Words of wisdom

Some people I know will hate it when I say this, but as written by E.J. Dionne, this seems to me true, true, true:

The right wing has lost the election of 2012.

The evidence for this is overwhelming, yet it is the year’s best-kept secret. Mitt Romney would not be throwing virtually all of his past positions overboard if he thought the nation were ready to endorse the full-throated conservatism he embraced to win the Republican nomination.

…The right is going along because its partisans know Romney has no other option. This, too, is an acknowledgment of defeat, a recognition that the grand ideological experiment heralded by the rise of the tea party has gained no traction.

There is more at the link.


You mean the three B program as outlined in the debates is not gaining traction:

BBB Program

Big Bird

Binders and


I disagree. As Dionne suggests, it's the "neocon" adventurous foreign policy-type positions that Romney appears to be jettisoning the fastest. Obama, meanwhile, has staked out middle ground here, to the consternation of both Democrats and Libertarians. So now, Romney's foreign policy sounds "me-tooish".

I welcome and applaud this movement from Romney. I'm not a tea partier myself, but I thought those folks hated the neocons and would be happy with Romney toning down the saber-rattling.

If anything, Obama won over some tea parties with his 'horses and bayonets' bon mot.

Are you kidding? What do you think putting defense spending at a floor of 4% GDP will do for our sense of adventurousness? Romney wanted to stay in Iraq for longer (not necessarily a bad idea and Obama did too, but not exactly isolationist). He's pro-drone strike. He even talks like Bush when he says things like his priority is to kill bad guys.

"a recognition that the grand ideological experiment heralded by the rise of the tea party has gained no traction"

smart GOPers unpolluted by narrative brainwashing will recognize that the current political landscape is a result of the share of takers outstripping the share of makers, of the women's vote (particularly the growing single women's vote) bearing its overripe fruit, of the mass migration of naturally predisposed dem party voters becoming a larger portion of the electorate, of increasing scale and diversity driving paternalistic managerialism, and of the predictable dissolution into decadence and gimmedat crass calculation that characterizes late stage, culturally and racially atomized empires with rapidly fraying social cohesion threads.

of course, those few smart GOPers don't have a voice, given that the GOP establishment drives them out of polite company as soon as one of them dares to utter a goddamned truth about the reality on the ground.

The GOP has always played the role of court jester. Every ruling group needs an loyal opposition to act as a filter for inevitable displeasure with the ruling regimes policies. Thus this rebellion is channeled in acceptable ways that don't challenge the ruling group.

Of course center right / libertarian academic economists know nothing about being court jesters. They get cushy jobs because they are fighting for truth and all that.

Oh my, is that how smart GOPers talk? This bitter scaremongering would scare away swing voters even faster than would tea-party rhetoric. Romney learned that with his 47% remarks.

Looks like Romney was right: "The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Friday shows Mitt Romney attracting support from 50% of voters nationwide, while President Obama earns the vote from 47%. "

I agree with your comments, but they have nothing to do with the tea party, which you quoted. The tea party was an ignorant group who were convinced, in the midst of a great recession, that austerity was suddenly the right course. That idea was fucking stupid. But you are correct on the more general, larger term scale.

During the U.S. healthcare debate of 2009, I accidentally (really) walked into a tea party rally against health care, Obama, and probably black people in rural Oregon while sending mail for my work. It was the first time I've seen any political protest, and I was taken aback by both the breadth of it and the amount of seriously old people in the crowd. I walked up upon the edges of the crowd to watch an 80 year old speaking to a nodding, nearly tearful crowd about Obama, communism, and the danger of health care. After watching for a little bit, I looked over to my left to see another person quite near to me, a person a little older than me in his mid 30's but still younger than all of the crowd, looking at me and noticing the bewilderment on my face. We exchanged glances of agreement between each other that said "this is ridiculous" and he astutely noted before swiftly walking away, "this situation will sort itself out in the next 10-15 years."

You'll be older and know better?

"I accidentally (really) walked into a tea party rally against ... probably black people in rural Oregon"

Everything you might have had to say after that is completely invalidated.

What is insightful here? The nation is also not ready for a left-wing position. The election is contested around the preferences on the median voter - or at the very least the median voter in various contested voter populations.

My sentiments exactly. Tyler seems to have lost some objectivity

"Romney is offering an echo, not a choice. His strategy at the end is to try to sneak into the White House on a chorus of me-too’s."

It's pretty hard to take seriously Dionne's argument above, when Romney is running on repealing Obamacare. Repealing your opponents core legislative achievement is not a "me-too" platform.

In fairness, Romeny's position is a little more complicated than that. He as said he would repeal Obamacare and institute his own plan that happens to be based on many of the most popular elements of Obamacare, including coverage for pre-existing conditions and the requirement that insurance policies cover children up the age of 26. So, yeah, it is a bit of a "me-too" platform.

"Children up to the age of 26."

Some people remain children in perpetuity.

You must have missed the debates where Romney bragged about getting everyone in Massachusetts insured.

Wouldn't it be more fair to say that on health care, Obama has a "me too" position w.r.t. Romney's health care scheme in Massachussets?

Exactly. It's not exactly a surprise that in a national election candidates move to the center. Nothing about what's going on tells me the left is winning it either. When Krugman wrote, he hopes both Presidential candidates are lying through their teeth, I think that tells you the left is not getting much from this election, other than a Massachusetts Senate seat back.

Dionne has it backwards, the reason Romney was so me-tooish at the debate is that Obama has become a neo-conservative. He backed regime change in Libya and is inching toward the same policy in Syria. He has doubled down on the war on terror with drone strikes instead of renditions and is committed to the war in Afghanistan. He is pledging to do whatever it takes to keep Iran nuclear weapons free.
Romney has not moved toward the Democrats, Obama has moved to the Republicans.

Its sad that Romney failed to frame this at all in the debates---ultimately, whoever is president will rely on the same military, the cia, military-industrial complex so Im sure Romney would do the same; however, I think he had a chance to make people step back a little more if he framed it as such.

LOL, you apparently missed Colin Powell's comments this morning.


"When you think about it, Obama has kept the detention camp at Guantanamo. He's going ahead with military tribunals. And where Bush only waterboarded three terrorists, Obama has used drones to execute about 2,600. Obama's sort of growing on me."
---Hoover Institute neo-con Victor Hanson

Obama never moved. Regime change since Obama took office has all been internal which was his message in Cairo. He said from the beginning Afghanistan was the right war, Iraq was the wrong war. He was attacked by Republicans for calling for reduced nuclear weapons globally as making America weak - Obama is opposed to all nuclear weapons.

And Obama is the best Republican president the Democrats have elected since Eisenhower.

Of course, today, Eisenhower would be a Democrat.

Sorry, but this is not even remotely correct. Bill Clinton was the best Republican president elected by the Democrats. Ask yourself, who is more likely to be essentially a social conservative--a Southern white Baptist from Arkansas, or a black community organizer/lawyer from Chicago? Give me a break.

Judge not by his race and locality, but by his policies.

Libya was regime change by military force. It was replacing a brutal dictator who supported terrorism and trying to replace it with a democratic regime. The reasoning behind the attack was the exact same as Iraq. The difference is that Libya had a rebel army to support and Iraq did not. It is too early to tell which approach will prove better, but the only difference is the amount of military necessary to topple the regime and the hands off approach to the new regime.

Tyler you know a lot about economics but you really don't understand politics. Romney plays politics just the same way Obama does just the same way all politicians do. How do you win a Republican Nomination? Appease to the right. How do you win a Democratic Nomination? Appease to the left. Obama has thrown out many of the policies he proposed while running for president (shut down Guantanemo, get out of Afghanistan, etc.)

This election is going to come down to the economy and whether they think they will be worse off or better off in the next four years, not flip-flopping of positions. This talk of tea party visions is completely overshooting the main point. If anything the right has been reluctant to support Romney because he so moderate (which in my opinion is unfortunate). However, it seems they are finally coalescing around him as a candidate. We will see what happens but the outcome is going to have nothing to do with what this article claims.

Moderate in what way? What would you say is an example of a moderate Romney position that Republicans are reluctant to support?

No, Dionne has it exactly right. The Tea Party lost the Republicans a chance at winning the Senate in 2010 and will miss that mark again this year. Long term the Republican party needs to move towards the middle as the demographics are clearly against a white man's party continuing in power much longer.

The Republican party is garbage, so who cares. It should try moving in a libertarian direction (social liberalism).

Funny selective memory people can have.

The tea party won many seats. I have to keep telling people the tea party is not just the Republican establishment on caffeine.

I wish I could find a way to monetize that.

The tea party did win a lot of seats in 2010; however, was that due the economy or to an enduring swing in the electorate?

Anyway, I think Orange's point about how a Republican party dominated by the Tea Party will fare in the future is a prediction worth thinking about. Some trends seem to point to the Republican party becoming a permanent minority party (no pun or irony intended); what happens if that prediction starts to come true? How will Tea Partiers, as opposed to the Republican establishment, react?

Basing your view of the "right wing", whatever the fuck that is, on Mitt Romney is ridiculous. This is the guy who has been (rightly, in my view) reviled as being a flip flopper who will say anything to get elected. E.J. Dionne might like the idea that "the grand ideological experiment heralded by the rise of the tea party has gained no traction", but Romney neither embodies any aspect of the ideology of the tea party, nor is his (supposed) fall indicative of the fall of the tea party.

I think that's precisely the point Mofo. The fact that the far right has now fallen in line behind someone who is (was?) NOT far-right just goes to show that the far right has not gained the power that they had hoped.

This is the guy who has been (rightly, in my view) reviled as being a flip flopper who will say anything to get elected.

Yet the right-wing still thought this would give them a better shot at winning an election than . . . every one of the other candidates that were tea-party backed at one time or another.

FYI, Romney was also Tea Party backed ... In 2008.

The Tea Party did not exist in 2008.

When Obama ran four years ago he promised to cut total Federal spending and eliminate Federal programs. He was against a mandate to buy health insurance, too. But nobody said his victory was a loss for the left. Not that Romney looks much like Reagan, but then Obama didn't look much like Obama, either.

Obama's presidency has been a huge loss for the left. $3 in spending cuts for $1 in tax increases is the "left pole" presented by Obama. $9 dollars in spending cuts for $1 in tax increases is still not the right-pole for the GOP.

A left-winger would look at teh Obama presidency and say it did not accomplish much of what Obama originally promised to do, but it did record a number of accomplishments int he face of heavy opposition.

$3 in imaginary spending cuts for $1 in real tax increases is a great "deal" for Democrats. Any amount of tax increases is.

Yes, $3 is imaginary but the hypothetical $9 is far more likely from the "Hands off Medicare, Obama cut Medicare, 4% GDP on Military" party. I guess there's just that much savings in PBS and Planned Parenthood.

I am shocked - shocked - by the notion that primaries are about satisfying the base, and the actual election is about the middle. For every serious party.

It's like Mr. Dionne is telling me the sky is blue and expects anyone to be surprised*.

(* Actually, given that I recall some Libertarians believing the Democrats would be the party of fiscal responsibility, for example, I suppose some people do need to be reminded that the sky is, in fact, nominally blue.)

(Also I suspect Mofo is right and it's just Dionne whistling past the "right-wing" graveyard.)

Sig, You might want to ask this question: Who has deviated most from his Party's platform as we approach the election. I would contend Obama has not, and that Romney has, depending on the day of the week and the audience.

Yeah, well. Am I supposed to care about that?

Must be because I'm not a Republican, I don't.

I'm left-leaning and I'm not sure I agree with that.

If I tick that Obama box, it will be more a vote against Romney than support for what Obama has done. He's been liberal in all the wrong ways (spending) and conservative in all the wrong ways (hawkish). I just think Romney would be worse.

What he says about the Tea Party and the 2010 election could equally be said of the 2008 election and hopes for a liberal Reagan. The Tea Party began as a defensive movement opposing left-wing overreach, along with the spending legacy of the Bush administration. In 2010 the public was with it against the bank and auto bailouts, with it on opposition to ObamaCare, and shared its concerns about deficit spending.

Dione contrasts 2012 with 2010 by saying all the GOP now has going for it is a poor economy, a hidden acknowledgement that it had more than that going for it in 2010, which I would say was partly the opposition to progressive excesses. But Dione is right that the public did not embrace the Tea Party's positive agenda. Either side's agenda is unpopular compared to the status quo ante. Yet fiscal realities probably force some type of change, whether popular or not, a point Dione's column does not address. This is why each Party is burdened by unpopular positions in this election (ObamaCare in the Dems' case, the Ryan budget in the case of the GOP); pretending nothing needs to change is advantageous, but so is getting a head start in defining what that change will be.

why does Ryan's budget matter? in the end it will be Romney's leadership on the budget that matters. What contributions has Biden made? who cares what Biden thinks?

Romney who turned staples into a powerhouse and saved the salt lake city Olympics has way more qualifications and confidence from me to get the economy back on the right track compared to Obama.

Romney got a huge amount of Federal government spending that helped bail out the SLC Olympics. He didn't build it himself!

and when Obama tried....http://blog.heritage.org/2012/10/18/president-obamas-taxpayer-backed-green-energy-failures/

It's almost like you are purposely trying to be stupid.

Learn about terms like "loss given default" and "recoveries." Just because a company goes bankrupt does not mean all the money is lost.

In what world can you call a bankruptcy a "success"?

Private Equity.

But seriously, nobody lends with the expectation of 100% of deals working out. Come on.

True, that's where risk analysis comes in. It has come to light that Romney did not have 100% confidence in Staples when he was helping Staples launch at Bain Capital, so he didn't go all in as an investor. Staples later turned out to be an enormous success.

Bottom line, Romney is better at management and capital allocation than Obama. Who would I trust more with the stewardship of my tax dollars? Romney has a better track record, which is the point.

The success of private equity is based on levering up and taking advantage of favorable tax codes. This is not a recipe for success when it comes to managing the military, Medicare, Social Security, or other government programs.

There were a lot of heroes of capital allocation out there just five years ago. Yes, I'm sure these guys would be perfect leaders for the country!

Pfft. None of that matters.

What matters for the budget?

Congress, and nothing else.

They pass the budget; the President can veto it, but that seems real unlikely (and they can override). They might start with the President's very nice suggestion, but he has no power to compel any budget outcome.

I'm exceedingly dubious about the power of Presidential "leadership" on the Budget, either, though I'm open to hard data showing it has any effect at all.

You don't believe that Ronald Reagan realized in Oct 1982 that he had to hike taxes because his tax cuts had gone too far, so he personally demanded Congress give him a tax hike bill, and then he turned his sights to infrastructure and personally decided on a 4 cent hike for roads and a new 1 cent gas tax for public transport and dictated those terms to Congress to be ready the first week of Jan, and then turned to hiking the FICA tax so he could sign that tax hike in April?

I don't either.

For a group that makes up 18% of the electorate (and to me, that seems generous), it baffles the mind why someone running for President of United States of America wouldn't succumb to their ideological slant. But, you're right, no need to talk about incentives here. As in wtf is incentive for Romney to cater to them?

With a primary and then general election, a pretty basic application of the median voter theorem predicts that the challenger will: (a) become more moderate in the general election after playing to the base in the primary; (b) be accused of "flip flopping" by the incumbent for doing so. This is what happened to John Kerry in 2004. Did the left prematurely "lose" during John Kerry's general election campaign because he targeted the median swing state voter, rather than the median democrat? Does the left wing "lose" whenever Obama says something moderate in a debate, for example when he states that increasing oil production is important?

Romney attacked Obama for failing to dictate that all the oil production increase be on government land instead of allowing all the drilling rigs to be tied up drilling on private land.

Obama increased US oil production for the first time since 1985 by a private property solution instead of a government run solution like Romney would have done. Romney would make sure that would not continue, and restore the energy policies of Reagan, Bush, and Bush.

Obama is going to win Ohio and if he wins Ohio, chances are he will win the election.

The other day 538 Blog from NY times had an article about Ohio and it's importance. It received over 700 comments and I read through everyone that commented from Ohio. I learned a lot from their perspective. Two things that learned was Ohio Senate Bill 5 and Stephan's comment.

1st - reason - Google Ohio Senate Bill 5

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/67918.html#ixzz2ALFloMsC

“Hey, I’m a Republican, but I’m telling you, Republican firefighters and police officers aren’t going to be voting Republican around here for a while,” said Doug Stern, a 15-year veteran of the Cincinnati fire department who joined the non-partisan “We are Ohio” coalition that helped repeal the bill.

“We’ll see what happens in 2012, but our guys have a long memory. We’re angry and disgusted.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/67918.html#ixzz2ALFloMsC

2nd reason - Comment from 358 Blog


Cleveland, OH

Writing to you from Ohio, here's my best guess. Ohio is basically ground-zero for the rise and then the fall of manufacturing in America. Based on the perceptions about the economy, a generic Republican "should" be winning Ohio by a point or two in my view. When the election began, I assumed the Republican would win here and that Obama would need to win via the "New West" by winning states like Colorado, Nevada, etc.

Mitt Romney is uniquely bad at converting these "should" votes because it was a guy like him who moved those manufacturing jobs away. Fair or not, my read of the typical voter in Ohio is that people are generally sympathetic to the fact that things were bad when Obama took office but feel he has not performed well overall even graded on a curve. However, the alternative is a rich guy who doesn't care about you at all.

The narrative among those "Working Class Whites" who are swing voters is that Obama isn't great, but Romney is a rich guy who cares about dollars more than people. This is only my read on the situation from conversations I've had with people in the "Persuadable" category. Not scientific, but I've heard the same theme enough to feel it is a common strain of thought as people consider their votes.

Just my opinion, but if you kept Romney's policy ideas but had them pitched by someone with more credibility among working people, I predict theelection in Ohio would be a big win for the R's

JL, Agreed. And, Were it not for the fact that voters in Wisconsin and Ohio were surprised at how their new Republican governnors with Republican legislatures acted, I think the election in those states would be much closer. I think people in those states lost trust with their party, and got a surprise when both their respective governors took radical positions and moved quickly without consensus.

Fool me once, but not again.

The problem is the primararies in the parties which give us candidates far from the center, or candidates who do not tell their positions in detail, except to their donors.

You're wrong about Wisconsin. Walker said what he was gonna do before the election. Afterwards, he started doing it. Everyone had a chance to say "Whoa, looks like he means it. Let's do a rethink." Crank up the recall machine.

Result: Walker wins again, with a bigger margin. So much for 'fool me once'.

That issue: taxpayers vs. public sector unions, does not map perfectly to Obama vs. Romney. I caution you against mistaking an Obama victory in Wisconsin for a repudiation of the recall election in March.

From what I understand, he made his statement about unions just a few times and then before a limited business audience. I would be open to you providing ANY link you have of ANY newspaper account of his plans re public sector unions prior to his election.

Post below.

Too easy.



Correction: he didn't win by quite as big a margin on the recall, but he won handily.

Also, re recall, part of the argument he made was that recall was not the correct process, so even if you disagreed, he was trying to pursuade on the basis that recall is not an appropriate process.

Do you disagree.

By the way, do you know what Walkers popularity rating is.


Here's an article on Walkers and Kasich's popularity and their effects on those state races:


In general, I think recalls are dumb, and I'm glad that they are almost never invoked. We have elections every few years, right?

I do not know Walker's popularity rating today. Maybe we should have another recall.

I do know that Reagan's popularity at the end of 1982 was 41%. Maybe we should have had a recall election then.

Brian, He said that he would cut wages and benefits.

But, he did NOT say publicly he would eliminate collective bargaining, did he.

Ball is in your court.


dude, you are making me work here:



More importantly, recalls, to me, have a fundamentally anti-democratic, "sore loser" feel. But if you're a ferociously focused and ominously large special interest, you can get your way.

Be careful what you wish for though. Throw in the obstructionist antics of the Democratic legislators, and the whole episode stinks of failure in pursuit of frustrating the vox populi, an unseemly episode in the party's history.

The March election was historic in a way that Obama v. Romney ain't. I live 50 miles from Wisconsin, in a deep blue paradise of delusional public finance. Hmm.

"Obama is going to win Ohio and if he wins Ohio, chances are he will win the election.

The other day 538 Blog from NY times had an article about Ohio and it’s importance."

Romney's probably going to win Ohio.

Ohio has traditionally voted to the right of the nation and Romney is winning the national polling. Obama's polling at less than 48% in Ohio currently (to Romney's 46%) and the majority of undecideds this late in the campaign tend to go heavily to the challenger. Nate Silver is bright, but at heart he's an avid Obama partisan rationalizing an Obama win rather than an independent laying out the facts.

Thank god we have you to be non-partisan around here.

There have been 76 polls in Ohio since Jan. 1. Romney was up in only 10 of them and only 2 out of the last 21 (last two weeks). Furthermore, Obama is up in early voting. You sir, are the one failing to look at the facts.

You are basing your "probably" on the assertion that... well, ohio is generally more conservative than the national vote, and Romney is ahead in a minority of national polls.. so Romney will probably win.

In so doing, you are completely ignoring the actual evidence that Obama is up in the majority of actual polls in Ohio (and only polls of Ohio matter for who will likely win in ohio, not national polls + some assertion pulled out of you backside) and is trending more favorably over the last two weeks.

The only function of EJ is to make Ezra Klein look like a genius by comparison. This must be sarcasm, Tyler.

Well the two of them have a higher collective IQ than the entire Fox News team (but that's not saying much since almost every contributor to this blog can say the same thing and be correct).

And what is your specific evidence supporting that claim?

Any given days worth of Fox News programming should suffice.

Any given days worth of Fox News demonstrates that it has wider coverage of current events than the late lamented CNN and MSNBC. Like it or not, Fox still makes a pretense of being a news network whereas the other two have accepted their roles as purely commentary-based outlets.

For comedic purposes, watch old movies with snippets of CNN coverage to recall the days when it was still a news broadcaster. Or for MSNBC, catch the 90's disaster movie Deep Impact.

Fox makes serious news? By what metric: because they say so?

Here is a nice example of Fox News unbiased information content...
"It should come as no surprise that President Obama will raise taxes if he is re-elected. But here’s the shocker: He will invite the United Nations to tax Americans directly. And the proceeds would go directly to the Third World. In this way, Barack Obama will, indeed, realize the dreams of his father.
In our new book, "Here Come the Black Helicopters: UN Global Governance and the Loss of Freedom," Eileen and I describe how there is now pending in the U.N. all kinds of plans to tax Americans and redistribute their wealth – not to other Americans – but to other countries. These taxes will not be like our U.N. dues paid by a vote of our Congress. Nor akin to foreign aid which we choose to give. They would be mandatory levies imposed by treaty on American citizens. And, since they would be enumerated in a Treaty – not an act of Congress -- only the president and the Democratic Senate need be on board. The Republican House has no role in the Treaty-making process.
Anybody who can read that link and believe that Fox can make any "pretense of being a news network" has just demonstrated complete loss of the capability for independent thougth.

Your link contains the word "opinion" and the article linked is clearly labeled opinion at the top of the page. The author is Dick Morris, a former employee of Bill Clinton, who is not a newsman. Have you ever read the op eds in the NY Times and thought that they were news coverage? No, I didn't think so.

I don't think it is accurate to say the conservatives have lost. They never were THE dominant force in the Republican party. The Republican have nominated candidates for president from the moderate side of their party in the last two election cycles.

On the other hand, the Democrats have nominated out of the liberal wing of their party the last two election cycles.

'On the other hand, the Democrats have nominated out of the liberal wing of their party the last two election cycles.'

LOL, Obama was a middle of the road candidate in 2008 and has governed as one.

Again, he is on the liberal end of the liberal party.

What are you people talking about?

What makes you think he is 'middle-of-the-road', because he's been militarily evil and a banking crony?

Moderate, you keep using this word, I do not think it means what you think it means.

Everyone keeps saying "he's not a socialist" (evidence to the contrary), so just because we might concede he hasn't gotten all his way (he had to spend a lot of time passing the biggest entitlement since the 60s, otherwise he could have passed even more liberal entitlements) then we have to concede he's a moderate.

I think notsky, Trotsky.

Here is a model. "moderate" today means populist, as the tea party movement suggests this is the new political alignment. If that is the correct model, then Obama is as far from moderate as you can get.

are you talking about?

My impression is that the average person who calls Obama a socialist has only the vaguest idea what that word even means.

I'm unconvinced or maybe just too much of an economist. Romney may well lose the election, but I don't think the right wing has necessarily been defeated. The median economist would argue for some measure of further counter-cyclical policy, fiscal or monetary, probably both. Fiscal side action is dead in the water, and Bernanke is under tremendous pressure by hard-money types (read: right wingers). If the right wasn't so strong, Obama wouldn't be talking about any grand bargains and Bernanke would be doing what he told Japan to do all those years ago: buying trillions more in assets.

The Right seems to have lost this battle, but they are winning the war on the economic front.

Jared, I agree with your assessment. The rebublicans need a pro gay marraige, "I'm personally prolife but a women should have the choice" candidate. You might say they could never go against the evangelical vote but what are evangelicals options? The lesser of the two evils which will always be a republican. After four more years of Obama, taxes on the rich will have been raised, we'll be headed in the direction of fiscal solvency and Obamacare will have been excepted by the republicans with a new objective to amend the sh*t out of it. I believe every president has been the right choice for the times and the pendulum always swings and four years from now will be no exception. I heard the same arguments from the far left during Bush/Kerry as I do in this election and I realize that both worship at the same temple. See Obama 2016 and Farrenheight 911. I had an argument about the financial crisis with my father-in-law which turned into him telling me Obama is a socialist. I said no he is not and he proceeded to laugh at me with righteous condesention--I'm serious. It's that kind of mentality that turns people away from politics. Luckily the American people recognize hipocracy.

Why does the level of intelligence fall so dramatically as soon as this blog turns to politics?

Because it was never that high to begin with.

1. Romney is explicitly campaigning on overturning Obamacare
2. GOP social issues have taken a back seat, but economic ones haven't. Note that economic issues were always more important in the Tea Party
3. Romney chose a VP who liberals, like Dionne, accuse of being radical
4. Romney's strategic decision to tack to the middle works for two reasons: Obama left it vacant, and Obama had attacked Romney as an ideologue (fairly effectively). So in terms of game theory, made sense for Romney to tack to the middle -- and it played to Romney's strengths.
5. A guy like Chris Christie could talk a more right-wing line (even though he's moderate) and do just fine -- because Christie is better at social dominance than Romney.

Wow. I've heard Chris Christie called a lot of things by people of both political persuasions but "moderate" wouldn't be one of them.

Both the left and right wings confuse the demeanor of Republican politicians with their substantive politics. Christie throws red meat to his base but underneath it all is a moderate Republican in the tradition of prior GOP New Jersey Governors. The liberal version of this phenomenon was the way that Democrats saw Howard Dean as a left-wing firebrand not simply because he was anti-Iraq War but because of the way he took the fight to the opposing party.

Romney is doing what he has always done. His shifts have more to do with his own personality and idiotic micro-polling of the professional campaign class than either what is necessary or what people really want.

It is my hope and belief that that the "Tea Party" represents a major shift in the GOP, emphasizing fiscal responsibility and limited government over social conservative or neo-con positions.

But most of the left media - Dione in particular has no clue about the different perspectives on the right. Republicans are all nearly all conservatives - except a few token moderates, and all conservatives hold exactly the same carciture views.

Romney's entire campaign has distanced itself from social conservative issues, beyond lip service from the begining - that is not new.
He has been flirting with Neo-con views - but then so has Obama.

But the campaign has been rooted in the limited government fiscal conservatism that is shared by the Tea Party, Libertarians, Moderates, and even social conservatives.

As a left-leaning fellow, I'd probably cast a vote for a fiscally conservative candidate. Romney isn't that guy.

He just wants to a) change tax burdens to benefit the wealthy to the detriment of the middle class and b) shift around government expenditures *from* social programs that benefit the lower and middle classes *to* big business and the military industrial complex.

Re: a): Even though he says he would cut taxes on the middle class, someone is going to have to pay for that additional military spending he's prepared to ram down our throats, and with his new tax scheme that burden will fall more on the middle class.

This "analysis" could not be more wrong.

First, Romney's strategy is consistent with the median voter theorem. His biggest worry is that by moving toward the median of swing states, he wouldblise support if conservatives. Romney's campaign analysis predicts this will not happen, and conservative turnout for him will be high.

The 2010 election was a repudiation of democrat over reach on health care, stimulus, and bailouts. Romney has recaptured many of the people disillusioned by Bush and moderately inspired by Obama.

Obama's hand is weak, but Romney's was weaker. Both candidates have set up their ice cream stands in mid beach, and each is hoping that voter turnout favors them. Obama should be encouraged that he holds the high ground of a tolerable status quo. Romney should be encouraged that polls always drift 2-4 points to the left of reality, and 3 points will be enough in many states.

I have no prediction of the outcome because so many electoral votes hang in 1% of the voters in Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and New Hampshire. The rest of the electoral map is already colored in.

The voters are voting for gridlock no matter how it goes. I think the GOP lost any shot at the senate.

I don't view it as the right wing having lost. It's just Romney playing to moderate swing voters, confident he's got the right wing in the bag.

And, not changing his position while doing so.


I am in strong disagreement here. The basis of the tea party movement was a reaction to the bailout of the banks not foreign policy. The move away from free-markets/rule of law and towards a too big to fail/bailout mentality was the catalyst.

E.J supports his claim that the tea party is on the decline with this argument about the auto bailouts:

'The biggest sign that tea party thinking is dead is Romney’s straight-out deception about his past position on the rescue of the auto industry.

The bailout was the least popular policy Obama pursued — and, I’d argue, one of the most successful. It was Exhibit A for tea partyers who accused our moderately progressive president of being a socialist. In late 2008, one prominent Republican claimed that if the bailout the Detroit-based automakers sought went through, “you can kiss the American automotive industry good-bye.” The car companies, he said, would “seal their fate with a bailout check.” This would be the same Mitt Romney who tried to pretend on Monday that he never said what he said or thought what he thought. If the bailout is now good politics, and it is, then free-market fundamentalism has collapsed in a heap.'

He has this factually wrong. Romney supported then, and has maintained his position, that auto companies go through a normal bankruptcy while recognizing that if banks/creditors will not provide DIP financing the government should step in. Romney has never advocated a 'bailout', and has always been opposed to the restructuring by political appointees that was done under the Obama administration. This is typical E.J. logical lisping, even when his conclusion is right, his 'analysis' is factually wrong.

Tell me what grade I would get in your class if I got the correct answer to a problem by using faulty reasoning and showed a complete misunderstand of the principles you taught?

At this point all Romney is trying to win is Ohio, so I guess the "right wing" is dead in Ohio.

Other than that, all I hear in this opinion piece is wishful thinking. People have been desperate to claim the Tea Party is dead since it was founded, and pointing the article out as somehow brilliant is stupid.

But then we don't read this blog for incite into politics.

What a load of malarkey as our VP is fond of saying. How often has Dionne and his crew tried to declare the tea-party dead? Its their wet dream and has no connection to reality. Romney has made overturning Obamacare a central theme of his campaign (the one issue that congealed fiscal conservatives anger to form the tea party in the first place), while social issues have been given short thrift to the economic issues at the heart of the tea party. If this indicates the tea party is dead, well, I think the US progressive movement would give anything to be so dead.

Dionne is terrified the blue social model he so loves is on its last legs (collapsing under its own weight) and it drives him absolutely crazy to think the tea party has helped to accelerate it out the door. The tea party has the Republican party by the nuts and this causes consternation to a) republicans who just want to go about politics as usual and b) Democrats who realize they have no ideological source of power as union power has collapsed over the last 4 years, the netroots have been thrown into the can of history by none other than the Obama administration, and the occupy movement has faded into irrelevancy as fast as any political movement is history.

This is not to say all is well in the Republican party. This is only one phase of the civil war within its ranks. For now, the tea party and social conservatives have made common cause to push out the old rockefeller guard, but its yet to be seen how their ideologies clash over the next 4 years.

The right never wins elections.

Dionne's point is simple. Tea Party policies are not embraced by the majority; otherwise, Romney would have stuck with these policies even after he won the Republican primary.

Uh, yeah, the policies that are popular with each party's base are not popular with swing voters, we've known that forever. That is why Obama's not campaigning on gun control, global warming, gay marriage and immigration amnesty, even though that stuff is popular with his base.

The difference is that while Obama is not campaigning on those issues, he has not repudiated his former policy stance on them either.
In contrast, Romney has reversed his previous policy stances multiple times (and even policies still listed on his website) in his chameleon-like rush to the center. See the Salt Lake Tribune's "Too Many Mitts" Obama endorsement, http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/opinion/55019844-82/romney-obama-state-president.html.csp
"In short, this is the Mitt Romney we knew, or thought we knew, as one of us.

Sadly, it is not the only Romney, as his campaign for the White House has made abundantly clear, first in his servile courtship of the tea party in order to win the nomination, and now as the party’s shape-shifting nominee. From his embrace of the party’s radical right wing, to subsequent portrayals of himself as a moderate champion of the middle class, Romney has raised the most frequently asked question of the campaign: "Who is this guy, really, and what in the world does he truly believe?"
The evidence suggests no clear answer, or at least one that would survive Romney’s next speech or sound bite. Politicians routinely tailor their words to suit an audience. Romney, though, is shameless, lavishing vastly diverse audiences with words, any words, they would trade their votes to hear."

Were there any debate questions presented from a "Tea Party" perspective?

Were there any debate questions concerning the Fed's ZIRP?

Were there any debate questions concerning the growth of government spending the past 12 years?

My question to E.J. Dijon Mustard is if the "Tea Party" is so offensive why did the media not challenge Romney on whether he agreed with any of the Tea Party positions?

Yes, words of wisdom. Conventional wisdom.

I am surprised that no one has yet pointed out that the Tea Party, for all the bluster about a new day of libertarian republicans, has been nothing but a rebranding of old conservatives. The Tea Party Republicans have presided over a record amount anti-abortion legislation in their two years but where are the balanced budgets? Even golden boy Ryan's plan won't balance the budget for a decade after implementation. Is that really what the Tea Party promised? Turns out it is simply old fashioned conservatism: repeal the New Deal and legislate social mores according to the Southern Baptist convention.

I am completely unsurprised at all the Jingos in the tea party. Why are you?

1) Romney is a businessman first, politician second which means he values pragmatism over ideology.

2) many Obama positions were indistinguishable from Bush 2, therefore embracing some of Obamas platform is in fact embracing neocon positions. Those he appears against are Obamas signature left leaning policies

3) to assert that Romney has no plan or vision, is to completely indict the entire platform that Obama was elected on for his first term. Which is to say a stunning irony.

4) economically, the only guy that actually matters is Ben Bernake and the actions of the federal reserve

5) in politics winning and losing is really about which special interests gain or retreat. Influence is purchased.

6) the entire article by Dionne seems to assert the supremacy of the left and therefore his choice for candidate. The interesting part of that underlying assertion is that this ideological obsession is supreme to all else.

Will Romney do well? Who knows. But why not try the businessman next. The affirmative action community organizing effort didn't produce much.

Given Mitt's confusion over whether the government can create jobs or not ("I will create 5 milllion new jobs by doing x..." and "The government doesn't create jobs. The government doesn't create jobs."), I'd say his experience in big business - which, let's face it, was basically corporate raiding to strip off and sell valuable assets of troubled businesses and offshoring operations to maximize profits - is probably more harmful than good.

So what are we left with? A guy whose foreign policy is admittedly the same as Obama's other than that he wants to drastically increase the military budget. Just because.

No thanks.

That's a pretty false "confusion" in your comment.

Romney has been very consistent about "creating" jobs by getting government out of the way, scaling back regulations and taxes on businesses, especially small businesses. That in no way contradicts that the government doesn't create jobs, quite the opposite, it's making the exact same point from the exact same philosophy.

Maybe you should put down those super-partisan glasses before you run into something you didn't see?

Please tell me specifically what jobs are going to be created by "getting the government out of the way."

Waiting with bated breath. Just curious: are you pinning your hopes on this retarded oil pipeline from Canada creating 5 million jobs?

Another Romney-ism that he keeps repeating: "I'm going to ensure North American energy independence." WTF? I don't care about Canada's energy independence and neither should our president.

As usually, Dionne has it all wrong. The right wins because America is craving a race to the center. While the tea party is loud, it doesn't represent most conservatives. The party that gets to the center first wins. Look was Bill Clinton did once he realized this. Obama will lose because there has been no compromise. In the debate, he said that he could get "all of the democrats" to the table. That's not his job. His job is to get all the democrats and enough republicans to tell America that there is broad support.

What.... You mean to tell me the median voter isn't a Tea Partier? Or small-L libertarian? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

Well, I guess liberals have "failed", too, since Guantanamo is still there and global warming was mentioned negative 3 times during the campaign. And how many times did we hear anything about Obamacare from Pres. Obama except as an attempt to label Romney as a flip flopper since he implemented a similar program in Massachusetts?

Why do people expect Romney to be not Romney?

Why do people expect the biggest grass roots movement in memory to be even bigger?

Has the government stopped sucking out loud?

Sorry to disappoint but that sucking sound ain't just the government. It's the disinterested voters and the crumbling civic institutions too. This is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people" by design, so I wouldn't be quick to blame a politician or a faction of a political party or "the government" for the policy malaise. Sadly then we the people suck too.

Yup, except for the sadly part. We get the government we deserve, more or less. I actually think there is hope in this view. Audacious?

There is no "we."

Read some more public choice. And that's just a start.

Not a day goes buy where people on THIS LIBERTARIAN comment section tell me I'll never get the government I want.

The "we get the government we deserve meme" is so ironic.

If you throw your hands up in disgust because it is hopeless, then, well you are apathetic and get the government you deserve.

Stop falling for that.

Actually, Andrew,' I prefer to live public choice theory. I constantly pick up projects to make a government agency run more efficiently. Nothing big, but nonzero improvements. I use "we" to convey a lot of my work...not because I don't take pride in my "I" thoughts and work hard at it, but because the sum total of the efforts is more important. And I help run a seminar on financial literacy. I don't like paternalism, direct or indirect (it's a necessary evil in some settings) so I want to find ways to empower people to make their own decisions. I sometimes find the commenting section dispiriting, but I suspect for different reasons than you. That's cool.

'There is no "we."'

Then where did my house come from? I didn't build that. I (and some friends- I'm tempted to say 'we', but...) did build a fort in the field behind our house growing up, but it was pretty barebones.

'Read some more public choice.'

See my Wisconsin discussion with Bill upthread. Dude, I saw public choice up close for four summers during college, courtesy of the great Cook County Democratic Party (motto: "where's mine?" alternative motto: "If you can't help your friends, who can you help?")

I didn't say you'll get the government you want, just the government you deserve. If you're feeling aggrieved, there are lots of stories of people around the world, today, who have a much higher claim on not getting the government they deserve than folks in these United States.

(When I chose that word, I thought of the scene where some lady asks d'Anconia what he thinks will happen to people, and he says they'll get precisely what they deserve, and she runs away horrified.)

and Andrew',

specifically on public choice. This is a governance issue. It's solvable (maybe Greece is too far gone, but what a lovely cautionary tale) and, AFAICT, in the process of being solved, but taxpayers gotta keep their eye on the ball, which takes effort.

If Friedman's 'iron triangle' were 100% true, we wouldn't have gotten Tax Reform in 1986, for example.

It's a big ship, and it turns very slowly.

If Romney wins - looking more likely all the time - it is obvious that a stronger case can be made that the left wing lost the election, Dionne's hypotheses won't amount to much compared to actual election results.

Good grief. As best I can tell, the "grand ideological experiment heralded by the rise of the tea party" could be summarized as follows:

1. No to massive fiscal pork programs under the guise of fiscal stimulus and continued economic stagnation.
2. No to government takeover of health care, especially when passed through general chicanery.
3. No to trillion dollar deficits, unsustainable borrowing, and unrestricted spending growth.

So, as to these propositions:
1. I don't see Obama triumphantly highlighting his "yes" to these propositions as accomplishments.
2. I do see Romney continuing to oppose them, and that it's pretty obviously the central argument of his candidacy.
3. I don't the median voter as very enthusiastic about the strength of the economy, their prospects under Obamacare, and the prospects for the government's long-run finances.

In short, Dionne's words seem false, false, false.

But the Tea Party is still carrying big signs saying

Keep your government hands off my Medicare and Social Security

And Mitt Romney is promising to save Medicare by privatizing it and cutting its costs by spending $716B more on waste, fraud, and big bonuses to health insurance CEOs, all to please the Tea Party.

No they aren't. That was a single soundbite that even sounded knowingly ironic.

Even then it is entirely understandable because it is the government (and democrats) has spent half a century convincing you your contribution amounts to an entitlement. NOW they tell us (I knew) that the money has just evaporated, and to add insult to injury they now make fun of you for thinking that is your money, after defrauding you for half a century claiming that you are owed that money.

People are still getting the tea party bass ackwards. The tea party is the exact opposite of the Republican party establishment.

Let me try to be clear so even dumbasses can understand.

The government sends you a letter every year for half a century implying you have an account with your money in it.

Then the government finally realizes they have too many mouths to feed.

When you say you want your money, then half the politicians laugh at you "haha, look at those dumbasses who don't want the government to raid the trust fund! Haha, those dumbasses don't realize that the government IS the trust fund! Haha."

Who is the dumbass? All of us to some degree.

The only objection to this that assumes too
much coherence in the median voters preferences. I think most voters would go for widely varying political positions depending how and who they were delivered by. The great majority of tea parties would have supported obamacare if bush suggested it and dems are currently warming up to the war on terror under Obama.

The presidential race is about a few states. You don't want to scare the old folks and lose Florida. The rust belt and Michigan are not hard right, nor left and you need to win in those states. Strong conservative ideas, nor strong leftist ideas won't win in those states. Both are hewing the middle, with room to slip an envelope between them.

The house and senate races are where the ideological bent of the next administration will come from. The house looks like it will stay pretty well as is, the Senate may change a bit but not enough to make much difference. That means a strong tea party group. President Obama essentially refused to let the house dictate his agenda, with the assistance of the Senate, hoping that a campaign based on the house Republicans being the problem would win his election and lose theirs. He may get neither. If he wins I suspect that the same dynamic will continue.

If Romney wins the presidency, the republican house will dictate policy. He will play the good cop against the bad cop congress, and twist arms to get past the Senate. He may very well win a second term on that basis, moving the government right. Worked for Clinton.

Circumstances will be dictating far more than any desired policy direction for whoever wins.

All national elections are won in the center; this one's no different. The true-believer left and right never have enough votes to win a Presidential election all by themselves, and it's a good thing they don't. Romney's move to the center was completely predictable and, to my mind as a center-right voter, welcome. Now I just hope he wins.

Words of wisdom? Oh come on Tyler, are you kidding me?! EJ Dionne is just one of many lefty political writers whose job it is to spin any political outcome so that it benefits his party - and the right certainly has just as many equivalent types like Dionne on their side. I just never thought in a million years I'd see you tout this type of political spin as "words of wisdom" at MR. I normally read MR, to take a break from the likes of Dionne and his equivalents on the right.

If our cause is lost, it happened with the passage of Medicare in 1965, Social Security in 1934, or the 16th Amendment in 1913. You just can't elect remotely "right-wing" leaders when a 47% and growing share of the voting public depends on government for its daily bread.

It's been exactly 1600 years since Rome fell and 3200 years since the Bronze Age Collapse, each followed by a 400-year Dark Age. I hope we can recover a little more quickly than that.

Newsflash! Newsflash! American people do not want to face reality; prefer soothing talk from well-spoken politicians.

The ship is going down folks, this is just a rearrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. When Americans start feeling the pain, then the far-right and far-left will become very popular.

Wow! Really nice post. I really enjoyed reading it. Check my website to see my own collection of such kind of blogs about that stuff., ps3 movie fix, >:O,


"It is almost certainly an exaggeration, therefore, to conclude that Mr. Obama’s positions are similar to those of a Republican of the 1990s. His DW-Nominate scores are considerably to the left of even the most liberal Republicans of the 1990s — and slightly to the left of most 1990s Democrats."

As usual Dionne is clueless about the tea party. It was a reaction to fiscal profligacy and Obamacare. As is typical of Dionne, he's just obfuscating and smearing.

If Michelle Bachman looses to Jim Graves in the most conservative district in Minnesota, the tea-party will be dead.

I don't believe it is ideological at all that Romney is the nominee. He is the only one who had it together enough to display an outward appearance of being capable of handling the job when we can't afford another failed Presidency. The other possibilities, for instance Gingrich is a visionary but doesn't posses managerial qualities; and Santorum wouldn't have had a chance for likely the same reason and then some. Romney is capable and qualified - the others, not so much. This article is just another spin on establishment types and those on the left who would love nothing more than to see the Tea Party vanish jumping the gun to declare it dead - and it's a bunch of malarkey.

"yet it is the year’s best-kept secret"

What??? No one on the right noticed that Romney's plan made no sense and that he refused to disclose what tax deductions he was proposing to eliminate.

Was no one on the right listening back in March when Ferhnstrom said:
“Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”

Romney has no moral core. You should all have known that months ago. Lying is the Right's only hope of winning. If the Right actually said what they stood for Obama would win in a landslide. That is why Romney has told Ryan to stay out of swing states.

"Run outside during the primaries, inside during the general election."

What's new about this?

When is the last time "the left wing" won a general election in the US?

The outside wings, left and right, will never win a general election in the USA as long was we have our "first past the post, two-party, electoral college" system, as it drives both parties to the center in general elections.

Good thing too.

Tyler...opinions differ, but really, you look to E.J. Dionne for wisdom? I won't attack the weak, but that man hasn't had an original thought since he decided it was time to descend the birth canal.

If by right wing you aggregiously mean the conservative movement, we are winning 2012, in spades.

Exhibit One: Paul Ryan. Have you seen the way these two men campaign together? PR is not going to be sent off to the Naval Obseratory and told to play with his blocks until he is needed for a funeral. His role will be more in the mold of Dick Cheney. And there is 2020! Sitting VPs, as you know, have a near lock on the nomination, so it will be President Ryan then.
Exhibit Two: MR's stump speech still contains the line "It is morally wrong to spend more than we take in." About as conservative as you can get.
Exhibit Three: He still promises to kill Obamacare. ditto.
Exhibit Four: He's for a strong defense. ditto.
Exhibit Five: He's for reducing both tax rates and taxes preferences. ditto.
Exhibit Six: He continually references federalisam and the need to devolve programs from the Federal to the state leve. ditto.
Exhibit Seven: He is the only candidate in my political experience who has ever specifically referenced the 10th amendment in his debates. ditto. ditto. ditto.

I don't expect conservatives will get everything they want in a Romney administration; who ever does? But we will get far more than from any other president since Reagan. And prehaps more than even he gave us.

In spite of it all. Tyler..keep up the good work. You are interesting, thought-provoking, and occasionally right.


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