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Saturday, November 15, 2008
Who Lost, The GOP Or McCain?

Obviously both of them, but more important for the future is whether it was the GOP that dragged down McCain or McCain that dragged down the GOP. As I noted in my last post Jeff Goldstein seems to think that if the Republicans had just nominated Fred Thompson, they would have won easily.

So I thought I'd take a look at the issue. McCain/Obama wasn't the only race on the ballot on November 4th, there were also many states (33 to be precise) that had statewide races for the US Senate. How did McCain do as compared to the Republican candidates?

Pretty well, actually. For starters, we throw out Arkansas, as Mark Pryor did not have a GOP opponent on the ballot. Excepting that state, McCain did better than the GOP candidate for Senate in North Carolina, Virginia, Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota and West Virginia, for a total of 19 states. McCain did worse than the GOP candidate in Alabama, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming, for a total of 13 states. Of the states that McCain did worse in, only two (Maine and Minnesota--pending recount) elected a Republican to the Senate, yet gave their electoral votes to Obama. On the other hand, there were five states (Alaska, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia) which went for McCain but sent a Democrat to the Senate.

In the thirty-two states, McCain got 49.3% of the vote, while the GOP candidates for Senate got 46.8% of the vote, a 2.5 percentage point swing. Note also that in the two cases where McCain lost but a GOP senator won (Maine and Minnesota), in neither case was it some "real" conservative. Susan Collins is currently the third-most liberal Republican senator with a 52.2 rating from the American Conservative Union, and Norm Coleman's lifetime rating of 73.0 puts him comfortably on the left side of the GOP. Essentially they were more liberal than McCain, so they did better in their home states.

So it appears obvious to me that the GOP dragged down McCain rather than the opposite. I can understand why those who supported some other guy in the primary would try to claim that McCain cost the GOP the election; the evidence does not back them up.
More Benefits from Obama's Win

Sheesh, could they get any more ridiculous?

The theory is almost too perfect to be true. Barack Obama, the son of politically progressive parents, was born Aug. 4, 1961—almost nine months to the day after John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House. Is it possible Obama was conceived on that historic night?

And if so, could history repeat itself? In the hours and days since Obama's victory, many of his exhilarated supporters have been, shall we say, in the mood for love.

Hilarious. First, there was no baby boom in 1961. In fact, by 1961 the baby bust was on. And considering these are liberals, it seems more likely that we will see an Obama abortion boom a few months down the road.
Blinded By the Right?

Jim DeMint decides to pile on John McCain:

South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint on Friday became one of the first high-profile Republicans to publicly criticize John McCain following his electoral defeat, blaming the Arizona senator for betraying conservative principles in his quest for the White House.

There's this bizarre notion that somehow the Republicans would have won if only they'd nominated a "real" conservative--Mitt Romney, I suppose, whom DeMint endorsed for the nomination. This is simply denial of the realities of 2008. The Republicans were going to lose this election no matter whom they nominated; McCain at least kept it close.

"McCain, who is proponent of campaign finance reform that weakened party organizations and basically put George Soros in the driver's seat," DeMint said. "His proposal for amnesty for illegals. His support of global warming, cap-and-trade programs that will put another burden on our economy. And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election. And he has been an opponent of drilling in ANWR, at a time when energy is so important. It really didn't fit the label, but he was our package."

And which of those issues hurt the GOP in the fall? Answer: None of the above. Obama voted in favor of the bailout. So essentially what McCain did was take all those issues off the table. And, oh, did anybody mention immigration during the fall campaign? I can't remember it even coming up.

Jeff Goldstein endorses DeMint's comments and adds a note in the comments that he thinks Fred Thompson would have crushed Obama. This is denial. Thompson performed in the primaries like he'd taken a couple of Sominex; why on earth would anybody think he'd suddenly come to life in the general? The simple fact is that Thompson didn't have the fire in the belly that you need to win an election. Do you really think he would have been out there campaigning day after day like McCain did? Heck, his team had a tough time getting him to do more than one campaign event a day back during the primaries.

Maybe this debate doesn't matter. Maybe Obama will be a Jimmy Carter and the conservative base will be able to nominate whomever they want in 2012. We shall see.

Note as well that unlike some others, I am not blaming Sarah Palin for the loss. I do that for two reasons: first, because I like Sarah Palin and felt she got jobbed by the media; and second, because it's the same argument that the conservatives are raising about McCain, that we coulda won if it hadn't been for X. Unless X is the financial crisis, I don't buy it.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Ayers Not Just A Guy Who Lives In Obama's Neighborhood

Either the Barackster or Ayers is lying:

In a new afterword to his memoir, 1960s radical William Ayers describes himself as a "family friend" of President-elect Barack Obama and writes that the campaign controversy over their relationship was an effort by Obama's political enemies to "deepen a dishonest narrative" about the candidate.
No, Obama's Plan for Community Service is Not Slavery or Marxism

It's just stupid.

Is community service synonymous with slavery? Whether that service is mandated or suggested, could it in any way be construed as enslaving citizens? This week, an acquaintance noted the “irony” that college students would be required by a black president to do community service. She then pointed out the 13th Amendment.

The plan as originally floated was to make it compulsory, which would not be slavery, but would probably end up being "make work". What a shock, a former community organizer wants to require people to do volunteer work?

Michele used to be an excellent blogger, but to be honest, I mostly read her comic-book related posts, not her political stuff, even though we were on the same side of the aisle back then. Here it seems she's tilting at strawmen.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Addition By Subtraction?

Well, looks like the Holy War for the soul of the Republican Party is on. One of the warriors who would like to drum folks like me out of the tent is old Cat Scratch Fever himself, Ted Nugent.

As the Republican Party begins to retool, rebuild and return to the "less government is best government" conservatism that makes America work, the first thing the GOP needs to do is to lock the RINOs out of the discussion. Heavily armed with an abundance of conservative attitude, my hunting buddies and I will provide security to ensure RINOs are kept downwind from the discussion. If allowed to participate, RINOs will continue to rot the Republican Party from within and diminish it in the eyes of the public. Enough is enough.

John McCain has been a RINO on campaign finance, immigration, global warming and other issues and look what happened to him. He had reached across the aisle so many times to cut deals with the liberals that he had to pick Governor Palin, a true conservative, to try and lure disenfranchised and disgusted conservatives back into the fold. Didn't work. Senator McCain was the wrong candidate at the right time. RINOs lose elections; conservatives win them.

So is Ted saying there that disenfranchised and disgusted conservatives didn't come back into the fold? That they let Obama win rather than vote for someone they consider a RINO? I hope that's not what he's claiming, because in that case he's the one who's a RINO.

Look, there are two realistic scenarios for the next 4-8 years. One has the Republicans regrouping, and tacking towards the center on some issues, not all. The other has them saying "Screw the moderates we can win it without them." There is a possibility that one could work out, but it really depends on Obama being another Jimmy Carter, not something that I am going to root for.

This is a center-right country. It is not a right-wing country, no matter how much crunchy cons might wish it to be so. Ronald Reagan won with a big tent; if we shrink the tent we will not win.
Great Schadenfreude

In reading this post about how some gal got tickets to see the election night special at the Daily Show, and then got hosed when VIPS were pushed to the front of the line:

I don't believe in being entitled to anything just because I'm a fan, or am a bigger fan than this person or that person.

But I am owed. Not the cost of my flight. Or the cost of my hotel. Or even the vacation days I took, which I could have used to visit my family. What I'm owed is the experience of witnessing history take place somewhere other than alone an empty bar on 11th Avenue, sucking on a can of Bud Light, feeling completely emotionally empty.

I can appreciate that the experience sucked, and that you feel like you got hosed. But nobody can give you back that evening, and so it's silly to claim that's exactly what you're owed.

Part of the enjoyment of reading the post comes from the fact that she's clearly an Obamabot.
Pot, Meet Kettle

John Cole's Balloon Juice used to be a conservative blog; now it's a liberal blog, and in the future it will probably be a libertarian blog the way he's going.

And before I close, let me finish with this. I left the right because they were such *ssholes I could not stand it anymore. You left good graces with the left because you were too much of an *sshole, and they troll-rated you into oblivion. I may have been wrong about a lot of things in the past, and will be in the future, but I left the GOP because it was a cult.

Note that here he is addressing another liberal blogger in those sorts of terms. Personally, I am glad he's no longer on our side.
Corporate Killer Al Gore

Adding to the unemployment lines:

There have been layoffs at Current Media, the cable network co-founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

A statement from Current put the number of layoffs at about 60 positions, with 30 more to be refilled, the company said in a statement. That's less of a hard hit than the 20 percent cuts that a source close to Current hinted to CNET News on Tuesday. The statement read: "Approximately 60 positions have been eliminated in the company's three U.S. offices, and approximately 30 new positions created," the statement read. "Many of those whose positions were eliminated have been placed in the new positions. Current will have approximately 410 employees (after these staffing adjustments)."

Al Gore firing people? Couldn't he have just sold some of his Google options and kept them on? My god, he's become Gordon Gekko!
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
The Future Revealed

David Brooks, in a column that I agree with:

In short, the Republican Party will probably veer right in the years ahead, and suffer more defeats. Then, finally, some new Reformist donors and organizers will emerge. They will build new institutions, new structures and new ideas, and the cycle of conservative ascendance will begin again.

That's spot on. The problem with the Republican Party is that they've been so successful with some of their ideas (lower taxes encourage growth) that the Democrats have now co-opted them. Oh, sure, Obama may fiddle around with the upper-end tax rates a bit, but nobody's talking about bringing back the 90% marginal rates of the 1950s or even the 70% bracket of the 1970s.
Happy Veterans' Day!

To all those who keep us safe!
Monday, November 10, 2008
The Odd Brain of Andrew Sullivan

Jeebus, Andrew, give it a rest, will you?

Proven? Where? And where in the MSM did anyone report that Trig was not her biological son? All I did was ask questions - and never received any proof of anything.

Yep, and that's exactly what the 9-11 Troofers say. "We're just asking questions. Nobody will give us proof!"

On the Trig question, I tried for two months to get some kind of basic, evidentiary proof. I asked publicly; I asked privately; the McCain campaign simply refused to give any actual records and attacked the press merely for asking questions.

He tried for two months? What kind of a retard would keep asking stupid, offensive questions about this nothing-burger of a story?

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Not Of Any General Interest

I'm helping a friend of mine who's taking a finance course. The textbook for the course is called Fundamentals of Corporate Finance by Brealey, Myers and Marcus. In general the book is solid, but I did find one gaping error.

In Chapter 7, while discussing some of the problems with IRR, they give an example of an office building with two options. Under scenario one, they construct the office building for $350,000 and sell it one year later (after completion) for $400,000. In the second scenario, they lease it out for three years at 16,000 per annum, and sell it at the end of the third year for $450,000. They point out correctly that the IRR under the first scenario is 14.29% and the IRR under the second scenario is 12.96%. However, they claim that an NPV calculation of the cash flows at a 7% discount rate is higher for the second scenario, and therefore the second scenario is the better option. Here are the cash flows they present (000s):

Scenario 1: -350 +400
Scenario 2: -350 +16 +16 +466.

What did they miss? It's a bit tricky, but they missed what the developer did with the $400,000 at the end of the first year. Assuming he could reinvest it safely at 7%, there would be additional cash flows of $28 (000s) in years two and three, which have to be factored into the analysis. If you add those cash flows back in and do the NPV analysis, you'll find that the first scenario is indeed the better option.

Note: This is not to say that there are not other problems with IRR. But the example given is quite plainly mistaken.
I'm Calling BS on This Story

By now you've probably heard that lots of new parents are naming their baby boys "Barack". While certainly some people are doing this, this detail from the past makes me dubious:

There have been other presidential naming trends in the past century, according to Social Security Administration data. Franklin jumped to No. 33 in 1933, up from No. 147 in 1931. Dwight surged in the 1950s and Lyndon in the 1960s. Theodore hit its peak in the first decade of the 20th century.

Okay, I was born in the 1950s, and was a youngster in the 1960s. I didn't know anybody named Lyndon or Dwight growing up. Indeed, the only other Lyndon I've ever heard of was Lyndon LaRouche, and he plainly wasn't named after LBJ.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Life Under Obama

Beer will taste better and contain fewer calories, our cars will all get 1000 miles to the gallon, and the bitter partisanship will end.

There are some who now believe that although power politics is here to stay, the era of intense polarization and frenzied demonization might begin to recede as a President Barack Obama goes back to that old standby of American politics used by so many Presidents: the task of trying to forge consensus. Consensus does NOT mean not taking strong stands or upsetting some who oppose specific policies. It means trying to get as many Americans from as many walks of life on board as possible by trying to woo, sway and win over, versus to simply politically dominate.

Of course, that's stuff and nonsense, as is much of the rest of the article. Get this:

Given the number of votes Obama got — the most a presidential candidate has gotten since LBJ in 1964 — and his big electoral college margin, his backers will argue persuasively that he has a mandate. But even there that doesn’t mean (a)riding roughshod, targeting, and demonizing those who disagree with him, OR, (b)not taking a stand, advocating policies and enacting them.

I don't know what the heck Gandelman means by that. Obama got more votes than anybody since LBJ in 1964? LBJ got 43 million in 1964, a number that was surpassed by Nixon's 46 million in 1972, Reagan's 44 million in 1980, Reagan's 54 million in 1984, Bush, Sr.'s 48 million in 1988, etc. Electoral college votes? Nope, Obama's 349 is fewer than any president got from 1980-1996. Percentage of the vote? Negative as well.

The idea that Obama is not going to be every bit as partisan as Bush is wishful thinking. I've commented before (as has Obama) that he's a tabla rasa, a blank slate on which people have projected their own hopes and desires.
Althouse On Why She Voted for Obama

A law school professor feels compelled to tell us why she voted for a former law school professor. It's not because Obama was a former law school professor, it's the economy, stupid.

How did McCain lose me?

1. He did not understand economics, the most important issue.

2. He lost the ability to make the experience argument.

3. He never defined himself as a principled conservative.

4. Erratic and incoherent, he lacked sufficient mental capacity.

Note what she does not say:

1. Obama understands economics. Of course, we know that she could not make that argument with a straight face.

2. Obama has experience. Indeed, this is the reason why Althouse phrases the point so oddly; making it a campaign strategy argument.

3. Obama is a principled conservative.

4. Coherent and unerratic, Obama has abundant mental capacity.

In short, it's a silly exercise to attempt to rationalize an irrational choice. And I don't mind that it's an irrational choice; as I have pointed out in the past, most people do not make rational choices when it comes to the presidency. It's something of a mystical process where people attempt to become comfortable with a candidate.

That's why I was more amused than annoyed at the Washington Post's ombudsman's admission that the Post's coverage of the race was biased in favor of Obama. Part of what she griped about was that too much of the coverage was focused on the "horse race" and not enough on "issues". Liberals always bemoan the lack of coverage of the issues, because they believe the issues favor them. But voters don't vote on the issues; they vote on the person.


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