Dingone
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Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#1 Mar 8, 2012
Dingone is the secret way to figuring out the unfiguroutable. How about that!
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#2 Mar 8, 2012
It seems to be getting more difficult to see how the discussion of issues can get you anywhere. The big thing has been supply side versus demand side economics.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#3 Mar 15, 2012
It has been a funny week that has passed. The main part of the NCAA tournament starts today. It is always fun to get involved in the tournament as a follower. The thing I have noticed, though, is that this is really the peak of it. This is the weekend when everyone is playing and hope springs eternal. The sweet 16 is then the real competitive heart of the tournament. By the final four the interest isn't really there as much, unless, of course, a team you really care about is in it.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#4 Mar 25, 2012
Just wanted to point out that it has been a long short weekend. The NCAA Tournament went through the Sweet 16 and the Elite Eight. It was fun.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#5 Mar 26, 2012
Things are plodding along on the political front. As the primary season has rolled on, it has appeared to be more likely that Mitt Romney will actually win the nomination. What seems to be happening is that he has finally worn down the big base of conservatives who seemingly longed for one of their own to be the candidate. The Anti-Romneys seem to have failed. This is very interesting. The big comment was one I heard a while back from Mike Huckabee. He said that what people don't understand is that it is almost impossible for people to simply give up a campaign that they have been working on for at least a year. He said that what really happens is that they run out of money or the handwriting is just too firmly written on the wall. Until then, no matter what, the individuals involved just keep on trucking on. Last year, it would have seemed that if one conservative candidate could have been agreed on, that conservative would have left Romney in the dust. But now it appears to be too late.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#6 Apr 1, 2012
The really big thing that happened last week was the Supreme Court oral arguments on Obamacare. From the oral arguments, it looks like the court will strike down at least the individual mandate by a 5-4 vote along ideological, er political, lines. I think it is a shame, since it will end the quest for getting pretty much everyone some sort of health insurance. What gets me about the argument of the right is that they hide behind the idea that anyone can get care at the emergency room. But if it were that simple, why would anyone have insurance? The answer, of course,is that it is not that simple, from both the financial standpoint as well as for such things as more normal care. For that, there are supposedly all these clinics, including free clinics. But you need some knowledge to know how to use those things and what the rules are. This all leads to more interesting questions politically. The first is that it will be clear that all contentious laws will be subject to political adjustment in the Supreme Court. Therefore, no attempt will be made to pass anything like this again so long as there is a reasonable expectation that the makeup of the Supreme Court is skewed like this. This has been a long time coming and is, in one way, only fair. The Republicans were messed up by the way that John Paul Stevens and David Souter turned out. Ideologically, in those two, they did not get at all what they thought they got. Bush changed that with Roberts and Alito, who have been very reliable. That leaves Kennedy, who is the last partially centrist Republican appointed person. Scalia, Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas are all getting older, and it will be interesting to see how things go. If President Obama is re-elected and one of them leaves the court, will the Republicans refuse to ratify any leftist person? That could happen. But back to health care. The thing that I see is a total politicization of the entire governmental process. With the pushing of the Ryan budget two years in a row, there seems to be this desire for unconditional surrender by the right. I always remember how excited the right was when Bush got more than 50% of the vote in 2004. That seems to be their model, that if they can get 50% of anything, they have Parliamentary powers to impose their most radical will, while if the left gets 50% of anything, they have no right to anything. I have, at least recently, maintained that the right tends to prevail until the natural consequences of their predelictions, like the Great Depression, or endless wars, become apparent to the majority. Then they are thrown out. It happened in 1930 and 1932, because of the Great Depression. It happened in 1964, partially in response to President Kennedy's assasination, but I suspect more because of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the aggresive sense brought out by the Goldwater wing. And it really happened in 2006 and 2008 due to a combination of disgust at the war in Iraq and concern over the financial meltdown. It will probably take another financial meltdown for such a public rejection of the right to take place, although with the austerity that the right is pushing, if they get it beyond what is happening now in the states, it could happen because of an effective collapse of government services. As for health care itself, I think it will be a shame if it is struck down, but as of now, it looks like that is where we are going.

The Gloop

Since: Sep 08

.

#7 Apr 1, 2012
Dingone wrote:
The really big thing that happened last week was the Supreme Court oral arguments on Obamacare. From the oral arguments, it looks like the court will strike down at least the individual mandate by a 5-4 vote along ideological, er political, lines. I think it is a shame, since it will end the quest for getting pretty much everyone some sort of health insurance. What gets me about the argument of the right is that they hide behind the idea that anyone can get care at the emergency room. But if it were that simple, why would anyone have insurance? The answer, of course,is that it is not that simple, from both the financial standpoint as well as for such things as more normal care. For that, there are supposedly all these clinics, including free clinics. But you need some knowledge to know how to use those things and what the rules are. This all leads to more interesting questions politically. The first is that it will be clear that all contentious laws will be subject to political adjustment in the Supreme Court. Therefore, no attempt will be made to pass anything like this again so long as there is a reasonable expectation that the makeup of the Supreme Court is skewed like this. This has been a long time coming and is, in one way, only fair. The Republicans were messed up by the way that John Paul Stevens and David Souter turned out. Ideologically, in those two, they did not get at all what they thought they got. Bush changed that with Roberts and Alito, who have been very reliable. That leaves Kennedy, who is the last partially centrist Republican appointed person. Scalia, Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas are all getting older, and it will be interesting to see how things go. If President Obama is re-elected and one of them leaves the court, will the Republicans refuse to ratify any leftist person? That could happen. But back to health care. The thing that I see is a total politicization of the entire governmental process. With the pushing of the Ryan budget two years in a row, there seems to be this desire for unconditional surrender by the right. I always remember how excited the right was when Bush got more than 50% of the vote in 2004. That seems to be their model, that if they can get 50% of anything, they have Parliamentary powers to impose their most radical will, while if the left gets 50% of anything, they have no right to anything. I have, at least recently, maintained that the right tends to prevail until the natural consequences of their predelictions, like the Great Depression, or endless wars, become apparent to the majority. Then they are thrown out. It happened in 1930 and 1932, because of the Great Depression. It happened in 1964, partially in response to President Kennedy's assasination, but I suspect more because of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the aggresive sense brought out by the Goldwater wing. And it really happened in 2006 and 2008 due to a combination of disgust at the war in Iraq and concern over the financial meltdown. It will probably take another financial meltdown for such a public rejection of the right to take place, although with the austerity that the right is pushing, if they get it beyond what is happening now in the states, it could happen because of an effective collapse of government services. As for health care itself, I think it will be a shame if it is struck down, but as of now, it looks like that is where we are going.
Gloop?
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#8 Apr 16, 2012
The thing that I just read had to do with the Republicans wanting to cut food stamps. This went along with their saying that the safety net was becoming a hammock. In addition, the Buffett Rule got voted down in the Senate today 51-45. Put these together and I just am amazed by the way that the weak can be thrown under the bus. It fits with what I said last time. The right always seems to win until things truly crash. What then amazes me is the polls. Right now things are more or less even. That is clearly where the dividing line of the American people is. I wonder how this can be? It seems like such a lack of compassion, but clearly that is just not the way about half of the country thinks. Since there is nothing that can be done, maybe the time has come to try to put real politics out of my mind. I remember that I stopped watching the Sunday shows for a while in the middle of the Bush administration. I was sick of hearing Condoleeza Rice saying how "they" know their responsibilities. What point was there to that? For now, we are deep in the pre-election period. The Republican nomination process is over. The race is now between Romney and Obama. And while there have been some skirmishes so far, it is months before the conventions. And it is really far before the Congressional and Senate races are really engaged. One interesting thing is how given election years are fairly consistent. There is Congressional and Senate hysteresis, but it is amazing how the National vote propagates to a greater extent than you might expect. In 2006, when the House and Senate flipped, it was the result of a solid across the board vote in favor of Democrats. The reverse happened in 2010. In fact, the 2006 vote is what makes the Senate theoretically up for grabs. So the real question is just how the election will come out, just in terms of absolute votes. Well, lets look at the last few elections with an incumbent Democrat. The last time was 1996. Clinton won big, although he was helped by Ross Perot. Perot, of course, had no effect on the Congressional vote, and the Republicans maintained their majorities. In 1980, Carter lost. In fact, the numbers for Reagan, Carter, and Anderson were quite similar to the numbers for Clinton, Dole, and Perot. My instincts tell me it will be close or Obama will win by a fair amount. It just seems impossible to believe that Romney could win big. The current polls actually show Romney up a little. But we'll see how things progress. In the meantime, I hope to be able to pay more attention to Baseball!
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#9 Apr 22, 2012
I've done some more thinking, a dangerous activity indeed! And the result of my thinking is that I think that the election is actually Romney's to lose. I had always thought about things as 40-20-40 with the task being to figure out how the 20 was going to go. But I think that is not accurate. I think it is more accurately 60-40 in favor of the right. Then it becomes a question of how far that 60 degrades, because there is a distribution of commitment to the right wing ideas. I think that the determiner of whether this commitment falters and a given voter decides to go over to the other side is generally whether either the right really messes up or if something happens to cause fear of the right. The clearest example of this was the vote that Lyndon Johnson got in 1964, which resulted not only in his winning by 61% to 38%, but his having huge coat tails in terms of the congressional elections. This was caused, I would think, primarily by the fear that Goldwater was going to get us into a nuclear war. This was only a couple of years after the Cuban Missile Crisis. I just looked up some information on it and the sense that is given is that other factors made a big difference, but to me the big point is that there was enough in the equation to hugely eat into the natural Republican vote. I think it is generally war or some sort of economic factor that causes this weakening of the natural Republican leaning. In this case, I think that Romney starts out with a fairly natural advantage there but that it will go downhill from there. The key factors, I think, will be war and the economy, but that they will largely be a referendum on his potential and not on Obama, at least by the swing voters who will determine the election. I think there will be two key questions. First, can he really revive the economy. Since he has pushed himself as a business expert who can bring the economy roaring back, the key will be whether or not he is believed. This is where the Obama attack ads will be key. Romney will try to say that he can. Obama will point to thing like Romney being in the 1% and using Bain Capital to make companies more profitable by firing people. The extent to which the Romney argument is believed will be the primary factor in telling how much of the 60% he holds. The lesser factor will be Afghanistan. He has been very hawkish in the primaries. We are scheduled to be out of Afghanistan in 2014, and Obama has credibility because he got us out of Iraq on schedule. And the majority of the American people want us out of Afghanistan, actually preferably immediately. So the question will be how much can he get away with temporizing on the issue. If he says he will let the Generals decide how long we will stay, you can bet Obama will put on attack ads saying that Romney won't get us out in 2014. And so it will come down to the question of can Romney keep from alienating enough of the natural 60% to win. Based on his positions and his demeanor, at this point I think he will have a hard time.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#10 May 23, 2012
We are still in that pre-convention phase of the Presidential election. But the key thing that has happened is that John Boehner said that he wanted to start arguing about the debt ceiling immediately and that he insists that the debt ceiling increase again be a dollar of debt ceiling increase for a dollar of cuts. Paul Krugman has said that, this time, Obama should hold firm. And make no mistake, we have now moved from a question of Obama largely sitting in the background for the Democrats to being the chief Democrat in these "negotiations." Presumably, he could be faced with a situation where the House and Senate get together on something that he would object to, but I doubt that Harry Reid will allow that. But Reid won't usurp the President's position. So it is Obama versus Boehner and McConnell and Romney. The first event, though, is the start of the FY13 fiscal year on October 1. As we did last April, we could reach a point where the Republicans insist on cuts of some sort or they shut down the government, but that doesn't seem too likely. Much more likely is a continuing resolution to carry the government past the election. Then the results of the election would determine what happens next. I don't think that Boehner likes this. There was a poll that I saw recently which asked if people thought that there would be anything accomplished prior to the election. The result was 4% Yes and 96% No! I don't think I have ever seen any poll result like that on an important question. The House is now going through the motions, creating all of their bills which are DOA in the Senate. Of course, from a Congressional standpoint, we are much more quickly running out of time. They will take August off and the early fall will include the conventions and the Presidential debates, not to mention the Olympics. Also, the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare will be coming out in June. So add it up, and Boehner really has a limited amount of time before what he says will not be closely paid attention to. So, in the end, the question is whether there is anything the Republicans really can do to force things prior to the election, and the answer seems to be no. Which brings us back to the election and the political criticality of whether Romney or Obama wins. The Presidency is the only all or nothing election we have. We know that they House will end up somewhere in the 200 to 240 level for each party. And the Senate will be in the 45-55 level for each party. It is only the Presidency that is all or nothing. The other key, related to that, is that if Romney wins, he does not have to be so strong. If the Democrats were to win control of Congress, which is unlikely, he wouldn't be faced with extortion threats. But if Obama is re-elected, then presumably he will be in exactly that position. But he now knows what to expect and has, I think, figured out what he wants to do. I am always reminded of the movie "The Hustler," where the Paul Newman character is at first fairly naive, but after huge setbacks he learns to be much tougher. And as a result, in his second match with Jackie Gleason, he can't be beat. As of now, the election seems close. Dick Morris thinks it is a landslide for Romney, but this seems hard to believe. The current polls have Obama up a little. His campaign strategy, focusing on Bain, looks like his best chance to me. In the press conference after the NATO summit the other day, he gave a succinct explanation of why making millions for investors at Bain does not directly give one a key to helping everyone. Then the Romney prescription is left at regular Supply Side orthodoxy that any Republican could do. However, the first wild card will be the Supreme Court ruling on Obamacare. That should come in about a month. We will see what that is.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#11 Jun 5, 2012
There was a column by Ezra Klein today that told what may well be the case. The only way to keep a total economic disaster from happening may be to elect Romney. Otherwise, they will be willing to destroy everything to get their way. It is sort of like when they started dropping atomic bombs on Japan. When do they cry uncle? Of course, what is really more accurate is the Dr. Strangelove scenario. If you don't do what I say, I will set in motion the doomsday bomb which will destroy us all. I think I, like a lot of other people, am so tired of the extortion that I am ready to just give them what they want. It is, of course, not up to me personally, but it could well be the case. It is probably inevitable that after winning all the elections on an extortion platform, policies will be implemented that will most likely, sooner or later, result in some sort of disaster, after which they will be thrown out of office, if it is still possible. I wonder how this dynamic will be expressed as we get closer and closer to election day. The idea that this all can't be reasoned out truly saddens me. It reminds me of The City On The Edge Of Forever, where the centuries pass and the bold landscape of human history looks so impervious to any sort of rational adjustment. Instead, it just goes on down the same basic path, regardless of the presence of great politicians or of disease or any other factor. So what will a Romney Presidency be like? It will doubtless cause a lot of pain for those at the bottom. But it is unlikely that anyway will starve and that there will be a large number who are homeless and freeze to death. Perhaps general suffering is the best we can hope for.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#12 Jun 10, 2012
Since that column by Ezra Klein last week, I have been thinking more about Mitt Romney. In particular, I was wondering about his past and what has made him who he is today. You don't get very far down that path without looking at his wife. They were textbook of what would have been normal in the 1950s, but which was beginning to go away. That is, the age of first marriage was getting younger and younger in the 1950s as things were recovering from the Depression and World War II. He had just turned 22 and she was 19, just short of 20. To me, to be able to fall in love and get married at such an early age would have been something of a dream come true. I certainly would have had a completely different life than I have ended up having, but this is about them and not me. Regarding them, I am reminded of the Janis Ian song about learning the truth at 17. In any event, the thing I wonder about is what was going through their minds at that age. I guess one thing that does sound familiar is the description that was given about Robert Moses and his wife. It said in The Power Broker about how he was not a tyrant with her like he was with so many. Maybe that is the same as with Romney. Anyway, the thing is that I have to face up to the fact that he may very well be the next President. I wonder what he will do, and this in concert with the majority in the House and what they will do collectively. I assume that they will basically follow through on what they say and drastically cut the safety net. What will happen to people? Will there be no general catastrophe to start with? I don't know. Why am I even writing. Of course it is to speculate back on him. And so on we go further into June. We'll see what happens.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#13 Jun 22, 2012
It has been quite a period of time lately. One of the funny things has been the polls. There was one by Bloomberg that said that Obama was ahead by 13 points! There weren't any others like it, though. But the bigger thing to me, politically, is the way the race is shaping up strategically. Mitt Romney was on Face The Nation last Sunday and he gave his fairly usual evasive interview. It makes you wonder how on earth he could have gotten this far. Usually, if you refuse to define yourself, they do it for you. But Romney seems to be deliberately doing this. It is strange. Anyway, there is so much I would like to say, but I am tired, so I will let things go.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#14 Jun 28, 2012
Today should be an interesting day. It is, from what they say, the day when the Supreme Court finally reveals their ruling on Obamacare. And it is also, I believe, the day of the NBA draft. The NBA draft result is one that I have been wondering about ever since the end of the College Basketball season when Kentucky, with its crop of primarily Freshmen, went and won the national championship. All of those Freshmen then went and declared for the NBA draft. There is no question that they are good, but the idea that they were absolutely so super just amazed me. But when you look at the draft predictions, there they are, right at the top! One of the people whose fortunes amaze me is Thomas Robinson, formerly of Kansas. He didn't even start last year, and then he exploded into this super player who will be this really highly ranked player. You compare all of these guys to someone like Kevin Durant. During his one year in college, he was clearly super, clearly a man among boys, and he has pretty much proved it in the NBA. Anyway, this is interesting, but considering that we have had lots of mock drafts, it will be fun but not really dramatic. For drama, you have to go to the Supreme Court ruling. There have been a number of possibilities out there since the oral arguments were heard. But more even than the possibilities is the question of what the vote will be. This can all be focused around what has been said about the thinking of Chief Justice Roberts. According to what has been said, he supposedly has a deep sense of the place of the court in the American system and would not really be comfortable with a 5-4 ideological split. This led to speculation early on that Kennedy, who, as usual, is probably the swing vote, would be joined by Roberts if he decided to uphold the law, making the vote 6-3. Of course, that could also do in his reputation with the right. Also, it would seem to be against his own set of beliefs. but people have talked about this as a possibility. It seemed like the typical sort of speculation that has run rampant during this period between the oral arguments and the presentation of the ruling, until Monday. On that day the ruling was revealed on the Arizona immigration law. The result of that was 5-3, with Roberts joining Kennedy and three of the Court's liberal wing. Scalia, Alito, and Thomas were left dissenting. So my prediction is that this is just what we will see, that the entire law will be upheld by a 6-3 margin. If this happens, I get the feeling that it will be fitting. When the law passed originally, there was no real concern that it could be struck down by the Supreme Court. The take that you heard from lawyers on TV was that it was well within what is permitted under the Commerce Clause. But Ezra Klein has written articles lately that do a very good job of explaining how this thinking was adjusted by the right making the possibility of overturning the law, or at least the individual mandate, viable. If it is declared uncontitutional, saying that the Commerce Clause doesn't apply, it would seem that it would make it very difficult to pass any progressive legislation without this fear. The other direction, of course, is for the individual mandate, at least, to be ruled unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote. Either way, I agree with the observers who have said that this is probably where Roberts will write a majority opinion, given that he has apparently not been the author of other opinions this session. No matter what happens, I think it was smart of Obama to push up the case so that it will be ruled on at this time. It is funny that the right is always talking about putting certainty into the investment rules. Well here, we will have health care certainty to campaign for, or against, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules. Yes, this should be a very interesting day!
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#15 Jul 3, 2012
The Supreme Court result on health care was almost as I had predicted. The difference was that Kennedy totally went the other way. It doesn't really matter. In the game of Supreme Court, almost doesn't count. But it was definitely a surprise that John Roberts went with the Liberal wing on his own. He has gotten a lot of interest paid to him since he did this, more probably than he has ever gotten before, even though he is the Chief Justice. The problem was that even though he was the Chief Justice, he was such a reliable member of the Conservative wing that he was sort of just another justice. It was like Kennedy was, in a sense, the real Chief Justice even though he wasn't, because he was the potential swing vote. That is now all changed. On this and a few others where Kennedy did go against Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, and Roberts joined him, it made it clear that there are now two potential swing votes. One thing that has been notable is that those who make their living following the Supreme Court usually aren't paid that close attention to. That is now different, at least for the time being. And one thing they have been talking about is how Roberts may make Liberals pay for this because he is now so much more likely to side with the Conservatives on things that are coming up, such as further affirmative action cases. But the problem is that there is a huge difference in importance between different cases. Health care was in a class by itself. I don't believe that any number of votes by Roberts can match the importance of this one vote. The only other issue, of course, is any potential for overturning Roe vs. Wade. For some reason, though, this Conservative court has never done it. I have never really understood why not. But that is the way it has been. And with all this talk of how Roberts will make them pay in this upcoming session next fall when they will have all of these significant cases come up, I have not heard anything about any abortion cases coming up. By the way, just a quick aside on the NBA draft. The big surprise was Dion Waiters being the number 4 pick and going to Cleveland. That was amazing. I'll be curious to see how he does. Anthony Davis did go number 1 to the New Orleans Hornets. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went number 2 to the Charlotte Bobcats. Bradley Beal went number 3 to the Washington Wizards. And Thomas Robinson finally went number 5 to the Sacramento Kings. We'll see how they all do. Back to health care. The future of the act is now clearly tied to the election. If Obama is re-elected, then I expect it will stand. The interesting thing is that the right always talks about resolve. What I don't think they understand is that I think Obama became much tougher because of the debt ceiling fight last year. Extortion politics is a funny thing. To me it always goes back to the two matches between Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason in The Hustler. In the end, life had steeled Paul Newman's character too much. I think that happened with Obama as a result of the debt ceiling fight. We saw the signs of it when Boehner gave in without a fight on the two payroll tax fights in December and February. We will see what will happen at the end of this year when all of the witching hours hit at the same time. But I suspect that Obama will be much tougher this time around and will be much more willing to let everything blow up. But all of this depends on the results of the election. So where does that stand right now? Well, it is rather curious. The majority of the polls show Obama up right now. The big question in the aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling was whether this would energize the right and independents, and make Obama, essentially, pay. But this doesn't seem to have happened, at least not yet. It will be interesting to see, over the next week or two, whether there is any sort of effect like that that seems to emerge.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#16 Aug 13, 2012
This was a big weekend as the Olympics came to an end and Mitt Romney announced that Pual Ryan would be his Vice Presidential running mate. I am going to miss the Olympics. After all, they do only come around every four years. They were fun. So far as I could tell everything went off well. But, alas, the Olympics will be a memory soon, and so we go back to the selection of Paul Ryan. This sets the stage for a new phase in the Presidential campaign season. The analysis to this point has been pretty clear. As the Republicans have been so fond of saying, the President couldn't run on his record. It is a funny thing, because the key has been that he has been prevented from using Keynesian methods ever since that first stimulus bill. And even that was modified greatly beyond what he might have wanted to do. But it does lead to a rather odd situation with regard to the desire for re-election. The focus of the election is on jobs and the economy. Yet what can he do without any cooperation? As we have seen, the answer is not much. What has been maintained is that if he wins, the fact that he has won will change the dynamic and the Republicans will be more likely to compromise. I don't buy it. I also don't think he buys it. And I don't think people like Plouffe and Axelrod buy it. However, it does provide a basis for laying out plans as if they can get accomplished. It reminds me of The Music Man. Harold Hill is talking to Marian's little brother, who has just learned that Harold is a liar and a fake. After some discussion, Harold tells Marian's brother that is why he wanted him to be in the band, to which comes the response, "What band?" To which Harold replies that, to him, there always is a band. In the same way, the President can use the idea that the Republicans will come around to be able to present his agenda. Of course, the real agenda will be what happens at the end of this year, when the sequester is due to kick in and the Bush tax cuts are due to expire. The big thing that I always maintain is that the President learned a huge lesson with the various extortion threats last year. Interestingly, there has been no real opportunity to show what he has learned. For the past year, when crunch time has come, the Republicans have given in before it was all ready to come to a head. This took place at the end of last year on extending the payroll tax holiday and for the same thing in February. Then, just recently, they passed a quick continuing resolution for FY13 that goes through March. Anyway, the focus of the campaign up to this weekend had been Mitt Romney wanting to make it a referendum on the President by constantly saying that his is a failed Presidency. The President was trying to make it a choice by trying to tear down Mitt Romney through emphasizing Bain and the tax returns. Now, with the addition of Paul Ryan, I assume the nature of the contest will change. It looks like the keys for the Democrats will now be to emphasize Medicare and trickle down economics, especially the question of tax rates on the 1%. The key change is that Romney now owns the Ryan budget. In the two days that Ryan has been the one, there has been some suggestion that Romney will have his own plan, of which the Ryan budget will only be suggestive. I'm sure this is actually true. But for political purposes, the Ryan budget is now his budget. I will be curious to see how this plays out. Of course, we only have a couple of weeks to find out. Then will come the conventions. Then we will have a month of campaigning. Then the debates and then the election. But first things first. We have two weeks until the Republican convention. I will be curious to see what the tenor of the campaigning is between now and then.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#17 Sep 15, 2012
We are at the end of a sad week. Out of the blue, all of this violence has erupted in, particularly, Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, apparently over this video that came out. It is sad. The American Ambassador to Libya has been killed. This came in the midst of the post convention but pre-debate period. The result of the conventions was that Governor Romney got virtually no bounce, although he had gotten a small bounce after initially announcing Paul Ryan. But President Obama did get a bounce, and that is basically where we stand. There is a lot of criticism, even among Republicans, about the way that Romney is running his campaign. He still seems to feel that he can make a referendum out of it and win on that basis. It's possible. He isn't that far behind in the polls, and Rasmussen has him leading, although they are the only one. It is an odd period, but definitely sad in the Middle East.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#18 Oct 3, 2012
Well, this is it! Tonight is the first debate. This period between the conventions and the debates has been quite a grind. There was a column recently by Walter Shapiro, suggesting that this race has reached the point where one simply wishes it to be over. He likened it to a long novel that you start reading and find to be pretty good. But after a while, it just starts dragging. But you have invested so much in it that you can't just put it down, so you keep reading, more out of duty than pleasure, and can't wait to get to the end of it. The polls have Obama still up, but by a little less than before. What is a little bit interesting is that the poll numbers have started to move up towards 100%. For instance, the last CNN poll has it with President Obama having 50% and Governor Romney 47%. Former Governor Gary Johnson is out there on the Libertarian line, and for all we know, he could be getting the remaining 3%. As for the debate itself, I almost don't know what to expect. It is undoubtedly very dependent on what Mitt Romney does. In all of the Republican debates, he could generally just sit back. I think, like so many debates, it will be something of a draw. The big difference is that in this kind of debate, you don't have agreement between the candidates, so that they have to try to advocate their different positions. But the problem is that they are doing it against the backdrop of political reality. The thing is that, ever since Romney's 47% remark, which actually occurred at a fund raiser in the Spring, but was preserved by opposition research until around now, it was quite close. Since then it has cost him a point or two. But in such a close election, that is quite sufficient. That is the same pattern that came from the Swift Boat ads. So I expect Romney to stress all of Obama's supposed failures, and for Obama to defend himself vigorously. It is funny. People like to emphasize that the election is about the future, but I still expect much more discussion about the past.
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#19 Oct 4, 2012
The consensus sense is that Romney won the debate. He was generally more facile with his responses. He also was very carefully clever about the way he answered the key questions. The most interesting was what he said about taxes. He wants to cut the marginal income tax rates by 20%, but in a revenue neutral way. He has said that he would keep the neutrality by eliminating deductions, but in the past he has not said which deductions. He did not say last night, either. But he did mention the idea of simply having a cap on deductions overall. Now that is an interesting idea! But it has not been noted in any of the post debate analysis I have seen. So, now we are on a path leading up to the election. We will have a debate roughly every week, with the Sunday shows poking through every Sunday. We also have, tomorrow, the new latest unemployment figures for September. And then we have all of the daily polls. It should be an exciting finish. And, while all that goes on, the regular baseball season ended yesterday. The Yankees prevailed in the American League East, as Boston totally collapsed to give the Yankees the final wins they needed in beating Baltimore. And Oakland had a very strong finish to take the American League West by a game over Texas, who had led all season. But the biggest thing was that Miguel Cabrera became the first Triple Crown winner in baseball since Carl Yastrzemski, 45 years ago! Way to go, Miguel! So now the playoffs will be going on in baseball at the same time as the election reaches its conclusion. Let the games begin!
Dingone

Blossvale, NY

#20 Oct 15, 2012
Tonight's Real Clear Politics poll average shows Romney up by 0.1%! Prior to the debate, Obama was up by as much as 4%, but there was a very clear post-debate bounce that Romney got. Tomorrow is the next debate. But at this point, it will be very interesting to see how the election plays out. Looking at the numbers, it appears that Romney could have won it for himself with his first debate performance. A lot of analysis says, properly, that Obama barely showed up, but I think that it actually was Romney who won it. I think that the big reason why he got such a surge is for the reason people have suggested. The whole point of Obama advertising and campaigning had been to paint Romney as someone who was not a reasonable alternative to Obama. This was necessary because the big achievements of Obama's first term, especially health care, don't do him any good, apparently, so he doesn't campaign on getting 50 million more people health coverage. But without that, and a few other achievements, it does appear that he accomplished nothing. So he has attacked Romney. But Romney did make himself an acceptable alternative. And I think that is the reason that he got such a big bounce. Now the question is, can he finish up? And if Romney can keep making himself look like more of an acceptable alternative, is it enough? And, if so, is there anything at this point that Obama can do? In the baseball playoffs, we are down to Detroit and the Yankees in the American League. But the poor Yankees seem doomed. Not only are they now without Derek Jeter, who was one of the few people actually hitting, but all of these other players are in terrible slumps. In the National League, it is San Francisco and St. Louis. It should be fun.

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