Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to J.K. Rowling, 47.

Straight to the good stuff:

1. Larrry Bartels and Lynn Vavreck have a comprehensive look at the remaining undecided voters in the presidential race.

2. Scott Bland has today's House runoffs in Texas.

3. Great quote about party hacks, mined from a John Reynolds book that I really would like to read at some point by Seth Masket.

4, Excellent takedown of a terrible Newsweek cover (I haven't read the Newsweek story, which sounds bad too, but the cover is awful) from Jonathan Chait. Yes, the George H.W. Bush one was awful, too.

5. And a nice Jamelle Bouie piece about deficits, public opinion, and more.


  1. I think that Bouie piece underestimates the public's intelligence a little bit; most people know exactly what debt is, and that the federal government has an awful lot of it. I just think they have been told to (wrongly) link excessive federal debt to the weak economy.

    There's a GOP ad running here in Colorado (and presumably elsewhere) that explicitly ties the two together. The tagline is FOR JOB GROWTH, REDUCE THE DEBT. No attempt is made to explain why reducing the debt would increase job growth; it's just supposed to be taken on faith.

    1. I happened across a call-in show on TV. The caller at the moment was asserting that the economy was in bad shape because of high gasoline prices and gasoline prices were high because of Obama's deficits. It seems some people can accept a lot on faith.

    2. Right. There's a lot of people who have convinced themselves now that high debt causes a bad economy. Bouie says people "hear 'national debt' as a synonym for 'poor economy,'" which I think is leaving out a step in the middle.

      What that means in practical terms is that there's room for the Democrats to convince some people that debt really doesn't have that much effect on the economy in the short term. Look at Reagan: He exploded the debt, and the economy was strong in the 1980s. I'm not saying they'll be able to make the case, but the possibility is there. But if people thought they were synonymous, it would be a much harder sell.


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