Election Day (OR Go Vote!)

November 4, 2008

I know it’s a bit late in the day to make anything resembing a prediction, but I wanted to go on the record, so you can all laugh at me tonight.

I’ve talked about the enthusiasm gap before (and Ezra talks about it today) and we reach different conclusions.

Ezra thinks the electoral college will be close…  I don’t. Using this nifty Electoral Vote tool (via Greenwald), I came up with over 400 electoral votes for Sen. Obama. That is, admittedly, very optimistic.

Still, this election, by some accounts, will hang on Pennsylvania and Florida, both of which are in the Eastern time zone. It’s entirely possible that midwestern and western voters (in places like Arizona and Nevada) will have heard those states called for Obama before they get to the polls and decide not to bother. As Ezra states, this seems more likely to occur for people intending to vote for Sen. McCain.

Supporters of Sen. Obama will vote, if for no other reason, than to say that they voted for the first black President. They will wait in lines (as they already have) just to be able to know they were part of his victory. I think this trend (which I have no actual evidence of) is enough to carry Sen. Obama in states where he’s within 3-4 points in polling.

That means that he would win: Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana, Arizona, Nevada, Montana.

So, the map will look something like this (from RealClearPolitics.com, which let me use my own colors):

Election Prediction

Interest (OR Behind the numbers)

October 4, 2008

You may have heard that there was a Vice Presidential debate on Thursday.

What you may not have heard is that more people watched it than have ever watched a VP Debate.

I’m going to be optimistic for a moment and believe that so many people watched because there is unheard of interest in this election…  partly because President Bush is the most disliked president in recent memory, and partly because Sen. Obama is generating almost unheard of enthusiasm.

Now then, the bonus here is that a majority of viewers believed that Sen. Biden “won” the debate (whatever that means). In short, Sen. Biden had an opportunity to reach, at one time, more than any VP candidate ever, and he made a more favorable impression that Gov. Palin.

On the heels of the first Presidential debate, where Sen. Obama “won” by similar margins (albeit in front of a smaller audience), this kind of result is very encouraging.

In general it seems that the more see of Sens. Obama and Biden, the more they like. Add to that the voter registration and mobilization effort of the Obama-Biden campaign, and it’s really easy to feel confident.

So, once again, I’m envisioning an election map that looks very blue when all is said and done. Unfortunately, it means that Sir Charles is probably right: “It’s going to get ugly

Unchanging (OR Same old thing)

July 5, 2008

I must admit that I’ve been feeling like there’s just nothing new to say. Since I started blogging, I figured this day would come, and I’m a little surprised that it’s taken so long…  but here we are.

The presidential campaign continues, but it seems to have reached the stage where each candidate just repeats the same thing in the different ways every day. The media covers it, or not, depending on their whim. And bloggers either rant about it, or ignore it.

Congress continues to demonstrate their lack of concern for the slow dismantling of the Constitution.

What all of this is really about — the reason why political elites like Nancy Soderberg are so eager to defend it — is because they really do believe that lawbreaking isn’t wrong, that it doesn’t deserve punishment, when engaged in by them rather than by commoners. People who defend telecom immunity or who say that it’s not a big deal are, by logical necessity, adopting this view: “Our highest political officials and largest corporations shouldn’t face consequences when they break our laws as long as they claim it was for our own good.” That’s the destructive premise that lies at the heart of this deeply corrupt measure, the reason it matters so much. Just like the pardon of Nixon, the protection of Iran-contra criminals, and the commutation of Lewis Libby’s sentence, this bill is yet another step in cementing a two-tiered system of justice in America where our highest political officials and connected elite can break our laws with impunity.

There’s a decent chance President Bush will embroil us in yet another failed war before he leaves office.

The Bush Administration, while publicly advocating diplomacy in order to stop Iran from pursuing a nuclear weapon, has increased clandestine activities inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups. The officials say that President Bush is determined to deny the Iranian regime the opportunity to begin a pilot program, planned for this spring, to enrich uranium.

The economy continues to be in the tank, and it seems likely that Republican policies will only continue making things worse.

But behind all of this is the one fundamental fact that economic analysts would rather not dwell on: American consumers are at the end of their ropes. High energy prices have contributed to it, as have high food prices. Consumer confidence is plunging. Housing prices are still dropping, which means the piggy banks of home equity and refinancing are closing.

But without consumers, there’s no one to buy all the goods and services we create. Sure, big American companies are doing fine abroad, but foreign sales can’t sustain them. Nor can exports. Hence, bond defaults by companies are up. Earnings are down.

And so, it continues…  there really isn’t any new news, and there isn’t really any hope of new news. So, what exactly is there to blog about?