton’s corruption allegations is about as useful as talking up Obama’s birth certificate: not at all.

  11. flypusher says:

    The way I see it Chris, you’ve got the guts to call your shot and stick with it, and the integrity to admit to error if it turns out you were mistaken. I respect that, and it’s one of the reasons I keep coming back here.

  12. 1mime says:

    In the spirit of broad reading, I offer this week’s edition of The Weekly Sift which focuses on moral hypocrisy (tis the season, after all). There are several threads within it that we’ve talked about in this blog and are pertinent to current events. I think you ‘ll find it interesting. In particular, the piece in the WaPo by Orin Kerr on moral hypocrisy was razor-sharp. I quote:

    “If I understand the history correctly, in the late 1990s, the President (Clinton) was impeached for lying about a sexual affair by a House of Representatives led by a man who was also then hiding a sexual affair (Gingrich), who was supposed to be replaced by another Congressman who stepped down when forced to reveal that he too was having a sexual affair (Livingston), which led to the election of a new Speaker of the House (Hastert) who now has been indicted for lying about payments covering up his sexual contact with a boy.

    Lottsa’ glass houses around…..

    http://weeklysift.com/2015/06/01/homage-to-virtue/

  13. vikinghou says:

    Chris, I think you’re probably right about the blue wall. But I wonder how the blue wall would fare with a flawed Democratic candidate?

    I thought Hillary was thoroughly vetted by all her years in the public eye and in politics. What else could we learn about her? Well, I have to say that the recent series of revelations have given me pause. Indeed, it seems that her principal primary opponent thus far has been The New York Times.

    It seems the Dems have put all their eggs in one basket with Hillary, more so than I have ever seen any political party do. I’m nervous.

  14. 1mime says:

    A quiet tribute for Beau Biden, who died yesterday with brain cancer. Beau was a bright star in his short, but very meaningful life, . Deepest sympathy for his family and all who knew him well. He would have been a great President. Semper fi.

    • Turtles Run says:

      Joe Biden has lost two children and a wife. I pray for him and his family. No one should live to see their child die much less two of them.

      • flypusher says:

        That is a damn shame. Beau looked to have a bright political future ahead of him.

        Cancer sucks.

  15. Doug says:

    Good article on the topic by Noonan:
    http://patriotpost.us/opinion/35496

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Your “good article” is a partisan right wing pity character attack short on insight by Ronald Reagan’s speechwriter.

      Of course YOU would see it as a “good article” Doug. Eye roll and yawn.

      There is better insightful criticisms of Hillary from the progressives on Chris’ blog than Peggy’s nana boo boo diatribe. “Let’s call her mami”? Really?

    • bubbabobcat says:

      Correction, “pithy” and there ARE better insightful….

  16. RobA says:

    Yeah the “past doesn’t predict the future” as evidendes by the states that were once solidly gop and now arw solidly dem is weak reasoning.

    In a nation where the trend has always been towards being more progressive (although obviously not necessarily in a straight line) it’s comoletely expected that you will have states reach a tipping point and never look back.

    It doesn’t, in any way, suggest the opposite move (Dem state to gop state) is equally as likely. It’s not a “random” switching of parties. It’s the natural consequence of demographic trends.

    • 1mime says:

      That saw cuts both ways, Rob. Lots of formerly solid blue states are now red. Hopefully, time will even things out so that the political process can function.

    • 1mime says:

      Take a gander at the most recent (exhaustive) political/economic poll from CBS/NYT. One link is the actual poll; the second is an analysis of the results and what they are telling us.

      Poll: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/06/01/us/politics/document-poll-may-28-31.html

      Analysis: (several topics within the poll) http://www.cbsnews.com/feature/cbs-news-polls/

    • Xeranar says:

      In a sad way, Silver completely ignores the reality of human life spans to justify his argument. 1968 elections had zero Gen X, Gen Y, and only 1/3rd of the Baby Boomer Generation. Given that 2016 will be almost exclusively those 3 generations it makes bringing up that election of questionable validity. If we’re going to stretch the trend line, 1944 looks good, perhaps we can go back to 1898, why not 1864? Hell, why not bring up why Federalists haven’t won an election in 200 years!

      It’s ignorant to presume that a trend line that extends in this situation more than 40 years is realistic at a national level. Trend lines show trends, given the reflection of the mid-century Republican string followed by a back and forth in the late 20th century into the 21st century is hard to read until you bring in demographics to show why this shifted.

  17. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    “My fellow Americans, a month ago I humbly accepted the nomination to run for President of the United States of America as the candidate of the Republican Party. However, I am not running for President for Republicans. I’m running for President for all Americans.

    You all just had the pleasure of listening to Columba, my strong, intelligent, and wonderful wife. The day I married Columba and the days our children were born are the happiest days of my life. I married the love of my life, and Columba is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

    As I have traveled the country during this campaign and as I’ve listened to Americans from big cities and small towns, I have been struct by the stories I’ve been told of people in love, but unable to get married because they are gay. I am a strong Christian, and my faith has always been a source of guidance and inspiration in my life. However, I cannot allow my faith to get in the way of two people, two people who love each other, getting married.

    Columba has been a source of strength and joy for me, and I view our marriage and our children as the best parts of my life. It would be wrong to deny that to any of our citizens just because of sexual orientation.

    If I am elected President, my administration will not pursue any bans on same-sex marriage, and we will support initiatives across the country to provide the same rights and responsibilities to all citizens.

    As I mentioned, the days George, Noelle, and Jeb Jr. were born were the greatest days for Columba and me. Each time we learned we were pregnant, we were filled with incredible joy and also incredible worry. Like most soon-to-be parents, we worried if we would be good parents. Could we afford a child or another child? Could we handle another child given the demands of our lives? We had these worries even though all of our children were planned and wanted.

    I cannot imagine the increased worry and fear when a pregnancy is not planned or not wanted, and I do not believe I have the right to tell women and families what they should do in those situations. I have prayed about this issue, and importantly, I have talked honestly and openly with the smart, strong, and thoughtful women in my life. I’ve talked with Columba, I’ve talked with my mother Barbara Bush, and I’ve talked with my daughter Noelle. All three consider themselves pro-life, but all three tell me that they would not want me making that decision for them.

    Women have the right to determine what is best for themselves and their families. That is not the role of the government. If I am elected President, my administration will not support efforts to restrict a woman’s rights with regard to pregnancy. We will encourage and provide necessary support for women and growing families, and we will work to provide education and information so that every pregnancy is a planned and wanted pregnancy.

    I am a conservative Republican. I believe in effective government, fiscal responsibility, and a strong military. I also believe individual American citizens have the ability and the right to determine who they marry and when to start a family. As your President, I will work for all of those principles for all of our citizens.”

    With that, there is no blue wall.

    • way2gosassy says:

      If that were true I could vote for that person regardless which party he represents.

    • EJ says:

      A nice speech.

      You left out reference to race issues, religion in education and climate change; I’d be interested to see what you can make with those.

      One wonders whether a candidate capable of giving that speech would be able to make it through the primaries. Primary elections in America have a funny way of turning reasonable men into unreasonable men.

      • 1mime says:

        Exactly. Not to mention the social safety net, de-militarization, health care, drug legalization, wall street accountability, sustainability, and immigration, and…… Good try, Homer, you get 5 stars for trying but EJ is correct, any Republican presidential wantabe who espouses any of those positions is going to be tarred and feathered.

        The only debate and the only presidential candidates you’re going to hear speak up in support of these issues is the Democratic Debate and its candidates.

        And, that, my friend, is why there are two parties. It comes down to core values. Pick your poison.

      • EJ says:

        There aren’t two parties. That’s the thing. There are two cultures, each with only one party. A liberal who doesn’t support the Democrats, or a conservative who doesn’t support the Republicans, is caught in a bind. They can support the fanatics on “their” side, or they can cross the floor and help to oppose their own moderate positions. Neither is a pleasant option.

        Ultimately the only answer is a free and open marketplace of ideas in which people can float between parties depending on which ideas they support the most, but I’m not a smart enough political theorist to work out how to dissociate tribalism from the electoral system.

      • 1mime says:

        It used to be possible to “float” between the parties on issues and candidates – I did so many times in my formative years. The hardening of the cultures has forced each of us to choose the “lesser of the evil” party – because that’s the political mechanism we have. The marketplace of free ideas has been in trouble for some time, especially in the GOP. If a Republican doesn’t toe the line sufficiently, he/she is primaried. How often do you see that happening over in the Big Tent Party? Where’s the free ideas marketplace in the GOP scenario? I submit that Dems, for all their warts, offer a much more open platform for free ideas. That’s important to me.

        Lifer has it right. Until the Republican Party separates itself from the religious fundamentalist wing and embraces values and policies that are more aligned with the direction America is moving, people who consider themselves conservatives are either going to not vote or vote blue. As I said earlier: pick your poison.

        Of course, if more people voted their values, change would come sooner. Hopefully, the Mellinneals will make that happen. We’re all “armchair” political theorists as Lifer’s blog attests with a lot of deep thinkers in the group. Maybe others who don’t post, read, and maybe this is how change will happen – one person at a time. Owl, used to comment frequently on the need for a third party. That might be easier than trying to change the two we have. Until then, given my personal values, I will be voting Democrat.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I intentionally left off race and climate change (partially because of word count limit on the blog), but even aside from those issues, if you had the GOP candidate come out as supporting gay marriage and not even being “pro-choice” but simply saying the government shouldn’t be making those decisions, then a big chunk of “moderates” (fiscally rational people who like gay folks and who realize women sometimes want or need abortions) are much more willing to vote for the GOP candidate.

        Sure, if that candidate has rational positions on race, education, and climate change, more Democrats would vote for that person, but if the candidate had rational positions on those issues, he or she would already be a Democrat.

        Seriously, I firmly believe an embrace of gay marriage and a softening of a position on abortion would swing 5% to 7% from one side to the other. If for no other reason, it would let folks think, “hey, this guy/gal isn’t a complete backwards moron, so I can support his positions on other issues”.

      • 1mime says:

        OMG, there’s a word count limit on Lifer’s blog?! I am in some deep you know what…..(-:

    • briandrush says:

      True, there’d be no blue wall in that case, but also no red fortress. And Harry Truman’s famous comment that, given the choice between a real Republican and an imitation, the voters will go with the real thing every time, is still true with the party labels switched.

      The real problem here is the fact that the white South, or what’s left of it, represents a separate subculture radically different from the United States. A politician who appeals to that subculture alienates the rest of the country. if Republicans were to jettison the white South the way the Democrats did between 1948 and 1964, we would end up with a progressive-conservative debate without the Confederate baggage. That’s a debate which, given the increasing unhappiness over things like income gaps, lost jobs, the cost of a college education, and the decline of the middle class, progressives would almost certainly win. (For now. Things always settle down after a wave of reform.)

      So I’d love to see it, honestly. But it’s not going to happen net year.

      • RobA says:

        The comment that Trudeau made about a “real” republican is a classic “no true scotsman” logical fallacy.

        I think that if a huge panel of presidential GOP candidates are all, more or less, fungible in their policies, that that’s the most accurate representation of a “real” republican, for lack of a better term.

    • Moslerfan says:

      Economics. Our economy is leaving too many people behind. Young people struggle to get a foothold on the ladder that leads to having a home and family. A few are doing very well but too many can’t see beyond a job at Starbucks. What does your gay-friendly, woman-respecting conservative have to offer these people?

      • Moslerfan says:

        I for one have had it with 30+ years of bootstraps, austerity, and “fiscal conservatism.” Time for that to be recognized as a failed policy that is destroying the middle class, and without the middle class we can say goodbye to democracy itself. I think your socially progressive conservative is leaving a big opening for an economic populist like Bernie Sanders.

    • johngalt says:

      So if the Republican nominee suddenly stops campaigning like a Republican the “Blue Wall” will disappear?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        The GOP nominee can still preach austerity and bootstraps and the need to bomb Iran, and I would suspect the gay-friendly, woman-respecting candidate peels away a not inconsequential percentage of Democrat leaning voters.

        Romney had 47% of the popular vote. McCain (with Palin) got 46%. Whoever the GOP trots out in 2016 is going to get at least 45% of the vote. Peel away a small percentage of suburban women by not being anti-choice and peel away a small percentage of young people by supporting gay marriage, and all of the sudden, Romney is a whole lot closer in 2012.

      • 1mime says:

        Since we’re on the “what if” thread, how about this spunky entry to the GOP Presidential race?

        Enjoy

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-stanford/why-im-running-for-president-as-a-republican_b_7479378.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

      • EJ says:

        The Blue Wall is, if I understand Nate Silver’s numbers correctly, merely a reflection of the fact that most of the country loathe the GOP and everything it stands for. This is something that would be difficult to overcome with mere campaigning strategy.

        That said, I think you’re right. If the Republican party abandons its current policies, then they may become more widely supported; but the extra votes they pick up may not compensate for the possibility of a loss of the Tea Party wing.

  18. 1mime says:

    Lifer, what is your opinion of the potential impact of a SCOTUS ruling in favor of changing how population is counted in the census? I have read that this could impact highly urbanized areas, typically Democratic strongholds, and typically areas where more poor are concentrated.

    Also, do you have a hunch on the outcome of the CA and AZ cases on appeal to SCOTUS which are challenging constitutionality of Independent Voter District Commissions? If these commissions are upheld, do you think we might see more replication of the concept? There is a constitutional amendment on this concept scheduled to go before the voters of OH in November. Tip of the iceberg, or, anomaly?

    • Creigh says:

      1mime, the 538 site has a good article on that. One thing that they mentioned, almost as an aside, is that Texas, because if its high percentage of immigrants ineligible to vote, could actually lose four House seats. Also, districts with prison populations could lose. You have to wonder if the plaintiffs in this case really thought this through.

      I haven’t seen any really informed commentary on the merits of the case, but reading the 14th Amendment it seems to me like the plaintiffs have a strong argument.

      • 1mime says:

        I agree, Creigh. Fair is fair, except for not counting those under 18 who are legal citizens. Back out all the undocumented as they can’t vote (even if they are eligible for some government services). In all but 3 states, prisoners do have the right to vote following completion of their sentences (possibly some felon exceptions). Thus, their numbers plus those under 18 should be included as they could become voting eligible before the next census.

        How’s that old saying go? Be careful what you ask for? I’ll bet there is some number crunching going on in states where this could impact Congressional Districts….especially those with large Hispanic populations. It’s simple calculus.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Hispanic_and_Latino_population

        The interesting thing to watch if SCOTUS does change the population formula for the census is that as the count progresses, the change will impact eligibility for seats in Congress, and it will directly impact the Electoral College. The Blue Wall metric is influenced by electoral college votes. Look for more marginal majority red and blue states to begin pushing for a different distribution of electoral votes if there is an advantage to be gained. I don’t know if these changes could happen in time for 2016, but maybe Lifer will comment on this.

      • 1mime says:

        Creigh – Thanks for the 538 tip. Really interesting article. Here’s the link if anyone else is interested.

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-supreme-court-could-give-the-gop-another-8-seats-in-congress/

  19. stephen says:

    Like Nate I like to play with numbers and use math in my profession. I have read his book the Signal and the Noise. Mathematical talent runs in my family. I read quite a few blogs of people like me. But If you are smart you also rub shoulders with other smart people who are not like you. Not all things can be solved or understood by math or science. I have read your analysis Lifer and for what it is worth I think your argument is more compelling. In my own state (Florida) my feeling is even Jeb Bush would only have a fifty fifty chance against Hillary. The other potential candidates would lose. Hispanics are a heterogeneous bunch, very diverse. While Jeb might garner the majority of the Cuban vote I think he would lose the Puerto Rican vote the larger demography. The Blue Wall is a brilliant analysis and I think in the end it will stand. But as you say we shall see.

    • 1mime says:

      Stephen – I have read that the younger generation of Cuban Americans are more liberal than their parents. Any truth to that in FL? Do you see Dems being able to peel off that segment of the population, and, do they vote? It’s hard to see Hillary winning in a state that re-elected Rick Scott.

      • stephen says:

        Yes the younger Cubans are voting more and more Democrat. Obama won Florida both times he ran for president. The voting demography is much different in Presidential election years and off year elections. If the Governor race was in the presidential year instead of the mid-term elections Scott would not of won.

    • EJ says:

      I also use maths for a living. I respect Nate Silver highly as a mathematician, but in this case I am unimpressed with his reading comprehension abilities. (Mr Silver, if you’re reading this, I write this out of love.) Mr Ladd, you don’t come out of this any better either.

      Silver argues that the Democrats do not have a “lock” on power, and if the national popular vote swings against them then they will be defeated. This is true, and reassures us that America’s unique and increasingly outdated electoral system still works. However, this was never the argument in favour of the Blue Wall.

      Ladd’s argument in his initial and now widely-quoted post was that due to the pathologies of the Republican party, certain parts of the country are now lost to the Republicans. The red meat which their party faithful demand has alienated the rest of the country. As a result the Democrats are able to dominate a block of states making up 270 electoral college votes.

      Like many countries, America’s populace is not evenly distributed politically. Each state has its own unique mix of political factors, and when reduced to a simple red vs blue decision this mix gives each state a different position along a red vs blue continuum, meaning that as the popular vote shifts, the states will change colour one by one. Silver’s S-curve is an excellent visualisation of this.

      What both men have missed, and I say this with respect but exasperation, is that they are talking past one another. Silver has elegantly shown us the relationship between the popular and electoral votes. Ladd has insightfully pointed out that the Democrats are unlikely to drop below 270 electoral votes in the next election. They think they’re disagreeing with one another, but that’s because neither has bothered to read the other’s work properly.

      Plugging Ladd’s numbers into Silver’s S-curve tells us that the existence of a Blue Wall of 270 votes represents a permanent 1%ish Democrat majority. If we factor in the existence of a Red Fortress of 148 votes, Silver’s S-curve tells us that the Democrats are then unlikely to win more than a 12%ish majority. This, then, is the Blue Wall.

      Silver reminds us that should the popular vote turn against the Democrats, they will lose. This is a comfort in a democracy. Ladd reminds us that the popular vote is likely to continue to ebb from the Republicans. Depending on your politics you may also see this as a comfort. Neither analyst says anything which disagrees with the other.

      Shake hands, gentlemen, you’re friends.

      • 1mime says:

        Heck, EJ, even when Dems win the popular vote, we lose the election! Remember the chad….

      • goplifer says:

        And that’s the reality check I was looking for. Thanks.

      • EJ says:

        Glad I could help, Chris. You’re a smart man and I respect your work highly.

      • Tom says:

        This is exactly what I was thinking.

        Nate is arguing that if the GOP were to win the popular vote by 3.9%, they would win the Electoral College easily. Chris is arguing that the GOP is unlikely to win the popular vote by 3.9% under the current alignments.

        In a lot of ways, from the long-term perspective of both the GOP and democracy in general, a landslide loss by someone like Ted Cruz in 2016 would be better than Jeb Bush losing a close race. The former would basically tell the Tea Party “you had your way, and look where it got us; now, let the grownups take over the party again.” The latter convinces the GOP that it’s still nationally competitive while also convincing the Tea Party that they might win if they had their way.

  20. briandrush says:

    As you say, you’re not predicting this outcome based on polling data, misinterpreted or otherwise. Silver can’t agree with you based on polling data because at this point polls don’t give us good information, at least not if you’re asking people what party or candidate they support.

    If you’re right, then by this time next year, Silver will be calling the race’s odds to match your predictions, because by then the polls will be more meaningful.

  21. Bobo Amerigo says:

    Word missing?

    A political agenda freighted with appeals to white nationalism can longer compete nationally

    • goplifer says:

      Funny note. I mentioned to my wife that I sometimes post things here before they go on the Chronicle in the hope that you might catch the editing errors I missed. Thanks again.

      • way2gosassy says:

        Picky bunch aren’t we?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Everybody does better with support staff.

      • 1mime says:

        Yep, it’s called “woman” (-:

      • BigWilly says:

        “It’s called Woman?” Ok, I’m like so totally shocked that you would say something like that. Most women are total hellcats these days and would rather have a fistfight than support a man. (and I mean a bloody period that’s the end)

        If Jeb made that speech the party would drop him in a heartbeat. If he has no passion for the GOP, and its base, I can’t see any reason why he should be nominated in the first place. To say that a Republican can win, only if he publicly denounces everything that the party has ever espoused and instead offers us Democrat lite, we’ve heard that one before.

        It’s also contrary to any recent trend in international politics where we find the right winning big victories in spite of all of the best efforts of the media to persuade the public otherwise.

        Cameron’s back, Netanyahu’s back, shit Putin’s back. Do you think Putin’s gonna get all flowery and liberal on us?

        I think Obama’s done a pretty fair job, and he can credit the loyal opposition for that. He’s a good guy, I think, and I voted for him twice. That’s a political one off for me. I would’ve supported McCain, ‘cept for you know who, and even the Mittster if he wasn’t a bit on the oily side of it all.

        If ‘Murica is rushing headlong into neuvo progressivism I suppose I’m just a contrarian by nature.

      • 1mime says:

        Big Willy – That was great! And, yes, I proudly support my man but that doesn’t keep me from being my own person – bossy broad that I am (-: Actually, I have more of an “egalitarian” bias with a slight edge for the gals, who, after all, do a lot of heavy lifting in the family….you know, the old “a man works from sun to sun, and a woman’s work……you know how that ends”!

        As for Jeb being nominated (or not) by the GOP, the party will hold its nose and put him on top of the ticket if he is their best shot at winning the Presidency. Republicans are kinda self serving about things like that. Like I said “calculus”. The problem with Jeb, IMHO, is that he isn’t coming clean about his positions as he courts the donors – first – and voters, second. I don’t buy that he will miraculously center himself if elected. Once these politicians sell their souls to the highest bidder, the course is fixed.

        And, a little closer to home, while we’re lamenting “who’s back” – you can add Rick Scott, Bobby Jindal, and Sam Brownback to the list.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        BW…I’m not sure if this comment was for the pretend speech by Jeb or some other topic:

        “To say that a Republican can win, only if he publicly denounces everything that the party has ever espoused and instead offers us Democrat lite, we’ve heard that one before.”

        If gay marriage and abortion are “everything that the party has ever espoused”, then your party is on the wrong side of history and probably should just call it a day.

      • RobA says:

        BW – Maybe in the media and academia, it appears as if women don’t do those things.

        In real life, with real people in real relationships, I find that women my age are still by and large NOT hardcore feminists of the type that reading jezebel may imply.

        Without doubt, women in no way automatically defer to their man just by princeple or anything and demand equal treatment. But in my experience (women I date and women I’m friends with) the vast majority of women are still surprisingly happy to engage in traditional gender roles (supporting their man, taking care of him, cooking etc) AS LONG AS they’re treated with respect, as a partner, and (crucially) these behaviors are not expected merely because theyre female.

        In other words, if I were to have the attitude that my gf needs to have supper ready for me when I get home from work simoly because she’s a woman and that’s her role, I doubt she’d be my gf much longer. But i dont. She knows I cn make my own supper. But she LIKES to do that for me, and since there is no expectation if it, she’s free to do it without resentment.

        Cooking is just an example, there are many other ways the women I know are happy to engage in traditional gender roles, so long as they are the ones choosing to do it.

        My personal opinion is that men and women are fundamentally different in terms of behavior and the roles we naturally play (of course, exceptions abound) and that many of the “traditional” female roles that modern feminism often decries have a basis in biology. What I believe the problem is, is that men had come to expect these behaviors as a “woman’s place” and basically forced them into those roles historically, which is where the tension comes in. Nobody likes to be foced or expected to do something, even if it may be something they would have chosen if they had free choice.

        There are many women out there who really enjoy the traditional “domestic goddess” archetype. What I think people don’t enjoy is having that role forced on them.

        Like so many other things, there seems to be a large disconnect in how the internet suggests things are in life, and how they are in real life.

      • 1mime says:

        Clap. Clap. Your girlfriend is lucky, Rob (-:

        I’ll take your point a little further – education has been huge in helping women expand their role outside the old “homemaker”. Going back to the Civil War, women had to step up to hold the plantation or home together as men went off to war. They found not only could they do the job well, but they liked doing so. In WWII, once again, women rallied to support their men, families and country, and found – they liked earning their own money, liked personal success in the job arena, and “Rosie” then found she could multi-task with the best of ’em…wife, mom, worker. From there on, there has been no stopping women. And, BW, this doesn’t disrespect men, it complements them.

        What you describe, Rob, is the best egalitarian relationship a man and woman can have, built upon respect and shared responsibilities. Given that this is a political blog, allow me to make the point that that is why today’s women are so pissed off at the chauvinistic attitudes of the GOP. What right do they think they have to tell women when or if they should get pregnant, or work, or…..Instead, in your situation, a couple (of whatever combination) works these things out together – respectfully.

        Women are not chattel. They are smart, independent, caring, capable human beings. And, they want to be treated as such. Damn straight!

      • flypusher says:

        “There are many women out there who really enjoy the traditional “domestic goddess” archetype. What I think people don’t enjoy is having that role forced on them.”

        Indeed. Stereotyping people strictly by gender without regard to their individual talents and temperaments is stupid, hurts both men and women, and needs to go onto history’s scrap heap. Assuming that the husband should always handle the family finances because he’s the man is stupid in cases where the wife is the one who’s better at math. Likewise it is stupid to assume that the mother is always the better parent than the father (I’ve personally seen a few cases of the exact opposite). Let people be free to choose their roles.

        P.S. Guys who know how to cook will impress the ladies.

      • 1mime says:

        A huge problem for women of my generation (remember – I’m a 71 year old hippie), rarely managed the family’s finances. Given the fact that normally women outlive men, this can be a huge problem. When our children were coming up, I made sure everyone shared all the duties – mowing lawn, emptying dishwasher, washing clothes, etc. As a result, the gals our sons have married have men who know their way around the house and my son in law shares chores too. My husband was always a terrific cook and he made this a fun aspect of our lives. As a result, we all are pretty good in the kitchen, by choice, but it’s a help because our daughters in law work too. Everyone wins in an egalitarian relationship.

  22. Jeff Rummer says:

    Nate is ‘technical’ in nature similar to stock investors who watch the graphs and crunch the numbers. Chris is a ‘value’ investor who looks at a company’s fundamentals before investing. Both methods have proven effective (and gone bust) but in the long run I think value investing is more often correct.

    • 1mime says:

      Interesting analogy, Jeff. Let’s play with that a bit. Value investing – the “long” view – surest for most investors – unless or until an errant trader with high tech entry to the market starts messing with things surreptitiously.. (Flash Trade/Swift Boat?) or the “big money boys” get their sticky hands in the pie ( Citizens United/Koch? ), or the GOP gets another real big favor from their boys in black dresses (Roberts, Scalia)…

      If you can’t win it fair and square, that’s when the knives come out….or, am I getting that mixed up with “hanging chads”? Remember how surprised, no, “shocked” the Romneys were after the results came in? Their number crunchers had some tall explaining to do.

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