Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A question for Gallup 

Ann Althouse posts an online poll with a very powerful question. The elicited answers point to one, and only one, presidential candidate.

Not the be-all and end-all, but worth pondering.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 29, 10:23:00 AM:

This is a great question, TH, if one is hiring a financial adviser. However, it has little probative value for a presidential candidate.

Anon Attorney proposes this set of questions for Republicans selecting a candidate:
1. Can the candidate win the general?
2. If not, what is the candidate's impact downticket?
3. If he can win, will he be strong enough to advocate forcefully for a rollback of government growth under the Obama administration?

As to Romney, the answers are:
1. Probably not. RCP shows Obama at +5 over Romney and +10 in the battleground states. Romney is losing the support of moderates to Obama, and the more people know about Romney the less they like him. Romney will likely lose in a landslide, much like McCain.
2. At best, Romney inspires apathy among the conservative Republican base. Low turnout will be death in the downticket races.
3. There is not one single thing in Romney's limited history of governance that indicates he will attempt to roll back the growth of government in the Obama administration.

Anon Attorney has concluded that Gingrich is the best candidate for 2012 based on these questions. Gingrich will almost surely lose the general, but will bring conservatives to the polls, thereby increasing the likelihood of taking the senate and keeping the house. And in the unlikely event that Gingrich wins he has the cajones to roll back government.  

By Blogger darovas, at Wed Feb 29, 01:27:00 PM:


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Feb 29, 02:42:00 PM:

So, you assert that people will flock to the polls to support Gingrich with enough force to win Congressional elections, but not enough to beat Obama?

The only way for that to happen is if scads of people show up, vote for Obama, and then go home without casting other votes. In reality, most people who bother to show up and don't take politics seriously simply do a down-the-ticket vote for whatever party their favored presidential candidate belongs to. i.e. people who turn out to support Obama will overwhelmingly vote for Democratic candidates in other races.

@Krugman: He doesn't show any of his work and doesn't specify what set of data he is using from the CFRB tables (because there are multiple scenarios; a dishonest omission made to make the Republican candidates look bad). See p. 4 of the CRFB document he references and grudgingly concedes has 'correct arithmetic.' Then, he uses misleadingly rosy data: the OMB document he links assumes future budget numbers because it has to, but ever since Obama took office the deficit has been larger than predicted. Basically, he assumes that the horrific deficits of the Obama presidency will plummet. You know Obama, the guy behind the greatest single-nation explosion of sovereign debt in the history of the world?

In sum, he cherry-picked the CFRB data without indicating that he was doing so to make the Republicans look bad and assumes that the OMB numbers on future spending will be correct (when they haven't been since Obama took office and "spendspendspend" became a mantra) to make Obama look good.

And all of this to support a mind-bogglingly stupid claim that not raising taxes on 'the rich' is actually THEFT from everyone else. Literally, "taking from the poor and the middle class to lavish huge tax cuts on the rich."

There's nothing true in this statement. For one thing, 'the poor' don't pay federal income taxes. 47-49% of the population, including 'the poor,' do not. For another, this would require correlative action to RAISE taxes on the middle class, et al. Ironically, the "Bush tax cuts" created the 10% (lowest) bracket and reduced 28%, 31%, and 36% brackets to 25%, 28%, and 33% respectively. They LOWERED taxes on the middle class.

For another, there is no taking. The whole point of a government borrowing money is that they aren't getting it from taxes. Running up a debt is not, in any way, form, or fashion, "theft" from the poor. And if it was, then Obama would be the single greatest enemy of "the poor" in the history of the United States.


By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Wed Feb 29, 02:42:00 PM:

You can't even assume that "the poor" will be taxed to pay it back because, like I already said, they don't pay federal income taxes. Even if tax laws were changed so that they DID have to pay, this would be just, given that the overwhelming burden of public spending is on the back of the affluent already; "the poor" are free riders.

And the motive for this heinous plan of "theft" is, get this, CLASS WARFARE. Hah! Talk about projection!

I don't understand how any thinking person can take this douchebag seriously. Given Krugman's shameful history of partisan hackery (like the several occasions when he's contradicted his own written textbooks to support liberal policies), abominable record of actual policy recommendations (like when he recommended the creation of a housing bubble circa 2002, which collapsed in 2008 and brought us to our present sorry condition, not to mention his role in the Enron scandal), and awful logic (like his serious argument of known fallacies, such as the "broken window fallacy" which was debunked in the nineteenth century), I'm not inclined to believe anything he says. But then, I like to think for myself.

Liberals flock to Krugman because his Nobel Prize supposedly grants credibility to his liberal advocacy (this is prey to another logical fallacy, the 'argument from authority'). But his pathetic history of dishonest advocacy has ruined his credibility with anyone who isn't already a believer.  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Wed Feb 29, 02:47:00 PM:

Echoing Anon Attorney.

Sure I'd let Romney manage my money. So what.

Romney says he’s unwilling to “put his hair on fire” when attacking Obama, which is one of his many flaws as a candidate in 2012.

We need a candidate who takes the fight to Obama. If the election can be made a referendum on Obama’s record, the Republican can win. “Are you better off than you were four years ago. Will your children be better off four years from now?”

Instead, Obama wants to make it a referendum on the Republican. Romney presents lots of lines of attack. Santorum does too.

Of the current field, only Newt offers a fighting chance.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed Feb 29, 03:44:00 PM:

@ Dawnfire

Contrary to your assertion, the independents and moderates I know routinely split their votes on a ballot and find nothing strange about doing so. The conservatives I know do not split their votes--they are straight line R voters.

My assertion is that conservative turnout will be poor if Romney is the candidate. This will cost votes downticket.

Make sense?  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Wed Feb 29, 04:05:00 PM:

The Republicans should gain in the Senate in 2012 because something like 22 out of 33 seats being contested are currently held by Democrats. The Democrats won many of these seats in 2006 because the electorate decided it didn’t like Bush any more. It couldn’t vote out Bush, and so took it out on folks like Rick Santorum. So in 2012 the Republicans have few Senate seats at risk, while the Democrats have lots of seats that were held by Republicans before 2006. Because of the mismatch in seats being contested, the Republicans should gain, almost no matter what.

The Republicans owe their hold on the House to the 2010 landslide. This was Tea Party driven, lest we forget. If the 2012 Republican can’t channel Tea Party righteous indignation then many of the seats won in 2010 can revert. If enough do, then its Pelosi Redux .

Thus, we need a fighter.

Paul Ryan is the best. He’s a fighter without being scary.

Gingrich is the only fighter in the current field.  

By Blogger darovas, at Wed Feb 29, 05:29:00 PM:

Krugman is simply citing the CRFB and OMB numbers, so there is no "work" to show. He provides links to his sources.

Regarding the CRFB numbers, Krugman presented figures from the "intermediate-debt scenario". The "low-debt scenario" figures would make the Republicans look roughly comparable to Obama in terms of 2021 debt/gdp ratio, with the exception of Gingrich, who would still come in 20 points higher (and Paul 10 points lower).

I completely agree that it is misleading for Krugman to compare numbers from two different sources such as CRFB and CBO. It would have been better for Krugman to have used CRFB's "realistic baseline" for his Obama column. (NB: this assumes extension of the Bush tax cuts, which Obama opposes.) Even so, as Fig. 1 from the CRFB document Krugman cites shows, under Gingrich or Santorum, the debt/gdp ratio would soar. Romney is indistinguishable from baseline, and only Paul comes in significantly lower.

So Krugman is quite correct that any claim that any of the Republican candidates (save for Paul, who has other issues) would do significantly better than Obama on the debt is just baloney. Indeed, the only U.S. President in recent history who managed to keep the debt from skyrocketing was the Democrat Bill Clinton.

CRFB's analysis of CBO's budget and economic projections: http://crfb.org/sites/default/files/crfb_analysis_cbo_projections.pdf  

By Anonymous Ignoramus, at Wed Feb 29, 07:13:00 PM:

Our federal government grows inexorably. In the last few years it’s had a huge growth spurt, both in its current absolute size and the extent of its commitment to grow even more. Our federal government is bigger still when you add in its unfunded mandates to our states, and its crony capitalist extensions. Call it The Borg.

Our federal government can’t stay the size it is. It’ll either get bigger and more encompassing, or it’ll get smaller. Current trajectory is unfinanceable with a tax base that relies on taking a cut of the incomes of those outside “the Borg”. They don’t make enough.

Which is why 40% of current federal spending is already being paid in scrip from the company store.

Which is why obsessing over tax rates misses the bigger point.

If we have a bigger federal government, by necessity it will require a redefinition of the relationship between man and state from what we used to have. We’ll have to turn into a command economy to be “financeable”.

Many welcome this. If you already have a nice place in the Borg, or it gives you “money for nothing”, it’s easy to think “what could go wrong?”

In the near-term, the political fault line is between those who get government checks and those who pay for them. The Republicans aren’t much better that the Democrats on representing one side at the expense of the other.  

By Blogger Assistant Village Idiot, at Wed Feb 29, 08:35:00 PM:

darovas - that you credit Clinton for the non-skyrocketing deficit tells me you haven't thought this through beyond looking up who was president in those years. Politically, the public will give presidents credit and blame for those things, but Congress - beginning in oh, let's say 1994 or so - was more of the issue.

As was Congress in oh, say 2006. Presidents do have some effect, at about an 18-24 month delay after election. I use 33% of the control as a fule of thumb.  

By Blogger Larry Sheldon, at Wed Feb 29, 09:40:00 PM:

Althouse? That's the Sullivan-Johnson conservative lawyer (how many strikes is that?) that voted for Obama, right?  

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