Archive for November 12th, 2008

November 12, 2008

Bailout verdict: Epic fail

Creditors win, taxpayers lose. Pretty simple, but it’s nice to have economic experts saying so.

November 12, 2008

The weirdness of random Googles

Lots of people reach this blog via random Google searches. They type in some search terms, hit the return key and — voila! — one of my posts turns up as a result and they click through.

It’s amazing to learn, via SiteMeter, what people search for. I just got a visit from someone in Saudi Arabia who was Googling “samba dancers carnival no panties.”

Hey, traffic is traffic . . .

November 12, 2008

Palin for Senate: Bad idea

Allahpundit likes it, but I strongly disagree. Her hope as a presidential candidate in 2012 or 2016 is to present herself as an independent-minded conservative outsider. If John McCain has proved nothing else, he’s proved that it’s hard to be a Republican in the Senate and be conservative, and his “independence” usually meant taking un-conservative positions. “Outsider”? Oh, please.

Palin’s best bet is to stick it out as governor, pushing hard on the fiscal conservative issues, cutting budgets, hiring freezes, etc. She probably shouldn’t run for re-election in 2010, because to seek re-election, she might be required to pledge that she had no White House ambition in 2012. (Bush faced this in 1998 in Texas, and though he seemingly paid no price for breaking the pledge, Palin might not be so lucky.)

Palin doesn’t need a Senate seat to command national attention from conservatives. She will get scores and hundreds of speaking invitations from GOP groups. If she did 50 of those in the next year, giving a standard speech emphasizing fiscal conservatism and energy policy, she’d do herself more good than she could by getting herself tied down in every issue that comes through the Senate. Then she can use 2010 to make campaign appearances on behalf of conservative Republican candidates.

Serving out her current term as governor in Alaska, she can spend the next two years picking her shots for disagreement with the Obama administration. She can speak out against “card check” and against tax increases, while continuing to urge the opening of ANWR to drilling. And if Obama actually does something that a conservative could praise, she can flaunt her non-partisanship by praising that specific policy. Once she’s out of office in 2011, Palin can start spending time in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, while doing lots of talk radio, raising money, and collecting endorsements.

A seat in the Senate would actually put Palin in a worse position for 2012. There were those who urged Reagan to seek a Senate seat in the ’70s, and he wisely decided against it. The “independent conservative outsider” candidate — that’s the ticket, and you can’t get that ticket in the U.S. Senate.

November 12, 2008

‘Future of Conservatism’ — NOT

National Review has chosen David Brooks (!) to lead a panel next week on “The Future of Conservatism.” Why not just go ahead invite Rahm Emanuel to run the panel?

Idiots . . . .

November 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

“The electorate is malleable because there’s a lot of ignorance there.”
Mary, commenting at AmSpecBlog

Exactly, which is why I argue against overthinking the election. Good example of overthinking: John McCain lost Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, three southwestern states with burgeoning Hispanic populations. The overthinkers will tell you that this was because of conservative opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants, and that therefore Republicans must endorse amnesty to “reach out” to Hispanic voters. Facts and logic, however, are on the other side of the argument:

  • John McCain was the leading Republican advocate of amnesty, and there is no evidence that this produced any net electoral advantage for him.
  • Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 amnesty, but once the amnestied illegals became citizens and began voting, they went 2-to-1 for Democrats.
  • If you look at the exit polls (for example, in Nevada) you find that not only did Hispanics vote 3-to-1 against amnesty-supporter McCain, but that he got only an 8-point majority (53%-45%) among whites.
  • McCain almost certainly lost more white votes because he supported amnesty than he gained among Hispanics.
  • Because white voters are still a majority of the electorate (e.g., 69% in Nevada), it would make more sense for Republicans to seek increased support among white voters than to try to gain Hispanic votes by pandering on amnesty.

Illegals are not citizens and can’t vote. Hispanics who are legal citizens may or may not support amnesty for illegals, but it is likely that Hispanics disproportionately support Democrats for reasons that have nothing to do with immigration enforcement.

Karl Rove will always tell you that Bush, in his elections as governor of Texas, succeeded because of his support among Hispanics. What Rove never explains (and may not even realize) is that:

  • Hispanic Republicans in Texas are mostly old-settlement Tex-Mex — people whose ancestors have lived in the U.S. for generations, in some cases even before Texas statehood. You’re talking about “Bubba Rodriguez” and “Heather Lopez” types, OK? They are thoroughly assimilated, middle class, fluent in English and, notwithstanding their Hispanic surnames, are as American as apple pie. To use the Republican votes of these Tex-Mex as an argument for amnesty is absurd.
  • Bush won election and re-election in Texas at a time (1994-98) when the tone-deaf liberalism of the Clinton administration was driving millions of white middle- and working-class voters away from the Democratic Party. The real secret of Bush’s success in Texas was that he increased the Republican share of the white vote. In his 2004 presidential re-election, for example, Bush got 74% of the white vote in Texas. If McCain had got 74% of the white vote in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, he would would carried those states.
  • Whatever the success of Bush in Texas, at a national level, he never got a majority of the Hispanic vote — getting just 44% in 2004. Keep in mind that many of those Hispanic Republican voters are Puerto Ricans (born with U.S. citizenship) and Cuban-Americans (welcomed as refugees from communism since 1959) who either aren’t interested in the amnesty issue or else actually oppose amnesty for the same reasons other Americans oppose amnesty.

The trends in Hispanic voting patterns since the 1986 amnesty show no net political benefit for the Republican Party as a result of that amnesty. Instead, by amnestying about 2 million illegals in 1986, policy-makers signaled a lack of seriousness about border enforcement, which encouraged more illegals to come.

It is clear that our current immigration policy is a failure, which shouldn’t be a surprise, because it was authored by Ted Kennedy in 1965. But rather than advocate sound policy, the Republican overthinkers echo liberal demands for amnesty and accuse their conservative opponents of bigotry. To argue that John McCain lost the election because Republicans didn’t pander enough to Hispanics — well, as George Orwell said, “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

November 12, 2008

The perils of political overthink

From my latest American Spectator column:

. . . The self-interest of intellectuals demands that they portray every election as fraught with existential significance, an honest-to-goodness Hegelian shift in the zeitgeist. Divining the zeitgeist and integrating the latest paradigm shift into our weltanschauung is the stock-in-trade of intellectuals, and if all that elevated cogitation could produce an extra 207,000 Republican votes in Ohio, maybe I would give a damn. But it can’t and I don’t.
The economy sucks, the war in Iraq is costing us about $5 billion a week, the deficit’s out of control, and every time you turn on the TV, another giant corporation is either declaring bankruptcy or getting a bailout from the taxpayers. You don’t need an
intellectual to tell you why this was a tough year to be a Republican, but that’s not going to stop the pointy-heads from explaining What It Really Means. . . .

Please read the whole thing. It’s a mocking attack on David Brooks, but more than that, it’s an argument against the entire genre of over-intellectualized analysis which Brooks has made a specialty. To pretend that political trends are so complex — nuanced! — that only an intellectual can explain them is a sort of scam that serves mainly to justify the intellectual’s function in politics.

Liberalism for decades has suffered from the influence of “big picture” thinkers (John Kenneth Galbraith comes to mind) whose business was/is to make the intellectual case for unpopular policies. No matter how often the American people reject higher taxes at the ballot box, you can always find some liberal intellectual to write a newspaper op-ed column arguing for higher taxes, so that Democrats feel comforted in continuing to pursue policies that lead directly to lost elections. If Obama and the Democrats in Congress pass a tax increase, you can be sure that they will do so to a chorus of cheering Washington Post columns. You can also be sure that the tax increase will hurt the economy and cost Democrats votes at the next election. But some politicians would rather be praised in the newspapers than to win elections.

Now we’re seeing how this tendency toward intellectualism has infested conservatism. For a decade or more, David Brooks has pushed his “national greatness” idiocy on the GOP, denouncing Republican advocates of limited government, and warning of the baleful influence of “populism.” But that pointy-head son of a bitch can’t deliver a single vote in Ohio or Florida, and following his advice has brought nothing but disaster to the Republican Party.

Airdrop him on Jalalabad, I say.

November 12, 2008

A very good suggestion

I have no idea who this “progressive” blogger is, but his advice to his fellow progressive bloggers is very sound: Don’t tell Republicans what’s wrong with their party.

Just enjoy your sack dance in the gloat zone, guys, and hope that the assclowns you just put in charge of Washington don’t screw up as bad as the assclowns they replaced. As for me, I expect Democrats to screw things up far worse even than the Bush administration did, in fact screwing up so badly that some of today’s most fervent acolytes of Hope will question, then abandon, their commitment to “progressivism.”

You think it can’t happen, but it will.

November 12, 2008

NY Times faces cash crunch

This would be very bad news, if it weren’t for the possibility that Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd and David Brooks could soon be unemployed:

[New York Times Co.] must deliver $400 million to lenders in May of 2009, six months from now. The company has only $46 million of cash on hand, and its operations will likely begin consuming this meager balance this quarter or next. The company has been shut out of the commercial paper market, but has a $366 million short-term credit line remaining that it entered into several years ago, when the industry was strong.

Maybe Murdoch will make an offer.