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May 29, 2008 7:37 PM   Subscribe

State by state electoral college analysis and predictions for the main 2008 presidential candidates, based on polling data and updated daily.

Special thanks to anotherpanacea and EarBucket, respectively, for posting those sites on metatalk recently.
posted by Brian B. (106 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by ZachsMind at 7:49 PM on May 29, 2008


Too early. Not to mention too 2004.
posted by yhbc at 7:50 PM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


McCain FTW!
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:53 PM on May 29, 2008


Those are probably the two best sites for US election polling data. That said, some humility and skepticism is called for on this sort of thing this early in the game-- especially given that the primaries are still ongoing.
posted by ibmcginty at 7:54 PM on May 29, 2008


You forgot Poland.
posted by Ivana Shtup de Naparino at 8:00 PM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


As abmicginty said, state by state polling of very little use in May before the general election has even started. Pollster.com and realclearpolitics.com are my two go-to sites for public polling. Mark Blumenthal and Jay Cost are political pros who really know their stuff. This fellow, Poblano, over at fivethirtyeight.com does interesting work for an amateur, but he doesn't show us his calculations so I'm skeptical.

Oh and for the record, I abhor the horse race coverage of this election due to the rise of the 24-hour political news channels and the amateur pundit class online. Focusing on polling to such an extent does a disservice to society as a whole, especially when 9/10 pundits -- amateur or otherwise -- haven't any background in survey research or methodology.
posted by willie11 at 8:08 PM on May 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


They really think Obama can't win SC or MS? Really?
posted by mattbucher at 8:14 PM on May 29, 2008


Are you joking? Have you ever been to South Carolina or Mississippi?
posted by dsword at 8:18 PM on May 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Uh, do we have to do this again?
posted by empath at 8:21 PM on May 29, 2008


Might as well, we'll be doing it weekly until November.
posted by Maxson at 8:28 PM on May 29, 2008


Tracking polls this far out are just this side of useless. Wait until the June 4th superdelegate avalanche buries Clinton before giving more than a pin's weight to present polling. And even then, wait until the conventions to expect large swaths of the illiterati to start paying attention.
posted by EatTheWeak at 8:40 PM on May 29, 2008


This is many times a double for electoral-vote.com.
posted by garlic at 8:41 PM on May 29, 2008


Does it count for votes from predominantly Democratic counties being deleted by Diebold machines?
posted by zardoz at 8:43 PM on May 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


ibmcginty: Actually, that old meta-poll was only really off-base with New Mexico. From a cursory look, Bush was just able to shore up his barely-reds and swing 5 of the barely-blue states (Nevada, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, and Missouri). Most of the margins in those bluish swing states were less than 2 points, with the exception of Missouri and Florida. Hardly an unimaginable outcome based on that 2004 snapshot, and certainly not the death-knell of polling.
posted by Weebot at 8:44 PM on May 29, 2008


Most interestingly (to nerds), the Votemaster of electoral-vote.com is Andrew S. Tanenbaum, the esteemed gentleman who wrote MINIX. And here is the Wikipedia link for MINIX!
posted by _aa_ at 8:45 PM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is this where I tell the story of when I wrote "Andy Tanenbaum, Jr." on my name tag at the 2004 President's Night at the Amsterdam Melkweg for fun and had scores of people come up to me and say "Oh, I thought he didn't have any children!"?

No? Well too bad, then.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 8:48 PM on May 29, 2008


The current color scheme at electoral-vote.com made me spit coffee all over my computer. Obama is brown and Hillary is pink? How on earth did he come up with those colors?
posted by Dec One at 8:50 PM on May 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


If Obama becomes competitive in Mississippi, McCain has far bigger problems to worry about than losing Mississippi.
posted by Weebot at 8:59 PM on May 29, 2008


Huh. Both sites seem to show that there are states that are likely to vote Republican this year.

Have people not been paying attention?
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 9:00 PM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hardly an unimaginable outcome based on that 2004 snapshot, and certainly not the death-knell of polling.

I agree, and the snapshot suggests to me that McCain could end up much stronger than imagined. Curiously, the use of the snapshot seemingly intends to convey a sudden reversal of fortune, but by reversing the parties.
posted by Brian B. at 9:01 PM on May 29, 2008


2008 electoral math: TPM, Salon
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:11 PM on May 29, 2008


Have people not been paying attention?

But Obama wants to raise taxes, and I don't want to pay more taxes.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:34 PM on May 29, 2008


With his bad temper and a possibly very hostile and grueling campaign coming up, I think John McCain is one bad week from having a "Dean Scream", and if he does, who knows how that will effect his campaign? It's too early to start crunching numbers. We haven't even really seen McCain in action, and until we do, we have no real idea of how well he'll perform.
posted by Kiablokirk at 9:34 PM on May 29, 2008


The scary part is it looks like a chance of letting Florida and/or Ohio decide. Previous experience shows that this is a horrible idea; especially Florida.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:55 PM on May 29, 2008


oh fuck. e-v.com is the same stupid site I was following in 2004. Baad memories.
posted by tachikaze at 10:18 PM on May 29, 2008


I think John McCain is one bad week from having a "Dean Scream",

what, certain elements of the media machine are going to gin up a fake slam on McCain?

Hah!

At least this time around I couldn't care less who wins. WhistleAss has managed to do just all the damage I thought possible, and then some.

And as the mr steve guy sez, I'd rather see this country go bankrupt than pay any more taxes.
posted by tachikaze at 10:21 PM on May 29, 2008


And as the mr steve guy sez, I'd rather see this country go bankrupt than pay any more taxes.

Well, if I really believed that Obama would save us all, I would probably vote for him, despite the tax hike. I'm just not convinced, though.

I'd feel like a right fool if I ended up with a tax hike and a wrecked country, you know?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:23 PM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


"But Obama wants to raise taxes, and I don't want to pay more taxes." Mr President Elvis Steven Etc said.

So stop paying your taxes then. You probably pay way more money to the government than the government deserves so just stop paying that shit. You should blah blah blah anarchist stuff goes here.

Seriously though, I don't want to viddy the predictions because I don't want all the suspense ruined for me. The democratic race has been my nail-biter since 24 jumped the shark; I'm looking forward to an exciting presidential race, and I think it's too early to start calling it even though the polling data has been awfully precog lately.
posted by fuq at 10:46 PM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]




Way too early. Campaign vs. McCain has not yet begun, he has had little scrutiny on him, his personal finances and his voting record, just the usual perfunctory media bullshit. Once the focus moves (if only somewhat) to the actual issues, McCain's numbers will go way down. All of the major presidential election indicators are strongly Democratic right now:
  • Economy is in the shitter after 8 years of a GOP President
  • Popular focus is off the war and nat'l security and now on jobs, health care
  • Religious right starting to trend Democratic, or at the very least not interested in the election
  • Lower middle class squeezed by foreclosures and rising fuel prices... which results in
  • Anger targeted at big business/Wall Street
Well, if I really believed that Obama would save us all, I would probably vote for him, despite the tax hike. I'm just not convinced, though.

Taxes are going up even if zombie Milton Friedman comes to the Twin Cities this summer and wins the GOP nomination. We have some huge budget to deal with and they are projected to get worse. Tax hikes are inevitable.
posted by psmealey at 3:35 AM on May 30, 2008


I helped Andy a bit with the site in 2004 - there were a lot of DOS attacks in the months before the election, it'll be interesting to see if things are better this time around... you should see some of the hate mail he gets...
posted by DreamerFi at 3:39 AM on May 30, 2008


All polling is evil.

Imagine a world where nobody had any idea how anyone else was going to vote until election day. People would have to make up their own mind and not treat it like a horse race. And without polls, politicians would have to run based on their own ideas and opinions and they wouldn't know if those ideas were popular until election day.

Also, it's really annoying when they call around dinnertime.
posted by wabbittwax at 3:44 AM on May 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


... also, if there were no polls, the news media would have to actually report the news for a change -- you know, discuss things that have actually happened, and offer real analysis, instead of wasting all their time analyzing data to report what they think might happen.

It's a pipe dream.
posted by wabbittwax at 3:51 AM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


But Obama wants to raise taxes, and I don't want to pay more taxes.

And there you have it. A probably semi-jokey but still completely true basic reason people vote for conservative Republicans: Selfishness.
posted by DU at 4:21 AM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


John McCain is one bad week from having a "Dean Scream"

I think that you mean "stroke." I've tried emailing polbano, since I work in demography and epidemiology statistics. I'd be happy to check over his model, but no response. He's presumably busy.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:36 AM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Happily, without raising taxes Bush managed to raise the cost of living for many people through his overseas adventure and other failed policies. Maybe you should look at your overall income and expenses rather than that single line item.
posted by miss tea at 4:43 AM on May 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


It is, at times like these (perhaps even times like six months ago), that I wish we were living in the freaky sci-fi future where I could select some kind of content filter in my virtual reality life and make all election stuff disappear for another six or seven months.

NPR has gotten to the election cycle early, shifting from their strategy of covering Iraq for 20 hours a day and the BBC for four hours a day (so I can hear about what's going in Iraq in a British accent for a change) to election, election, and maybe some election as it relates to Iraq. The other day I attempted to amuse myself by fishing out one of those old grocery store clicker-counters, where you forcefully depress a button to increment a counter, then drove to work with NPR on, clicking the button every time I heard "Obama," "Clinton," and "McCain." I gave up swiftly - my finger got tired.

I have nothing against this post, per se, because I like the Electoral Vote site, but it serves as a harbinger of doom. It's the part where you go from "Boy, this sure is a lot of grasshoppers" to "Welcome to Biblical Plague."
posted by adipocere at 5:04 AM on May 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


According to Rasmussen, with what's missing from their polls filled in by FiveThirtyEight's averages, John McCain would win the general but as we all know polls in May say nothing about votes in November, though they do give us a clue what needs to be addressed.

The Dems have 178 safe electoral votes, while the Reps have 109. There are 21 competitive states (+/-10%) worth 240 electoral votes, though only 50 are from six weak D states. There are nine weak R states where the deficit is 5% or less, and four states at 6%. Just as an example, Texas and its 34 electoral votes is only +5% for McCain. Though no one really expects Texas to go for Obama it would be good to force McCain to campaign there. Same with Montana and North Dakota, even though these are only worth 3 electoral votes each.

The ten competitive R states Dems have a real chance to flip by November worth 144 EV: New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Nevada, Missouri, and Florida.

The five competitive R states that most likely won't flip worth 46 EV: Montana, Texas, North Dakota, Alaska, and South Dakota.

The six competitive D states Dems have to hold worth 50 EV: Colorado, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Iowa, New Mexico, and Rhode Island.

Besides the issues, which no one really pays attention to anyway, the campaign is about money, organization, and ground game. Obama is way ahead in funds but the RNC is padding what is available for McCain, while the DNC isn't in too good a financial position comparably. The Obama camp has proven itself to be quite effectively organized. They put Clinton's ground game to shame for the most part. And McCain's organization is still settling in. Obama has training and faith outreach programs that McCain does not.

I think Obama is going to win the general election and I wouldn't be surprised if it's by a large margin. Combined with Dems doing good across the board, Obama should be able to have a mandate for change that will both hold him to his promises and make them possible.*

* Full disclosure: I am an unrepentant optimist.
posted by effwerd at 5:25 AM on May 30, 2008 [2 favorites]




And there you have it. A probably semi-jokey but still completely true basic reason people vote for conservative Republicans: Selfishness.

I don't think it's selfish not to want to pay more taxes. My total tax rate is already over 40%. Surely giving almost half of my income to the government is enough?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:05 AM on May 30, 2008


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America:

You should write a letter to your congressman asking that they reduce military spending and refund you half of your taxes. That way, 20% of your income can go to building roads, paying teachers, fixing schools, purchasing police cars, and funding the judicial system. Common good, public space type stuff.

But yeah, I totally agree that military spending is out of control.
posted by billysumday at 6:11 AM on May 30, 2008


I suspect that Obama's numbers will increase and McCain's will decrease during the general campaign as voters examine the candidates.

Obama is relatively unknown, and people have questions about his qualifications and experience because they're not familiar with him. I think many people's opinions of him will improve as they pay more attention to his policies and speeches. Also, some Clinton supporters will support him in the general election.

McCain has nowhere to go but down. He earned his straight-talkin' maverick reputation in 2000, and has huge name recognition as a result, but he's sold out all of the principled stands that won him that reputation. As people realize that McCain 2008 isn't McCain 2000, their opinions of him will drop. Also, he's not different enough from Bush on Iraq. He wants to stay in Iraq for 5 to 100 years, "make it 1,000," and the majority of Americans just want to get out.

Speaking of McCain's temper, Obama's show an ability to provoke McCain with seemingly innocuous statements, causing McCain to blow his top. For example, taking "lost his bearings" to mean McCain's old when that's not what the phrase means, or McCain's reaction when Obama said McCain thought Webb's G.I. Bill was too generous. I expect more provocations as the campaign continues.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:18 AM on May 30, 2008


Anyone care to do a WhoIs on those URLs?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:34 AM on May 30, 2008


Surely giving almost half of my income to the government is enough?

It probably would be, if people hadn't voted for Republicans in the last two elections. Then again, hindsight is 20/20... except in your case, I guess.
posted by dsword at 6:35 AM on May 30, 2008


Selfishness.

This is ridiculous. It doesn't make me selfish to want to keep the money that I earn, and oppose government attempts to seize it and redistribute it.

If you're so selfLESS, how much extra money do you voluntarily give the government so that they can distribute it as they see fit?
posted by tadellin at 6:46 AM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't want to pay more taxes.

And I don't want to go to work every day, but that's what grown-ups do. What you should say is I don't want to pay taxes that will be used inefficiently or not benefit me or my community in the ways I'd like. Do you like having roads to drive on? If you're an employer, do you like not having to spend thousands of dollars per employee to teach basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills? Do you like having sewage systems, police, ambulance, fire rescue services? Do you like bridges? Do you like the internet? Do you like satellite tv and radio and all the other technologies that leverage other innovations that were originally developed with public funding?

Also, he's not different enough from Bush on Iraq. He wants to stay in Iraq for 5 to 100 years, "make it 1,000," and the majority of Americans just want to get out.

Also, among all the possible Republican candidates there might have been in this election, McCain's tendency toward moderate stances on taxation and economic policies make it just as likely that he'll raise taxes as Obama would, given the depth and scope of the nation's current economic woes, so he's got no real advantage in that department over Obama (although he may be more willing to sugarcoat and lie about the unpopular tax policies he'll eventually be forced to adopt).

Also he's very, very old. He'd be the oldest president we've ever elected to a first term. And when people really stop to think about it, I think they're going to realize we need a president who's a lot more in touch with the complexities of recent cultural and technological developments and more flexible. We also need someone with a demonstrated ability to think creatively and to succeed outside of rigid hierarchical systems that discourage independence and self-reliance like the military. Obama, unlike McCain, didn't negotiate his way to the top of a highly inflexible and structured career system like the military--he scrapped for ever success he achieved in life, and that on top of the disadvantages of his less than perfect social background. We need a leader with those kinds of skills more than ever now.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:52 AM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


'ever' --> 'every'
posted by saulgoodman at 6:57 AM on May 30, 2008


Have people not been paying attention?

Those states make up the Unconscious Belt. We don't talk about them much, because it always stirs up a lot of very noisome vapors. See the reaction here to the word 'selfish' for an illustration.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:01 AM on May 30, 2008


It doesn't make me selfish to want to keep the money that I earn

ARRRGH. When you see on your paycheck that a portion has gone to taxes, that's not you paying the taxes, it's your employer paying tax on what (s)he pays you. In other words, you didn't earn that. You earn the net, not the gross. And, you know what? Poor people generally work a lot harder, for more hours, than rich people, so you can stuff your I earned its in a sack, mister.

You are selfish if you think you shouldn't have to pay taxes because you don't get anything back, but someone who would benefit from taxation (i.e. the working class) should. Indeed, it not only makes you selfish, but also kinda stupid and a bit of a dick.

If you aren't getting anything back for your tax dollars, it's because the people (or current representatives thereof) have decided that you don't deserve need it.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:06 AM on May 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


If I were working for Obama's campaign, all I'd do is run commercials showing that photo of McCain hugging Bush accompanied by a message stating that he voted in line with Bush 100% of the time this year and 95% of the time last year. If that wouldn't be enough to put an end to all of the "maverick" bullshit, then nothing would be.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:15 AM on May 30, 2008


GOP: I'd rather see this country go bankrupt than pay any more taxes.
posted by effwerd at 7:17 AM on May 30, 2008


Well put, saulgoodman.

It's funny that every single candidate on both sides of the aisle that's run for President in my lifetime has at least made some effort to sell his "outsider" bona fides (with the possible exception of Carter), and it's almost always been bullshit. Obama, who actually comes from nothing (an immigrant father who was estranged from him, a blue collar mom, community organizing, state senate, etc.), is almost the very definition of an outsider.

I am erecting my cognitive dissonance radar array as I write this, but dollars to doughnuts, the GOP tries to sell him as the Establishment candidate.
posted by psmealey at 7:20 AM on May 30, 2008


If you aren't getting anything back for your tax dollars,

I'd like to offer one related point: Absolutely nobody in this country isn't getting anything back from their tax dollars.

Although some otherwise seemingly sensible people don't seem to realize it, the infrastructure we all rely on and many of the basic services we all take for granted absolutely depend on tax money. You can't have your cake and eat it, too.

Its like that other recent phenomenon where the people in a neighborhood want better cell phone service and demand a local tower, but then, when the tower turns out to be visible from their own house, some of those same people demand it be torn down.

There are logical and physical connections between all these things--tax revenues and community health and economic prosperity--that can't just be blithely ignored because you've got some kind of anti-tax bug up your ass.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:26 AM on May 30, 2008


Obama, who actually comes from nothing

What the hell? If millionaires who attended Punahou on their way to Columbia and Harvard Law come from nothing, then what do I come from? Anti-matter?
posted by dsword at 7:38 AM on May 30, 2008


I agree with kirkaracha about the personality/perception dynamic, and I can't wait for this difficult primary season to end so the Obama camp can get to work.

As far as the issues go, I think Obama has stronger positions on the economy and foreign policy, though I'd like to hear more specifics on the former. It's interesting because I think he could be destroying McCain on the economy and they need to get on that. I think Obama feels he can compete well with McCain on foreign policy and has the stronger policy positions but with the recent hit on visiting Iraq and the general perception of lack of experience, he's obviously vulnerable.

One thing I think Obama should not do is choose a VP who might appear to be to bolster his foreign policy cred. To me, that's a sign of weakness. You don't want to be referring to your VP running mate as a position of strength on foreign policy.

Webb is needed where he is and could offer some distractions. I don't think Hagel has the appeal. Biden would likely cause distractions, too, and I don't think he adds much appeal either, but I do think he would be a great surrogate.

In the other direction, Edwards polls well (grain of salt) and would shore up the domestic policy arena, he's got name recognition and charisma, and I don't think he'll be much of a distraction (though I'm sure the GOP will be calling it the Liberal Elite Tax & Spend Ticket). And he doesn't get taken out of a needed Dem position. Lots of good there but who knows if it would happen.

Oh, and McCain has promised to appoint a judge favorable to overturning Roe v Wade on the SCOTUS. That should shore up the Clinton supporters who are finding it problematic to accept that Clinton has lost.

And I didn't realize that the entire justification for taxes was an issue in this election so I can't really guess how that might play out in the general election.
posted by effwerd at 7:38 AM on May 30, 2008


It would be nice if they'd spend what they have more wisely. Without all the bs and red tape, our tax money could provide a lot better life for us.

Having been an accountant for the USAF, I can only say that the way they waste money is tragic.
posted by SaintCynr at 7:45 AM on May 30, 2008


What the hell? If millionaires who attended Punahou on their way to Columbia and Harvard Law come from nothing..

I don't know who arranged to pay for the young "Barry's" tuition, but I'm pretty sure he wasn't a millionaire. Both parents were academics, and the maternal grandparents who raised him were middle class.

what do I come from? Anti-matter?

Be careful. Anti-matter is highly unstable.
posted by psmealey at 7:47 AM on May 30, 2008


What the hell? If millionaires who attended Punahou on their way to Columbia and Harvard Law come from nothing, then what do I come from? Anti-matter?

He wasn't a "millionaire" until his first book became a best-seller, at which time he was finally able to pay off the massive student loans that financed his education. There's a Slate article that discusses Obama's financial history here. This is all public record. Don't just blatantly lie about it.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:50 AM on May 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


Having been an accountant for the USAF, I can only say that the way they waste money is tragic.

Having been a private contractor in a state where literally tens of thousands of education dollars were spent (by a republican governor, no less) just to print up a massive sign to paste on the side of the state's main education building with the name of the governor's reading program on it, I can vouch for the fact that republicans are no less wasteful, and that all the emphasis on privatization in recent years seems to have done is to funnel the immediate benefits of our tax dollars more to the private sector.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:57 AM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not lying about anything. I was referring to now. Obama is now a millionaire. He got there because he attended these prestigious schools, starting in 5th grade. His background is far from under-privileged, or even an average-amount-of-privilege. He's been highly privileged since he was a child. Certainly not anywhere near to the degree of the Bushes, but "comes from nothing" is just ridiculous.
posted by dsword at 8:16 AM on May 30, 2008


Sorry if my hyperbole offended your sensibilities, dsword. Of course he didn't come from nothing. But when you compare his beginnings to that of the Bushes, Kennedys, Roosevelts
I suppose that Truman, Nixon, Reagan and Bill Clinton all had humbler childhoods than Obama, but he's still a guy from bourgeois upbringing that is an incredible long shot at having any chance at higher office.
posted by psmealey at 8:24 AM on May 30, 2008


Ok, fair enough.

In other news, Poblano has just identified himself as Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus.
posted by dsword at 8:42 AM on May 30, 2008


ARRRGH. When you see on your paycheck that a portion has gone to taxes, that's not you paying the taxes, it's your employer paying tax on what (s)he pays you. In other words, you didn't earn that. You earn the net, not the gross.

You can say that, but it doesn't make it so. And even in your fantasy world where one earns the net, well, you have the self-employed and the employer who are earning the money that goes to taxes. So what about the self-employed. Do they earn the net or the gross?

If income taxes went up tomorrow, and after tax incomes got smaller, how many reasonable people would look at their paychecks and think "boy oh boy, they raised taxes on my company again. Good thing my taxes didn't go up"?

And, you know what? Poor people generally work a lot harder, for more hours, than rich people, so you can stuff your I earned its in a sack, mister.

Except that's not what the data say (table 4.5. If you have something newer, post the Bush tax cuts, I'd be happy to read it, but I'd suspect that because the substitution effect is generally greater than the income effect in the US, the gap has only widened). But if it confirms your prejudices, well, hate away.

You are selfish if you think you shouldn't have to pay taxes because you don't get anything back, but someone who would benefit from taxation (i.e. the working class) should. Indeed, it not only makes you selfish, but also kinda stupid and a bit of a dick.

Kinda stupid? Well, you're the one with the unsupported assertions and falsehoods.

If you aren't getting anything back for your tax dollars, it's because the people (or current representatives thereof) have decided that you don't deserve need it.

I guess that's that. Need should be the criteria, and the state should be the arbiter of desert? I don't think I need to move to Galt's Gulch to find a number of people who are pretty uncomfortable with the government deciding their "needs" and excising the rest.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:05 AM on May 30, 2008


This fellow, Poblano, over at fivethirtyeight.com does interesting work for an amateur, but he doesn't show us his calculations so I'm skeptical.

Poblano's work has been fascinating and scary accurate this entire election season. He has just revealed his identity.
There are certain pleasures in writing anonymously. Particularly in the political world, where there is a whole mythology associated with anonymity -- think Deep Throat or Primary Colors or Atrios. But I'm fortunate enough to have been granted the opportunity to develop some relationships with larger outlets (you should see these coming to fruition very soon). And it just ain't very professional to keep referring to yourself as a chili pepper.

My real name is Nate Silver and my principal occupation has been as a writer, analyst and partner at a sports media company called Baseball Prospectus. What we do over there and what I'm doing over here are really quite similar. Both baseball and politics are data-driven industries. But a lot of the time, that data might be used badly. In baseball, that may mean looking at a statistic like batting average when things like on-base percentage and slugging percentage are far more correlated with winning ballgames. In politics, that might mean cherry-picking a certain polling result or weaving together a narrative that isn't supported by the demographic evidence.

So if you catch me overusing baseball metaphors in my political writing or political metaphors in my baseball writing -- this is my excuse.
If you're not familiar, check it out. If you're familiar with Baseball Prospectus, and you've been reading Poblano all along, you're probably nodding knowingly at this point. Well, I was, anyway.
posted by edverb at 9:13 AM on May 30, 2008


I'm not lying about anything. I was referring to now.

Sorry, then, DSword. Your phrasing seemed to suggest his being a millionaire had played some role in his being in the position to attend the schools he attended, which of course wasn't the case. Personally, I'm just psyched about the prospect of having someone who's probably recently done his own grocery shopping in office again.

I guess that's that. Need should be the criteria, and the state should be the arbiter of desert? I don't think I need to move to Galt's Gulch to find a number of people who are pretty uncomfortable with the government deciding their "needs" and excising the rest.

You know what, I change my mind. You're right. I'll meet you out at the interstate with a pick-axe. We'll need some gasoline and matches to torch the school building, too. And the publicly funded research hospitals. Oh, and the entire university campus. Oh, and let's figure out some way to get all those satellites out of orbit and bring them back down to earth so we can scrap them all for raw materials. Then we'll tear up all the telecommunications infrastructure, sanitation and public utility plumbing. We'll need a backhoe, I guess. Maybe a couple of wrecking balls. Shouldn't take more than a couple of weeks. Then we can start deciding how to spend our own damn money for a change.

Come on, man! Don't just dream it: Live it.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:13 AM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Come on, man! Don't just dream it: Live it.

I'll need to sweep up the knee-high straw here in my office before I can join you.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:19 AM on May 30, 2008


Yes, obviously there are only two options open to us: raise taxes, or KILL THE STATE!
posted by enn at 9:19 AM on May 30, 2008


Obama, who actually comes from nothing (an immigrant father who was estranged from him, a blue collar mom, community organizing, state senate, etc.), is almost the very definition of an outsider.

I am erecting my cognitive dissonance radar array as I write this


I hope that thing doesn't have a minimum range. Dude's less "insider"/"establishment" than the other two, I guess, but he got a pol. sci. degree, got his "community organizing" cred for a few years, went to Harvard Law, and became a lawyer and politician, moving up from state legislature to U.S. Senate to presidential candidate. Story of an outsider? Do the Democrats generally invite "outsiders" to give their convention speeches and start up a hubbub of "What an awesome speech, let's run this guy for pres. in 2008?"
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:21 AM on May 30, 2008


Oh, and McCain has promised to appoint a judge favorable to overturning Roe v Wade on the SCOTUS.

The next president will likely replace several Supreme Court justices, and all of the liberal justices are over retirement age.

Roberts is 53. Alito is 58. Thomas is 59. Souter is 68. Breyer is 69. Kennedy is 71. Scalia is 72. Ginsburg is 75. Stevens is 88.

I do not want the Supreme Court to be dominated by conservatives for decades, so I will be supporting and voting for whoever the Democratic nominee is.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:33 AM on May 30, 2008


Yes, obviously there are only two options open to us: raise taxes, or KILL THE STATE!

Well, no, we could just keep endlessly printing money against borrowed capital forever, until inflation makes daily living so expensive we all have to move to tent villages. The federal government is a massive, inextricable part of the American economy and has been for so long now that the health of our economy can't be separated from the fiscal health of the Federal government.

People don't usually grumble in the same way about how unfair it is that they have to give so much of their hard-earned money to the local convenience store for gas, the local grocers for food (who are they to decide what the best way to go about procuring and packaging my food for me is? or what food I should or shouldn't be entitled to eat?), the local department store for gas. And yet, that too, is a tax of sorts: A private tax. You can't choose not to eat. You could hunt and farm for all your food. But where would you get the seeds? Where would you get the guns? At some point, you have to give your money to others whether you like it or not. So taxation isn't the problem--it's just another way of paying money for services. It's the quality of the services and the amount of control you, as an individual have over what services are provided and how they're delivered that's at issue. Basically, you just don't feel like you have enough input into the democratic process. I agree.

If you want to see basic infrastructure maintenance needs left neglected, police and public safety services gone to pot and the scope of other public services stagnate in the face of population and economic growth until they don't adequately serve their intended purposes at all anymore (which is kind of the path we're on now, in my experience), then yeah, we can keeping going down the path we're on now. And we can start wars with Iran, Pakistan, Cuba, Russia, China and France, while we're at it (just for kicks). Then when the party's over and no one wants to bring money into the US anymore because it's a shit hole with a massive population of people with no valuable industrial skills living in poverty we'll all have a good laugh about how much money we saved on our taxes.

and became a lawyer and politician

Yeah. A civil rights lawyer and constitutional law expert. And you've got to be kidding me if you think there's any chance in hell any party would ever run a candidate (or that anyone would ever vote for a candidate) with absolutely no experience in politics at all, if that's what you mean by "politician."
posted by saulgoodman at 9:41 AM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Dr Steve: Do you think that lower taxes can be maintained at current spending levels? I don't like paying more in taxes, but the root here is spending. If we were in a situation with a surplus, we'd probably be cutting taxes just like last time.

What spending do you think Obama will push up that McCain will restrain? I haven't seen any spending-cutting courage from the GOP in about ten years. Maybe more spend on medicaid (or the equivalent in health care reform), but there seems to be a pretty potent argument that costs are lowered by a more systematic approach. Maybe more on unemployment insurance? Since he would almost certainly be facing a Democratic congress, McCain might have more spine to demand pork cuts. OTOH, lots of pork is getting rerouted into untouchable things now like useless homeland security projects.

I don't really expect either of them to restrain costs for the military, for medicare, for social security, or other big tickets. Obama may reduce Iraq spending faster.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 9:43 AM on May 30, 2008


I hope that thing doesn't have a minimum range. Dude's less "insider"/"establishment" than the other two, I guess, but he got a pol. sci. degree, got his "community organizing" cred for a few years, went to Harvard Law, and became a lawyer and politician, moving up from state legislature to U.S. Senate to presidential candidate. Story of an outsider?

As opposed to what? The party picking a first term D.C alderman with no legal or political experience, his winning the nomination and the General Election? Only in the movies, bro, only in the movies.

Mostly, as I mentioned, the "outsider" thing is specious bullshit meant to manipulate ignorant voters that get their news from talk radio. George W. Bush running as an outsider in 2000? That almost made my head explode given that at least three generations of his family suckled at the power teat and made themselves enormously wealthy in the process.

As for Obama, you can certainly make a case... but my main points was that we should fully expect the GOP to run the son and grandson of 2 US Navy Admirals and a 20+ year US Senator with one of its most consistently conservative voting records as the "maverick outsider". While his less against "San Francisco Liberal" who wants to tether you to the Government millstone, raise your effective income tax rate to 90% and force your kids to learn Spanish.
posted by psmealey at 10:21 AM on May 30, 2008


People don't usually grumble in the same way about how unfair it is that they have to give so much of their hard-earned money to the local convenience store for gas, the local grocers for food (who are they to decide what the best way to go about procuring and packaging my food for me is? or what food I should or shouldn't be entitled to eat?), the local department store for gas. And yet, that too, is a tax of sorts: A private tax. You can't choose not to eat. You could hunt and farm for all your food. But where would you get the seeds? Where would you get the guns? At some point, you have to give your money to others whether you like it or not. So taxation isn't the problem--it's just another way of paying money for services. It's the quality of the services and the amount of control you, as an individual have over what services are provided and how they're delivered that's at issue. Basically, you just don't feel like you have enough input into the democratic process. I agree.

I think you were responding to a discussion of taxes. If so, your analogy fails because:
1. I am much freer to chose a different grocer if I am unsatisfied than I am to expatriate.
2. Grocers beat each others' brains in to market food inexpensively to the consumer. (have you seen the ROAs on US grocers? 3-6%!)
3. The grocer (more or less; there are loyalty programs and geographic pricing schemes) charges every customer the same price for the same basket of goods.
4. The people who buy groceries from the grocery store have greater influence on how the grocery store operates than those who don't shop there.

Complaining about taxes isn't complaining only about how services are provisioned-- it's a lot bigger than that.

If you want to see basic infrastructure maintenance needs left neglected, police and public safety services gone to pot and the scope of other public services stagnate in the face of population and economic growth until they don't adequately serve their intended purposes at all anymore (which is kind of the path we're on now, in my experience), then yeah, we can keeping going down the path we're on now. And we can start wars with Iran, Pakistan, Cuba, Russia, China and France, while we're at it (just for kicks). Then when the party's over and no one wants to bring money into the US anymore because it's a shit hole with a massive population of people with no valuable industrial skills living in poverty we'll all have a good laugh about how much money we saved on our taxes.

This is the best part! Leaving aside the obvious gaps and questions (whether our currently enormous educational expenditures make sense, whether the state out to be provisioning education, whether our infrastructure spending is wasteful, and just how tragically stupid and expensive policing has become) MPDSEA (and later, I) complain about paying taxes, and you talk about how low taxes might lead to making war, an activity which is nearly impossible without sizable tax collections.

Now, back to work with me before I get fired; I need to earn more money so I can pay more taxes. Please don't spend it on DEA agents, senior citizens who have apartments that are five times the size of my little tenement, bombs, or the tenth-percentile, internet-Masters-Degree-for-a-20-percent-pay-bump, retire-at-55 nitwits who are teaching our most precious natural resource-- our children.
posted by Kwantsar at 10:21 AM on May 30, 2008


Mostly, as I mentioned, the "outsider" thing is specious bullshit

Yeah, but it's definitely bullshit for both, and Obama is benefitting a lot from his "outsider" bullshit.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:27 AM on May 30, 2008


This is the best part! Leaving aside the obvious gaps and questions (whether our currently enormous educational expenditures make sense, whether the state out to be provisioning education, whether our infrastructure spending is wasteful, and just how tragically stupid and expensive policing has become) MPDSEA (and later, I) complain about paying taxes, and you talk about how low taxes might lead to making war, an activity which is nearly impossible without sizable tax collections.

Look, I live in a state where taxes have been cut like crazy lately, and I can tell you from firsthand experience working closely alongside the public sector that lower taxes do not equal more efficient use of the remaining revenue--far from it, because it just makes the financial decision makers that much more desperate to spend as much as possible of what remains on their pals and benefactors.

And cheaper, as any consumer knows, is not always better. When I shop for appliances, I don't buy the cheapest model because I know that I'll probably have so many problems with it that my ostensible savings will quickly evaporate. To an extent, you really do get what you pay for. So when you try to skimp on necessities like education (or allow the available money to be poorly allocated for things like gigantic signs on the sides of buildings), and then those services suffer, it's really tempting to point at those services and say, see, there's so much waste it's not even worth the spending it gets.

But that's like choking a dog for not barking on command: He's never going to start barking as long as you keep choking him, no matter how hard you squeeze.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:37 AM on May 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well, whatever. For what it's worth, if he does win, a lot of very important jobs will be filled with new people committed to an agenda of "change". Of course it's entirely possible they'll be co-opted, corrupted and/or beholden inside of a year or two, but I'll still take that over some tired '90s re-treads and other Clintonites that come pre-owned.
posted by psmealey at 10:37 AM on May 30, 2008


Except that's not what the data say (table 4.5. If you have something newer, post the Bush tax cuts, I'd be happy to read it, but I'd suspect that because the substitution effect is generally greater than the income effect in the US, the gap has only widened). But if it confirms your prejudices, well, hate away.

That's a pretty interesting paper to excerpt from. And I think two things are worth discussing regarding that discrepancy—First, that it's primarily a US discrepancy, though Germany and the Netherlands show it too. That would seem to argue that it's not a natural state, but rather one that has to do with the particular conditions of the poor in America. Second, the use of hours to measure work is misleading both at the upper and lower bounds. My boss's boss (down the hall from me) clocks roughly 60 hours a week, but only by including things like company-sponsored meals and golf. I realize that there is, generally, quite a bit of work expended to both rise and to maintain positions in the upper quintile, and I'm not explicitly denigrating that, but I routinely see a lot of leisure labeled as work (often, I believe, for tax benefit). And if you look at the jobs available to the lowest quintile, you'll realize that quite a few of them (including our nation's largest employer) are fairly well mandated as part-time. That, combined with extra burdens that the poor face by not being able to pay someone else to do their chores (essentially) puts further constraints on the amount of work that someone is able to do. Given that the same paper notes a 60% affirmation from people saying that they would want to work even if they didn't need the money, I would be interested to see a study that asks people in the lowest quintiles of income and in hours worked if they would like to work more.

Further, I'd encourage other people to read the whole study linked, which has some pretty interesting things to say about why we don't have a European-style welfare system, noting that racism is one of the biggest reasons, not economic policy.
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 AM on May 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


"who are teaching our most precious natural resource-- our children."

You can get oil from children?
posted by klangklangston at 11:01 AM on May 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


One last thing I want to say on the taxation derail.

It's a hypothetical but not at all implausible real-world example of how irresponsible efforts to cut public spending can work exactly counter to those ends.

Suppose some public entity realizes that it can, over a twenty-year period, reduce its spending on a mission-critical function by implementing a new enterprise software system that eliminates multiple labor and resource intensive manual processes. It could instead just continue doing business as usual, of course, so a new system wouldn’t strictly be mission-critical, but the new system, if properly implemented, would yield significant long-term savings.

Let’s say (and these numbers are all completely made-up, but not wholly unrealistic) that the anticipated cost benefit of such a system over a twenty year period is in the neighborhood of 20 million.

After putting out requests for quote, the most aggressive project plans and estimates for developing a system that minimally achieves the desired cost savings anticipate a multi-year project funded to the tune of about 5 million. A simple cost benefit analysis determines that the new system would more than pay for itself in 5 years time, and that ultimately, it would yield a savings of around 15 million dollars in revenue over the next twenty years.

So public funding requests are made, the project gets the green-light, but halfway through the project, the legislature decides to make drastic cuts to the public entity’s IT budget, and the only way to make the math work is to cut somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars from the budget for the development effort.

Due to these unanticipated budgeting shortfalls, the final delivered system doesn’t come close to meeting the business needs of the public entity, and since it’s not really a mission-critical system, four million dollars later, not only have the anticipated cost-savings not been realized, but the entire project has been scrapped and the system will likely never go into production. (This scenario happens a lot--by some estimates, IIRC, roughly 80% of the enterprise software development efforts undertaken in the public sector fail.)

And there you have what might have been fifteen million in savings over twenty years instantly transformed into 4 million in waste by incompetent, short-sighted tax warriors.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:26 AM on May 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


More on the original topic, TPM Election Central offers a take on the electoral picture here (Spoiler: It's not really looking too bad for Obama in many ways. In most likely scenarios, either Ohio or Florida will be in play, but not necessarily both. And in some plausible scenarios, neither of them really have to be in play. So there's some room to breathe.)

Really sorry about the long derail above.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:50 AM on May 30, 2008


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America: But Obama wants to raise taxes, and I don't want to pay more taxes.

Actually, Obama's promised not to raise taxes on the middle class, defined as households with incomes up to $200,000. This includes extending the Bush tax cuts for those households, while allowing those for higher incomes to expire. John Berry. (Berry is not impressed; but he regards McCain's proposals as even more irresponsible.)
posted by russilwvong at 1:12 PM on May 30, 2008


Actually, Obama's promised not to raise taxes on the middle class, defined as households with incomes up to $200,000.

Has he retracted this? Or is he pretending that Social Security isn't a tax?
posted by Kwantsar at 2:14 PM on May 30, 2008


But Obama wants to raise taxes, and I don't want to pay more taxes.

If you aren't earning over $200k, then this is factually incorrect. If you are, you're looking at a modest increase.

If you aren't using offshore tax havens, then this is factually incorrect.

If you aren't using a special-interest loophole, then this is factually incorrect.

Obama proposes a little thing called "fiscal discipline." It's a thing that the GOP and McCain are unfamiliar with, as they'd much rather have the nation go deep into debt than actually pay for their budget today.
posted by Project F at 3:03 PM on May 30, 2008


Kwantsar: It's true, Obama has proposed lifting the social security payroll tax cap (as well as cutting some other taxes)

But most of all what Obama talks about is fiscal discipline, reinstituting PAYGO, and eliminating wasteful spending. He's honest enough to admit that if one of his proposals involves spending, that they money does not magically appear.

I understand that die-hard conservatives such as yourself prefer candidates who double the national debt, and who increase pork-barrel spending, but it is ludicrously short-sighted to focus on taxes if you aren't also focused on spending.
posted by Project F at 3:10 PM on May 30, 2008


Kwantsar: Has he retracted this [lifting the Social Security cap]?

Good point. He's proposing a donut hole exempting earnings between $100,000 and $200,000, so lifting the cap wouldn't affect anyone making less than $200,000.
posted by russilwvong at 3:30 PM on May 30, 2008


"I understand that die-hard conservatives such as yourself prefer candidates who double the national debt, and who increase pork-barrel spending, but it is ludicrously short-sighted to focus on taxes if you aren't also focused on spending."

I know that die-hard liberals such as yourself prefer arguments where you invent a straw man to attack, but Kwantsar's pretty easy to predict: he'd like less taxes AND less spending.

I mean, c'mon, I disagree with the guy about a lot, but that's pretty much bullshit right there.
posted by klangklangston at 3:41 PM on May 30, 2008


Have people not been paying attention?

But Obama wants to raise taxes, and I don't want to pay more taxes.


Yep, that about says it all. We've dumbed down to the point that "Don't take my money!" is a political philosophy for nearly half the populace.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:41 PM on May 30, 2008


One thing that I've noticed about politics is that the memes generally predict the outcome of an election. For example, in 2004 I knew that John Kerry couldn't win the election when I saw JohnKerryIsADoucehbagButImVotingForHimAnyway.com. Yes, that one guy was going to vote for him despite his douchebagginess, but if that was the popular conception of him, then he'd obviously failed to convince people that he was a likeable, good person, which tends to be a real problem when you are trying to attract swing voters, who often vote on personality more than issues. You have to control how your personality is presented if you want to win.

It hasn't been particularly talked about, but this site (which I've had forwarded to me several times by separate people) represents a real problem for John McCain's public perception:

http://www.thingsyoungerthanmccain.com/

Yes, thats an isolated site, and yes, this is just one guy's perspective. But on some level, the fact that people are already treating McCain like he's a joke 5 months from the election isn't good. So, like everyone else here, put me down in the "those poll numbers are meaningless" column...
posted by Kiablokirk at 4:14 PM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


You can get oil from children?

You can absolutely get oil from children. It just takes a few million years.
posted by Justinian at 5:18 PM on May 30, 2008


Anyway, this year's election is easy to understand. McCain is going to win Florida; don't invest your hopes there. All the old fuckers down there are voting for the old guy. Obama will take Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Hampshire.

He may win Ohio. If he wins Ohio, the election is over; he's the President. Is he loses Ohio, and he might, he needs two of the following three states: Virginia, Michigan, Colorado.

I think Obama will carry Colorado. Virginia strikes me as unlikely but possible. So it comes to Michigan: It scares me that Michigan doesn't appear solid for Obama. I hope this is a residual thing from the lengthy primary and the FUBARd primary there.

In any case, my prediction from this far out is that Michigan and Ohio decide the election. Obama likely needs one of those two states and both of them probably favor McCain by low single digits right now. This far out that isn't a huge problem, but Michigan should be solid, and it's not.

What is up, Michigan? Lock it down.
posted by Justinian at 5:25 PM on May 30, 2008


Now I've gone and gotten myself all worked up. Suck it up and get in line, Michigan! Arrrghh.
posted by Justinian at 5:26 PM on May 30, 2008


Look S.D.B. I pay a fair bit in taxes also. But I look at it like this. When my accountant calls at tax time and announces he has bad news for me I always grouse at him. But inwardly I smile. It means my investments have been productive. The other point to remember is that your taxes encourage the state to protect your wealth. Sort of keep the rabble rousers out of sight.
posted by notreally at 5:41 PM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


ARRRGH. When you see on your paycheck that a portion has gone to taxes, that's not you paying the taxes, it's your employer paying tax on what (s)he pays you. In other words, you didn't earn that.

No, this is incorrect.

FICA is indeed levied on the employer, but you're delusional if you think employees don't bear some of the incidence. As for U.S. federal income tax on wages, that's levied on the employee. It's true that the employer acts as a withholding agent with respect to the tax, but it's ultimately the employee who has the responsibility to pay.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 6:00 PM on May 30, 2008


Most conservatives really don't care about taxes per se, because most of them don't understand how fair the tax code is within progressive marginal rates, because everyone pays the same rate on the same dollar earned along the number line, and if someone doesn't earn that millionth dollar, then they don't pay that higher rate on it. But many are often mystified by this simple concept, so they support the flat tax proposal that raises taxes on the young and poor and lowers it for the wealthy, hurting their own bottom line all around, from payments to benefits. Go figure. So the "reason" some are whining about "high taxes" while on a merciful progressive scheme is all about cognitive dissonance, because in their "personal responsibility" world view there is nobody left to blame for their self-conscious lack of prosperity except the government (and the flat tax helps hide reality from themselves).

Thankfully, Obama's ideas are nothing new.
posted by Brian B. at 7:49 PM on May 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Most conservatives really don't care about taxes per se, because most of them don't understand how fair the tax code is within progressive marginal rates, because everyone pays the same rate on the same dollar earned along the number line

But this is true of a progressive, flat, or regressive tax--everyone pays the same rate on the same dollar earned. That's clearly not the measure of a fair tax.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 9:24 PM on May 30, 2008


But this is true of a progressive, flat, or regressive tax--everyone pays the same rate on the same dollar earned. That's clearly not the measure of a fair tax.

They pay the same nominal rate under a flat tax, but when it takes many thousands of dollars to avoid starvation and death from exposure per person, this makes it regressive because the young and poor are paying about 20% of their personal survival income to a government that claims to represent them (which severely hurts the economy, hence the tax rebates during recessions). Yet, the wealthy would be paying 20% of a windfall, essentially. Even the flat taxers know this and excuse the tax below the poverty line, but happily ignoring the detrimental effect that a regressive tax has on middle class saving for homes and education.
posted by Brian B. at 9:42 PM on May 30, 2008


"And you've got to be kidding me if you think there's any chance in hell any party would ever run a candidate (or that anyone would ever vote for a candidate) with absolutely no experience in politics at all, if that's what you mean by 'politician.'"

Wendell Wilkie, Dwight Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson (military governor though), George McClellan, Winfield Scott Hancock.
posted by Jahaza at 3:15 PM on May 31, 2008




What is up, Michigan?

Obama bragged about pissing off the auto industry, took his name off the ballot in the primary, blocked a revote and was against seating their delegates? It will take some time for Michigan voters to come around I expect.

And eh.. John Kerry was a douchebag and I voted for him (twice) anyway.. but I think what killed him was the Swift Vets for one, and the GOP turning out their base with gay marriage ballot initiatives in key states. It's hard to knock out an incumbent, though. Apparently the GOP is ramping up a set of affirmative action ballot initiatives this time around - I wonder why - a cynical and depressing way to do the dirty work supporting McCain without McCain actually getting involved with the issue.
posted by citron at 1:10 AM on June 1, 2008


bragged about pissing off the auto industry, took his name off the ballot in the primary, blocked a revote and was against seating their delegates

holy shit, what a lot of carefully-doctored information to sort through there...

1) Here's a different take on Obama's bragging "about pissing off the auto industry"...

2) Obama did not take his name off the ballot in the primary; during the primary planning process, all of the Democratic candidates at the behest of the National Democratic Party entered into a formal agreement not to appear on the ballot in Michigan. Like his fellow Democrats, Edwards, Kucinich, and others, Obama abided by this formal agreement and did not appear on the ballot or campaign in Michigan. To distort all these realities with the mischaracterized over-simplification that he "took his name off the ballot" is sloppy and careless at best, deceptive and manipulative at worst.

3) The National Democratic Party, not Obama, determined that a revote in Michigan (which has open primaries) was unworkable because so many Democratic voters in Michigan had crossed aisles to vote in the Republican primaries, making them ineligible to participate in a revote. A revote would have disenfranchised more Democratic voters than it brought into the process.

4) Yeah, gee, what a jerk that Obama, believing that we should respect and adhere to the stated rules of a process as they were defined at the outset of that process, rather than just making up all the rules as we go along, depending on how we feel about the candidate who benefits most from the rule change.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:00 AM on June 3, 2008


Obama did not take his name off the ballot in the primary; during the primary planning process, all of the Democratic candidates at the behest of the National Democratic Party entered into a formal agreement not to appear on the ballot in Michigan. Like his fellow Democrats, Edwards, Kucinich, and others, Obama abided by this formal agreement and did not appear on the ballot or campaign in Michigan. To distort all these realities with the mischaracterized over-simplification that he "took his name off the ballot" is sloppy and careless at best, deceptive and manipulative at worst.


Well it says here that he took his name off the ballot.

Ultimately, Obama chose to remove his name just prior to the deadline to do so. And his decision, political observers say, was likely driven by a desire to appeal to Iowa voters (who were angered that Michigan had moved its primary up in the calendar) as well as the conclusion that he simply could not beat Clinton.

posted by Brian B. at 7:26 PM on June 3, 2008


Why, yes, Brian, he took his name off the ballot. Because the party asked all of the candidates to do so. At that point, no one thought Michigan was going to count at all, so it would have been a moot point.

And rather than persuading, you putting that over-simplification in the blink tag just makes you look like you're too Aspy to understand any argument and are instead seizing on one detail because it's all the comprehension you can muster.

Anyway, Obama's the nominee now, so you can be included in the haters that are told to "suck it," when WWF crew D-Generation gives the acceptance speech on his behalf.
posted by klangklangston at 11:55 PM on June 3, 2008


At that point, no one thought Michigan was going to count at all, so it would have been a moot point.

At that point, it was Hillary's stronghold. She didn't have a secret reason to be afraid of being on the ballot, and Obama was probably worried he would come in third. Anyway, the plan worked out for him, and he's a pro at it apparently. The bottom line here is that the Republicans voted for moving the state vote up, just like in Florida, so the punishment doesn't fit the crime. The Iowa kickoff is poison to liberals, and that's an old argument that never hurt a red state populist like Obama. Anyway, Obama is not your prison gang leader, so I'll excuse any relation to his overt dominance over you, and he's never bringing back cash welfare as his followers claim (because it failed). Chances are that he'll be begging for mass support very soon and not assuming a clean sweep as you do. Liberally speaking, he probably cringes at posts like yours. I know I do.
posted by Brian B. at 6:54 AM on June 4, 2008


This came up again in another thread, so I wanted to clarify a mistake in my previous comment. I wrote:

all of the Democratic candidates at the behest of the National Democratic Party entered into a formal agreement not to appear on the ballot in Michigan. Like his fellow Democrats, Edwards, Kucinich, and others, Obama abided

This is not technically correct. Kucinich and Gravel did not sign on to the agreement. But all the other candidates did. There's even a copy of the specific agreement they signed here on the web, as pointed out in this comment in a related thread.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:33 AM on June 4, 2008


Anyway, Obama is not your prison gang leader, so I'll excuse any relation to his overt dominance over you, and he's never bringing back cash welfare as his followers claim (because it failed).

WTF? who ever claimed obama would bring back "cash welfare," whatever the hell that even means? sure, it's been pointed out by critics that one of bill clinton's most significant policy "accomplishments" during his tenure was one that played more to the conservative agenda of the republican party than to the liberal base of his own party (and the corollary, that he didn't manage to make nearly as much progress on advancing his own party's agenda), but that doesn't mean anyone who supports obama thinks he plans to go around giving people free money or whatever nonsense you're spouting off about. what a crazy, misinformed thing to say.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:41 AM on June 4, 2008


I echo the "What the fuck are you even on about, Brian?" Prison gang leader? Crazy non-sequitors about cash welfare? A fundamental misunderstanding of the process by which Michigan moved its primary? Speculation as to "secret reason[s]"?

Thank God you're at the bottom of a thread, in the dregs of the internet, so that you don't have to deal with any real audience for your awkward insanity.
posted by klangklangston at 10:49 AM on June 4, 2008


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