CONFIDENCE INTERVAL

Over the years I have been and continue to be averse to making predictions. There simply are too many variables in play to accurately predict the outcome of close races (the uncompetitive ones are another story, obviously). We're unsure of turnout, the accuracy of polls, and the motivations of what few voters remain undecided in an election like the current presidential race. As a point of ego, I'm also hesitant about making predictions that will turn out to be wrong and make me look foolish. That said, every election I end up taking a stab at it. With or against my better judgment.

On the heels of the Mitt Romney Realtalk secret video hitting the news cycle on Monday evening, it is time to ask the obvious question: Is there any way that Mitt Romney can win this election? His ineptness as a candidate is almost difficult to believe, and every week he says or does something to prove that he is exactly what his critics say he is – a wildly out of touch multimillionaire pandering to whatever audience is put before him. He is a real-life Richie Rich, a guileless man of great privilege with zero charisma and to whom non-wealthy Americans (and a lot of the wealthy ones, for that matter) cannot relate in the slightest.

When the McCain campaign threw in the towel on Election Night 2008, I clearly recall their spokesperson telling reporters that the campaign was looking at the electoral map and "could no longer see a path to victory." I am beginning to feel the same way about Romney. There are scenarios in which he wins, of course, but they are looking more and more like they lie outside of the 95% confidence interval. We have a campaign that, in all honesty, has probably been a good bet to lose for the last few months and the only thing they are accomplishing as time passes is to make more mistakes and fall farther behind. If Romney was looking like toast last week, what's he going to look like after the latest "Whoops!" in his comedy of errors?

The winning scenarios for Romney at this point rely on leaps of faith and downright implausible conditions. To conclude that he's in good shape or primed to win requires assuming that:

1. The polls are flat out wrong, even though in 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010 the pre-election polls were damn near perfect.
2. Some improbable turnout event will take place, i.e. that millions of Democrats will suddenly decide not to vote for some reason.
3. Romney will make up substantial ground in the debates, which very few people even watch and which research shows quite conclusively rarely change any viewers' minds unless one of the candidates has a colossal meltdown.
4. Obama is far more unpopular than the data suggest. Certainly his approval rating is not high, but neither is it in the 20% range like a certain former president's was during the 2008 race.
5. Romney has enough charisma and political skills to win over any potential voters beyond the people who categorically loathe Obama and would vote for literally anyone who the GOP nominated to oppose him.

When coming up with victory scenarios for a candidate requires this kind of magical thinking and this many "I mean, I suppose it could happen!" moments, we've gone beyond playing devil's advocate; we're working overtime trying to convince ourselves that the election is competitive. Yes, there are six weeks remaining and something could happen to tilt the race in Romney's favor. But for his sake it better happen soon and it better be Earth-shattering.

Basically this is the long way of saying: Under any set of reasonable, normal assumptions about voter turnout and other moving parts in the election, it looks extremely unlikely at this point that Mitt Romney can cobble together 270 Electoral Votes. Right now your odds at a slot machine are better than his odds of winning. I want to be conservative but I just don't see it. Whatever hope he may have had earlier this year appears to have been dashed under the sheer weight of his campaign's ineptitude.

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68 Responses to “CONFIDENCE INTERVAL”

  1. Fred Says:

    My $1,000 bet with my boss will off.

  2. freelancer Says:

    I have been dicking around with 270towin.com and 9 days ago, before the embassy debacle and before the Mother Jones video, I made a comment at Balloon Juice that seems appropriate to repost here:

    Another commenter posted:

    No real path for Romney without Ohio or Virginia, right?

    My reply:
    It’s worse than that. Romney has to keep every state that McCain won in 2008. He’s likely to flip Indiana and that put him at 191 Electoral votes.
    In order to keep Obama from crossing 270 at that point, Romney will need to sweep Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida. He’ll need to go 5 for 5 because Obama will already be at 266 and any 1 of those swing states will push him over.

    http://www.270towin.com/2012_election_predictions.php?mapid=xtF

    FWIW, here's my hopeful prediction for 2012:

    http://www.270towin.com/2012_election_predictions.php?mapid=zRN

  3. Xynzee Says:

    My question is what happens to all of the money he's raised? I can't even imagine that they've even scratched the surface of spending what he's raised thus far. Given that his campaign has been so grossly mis-run from the start that I can't but feel that something's up.

    His going on vacation immediately after the NRC? Just a little too relaxed. That causes me concern. So what's the game and why?

  4. FMguru Says:

    One of Mitt's senior advisers seems to have referred to the campaign as a "clusterfuck" in front of an NYT reporter.

    And the problem with narratives about Mitt's campaign turning itself around and rebooting and getting its act together is that the turnaround would be carried out by the same people who have spent the last nine months repeatedly stepping on their dicks, like Sideshow Bob in an endless field of rakes. After the London trip, after building their convention around an old man yelling at an empty chair for 12 minutes, after the 47% tape, after twisting in the wind about tax forms and overseas holdings, after rushing the Paul Ryan announcement on a FRIDAY NIGHT, after trailing Cain and Bachman and Trump and Gingrich for the nomination – why would anyone assume these guys could suddenly start shooting straight? No, we're in for another seven weeks of this campaign paying homage to that episode of the Three Stooges where they try to bake a cake.

    Most interestingly, if Romney's goose looks cooked this far out from the election, then the one thing he was counting on – a geyser of money, both contributed and SuperPAC – will dry up. Rich people didn't get to be rich by flushing money away on hopeless causes, after all. Watching him stumble around in the last week of October, doing free media and begging for contributions, is going to be great fun.

  5. FMguru Says:

    Also, given the half-assed way this campaign has been run (especially in contrast to the Obama effort, which resembles a Swiss watch), I'm willing to bet they're way behind in getting set up for mobilization and Get Out The Vote in November. GOTV is all about effort and persistence and sweating the details and making contact with 100% of the people on your canvassing sheet. The Romeny campaign is about sitting back and counting on infinite money and a bad economy to win the election for you.

    The poisonous effect this is going to have on down-ticket races is going to be amazing to watch. Nate "538" Silver just put up his Senate numbers, and it looks like Team D has about a 70% chance of holding the Senate, up form 38% just four weeks ago. The House is now in play for the D's.

  6. Dr. Mac Says:

    I agree. Also, I heard a liberal talk-radio pundit today say that Turd-Blossom might soon be shifting Mitt-dollars to the down-ballot races; now, that would really suck because I think that mass TV ads have a significant effect on more-local elections. I believe Obama will win; I'm worried about the make-up of the House and Senate. We could very likely end up with four-more identical years. But now that I think about it, that's a very interesting scenario, with multiple twists and turns. And then there's 2016! Ooh, I just jizzed on my new underwear.

  7. Shott3r Says:

    I see the comparison a lot, but in defense of Richie Rich, he was actually quite a nice guy. He was rich and his riches made him have quirky situations, but he was kind and had a good heart.

    Mitt's problem isn't that he's rich. Lots of rich people can connect. Mittens is just an asshole.

  8. Arslan Says:

    Basically the only thing that can possibly give him victory is if the hatred of Obama is hot enough to ensure a massive turnout not in favor of Romney but against Obama. When I hear people comparing Obama to Hitler, it seems plausible, but that in itself is the problem. Comparing Obama to Hitler or Stalin is just too absurd for most people. When all you have for arguments are claims that the opponent will bring about an apocalyptic hell on earth, a lot of people are simply going to dismiss your propaganda.

    On the other hand, four more years of Obama will mean four more years of this insane propaganda, which means in 2016 they can run a candidate who is even further to the right and they'll probably win. Democrats wil be demoralized after four more years of "I wanted to but Congress wouldn't let me" and Republicans will see that election as their chance to bring down the terrible Commu-Fascist-Islamist regime under which they were suffering.

    So basically…Your'e all fucked.

  9. Neal Deesit Says:

    "If Romney was looking like toast last week, what's he going to look like after the latest "Whoops!" in his comedy of errors?"

    Chipped beef on toast a/k/a "shit on a shingle."

  10. wetcasements Says:

    Shott3r beat me to it. Everybody knew he could fuck up a wet dream when it came to campaigning, but the video proves beyond a doubt that's he's simply a rich asshole who got lucky.

    That transcends politics in America.

  11. Jimcat Says:

    The comment I made in conversation yesterday was, "If he's trying to win this election, he doesn't know how. If he knows how to win, then he isn't trying."

  12. c u n d gulag Says:

    Mitt Romney is a terrible politician.
    He's a walking gaffe machine.
    He gives terrible speeches.
    But if you watch him in that video, he sounds like a great politician and speaker – no gaffe's, except the speech itself. He's comfortable walking the walk and talking that talk, because he's with his peep's – rapacious Plutocrats.
    He reminds me of W. When Bush was talking about war, or terror, or torture – aka: enhanced interrogation – he never stumbled over a single syllable. It was when he wanted to seem compassionate and empathetic, that he sounded like English was a 3rd language.

    So, right now, it doesn't look great for Mitt.

    However, there IS a hot hatred for this President, and that, in and of itself, will motivate the racists and/or Evangelicals out there to vote.

    There are 6+ weeks of hundred's of millions of dollars of the worst kind of negative advertising, full of everything from dog-whistles, to getting as close to screaming "N*gger! N*gger!! N*GGER!!!" as TV and radio will allow.

    Also, Obama is NOT a great debater.
    We don't know how great a debater this years version of Mitt is, since in the primaries the MITT2012 Cyborg had to debate a group of escapee's from Ye Old Angry Idiot's Insane Asylum.
    But Obama's not likely to have a Gerald Ford moment. And even if Mitt comes out with W's combo suit-jacket and walkie-talkie and has Karl Rove and Frank Luntz on the other end, supplying him with debate points, he's unlikely to move the numbers much after the first debate – which is the most important one.

    Now, add in the open and hidden voter suppression efforts, the coming intimidation of voters in "urban" areas by groups like "True the Vote," and electronic voting machines which can flip-flop faster than Mitt, and how sure can we be how "true" the voter results will be, compared to what they should be?

    Basically, if the election results are honest, President Obama should win.

    But, when you add in the Election Day shenanigans the Repubicans have, and will, pull, basically no one can really be sure what the final results will be.

    On the plus side, we have 6 more weeks of Mitt sticking his platinum foot in his mouth, so 'nuff said there.

  13. Isuxdixie Says:

    In what respect is Obama not a good debater? My conservative parents seemed to think he was aloof and coldly intellectual but that could've been preexisting bias. I thought he was highly articulate and had a better grasp of what he was talking about, which is what should really count in a debate, but maybe not a presidential debate.

  14. Anonymouse Says:

    I don't understand the dissing of Obama's debating skills, either. He speaks in complete sentences and makes arguments based on reality, which are two things his opponents simply can't manage.

  15. Seth Says:

    Just tossing this out for fun… What if Mittens isn't, in fact, just a bad politician with no charisma but is, in fact, the exact face of the GOP? Heartless, cruel, a complete failure at human empathy; willing to invoke or ignore religiosity at a moment's notice depending on who he thinks is listening; believes Randian enlightened self-interest allows him to lie and cheat with impunity until somebody stops him?

    I know this is an exercise in wish-fulfillment, but I'm beginning to play out the scenario that Mittens may just be the catalyst the squishy center of the American public has needed in order to see how insane the GOP really is. He's their most reasonable, least Santorum-esque candidate, and he's STILL a Pod Person. If you're a moderate Republican (such as they still exist), or an independent who still thinks Republicans are better at economics, maybe it's finally getting easier to see the party for what it really is. Mittens really brings that into focus, doesn't he?

  16. DiTurno Says:

    Imagine it's January 2009. Someone appears in front of you and says "Hey, I'm from the future. Unemployment will not get below 8% during Obama's entire first term, but a month and a half before the 2012 election it looks like he's headed for a comfortable victory."

    There's no way you'd believe that. Besides the time travel part, I mean.

  17. c u n d gulag Says:

    Maybe I stated that "inelegantly." :-)

    President Obama IS a great orator.

    But, speaking for myself, I'm not sure he's a great debater. A good one, yes, a great one, I don't know…

    From what I remember of the debates from '08, both in the primaries and the general, he gave long, complicated answers, and sometimes didn't get to his final point(s).
    Obama is a very, very smart man, and he's very detail oriented. This works well in speeches, when complicated thoughts and facts can be boiled down, and then crafted into the speech. And then he can give his customary masterful reading of it.

    But debates are funky things.
    In 1960, of the people who watched the Kennedy-Nixon debates, a large majority of them though JFK won – the ones who listened to the debates on the radio, thought Nixon won. And remember, back then, TV was not quite as ubiquitous as it is now – and that the more wealthy people were far more likely to have a TV, than some struggling lower-class families, who still relied on their radio for news and entertainment.

    Mitt, I think, is going to stick to certain talking points, so, by their very nature, they won't be long.
    President Obama needs to work on on being crisp and concise.

    Debates are mostly there to reinforce perceptions that the voters already have.
    And sometimes, people have low expectations of certain candidates, and just getting by without melting into a puddle of goo on national TV is a victory.
    Both Gore and Kerry beat W 9 ways to Sunday in their debates. And yet, Bush, by not having a public meltdown, still won the elections.

    I'm afraid that the bar for Mitt will be pretty low, and the one for Obama very, very high. And that just being able to go toe-to-toe with President Obama, and not have a HAL-like meltdown in "2001," and start singing "Daisy, Daisy…" might convince some people that, while Mitt ain't great, he's good enough.

    At the end, opinions are much more static than they were even a decade ago, so I'm not sure how much of an impact the debates might have.
    Obama has little to gain, and a lot to lose – Mitt has a lot to gain, and little to lose.

    I think President Obama will win the debates, but we've seen winners lose the elections before.

  18. sluggo Says:

    If he can't run a campaign, what makes anyone think he could run the country.

    It would be Bush on steroids. Diplomatic foot in mouth gaffes, incompetent hacks running FEMA, accidentally starting WW3…etc.

    Imagine a four year long Three Stooges episode.

  19. Major Kong Says:

    @sluggo

    What do you mean "accidentally" starting WW3?

    It's not a bug – it's a feature.

  20. oiojes Says:

    Don't write Obama in yet. The election is still too close. And we could get into a situation with turnout that Obama wins but we lose the Senate. Which I believe is catastrophe.

    Here's my nightmare scenario: Obama is comfortably enough ahead in the polls that a lot of progressives don't go. What's left are enough to get Obama elected but the House remains Republican and there's a bare majority of Republicans in the Senate.

    The Republicans then put in the exact same filibuster rule change that Reid has been talking about. All of the House insanity gets ratified in the Senate and drops on Obama's desk, not to mention any Senate conformations that get easily turned around.

    Obama spends the next four years getting pissed on and having to say at the end that he would have done better if the GOP hadn't been Grand Old Pricks. Then, in 2016 the Democrats field somebody like Dukakkis and Rubio takes the White House along with the House and Senate.

    We then have Dubya Cubed.

  21. John Says:

    I just wonder where we go from here. If four years of 24/7, turned-up-to-eleven propaganda from every right-wing media source wasn't enough to put Obama away, what are they going to do in the NEXT four years? The likes of Hannity and Malkin are already shitting their pants into a soggy brown mess with rage every single night, what else is left for them when it turns out not to have worked?

  22. Middle Seaman Says:

    It turns out that this factual post encouraged an enthusiastic discussion. Why?

    My enthusiastic points:
    - Obama is a bad president and still
    - Do you have to be inept in order to succeed in life (Obama, Romney)?
    - Except for Gore, the candidates for president of both parties starting 2000 are terrible.
    - Bill Clinton stature increases daily.

  23. c u n d gulag Says:

    Middle Seaman,
    I also like Clinton.
    I think he was the best Republican President of my lifetime – note; I was born in '58, so I really can't say anything about Ike, except that it might be a toss-up between him and The Big Dawg.

    For all of his myriad faults, Obama's been much more Liberal than Clinton.
    Ledbetter.
    Health care.
    Ending DADT.

    And don't forget, Clinton was trying to chase down bin Laden with drones, too.

    I don't ever think I'll see another FDR or LBJ in my lifetime. But then, neither one of them was perfect either. One interred Japanese-Americans, and the other kept doubling-down on Vietnam.

    So, ALL Presidents have faults. The key is, to find the ones who'll do the least damage.

  24. Mrs. Davis Says:

    As a lifelong Democrat AND Cubs fan, I can imagine all kinds of scenarios where Obama ends up losing. There will very likely be a Steve Bartman-type moment sometime in the next few weeks — I just hope it doesn't cost the Dems the election.

    Also, this country elected George W. Bush TWICE. What makes us think it couldn't/wouldn't elect Mittens?

  25. Doomed, we are Says:

    Perhaps he thinks he can buy or steal the election & campaigning is a foolish time suck. His prior life experience would support that viewpoint. The problem is, I'm pretty sure it IS possible to buy or steal this election

  26. bb in GA Says:

    I know y'all hate the hell out of him, but W was/is an affable, pleasant, approachable man.

    Willard ain't…

    Remember, keep your eye on the Paulistas and work your ground game like, about 200 mph w/ your hair on fire.

    You will win.

    //bb

  27. Lacking Moral Fiber aka Useless Muthfucka frmly Nemesis Says:

    You say the accuracy of polls is in question? Seems the Presidential polls have been pretty consistent nationally and state by state.

  28. Major Kong Says:

    @bb

    I don't hate W.

    I wish him nothing but a long and happy retirement -

    AS FAR FROM THE LEVERS OF POWER AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

  29. ninja3000 Says:

    @Mrs. Davis:

    Actually, the country did not elect GWB the first time, the Supreme Court did.

  30. Vinny Says:

    I for one am relying on 7-11 for polling results

    http://www.7-eleven.com/7-election/

  31. sluggo Says:

    @ Kong

    We have video evidence of your plans for WW3.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcW_Ygs6hm0

    So no comments from you about that.

  32. Major Kong Says:

    Yee ha!!!!!

  33. Jonathan Says:

    So lots of lightly regulated money has been pledged for Romney.

    Romney has also been palling around with belligerent Netanyahu.

    Who else is thinking October Surprise redux?

  34. acer Says:

    Despite what we saw in the Bush years, the Rs aren't going to stick their necks out to somehow rig this one for Willard.

    Nope. If they have any political sense, they're already shifting their energies to the state and local levels in hopes of sterilizing Obama, keeping things pretty much the same for four years, and cashing in on the continuing economic decline in 2016. All of which they can do, handily.

    I know it's controversial to assume Obama has this one handled because GET OUT THE VOTE!!! WE SHOULD BE SCARED OF ROMNEY!!! SCOTUS!!! ROE V. WORLD!!! But the focus would be much better placed on lower-profile races at this point.

    Romney has fucked himself and will continue to do so. If you think Obama has any will left to spur progressive ideas, help him get the Congressional backing to do so.

  35. BobS Says:

    @bb in GA

    My first impression of Bush in 2000 is that he was a punk. After 8 years of him as president I now know he was/is both a punk and a bully. He may have turned out a better person if he'd had the good fortune to have the shit kicked out of him once or twice as a younger man. Personally, I can't imagine sitting down to have a beer with him without having to constantly fight the urge to break a longneck across his forehead.

  36. anotherbozo Says:

    Yes, it looks as though Romney is going to strangle himself with his own foot.

    I keep waiting for Obama's team to say, OF COURSE vote for our guy but you've got to help him by re-electing/electing Democratic congressmen/senators! He's nothing without congressional help! Pound the pavement for THEM! He can't do it alone! etc. etc.

    Where are the peeps who look beyond November?

  37. Chicagojon Says:

    You could have added:
    6. Lose Ohio and Florida but win them once the votes are counted

    At least there's precedence for that. Of course as freelancer posted above even those 2 states + all of McCains + IN isn't enough so yah, he's done.

    Looks like I'll win my $100 bet made months ago when I already had Mitt at less than a 5% chance. I think I'll give him a chance to buy out for $60 just to insult him…

  38. mel in oregon Says:

    oh jesus christ, wtf. what we have learned is romney is stupider than palin. you just don't ever say what all conservatives believe, namely that everyone who is wealthy deserves it, & that the shift of all the capital from the poor & working classes to the wealthy is a wonderful thing. hell they all believe this, romney just got caught telling the truth. clinton a good president? wtf. he's as bad as gw bush. the whole economic collapse would never have happened if he hadn't let glass-steagall be repealed. under his watch all the "free trade" agreements like nafta occurred which meant most manufacturing jobs left the united states & went to china. the son-of-a- bitch ended "welfare as we know it", now we have 20% or more of all our children living in poverty. get educated for christ's sake before spouting bullshit about clinton. obama? he's a half-assed president if there ever was one. who are his advisers & cabinet members? rahm (shithead) emanuel, rubin, summers, geither & the fed chief bernanke. bernanke is on the third round of quantative easing which puts more money into the wallstreet crime families & is paid for by the poor & working classes. it's another transfer from the poor taxpayer to the 1%, simple as that. quit bullshitting about all these republicans beating up poor old obama. he's a big boy (sorry politically correct people, this isn't racist, it applies to anyone sitting in the oval office). fdr would have skinned the republicans alive. romney has demonstrated that he would be worse than gw bush, more corrupt, stupider, & more out of touch. that's really saying something. romney has as much chance of winning as o'reilly & hannity have of recovering from terminal stupidity disease. relax.

  39. Pat Says:

    I'm amazed at how badly I called this election. Technically it's not over yet, but Ed demonstrates just what thin cover that "technically" is. Two years ago, I was absolutely certain that the president needed unemployment below 7.0% to have even a chance of reelection, and we're not close to that. That judgment is now so clearly wrong that any attempt to justify it amounts to throwing good money after bad.

    Which, as chance would have it, is a favorite hobby of mine, so let's go.

    I think the circumstances that would lead to a Romney victory are not implausible so much as fitting into a box of "plausible—actually really, really plausible—but not in fact going to happen." Structurally, he should be competitive. And the more one looks at the 1980 election the more one imagines all the ways it could happen; I would estimate it as a roughly equal combination of Ed's factors 1 and 3, with a dash of 4. Or to put it another way, to believe Mitt Romney can still win this election, one pretty much has to believe that a large number of poll respondents and voters have not paid much attention to this point and have not firmly made up their minds; and that when they do make up their minds, economic factors will predominate.

    That's not really so insane-sounding. Both sides are so pessimistic that to talk about the comparative "enthusiasm" of Rs and Ds comes off like a grim joke. It's entirely possible that the superficial declarations of voter preference for Obama obscures a large swath of highly persuadable voters. It's just that there's no evidence for that. Or, again, to put it another way, it's wrong, but it's not crazy.

    (By the way, whence the assumption that "few people even watch" the debates? Between 30-45 million households tune into the debates. Most of them may be rooting for their preselected favorite, but that's still considerable.)

  40. Greydog Says:

    James Fallows has an article in The Atlantic about Romney's history in debates. It's worth reading. Romney is terrible in speeches, but terrific at debates. Remember, it doesn't matter what is said, only what it looks like.
    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/09/slugfest/309063/

    Regarding the election, I'm not counting my chickens yet. The margins are in single digits, and if only 2 or 3 swing states go R because of the various voter suppression schemes, it's all over.

    Remember how Florida was "won" by a few hundred votes in 2000? Before that election Democrats registered 200,000-some new voters. This year, because of new rules on registration the number so far is about 10,000.

    The real war for the country is at the state level. Reps have been pretty successful at that.

  41. Both Sides Do It Says:

    Romney is W without a hazy youth spent doing blow, alcohol or caffeine

  42. bb in GA Says:

    @BobS

    Your impressions of W are shared by bunches of people, I'm sure, but I don't think that my description of "affable, pleasant, and approachable" is too far off the mark for his PERCEIVED personality by a huge slice of the American public.

    It sounds a little paranoid, but I wouldn't share the part about the physical stuff vis-a-vis you and GW.

    //bb

  43. Tom in NL Says:

    How about Netanyahu launches attacks against Iran and the price of oil doubles?

  44. Major Kong Says:

    Who is this George W. Bush you guys keep talking about? The GOP doesn't seem to want to mention him these days.

  45. BobS Says:

    @bb in GA

    You're right, it does sound a little paranoid, but even if it wasn't, I think the odds of me sitting on a barstool next to Bush are slim. I'd also be willing to bet that among the people who share my impressions are the Secret Service guys who've seen what a cowardly little prick Bush is from up close.
    Plus, he doesn't drink. In public, anyway.

  46. Doomed, we are Says:

    I'd be worried about nefarious entities manipulating gas prices, but Obama doesn't strike me as dangerous enough to the plutocracy to be worth the hassle. As an added bonus having a D as POTUS diminishes the risk of having leftists protesting in the streets.

  47. Crankyoldfaggot Says:

    Here's the thing no one's mentioned yet: "Some improbable turnout event will take place, i.e. that millions of Democrats will suddenly decide not to vote for some reason."

    I keep seeing reports in the news that large numbers of black pastors are urging their congregations either not to vote at all this year or to skip the presidential box and only vote down-ticket, because of Obama's recently stated support of same-sex marriage. Even congregations not usually considered hardcore evangelical are hearing this message from the pulpit, apparently. This really scares me; I think Obama needs every vote he can get honestly, and having a large part of the voting public ignore him or stay home altogether doesn't seem to be something the analysts are taking into consideration — at least, I'm not seeing it mentioned anywhere but in the news.

  48. Davis X. Machina Says:

    "As an added bonus having a D as POTUS diminishes the risk of having leftists protesting in the streets."

    Leftists protesting in the streets…. all twelve of them.

    America will some day allow us to test the theory that a peasant cannot storm a castle with a pitchfork in one hand, and a game controller in the other.

    Mistah Debs, he dead.

  49. Mike Says:

    Regarding 2) Black pastors are telling parishioners to not turn out at the polls because Obama betrayed blacks by supporting same-sex marriage.

    Personally I don't think that's going to matter, but it's possible it will effect the outcome in some of the borderline bible-banger states.

  50. don Says:

    Well, all I can say is that in the last few days I've come to realize the Republican party really does have my best interests at heart. Every time they let a Romney out to say something, there's a song in my heart and nothing but blue skies above.

  51. Heywood J. Says:

    I actually felt bad for McCain in 2008. I would have probably voted for him in 2000 had he survived the Rove ratfucking in the SC primary. But the 2008 version was obviously a radically different model, cemented by his roll of the dice on the Thrilla From Wasilla. Still, after all that, I think most people can at least see some good in John McCain.

    But Romney's a soulless fucking asshole, and if there was any doubt about that, the video effectively dispels it. He quite literally sees the unrich as another species, spoiled, lazy, too stupid to take care of themselves, and inexcusably ungrateful for all the trickling Mitt and his friends have, um, showered them with. I mean, really. Even before the video, how many times did we all spontaneously erupt, "What the fuck is wrong with this guy?" Right?

    And with an already existing enthusiasm gap, this comes out. COuldn't happen to a nicer guy. Even these ricockulous fist-shaking codgers who've supported Money Boo Boo up to now have to be rethinking it. I'm betting a decent chunk of them still won't be able to stomach voting for that damned black socialist, but they also won't bother with the Stormin' Mormon who just had the balls to call them a bunch of freeloading losers. They'll stay home and masturbate to Hannity, or git on the Hoveround and just vote downticket.

    I have two sincere hopes involving the Mittster: 1. That he and his family someday get to experience the full brunt of the policies he and his granny-starving sidekick espouse; 2. That the day after Obammy kicks Romney's ass in the election, James Carter IV sends Romney a card saying, "Oh, by the way, Grandpa says for you to go get your fuckin' shine box."

  52. Anonymouse Says:

    The people who think Shrub is "affable" and "pleasant" are likely the same mouth-breathers who find Palin "stunningly beautiful" and "man, I'd like to f*** her".

  53. bb in GA Says:

    @Anonymouse

    I think you are letting your animosity towards W and a majority of the folks who supported him (multiplied millions) cloud your objective analysis of the situation.

    It also puts you in the same elitist position as Mr. Romney with perhaps a different demographic, but nearly as large, block of the electorate.

    //bb

  54. Sarah Says:

    Unsurprisingly, Mitt Romney is stilla racist shitbag.

  55. Bill Jones Says:

    Well, the barking mad corporatist neo-con whack jobs of the Republican Establishment got the guy they wanted as their candidate.

    So, Obama it's going to be then.

    The GOP needs to get thrashed on a regular basis until something like the Whig/Republican transformation takes place with the wars replacing slavery as the issue.

  56. bb in GA Says:

    I know we are near the end of our attention span on this post…but I notice, again, that liberals here use the term "mouth-breather" to deride those they disagree with…Why?

    I have worked with mentally retarded people and have friends who have Down syndrome children. They are sometimes difficult to deal with, but on balance they are lovely, kind, and simple (in the good sense) people.

    Hate me straight up, I can handle it, but why do you Libs, who often imply you have the patent on compassion, denigrate these poor souls? Fortunately, I would bet nearly all of them don't know about your unkindness.

    If you believe in Cosmic consequences a la karma/sowing and reaping, perhaps, or maybe not…most of y'all are probably Randian on that score (about the only place you agree w/ her.)

    Another question, 'Why do you liberal feminists allow without challenge and sometimes use the word "douche bag'" as an epithet?'

    What about the process of feminine hygiene is degrading to the point that you want to use it as a derogatory term for someone you disagree with or don't like?

    I as a male have always been partial to the care and maintenance of the equipment that douche bags service :-)

    //bb

  57. bb in GA Says:

    Oh..I forgot mention our good Liberal former VP ALgore. You know, back in the day, he referred to some of us as "the extra chromosome right."

    Down Syndrome results from an extra chromosome, if I understand correctly…

    Why use that reference, if you are a kind, compassionate, politically correct liberal?

    //bb

  58. Heywood J. Says:

    bb:

    Obviously I don't post comments here much, but I read G&T pretty regularly, and I enjoy many of the commenters here, including yourself. Even when you post something I happen to disagree with, you seem to be reasonable and objective. It's too bad more conservatives don't comport themselves the way you do.

    That said, your dismay at the seeming insensitivity of the librul cohort seems a tad selective and disingenuous, after a full generation or so of the saturated vituperation of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Neal Boortz, and any number of additional right-wing tubthumpers and Fox News propagandists, whose track record of playing fast and loose with data and calumniating opponents is vast and easy to research. It is important to note that no such counterparts on the left exist. Maybe Bill Maher, but at least Maher sticks to empirical data.

    Mainstream conservative discourse has for so many years been characterized by these over-the-top gambits to defame and distort, to invent where needed. Everything from "Hitlery Clinton is a lesbian who killed Vince Foster" to heckling Obama at the SOTU. And that doesn't even touch the years of vile, hateful rhetoric on the internets, far nastier and more insensitive than "mouth-breather".

    Hannity & Colmes epitomized the mainstream conservative style of demonizing and effeminizing liberals, treating them as girlie-men, somewhere between a milquetoast and a prison bitch. (So it's a problem for "liberal feminists" to use the term "douchebag", but no great shakes for virtually every popular conservative broadcaster to routinely use effeminizing terms to defame liberals, thus clarifying their sentiments about both liberals and women. Good to know.)The choice in those circumstances, unfortunately, becomes either fighting fire with fire, or continuing to get punked by the lot of them. Colmes chose to stay classy and punked. Good for him.

    As for GeeDub's "affability", sorry, but I never got it. I still don't. As far back as 1999, when an unsuspecting media decided to introduce W. as a serious candidate, he struck me as a smug frat-boy prick. The more I became acquainted with him, the more that impression was cemented.

    Maybe you remember a Gary Cooper type who innocently liked to josh around and snicker at his own jokes. Some of us recall the frat-boy one-upmanship, the snotty nicknames he stuck everyone with, coupled with the pissiness when he felt someone was being insufficiently deferential. I recall the photo-op tough guy, the guy who blew off the bin Laden memo because it interrupted his vacation, the guy who told the jihadis to bring it on, and seemed surprised when they, um, brought it on. The guy who nicknamed everyone taller than himself "Stretch", and patted every bald man he saw like he thought he was on Benny Hill. The guy who wiped his hand on Bill Clinton's sleeve after a filthy Haitian shook it. In virtually every environment he appeared, Bush conveyed a profound sense of disrespect to all who happened to be within proximity of him.

    Maybe you saw someone relatable, and that's awesome. Some of us just saw another spoiled, entitled sociopath, just like every other rich asshole many of us grew up with, people who never had any skin or risk of their own in the game, because Daddy would always bail them out. But they never shied from pushing someone else into the shit they started, whether a bar fight or a war. That's not emotion, that's just recognizing that sort of person on sight.

    The guy's a dick, pure and simple, and everything you need to know about him, as a man and as a president, was demonstrated quite clearly by the fact that he wasn't invited and was mentioned only by his own brother athis party's convention.

    I see the same sort of thing in Mitt Romney. The video just confirmed what many of us long suspected — he knows that his core fundraising audience views the unrich as another, lower species, and he shares their concerns. Maybe it's just me, but I find the guy who just got caught telling 47% of Americans to go fuck themselves because they're a bunch of freeloading, thankless losers, that guy and the audience who dropped $50k to listen to him talk like that are a much greater problem than random internets commenters using pejoratives like "mouth-breather" or "retard". As always, your mileage may vary.

    By the way, while Al Gore did indeed use the "extra-chromosome" insult to describe the supporters of Ollie North's misbegotten Senate campaign, Lee Atwater actually used it first. To describe his own fundie base. The idea that liberals are always expected to use a rhetorical fencing epee against the conservative assault-rifle militia, because it's classier, is one of the more pernicious disparities that persists in some pockets.

  59. Heywood J. Says:

    Sorry for the excessive length of the last cpmment.

  60. Heywood J. Says:

    Or comment, if you prefer. Sheesh.

  61. BobS Says:

    Nice comment, Heywood J.

  62. Heywood J. Says:

    Thanks. I would like to make a humble but 100% reliable prediction concerning this election. I claim no powers of clairvoyance, but one thing I know in this life is assholes.

    And while I believe that Obama will gain a little traction on Money Boo Boo in the debates, and ultimately hold on to win, one thing is a dead-certain lead-pipe cinch — regardless of who wins the election, the losing party will tack further right for the next round. Bet your next fifty paychecks (if your job hasn't been sent to China) on it.

    If that doesn't tell us everything we need to know about the current state of American politics, that it's the owned-and-operated province of plutokleptocrats (or is it kleptoplutocrats — how about just kakistocrats?) I don't know what would.

  63. bb in GA Says:

    @Heywood J

    Great post – shorter reply

    Just like Libs flambe' conservatives/repubs when they have a sexual/moral failure because Rs often represent themselves as the 'family values' party, in a like manner Libs/Dems need to be called out when they are heartless vis-a-vis Down's people, for example, because the Left claims the high ground on empathy and compassion.

    We also have a power gradient issue:

    VP Gore or some national D political figure (Reid – W's a loser, Pelosi, with her observation of SWA-stee- KAHS at the T-party, et al) saying something degrading or offensive is not categorically equal to a talk show host running off at the mouth.

    I'm not in love w/ W, but my observation holds they he is perceived positively by a large swath of the electorate, not withstanding your cogent comments.

    The shorter version of one of your points is, indeed, fighting fire w/ fire. But another characterization of it could be 'justifying your bad behavior by pointing to the bad behavior of others.'

    Being unkind to mentally retarded people because R. Limbaugh is a butt head kind of escapes me – especially when the person saying that would likely claim moral superiority to others (especially the Right) on the topic of empathy/compassion.

    Thanks,

    //bb

  64. Heywood J. Says:

    bb:

    Thanks for the response. Your first point is valid, although aside from Al Gore's "extra-chromosome" (again, in 1994) comment and Rahm Emanuel's use of the r-word a couple years ago while he was CoS, I honestly cannot recall any Lib/Dem politicians indulging in that sort of hypocrisy, whereas you could pretty much dock a barge on the list of "family values" conservatives caught with their pants down.

    You're right about the collective perception of W, I'm well aware that I'm in the minority. It is something that will puzzle me for the rest of my days, I suppose, to me the man's dickishness is and always was as self-evident as Gore's stiffness and discomfort in his own skin.

    All due respect, I think your final point is an oversimplification, and is off by an order of magnitude. Limbaugh (a man, incidentally, already hoist on his other hypocrisies of monogamy and drugs) has inflicted his nonsense on millions of people for more than two decades. This is a man who, among other things, openly mocked Michael J. Fox' Parkinson's symptoms, and strongly implied that Fox was faking some or all of it (or at least not taking his meds to make it appear worse).

    Does that excuse Anonymouse or me or anyone else from the occasional use of "mouth-breather" or some such? No, but we're also not doing it because of Limbaugh or anyone else. The "fight fire with fire" strategy, unfortunately, is about the only thing that keeps us in the same game, maybe not with you, but with the vocal majority of your ideological kin.

    I'll let it go for now, we've beaten this poor horse pretty well at this point. Have a great weekend.

  65. Heywood J. Says:

    One last minor point, before I forget: while the "mouth-breather" stuff is (for me at least) mostly schtick, there are instances — the so-called "Creation" "Museum" is a prime example — where it is extraordinarily difficult not to seriously wonder about the mental acuity of the participants and attendees.

    I'm sorry, but it's impossible to be confronted with things like that, and not assume that said mental acuity affects all their decisions — and more importantly, votes, which the rest of us who read and pay attention are forced to bear the consequences of.

  66. Sarah Says:

    Another question, 'Why do you liberal feminists allow without challenge and sometimes use the word "douche bag'" as an epithet?'

    One can't go around fixing every little thing that's wrong with the world. If I tried to do that I'd be engaging in an endless game of whack-a-mole and getting very little accomplished. But I will say that the fact that liberal dudes will sometimes say things like "douche bags" (and even worse, like "cunts") is proof that dudely privilege does in fact exist, although using such gendered insults is not wholly a dude thing (see Bill Maher; I love Bill Maher's politics, but–yeah). And that's why you will see some radfems who will say that they don't trust dudes at all. The very least I will say is that even the most foul-mouthed liberal dude is not looking to put women back into the kitchens barefoot and pregnant (thus the designation of "liberal"). Ted Kennedy and Bill Clinton were assholes, to be sure (and Kennedy by all rights should have gone to prison). But they both did a lot of things that have benefited and continue to benefit women. Those are things which I and other women are not willing to give up, and as has been said here, it's not a good idea to have the perfect be the enemy of the good. Speaking of perfect, let's not forget that we're all human beings and we are all prone to making mistakes and doing stupid things.

  67. Barry Says:

    DiTurno Says:

    "Imagine it's January 2009. Someone appears in front of you and says "Hey, I'm from the future. Unemployment will not get below 8% during Obama's entire first term, but a month and a half before the 2012 election it looks like he's headed for a comfortable victory."

    There's no way you'd believe that. Besides the time travel part, I mean."

    Actually, you could, considering what the situation was like four years ago. Not having an actual second Great Depression was not assured.

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