Whirl of Change!

A mostly political weblog.
Nov. 5 2008 8:32 PM

Whirl of Change!

And now for another view of Mayor Bloomberg , we have Mr. Fred Siegel ...

A knockoff of Berlusconi, he's a man with a media empire who has dedicated his efforts to saving not his city or country but himself from the boredom of buying influence by merely giving away pieces of his fortune. ...

[O]perating on the basis of ambiguities in the city charter, Bloomberg strong-armed the city council into overturning term-limits: threatening to cut off funds to their districts and stop his "anonymous" donations to the nonprofits they count on to get out the vote if they opposed his plan.

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Siegel's attack is ... incompletely convincing,** but enjoyably vitriolic . [ Not unlike his review of your book--ed. It's lucky I don't remember things like that] ...

**--Is it really true, for example, that "the additional $9 billion [Bloomberg's] spent on education hasn't shown up in any improvements" in test scores? ...  2:23 P.M.

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Newsweek s poll: Put it out of its misery . ... 1:59 P.M.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Vertical Ticket Splitters Rule! National Journal' s Charlie Cook seems to very tentatively embrace a version of the See Saw theory (which I first heard from Reader M):

[G]iven the strength of the top of the ticket nationally, one might have thought that the victory would have been more vertically integrated. ...

There is no shortage of theories. It could be that a lot of first-time and younger voters cast their ballots for Obama but didn't bother to venture down the ballot. Once the final vote tallies are tabulated, we will have a better idea of whether that happened. Or maybe there was a determined effort to apply checks and balances. By deciding to elect Obama president, more than a few voters may have opted to keep the Republican incumbent in place, just to prevent Democrats from getting carried away. ... [E.A.]

Sorry again,  Kinsley . ... 2:32 P.M.

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Opponents of the "Fairness Doctrine" are looking for a more evil-sounding name. "Forced Balance"? ...  10:53 P.M.

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Mark Krikorian admits he was wrong about Julie Myers. ... Jonah Goldberg discovers that Rahm Emanuel is Jewish! ... I mean, who knew? ... 9:47 P.M.

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How About At Least Making Them Choose? So the UAW wants a $25 billion bailout and an end to the secret ballot ... Because Wagner Act unionism clearly worked out so well for Detroit. ... 9:31 P.M.

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The Sound of One Hand Sat On:  One big argument before the election was whether a) McCain's heterodox positions (on immigration, campaign finance, torture, Bush's initial tax cuts, etc.) had alienated conservatives, who would fail to turn out and vote for the Republican nominee, or whether b) conservatives would turn out anyway, leaving McCain free, in theory, to run to the center (the Mike Murphy position).  It should be possible to get at least part of an answer to that question now, no? Here's a start , from Curtis Gans' Center for the Study of the American Electorate--and at first glance it doesn't look good for Murphy. [ Note: But see semi-vitiating conclusion , at end of this item ] As summarized by CNN:

"A downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls seemed to be the primary explanation for the lower than predicted turnout," the report said. Compared to 2004, Republican turnout declined by 1.3 percentage points to 28.7 percent, while Democratic turnout increased by 2.6 points from 28.7 percent in 2004 to 31.3 percent in 2008. [E.A.]

From Gans' explanation, as summarized by the study's press release :

John McCain's efforts to unite the differing factions in the Republican party by the nomination of Governor Sarah Palin as vice-presidential nominee was a singular failure. By election time many culturally conservative Republicans still did not see him as one of their own and stayed home ... [E.A.]

This would be at least part of an argument as to why, contra Jamie Kirchick's glib comments , Republicans can't afford to move further in the McCainish pro-legalization direction on immigration (for example!) unless they want to find themselves a new base. ...

P.S.: Of course, it's possible the McCain campaign ineptly managed to alienate both the base and the center. It's also possible that given the country's predicament there was no way for even a non-inept campaign to please enough of both to win. But the mere fact that yes, conservatives sometimes do sit on their hands would knock out a pillar of Murphy-style political strategy, no? ...

Note:  Reader G. suggests that maybe there were just fewer Republicans this year. No. Unless I'm reading Gans' stats wrong, they measure the percentage of Republicans who went to the polls, not how many Republicans there were. (The percentage went down from 30 to 28.7.) ... Update: On rereading the release, I'm now thinking Reader G is right and I misread the tables.   I have emailed Gans. ("Efforting," as they used to say at Newsweek .) ... 

Semi-vitiating conclusion: I've heard back from Gans. Reader G is right--the stats measure the "percentage of citizens voting Republican," not the percentage of Republicans voting.  "But that, also, in the real world, translates into a GOP voting decline," Gans adds. Statistical proof of that is still tk, however. ...   7:56 P.M.

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How far would the stock market plummet if investors thought "Transition Economic Advisory Board" member Robert Reich actually had influence on President-Elect Obama's economic policies? ... P.S.: Reich will be hard-pressed to top the epic suck up his American Prospect co-founder Robert Kuttner delivered at President Clinton's transitional economic "summit" in December, 1992: 

" Mr. President, I -- words fail me in describing what an extraordinary event this is. This has to be the defining moment of your presidency. It is the president as teacher, as leader, as explainer, as synthesizer. This is a magical moment, and I thank you for including me and for offering this to the country."

7:26 P.M.

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Who Said 60 Isn't A Magic Number? Fail to win a couple of Senate seats and legislation starts to change shape almost immediately. From a WSJ story on the labor push for quick passage of "card check":  

With Democrats failing to win a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate, some say a compromise on the controversial card-signing provision is more likely now.

Hal Coxson, a management-side labor lawyer in Washington, said he expects the AFL-CIO to propose shortening the notice before elections to five days, which would give companies less time to campaign against a union, but allow Democrats to say they preserved secret-ballot elections. "If they overreach, they lose," Mr. Coxson said of the AFL-CIO.

Maybe they could call it the Al Franken Lost So All We Got Was This Pro Labor Act. (The truth is that even the watered down law terrifies business, largely because of its binding-arbitration provision.) ...

P.S.: Of course, Franken could still win .  And if the Dems pull out the two other unresolved Senate races , they would get to 60 after all. ... 12:36 A.M.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Another message on my phone machine from my Republican friend:

It was a horrible night. I could not not not get __ to bed and I was famished and all I wanted to do was sit in front of the TV and watch returns come in and eat pizza and he just he would not go down. He kept getting out of bed. And he never does that so I don't know what the issue was. I was lying with him and trying to get him to go to sleep and everytime I thought he was asleep this little voice would pipe up: "Mommy, do you know that a farmer is like a babysitter for animals" ..."Mommy what is Barack Obama." I swear to God that was the last one. ... It was a nightmare....

Anyway, I can't believe someone hasn't blogged or written about this already because it seems incredibly obvious, but

No Bradley Effect in the presidential race

but Total Bradley Effect for Proposition 8 

Everyone I knew thought it ... wasn't going to pass and I think it was down in the polls. I could double check.

But I think most people assumed Prop. 8 would not pass and then I think it turns out that people were just sheepish about sharing their real feelings with pollsters who could be  ... I don't know I don't know exactly how the Bradley Effect works but anyway

No Bradley Effect, Presidental. Total Bradley Effect, Prop. 8. But I'm sure this has been written about already.

It   has , though I hadn't seen it (but then I read the L.A. Times !) ... The Field Poll taken a few days before the election said Prop. 8 was losing 49 to 44 . In the event it won by 5 points--a 10 point discrepancy. ... Even the seemingly infallible Nate Silver was kinda sorta almost fooled . ... It makes sense that the Bradley Effect would show up in this context. Telling a stranger you are going to vote for John McCain--well, there were plenty of respectable reasons to vote for John McCain. But tell a stranger you're voting against gay marriage? That's a way to either mark yourself as a bigot in polite company, or at least start a long, tedious possibly emotional fight. Who needs it? Voters learn to lie. ... [ If they just replaced the secret ballot with a "card check" system--ed . Don't give anyone ideas] ... 

Backfill:   This morning E.J. Graff claimed the Bradleyesque "homo effect" has shrunk from four to two percent . ... 11:43 P.M.

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Jerry Skurnik's list of "stories that the pundits and pols thought were really, really important " but weren't. ... I'd also be interested in "stories the pundits had to pretend were really, really important in order to push their candidate." 1) State licensing of plumbers.  ... 6:33 P.M.

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Office Pool: On what date will John McCain self-servingly apologize for self-servingly lying during the 2008 campaign? He's done it before ! ... P.S.: To be true to form, McCain would have to self-servingly lie in the course of self-servingly apologizing for self-servingly lying--perhaps by artificially limiting the number of lies he needs to self-servingly apologize for. As in, "Only once, I believe, did I act in an unprincipled way." That worked in 2000! ... He might have to say "only twice" this time. ...

Bonus tie-breaker: How many hours after McCain's self-serving apology will Joe Klein forgive him and proclaim that "McCain has reclaimed his greatest asset, his integrity"? Entries denominated in minutes and seconds also accepted. ...

Update: Reader C.C. suggests a "perfecta option"' in which you guess the date McCain "will self-servingly apologize, and be immediately forgiven, in the course of an exclusive interview with Joe Klein." My money is on next Wednesday. ...  5:48 P.M.

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