Free Markets, Free People
I wanted to make a quick point here. First this:
Mitt Romney has taken a narrow national lead, tightened the gender gap and expanded his edge over President Barack Obama on who would best grow the economy.
A new POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Tracking Poll of 1,000 likely voters — taken from Sunday through Thursday of last week — shows Romney ahead of Obama by 2 percentage points, 49 percentage to 47 percent. That represents a 3-point swing in the GOP nominee’s direction from a week ago but is still within the margin of error. Obama led 49 percent to 48 percent the week before.
A lot of discussion on polls this time around. We talked about them extensively in the podcast. The thing to realize is regardless of how the polling concerns have set up their split among self-identified Republicans and Democrats, the one thing that has been fairly consistent in each of them is Romney trending up. So while they may all show different percentages and even an Obama lead, the fact remains that the challenger has continued to gain even while the incumbent was declared the winner of the last debate.
That, my friends, signifies, at least as far as I can tell, a preference cascade beginning to swell.
As we’ve pointed out repeatedly, the most important debate this year was the first debate. In that debate, the challenger had to appear to be an acceptable alternative/replacement for the incumbent. Romney was able to exceed expectations in that department. That’s when the tide began to turn. The second debate, while somewhat important, but only if the challenger really goofed it up, just didn’t carry the weight of the first. And as hard as the left has tried to make the debates about Big Bird, binders of women and an alleged “Libya gaffe” (as I see it, there was no gaffe at all, we saw an incumbent President pretend/allege he said something he didn’t say). They’re not selling except among the partisan base.
We’ll see if this debate this evening adds momentum to the challengers upward trend or whether the incumbent is somehow able to slow or stop it. I’m not sure what the President could say or do that would accomplish that given his dismal foreign policy record (and his previous declaration that his lack of foreign policy experience just wasn’t a show stopper).
Like Dale says, I think, as far as Romney is concerned, we’re in “dead girl or live boy” territory.
Why? Because it sets up a question to be answered which will give proof to the nonsense of both Obama and Crowley’s claim about Obama’s supposed Rose Garden acknowlegement that the Benghazi attack was an act of terrorism:
If Obama knew it was terrorism on Day Two, then why did his administration continue to blame the video for days afterward?”
Good question really. I know who most media outlets have declared the winner, but frankly, my guess is that was written before the debate. After all, given his last performance it’s hard to conceive how President Obama could have done worse. And given the low expectations, exceeding them was going to look like a “win” or at least be portrayed like one. The media loves “comeback kid” story lines.
Of course there was the usual grousing about the moderator, in this case, Candy Crowley. Some is to be expected. Some, in this case, was warranted. What is the job of a moderator? Well, what it isn’t is to provide “instant fact-checking”, especially when the fact check is incorrect. Moderators should be like referees or umpires – all but invisible while they keep the debate to the rules. However, when you pick people with large egos and biases to “moderate”, well, don’t be surprised when they make every attempt to insert themselves in things of which they have no business being a part.
However, to the main point. Who ‘won’?
Well a CBS instapoll says Obama won. Of course CBS was the only poll that said Joe Biden won so, yeah, not such a great endorsement. And the “win” was marginal at best, even with CBS.
In a CBS News poll, 37 percent of 525 uncommitted voters who watched the debate declared Obama the winner, compared to 30 percent who said the same of Romney; 33 percent said it was a tie.
CNN’s instant poll also gave the “win” to Obama (46/39 – registered voters).
Well, I guess, unless you look at some of the other numbers in the polls. And then, well, not so much:
Despite Obama’s slight edge overall, Romney was seen as better able to handle most issues.
The trend was most notable in the CNN poll: he had an 18-point edge among registered voters on the economy (58 percent to Obama’s 40 percent ); a 3-point edge on health care (49 percent to 46 percent); a 7-point edge on taxes (51 percent to 44 percent); and, largest of all, a 23-point edge on the deficit (59 percent to 36 percent).
Obama’s only lead in the CNN poll was a slim one on foreign policy: 2 percent more of the registered voters who watched the debate said he would handle the issue better (49 percent to 47 percent for Romney).
In the CBS poll, 65 percent of respondents also said Romney would handle the economy better after the debate (though that decreased from 71 percent before the debate). Only 34 percent said Obama would handle the economy better, but that was a jump of 7 percentage points.
Personal metrics were split a bit more evenly. Forty-nine percent of those in the CNN poll said Romney was the stronger leader, compared to 46 percent for Obama. The president still had a lead on likeability by a margin of 47 percent to 41 percent. He was also perceived as caring more about the audience by a margin of 4 points, but also as spending more time on the attack by a 14-points one.
Among uncommitted voters surveyed in the CBS poll, 56 percent said the president would do a better job of helping the middle class, compared to only 43 percent who said the same of Romney.
So wait … are we voting on who did better in a debate, or who would do a better job as President?
Oh, that’s right, this is about the job, isn’t it?
The final word from the CNN respondents? Twenty-five percent said the debate made them more likely to vote for Romney, and 25 percent said the same for Obama.
So who “won”?
Hmm … yes, if I was the Obama campaign brain-trust, I’d be worried too.
Oh, and in the third debate, Obama won’t have the benefit of low expectations working for him and, hopefully, we’ll see a debate where “moderation” means “referee”, not “instant but wrong fact checker“.
I don’t know how many times we have to point these out or how many ways we have to illustrate that government has no business trying to pick winners and losers, because usually, as with most centralized planning organizations, they get it wrong. Why? Because they’re absolutely blind to signals from the market. Government’s picks are founded more in preference than reality:
Obama touted it in 2010 as evidence “manufacturing jobs are coming back to the United States,” but two years later, a Michigan hybrid battery plant built with $150 million in taxpayer funds is putting workers on furlough before a single battery has been produced.
Workers at the Compact Power manufacturing facilities in Holland, Mich., run by LG Chem, have been placed on rotating furloughs, working only three weeks per month based on lack of demand for lithium-ion cells.
The facility, which was opened in July 2010 with a groundbreaking attended by Obama, has yet to produce a single battery for the Chevrolet Volt, the troubled electric car from General Motors. The plant’s batteries also were intended to be used in Ford’s electric Focus.
The 650,000-square-foot, $300 million facility was slated to produce 15,000 batteries per year, while creating hundreds of new jobs. But to date, only 200 workers are employed at the plant by by the South Korean company. Batteries for the Chevy Volts that have been produced have been made by an LG plant in South Korea.
Talk about outsourcing.
Workers are furloughed for one week every month. And guess who pays for that week?
Boileau pointed out the workers who are on furloughs one week a month are eligible to collect unemployment for that week, and he said the company covers the contributions to their individual benefits during the period.
Reality check commonly ignored when it comes to government:
“Had it been private investors rather than government bureaucrats making the decision, there either would have been a reality check about the industry, or only those who made individual decisions to invest would have lost their money, not taxpayers.”
Instead, government has “socialized” the loss.
The market has moved on – natural gas is cheap and plentiful. It is the future, at least the near future. That’s where everything is going.
Meanwhile, the government continues its near unbroken string of picking losers … not that anyone who knows a thing about economics and markets should be the least surprised. Unlike many other things, this is not “unexpected”.
Pay attention because this is important.
A week or so ago, a video from a 2007 Obama speech surfaced in which he used race baiting tactics to exploit the Hurricane Katrina disaster as proof that Republicans didn’t care for Black Americans.
In his speech — delivered in a ghetto-style accent that Obama doesn’t use anywhere except when he is addressing a black audience — he charged the federal government with not showing the same concern for the people of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina hit as they had shown for the people of New York after the 9/11 attacks, or the people of Florida after hurricane Andrew hit.
Departing from his prepared remarks, he mentioned the Stafford Act, which requires communities receiving federal disaster relief to contribute 10 percent as much as the federal government does.
Senator Obama, as he was then, pointed out that this requirement was waived in the case of New York and Florida because the people there were considered to be “part of the American family.” But the people in New Orleans — predominantly black — “they don’t care about as much,” according to Barack Obama.
Got it? That was the crux of the speech. Now remember, when delivered, he was a US Senator. And remember too that the speech was delivered on the 5th of June, 2007.
Why is that significant?
Because, less than two weeks earlier, on May 24, 2007, the United States Senate had in fact voted 80-14 to waive the Stafford Act requirement for New Orleans, as it had waived that requirement for New York and Florida. More federal money was spent rebuilding New Orleans than was spent in New York after 9/11 and in Florida after hurricane Andrew, combined.
So on the 5th of June, Senator Barack Obama got up and told a lie. A known falsehood. The Stafford Act had already been waived. In the United States Senate. You know, the body to which he was an elected member?
And if you can believe it, it gets worse:
The Congressional Record for May 24, 2007 shows Senator Barack Obama present that day and voting on the bill that waived the Stafford Act requirement. Moreover, he was one of just 14 Senators who voted against – repeat, AGAINST — the legislation which included the waiver.
Some people in the media have tried to dismiss this and other revelations of Barack Obama’s real character that have belatedly come to light as “old news.” But the truth is one thing that never wears out. The Pythagorean Theorem is 2,000 years old, but it can still tell you the distance from home plate to second base (127 ft.) without measuring it. And what happened five years ago can tell a lot about Barack Obama’s character — or lack of character.
I don’t use the word “liar” much. Politicians stretch facts, spin them to their own advantage, etc. But there are certain instances when the word is very appropriate.
This is one of them. And, as Sowell implies, that’s why this isn’t “old news”.
So next time you see the left deploy the word “liar”, refer them to this “old news” and remind them about “glass houses”.
Funny stuff. All of us out here who have been questioning the accuracy of various presidential polls and being called “poll truthers” (lord help you if you question the establishment or authority) now see a poll that favors the GOP candidate being called into question by none other than the Washington Post.
The Pew Research Center for the Public and the Press released a poll that puts Mitt Romney in the lead for the first time in their polling (Rasmussen also released a poll with Romney in the lead).
The Pew poll keys off the first debate, Romney’s big win and says:
In turn, Romney has drawn even with Obama in the presidential race among registered voters (46% to 46%) after trailing by nine points (42% to 51%) in September. Among likely voters, Romney holds a slight 49% to 45% edge over Obama. He trailed by eight points among likely voters last month.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Oct. 4-7 among 1,511 adults, including 1,201 registered voters (1,112 likely voters), finds that 67% of Romney’s backers support him strongly, up from 56% last month. For the first time in the campaign, Romney draws as much strong support as does Obama.
“Likely voters”, as we’ve mentioned in the past, is the key demographic. Forget registered voters. Among likely voters, Pew is recording a 12 point swing. That’s pretty significant. You can hit the Pew link to go through all the particulars.
So what’s WaPo’s disagreement with the poll? Well they don’t really “disagree” so much as imply there might be a problem with the poll’s makeup (you know, the same thing we “poll truthers” have been talking about for months):
That pesky party ID question: The Pew sample for this poll was 36 percent Republican, 31 percent Democratic and 30 percent independent. That’s a major shift from the organization’s September poll which was 29 percent Republican, 39 percent Democratic and 30 percent independent. In the 2010 election, the electorate was 36 percent Republican, 36 percent Democratic and 27 percent independent, according to exit polling. In 2008, 39 percent of the electorate identified as Democrats while 32 percent said they were Republicans and 29 percent said they were independents.
So in this poll, Pew was R+5. That’s different than the D+8 they ran in September. There’s you 12 point shift. Of course in 2010, they were completely wrong calling the D/R split even. Republicans ran a historic blow out during that election taking 60 seats in the House. In 2008, they were probably slightly undercounting self-identified Democrats. But not this time as Pew points out in their survey. Enthusiasm among GOP voters is up. It isn’t up among Democrats. And that, one supposes, is the Pew justification for plussing the GOP on this poll.
September polls are notoriously inaccurate. Polling companies, at least those who want to continue to be taken seriously, refine their models as they approach an election. This poll appears to be an example of that. As should be obvious to anyone who pays attention, the excitement, support and enthusiasm Obama enjoyed in 2008 doesn’t exist in this election, at least not anywhere to the degree it did then. That means the ratios have changed. Whether or not R+5 is the correct weight polls should give the GOP vote remains to be seen, but it certainly makes a lot more sense than D+8, the number we “poll truthers” were questioning all along.
Or, as Michael Moore said, “that’s what you get for having John Kerry as a debate coach”.
It appears the debate went pretty much in Mitt Romney’s favor last night, and, as you would see if you watched MSNBC’s Morning Joe, they’ve suddenly “discovered” MItt Romney. I know it must be a shock that their made up Romney didn’t show up last night.
More interesting? There appears to have been a clear winner last night:
According to a CNN/ORC International survey conducted right after the debate, 67% of debate watchers questioned said that the Republican nominee won the faceoff, with one in four saying that President Barack Obama was victorious.
“No presidential candidate has topped 60% in that question since it was first asked in 1984,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
While nearly half of debate watchers said the showdown didn’t make them more likely to vote for either candidate, 35% said the debate made them more likely to vote for Romney while only 18% said the faceoff made them more likely to vote to re-elect the president.
More than six in ten said that president did worse than expected, with one in five saying that Obama performed better than expected. Compare that to the 82% who said that Romney performed better than expected. Only one in ten felt that the former Massachusetts governor performed worse than expected.
Now the poll only reflects debate watchers and not all Americans, but then the debates are aimed at, well, debate watchers, aren’t they?
One of the things I take away from the numbers is the 82% that say Romney performed better than expected actually got to see and judge Mitt Romney for themselves last night and not through the filter of the media.
We talked about that sort of thing on the podcast. How America watched the debate between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, when Reagan was lagging in the polls, and apparently decided that night that Reagan was acceptable as President.
Did that happen last night for those that tuned in?
Did Romney get a check-mark beside “acceptable” for the job?
Probably so. As for Obama’s performance? Well, here are a few words from his supporters:
- Commentator and blogger Andrew Sullivan might have captured the collective reaction best with this tweet, “Look, you know how much I love the guy, and how much of a high-info viewer I am, but this was a disaster for Obama.”
- On MSNBC, talk show host Chris Matthews asked incredulously, “Where was Obama tonight?” He suggested that the president take some cues from the liberal voices on the cable channel. “There’s a hot debate going on in this country. Do you know where it’s being held? Here on this network is where we’re having the debate. We have our knives out. We go after the people and the facts. What was he doing tonight? He went in there disarmed.” Obama failed to put any points on the board by not bringing up Romney’s controversial “47 percent” remark or his work at Bain Capital, Matthews complained, while Romney “did it just right,” keeping a direct gaze on Obama as he spoke, ignoring moderator Jim Lehrer’s mild-mannered attempts to cut him off and treating he president like “prey.” Matthews said, “What was Romney doing? He was winning.”
- Comedian Bill Maher, who takes regular hard jabs at conservatives on his television show and who gave $1 million to a super PAC supporting Obama’s reelection, tweeted, “I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Obama looks like he DOES need a teleprompter” — a reference to Obama’s critics who say he relies too heavily on teleprompters.
Not pretty. Not pretty at all.
Now we’ll go through the obligatory fact checks that no one will pay attention too. But the impression has been made. The only question is, was it enough to tip the election to the Romney side.
And here’s another point to ponder. If Americans were waiting on the first debate to determine whether Mitt Romney was acceptable, will they bother tuning in to any of the other debates. Or said another way, was this first debate performance enough to convince them that he can do the job and would probably be better than the incumbent.
If I had to guess, I’d say yes.
And if last night made the undecided comfortable with a Romney presidency, that should worry Democrats.
Update: From CNN of all places:
It was the biggest question coming into this first showdown: Could Romney seem presidential standing next to the Obama?
The answer appears to be yes.
Also from CNN:
“I don’t think anyone’s ever spoken to him like that over the last four years. I think he found that not only surprising but offensive. It looked like he was angry at times,” added CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, who has advised both Democratic and Republican presidents.
Heh … what, no Nobel Peace Prize for just showing up?!
POLITICO has a story out entitled “10 quotes that haunt Obama“. Haunt? I’d say they define him.
The 10 quotes, minus the POLITICO take on each, are:
“Washington is broken. My whole campaign has been premised from the start on the idea that we have to fundamentally change how Washington works.”
“I think that I’m a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I’ll tell you right now that I’m gonna think I’m a better political director than my political director.”
“If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s going to be a one-term proposition.”
“Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not, and a way that Bill Clinton did not.”
“Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now.”
“I think that health care, over time, is going to become more popular.”
“I favor legalizing same-sex marriages, and would fight efforts to prohibit such marriages.”
“It’s here that companies like Solyndra are leading the way toward a brighter and more prosperous future.”
“I fought with you in the Senate for comprehensive immigration reform. And I will make it a top priority in my first year as President.”
“What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further. We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else’s.”
What they define is arrogance, cluelessness, flip flopping and failure. The gay marriage quote was one that ran in a gay newspaper in Chicago as Obama was running for the State Senate. When confronted with that later, he denied those were his words. Then, when it was politically important to embrace gay marriage, he “evolved” (what would be described as a ‘flip-flop’ for any other politician).
There are a ton of other quotes that could be on this list (“the private sector is doing fine” – arrogance and cluelessness). But these will do. They indicate a man who, for whatever reason, thinks an awful lot of himself while not demonstrating anything of substance to substantiate that feeling. That is why Clint Eastwood talked to an empty chair. He could just as easily had a naked Obama mannequin up there with an emperor’s crown.
Washington is broken worse since he took office, Solyndra represents crony capitalism at its worst, he’s kicked the can around the cul-de-sac while passing an extraordinarily expensive medical insurance law against the wishes of the American people. Gitmo is still open, he’s done nothing on immigration but blatantly ignored the law, his arrogance still knows no bounds, but he’s damn sure no Ronald Reagan. Or Bill Clinton, for that matter.
So I say we hold him to quote 3. He has no interest in the economy, unemployment or jobs. He’s yet to meet with his jobs council, doesn’t attend his daily intel briefs (well he does now, since being called out on it) and would much rather campaign than meet with world leaders at the UN. He’s a guy who loves the perqs of the job, but seemingly isn’t real interested in the job itself.
And somehow we’re supposed to believe giving him 4 more years would improve on this record.
You remember this or at least have read or seen it on a video:
Bob Schieffer: “The fact is, unemployment is up. It is higher than when [President Obama] came to office, the economy is still in the dump. Some people say that is reason enough to make a change.”
Bill Clinton:”It is if you believe that we could have been fully healed in four years. I don’t know a single serious economist who believes that as much damage as we had could have been healed.”
CBS’s “Face the Nation,” September 23, 2012
That’s exactly the meme the Democrats have been trying to establish for some time. First it was “but imagine how much worse it would have been if we hadn’t have acted”. That foundered on the rocks of 8.2% unemployment.
The new meme is to claim – and that’s all it is – that no one expected the economy to be healed in 4 years, no one. And certainly not any “serious economist(s)”.
But as the Wall Street Journal points out, plenty of serious people, or at least people who’d like to have you take them seriously, not to mention a couple of “serious economists” promised exactly that – we’d be healed in 4 years. The list?
There’s Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Christina Romer, Jared Bernstein, Mark Zandi, and, most importantly, President Obama himself.
Yup, that’s the case, whether or not the spin- meister, Bill Clinton wants to believe it or not. So how did that work?
Mr. Obama told Americans in 2009 that if he did not turn around the economy in three years his Presidency would be “a one-term proposition.” Joe Biden said three years ago that the $830 billion economic stimulus was working beyond his “wildest dreams” and he famously promised several months after the Obama stimulus was enacted that Americans would enjoy a “summer of recovery.” That was more than three years ago.
In early 2009 soon-to-be White House economists Ms. Romer and Mr. Bernstein promised Congress that the stimulus would hold the unemployment rate below 7% and that by now it would be 5.6%. Instead the rate is 8.1%. The latest Census Bureau report says there are nearly seven million fewer full-time, year-round workers today than in 2007. The labor participation rate is the lowest since 1981.
You don’t say. So, in fact, plenty of serious people and at least two serious economists make Bill Clinton a liar. Yeah, I know, that’s harsh considering most people don’t consider political spin a “lie” per se. I’m just not one of those people.
There have been other excuses tried by the administration and its apologists as well:
The Administration and its acolytes claim that the nature of the 2008 financial collapse was different from past recessions, and that it can take up to a decade to restore growth after such a financial crisis. Economist Michael Bordo rebuts that claim with historical economic evidence nearby.
In reality, the biggest difference between this recovery and others hasn’t been the nature of the crisis, but the nature of the policy prescriptions. Mr. Obama’s chief anti-recession idea was a near trillion-dollar leap of faith in the Keynesian “multiplier” effect of government spending. It was the same approach that didn’t work in the 1930s, didn’t work in the 1970s, didn’t work in 2008, and didn’t work in such other nations as Japan. It didn’t work again in 2009.
The fact remains that there were plenty of promises made by plenty of serious people to include “serious economists” saying they had a plan that would heal us in 4 years.
They have utterly failed.
Tell me again why they should get another 4 years to prolong the failure?
CATO has the news:
The Reason-Rupe September 2012 poll includes our favorite ideological questions to differentiate libertarians from liberals and conservatives. Using three questions, we can define libertarians as respondents who believe “the less government the better,” who prefer the “free market” to handle problems, and who want government to “favor no particular set of values.” These fiscally conservative, socially liberal voters represent 20% of the public in the Reason-Rupe poll, in line with previous estimates.
Among these likely libertarian voters, the presidential horserace currently stands:
Romney’s share of the libertarian vote represents a high water mark for Republican presidential candidates in recent elections.
I find it difficult to believe 20% of the “libertarian” vote would go to Obama, but whatever.
Bush pulled 70% of the libertarian vote in 2000. But that percentage dropped to 59 in 2004.
So what if Gary Johnson is included?
A pretty even split between libertarians voting for Romney and Obama (7% each).
This is all interesting for a number of reasons. One is that many libertarians like to argue that “true” libertarians would never vote for any Republican or Democrat. Yet when you look at the numbers, and unless you’re willing to exclude about 97% of self-identified libertarians, that’s just not at all the case. In fact, in the last two presidential elections (2004 and 2008), third party candidates have pulled a whopping 3% of the libertarian vote. Yeah big “L” libertarian party types, it’s not selling. A lot of that has to do with “principles” which simply aren’t realistic (you know, like isolationism and open borders? Both have been overcome by events in case you haven’t noticed.). Once the Libertarian party begins dealing with the problems and realities of the here and now, and not how they’d like it to be, you may see those numbers change.
Until then, the lesser of two evils prevails. The reason for the record break this year? Probably because most libertarians understand that Obama and the Democrats pose the biggest internal danger to freedom and liberty this country has faced in quite some time. Is Romney/Ryan the panacea? Are you kidding? But first you have to remove the danger. Then you can work on repairing the damage.
And it won’t be quickly done as all of us know. I look for many “ones step forward, two steps back” days even after Obama is sent into retirement.
But one thing is for sure – this nation cannot afford another 4 years of Barack Obama.