Romney’s Choice of Ryan

I feel like I have read sev­er­al times on lib­er­al blogs that Rom­ney now has to car­ry Ryan’s bag­gage as well as his own. I do not think so.

The Ryan pick does indi­cate that Rom­ney was not com­plete­ly con­fi­dent of enthu­si­as­tic sup­port from his base (which amounts to the Tea Par­ty). Choos­ing Ryan makes the base feel a lot bet­ter about Romney.

To win the gen­er­al, Rom­ney has to move to the cen­ter at least some dis­tance, but with­out a Tea Par­ty approved run­ning mate, he could not afford to do that.

Back to the bag­gage. My mem­o­ry is that when the pres­i­den­tial can­di­date picks a run­ning mate, it is the run­ning mate that must con­form to the can­di­date’s posi­tions. Ryan’s job is to take Rom­ney’s con­ser­v­a­tive mes­sage to the base while Rom­ney mod­er­ates him­self for the gen­er­al electorate.

Democ­rats will do every­thing they can to hang Ryan’s pre­vi­ous posi­tions around Rom­ney’s neck. Rom­ney’s long record of being on every which side of every issue will make that a lot eas­i­er. But any­where where Rom­ney’s con­ser­v­a­tive posi­tion dif­fers from Ryan’s, we can expect that Ryan will be talk­ing up Rom­ney’s posi­tion, not his own.

I still believe that in the end, Oba­ma wins with a sol­id margin.

UPDATE: “Well, first of all, Con­gress­man Ryan has joined my cam­paign and his cam­paign is my cam­paign now. And we’re on the exact­ly the same page,” …the page being Rom­ney’s page, not Ryan’s.

Alternate Future Presidential Press Conference

Reporter: Mr. Pres­i­dent!!! Mr. President!!!

Pres­i­dent Rom­ney: What? Oh, right! What is your question?

Reporter: Sir, you are the duly elect­ed Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States, correct?

Pres­i­dent Rom­ney: Yes, that is correct.

Reporter: And that means you are also the Com­man­der in Chief, right?

Pres­i­dent Rom­ney: Yes, that is cor­rect, the Con­sti­tu­tion itself makes it so.

Reporter: And you draw a salary as Pres­i­dent and Com­man­der in Chief?

Pres­i­dent Rom­ney: Why, yes. I believe there is a statute to that effect.

Reporter: Very good, sir. Giv­en that, could you please explain why the US mil­i­tary has attacked Iran?

Pres­i­dent Rom­ney: Oh! I see your con­fu­sion. No, at the time that attack took place, the First Lady and I were doing a tour of our man­sions, we do not like to leave them to the staff for too long with­out check­ing up on them. You nev­er know when the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fire staff will arise!

So, you see, I was on a kind of sab­bat­i­cal from the Pres­i­den­cy when the attack took place. I can­not be held respon­si­ble for the actions of the peo­ple I left in charge while I was away.

Next ques­tion, please

Update: I added the line “You nev­er know when the oppor­tu­ni­ty to fire staff will arise!”

Let Us Help You Imagine the Future

And that, to me, ful­ly sums up the Repub­li­can case against Barack Oba­ma, or at least one weird vari­ety of it. Oba­ma is about to do all sorts of hor­ri­ble things: bank­rupt the nation, induce hyper­in­fla­tion, con­fis­cate guns, bring back the Fair­ness Doc­trine. About to do them.

That is Jonathan Bern­stein over at A plain blog about pol­i­tics dis­cussing San­to­rum’s new ad against Oba­ma (I guess he has no hope of beat­ing Rom­ney…), Oba­mav­ille.

It is amus­ing that the right is begin­ning to fall back on what Oba­ma is about to do (at this point it is get­ting dif­fi­cult to run against what he has done). I sup­pose there may be some item or few that Oba­ma has done in his first term that he did not talk about dur­ing the cam­paign, but I have no mem­o­ry of such. Based on that track record, there is no rea­son to think that Oba­ma is going to do things in his sec­ond term that he has not talked about doing.

Unless one wants to use cur­rent Repub­li­can office­hold­ers as the exam­ple. Wis­con­sin Gov­er­nor Walk­er did not cam­paign on the issue of strip­ping pub­lic employ­ees of col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing rights. But once elect­ed, he did so. Indi­ana Gov­er­nor Daniels did not cam­paign on the issue of mak­ing Indi­ana a Right to Work state (in fact, I am rea­son­ably sure that he specif­i­cal­ly denied any inter­est in doing so). But once elect­ed, he did so. I sus­pect there are plen­ty exam­ples of late.

It does seem (at least to me) that the right tends to be most ener­get­i­cal­ly against that which they them­selves do and most sus­pi­cious of oth­ers doing the same thing they do (not that the right has a monop­oly on this).

And yes, I under­stand that the right believes that Oba­ma has already start­ed bank­rupt­ing the coun­try and induc­ing hyperinflation.

Newt Jumps Onto Romney’s Anti-Jobs Bus

Mitt Rom­ney’s suc­cess in the pri­vate sec­tor was at Bain Cap­i­tal where he made lots of mon­ey by buy­ing and break­ing up com­pa­nies, destroy­ing jobs in the process. Now Newt wants us to know that he was part of the effort to change the laws to allow Mitt to do what he did.

So nei­ther of them care a whit about jobs.


So, last night Newt Gin­grich and Her­man Cain had a debate. At one point Gin­grich asked Cain “what about the cam­paign has most sur­prised him”.

The nit-pick­ing­ness of the media,” Cain said, explain­ing that he had known “I would have to work hard, I knew I would have to study hard,” but that he was not ful­ly pre­pared for the media onslaught — espe­cial­ly as it occurs when a can­di­date ris­es in the polls.

Good grief! Mr. Cain, you are not qual­i­fied to be Pres­i­dent if you are not able to even antic­i­pate that run­ning for pres­i­dent would cause you to be sub­ject to the medi­a’s scrutiny.

Romney’s Mistake?

So, Mitt Rom­ney has

com­pared the cur­rent anti-Wall Street protests to “class warfare.”

This is inter­est­ing. If Oba­ma is vul­ner­a­ble next fall, it will be be due to the econ­o­my. I ful­ly expect that the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee will talk of lit­tle else.

I also expect the Repub­li­can nom­i­nee to be Mitt Romney.

All those peo­ple protest­ing Wall Street would not be there if the econ­o­my was hum­ming along and unem­ploy­ment was five percent.

Rom­ney has now gone on the record of say­ing that peo­ple who want the econ­o­my to improve are con­duct­ing class war­fare. That does not strike me as the best way to woo the votes of those unhap­py about the economy.

Who’s to Be Blamed?

The most impor­tant fac­tor influ­enc­ing who wins the pres­i­den­cy in 2012 is the econ­o­my. If the econ­o­my is show­ing improve­ment, then Oba­ma wins. If the econ­o­my has dou­ble dipped into anoth­er reces­sion, things look bad for Oba­ma. And if the econ­o­my is sim­i­lar to today’s, limp­ing along in a slow recov­ery, then it will be a close race.

There is anoth­er fac­tor that in cer­tain sce­nar­ios is more impor­tant than the econ­o­my. That fac­tor is where the vot­ers lay the blame if the econ­o­my is poor.

I have read a lot about Oba­ma’s (and the Democ­rats) poor mes­sag­ing and posi­tion­ing. But we have arrived at a point where Oba­ma has man­aged to be on the cor­rect side of the mes­sag­ing and positioning.

The Repub­li­cans are hold­ing the econ­o­my hostage. They refuse to raise the debt ceil­ing unless it is accom­pa­nied with huge amounts of spend­ing cuts and no increas­es in rev­enue. The prob­lem for the Repub­li­cans is that they are using the lan­guage of a hostage tak­er. Oba­ma ini­tial­ly asked for a clean bill, but quick­ly “caved” and entered nego­ti­a­tions. Since then, it is the Repub­li­cans who have repeat­ed­ly insist­ed that it is their way or the econ­o­my gets it.

If Oba­ma had stuck to his guns for a clean bill, he would have been just as much a hostage tak­er as the Repub­li­cans. He did not and the Repub­li­cans are now look­ing at the pos­si­bil­i­ty of tak­ing the blame for a bad economy.

Why the Deficit Does and Does Not Matter

Sat­ur­day night I was at a char­i­ty casi­no night. Buy a tick­et, get an assort­ment of chips and try and increase them. I got my ini­tial chip allowance of “$30,000” and head­ed for the roulette wheel. At the end of the evening I had “$740,000” in chips.

This was not entire­ly luck. I used a sys­tem. One chip on odd. When I won, I bet one chip on odd again. When I lost, I dou­bled the bet. So two chips, then four, then eight, etc. Soon­er or lat­er the ball was going to land in an odd num­ber and I would win. (Try this with real mon­ey at your own risk). After a while, instead of start­ing the process with a “$1,000” chip, I start­ed with a “5,000” chip. I raised the ini­tial amount once I felt com­fort­able that I had enough mon­ey to sur­vive a like­ly (i.e. short) los­ing streak. Even­tu­al­ly, I was start­ing with a ““$15,000” bet.

I believe the clos­est I came to bust was when, start­ing with a “$15,000” bet, I did not win until I had bet “$120,000”. So I had lost three times in a row. If I had lost that fourth time, I would have been start­ing over. I did not have any­where near “$240,000” in chips left to dou­ble my bet with again.

What does this have to do with the deficit? As long as there are var­i­ous enti­ties ready and will­ing to buy bonds from the Unit­ed States, then the deficit is not a prob­lem. But when there is no more mon­ey to put back us.…

This years deficit is irrel­e­vant. It might be made rel­e­vant if the gov­ern­ment decid­ed to spend three or four more tril­lion this year (maybe a lit­tle less, maybe a lit­tle more), but giv­en the prob­a­ble deficit, even with no cuts from con­gress, the deficit is irrel­e­vant. Next year’s is too.

The peo­ple mak­ing the deci­sions on whether to buy or not buy our debt are ful­ly aware of the pro­ject­ed deficits. But even so, they still loan us mon­ey. This tells us that the mar­ket­place (where con­ser­v­a­tives usu­al­ly wor­ship) believes that our present deficits are not that much of an issue.

How­ev­er, it is rea­son­able to assume that at some point the total debt com­bined with the pro­ject­ed deficit will become too much for those deci­sion mak­ers and they will start putting their mon­ey else­where. Then we are screwed (just as I would have been screwed if the wheel came up even four times in a row). The mon­ey will no longer be there.

In the mean­time, the eco­nom­ic recov­ery con­tin­ues, slow­er than we would like, but con­tin­ues none the less. Some of the rea­son for this growth is a large fed­er­al gov­ern­ment spend­ing deficit. That deficit is stim­u­la­tive. Con­tin­u­ing eco­nom­ic growth is very impor­tant for the deficit/​debt issue as a strong econ­o­my will do much to ame­lio­rate the problem.

The Repub­li­cans want to slash cur­rent spend­ing which will have a depres­sive effect on the econ­o­my and cost jobs and will have a small effect on the cur­rent deficit and might eas­i­ly increase the deficit over the next cou­ple of years (due to the slowed econ­o­my). It is dif­fi­cult to under­stand exact­ly what the Repub­li­can objec­tive is oth­er than they want to hand­i­cap the eco­nom­ic recov­ery hop­ing for a dou­ble dip reces­sion and that the vot­ers blame Obama.

It is their only hope for win­ning the white house in 2012.

Continuing Pence for Prez

More evi­dence that Mike Pence is think­ing of run­ning for pres­i­dent. He con­tributed mon­ey to Repub­li­cans run­ning for state office in Iowa.

I think he would have a bet­ter shot at gov­er­nor of Indi­ana (since the cur­rent gov is term lim­it­ed and might run for pres him­self) than he would have at pres­i­dent. Still not get­ting my vote, though.