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February 12, 2008

Comments

kim

Why we hadn't a hope in Hell unless Romney won Super Tuesday.
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Jane

Well it would be fun to watch - but at what cost?

Pun intended

Other Tom

I'm so steamed at what Bush and the Republican congress did fiscally that I can't see straight. We waited forty years to get control, and we end up with Bill Frist and Denny Hastert, plus the clown with the gay pages and all the rest. What a colossal waste.

If the Dems take the WH, at least there'll be some fun watching them handle this one.

clarice

You mean Bush had a scorched earth policy all along?

Rick Ballard

Way too soon, Kim. Wait for the flash GDP forecast for Q2 in July. This election looks like it will be about the economy and the Vote Purchase Plan cash plus the proposed foreclosure freeze plus the Vote Purchase Plan's bump on jumbo caps may make Q2 appear quite healthy which will tend to help Q3 results and get us over the finish line.

The other economic factor that is being studiously avoided is the 70% growth in assets in retirement accounts since 2002. That $7 trillion increase dwarfs the hypothetical losses in the value of housing and anyone touching taxation of capital gains, interest or dividends is going to get a taste of a new fully charged third rail.

I'll grant that McCain is a complete dunce on economics but how much brains does it take to promise to control spending and work on reducing the deficit with spending cuts rather than by raising taxes? Maybe someone could even show him that the primary cause of lack of growth in income in the bottom quintiles is due to very poor "lifestyle" choices upon which redistributory programs will have zero impact. A new "household" consisting of a mother and an illegitimate kid isn't the path to riches.

kim

I can hope again? And not just about the climate. Thank you, Rick.
====================================

MayBee

Nobody's going to be raising any taxes.
Just rolling back tax cuts.

Rick Ballard

MayBee,

That just sets a nice frame for "your retirement account earnings with Democrat taxation" charts. You can't run from demographics and the number of voters growing ever closer to those wonderful sunset years is growing by leaps and bounds.

Most people don't really start salting dough away for retirement until they hit 45. If you take a look at Figure 1 in that report I cited above you can see the cumulative effect of the Boomers entry into and passage through those halcyon years. I would note in passing that the increase in the assets held in retirement accounts since 1995 is greater than the entire national debt.

I noticed that RW and BHO have pulled the pin and popped the safety lever on the rollback grenade. I sure hope they keep hanging onto it.

Forbes

If the Dems take the WH (and maybe even not) the Bush tax rate cuts will expire, and the economy goes in the toilet because the effective tax hikes are bad for capital and business formation. The Dems believe they can spend their way to prosperity--because it's always someone else's money they're spending.

glasater

"I would note in passing that the increase in the assets held in retirement accounts since 1995 is greater than the entire national debt"

Well yeah Rick--and I would contend that's exactly what the RW and Bambi want to get their mitts on--ala the Savings and Loan crisis years back. Fixed income folks were really in a terrible bind during that time.

Other Tom

It appears that over half the retirement funds are in IRA's and 401(k)'s, which are taxed as ordinary income and would be unaffected by changes in the cap gain rate. But a hell of a lot of other assets would be affected, and I think a lot of people have built up a reliance interest in the current rate.

By the way, the news about the Senate rejection of the Dodd amendment is spectacularly good--what a terrible idea it would have been to allow those lawsuits to proceed.

clarice

Well, if the Reps were smart they'd start running ads--esp in high retirement states--explaining what these proposals mean.
The Wa Po has one of their whining about the conomy pieces--lots of complaints about the price of food going up, but natch no connection to the ethanol swindle.

Rick Ballard

"Fixed income folks were really in a terrible bind during that time."

U-betcha. Different crowd though. Many geezers in 1987 had grown up through the depression and maintained a fear and loathing (or at least distrust) of the stock market throughout their lives. A great number were quite content to sock their retirement dough into a passbook savings account guaranteed by the Feds. The net result was that they had about 40% less in those accounts than they would have had if they had plugged the dough into a mutual fund that just equaled the average market return.

Boomergeezers (or Boomers who are geezers to be) have managed their retirement assets much differently and pay quite a bit more attention to those monthly mutual fund statements (or 401K reports) than the '87 model ever payed to his savings account statement.

I have no doubt that the Democrats will make a whole hearted lunge for those assets, Glasater. No doubt at all. If they were dealing with an '87 model they might even get away with it.

But they're not. Today's model geezer recognizes the point that Forbes makes concerning capital formation and realizes that raising the capital gains rate (or dividend or interest tax rates) is going to reduce the value of his retirement holdings and therefore his retirement income. That's as hot a third rail as talking about reducing SS benefits.

"Well, if the Reps were smart they'd start running ads"

Too soon, I think. September makes more sense. Look at BHO Fever. It's going to crest before April, IMO.

Other Tom

Also, when they run such ads they can't have McCain doing the talking. Too much risk that somebody might ask him a question about what he said, with God knows what result.

Bill in AZ

"Look at BHO Fever. It's going to crest before April, IMO."

I hope you're right Rick... I'm not so positive. With the inevitable destruction of McCain by the MSM, and with MSM filling the empty suit of JFK Obamessiah, the American Idol Candidate, with whatever they think will stick, he will look like the Mirror of Erised which shows each viewer the deepest, most desperate desires of their hearts.

I'm beginning to think the only point of debate anymore is the size of the Messiah's "mandate". 60%? 65% Because of his "mandate" he'll be sitting in the Oval office thinking - hmmmm.... wonder what this lever does? Oops! Trashed the entire computer/electronics sector. Oh well, a bunch of dumb rich capitalists. Hey, another button! Oops - trashed the 2 remaining pharmaceutical companies... Edwards might get pissed... maybe if I turn this knob it will fix it... Uh Oh - entire auto industry... here's a switch on the floor...

Rick Ballard

Bill,

Jay Cost has a long and detailed piece which may assuage some of your concerns. I agree that there's a possibility that Chance the Gardner may find himself sitting in the Oval Office. I don't think it's a very big chance. "There will be growth in the spring." just won't hold up for nine months and he's neither as gifted as JFK (that's not a very high bar, either) nor does he have the coterie of hagiographers that made JFK's victory possible.

I think that Jane's reaction here is fairly emblematic of what's likely to happen. BHO got off to a great start with her but the bloom has already faded. In fact, I think the petals have fallen off.

Bill in AZ

The problem I have with data, polls, analysis, etc is that the MSM effect is rarely factored into them. It's almost like they believe that MSM reports... news... or facts... or something.

I sort of thought blogs, alternate media, might have made some inroads by this election cycle. When I look at how thoroughly and completely we have been pwnd by MSM so far - including and especially conservative bloggers - I have grave concerns for the next nine months. They tried to slide Huck in on us for about a week, decided that wouldn't work, then slid McCain in under our noses - and we have countless conservative bloggers defending and pasting over his faults with as much or more fervor than the MSM - they're laughing at us. Too late now - that deal has been done, so we live with it - but the speed and slickness of it boggles the mind.

The polls only serve to tell MSM where to apply more sauce. When a significant percentage of the population (by polls) believes as fact that the economy is on the verge of disaster, when quite the opposite is true, that's just a simple case in point.

The reason the polls, studies, analysis, show such a dead heat between RW and the Messiah is because the MSM is truly conflicted and they are fighting it out. Once they decide on the Mirror of Erised Candidate, you will hear Hillary's name less often than you heard Thompsons name last month. Some folks, by nomination time, won't even remember that she ran.

Bill in AZ

I suppose it could go the other way and folks won't remember Obama. But I suspect there are plenty in the MSM that know we have a chance against Hillary - which is why I would just as soon she was the candidate. We at least have a chance, even with McCain, and even with the MSM headwind.

glasater

Wanted to share this item from John Fund's Political Diary.....

"Quote of the Day II

"It is not 'the politics of fear' to remind Obama's legions of the blissful that, while they are watching Scarlett Johansson sway to the beat, somewhere deep inside a quasi independent territory we might call Islamistan people are making plans to blow them to bits. (Yes, they can.) One of the striking features of Obama's victory speeches is the absence from these exultations of any lasting allusion to the darker dimensions of our strategic predicament" -- Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of The New Republic."

Neo

Some mysteries were ment to stay that way.

Ralph L

Uh Oh - entire auto industry
Bush has already done that with the CAFE changes--we just won't see it for a few more years.

I can't decide who benefits from the tax cuts expiring--the Dems get more money to buy votes with in the future (for a short time), but the Haves have an immediate reason to vote against the Dems, if they're paying attention.

Jane

I think that Jane's reaction here is fairly emblematic of what's likely to happen.

It depends. I watch pretty closely and never had any intention of voting for BHO. But from a political theater standpoint he is pretty damn good.

I've come to believe the headlines have to be pretty bold for most people to take any note at all. I was at a meeting last night and the 8 people sitting at my table were all undecided. I asked them what their issues were, because it was pretty easy to choose that way. The ones in the medical profession did not want universal healthcare or more lawsuits. When I explained to them the democrats were their worse option they were in complete disbelief. (There are MD's and PHD's). There was some concern that Obama has no experience. Not a great deal but it was mentioned.

The valuable information tho is that McCain doesn't anger them. None of them are pre-disposed to vote for a republican, but McCain could be an option if he makes his case and they hear and like it. That's a heck of a lot different than George Bush as they would sooner consume their big toe than vote for him. And that's an argument for not forcing McCain right at this point.

Rick Ballard

"we just won't see it for a few more years"

Detroit wishes.

GM reported the record-setting loss on Tuesday and promptly offered a new round of buyouts to 74,000 U.S. hourly workers in hopes of replacing some of them with lower-paid employees.

Way to go UAW! (and auto execs)

Nel fratempo - Foot voting continues apace. Carolinians are about to be Michigandicated. Lots of people who talk funny are headed that way at this very moment. Note that CA has Californicated itself out of the top destination list.

Jane,

I didn't believe for a moment that you'd vote for him. The arc of your assessment was interesting. After all, you made me take a much longer look at Romney than my initial reaction would have warranted.

Jane

Wow Rick. Thank you. I'm flattered.

Ralph L

Rick, it's going to get a lot worse for the US brands. GM may soon be selling more cars in China than here, and actually making a profit there.

glasater

Jane's comments made me take a longer look at Romney also, Rick.

Like many others I was very much on the late side with that assessment.

vnjagvet

Fox News says exit polls from all three networks in VA say BHO beats RW 66-34%.

If that holds, RW is in trouble. It looks like familiarity truly breeds contempt. After all, RW has lived very close to VA since January 1993. That's fIfteen years.

Not helpful to her cause if you ask me. But watch for some world class spinning.

Jane

We all really gave Romney the short shrift. Me included. I've been trying to figure out what about his image was so off-putting. I think maybe it was that he looked and had mannerisms more fitting a top CEO than a pol. And people are a bit afraid of top CEO's because they aren't exactly a dime a dozen. You have to develop a little bit of sleaze, or cowboy or something it seems to make it as a pol.

kim

Looks like GM might need to become a Patriot Corporation.

What's good for General Motors, is good for the USA.

Hope springs eternal in the human beast. Uh, oh, oldtimers will recognize that one.
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hit and run

Interesting Rick...from your foot voting link:

One-way truck rental from Newark to Charlotte : $2,116

One-way truck rental from Charlotte to Newark: $311


Reason: New Jersey is one of the top five departure states, and North Carolina is one of the top five destination states (see chart above), and the almost 7:1 ratio in prices suggests that 7 times as many trucks are going from NJ-NC as are going from NC-NJ.


And for the anecdotal. Our neighborhood has 60ish families now. And roughly 15% are from the NY/NJ area.

Want more?

My neighbor's grandmother passed away last year. They had to go up to Jersey to get a bunch of furniture -- and yes, to rent a uhaul from Jersey back to NC was crazy high.

So he bought a trailer instead, for barely more money.

glasater

"You have to develop a little bit of sleaze, or cowboy or something it seems to make it as a pol"

The President's poker playing skills have not lapsed--as much as I can discern.
And Mitch McConnell is doing pretty well over in the Senate.

glasater

A telling comment from the RW came from taking away the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Which would generate roughly 52b a year in revenue.
A real nothing as far as the fed budget is concerned.

I believe it was Phil Gramm who said some years ago that the government could take all the money from the top one per cent of income earners and it would run the government for less then a year.

Ralph L

Jane, he should have worn more earth tones.
And gotten a bad haircut.

Other Tom

I see that Mrs. Clinton has absorbed another savage drubbing in Virginia. Good. The stake is not yet through the heart.

Speaking of JFK's hagiographers, I note that the odious Ted Sorenson is now with team Obama.

But I agree with the sentiments reflected above, and increasingly heard, that this man can't go from now to November without saying something serious about actual issues. If he has done so thus far I haven't heard of it.

Rick Ballard

Jane,

I believe that Romney was over managed as a candidate. His handlers put too high a focus on the "don't you dare misspeak" and he came off stiffer than he is in reality. He really had a name recognition problem (MA governors just aren't that famous) and that initial stiff appearance really hurt him. I rated his Q much higher in his later appearances. I hope he takes another swing in '12.

Re your advice concerning the right easing up on McCain - there's a fair possibility that it doesn't hurt him at all with the great Muddle. The right isn't exactly loved by the Muddle and it really will fall in line. At a cost to McCain of only one pound of flesh, of course.

Ralph - there are demographic issues involved in trying to hold assembly jobs stateside for the next 10-15 years. It's not just a cost issue. This BLS paper on labor force projections lays out my rationale, with the proviso that I believe that they are wildly optimistic concerning Boomers hanging on. The basis for their optimism is rooted in higher participation rates by those over sixty years old in the '90's. Those were Depression kids. Also note that even assuming a higher participation rate by those over sixty, the labor force growth rate has been trimmed to 8/10ths of a per cent. That won't work if the economy is to grow and it sure won't support an increase in assembly jobs.

H & R,

By 60ish do you mean over 60 years old? Or peace and love types?

hit and run

Oops, I meant the neighborhood now has 63 families.

Ralph L

Rick, on one auto forum I frequent, someone said GM has 2.5 retirees for every active employee, and they promised them the moon years ago to buy peace. Appeasement has bit them in the bum. CAFE may finish them in the US because trucks & SUVs are their money-makers, and they'll never get close to 35 mpg, so GM won't be able to sell many without enormous fines.

clarice

If I were the mayor of Detroit, I'd invite Tata to tea.

Other Tom

Apparently the Slattern has a big lead in the latest Ohio poll. Three weeks to chop into that, I guess.

Ed Rendell played the race card big-time in PA today. Will the Slattern disavow his remarks? Does it matter? Does anyone think she didn't approve of them?

Who will rid me of this troublesome couple?

PeterUK

The Wreck of the Old '47 Other Tom will be happy.

Rick Ballard

"Who will rid me of this troublesome couple?"

The good people of Texas, who will show their belief in the dream that is BHO by being Democrats for a Day on March 4th, thereby becoming as a house dropped from the heavens upon the Red Witch.

To all good Texans:

Save Toto - Vote BHO!!

glasater

The real show here is how Hillary is going to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat--'cause I'm still convinced she is going to get the nomination.

Sue

Does the fact that Hillary hasn't come up with any dirt on Obama suggest she doesn't have any? Wouldn't she be using it by now if she had anything?

centralcal

Hi guys. Been too busy to keep up with threads or comment, so I am probably way off topic here - but, I am really enjoying Karl Rove on Fox. He kinda comes across like Barone - a grownup in the room with facts, figures, experience. No hyperbole, no spin!. A "just the facts, ma'am," kind of guy.

Too bad our side doesn't have a WOW candidate, huh?

centralcal

Sue: There is NO substance to Obama. Not even in the "dirt" category. Ain't it sad? Makes you a wee bit sorry for Billary. Who knew they would be rendered so impotent?

If I was Obama, however, I would increase my security. Just sayin'.

Ralph L

What kind of dirt would faze Democratic primary voters?

1. He isn't really half-African, his skin is just dyed.
2. He once voted for a Republican.
I can't think of any others.

Porchlight

Maybe the crazy church, Ralph L. Though his fans already see him as a kind of (secular?) faith healer, so I guess they're willing to overlook something they would consider downright terrifying in a Republican candidate.

But the church isn't new "dirt," so RW must have already considered it and decided it wasn't viable. My guess is that she has something else, but she's calculated (correctly) that her usual mudslinging simply won't work against the sainted Obama. Her position with voters and the media is too precarious - the backlash would be more devastating than any gains she'd make.

Porchlight

Centralcal, nice to see you! Been wondering where you'd been. I haven't seen Rove on Fox yet, but I believe you. Those are exactly the traits I love most about Barone. That and the fact that he can tell me how an obscure exurb of Cleveland voted in the last five election cycles, off the top of his head.

clarice

I agree, central. After all tose years of that ridiculous demonizing of Rove, viewers are seeing a very quiet, thoughtul, smart commentator in Rove. With Barone and Rove Fox has assembled the best team of election analysts.

hit and run

No Rove is on the air for one purpose.

Halliburton has developed the technology to transmit mind rays through the television.

kaz

The final results from my precinct in VA:

Fred D. Thompson 1 0.34%

John McCain 115 39.51%

Mike Huckabee 152 52.23%

Mitt Romney 14 4.81%

Ron Paul 7 2.40%

Rudy Giuliani 2 0.68%

Me and 13 others joined up to stop the Ron Paul Revolution by voting for the most recent guy to quit the race.

The precinct worker said a lot of people were having buyer's remorse before they even voted. VA is an open primary state. The poll worker said one guy flipped a coin to determine which primary to vote in.

Ann

I find it quite delightful that an educated black man is undoing the "Clinton Machine" and their years of corruption and pandering.

The fact that a black man preaching Hope is annulling the first black president from Hope, is in itself legacy making.

And who would of thought, that a vacant, insignificant, piffle of a campaign would of beat the two smartest people in the political world.

glasater

A pundit on Fox commented that BHO organized the caucus states very well with the exception of Nevada.
Hillary will fight for the delegates she won in Florida and Michigan.
Don't get me wrong--I'm right up there with Other Tom in my disdain for the Clintons but I believe they will do almost anything to get Hillary nominated and elected.
Plus, this dandy proportional business the D's figured out can work to her advantage.

PaulL

Rush was insistent today that Mrs. Clinton will get the nomination, no matter what it takes.

MayBee

PaulL- Michigan and Florida loom large, don't they?

kaz- what a cute little precinct you have!

clarice

I hope it takes the destruction of her party and that she does get it.

Elliott

If the Clintons have something on Obama, as Novak suggested last year, it seems to me they could gain the greatest advantage from that info by discussing it, after the primaries, with the super delegates they are trying to persuade. If it's something that would influence a fair number of voters in the general election, I'm sure it would have an impact on those super delegates' deliberations.

Topsecretk9

Warning - Click the link at your own risk - put all beverages aside immediately or put protective covering on keyboard/computer screen!


You have been warned.

Rick Ballard

Elliot,

That would shatter the party unless the "reason" could be exposed and said "reason" would offend the black bloc to the point where they would accept it. When I consider what type of negative news it might take to assuage the paranoia my thoughts drift to OJ and black reaction to his acquittal.

I can't come up with an Act X that would do the trick at this point.

hit and run

Hey, thanks Tops!

For the warning, I mean.

By the way, click on over to the Baltimore Sun article and we find that we have been given an email address for the Ambassador

A case of beer for the person who gets a reply from him.

Topsecretk9

Hit

Sounds like we're going to owe you one ::wink::

---

Did anyone get a load of the lying sack of crap Sidney Blumenthal Kaus reports on?

kim

Why should we listen to an Ambassador for a Republican? Too much.

If I try that email address, then Scary'll come get me.
==============================

Elliott

Rick,

But, were the information damaging from an electoral standpoint, any backlash would likely be extremely limited since the undecided or wavering super delegates would be rather disinclined to circulate the information more widely. Plus, if the Clintons are behind by, say, 40 delegates going into the convention, won't they pay any price, bear any burden in defense of Hillary?

Elliott

I was looking at Patrick Ruffini's analysis of the Democratic race last night at Hewitt's and followed his link to Barone's discussion of Puerto Rico's caucus and national convention delegates. Kim, I believe in miracles.

Rick Ballard

Elliot,

It would be purely Pyrrhic though. She would lose almost the entire rust belt - PA, OH, MI, MN, WI would all swing because it wouldn't just be the blacks, it would be the liberals as well.

I'm not saying there's no way out for RW because my imagination can be pretty limited at times. I just can't see the way, even if she were to win legitimately. BHO Fever is just running too strong within the Dem party and there isn't really anything that will stop it and leave the coalition of identity politics intact. IMO - YMMV.

Bill in AZ

Even Bill Clinton agrees with me that Obama is the Mirror of Erised Candidate.

He will be the first President elected without ever saying anything.

kim

Or even swinging at the ball. The ref is blind.
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Bill in AZ

And now Rush agrees with me that Obama is the Mirror of Erised Candidate.

Barack Obama, ladies and gentlemen, is a blank canvas upon which anybody can project their fantasies, or their desires.

He meant "mirror", I'm sure. Basically the same description Dumbledore gave Harry.

It's a campaign of soundbites - this should be a bumbersticker: "Obama - The Mirror of Erised Candidate".

rgaye

" Briefly, the base will want the Iraq policy to be "Out Now, or Sooner" but the tactical success of the surge may make that politically impossible (darn that George Bush and his foolhardy commitment to victory!). "

Where this thought seems to fail is Iraq is tenuous and will be for some time to come. Once we have a President Obama or Clinton in place with additional gains by Dems in the House and Senate, they only have to strangle the war by incrementally decreasing or redirecting war funding... and poof pretty soon it will be a losing cause once again.

Then it won't be politically impossible to withdraw. More like a mandate to get the hell out of Dodge.

Besides where else are we going to get the money for national health care? From the Iraq War dividend of course...

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