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Romney's Technical Foul
November 19, 2012 10:38 AM   Subscribe

You've heard from quite a few sources as to why and how Romney lost, including Romney himself. But technology played a role in the loss, too. According to Sean Gallagher in Ars Technica, Romney's campaign was badly outgunned when it came to its technology infrastructure, relying heavily on outsourced IT and consultants. The disastrous Project ORCA, an attempted streamlining of the age old "strike list" process for contacting those who haven't voted yet, likely did not help.

On Sunday, November 18, Anonymous claimed partial credit for ORCA's repeated crashes on Election Day.
posted by Lieber Frau (130 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:41 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "orca's repeated crashes" link isn't working for some reason.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's a big note of caution to any overconfident Democrats or people on the left or center, that Obama's win was not by a huge margin. Even despite the many mistakes, appallingly alienating statements, and on-the-ground mess-ups of the smaller Romney or larger GOP campaigns

Swings of just a few percent in several states, due to a competent ticket and campaign (neither of which happened this time around), could very well put a Republican back in the White House in 2016.
posted by Wordshore at 10:44 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hmm. Working for me, though it may send you to a page takeover for a moment. You should be able to click at the top right to get through it.
posted by Lieber Frau at 10:45 AM on November 19, 2012


Basically, they rolled out too much too fast with too little user training. Classic software project mistakes, really.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:48 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The "orca's repeated crashes" link isn't working for some reason.
posted by EmpressCallipygos


That's Anonymous, too.
posted by COBRA! at 10:48 AM on November 19, 2012


In contrast, here's an article on Obama's IT team.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:49 AM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe. I'm more impressed by the fact that Harper Reed's team actually tested their code on Oct 21 and less impressed that the ORCA team had not tested in a production-like environment prior to election day.

This is basic IT project management, and somebody doesn't know how to run a tech company.
posted by Mad_Carew at 10:49 AM on November 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


"Reading all this stuff about Orca has been scary," said Obama for America Chief Technology Officer Harper Reed, "because I don't like celebrating tech failures—I would never wish that on any enemy or opponent. It's a scary thing in the world, because technology is not our friend. It only fucks us over. We're just waiting for the robot uprising."

Now that's a quote.
posted by brain_drain at 10:52 AM on November 19, 2012 [46 favorites]


From monju_bosatsu's link, re: Obama's tech team:

"Narwhal was the code name for the data platform that underpinned the campaign and let it track voters and volunteers."

Loving the marine mammals theme to election year 2012.
posted by Lieber Frau at 10:52 AM on November 19, 2012


I feel this article is vaguely misleading. They make it sound like the selection of the IT vendor was political cronyism, whereas in fact the MSPmentor 100 ranked mindSHIFT as the number 1 MSP for four consecutive years in a row, and the Harvard Business Review ranked Paul Chisholm as number 26 on its list of the top 100 best performing CEOs in the world. Furthermore, outsourcing to an MSP allowed them to save a ton of money due to economy of scale.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:54 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The bitter irony of this entire endeavor was that a supposedly small government candidate gutted the local structure of GOTV efforts in favor of a centralized, faceless organization in a far off place (in this case, their Boston headquarters). Wrap your head around that.

"Supposedly" indeed, dude. Wrap your head around THAT.
posted by DU at 10:54 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Loving the marine mammals theme to election year 2012.

If Christie runs in 2016, the punchlines just write themselves.
posted by gimonca at 10:55 AM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Be sure to check the Business Insider link, which is a repost of something a Romney campaign volunteer blogged the day after the election. It's a litany of specific, preventable failures on things like the instruction packet to complete lack of response from the campaign to questions on election day. An amazing, stupid, wonderful failure.
posted by mediareport at 10:55 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure orcas eat narwhals....
posted by miyabo at 10:56 AM on November 19, 2012


It's a big note of caution to any overconfident Democrats or people on the left or center, that Obama's win was not by a huge margin. Even despite the many mistakes, appallingly alienating statements, and on-the-ground mess-ups of the smaller Romney or larger GOP campaigns

Actually it's amazing that Obama won despite the economy and everything that Republicans have been doing for the past four years to make him as ineffective as possible. The Republican goofs and mess-ups while not as important as they may have seemed at the time, have to be considered as much as anything else in analyzing why he won.
posted by happyroach at 10:57 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that was the point of the name. Hilariously, in retrospect.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:57 AM on November 19, 2012


I feel like we've covered this ground already in the thread about Obama's technical campaign? But maybe this is a good mirror image discussion to that one.
posted by ceribus peribus at 10:57 AM on November 19, 2012


I never get tired of the fact that Obama simply spanked Romney when it came to running a competent organization. Just made them look like amateurs when it came to messaging, organization, planning (romney reportedly paid much higher ad rates in swing states because they bought them last minute), etc.

Policies aside, Obama and his team demonstrated themselves to be much more competent. And managerial competence was supposedly Romney's SINGLE argument for being in the whitehouse. Hilarious
posted by slapshot57 at 10:59 AM on November 19, 2012 [56 favorites]


If Christie runs in 2016, the punchlines just write themselves.

Let's not. It's just as bad to police male public figures about their bodies as it is to do it to women. Someone can rise or fall on their own merits, completely apart from their appearance. No need to make fat jokes.
posted by stoneweaver at 11:00 AM on November 19, 2012 [71 favorites]


happyroach: "Actually it's amazing that Obama won despite the economy and everything that Republicans have been doing for the past four years to make him as ineffective as possible."

Unfortunately for the republicans, the voters have actual, working memories, and they used them to recall which party presided over the deregulation and ultimate downfall of the economy.
posted by mullingitover at 11:00 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Also the Romney campaign was run by complete nitwits.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:06 AM on November 19, 2012


Furthermore, outsourcing to an MSP allowed them to save a ton of money due to economy of scale.

In context, this sentence pretty much sums up everything that needs to be said about the mindset that outsources this stuff.
posted by brennen at 11:11 AM on November 19, 2012 [24 favorites]


That was the wrong place to save money if they wanted to win.
posted by Forktine at 11:17 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Ars Technica reporting here has been really great. Almost makes me want a subscription.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:20 AM on November 19, 2012


I feel this article is vaguely misleading. They make it sound like the selection of the IT vendor was political cronyism, whereas in fact the MSPmentor 100 ranked mindSHIFT as the number 1 MSP for four consecutive years in a row, and the Harvard Business Review ranked Paul Chisholm as number 26 on its list of the top 100 best performing CEOs in the world. Furthermore, outsourcing to an MSP allowed them to save a ton of money due to economy of scale.

Had they paid attention, they would've known the Obama campaign had tried that in 2008 and the relative failure then was the reason they brought the IT onboard rather than outsource it again. In other words, the Republicans were four years behind the guys with the most experience.

There's also a lesson there for any IT dependent company that doesn't think of it self as an it company: outsourcing mission critical IT makes you more vulnerable.

(Also, as a rate of IT competence, the fact that Harvard Business Review likes the CEO of the company is meaningless.)
posted by MartinWisse at 11:22 AM on November 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


A disturbing thing I heard was about the neoconservative brain trust that Romney was lining up to advise on Defense policy. I wish I had a source for this, sorry - supposedly they were quoted as saying that they wanted to change Pentagon planning to think about what could go right in operations, so as to prepare to maximize gains. No more negative stuff about planning for adverse contingencies, which, I guess, is something that only losers do.
posted by thelonius at 11:23 AM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Anonymous proclamation (decent overview here) is the only new information here. They claim that they not only screwed with Orca but prevented it from somehow aiding in election tampering. I would love to see actual evidence of this--as it is I believe they launched a DNS attack on their systems or something but not much farther than that.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:25 AM on November 19, 2012


Even good technology that you know how to use won't save you if you're not as good at organizing your supporters as the other guy.
posted by rtha at 11:26 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also the Romney campaign was run by complete nitwits.

The goofs described in the Business Insider link are pretty bad stuff. Not even mistakes, which happen in software development, but stuff that betrays a near complete lack of understanding of the platform and how to develop for it. I swear, it's like these guys thought they were entitled to win, so who cares about the details?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:27 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I swear, it's like these guys thought they were entitled to win, so who cares about the details?

Why should they have cared about the IT stuff and the GOTV ? Romney was predicted by top men to win by 879 electoral votes.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:29 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Romney campaign was bragging before the election about how great Orca was. Their unearned hubris--from the project name on down--is pretty sweet considered how badly they bungled this.

Meanwhile I don't remember hearing of Obama's IT team until they delivered on Election Day (and I'm a high-information voter that followed the election closely, read dozens of politics blogs daily, and is interested in the intersection of politics and technology).
posted by kirkaracha at 11:30 AM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


In realistic terms, Romney always was the most electable candidate of the Republicans running in 2012, i.e. not a raving extremist. (Yes, he may have set a record for most career flip-flopping, but in today's turbulent political environment, that was a feature, not a bug.)

The victory of the Community Organizer over the CEO is so freaking symbolic, and the success of Narwhal and failure of ORCA is just... obvious.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:32 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Swings of just a few percent in several states, due to a competent ticket and campaign (neither of which happened this time around), could very well put a Republican back in the White House in 2016.

332 to 206. That IS a huge margin. This has been pointed out by others is previous threads but those are really the only numbers that matter. The national popular vote was close but it doesn't matter. Neither side campaigned to win the popular vote. A difference of a few percentage points in a few states was what was needed to win so that was what they worked towards. It doesn't make sense to try and win Ohio by 10% when 2% will do. They have limited resources so the trick is to spend just enough in each state to eek out a victory (and to give up on states that can't be won).
posted by VTX at 11:34 AM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


I swear, it's like these guys thought they were entitled to win, so who cares about the details?

I've said this before, but it's like they saw that people vote for challengers more when the economy's bad, and decided this was a direct cause-and-effect relationship. All we have to do is tell people the economy sucks, and they'll vote for Romney! It's foolproof! We just have to sit there and let the votes hit us in the head!

If these people were advertising McDonald's, they'd have an entire multibillion-dollar ad campaign based around telling people how hungry they are, with no mention of any of the food McDonald's serves, because studies prove that when people go to McDonald's, they're almost always hungry.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:34 AM on November 19, 2012 [22 favorites]


Furthermore, outsourcing to an MSP allowed them to save a ton of money due to economy of scale.

Outsourcing does save a ton of money. You give a smaller amount of money to people who care less about the final product than the larger amount you'd give to people who are invested in an actual successful launch. And this is exactly what happens.

I have loved these tales of what went wrong with Orca- someone should make an IT business case out of it. Everything they could do wrong they did with gusto.
posted by winna at 11:35 AM on November 19, 2012 [22 favorites]


In realistic terms, Romney always was the most electable candidate of the Republicans running in 2012, i.e. not a raving extremist.

No he wasn't. But, we'll never know for sure now.
posted by Wordshore at 11:36 AM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Pretty sure orcas eat narwhals....

Yep. Orca whales are one of the narwhals' greatest natural predators.
posted by ericb at 11:38 AM on November 19, 2012


Yeah, I was going to mention Huntsman. Very limited exposure, but he seemed like a candidate that could actually win the election, not just the primary.
posted by Malor at 11:40 AM on November 19, 2012


I think it comes down to: Kid Rock vs Bruce Springsteen.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:43 AM on November 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


Kinda ironic that they named the project after a whale when a Fail Whale is synonymous with IT failure.
posted by gyc at 11:48 AM on November 19, 2012


Yeah, I was going to mention Huntsman. Very limited exposure, but he seemed like a candidate that could actually win the election, not just the primary.

Ironically, if the Romney bankrolling bandwagon hadn't crushed all the other contenders (and Huntsman had got a few big doners himself, and not gambled entirely on the New Hampshire primary), then the USA could have been welcoming a Mormon Republican president after all in a few weeks.

Anyway, looks like the chances of that happening in four years time have pretty much receded.
posted by Wordshore at 11:55 AM on November 19, 2012


Some to sum it up: If you're not part of the solution, there's good money to be made in prolonging the problem.

(and I say that as an IT consultant)
posted by blue_beetle at 11:56 AM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


If these people were advertising McDonald's, they'd have an entire multibillion-dollar ad campaign based around telling people how hungry they are, with no mention of any of the food McDonald's serves, because studies prove that when people go to McDonald's, they're almost always hungry.

I see where you're going, but I think your analogy is flawed: this would hold true if there were practically only two restaurants for people to choose from, and the other one was a chicken restaurant, and you were running nothing but ads saying "you're hungry and chicken doesn't fill you up".

It's not great, but it's not crazy.
posted by Shepherd at 12:00 PM on November 19, 2012


Worse, outsourcing is often not even cheaper; it's just sold as being cheaper. Often it's just a budget trick.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:01 PM on November 19, 2012 [8 favorites]


he seemed like a candidate that could actually win the election, not just the primary.

Maybe that should read: just not the primary

Was Huntsman not way not rightwing enough to win the republican primary?
posted by PaulZ at 12:01 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I watched this over the weekend, and was horrified. Is this story - Rove's attempt at overthrowing the election, blocked by Anonymous - going to get any play?
posted by tizzie at 12:02 PM on November 19, 2012


These Premises Are Alarmed: "The Ars Technica reporting here has been really great. Almost makes me want a subscription."

Yeah, it's really too bad they've recently had a large amount of turnover in the writing staff, leaving most of their content much worse off. I'm hoping that the newer folks find their voice (and brains) soon.

And blue_beetle has it. We IT consultants don't really have well aligned incentives to make things work well. A half ass solution is worth a lot more to us in ongoing maintenance than building the thing was in the first place. I don't go that route, being a person with scruples, but it sure seems like it might have been the better option in the months where it's hard to find even 20 billable hours and every project is stuck in "we'll do that next month" hell.

Beyond that, it's just brighter to do little bits at a time than it is to have some massive scheme all put into production at once. If you do those little bits with the larger goal in mind, you get pieces of functionality that can be tested, made to work, and put into production before moving on to the next piece of the puzzle, rather than rolling everything out on one day and almost inevitably watching the ship take on water.
posted by wierdo at 12:04 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe that should read: just not the primary

Yeah, that's what I meant -- he couldn't win the primary, but he could have won the election. And, yes, he was much too sensible to win the primary.
posted by Malor at 12:05 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm sure it's been said elsewhere, but you know the Republicans are doing everything they can to get this kind of story in front of everyone they can so they can claim Romney's loss was a technical failure, not a failure of the Republican platform.
posted by skyscraper at 12:09 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm sure it's been said elsewhere, but you know the Republicans are doing everything they can to get this kind of story in front of everyone they can so they can claim Romney's loss was a technical failure, not a failure of the Republican platform.

Which means that they can't learn from their mistake. Fix the wrong problem and the outcome will be quite similar.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:12 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Outsourcing does save a ton of money. You give a smaller amount of money to people who care less about the final product than the larger amount you'd give to people who are invested in an actual successful launch. And this is exactly what happens.

I am limited in what I can say about the campaigns since I was involved to a limited degree in both of them but I feel that from a cost/benefit perspective, Romney's choices made a lot of sense. (I am not qualified to discuss implementation choices, so I will not speculate on that.) I'm not sure where you're getting your own information from - your hypothesis that less money was spent for a lower quality product seems to be nothing more than idle speculation.

Let me put it this way. You can go shopping at a local supermarket and pay a premium for your groceries, or you can join a shopping club such as Costco, getting substantial savings through their economy of scale. Just because you spent less on Costco, does it inherently follow that the quality of their goods was less? No - that is not a logical assumption to make.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:12 PM on November 19, 2012


all respect, wolfdreams01, but your analogy is flawed.

Having been on the software side of a biz that paired SW w/ HW and shipped neat little blister packs to lots of retailers - when WalMart or CostCo wants something for cheaper, it IS actually cheaper. You build a basically equivalent item with shittier insides.

So, while you can sometimes get a deal, you have to be savvy about it, and lots of times regular people don't have access to real information about what really being savvy means - which seems to have happened to the Romney campaign.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:16 PM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


Shepherd: The sense I got from the Romney ads was (to stretch an analogy far beyond the breaking point) "you ate chicken a while ago, and *grim musical sting, grainy black-and-white picture of a rooster* now you're hungry. *McDonald's logo*" They never even made a serious effort to connect any particular action Obama took to the economy, relying on voters to decide that hey, he's been president this whole time, it must be his fault that we aren't rolling in gold-plated gold by now.

Also, re: Costco, with IT you're not just buying a product. You need the program, but you also need quick, attentive service, an underlying infrastructure to make the program work, and knowledgeable support to fix what goes wrong if and when it doesn't.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:22 PM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


wolfdreams01: Outsourcing can work if you are building something that is well specified, fairly standard (meaning it's largely been built hundreds if not thousands of times before), not prone to wildly variable load swings, has the benefit of multiple iterations of real world production deployments, a motivated and skilled client side QA team, etc.

Essentially, the exact opposite of a presidential campaign. (Or a startup for that matter)

The project management triangle holds true: Good, fast or cheap, pick any two. And in a presidential campaign, it's got to be good and it's got to be done fast.
posted by Freen at 12:23 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


@ wolfdreams01
"... your hypothesis that less money was spent for a lower quality product seems to be nothing more than idle speculation."

You made the point about spending less:

"Furthermore, outsourcing to an MSP allowed them to save a ton of money due to economy of scale."

So, this leaves "lower quality" as the point of speculation. Quality is determined by the customer and well, it just didn't work very well for Mr. Romney. He's probably chuffed and would likely think that a system that actually worked would be of "higher quality" than one that didn't. That doesn't sound all that speculative to me.
posted by Phyllis Harmonic at 12:25 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


wolfdreams01, I think the most important point is not about economies of scale, but about choosing what to outsource and what not to.

To build on your analogy about groceries: if I'm a regular consumer, I will survive even if I get wilted salad and bruised fruit every now and then. So it doesn't matter that much where I buy them. I can go with Costco or whoever has the economies of scale. But to a luxury restaurant the quality of meats and vegetables is crucial. Many of them choose to forego the economies of scale of vendors and import directly from high-quality producers.
posted by Triplanetary at 12:33 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


...the Republicans are doing everything they can to get this kind of story in front of everyone they can so they can claim Romney's loss was a technical failure, not a failure of the Republican platform.

What's delightful about this is that Romney's technical failure was a direct consequence of the fact that the Republicans have gone out of their way to confuse the ideas of thrifty with being a greedy bastard and giving someone an honest day's pay for an honest day's work with socialism.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 12:35 PM on November 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


"The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn't really very good at politics, and he isn't good at politics because he doesn't really get people. The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians. The "Analytics Department" is looking for "predictive Modeling/Data Mining" specialists to join the campaign's "multi-disciplinary team of statisticians," which will use "predictive modeling" to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. "We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions."

- Peggy Noonan.

Those poor decisions were cheered for like they were touchdowns.
posted by srboisvert at 12:36 PM on November 19, 2012 [55 favorites]


Let me put it this way. You can go shopping at a local supermarket and pay a premium for your groceries, or you can join a shopping club such as Costco, getting substantial savings through their economy of scale. Just because you spent less on Costco, does it inherently follow that the quality of their goods was less? No - that is not a logical assumption to make.

That may be justifiable for rationale before the election, but the outcome is now known. Groceries from one store may not necessarily be worse than another, even if they are cheaper. But this is irrelevant once you've opened a can of sliced peach halves to find that instead of the delicious, syrup-packed peach halves the usual store sells, the cut-rate store has all these mashed up pieces of peach in a cloudy, off-smelling liquid and at the bottom of the can OH GOD IS THAT A HUMAN TOE

And as far as judging the rationale of outsourcing IT, I'm sure that it makes lots of sense to outsource this function in this situation, especially since it's not Romney's "secret weapon" that's an advantage over his close competitor, and especially since Romney is on a very limited budget, and especially since it's not like it had to work the first time, and you've got loads of iterations to improve incrementally, who cares if it craps out -- it's not like it's a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 12:40 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's classic Business Mind: cutting expenses is always good, product quality never matters because it's basically all marketing anyway. It never seems to occur to people who see themselves as professional managers that there are things in the world that cost more because they are better than the things that cost less. It's astonishing.
posted by enn at 12:40 PM on November 19, 2012 [20 favorites]


The secret of Peggy Noonan is that she hasn't been paying attention to this thing called the Internet.
posted by Freen at 12:42 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm speaking as a systems analyst who knows perfectly well what 'economy of scale' means, thanks for the condescension. I've seen enough product launches that crashed because of amateurish mistakes like the ones exemplified in the Orca launch that I don't have to have been sitting there when the decisions were made. And anyone who would make the decision to roll out software to end users who are most likely not very tech savvy without extensive training, to name but one mistake, is doing something that goes well beyond amateurish into deliberately dumb. But it IS the kind of mistake made when the people doing the implementation aren't invested on it being done correctly, because they're not going to argue with the people writing the checks when those people say 'oh, we don't need to train them- we'll just send them the instructions'. People who are invested in the outcome would have stopped them, because it would have mattered to them. Outsiders are just never going to care as much as internal teams.
posted by winna at 12:42 PM on November 19, 2012 [16 favorites]


The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn't really very good at politics

This is right-wing delusion in a nutshell -- to criticize the winner of two presidential elections as not very good at politics.
posted by brain_drain at 1:00 PM on November 19, 2012 [19 favorites]


God I can't write anything funnier than that Peggy Noonan quote. She kills!

If this election proves one thing, its that people like George Will and Peggy Noonan should retire gracefully and release their column space to people who are actually living in this century.
posted by newdaddy at 1:03 PM on November 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


srboisvert: ""The secret of Mr. Obama is that he isn't really very good at politics, and he isn't good at politics because he doesn't really get people.
- Peggy Noonan."

Heh, heh. Republicans, always projecting...

posted by notsnot at 1:14 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


"As I write I remember a small but perhaps meaningful historical fact. Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Karol Woytilwa, who would become Pope John Paul II, all had mothers who took in sewing. When they were young, all three future statesmen saw their mothers stitching together things that had come apart or never been joined. All three children went on to make history by joining together things that had been ripped apart, such as the East and the West."

- Peggy Noonan

I'm sorry, I know it's a derail. I just can't stop myself!
posted by newdaddy at 1:17 PM on November 19, 2012 [15 favorites]


The other day a Republican political veteran forwarded me a hiring notice from the Obama 2012 campaign. It read like politics as done by Martians.
The "Analytics Department" is looking for "predictive Modeling/Data Mining" specialists to join the campaign's "multi-disciplinary team of statisticians," which will use "predictive modeling" to anticipate the behavior of the electorate. "We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions.
Wow, this... wow. I know it should be obvious, but: to anyone who has a basic grasp of statistics and political science [Hi! I have a basic grasp of statistics and political science!], this reads like perfectly standard, reasonable campaign activity, explained quite simply.
posted by psoas at 1:27 PM on November 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


i'm surprised that the real reason Romney lost isn't more widely talked about. he's a dick.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:30 PM on November 19, 2012 [14 favorites]


srboisvert: ""We will analyze millions of interactions a day, learning from terabytes of historical data, running thousands of experiments, to inform campaign strategy and critical decisions.""

Interesting how doing things that you would expect people who want to succeed to do is seen as "Martian" by Noonan. Bizarro-world lives another day.
posted by wierdo at 1:32 PM on November 19, 2012


It is easy to point and laugh at Romney for doing a bad job of running a campaign, but you have to remember that he was working against the large handicap of having terrible ideas.
posted by ckape at 1:40 PM on November 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


This is right-wing delusion in a nutshell -- to criticize the winner of two presidential elections as not very good at politics.

TBH in July it was only one.

In realistic terms, Romney always was the most electable candidate of the Republicans running in the Republican primaries in 2012

FTFY. Or, put another way,

In realistic terms, RomneyObama always was the most electable candidate of the Republicans running in 2012
</hamburger>
I'm not really one of those progressives. Mostly.

A difference of a few percentage points in a few states was what was needed to win so that was what they worked towards.

VTX, the point is that those few states could easily have gone the other way with any number of factors, from the controllable ones (Orca/Narwhal) to the knife-edge ones (Benghazi) to the completely uncontrollable (Sandy). I want to say my side won fair and square on message, I like being able to say they won on ground game, but I can't translate either of those into overconfidence next time around, when Obama can't run. If you look back historically sometimes it is just a few points in a few states (1960, say) and others -- if not most -- it's a complete windmill tilt from the outset.

Interesting how doing things that you would expect people who want to succeed to do is seen as "Martian" by Noonan.

It's another dog-whistle to the base: Obama isn't just an illegal alien, he's an actual alien....
posted by dhartung at 1:42 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who doesn't want the GOP to learn from its shortsightedness?
posted by Renoroc at 1:56 PM on November 19, 2012 [10 favorites]


The Republicans lost the election because they have a shitty product, not because they had a shitty salesman (which they also had). The longer they point fingers at Romney the happier I am.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:04 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a big note of caution to any overconfident Democrats or people on the left or center, that Obama's win was not by a huge margin.

In 2016:
* the economy will have recovered substantially, which will been seen as vindication of Obama's economic policy;
* another four years' worth of angry white seniors will have died off;
* the Democratic candidate will most likely be white her/himself, which means the Dems won't be spotting the GOP a few percentage points like they did in 2008 and 2012.

That the GOP got crushed by Obama in these economic conditions is what's so devastating for them; if 2012 had 2016's economy and demographics this wouldn't have been this close (and this really wasn't very close to begin with).
posted by gerryblog at 2:07 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huntsman looked moderate only compared to the rest of the GOP clownshow. He's actually pretty conservative.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 2:18 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Republicans lost the election because they have a shitty product, not because they had a shitty salesman.

Do you know how often good salesmen sell shitty products to people, and are down the road with the money by the time the product falls apart?
posted by benito.strauss at 2:23 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Huntsman looked moderate only compared to the rest of the GOP clownshow. He's actually pretty conservative.

He's against women's and GLBT rights, for a start.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:30 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


We field tested everything as much as possible on Obama's Data Team. I was tasked with developing a compact walk-list format for canvassers to use during GOTV. Essentially, this took the usual 15 page walk packs and put all the essential information in just two pages. We field tested those damn things a dozen times with surveys for the volunteers and FO's to give feedback on readability and usability. In the end, the compact format saved lots of money and time, and increased the knock-rate for canvassing.

One of the E-Day systems I worked on, not Narwhal, had as many things go wrong with it as ORCA. But that was spread out over two weeks, with up-til-four-am-sometimes fixes. So by E-Day, that shit was tight.. Why were we up til four-am? We were getting the same pay, win-or-lose.

The whole culture in IT on the campaign was geared towards WINNING, by making our systems more efficient, debugging our software before E-Day, tweaking things to shave a few seconds here or a few minutes there. My personal goal was to save every Field Organizer I worked with five minutes per day with training and data systems improvement. That's two or three more doors knocked or a half a dozen more recruitment calls, so that five minutes translates to real-life votes. I knew that because I'd been an FO in '08, and so had several other of the people on my team.

That is why outsourcing doesn't work for this stuff. You need people who are invested in the campaign, not just out to make a buck as IT consultants. There wasn't a person on my team who would have turned the job down for half the pay. The end goal here wasn't a paycheck.
posted by Cookiebastard at 2:31 PM on November 19, 2012 [99 favorites]


Furthermore, outsourcing to an MSP allowed them to save a ton of money due to economy of scale.

Money well saved.
posted by absalom at 2:35 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


the "mobile" piece of Orca was a Web application supported by a single Web server and a single application server

Comcast thought it was a denial of service attack and shut it down

WHOA. Comcast business internet is pretty decent if you're supplying a room full of office folks browsing the Web. But they were using it to host a major, mission-critical website from a single server in their office. All when renting an EC2 node with a 100 Mbit pipe for the day would cost five bucks. At some point you have to wonder where the line is between incredible incompetence and active sabotage by someone on the inside.
posted by miyabo at 3:04 PM on November 19, 2012 [11 favorites]


A link about Huntsman that I just posted in another thread. Not a moderate.
posted by professor plum with a rope at 3:08 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who doesn't want the GOP to learn from its shortsightedness?

I don't know. If the GOP were to become more competent, then it seems like they'd have to give up some of the dogmas that have been holding them back, which have made them incompetent. That would make the more moderate. Then to differentiate themselves the Democrats would have to move to the left, and we might actually get a race between two decent candidates.
posted by JHarris at 3:10 PM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


Have the Anonymous claims that they hacked Orca been discussed here? Could just as easily be a lulzy troll, but I can easily imagine them throwing a spanner in the works. Doesn't sound like it would have needed a big one.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:42 PM on November 19, 2012


JHarris is right! In this case, for instance, the dogmas holding them back were:

Science is No Substitute for Belief - The GOP has been preaching for ages, for example, that evolution is just as valid as creationism. That is not going to attract the best engineers.

and

Make Money By Any Means Necessary (and if it screws over someone else then they should have been smarter or worked harder) - That's not going to get you the best techies. just the greediest.
posted by Cookiebastard at 3:45 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It is that nobody loves Obama. This is amazing because every president has people who love him, who feel deep personal affection or connection, who have a stubborn, even beautiful refusal to let what they know are just criticisms affect their feelings of regard. At the height of Bill Clinton's troubles there were always people who'd say, "Look, I love the guy." They'd often be smiling—a wry smile, a shrugging smile. Nobody smiles when they talk about Mr. Obama. There were people who loved George W. Bush when he was at his most unpopular, and they meant it and would say it. But people aren't that way about Mr. Obama. He has supporters and bundlers and contributors, he has voters, he may win. But his support is grim support. And surely this has implications.

And another bit from that Noonan quote.

This is befuddling, because more than any politician I can think of Obama comes across to me as a cool dude who'd be fun as hell to hang with. Where do they get this stuff?
posted by Sebmojo at 3:46 PM on November 19, 2012 [9 favorites]


We can't really know what the numbers would have looked like if Obama had campaigned to win the popular vote by as a wide a margin as possible.

I'm still pretty comfortable asserting that they knew what they needed to do to win, did it without wasting resources, and were pretty confident of their victory by a wide margin of electoral votes (since those are the numbers that really matter).

Nate Silver and his team projected a 60% chance of an Obama win at the beginning of June. It climbed steadily from there, dropped like a rock after the debate and was up to a 90% chance winning just before the election.

I think it's fair to assume that the Obama campaign's analytic team was at least as good Nate Silver's. I don't they were surprised by the results. I would even say that, given the dip after the first debate, they figured out what they needed to do make sure they would win and then did it.
posted by VTX at 3:53 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


the "mobile" piece of Orca was a Web application supported by a single Web server and a single application server

Oh, the line going down isn't even the most amusing possibility here.

"I'm afraid we can't do strike lists in multiple states, the hard drive failed."
posted by jaduncan at 3:58 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the GOP were to become more competent, then it seems like they'd have to give up some of the dogmas that have been holding them back, which have made them incompetent. That would make the more moderate. Then to differentiate themselves the Democrats would have to move to the left, and we might actually get a race between two decent candidates.

Youare thinking with your head. Don't do that. If you are trying to think like a Republican you have to think with your gut.

2014: No talk of rape, no talk of rolling back Obamacare. Just local congress critters talking to their constituents about JOBS. About how the White House is preventing you from getting a JOB because of the EPA and Unions, too. The Republicans add to their numbers.

2016: They run Santorum and Rubio together, because after all, what Americans really, really want in the White House is a return to the day of The Family, and Family Values, and Christian Values (none of that Mormon jazz), and look----> one of our guys is Hispanic! So Hispanics are in the bag!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:11 PM on November 19, 2012


2016: They run Santorum...

Electoral wipeout that makes Mondale's 1984 performance look good in comparison.
posted by Wordshore at 4:49 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


SLoG, those are two different scenarios, not the same one (I know you were being jocular, but bear with me). In your first one, the competent, more moderate, mainstream Republican types win the battle for ideological control of the party; in the second, the wild-eyed, evangelical, Tea Party-favored hard right types win. In one respect, though, it's entirely possible that neither side will really win and the GOP will face an election cycle or two of battles fought at the ballot box. But that bodes poorly for them capturing the White House, just as this year the frothy-mouthed ones managed to ditch the prospects of even some rather sane candidates (at least judging by Senate results).

gerryblog, remember, Obama isn't running in 2016. While the performance of the incumbent is somewhat important, it won't be a referendum on Obama. Note that a superb economic performance didn't pull it out for Gore (yes, popular vote, yes, Bush v. Gore). In fact, a settled economy would mean it's more likely that other issues will be considered by voters, including foreign policy and perhaps social policy. I'm just sounding fair warning here, not talking down anything.

One thing that primarily concerns me is whether the youth vote, heavily favoring Obama, turns out again without him on the ballot. I'm also concerned about the minority vote, particularly Latinos, and especially if a Latino is on the GOP ticket. They were swayed to Bush, they may be swayed to another Republican. Catholic voters, values, &c.

It is that nobody loves Obama.

I think this may be the modern equivalent of Pauline Kael's (often misquoted) "I live in a rather special world. I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don't know. They're outside my ken. But sometimes when I'm in a theater I can feel them." The difference, of course, is that Kael was specifically acknowledging that she understood the limitations of her demographic experience. In any case, you could only think this if you never had any contact with many, many different kinds of people, like nearly every black person I have ever met. So, more fodder for the bubble theory of why they lost.
posted by dhartung at 5:13 PM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


2016: They run Santorum

And boy, does that Santorum run...

(No, I will not leave it.)
posted by Grangousier at 5:20 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow, has Peggy Noonan always been such a hack? I've seen her on Sunday talk shows and she has a politician's knack for sounding smart but using doublespeak to say nothing at all. Sewing? That's the thread (sorry) between those former presidents? Sheesh. Please retire, GOP water carriers. Or better, yet, don't. Please continue. I need as much comic relief as I can get these days.
posted by zardoz at 5:23 PM on November 19, 2012


SLoG, those are two different scenarios, not the same one (I know you were being jocular, but bear with me). In your first one, the competent, more moderate, mainstream Republican types win the battle for ideological control of the party; in the second, the wild-eyed, evangelical, Tea Party-favored hard right types win.

The actual point I was trying to make-- the scenario I see playing out--is that the Right will become more moderate in 2014, gain some seats, and that will give them the confidence to unleash their inner crazy. The Presidential race has become long and arduous and you need passion from both candidate and voter base. Moderacy does not inspire passion. So when they make a few small gains in 2014, they will see this as a mandate for All Things Conservative.

I just don't see the Right as making any big, lasting changes because they don't see this election as a huge loss. The narrative that I am reading from conservative voices is, "We just barely lost because of Orca, because of Obama-gifts, because of slutty women wanting free birth control." That doesn't sound like they have learned anything from this defeat.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:42 PM on November 19, 2012 [5 favorites]


Have they come around that quickly though? I mean it was just a few days ago when they were still carrying on like Thurber's Get Ready man.
posted by JHarris at 5:47 PM on November 19, 2012


("GET READY!!! The WORRRRRLD is COMING TO AN END!!!!")
posted by JHarris at 5:48 PM on November 19, 2012


I fully expect the pugs to double down. Ominous sign: the evangelical/mormon split predicted early during Mitt's ascendancy didn't happen (enough to matter).
posted by telstar at 6:20 PM on November 19, 2012


Were you being sarcastic wolfdreams01? Metafilter has a pretty tech-literate in crowd that I can't tell if that sales engineering spiel is real, inside joke, or self parody?

Certainly as someone responsible for development of a fairly large software project, it's well known inside knowledge that consultants produce shite. That "Managed" IT doesn't work unless you don't count on your infrastructure, and generally that there is "no free lunch".

This seems especially true for consultant companies that are ranked by pay for coverage two bit analysis firms like "MSPmentor". Gah, even Gartner is pay for coverage, and the market leaders usually are well enough known to go without the propaganda. (This is also why you don't make technology decisions based on anything called a "Magic Quadrant")

In what might or might not be some wonderful irony, one of the few firms I'd trust to give me a competitive assessment of enterprise service providers/products is Bain (really number two after mckinsey). However, you pay for the honest advice (getting a competitive perspective probably starts around 250k).
posted by PissOnYourParade at 6:52 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


JHaarris, one of my favorite Thurber stories!


For a few hours, maybe a couple of days there was a come to Jesus moment when the Republican bubble was burst and all the poor demented souls who had been perfectly happy and content inside the bubble were shocked by cold, hard reality. But the shock has had time to wear off. With one or two exceptions all of the excuses put forth on why they lost lay the blame on externals: Sandy, Obama's ground game, "changing America." Unfortunately there is very little interest in blaming internals other than a vague desire now to "reach-out to Hispanics."

I haven't heard anyone in the GOP talk about moderating their stance on bedroom politics, taxes on the wealthiest, or Obamacare, much less working with Obama this session rather than obstructing him. The only idea they seem to be offering is to be a little softer on immigration.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:56 PM on November 19, 2012



In realistic terms, Romney always was the most electable candidate of the Republicans running in 2012, i.e. not a raving extremist.

No he wasn't. But, we'll never know for sure now.


Both Romney and Hunstman are moderates, but Hunstman actually looked uncomfortable the one time he pandered to the Tea Party crowd (backpedaling over climate issues.) Romney had no problem pandering to the nutcases.

If Huntsman runs in 2016, he might have my vote.
posted by ocschwar at 7:02 PM on November 19, 2012


"Narwhal unified what Obama for America knew about voters, canvassers, event-goers, and phone-bankers, and it did it in real time."

That said, I'm really creeped out by this. I really, really hope that the difference here was that Obama's Narhwal was bad and Romney's was terrible.
posted by ocschwar at 7:17 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a sometime-campaign-staffer, I just can't get over the total FAIL of Orca. But to me as a former field staffer, the part that gets me is how poorly it was organized for volunteers:

- They weren't adequately trained. Properly training volunteers is so incredibly important.

- They had to print out their own (100+ page) packets? No. That should NEVER happen. If it's that important, then the field organizers for each area should be in charge of getting the packets to volunteers. Maybe that means organizers deputize volunteer leaders to be in charge of that. But your regular I-just-signed-up-for-this-one-job volunteer should literally just have to show up on the day of.

- Similarly, the poll watcher certificates should have been secured by the campaign or volunteers should have had extremely clear instructions. AND the campaign should have been tracking which certificates were secured.

I do have some empathy for the campaign staffers who worked on this. Running a well-organized field program is very difficult. The Obama campaign is really the example of almost everything going right, and most campaigns will fall short of that. BUT I've also observed that the campaigns with the most disorganized field programs - well, it usually goes hand-in-hand with more widespread strategic issues.
posted by lunasol at 7:54 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Science is No Substitute for Belief - The GOP has been preaching for ages, for example, that evolution is just as valid as creationism. That is not going to attract the best engineers.

It doesn't just turn off engineers -- it also frustrates a huge chunk of "job creators." At least amongst my circle of entrepreneurs, we simply don't don't the lower tax, no regulations, and ObamaScare spiel the Republicans are selling.

You know what we do care about? Finding some good programmers, which relies on a strong educational system that the anti-science, "eh, who cares about the children" GOP keeps trying to dismantle. My ability to get the engineers and other talented people I need has a much bigger influence on my success than the capital gains tax rate.

I keep reading about how the business community hates Obama, and when I see those articles, I wonder: does this person build anything? Are they shipping anything? Providing a service or meeting a need better than anyone else? Or do they "create value" by being glorified middlemen in financial transactions, telling CEOs what they want to hear, or exploiting cheap labor? Nine times out of ten, the answer tells me whether this person supported Romney.
posted by snickerdoodle at 8:38 PM on November 19, 2012 [12 favorites]


Oschwar: On what basis do you say Huntsman is a moderate?
posted by professor plum with a rope at 8:48 PM on November 19, 2012


I haven't heard anyone in the GOP talk about moderating their stance on...(anything)...

Jindal has been sounding like he's trying to be the voice of a grown-up reality facing republican party since the election (rather than the knee-jerk anti-science hack role he was playing after Obama's first State of the Union Address).

Assuming he was just playing the character he thought the party wanted him to play in 2009 and this is the real Bobby Jindal, I wish him luck. But, again, assuming that is the case, I think he's mostly going to learn the meaning of the phrase "sow the wind, reap the whirlwind" rather than successfully turn the party around.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:35 PM on November 19, 2012


I haven't heard Jindal say that he wants to change any of the policies. He just thinks that there are some things they shouldn't come right out and say, and maybe if they actually liked more people they'd be less likely to say that they held them in contempt. But no changes in policy. Same shit, new wrapper.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:19 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


America, you are an idiot.
You are a moocher, a zombie, soulless, mouth-breathing, ignorant, greedy, self-indulgent, envious, shallow and lazy.

The foregoing is a summation of "analysis" from conservative pundits and media figures -- Cal Thomas, Ted Nugent, Bill O'Reilly, et cetera -- seeking to explain Mitt Romney's emphatic defeat. They seem to have settled on a strategy of blaming the voters for not being smart enough or good enough to vote as they should have. Because America wasn't smart enough or good enough, say these conservatives, it shredded the Constitution, bear-hugged chaos, French-kissed socialism, and died.

Following Obama’s Victory, Wisconsin Governor Proposes New Limits On Voter Registration
Two weeks after Barack Obama and Sen.-elect Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) carried the state of Wisconsin with the support of minorities and young voters, Gov. Scott Walker (R) announced one of his major policy proposals for the upcoming session: ending the state’s 40-year old law that allows citizens to register to vote on Election Day.

And with Republicans now back in control of the Wisconsin state legislature, Walker may well get his way next year.
The only lesson the Right Wing learned was they need to double down on voter suppression.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:45 AM on November 20, 2012


I don't want to hear any starry-eyed "coulda-beens" about how Huntsman wouldn't have pandered to the far right wing had he got the nomination. There were only ever two possibilities: Huntsman doesn't pander and doesn't make it past the primaries, or he panders to make it past the primaries and just like anyone else who would have won would have promised to govern however the crazies in Congress had told him. In other words, a slightly less-creepy Romney. And 2016? If he runs, there's a better-than-even chance that the GOP Congress will be bigger than it is now, thanks to 2014 being a really bad year for Senate Democrats up for re-election (most of them are in red or purple states), plus the inherent advantage in the House. That's not an environment conducive to a "moderate" like Huntsman.

But you want to know what's truly scary? In all likelihood, the only reason we're not talking about President-elect Rick Perry right now is because of debilitating back pain.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:43 AM on November 20, 2012


Am I the only one who doesn't want the GOP to learn from its shortsightedness?

I want it to learn. I want it to change. I want to have two parties competing for my vote with policy platforms that I have to weigh the benefits of, instead of the current system with one party I have absoutely no desire to vote for and another that somewhat approximates my views on some things and takes me for granted. Republican doesn't have to mean right-wing (or even right-of-center, which definitely wasn't its origin), any more than Democratic is synonymous with center-left.
posted by psoas at 7:46 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Maybe it's because I've been watching a lot of Cheers lately, but Peggy Noonan reminds me of Diane Chambers if she had gone into speech writing.
posted by dirigibleman at 10:46 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


psoas: "I want to have two parties competing for my vote with policy platforms that I have to weigh the benefits of"

Only two?

You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.
posted by mullingitover at 11:44 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oschwar: On what basis do you say Huntsman is a moderate?


He has not pandered to the anti-science people.

He worked as an ambassador during Obama's 1st term.

His policy stances are probablyv ery conservative, but in terms of civility and partisanship he's a moderate.
posted by ocschwar at 12:27 PM on November 20, 2012


^^^ I think our Overton window has gotten stuck.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:44 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

I expect the arts to engage my dreams and politics to engage with reality.
posted by psoas at 12:45 PM on November 20, 2012


He has not pandered to the anti-science people.

He crumpled like a wet tissue on climate change. I see nothing that encourages me on this front either in primaries or in a general election.

He worked as an ambassador during Obama's 1st term.

Which he then left to potentially run against him. So: not sure what this has to do with anything having to do with moderation or bipartisanship.

His policy stances are probablyv ery conservative, but in terms of civility and partisanship he's a moderate.

So he'll just smile and whisper soothing words in your ear after stabbing you in the back? No thank you.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:50 PM on November 20, 2012


Certainly as someone responsible for development of a fairly large software project, it's well known inside knowledge that consultants produce shite. That "Managed" IT doesn't work unless you don't count on your infrastructure, and generally that there is "no free lunch".

Whoa, whoa, whoa. As a senior consultant (that means I found my first grey hair in the sink a while ago) I resent that. Consultants can be very useful, if you know how to use them. A lot of IT dependent companies after all can't afford to keep too specialist knowledge in house, so they do have their sys admins, programmers and testers and such, but lack e.g. people who know how to set up a new data centre or migrate the old ones to it. That's when limited time consultants are handy. Expensive, but handy.

If you look at it from a certain angle what the Obama campaign did was also hire consultants, but manage them better, get them inside the campaign, working closely together and for the campaign, rather than for the company hired by the campaign as Romney did.

(That first situation is sort of my dayjob: I get my salary paid by $BIG_NAME_IT_CONSULTING_COMPANY but work for whichever company hired me from $BIG_NAME_IT_CONSULTING_COMPANY.)
posted by MartinWisse at 12:59 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


the only reason we're not talking about President-elect Rick Perry right now is because of debilitating back pain.

Oh please, his campaign would have melted down long before Romney's. Mitt made it through the primary because of his teflon coating, but also because the other candidates were hilarious. Wasn't Perry the one with the offensively-named hunting cottage?
posted by JHarris at 1:02 PM on November 20, 2012


Also, the charitable interpretation of Perry's meltdown appears to be that he would rather go without sleep into a make-or-break, nationally televised debate than take pain medicine. That does not speak well of his ability to headline a national campaign.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:11 PM on November 20, 2012


Yeah, I don't buy the Perry idea at all. Sounded good on paper, but basically, the guy just isn't that smart. He would have made the same kind of idiotic moves in the general that he was making in the primary.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:44 PM on November 20, 2012


In contrast, here's an article on Obama's IT team.

The Tech Battle Between The Obama And Romney Campaigns And The Overconfidence Gap
posted by homunculus at 3:02 PM on November 20, 2012


So now we know how Project ORCA failed, but I still don't understand how the National Day of Prayer Task Force could have failed.
posted by homunculus at 3:06 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fake Twitter accounts and the danger for politicians: The work of two students in questioning the veracity of Mitt Romney's Twitter followers points the way forward in modern investigative journalism
posted by homunculus at 4:43 PM on November 20, 2012


More from Ars Technica: How Team Obama's tech efficiency left Romney IT in dust

operational efficiency is an enormous strategic advantage
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:43 PM on November 20, 2012


Jindal has been sounding like he's trying to be the voice of a grown-up reality facing republican party since the election (rather than the knee-jerk anti-science hack role he was playing after Obama's first State of the Union Address).

Assuming he was just playing the character he thought the party wanted him to play in 2009 and this is the real Bobby Jindal, I wish him luck.


Jindal graduated from Brown University with a double major in biology and pre-med. Then, after college, he was a Rhodes Scholar. One thing that bothered me about his response to Obama's State of the Union Address is I know he was not that dumb, he was just pretending to be.
posted by jonp72 at 8:30 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here Is What Louisiana Schoolchildren Learn About Evolution
posted by homunculus at 8:49 PM on November 20, 2012


Jindal graduated from Brown University with a double major in biology and pre-med.

Is this really a thing? Maybe I'm skeptical because my alma mater didn't have such a program, but is "pre-med" actually a major?
posted by psoas at 6:05 AM on November 21, 2012


Pre-Med program at Brown. Lots of schools offer something similar - it's nearly always a co-major or double major with one of the sciences.
posted by stoneweaver at 7:23 AM on November 21, 2012


Jindal graduated from Brown University with a double major in biology and pre-med.

I went to Brown at the same time Jindal did. The pre-med major was called the Program in Liberal Medical Education or "Pleemie" for short. Jindal basically completed the Pleemie major and the requirements for a biology degree simultaneously. The Jindal you saw in the 2009 response to the State of the Union address was playing a role much dumber than he really is.
posted by jonp72 at 6:11 PM on November 23, 2012 [2 favorites]


Bobby Jindal's Exorcism Problem
posted by homunculus at 7:35 PM on November 23, 2012


On Brown:

Technically the school doesn't have double-majors, or even majors - they're called concentrations (there is nothing meaningful about this). Additionally, you can't double major, but what you can get (what I have) is a degree from one department that says "23 also completed the requirements for [Other Degree]". Technically there is a five-year dual AB/ScB degree program but it's maybe five people a year and it's being phased out (officially or unofficially because some deans don't like it). It's still two degrees and not one double. It's unpopular partly because you can get a 5th year Master's in most departments.

PLME, the pre-med program, does not give a pre-med degree, though some schools do. You apply to PLME when you apply to Brown, you can't transfer into it after arriving, and you can be accepted to Brown but not PLME. PLME has its own degree requirements which are very close to a Biology degree, so most PLME graduates get Biology degrees (probably what Jindal did), which would imply nearly no extra coursework, but probably a few general requirements (which Brown does not otherwise have). It's probably possible to satisfy the PLME requirements and get just an English degree if you really want to, though.

PLME exists because if you graduate from it you go into the Med School without taking the MCAT. I have a friend who's in the med school now after graduating from PLME with a Biology degree.
posted by 23 at 12:02 AM on November 29, 2012


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