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March 21, 2006

Comments

I watched a good deal of Bush's press conference this am. Iraq is doing well and we're winning. Rumsfeld has never given bad advice and there's no need for him to resign. He has great advisers, really hard-working people, and there's no need for "new blood." He never wanted to go to war with Iraq, but 9/11 changed everything. (Here Helen Thomas kept yelling that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and he got angry that she would deign to interrupt him.) The economy is fine and we just need more tax cuts.

It was clear the press wasn't buying it, and his constant hectoring of everyone was embarassing and grating. It was "Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?" over and over again.

His inability to truly listen and change when needed is his real Achilles heel. Marshall is right, this is what makes him worse than Reagan--far worse. He isn't really grounded in reality. What are they going to do with him?

On a cheerier note, Gore says he isn't interested in running in 2008. I say fine. Let him "campaign" with nothing to lose on a platform of "It's your future--let's do someting about it" focused on global warming, energy dependence and the exploding debt, which is on a path to reach $10 trillion before Bush leaves office (having been at $1 trillion when Reagan took office; only $1.4 trillion of the increase (from $4.411 to $5.807) is traceable to Clinton) and it will nearly double under GWBush.

it's not that Bush is alone. Republicnas are alone.

Republicans All Alone in Viewing the Economy as in Good Shape
Independents and Democrats are quite negative

The differing perceptions of the economy are a result of our two-tier economy, where things are rosy for the top 5% but get increasingly more desperate down the scale. Upper bracket folks who are Republican think its great, but upper bracket liberals worry about everyone else. And the rest of the population judges in terms of their own circumstances, which aren't getting any better and in some cases are getting much worse.

But it turns out that a Republican Party dominated by conservatives is no more coherent than the party that left room for progressives. The huge budget deficit is conservatism's Waterloo, testimony to its political failure. The conservatives love to cut taxes but can't square their lust for tax reduction with plausible spending cuts. Oh, yes, a group of House conservatives has a paper plan involving deep program cuts, but other conservatives know that these cuts will not pass, and shouldn't.

Dionne.

It's interesting to see O'Beirne reference the Ohio seat as a sure goner, after that alarming post-Hackett poll that gave DeWine a big lead over Brown. I guess we need to remember to disregard polls taken at hot-button moments like that; even Carter in 1980 managed a decent lead after his convention. But underlying numbers ultimately carry the day, and DeWine's are brutal.

Has anyone seen Ed Rollins on TV over the past few days? Granted, Rollins has often stepped into I'm-a-Republican-but-I-won't-ignore-reality territory, but I've been startled to hear him say, as DemfromCT suggests here, that Bush can't possibly win people back; that they've given up on him. (This while shills like Chris Matthews keep insisting if the White House only changed office personnel, things would turn around)

Mimikatz, I agree with your take on the economic disconnect, but at the same time have to say I'm surprised just how discerning Americans are on this topic. It'd be one thing if there were flat-out recessionary elements in sectors of the economy (as there were, say, in 1992, when, again, our GOP elders kept insisting the economy was swell and we just didn't see it). But report after report tells us that all the surfaces of the economy are relatively clear; you have to look at subterranean trends (like the frightening pension situation) to understand how dire things are, and that's not something American political history suggests voters are particularly good at doing.

Can you imagine if we actually hit on-paper recession (not necessarily before this year's elections, but certainly by 2008's)? Republicans might start to think of right now as the relatively good times.

Even Conservatives (Buckley, Kristol, Hagel) are starting to remark on the nakedness of the Emperor.

It is no wonder that the more successful/more money you make the more likely to vote republican you become. Not sure if liberals are just stupid/chronic Bush haters/or lack basic critical reasoning capabilities.

Take the notion that the economy is doing poorly. This is false and can be proven false. You can measure key aspects of the economy -- GDP growth, unemployment, inflation, etc -- and compare the current economy to the past. Basic time series.

The current economy is in the top 10-15% we have ever experienced and has proven sustainable. To conclude that a top 10-15% result is bad takes a liberal

"The current economy is in the top 10-15% we have ever experienced and has proven sustainable"

To conclude this makes you delusional -- or a willing consumer of GOP propaganda

There was a recent analysis of voting patterns, in the 3/12 NYT if memory serves, that showed that in red states upper income voters vote Republican, but in blue and purple states there is a fairly low correleation between income and voting D or R. The blue states tend to do better economically in general, suggesting things aren't as dire, but I do think a good many liberals (such as me)don't vote their own narrow economic interest because it doesn't appear sustainable, and we do care about other people. (Aka the "What's the Matter With Connecticut" phenomenon.)

Besides, it is historical fact that the stock market does better under Democrats than under Republicans. I would argue that Republican subsidies to particular industries (insurance, big pharma, energy behemoths etc) create economic irrationality that costs us all.

I just watched on one of the C-spans the following:

Research!America 2006 National Forum
“Science and Health in the 21st Century:
Leadership Requirements and Public Expectations”
1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
National Press Club - Ballroom
529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC

Please join Research!America for our 2006 National Forum moderated by David Gergen, former White House advisor to Presidents Clinton, Reagan, Ford and Nixon. Confirmed members of our distinguished panel will include the directors of the National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and National Science Foundation.

The discussion from Gergen (who BTW was GREAT) and from the audience asked why we are teaching antidiluvian (as in Intelligent Design) materials in our schools at the expense of real education in science. Most felt that this country will fail and most people will have mediocre to poor jobs if this continues. The main answer from the non-Bushies in the house was a failure of political leadership in the Congress and White House. The Bush people like the Direcrtor of NHI and CDC could not really answer any such questions as their heads would role, and that may well be a sign of the problem.

The layers and depth of damage done by the Bush Administration and this conservative looney Congress to this country now and for the foreseeable future is huge. We may not soon recover, but at least there are some influential and bright people beginning to speak up and put the blame where is truly lies--bad leadership!

Counterpoints:

On historical economic performace:
4.9% unemployment is in the top 10% and close to full employment
3.5% GDP growth over last year in top 15%
3% inflation also in top 15%

I dare you to provide facts to the contrary. You may have to actually do a time series


On assertion that economy does better under Democrats than Republicans.
This is merely correlation (if true). You need causation to prove your point. For exampe Clinton inherited an economy that was growing, it then grew like crazy during internet bubble, and when bubble burst declined sharply. What did Clinton do to cause economy grow rapidly? Good chapter in Freakonmics that illustrates the differences. If only liberals understood the difference

On Red State v Blue state

I am familiar with the study. Your recollection somewhat incorrect. It doesn't matter whether a Red State or Blue State -- the higher the household income the more likely to vote Republican. This effect dimished in Blue states but is still clearly there.
http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~cook/movabletype/archives/2004/11/what_does_the_2.html

HH income, D=Kerry, R=Bush
<15K 36% 63%
$15-30K 41 58
$30-50K 48 51
$50-75K 55 44
$75-100K 53 46
$100-150K 56 43
$150-200K 57 43
>$200K 62 37

Again while this only proves correlation, I would be interested in proving the casual link

It's interesting to see O'Beirne reference the Ohio seat as a sure goner, after that alarming post-Hackett poll that gave DeWine a big lead over Brown. I guess we need to remember to disregard polls taken at hot-button moments like that; even Carter in 1980 managed a decent lead after his convention. But underlying numbers ultimately carry the day, and DeWine's are brutal.
I wouldn't have classified it as a sure-goner, but the poll where DeWine had a large lead over Brown also showed where Brown could really improve.
Has anyone seen Ed Rollins on TV over the past few days? Granted, Rollins has often stepped into I'm-a-Republican-but-I-won't-ignore-reality territory, but I've been startled to hear him say, as DemfromCT suggests here, that Bush can't possibly win people back; that they've given up on him.
Ed Rollins also suggested to Katherine Harris that she should quit her race in FL.

Mr. Rationale: I said the stock market does better under Dems than Reps. Check the link. It is historical fact. Less volatility too.

The employment figures are skewed because so many people have left the workforce. The labor participation rate is down, and wage growth has been virtually non-existent. See here for a discussion.

My post on Income Inequality has numerous links on the subject but ponder this:

While the bottom fifth saw their average after-tax income rise only 4% since 1979 and the middle fifth gained an average of 15%, the top 1% of households saw their incomes rise by a whopping 129% between 1979 and 2003, more than doubling, when measured in constant dollars. This means that while the average income of the lowest fifth of households rose by only $600 in 24 years (a generation), to $14,100, the middle fifth saw incomes increase by 15%, to $44,900 in 2003. Meanwhile the average after-tax income of the top one percent of households rose by $395,700 to $701,500 in 2003 dollars.

I sincerely hope you are in the top 1%, since you clearly think you are in on the con.

Mimikatz, thanks. I knew the rebuttals to Mr. Rationale's cherry-picked stats were out there, but I had no idea where to look for them (and wouldn't have known how to link them). Excellent work, as always.

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