Department of How Stupid Do They Think We Are?
From the Times's FiveThirtyEight killer, The Upshot:
If you want to understand the 2014 midterm elections, remember this simple fact about American politics: There just aren’t that many swing voters.
Although the president’s party almost always loses seats in midterm elections, the size of the 2010 “shellacking,” to borrow President Obama’s description, created the impression that many voters had changed their minds about the president, his policy goals or his ability to get the country back on the right track between 2008 and 2010.
But only a small percentage of voters actually switched sides between 2008 and 2010. Moreover, there were almost as many John McCain voters who voted for a Democratic House candidate in 2010 as there were Obama voters who shifted the other way. That may be a surprise to some, but it comes from one of the largest longitudinal study of voters, YouGov’s Cooperative Campaign Analysis Project (C.C.A.P.), for which YouGov interviewed 45,000 people at multiple points during 2011 and 2012.
The results clearly show that voters in 2010 did not abandon the Democrats for the other side, but they did forsake the party in another important way: Many stayed home.
In other words -- lambert extrapolating here -- the 2010 result was the price Obama's rump faction of Democrats paid for 2008. (If Corrente is in any way representative, an open question, that's certainly true.) Read below the fold...
We seem to be reliving the 2008 campaign, so I thought I'd put up the talking points I use when Democratic loyalists play their trump card: "But Ralph Nader!"
Gore lost the Presidency because:
1. He followed Beltway conventional wisdom and ran away from Clinton's record even though Clinton's polling was very high;
Lately, Republicans have been riding the hobby horse of charging the President with being a dictator. Well clearly he is not that, or he would have had them imprisoned, or worse, a long time ago. On the other hand, the President's hands are far from clean when it comes to activities like illegal surveillance of Americans, drone strikes without due process, collusion of the Government with local authorities to repress Occupy exercising its rights of free speech and assembly, and failure to enforce the law with reference to torture of prisoners, and control frauds in the FIRE sector.Have I covered everything, or did I forget something?
Regardless, everything I've covered are anti-democracy activities that Republicans, apparently, have no problem with. On the other hand they're mightily concerned about the what they think is the President's “extremism” in increasingly relying on Executive Orders to get some of his objectives accomplished. Their faux outrage over this, centers around the claim that the President has issued an unusual amount of Executive Orders during his time in the Presidency. Read below the fold...
What if lawmakers put forward a federal budget plan to tax big financial institutions, enact a healthcare public option and increase spending to put millions of Americans to work on badly needed infrastructure projects?
They did. You just didn't read or hear much about it.Read below the fold...
Why abolishing the corporate income tax is good for American workersRead below the fold...
Editor’s Note: Our regular Social Security columnist Larry Kotlikoff is taking a week off from answering your Social Security questions. This week, he’s addressing readers’ concerns with his call in the New York Times to abolish the corporate income tax.
Our annual ritual is upon us: The President’s incantation of hope, recovery and promise, tinged with the need to do more will be met with applause of Congress—half of it, anyway. Television will recap in a postgame show analyzing the Republican and Democratic parties’ team scores.
How is our Union, really? Torn asunder. Going down for the third time. Circling the porcelain. Is there a post-speech Washington cocktail party discussing that? Probably not, as the Capitol does not live in the reality it creates. Read below the fold...
Yeah, because as we all know a Senator has so much more power than a President when it comes to the NSA. Read below the fold...
Time Magazine that bastion of Conventional Wisdom named Pope Francis as its Person of the Year. The whole notion of a Person of the Year is kind of hokey –there’s a word I haven’t used in a while. On one level, it’s a perpetuation of the Great Man view of history, that history is not made by the peoples of this world but by their leaders. You can see why this concept would be so attractive to the rich and elites who actually run things. Leaders, if they don’t come from these classes eventually join them, and their very notoriety distracts from the power the rich and elites wield. Read below the fold...
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Dan Balz "he said/she said" whitewashes Obama's role in healthcare.gov debacle
My new acronym: SMFH (Shaking My Fucking Head). I don't know why I ever imagined that the November 1 deadline would be meaningful as anything other than a narrative hook; after all, these guys "met" the October 1 deadline -- by which I mean, "the October 1 fucking launch deadline" -- by launching system that wasn't completely tested, couldn't handle more than 500 users at a time before crashing, couldn't identify users properly, couldn't calculate premiums properly, couldn't calculate subsidies properly, corrupted data, and didn't even have any back office software, so the insurance companies couldn't do their billing properly. ("Yep, I'm done painting your house. Well, except for the final coat. And the primer. And I didn't do all the surface prep....") It then took these guys two weeks to figure out they had a problem and call a meeting. This after Obama's tech savvy administration had three (3) years to build the system, which was only Obama's "signature domestic initiative." I'm telling ya, I'm SMFH. Again, I wasn't nearly cynical enough!
Anyhow, back to November 1, it's no surprise that the gauzy "vast majority" baseline is and was bullshit, and such obvious bullshit even our famously free press is picking up on it. (Of course, they're pissed off at Obama for other reasons, but still.) So, now that I've got that off my chest, let's deconstruct this story from AP:
Year-End Signups Crucial Test for Health Care Site
Not bad, not least because it says, implicitly, that the November 1 deadline was not crucial. Even more amazing, however, the headline actually points out -- follow me closely here -- that the purpose of ObamaCare is to sell insurance* -- as opposed to collecting hits, or producing a pleasant user experience, or falling over at the slightest load like a cow tipped by a drunken frat boy. More: Read below the fold...
Film at 11, but the administration is about to declare the most definitely not relaunched ObamaCare website ("marketplace"), healthcare.gov, a success. Pass the victory gin:
HealthCare.gov will meet deadline for fixes, White House officials say
Administration officials are preparing to announce Sunday that they have met their Saturday deadline for improving HealthCare.gov, according to government officials, in part by expanding the site’s capacity so that it can handle 50,000 users at once. But they have yet to meet all their internal goals for repairing the federal health-care site, and it will not become clear how many consumers it can accommodate [about the lowest baseline you can set] until more people try to use it.
And they also appear to be doing some not-Expedia-like, not-Amazon-like things to make the site "work" that shouldn't come under the heading of repairs. For example, the waiting area: Read below the fold...
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Hardhitting TPM investigative report blasts insurance companies for gaming customers
ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Six (6) signups, total, on Day One, as Sebelius claims she didn't have "reliable" figures
The usual Congressional investigative mechanisms are being operated by Benghazi-addled House Republican pinheads who couldn't gin up a good scandal even if they did had those goatsex pictures of Obama (what, you didn't know? Anyhow...). But even the House Republicans can't miss a fat target like ObamaCare. USA Today:
Only six people successfully enrolled on its [the Federal Exchange website] the first day and only a few hundred had done so by the second day, documents released by Congress late Thursday show.
The documents, released by the Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee, state that just 248 people had succeeded in enrolling on the HealthCare.Gov site by the end of the second day, Oct. 2.
The documents are notes prepared for the "war room" set up by the federal Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight to manage the problematic rollout of the website and enrollment for the new plans under the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare.
The release comes just a day after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Congress she could not give enrollment figures.
"We do not have any reliable data around enrollment, which is why we haven't given it to date," Sebelius said.
Well, what's "unreliable" about note-taking at the CCIIO? And how reliable to the figures have to be, anyhow? If they're off by an order of magnitude, there were 60 signups. That would be a success, then? Read below the fold...