Friday, October 26, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Lauren Tewes, 59.

Up two games to none, must be time for good stuff:

1. It's twenty-four hours old by now, but nothing has really changed, and I really like Ezra Klein's summary of where the presidential race is right now. The only thing I'd nitpick on is that I'd call the national vote tied, not a very slim Romney lead; in the three days since I've been counting, I noticed the Pollster lead change eight times. It sometimes inches up to half a percentage point, but until it passes that or at least stays there for a full day, I'm calling it a tie.

2. The Tax Policy Center, profiled by Annie Lowrey.

3. Theodicy: the public opinion data. From religion scholar Robert Jones.

4. Nice Adam Serwer piece on the Benghazi emails that proved...nothing. Again, I'll stick with what I've been saying: Republicans have totally miscast the Libya story as a scandal rather than as a (potential) policy failure.

5. And Joe Sheehan approves of the managers, so far.


  1. Wow, Lauren Tewes. I hope one of her co-workers in the Petco checkout lane lets her know you gave her a birthday shout-out.

    The Libya stuff shows just how deeply the Romney campaign is ensconced in the Fox News bubble. They continually promote these themes that are designed to draw snickers from Rush Limbaugh listeners but would be totally baffling to anyone outside of that universe. I heard Romney on the radio yesterday repeating his line about how Obama claims you can't change Washington from the inside, which I can't for the life of me understand why that's an attack line. But the Fox audience has been trained to eat that right up.

  2. Bad link on the Joe Sheehan item...

  3. Dear Jonathan:

    It seems I only comment on broken links, but link to nr. 5 seems not to work.

    Thanks (from Barcelona, Spain!) as always for this great site.

  4. Ezra Klein writes: "My that the momentum narrative is essentially a conspiracy between the two campaigns, as the Romney campaign sees a margin in making their voters more confident and the Obama campaign sees a margin in making their voters more anxious."

    This is an interesting but plausible theory. It's interesting because you'd think the Romney voters would be at least as fearful of an Obama win as the Obama voters are of a Romney win. After all, in terms of relative scariness, the grandma-killing plutocrats have got nothing on the Kenyan (and also grandma-killing) Muslim.

    But I think the Republican voters are in greater danger of complacency, simply because the people they've been listening to have been telling them for so long that Obama can't possibly win reelection. Their whole narrative is rooted in the idea that the country is underlyingly conservative and was only bamboozled into electing Obama in 2008 with the media's help, and that now the voters have seen his "socialist" ways and are itching to throw him out. The 2010 midterms are cited as proof of this. (In the last few weeks I've encountered a few Republicans who insist that Nate Silver failed to see the 2010 Republican wave coming. It isn't true, but I suspect they're getting this claim from somewhere.) The GOP rank-and-file also tend to pay less attention to polls (besides Rasmussen) than Democrats do, because of their long-standing belief in liberal media bias.

    In contrast, Democratic commentary over the last two years has been highly conscious of the fact that Obama is a vulnerable incumbent. Only for a brief period, after the conventions and especially after Romney's "47%" remark, did Democrats (including yours truly) start to sound a little smug, but after the first debate that rapidly disappeared, and now they're nervous as hell (including yours truly). The nervousness is probably to Democrats' advantage.

  5. What policy failure caused officials to attribute the 9/11 attack to a movie?

    1. Which is more important: that post-attack some people in Washington had garbled stories, or that (1) the attack happened and (2) what it might say about Libya policy in general?

      Now, I'm not saying that either (1) or (2) were actually policy failures, but they might be. And IMO that's what Congress should be pushing hard on, and what a responsible and smart out-party would focus on.

    2. Garbled stories? How about false stories?

      When the American public is mislead about major world events, that's a really big deal.

      If Republicans weren't going full-bore on this, I'd imagine that most of the public would have gone on believing the initial false story that was told to them. Republicans may be driven by electoral motives, but they're doing a good service for our democracy. (That's the kind of thing I'd generally expect you to point out.)


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