So a little over six weeks to go until Election Day; I guess we can call this the final heat. Texas is pretty much a red state stronghold, although there are pockets of blue adherents throughout. Yes, even in my neighborhood, there are a handful of defiant Obama-Biden yard signs visible, although outnumbered at least two to one by Romney-Ryan signs. It amounts to about a dozen, all told; I think that most of my neighbors prefer keeping their political preferences this time around strictly to themselves.

I wasn’t all that wild about Mittens as a candidate, personally; too much the old-line country-club establishment Republican for my taste – but he’ll do, especially if Tea Party small-government fiscal conservatives overwhelmingly sweep the House and Senate and assist in keeping his nose to the small-government and fiscally conservative grindstone. So I will vote for him with reserved good cheer and considerable hope. There is too much at stake to consider otherwise. The next President of the US will have in their purview the elevation of at least one, and possibly two or more Justices to the Supreme Court, and that is just one consideration. Our foreign policy is even more shambolic than usual after four years of Mr. Hopey-Changey, the Middle East is melting down, our embassies in countries with a strong Islamic component are all but under siege, our rights to free speech are under threat in the guise of accusations of Islamophobia when exercising them in certain directions, we are more bitterly divided across class, regional and racial lines than any time that I can personally recall, the price of gas and electricity is skyrocketing, and our economy appears to be on extremely shaky ground.Those officially licensed pervs at the TSA are still feeling up three year olds and octogenarians in wheel-chairs the length and breadth of this blessed land, California’s best option may yet be to fall into the Pacific Ocean … and Texas needs rain. Which the mainstream media – god bless their little cotton socks – increasingly is reporting by putting a nice smiley face on the bad news, in the finest tradition of official government press organs everywhere, especially those where an in-law or second cousin of the Big Man is the owner of the largest newspaper and the sole national television broadcast outlet.

A Romney-Ryan administration will, it is hoped, do something constructive about many of these problems, or so is our deep and abiding hope. At the very least, they might be able to delay the crash that many of us expect will be just around the corner anyway. It will be a hell of a job, anyway, being undermined, slandered and sabotaged by the die-hard big-Statists infuriated at the prospect of being cut off from the money trough. Our mainstream news media will definitely not be in their corner, along with most of what Angelo Codevilla called the ‘ruling class’. But suppose … just Obama/Biden wins on November 6th. It’s not entirely out of the question, and I am sure that there will be many who will rejoice initially, until all those chickens launched in the last four years come home to roost. So, do we want the pain of the economic and political crash to come in a series of agonizing jerks or one heartrending pull? Might it be better to have all the bad things that almost certainly will happen in the next four years land upon the administration responsible in no small part for launching them? Could it be that the Obama administration and the Democratic party generally having to wholly own the disastrous situation that they created and encouraged? Might the corruption, the abuse of state power, the sheer bloody incompetence bring the Democratic Party down entirely? Given enough rope in the form of a second Obama term, might they eventually hang themselves?

There is a lot of ruin in a nation – four more years of this may be more than we can handle and still be a confident, forward-looking and united country; the land of the free and home of the brave. Can we risk such an ordeal … even if it gives us a chance to put the new ruling class off their high thrones in the halls of power, if not once and for all, at least for the forseeable future? I have no idea, but this is certainly something to think about in the next six weeks.

(Cross-posted at

23 thoughts on “RuiNation”

  1. For the cases of former very public devotees of “Teh Won”; the lack of public support now does not mean that they will vote for Romney. Most of them will quietly vote for Obama, because programming works. The old saw about “dead girl or live boy” holds. In fact, that may cement part of his base. Some few will switch to Romney, not out of any belief in him, but rather because they believe that 4 more years of Obama will make things even worse than now. The group that will be numerically key to the election, both up and down ticket, will be the group that just is discouraged and does not vote.

    The slanted polling being trumpeted on the media [that samples Democrats at a higher rate than Obama’s record rate in 2008] is an attempt by them to induce the same phenomenon in Republicans.

    Subotai Bahadur

  2. In my neighborhood the Romney Ryan signs are torn down, presumably by the tolerant Left, while the Obama signs stay up, no doubt because of the tolerant Right

  3. Subotai,

    Could you expand a bit on the contours of this media conspiracy that you see at work?

    For example – Rasmussen, the polling firm that basically tells conservatives what they want to hear, has Obama ahead by 3 today. Is Scott Rasmussen part of the conspiracy?

    The latest FoxNews poll has Obama up by 5. Have Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes switched sides?

    Meanwhile the mean old Washington Post and ABC only has Obama up by 2. Shouldn’t they be pushing the envelope in this grand conspiracy?

    Please enlighten us..

  4. Subotai – certainly some who have buuiyer’s remorse will vote again for Obama but there are many young people, not true believers, who will either stay home or vote for Romney.

    They are the ones who graduated from college during the last 4 years and still can’t find a job.

    Sgt – Mittens – Like that nickname! He wasn’t my first choice but in retrospect I rthink he is the bet one we could field.

    What he did with Salt Lake was near miraculous – of course this is a much bigger mess – and he has to cooperate with Congress.

    And as we learned simply having Republican majorities in Congress isn’t necessarily in our best interest.

    But right now it is the best hope we can have,

  5. Thanks, Sgt. Mom, for laying out so much so clearly.
    When it comes to economics, I’m not sure anyone was that much more sure of what he’d do than Romney nor knowledgeable about what Congress could do than Ryan. Charisma and the cheery confidence of, say, Kemp might be nice. But I’ll settle for a record of paring down businesses and budgets – government bureaucracies seem to me poorly run businesses without a profit motive. Maybe I’m wrong, but it would seem that is where Romney’s expertise lies. He’s a little like that guy that you took for granted while dating those flashier types: he doesn’t make your heart sing, but, then, you spend a day together working and you see, hell, he isn’t a bad guy, in fact, he’s exciting in his own comfortable way. And, besides, he’s competent. And, in the end, that’s what you want, a warm competence. Its competence that took over the Olympics. And its competence that succeeds and competence that comforts.

  6. “And its competence that succeeds and competence that comforts.”

    Do you think he is running a competent campaign?

  7. Joe Citizen – I can’t speak for Subotai Bahadur but my understanding is that response rates have been going down for decades. They were worrying about it in the mid-80s when I got a summer job in Manhattan for a small polling company. I believe Pew let the cat out of the bag that they’re getting ~9% response rates. The contact rate is collapsing and so is the cooperate rate which combine to spell big trouble for polling accuracy and the 9% figure. Put aside your partisanship, there has been a long-term erosion of cooperation as more and more people have caller ID and don’t bother to pick up or refuse to be polled. There’s a good chance that this is more of a conservative phenomenon than a liberal one which makes it distortive of the poll results, giving them a leftward tilt. How much of a tilt is going to be unclear until the votes are counted. You don’t need to posit a conspiracy amongst the media. You just have to agree that conservatives don’t trust the media and have hit on the tactic of raising a giant digitus impudicus to them by strategic non-participation. The professional statisticians can correct for this to a certain extent but below a certain response rate (nobody knows what it is), the correction mechanisms cease to be reliable.

    That being said, it’s pretty absurd to look at polls that posit a greater enthusiasm gap than in 2008 while absentee ballot number don’t match. The available data is not internally consistent across all the various data points. Something stinks and nobody is quite sure what it is.

  8. I sure am pleased to know that Rasmussen tells me what I want to hear. Please Scott, stop telling us Romney is three down, you knew we didn’t want to hear that. And only one percent undecided? Scott, you’re killing us.

    Yep, that’s what he does, we just didn’t know that is what we wanted to hear.


  9. TM,

    I think you are right about declining response rates. That is a problem. Without studying the matter at great length, my instinct would be that that problem would manifest as a set of polls whose results are unusually discordant with each other.

    But your hypothesis that this is systematic because it is more of a conservative phenomenon than a liberal one is intriguing. So basically you think that American conservatives are so dumb as to be doing this to themselves? To be acting, unwittingly no doubt, to suppress their own turnout? Kinda like the rage-filled driver who raises that digitus impudicus at you and then loses concentration and drives the car into a ditch?

    I must admit, this sounds quite plausible, at least when I put it that way. :)

    But seriously, that strikes me as grasping at straws. I know that there is quite a bit of ranting about pollsters on rightwing blogs, but I doubt that this attitude carries across the board to all right-leaning people such that it would yield a systematic bias. I don’t pick up my phone for calls from unfamiliar market research groups either.

  10. government bureaucracies seem to me poorly run businesses without a profit motive

    Ginny – nice summary. But in order to pare this stuff down he needs Congress. He can’t arbitrarily just start cutting.

    Let’s hope.

  11. Compare two citizens. Jim answers his phone whenever it rings, and opens the door whenever someone knocks, and is not just eager but willing to spend as much time as it takes telling anyone who asks what he thinks about any political issue. Bill, whenever a pollster manages to get to him on the phone or in person and asks him about politics, interrupts before the pollster has finished his first sentence, says “Excuse me, but my political opinions are none of your DAMNED business, don’t EVER bother me again” and hangs up or closes the door, as the case may be, before the pollster can reply. Commenter ‘Joe Citizen’ has no idea whether Jim or Bill is more likely to vote for Obama or Romney, though the rest of us have no trouble seeing which is more likely.

    The Random Jottings blogger just got his car keyed for a very mild and not very political message. (He lives in San Francisco.) If I were he, I’d add a homemade sticker pointing to the gouges with some witty and shaming additional message. ‘How’s this for Hope and Change?’ is the first thing that comes to mind, but there are lots of possibilities. Perhaps he can shame some of the nicer Obama voters into helping pay for the damage? Yeah, fat chance . . . .

    Also, Sgt Mom: it’s a little over FIVE weeks, not six, to election day. Please don’t wait until six weeks from tomorrow before you go to the polls or you’ll miss it.

    By the way, for the purpose of this post, you can call me ‘Bill’. The quotation in the first paragraph is precisely how I have responded to the two teams of political canvassers that have knocked on my door in the last few weeks. I think there was one from each party, but I don’t know, because I didn’t let them talk long enough to be sure, and I don’t care. No one has called me because I have a cell phone and have managed to keep the number away from anyone who might try to sell me something, or sell me on some candidate. Yes, I’m voting for Romney, JC.

  12. P.S.
    Random Jottings’ bumper sticker says “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen” and some very small citizen (if you get my drift) scratched “Dumbass” above it with an arrow pointing to the sticker.

  13. “Commenter ‘Joe Citizen’ has no idea whether Jim or Bill is more likely to vote for Obama or Romney, though the rest of us have no trouble seeing which is more likely.”


    You see that as some sort of indictment of me. And I of you.
    Funny how the works.

  14. The story of yard signs is interesting. I saw a piece about Ohio where Romney/Ryan outnumber Obama by 10 to 1. Here in California, there is no excitement as those of us voting for Romney know it is a vain exercise in this deep blue state.

    Bumper stickers here also tend to be for Obama even in Orange County because vandalism is not rare and is limited to the gentle left. I have ordered a sticker anyway. My McCain sticker on the back window was there a year after the 2008 election. I am much more enthusiastic about Romney than I was McCain. I supported McCain against Bush in 2000 but by 2008 he was too old.

    I think the situation with polls is, mostly, no conspiracy but simply a paradigm change where those polling methods, like newspapers and TV networks have outlived their usefulness. A lot of this is because the political right, especially the TEA party, sees the big media as corrupt and invested in Obama, or Kerry who was as phony as Obama. I’m not sure why this is because they must see the economy and understand that something bad is happening. I think leftists, like three of my children, are fixated on social issues and don’t understand economics. My oldest was 15 and not doing very well in school when Reagan was elected. The others were younger and not interested.

    Even Ross Perot, who should know better, said yesterday that we are having a streak of “bad luck” with the economy. He sounded clueless. Maybe his success, unlike Romney’s, really was good luck.

    My younger son, who has no college degree but does have a nice house and three kids with his wife of 15 years, is conservative although he is a state employee (a fireman). His wife is very religious and even more conservative than he is, if possible.

    I worry a lot about the consequences of an Obama re-election. It won’t affect me unless I live too long. I fear a hyperinflation in a couple of years. Carter and that Watergate Congress were bad but not this bad. I do think Romney is the guy to fix it and Ryan is the idea guy. Now, if the voters can see that, maybe we have a chance. If they are like the troll here, we are sunk.

    California, thus far, like Washington state, tends to vote for lefties but vote down taxes. I don’t think Jerry Brown will get his tax increase approved and he will be out of ideas. The voters here had the chance to have Meg Whitman, the only female self made billionaire I know of, tackle these problems but they flunked that IQ test like so many others.

  15. Mike – another big initiative coming up – 32 – prohibiting union and corporation contribution directly to candidates – prohibiting contractors from contributing to politicians who have just awarded them contracts. It’s a small start.

    On economics – is it so hard to see (a) a correlation between all these expanded bureaucracies putting more rules on doing business and (b) the governments insatiable appetite for money taking out of circulation for business to use?

    You don’t have to be an economist to see why we are in the doldrums.

  16. Joe Citizen Says:
    October 1st, 2012 at 1:15 pm

    Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Had people to do and things to see.

    Take no poll on faith. Always look at the internals. If they do not give you the internals, then throw the poll out, because you have no way to judge the honesty of it.

    First, who are they polling? Based on historical data: “Adults” skews Democrat by about 10 points over the margin of error. “Registered Voters” skews Democrat by about 5 points over the margin of error. “Likely Voters” are as close as you are going to get to margin of error, all other factors being acceptable. This late in the game, if you are using anything but “Likely Voter”, or if you are mixing the categories, you have to be knowingly trying to bias things for the Democrats.

    Second, what is the partisan breakdown? If the poll is to be valid, you have to be somewhere near the current breakdown. The best indicator of that is the most recent general election. In the 2010 General Election, the nationwide partisan breakdown was roughly 31-32D/34-35R/and 33-35I. There can be differences, but you have to be able to point to them. Massachusetts is going to have a different breakdown than Iowa. But you have to be able to point to it and not just pull numbers out of a bodily orifice.

    In the 2008 General election, there was a Democrat 7 point advantage over Republicans. In 2010 there was a 2-4 point Republican advantage over the Democrats. Most polls you see, including those used in the REAL CLEAR POLITICS AVERAGE, are using the 2008 General Election partisan breakdown, OR A HIGHER DEMOCRAT NUMBER.

    In fact, Rasmussen is, this year, the closest to accurate. This will vary from election to election. In large part, this is because of the “Golden Rule”. “He who has the Gold, makes the Rules.” Polls taken for publication are biased to the editorial leanings of the purchaser. At least they are if the polling company wants to sell another poll. Polls done for internal campaign use are far more detailed than the ones published and far more accurate. But we do not see them.

    One could almost accept some rationale for using the 2008 breakdown in order to account for some of the openly Leftist media ideology. But to assume that after 4 disastrous years the breakdown would be more Democrat than in a Democrat wave year has to be deliberate bias. Further [and I could go a lot longer on this quoting someone else’s excellent work]; the polls that make up the RCP Average show statistical indications of a filter. If it were not being filtered, some of the previous poll results would have shown a Romney lead as statistical noise. There is not enough variation for it to be valid samples.

    Finally, look at the male-female ratio. Women vote more Democrat than men. The normal American demographic breakdown is 48.5% male to 51.5% female. Anything off of that will bias the results.

    My guess is that correcting for the bias’, Romney is leading, but leading within the margin of error. And he has really been doing so for a while. Add in the extra figures noted in entries above, and I consider the trend reinforced.

    What I do not know is how it breaks down for electoral votes, and whether any Romney lead is sufficient to be outside the margin of cheating. But that is another discussion, for another time.

    Subotai Bahadur

  17. “In fact, Rasmussen is, this year, the closest to accurate.”

    You have no way of knowing that until his results are tested against the electoral returns.

    But I guess you are here admitting that Obama is ahead by 3 or so. Which is exactly what the major media pollsters are saying. So what is your point, really?

    “My guess is that correcting for the bias’, Romney is leading”

    But you just admitted that the best pollster has Obama up by three.

    Look, there is a fundamental problem here. Party ID can shift just like candidate preference can shift. The only way to know what the true numbers for party identification are, today, is to ask, in a poll. If pollsters are finding a Democratic advantage in party ID, that is most likely because such an advantage really exists.

    There are unchangeable factors that you can calibrate against – the percentage of men v. women, minority groups, age distributions etc. If your results are screwy relative to the known values of these factors, then you should do a better job sampling. In the meantime, perhaps you could justify weighting your data to these values.

    But it is absurd to weight your data to party ID. You might as well weight the results to get a value for candidate preference that you think just must be true.

  18. In Obama, we have a leader of genuine hubris. The only question is whether Nemesis takes him down with the election of Romney, or by re-election followed by a disasterous second term. Either way, he’s toast. I hope we don’t go down with him.

    As for the polls, the Tarrance Group internals seem to point to an Obama win in the popular vote but a loss in the electoral college. Just what we need.

  19. If pollsters are finding a Democratic advantage in party ID

    Er, they’re not finding such an advantage. They’re assuming it, and recalculating from their sample to weight it for +8 or more Democratic voters. This is why the polls are not being considered very reliable.

    There are a number of problems with polling – low response rate skewed by differential attitudes toward media is only one – but over-weighting Democratic voters relative to the actual results is not improving the polls’ accuracy. Of course, that isn’t the goal.

  20. Joe Citizen – Via the link I posted above we have data of over a decade looking at response rates, so we do have some basis besides gut feel by looking at controversial elections during that time period. Ohio 2004 national is a very good case that has been studied to death to figure out why there was such a variance between the exit polls and the actual results. Do you know of any elections with that sort of variance tilted the other way (ie exit polls saying GOP win but significant Dem win when the votes are counted)? If not, then that’s a fairly good indication that the conservative narrative has more basis in fact in this case.

  21. Joe Citizen – I forgot to ask, why do you think invalidating the pollsters’ business model and putting them out of business over the long term is stupid? Why do you think that being willing to take a short-term hit on propaganda in exchange for a long-term realignment of the political environment is stupid? Are you that short term focused?

  22. “Er, they’re not finding such an advantage. They’re assuming it, and recalculating from their sample to weight it for +8 or more Democratic voters. This is why the polls are not being considered very reliable.”

    There is some suggestion that it might be due to the different response rates of Democrats and Republicans. If that 9% is not random, it may be that the response itself is skewed. The whole model of the telephone poll may be dying. This may be related to the dying off of newspapers and magazines that have skewed left the past decade or two. Advertising is, of course, a big part of the story but circulation may be skewed by the newspaper’s political slant. When I finally gave up on the LA Times after some egregious incident about ten years ago, the girl who answered the phone told me she had a lot of cancellations that week.

    Now, I notice that the Times web site will not let me read more than a few stories on-line without subscribing to the newspaper. They don’t seem to be surviving on the free on-line model. Others do and the subscription model has failed every time it has been tried. The Wall Street Journal is the exception but it has a different business model.

  23. Mike K – Newspapers have not fully adapted to industrial revolution ideas of mass production. The stories would be written differently if they were. This craft production raises their costs to the point where, you’re right, they’re non-viable in the Internet age. Most of the paywalls are porous though. Try googling the article title and clicking back in from a search.


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