Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Won’t You Polish Your Crystal Ball?

So here we are, with only one more week to make and to hear the prognostications and forecasts. I have a four-part essay question for commenters. Feel free to address any or all of the parts. I’ll give some of my thoughts to get the ball rolling.
  1. What would you view as the worst likely outcome? What are both the short-term and long-term implications of that?
  2. What would you view as the best likely outcome? Again, what would the effects of that be, for the nation, over the next few years and beyond?
  3. What do you see as the most likely outcome? Presumably, it would like somewhere between the best and the worst – unless you believe that the worst (or the best) is truly about to happen.
  4. Finally – go for fantasy. Set aside what is likely. Engage in total speculation. What would you truly want, if all the stars lined up properly? What is your science fiction utopia? Where would that lead the country and the world?
Clearly, what you see depends on where you stand, so concepts like worst and best are going to be relative. The “likely” questions are asking about realistic outcome, not simply imaginary ones (ex: The Other Guys win 100% of the seats! That’s not gonna happen.) In other words, out of the things that actually have a shot at coming true, what would be the worst / best / most likely outcome from your point of view?
Keep this in mind – the latest AP poll showed nearly a third of likely voters say they might change their minds in the final week. This means, quite literally, that anything at all can happen. Contrary to anything you’ve heard, the die has not yet been cast.
I don’t believe the Republicans have a realistic shot at winning the Senate, not in best or worst. The do have a chance to pick up a large number of Governorships, perhaps as many as 80 House seats, and a goodly (badly?) number of seats in various State legislatures. On the low end, I’d say maybe 5 seats in the Senate, maybe 25 or 30 in the House. On the high side, like I said, maybe as many as 80 in the House, maybe 7 in the Senate. Most likely, the Republicans have a good shot at taking the House, but I don’t think they’ll have a large majority – maybe they’ll end up with perhaps 225 seats.
I haven’t looked at the Governor or State legislature seats enough to have much of an opinion there. Maybe some commenters will have some data for us. I am convinced Minnesota is about to have a Democratic Governor.
Winning the House – especially if it’s by a wide margin – will embolden the Republicans, particularly the radical base (i.e., the Tea Party). Short term, if Republicans get a majority there by whatever margin, it would mean total stagnation at the Federal level. The economy would suffer markedly. A lot of the agenda that Democrats were elected on in 2008 will languish. There will be endless investigations and committee hearings in the House, and maybe even someone trying to invent articles of impeachment, just on general principle.
As we get closer to 2012, I’d expect the public to become increasingly disillusioned at a do-nothing Congress. I’d expect them to begin seeing more of the results of the 111th Congress from before the Republican takeover of the House. I’d expect them to start becoming horrified at the obstructionism and radical nastiness that the newly-elected far-right legislators will bring to our political conversation. I’d expect a backlash against all that in 2012.
If the Democrats maintain a majority in the House, I’d expect to see the Senate change its filibuster rules. There wouldn’t be much point in doing so if the Republicans take the House, since very little acceptable legislation will be coming from the House anyway, and the Senate will be unlikely to take that step if they don’t see good reason for it. Now, a smart political operative might do it anyway, so the public can see the sort of legislation the Democrats would pass if they could. But that’s pretty risky, and since changing the filibuster rules opens the Democrats to some nasty Republican spin, I don’t expect them to be that brave.
State legislatures may be a very long-lasting issue. Whoever wins a large number of Governorships and State seats, particularly in swing states, will have an enormous impact on the composition of Congress for the next decade. Less attention has been given this issue than it deserves. Worst case, the Republicans pick up several undeserved seats in 2012 because of redistricting. Best case, the Democrats do.
One of the reasons why control of the Senate is so important is that there could be one, maybe even two, more vacancies on the Supreme Court in the next two years. With a Republican Senate, I shudder to think of the difficulties of getting anyone confirmed. The Republicans are already holding up over a hundred judiciary appointments. I would not put it past Tea Party Senators to simply refuse to allow even hearings on an Obama SCOTUS nomination, regardless of who he puts forward. But with a slim majority, SCOTUS nominees may be allowed to come up for a vote. And if not, this could be the death of the filibuster.

I’ll save my sci-fi fantasy, and some really long-term speculation, for another article. In the meantime — share your best and worst, your most likely and perhaps some wild speculation.

 

About dcpetterson

D. C. Petterson is a novelist and a software consultant in Minnesota who has been writing science fiction since the age of six. He is the author of Rune Song and of the novels Still Life and A Melancholy Humour. He lives with his wife, a dog, a cat, and a lizard, and insists that grandchildren are the reward for having survived teenagers. When not writing stories or software, he plays guitar and piano, engages in political debate, and reads a lot of history and physics texts—for fun.
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172 Responses to Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Won’t You Polish Your Crystal Ball?

  1. filistro says:

    1.) Worst.. The Dems hold both the House and Senate by very narrow margins. We then have continued gridlock, a Rep party in mulish opposition, nothing getting done for the economy or the country, and the added problems of an enraged, dangerously unpredictable GOP base… plus Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman becoming unbearably important.Best:… Dems keep the Senate with a 3-4 seat cushion, the R’s get about 45 seats in the House… enough to have to set an agenda, not enough to have much power. Most likely… my “Best” but with a dangerously narrow hold on the Senate :-(Fantasy… all Teapers win their races and are seated. Majority Leader DeMint, Speaker Bachmann. Palin gets 2012 nomination. GOP civil war and chaos ensue. GOP becomes a Southern rump party, is replaced by a new right-wing party of fiscally conservative social libertarians. World endures a few years of turmoil and birth pangs, followed by 7 decades of peace, good governance and prosperity.

  2. shortchain says:

    The most likely outcome is a Congress even more unable to pass worthwhile legislation. Did you like the last two years? Then you’ll love the next two.With subpoena power and absolutely no check on their desire to try and duplicate what they’ll see as their success in this last election cycle, the pretend-populists will have nothing to rein them in.Economic doldrums will continue, wealthy will continue to accumulate a larger and larger percentage of the wealth.How long do you want me to run this scenario? It doesn’t get prettier.Worst case: the GOP manages enough of a majority in the House to make it possible for them to bring an impeachment.As for utopian dreams and fantasy, I’m afraid it’s too free-form for me. Good fantasy requires at least some rules, a logical structure on which to hang its narrative. So I’ll keep my fantasies to myself.

  3. filistro says:

    shortchain… on what grounds would they attempt impeachment?

  4. Realist says:

    @filistro,When you go fantasy, you go all out, don’t you?Worst case for me: House Democratic majority by one vote. Republicans get 50 senators and Joe Lieberman caucuses with them. They end up bullying Obama into passing legislation designed to make the economy worse, and succeed in convincing Americans that it’s all Obama’s fault.Best outcome: Republicans get the House by one vote, but gain only 2 senators, and then lose two when the Maine contingent decides to caucus with the Democrats. The House Republicans fall into disarray as the Tea Party candidates refuse to vote for anything moderate, and the extreme stuff that they manage to get rammed through the House gets turned away at the Senate. The Tea Party ends up looking ridiculous.Most likely? House goes R with around a dozen seats to spare. Senate is 52 D, which is enough that Joe Lieberman won’t defect, but we’ll probably kind of wish he would. The only legislation that gets passed is stuff like naming national banana cream pie day and declaring that puppies are cute. The economy continues to falter, as much of the funding for things like unemployment dries up. Republicans somehow convince the general populace that it’s all because they can’t get tax cuts through.

  5. Mule Rider says:

    “an impeachment.”Stop with the paranoia and fear-mongering. No one is going to be bringing up impeachment charges because if they do, they will be facing electoral humiliation the next cycle. I guarantee you that if House Republicans bring up unfounded impeachment charges, I (and millions more like me) will vote a straight Dem ticket in 2012. Also, and I’m not sure what’s out there in terms of precedent and Constitutional law in terms of checks and balances and such, I believe that Congressional members that were stupid enough to go along with such nonsense could face some serious repercussions, and I wouldn’t rule out a charge of treason/sedition.All that to say, nobody’s going to try and impeach Obama unless he’s done something to truly deserve it, and as much as I disagree with him, he’s squeaky clean enough to avoid that.

  6. Realist says:

    I guarantee you that if House Republicans bring up unfounded impeachment charges, I (and millions more like me) will vote a straight Dem ticket in 2012.Oh, Santa, please bring an impeachment. :DSeriously, I never would have believed it before the late 90s, but at this point it’s hard to imagine there not being huge pressure to find something, anything to use as an excuse for impeachment. It’s not as if the climate is less partisan than it was during Clinton’s second term.

  7. filistro says:

    Okay… extending my fantasy… the GOP attempts to impeach Obama for not being a natural-born American!It just couldn’t get better than that :-)

  8. Mainer says:

    My word Mule Man in the advent that what you say is true I would stand beside you. I have never voted a straight ticket and will not even this year but as they say that would be a bridge too far. That said I think they are going to do just what Mitch the man has already stated and that is make Obama a one term president one way or another.Now how far does that go? Of the number of situations where I think a Republican house is probably going to over reach with the blanket supoena and investigate any thing and every thing in the hopes of finding some thing, or any thing that can be used against the administration. If they can’t find any thing they will at least bankrupt the president and many of his people, not give them a second to do any thing useful and throw a few more pairs of wooden shoes into the gears of the government.

  9. Bart DePalma says:

    1) What would you view as the worst likely outcome? What are both the short-term and long-term implications of that?House: GOP+50; Senate: GOP+8The Dem negative ad blitz succeeds in keeping many Indis home and the tsunami turns into a medium wave.The Dems will spin this as less than 1994 and attributable to the economy. Obama would be encouraged and completely intransigent. The Tea Party would be disappointed and it would be more of a challenge to maintain the enthusiasm 2) What would you view as the best likely outcome? Again, what would the effects of that be, for the nation, over the next few years and beyond?House: GOP+80; Senate: GOP+12This is just above where Gallup’s traditional LV polling has the GOP right now. The GOP gets there because the undecided join the Indis and GOP breaking toward the Republicans.This would be the largest wave election in favor of the GOP since the 19th Century. The surviving House Dems will be almost all left and very bitter. The surviving Senate Dems, 20 of whom have to run for reelection in 2012, will be terrified. The Senate GOP may have a functional 60 vote majority in the first year for popular reforms. The question is how Obama would take the massive repudiation. 3) What do you see as the most likely outcome? Presumably, it would like somewhere between the best and the worst – unless you believe that the worst (or the best) is truly about to happen.House: GOP+72; Senate: GOP+10The demographics of the VA, NJ and MA elections go national. This is essentially where the Gallup traditional LV model is now and GOP wins all Senate seats where the Dem is presently 46% or below.4) Finally – go for fantasy. Set aside what is likely. Engage in total speculation. What would you truly want, if all the stars lined up properly? What is your science fiction utopia? Where would that lead the country and the world?I am damn near nirvana right now. Why jinx it?

  10. shortchain says:

    It’s not paranoid to imagine that a Republican-controlled house would try to find something for which to impeach a Democratic president since that has already happened. On the contrary, it’s unutterably stupid to claim that it’s paranoia.Especially since Issa has already suggested it over the utterly trivial Sestak matter.

  11. Mr. Universe says:

    national banana cream pie dayYou got something against bannana cream pie? I like pie. We should all have more pie rather than throwing it around the halls of congress. Enough people there already have pie on their face.

  12. DC Petterson says:

    @Mainerthrow a few more pairs of wooden shoes into the gears of the government.You’re the only other person I’ve ever met who knows the origin of the term Luddite. (There may be more — I haven’t asked everyone.) Congrats!

  13. shortchain says:

    DC,Actually, the Luddites take their name from Ned Ludd, supposedly, who did destroy mechanical weaving equipment, but I hadn’t heard he did it using wooden shoes (which would have been odd for him to own). Tossing wooden shoes (sabots) into the machinery was, supposedly, done by those dastardly netherlanders, who had them aplenty.

  14. shiloh says:

    hmm, dastardly netherlanders as I would say dastardly Dutch ~ personal preference, more of a flow …

  15. DC Petterson says:

    shortchain,Damn. You’re right. I was thinking sabotage.Okay, you’re the first person I’ve met who got it right, and that includes me.

  16. shortchain says:

    DC,I once had a pair of my very own wooden shoes (or “shoon” — in phonetic English). So I had occasion to notice when I read about the original saboteurs.Shiloh, dutch is too generic. Heck, it can even mean “German” in some places, perish the thought.

  17. Mainer says:

    Yeah wasn’t quite sure where that was coming from. But I fear I also took liberties with the concept. While the Ludities were also against change and were representitive of another time when skilled workers were fighting back against industry putting them out for cheaper costs and greater profits they were more about busting up the frames of new power looms with sledge hammers. Oh and the time period would have been some where around 1810/1812. Popular thought puts sabotage into the hands of the Dutch at about the same time and for much the same reason along with the whole shoe thing and it could have been just enough earlier to have been spread around and picked up by the Ludities. But it is just as likely that it came from France and involved early railroad strikes and workers cutting rail pieces called sabots to clog up the system….so take your pick I guess but how ever one views it we have people that are intent on clogging up the system, fighting back against change and may be reduced to wearing wooden shoes before this is over……either that or buning them in the ole wood stove for heat if Bart gets his wet dream.

  18. filistro says:

    Okay, I need one of you brilliant statisticians to explain to me why marc miwerdz is wrong when he says (I’m pretty sure this is what marc is saying) that it’s a fallacy to superimpose an “enthsuaism gap” onto a “likely voter screen,” because both are measuring the same group. (If you’re enthusiastic, it’s logical that you are also a likely voter.) @marc.. For the first time I can remember we have pollsters adding arbitrarily a perceived enthusiasm gap to their results. This is adding an enthusiasm gap onto an enthusism gap. Is this not a redundancy that is potentially skewing polls quite a lot? If not, why not?Thank you.

  19. shortchain says:

    Mainer,Bart sure whiplashed me with his scenarios. I had a severe moment of cognitive dissonance while reading his worst-case one — it dovetailed so closely with my own worst-case scenario that I thought I had suddenly slipped into that alternate universe where Bart (beta) and I (beta) share the same political beliefs (it’s a hell dimension, for you Buffy/Angel fans). Then I read his best-case scenario and the world flipped right-side up again.

  20. shiloh says:

    @shortchainShiloh, dutch is too generic. Heck, it can even mean “German” in some places, perish the thought.~~~~~~~~~~Used to ICQ chat 2002/2004 w/a die hard Big Brother fan, like myself at the time, who started a BB site on MSN which I joined and he lived in Holland and mentioned that calling it Holland or The Netherlands was no biggie.btw, Big Brother started in Holland (1999), I digress.Speaking of passports yesterday, visited Salzburg in 1985 and took a bus to Germany hoping to get my passport stamped and the powers that be don’t care as Austria/Germany must have a friendly agreement of some sort.Usually when you are in the military visiting overseas, your I.D. card is just as good as a passport, at least back then. Always wanted to visit Norway and Sweden, but Holland would have been nice also as my BB buddy would say, windmills, tulips, wooden shoes and oh yea, recreational drugs. :)

  21. WA7th says:

    wooden shoes and oh yea, recreational drugs. Drill a small hole in the toe of one of those wooden shoes, instant recreational drug paraphernalia!Best case: Majority Leader SchumerWorst case: Majority Leader McConnellMost likely: WA was never a toss-up

  22. shrinkers says:

    @filistroOn another thread you linked a Free Republic thread about how “GOP Wants Insiders to Staff Outsiders.”Some really scary stuff there.It’s hard to say if the Freepers are just a tiny fringe of loonies, or if they really represent a rising wave within the Republican Party. Our own local Teaper, Bart, keeps referring to the Teapers executing a “hostile takeover” of the R’s (which Bart means in an approving way).One thing that strikes me is the hubris of it, the assumption that they’ve already won. In addition to the possibility of internecine warfare if they actually do win the House, one can reasonably expect some negative reaction if they don’t. If the expectations of these wingers are dashed, there is no telling what they’ll do.Thank you for doing this anthropological research for us.

  23. mclever says:

    filistro,I won’t claim to be a brilliant statistician, but the measure of “enthusiasm” is usually part of a likely voter screen. A voter who expresses high motivation is more likely to vote.The “enthusiasm gap” is a description of the observed differences in the levels of expressed motivation between Democrats and Republicans which results in the predicted turnout levels.The “enthusiasm gap” isn’t being layered on top of the likely voter screen. Rather, it’s a description of what the likely voter screen reveals.

  24. dr_funguy says:

    Also the root of saboteur from la sabot or wooden shoe

  25. Realist says:

    Wow. I am blown away by Bart’s worst-case scenario, mostly because if you look at Nate’s predictions, they’re barely off the mean. Basically, his worst-case scenario is Nate’s prediction.His best-likely-case scenario is at the far reaches of the most Republican tail. In other words, he actually believes it to be credible that they will run the table, end to end.What’s amazing about this is that, even in 2008, I didn’t think that was credible in the opposite direction.So, Bart, I have a serious question for you. What will you do if things end up more Democrat than your worst-case scenario? I mean, Nate has it at about a 45% chance that this will happen.Granted, Nate Silver isn’t a god. But he has a hell of a lot of experience in crunching statistical numbers…

  26. filistro says:

    shrinkers… here is that thread. Probably apropos here as well, since this coming fracture in the GOP is part of both my best-case and worst-case scenarios.As for who the Freepers are… they ARE the Tea Party. Jim Robinson, who started and still runs Free Republic (and raises $360,000 every year from the Freeper faithful to pay “website expenses”… Mr U take note :-) is also the founder, organizer and spokesperson for the Tea Party Express.In all my travels, I haven’t encountered a single Freeper who is not also a Tea Party member.

  27. filistro says:

    Ooops. Jimbo has just upped the ante. It apparently now costs $96,000 per quarter to run Free Republic… $376,000 a year.He raises this amount in the first month of each quarter… they’re now up to $75,379 for October… 80% of target for the final quarter.

  28. filistro says:

    4 X 96… counting on fingers, carry the three… $384,000!!!Hey, I never claimed to be a left-brain type :-)

  29. shiloh says:

    What will you do if things end up more Democrat than your worst-case scenario?~~~~~Bart never changes regardless as it’s part of his charm ;) whenever Dems do well it’s an anomaly or some such nonsense.Again, in his world every election should be a winger tsunami ’cause it’s documented in stone America is a center right country! The phrase can’t see the forest for the trees comes to mind … He’s a take no prisoner conservative, which is why he was personally crushed by the 2006/2008 elections.Bart’s a very quick study as it took me a couple hours tops lol.

  30. filistro says:

    @dr_funguy Also the root of saboteur from la sabot or wooden shoeReally? Now THAT’S fascinating. That’s the kind of little gem I love… and would never find anywhere else.No wonder I adore this place :-)

  31. Monotreme says:

    1) What would you view as the worst likely outcome? What are both the short-term and long-term implications of that?The worst outcome, as filistro has noted above, is a bare Democratic margin in both houses (i.e. 218D/217R in the House; 50D + Joe Biden / 50R in the Senate).The result: gridlock, petty partisan bickering, lots of doggie doo being thrown in both directions. Not much work getting done. 2) What would you view as the best likely outcome? Again, what would the effects of that be, for the nation, over the next few years and beyond?Oddly, I see the best outcome as one of the extremes of Nate’s prediction. Let’s take the extreme outliers in Nate’s House and Senate predictions, one at a time.2a) The best projected R outcome is House 164D/271R and 47D/53R. As mentioned above by others, this result would embolden the Tea Party and mainstream Republicans, each thinking they had the upper hand. Mike Pence would fight John Boehner for Speaker of the House; Jim DeMint would fight Mitch McConnell for Senate Majority Leader. Much blood would be shed, metaphorically speaking.2b) The other extreme of Nate’s prediction is House 244D/191R and Senate 60D/40R. The Democrats get rid of some pesky Blue Dogs and, having seen their imminent death foretold, like Ebenezer Scrooge get religion. The election functions as a massive “come to Jesus meeting” for the center-left (heh, I amuse myself). The Democratic majority, emboldened by their near-death experience and the clear mandate, start passing progressive legislation right and left. Think 1934. 3) What do you see as the most likely outcome? Presumably, it would like somewhere between the best and the worst – unless you believe that the worst (or the best) is truly about to happen.Well, I’m a scientist. I have to go with Nate’s median prediction: House 205D/230R and Senate 52D/48R. I actually think this is pretty close to the worst outcome. 4) Finally – go for fantasy. Set aside what is likely. Engage in total speculation. What would you truly want, if all the stars lined up properly? What is your science fiction utopia? Where would that lead the country and the world?See 2b above.

  32. Mr. Universe says:

    Those of you Sci-fi fans may remember the story about wooden shoes gumming up the machinery by disgruntled Dutch workers in a labour dispute being recited by Spock’s Vulcan protoge in Star Trek VI, The Undiscovered Country.My fear is that if the Teapers lose big one of them is going to take Sharron Angle’s 2nd ammendment advice and do something stupid.Best: We hold the House and Senate by enough to send Lieberman packing. Sensible Republicans (there’s an oxymoron for ya) realize the whole obstruction thing backfired on them and start actually, you know, doing the jobs they were elected to do.Worst: we lose the House and Senate and everything that has been accomplished gets undone like it never happened. Obama loses hope and decides not to run in 2012. And I’ll actually be forced to move to Canada. You know any girls I could marry up there fili?Reality: Nate’s forecast. Lame duck two years of gridlock and a Republican shellacking in 2012.

  33. Mr. Universe says:

    RE: impeachment. If they couldn’t get rid of Clinton for fellatio from an intern, I doubt they’ll find an impeachable offense for Obama.

  34. Mr. Universe says:

    Alaska could actually be an important race this year. I think McAdams has a decent chance of winning. A Lot of Alaskans have buyer’s remorse over Princess Quitterpants and many of them don’t declare a political affiliation. What with the cat fight between Murkowski and Miller, I think this will be a surprising race.

  35. dr_funguy says:

    I guess you never read The Monkey Wrench Gang by Ed Abbey then… ;-)

  36. Mr. Universe says:

    I have read every book by Abbey except for the first one which is a collectors item and hard to find. Abbey is reported to have hated it. My favorite’s are ‘Monkey Wrench’ and ‘Fool’s Progress’

  37. robert verdi says:

    The first massive battle will be over bailing out the states, primarily California. Its gonna get ugly real quick, especially when people realize the GOP isn’t bluffing about canceling the fiscal life support that state has been on for two years now.

  38. GROG says:

    @Realist from previous thread:Does this help to illustrate the point?Yes. Thank you.Mr. Universe said:RE: impeachment. If they couldn’t get rid of Clinton for fellatio from an intern, I doubt they’ll find an impeachable offense for Obama.Clinton’s impeachment was about lying under oath, not about fallatio from an intern.

  39. Bart DePalma says:

    Realist wrote: “Wow. I am blown away by Bart’s worst-case scenario, mostly because if you look at Nate’s predictions, they’re barely off the mean. Basically, his worst-case scenario is Nate’s prediction.”Nate is by far on the low end of current projections. Most prognosticators are in the 60s now with the qualifier that it could go higher. The Hill is now discussing a complete historical blowout.Realist: “So, Bart, I have a serious question for you. What will you do if things end up more Democrat than your worst-case scenario? I mean, Nate has it at about a 45% chance that this will happen.”Have a drink, mope and try to figure out why the polls were so wrong.Realist: “Granted, Nate Silver isn’t a god. But he has a hell of a lot of experience in crunching statistical numbers…”Nate has no prior experience projecting House numbers. That is why I am relying upon Abramowitz’ proven model for the House and the historical losses among incumbent Senators who poll in the mid 40s before a wave election.Indeed, I have repeatedly asked Nate at 538 where he is getting his individual race numbers which appear to conflict with the NPR numbers and his very low GOP+6 LV number which is below were RCP’s average including junk polls lies. No answer.Finally, I am curious if Nate follows Cook & Co in boosting his predictions this week. He is already hedging. Let’s see if he joins the herd.

  40. shortchain says:

    filistro,A late answer to your statistical question may have been provided by Nate today. Buried in his piece is the following:”sampling error (the error that stems from the fact that you’re only picking a randomly-selected subset of the whole population to interview) is just one way that pollsters can make mistakes. Error can also result from difficulties in drawing a truly random sample, from faulty assumptions in your turnout model, from excessive demographic weighting, from last-minute changes in voter preferences, and from other factors.”I think what marc miwerdz was referring to is related to is related to those problems with “turnout model”.

  41. filistro says:

    Thanks to shortchain and mclever for attempting to explain “likely voter” and “enthusiasm gap.” I’m still confused, but that’s not unusual :-)I suck at science, but one thing I’m pretty good at is reading people… and I do get the feeling something is nagging at Nate these days. His finely-honed instincts sense something amiss in the data, but he can’t yet put his finger on it. That’s why all the waffling, all the cautious qualified statements and disclaimers and wide-ranging predictions.I htink Nate feels there’s a snake in the grass somewhere that’s going to coil and bite him… but he just can’t see it yet.The post mortems of this election are going to be absolutely fascinating.

  42. shiloh says:

    @BartIndeed, I have repeatedly asked Nate ~ No answer.~~~~~Shocking Nate would ignore you …

  43. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:Nate and almost every other professional election prognosticator is waffling because the numbers are telling them that history is being made, but they do not want to be ridiculed by predicting a tsunamis which never arrives. Thus, Nate is erring low, but giving percentage chances of the tsunami so he is covered.The LV models are primarily based upon two things – past voting history and enthusiasm for the current election. The GOP historically has an advantage in the first element. What is making this more interesting is its historic lead in the second this cycle.

  44. Mainer says:

    Fili I have been saying all along that I thought that Nate had arrived at his new position based on quantative analysis just in time to see the data he relies on turn to crap. Of course Nate is being cautious. He just got this new gig and he has to end up some where close to the final result or it will cause NYT to rethink why they brought him in.I am cuious but after one of the most prolific polling periods for one firm are we all of a sudden seeing the Raz machine go into park? For every thing that I think Raz is I do think he is a pretty damned good polster when he wants to play it straight…..a wild guess says he is seeing things that are not getting into print right now because his owners will not like what he tells them. Now before the other side jumps my case that is just my gut feeling. But we seem to have numbers that are all over the place and even with my still really rough abilities I think I could cherry pick any number of out comes and find data to support it. It would most likely not make them right but they could at some level be supportable.I am getting my crystal ball warmed up this AM and as the sparks and haze disipate I will play the game on here I really wanted some more numbers but will fly with what I have.

  45. shiloh says:

    @Bartpast voting historyThe GOP historically has an advantage in the first element.~~~~~How so ??? Seriously!Knowing the Dems controlled the House from 1954 to 1994, one would say 1995 to 2006 was an (((anomaly))), eh.>Eagerly awaiting verifiable/certifiable source links backing up your dubious opinion.take care, blessings

  46. shiloh says:

    and of course 1995 to 2006 Reps were helped immensely by gerrymandered redistricting.carry on

  47. Realist says:

    Remember what I was saying about opinion masquerading as fact?Nate and almost every other professional election prognosticator is waffling because the numbers are telling them that history is being made, but they do not want to be ridiculed by predicting a tsunamis which never arrives. Thus, Nate is erring low, but giving percentage chances of the tsunami so he is covered.Seriously, there is zero evidence that suggests that this is more likely than the reasons Nate has given.So, Bart, are you calling Nate a liar as a statement of fact, or as an opinion masquerading as fact?

  48. shiloh says:

    and of course 2002 to 2006 Reps were helped immensely by 9/11.Oh the irony …

  49. Monotreme says:

    Abramowitz’ analysis is misquoted above. Read it for yourself, and decide who is spouting bullshit here.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-abramowitz/gallups-implausible-likel_b_764345.html

  50. Realist says:

    @shiloh,I believe you were missing Bart’s point entirely. The advantage which he mentioned is the shift from RV to LV, which consistently shifts right by a few points. Nate has mentioned this dozens of times.If you’d like, I’ll even supply the data.

  51. Scott says:

    Fili – I suck at science, but one thing…I don’t know how you did it, but even though I don’t believe a word of it (I’m all doom-and-gloom right now), somehow that made me feel better.

  52. Monotreme says:

    The Mark Penn polling from “The Hill” is misquoted above. Read it for yourself and decide who is peddling bullshit.http://thehill.com/house-polls/thehill-poll-week-4/126001-blowout-50-or-more-dem-seats-set-to-fall

  53. Monotreme says:

    “We didn’t even poll in about 15 districts that are already too far gone for Democrats,” said Mark Penn, whose firm, Penn Schoen Berland, conducted the poll. “So that, along with our entire series of polls, points to something in the range of a 50-seat gain for Republicans.”

  54. dr_funguy says:

    Off topic, but as a sometime student of media criticism the following quote about Rand Paul caught my attention.”His libertarian leanings, his willingness to position himself as a foil to party bosses, his social conservatism (he opposes abortion, gay marriage and drug decriminalization) and his famous last name made him a vessel for the Tea Party’s hopes. “From Time, as posted on Yahoo news this am. Do members of the mainstream (so-called liberal) media truely not understand the constradiction between Libertarian and Social Conservative?

  55. shiloh says:

    @RealistPoint taken re: LV, but interesting even w/the LV (shift) advantage, Reps couldn’t control the House from 1954 to 1994.But yes historically Reps, usually in the minority when compared w/registered Dems, do actually vote, whereas Dems are in lala land. ;) Kinda like the difference between myself and Bart. Bart every election is life or death, whereas I quickly determined in the mid ’70s ain’t much difference between Dems/Reps as once they get elected, most are only concerned about getting re-elected.ok, this is a deflection and I stand corrected on the LV shift, which of course has Bart hyperventilating. ;)>It would be interesting if everyone was requireded to vote in America as they are in some countries. How can a country be center right or center anything knowing how many folk don’t even bother to vote.

  56. filistro says:

    Do members of the mainstream (so-called liberal) media truely not understand the constradiction between Libertarian and Social Conservative?I don’t think so. They also don’t know the difference between “conservative” and “neoconservative.” Media seem to think both “neoconservative” and “libertarian” mean “conservative, but with more cowbell.“This gives encouragement to ignoramuses like Our own Blowhard Bartles (Esq.) who feels quite comfortable about constantly calling himself “libertarian” while being strongly anti-choice, anti-gay marriage and in favor of foreign wars.As I’ve pointed out, it’s rather like saying, “I believe in Christianity except for the resurrection, salvation and evangelism parts, and all that love-thy-neighbor stuff.”

  57. filistro says:

    @Scott… I don’t know how you did it, but even though I don’t believe a word of it (I’m all doom-and-gloom right now), somehow that made me feel better.Making you feel better makes me feel better :-)

  58. Monotreme says:

    filistro’s posts make me feel better, too.

  59. shiloh says:

    The Miami Heat w/Lebron James losing last night made me smile!Obama winning the 2008 election was, as Bart would say, Nirvāna :)and if Reps take control of the House, Obama’s chances for re-election improve exponentially!It’s all good …

  60. filistro says:

    @ TReme filistro’s posts make me feel better, too.There is nothing to feel bad about, guys!We are in a win-win situation. Either the GOP takes power and works with Obama to do some good things for the country (SMALL WIN) or they act like total jerks, get bogged down with infighting and infuriate the country so much that Obama sweeps to a Reagan-in-84 type wipeout of the electoral college. (BIG WIN.)Of course we know that statistically, scenario 2 is 2137 times more likely than scenario 1… so we may have to endure the short-term pain of wingers gloating and chest-thumping, but we get the long-term gain of generational shifts in voter preference that will ensure long-term Dem dominance and the chance of real substantive national (and global) progress during the first half of this new century.Also we get ringside seats for the coming implosion of the Republicans, and their inevitable fracture into two smaller, weaker parties.This is going to be FUN! Buy stock in popcorn..

  61. shrinkers says:

    Been busy. I couldn’t respond earlier.I think what marc miwerdz was referring to is related to is related to those problems with “turnout model”.What I think marc’s double-dipping was about was this: The “likely voter” model already takes into account such things as “enthusiasm.” That is, older people, whites, more wealthy people, conservatives, these groups tend to vote at a higher percentage than do younger people, non-whites, poorer people, and liberals. The “classical” “likely voter” models already take this into account — if you happen, in a random sample, to contact the same number of liberals as conservatives, then you adjust the result by some number which your “likely voter” model says to, based on the fact that, historically, conservatives vote more often than liberals do.Now, ON TOP OF THIS, the models this year are ALSO adding in Rasmussen’s “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more” so-called “enthusiasm” factor. If you’re conservative, or white, or wealthy, or elderly, you get counted twice (or three times, or 1.5 times, or something) IN ADDITION TO the “classical” adjustments.Whether this makes sense this year remains to be seen. (It never did make sense before, and there has never been any evidence whatever that an additional “enthusiasm” factor in any way affects voter turnout.) But this double-dipping into the enthusiasm is what’s causing the arousal on the right. On Tuesday we’ll find out if those eththusigasms were premature .

  62. Monotreme says:

    Charlie Cook on the Senate:With the election just seven days aw ay, The Cook Political Report’s current outlook continues to be a 7 to 9 seat net gain for Republicans. Currently there are 57 Democrats, two independents that caucus with Democrats, and 41 Republican Senators. Post-election, Republicans could hold between 48 and 50 seats to 50 to 52 seats for Democrats. As various races begin to settle, the prospect of Republicans scoring the 10 seats necessary to reach 51 seats and the majority has greatly diminished. Picking up 10 seats would require the GOP to hold all 18 of their own seats, which is a very real possibility, then winning 10 of the 11 Democratic-held seats listed in the Toss Up column or already tilting toward Republicans. It’s not impossible, or even unprecedented. It’s simply very, very difficult.

  63. filistro says:

    @shrinker… not sure if “enthusigasm” was deliberate or a typo, but it’s a lovely word.The wingers are in orgasms of enthusiasm this year. It’s kind of unseemly… especially since I’m pretty sure they don’t really approve of orgasms.

  64. filistro says:

    It’s not impossible, or even unprecedented. It’s simply very, very difficult. Remember back in the summer when Bart outlined his cute little 5-step plan for repealing HCR?1.) GOP wins control of both Houses…LOL. Good times… :-)

  65. Bart DePalma says:

    shiloh:The fact that GOP voters generally have a more extensive history of voting is reflected in the fact that RV polling always understates GOP results.Realist:Pray tell how do you translate my statement that Nate is erring low with calling him a liar?Mono:Concerning Prof. Abramowitz’s Pollster.com post, as I queried in the comments to that post, what is the basis for challenging the Gallup traditional LV model when it is the basis for your entire congressional election projection model? Gallup raised the same question after this post. Neither one of us got an answer.Charlie Cook: “It’s not impossible, or even unprecedented. It’s simply very, very difficult. “Tap dancing at its finest.

  66. shrinkers says:

    @filistronot sure if “enthusigasm” was deliberate or a typo, but it’s a lovely word.It was, of course, intentional. It seemed to suit the mood and the times. Glad you liked it :-) I couldn’t think of a better way to get the point across.

  67. shiloh says:

    @BartTap dancing at its finest.~~~~~Like you rationalizing/spinning Owens special election NY-23 victory after predicting Hoffman would win going away.Bart you must be a pretty good tap dancer after 2+ years at 538.solo estoy diciendo

  68. Monotreme says:

    I keep hearing a buzzing noise in here. It sounds like words, but it doesn’t make any sense. I think one of us has Wernicke aphasia.I repeat:”possible” ≠ “likely””very, very difficult” ≠ “likely”

  69. Bart DePalma says:

    Fili:”Enthusigasm” is closer to what this Tea Party member is feeling about the election. Mind if I borrow the term?

  70. filistro says:

    I’m still brooding over the wingers having enthusigasms.It’s like picturing Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” in transports of sexual ecstasy.Deeply unsettling.

  71. Bart DePalma says:

    Shiloh:I seem to recall “spinning” that NY-23 would come home without a split in the GOP vote as was the case during the special election. The latest Siena polling last week shows that to be the case.

  72. shiloh says:

    Bart, what word would we use to describe yourself after the 2008 election?solo estoy diciendo

  73. shrinkers says:

    @MonotremeThank you for posting the links to Penn and Abramowitz that Bart referred to. I’m sure the only reason Bart didn’t post them is that they don’t say what he claimed they did. Had he presented their information accurately, I’m certain he would have shown us his sources. A simple oversight, I’m sure.

  74. shiloh says:

    Bart, it’s a damn shame Nate deleted all your nonsense at 538.solo estoy diciendo

  75. Bart DePalma says:

    shiloh: “Bart, what word would we use to describe yourself after the 2008 election?”Appalled. Unfortunately, the new Dem government not only confirmed that initial feeling, but then proceeded to change the feeling to “horrified.” Thankfully, I was not alone in that feeling.

  76. filistro says:

    @Bart.. Mind if I borrow the term?It’s shrinkers’ word. You have to ask him.Personally I wouldn’t want wingers handling any new word of mine (who knows WHERE those grubby little hands have been?) but it’s really up to shrinkers. :-)

  77. Bart DePalma says:

    Mono:The Abramowitz model to which I was referring can be found here:http://www.pollster.com/blogs/converting_gallups_generic_bal.php?nr=1http://www.centerforpolitics.org/crystalball/articles/aia2010091601/I did not refer to the links posted here.

  78. shiloh says:

    So Bart, you’re like Admiral James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek II: “You don’t like to lose.”and please correct me if I’m wrong ;)Beam me up Scotty, there’s no intelligent life on this planet!

  79. Realist says:

    @Bart,I probably quoted too much from you last time for you to see it. Let me try with less text this time:Nate … is waffling because the numbers are telling them that history is being madeEvery time in the past that you’ve been talking about history being made, you’re talking about the impending tsunami of epic proportions. Since Nate has clearly stated that his model is not showing that, but is rather showing great uncertainty, and you are saying that he is waffling because his model is, in fact, telling him that it is showing the tsunami…You are saying he is lying to us all.

  80. Monotreme says:

    The buzzing noise still doesn’t resolve into something making sense.The linked articles do not say what you claim they do. Thankfully, any English-speaking person reading this can read those for themselves and see1) Abramowitz’ article that you cite is a month older than the article I posted and is therefore superceded;2) Both posts contain “if…then” statements. Since the “if” is unproven, the “then” conclusion is irrelevant.Nice try at reading comprehension. Keep working at that.

  81. Bart DePalma says:

    shiloh wrote: “So Bart, you’re like Admiral James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek II: “You don’t like to lose.””How did you guess?;^)I like even more the dialogue where Kirk says: ” I don’t believe in the no win scenario.”

  82. Bart DePalma says:

    Mono:The Abramowitz post to which you linked has nothing at all to do with his model and certainly did not supersede the model. As Gallup observed, Abramowitz simply did not like the Gallup results without providing any basis why the Gallup LV model upon which all his work is based is suddenly in error.

  83. Bart DePalma says:

    Realist:Nate is offering an opinion and by definition cannot by lying. Because of its superb history of success, I am using the Gallup traditional LV number and the Abamowitz projection model using the Gallup number over Nate’s unproven approach.

  84. Realist says:

    @Bart,I suggest to you that if he offers an explanation for his waffling, that is not actually an opinion. His projection is an opinion, but his reasons are facts (which may, themselves, be based on opinions).Thus, if you say that his reasons are different from those that he has given, you are saying that he is lying.

  85. Monotreme says:

    “Final” Gallup likely voter figures, if accurate, are used in the Abramowitz model.The Gallup figures are not final.Abramowitz (not me) says the Gallup likely voters figures now available are crap.Charlie Cook says the current available polls are “dime store junk”.Abramowitz is an editor at Crystal Ball. Their final report is due Thursday Oct 28. The election is Tuesday Nov 2. Let’s wait for the data. Your views are both well-known and total bullshit.

  86. filistro says:

    Add Mark Blumenthal to the list of people now questioning those LV figures. His article is pretty technical but he seems to feel the discrepancy lies in an “attentiveness” gap which is way off the norm this cycle.

  87. GROG says:

    There’s an interesting ad being run right now in Arizona that I think pretty much sums up this election.The ad is simple. It exposes three Democratic politicians for voters to see. It says that Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell, and Gabrielle Giffords:*Voted for Obama’s massive healthcare takeover *Voted for a $500 billion Medicare cut *Voted for $1 trillion in wasted stimulus funds *Supported Nancy Pelosi The ad ends with an appeal to “stop Obama’s tax hikes, his amnesty for illegals, and his job-killing policies.” And it closes with these words: “Vote for the candidates who share your values.”Enough said.

  88. dr_funguy says:

    Stimulus funds were “wasted” only if you wanted higher unemployment and lower benefits for those unemployed…Your other points are Republican propaganda (as usual)… e.g. “massive healthcare takeover”

  89. Monotreme says:

    GROG said:The ad ends with an appeal to “stop Obama’s tax hikes, his amnesty for illegals, and his job-killing policies.” And it closes with these words: “Vote for the candidates who share your values.”Paid for with untraceable corporate donations, no doubt, and at least two of the three claims on this list are demonstrably untrue.http://factcheck.org/2010/10/whoppers-of-campaign-2010/Quoting factcheck.org:But as we have long pointed out, “amnesty” is an emotion-laden word that does not accurately describe what the bill would have provided…

  90. Realist says:

    And while we’re on the topic of opinions masquerading as facts, let’s look at that Arizona ad. Look at these carefully, because this is a common tactic all over the place:*Voted for Obama’s massive healthcare takeoverVoted for PPACA: fact.PPACA is a massive healthcare takeover: opinion.*Voted for $1 trillion in wasted stimulus fundsVoted for $1T in stimulus funds: kinda fact (you have to round to the nearest trillion)The (kinda) $1T is wasted: opinion.I’m not sure whether to call “Supported Nancy Pelosi” fact or opinion. I’m pretty sure that they didn’t support Pelosi on everything she’s ever done. And I’m pretty sure for every Republican in the House we could find at least one bill that both Pelosi and the Republican voted the same.So it’s hard to call that much of anything at all, since it’s too vague to be classified.

  91. Mr. Universe says:

    Clinton’s impeachment was about lying under oath, not about fallatio from an intern.You can call it what you like but we all know what Clinton’s impeachment was about. A failed power grab by the Republicans. The BJ was just a convenient reason to corner Clinton. But it’s a different standard when Republicans lie about their sexual foibles. Vitter, Ensign, Craig, etc. all kept their gigs.

  92. Mr. Universe says:

    Recently Barted;Nate’s unproven approach.I needed a good laugh this morning. Are we comparing his track record of prognostication to yours? That seems pretty poven to me.

  93. Realist says:

    @Mr. U,As I read Bart’s text, the impression I get is that he is comparing Nate’s track record to that of Gallup and Abramowitz. Specifically, his focus is on Nate’s branching out into House races, for which this is his first election prediction.I’m pretty sure he wasn’t comparing Nate’s predictions to his own…though I suppose it’s worth seeing it from the horse’s fingers, to use a strange mixed metaphor.

  94. shrinkers says:

    Bart, as our dear filistro pointed out, “enthusigasm” was my coinage. It being on the Internets and not associated with a copyright symbol, I can’t stop you from using it. Just be certain to prefix it with the word “premature.” It is to be hoped you take more time with your other -gasms, or there will be a most frustrated Mrs. dePalma.

  95. Mule Rider says:

    “The (kinda) $1T is wasted: opinion”How about some math, shall we? That’s $1 Trillion to “save/create” 3.5 million jobs (an estimate on the very high end, but I’m being gracious). The math works out to between $250,000 and $300,000 for each job. By comparison, I make about 1/4th of that and work in a fairly high-skilled profession. So while everyone is entitled to their “opinion,” most would agree that a (per job) cost that high, it could be considered a “waste.”

  96. dr_funguy says:

    MRSince jobs are only part of what is accomplished (e.g some infrstructure repairs were made, unemployment benefits extended, etc.), it is an insufficient metric by which to gauge success or failure of said spending.

  97. Mule Rider says:

    “e.g some infrstructure repairs were made, unemployment benefits extended, etc.)”Fine, subtract out the part for infrastructure repair and what was spent specifically on that. Let’s put a value on that then. It won’t make much difference, though.Also, extending unemployment benefits adds no economic value to the system. It’s like a subsidy. We just paid more money for people to not work. Put that in your Excel sheet and it comes back that we spent #DIV/0 on job creation with that money. Keep in mind that I’m being generous with an estimate of 3.5 million. Some are as low as 1.0-1.5 million.

  98. filistro says:

    premature enthusigasm!LOL…

  99. Realist says:

    @MR,We just paid more money for people to not work.Oh, right, unemployment is high not because the jobs aren’t there, but rather because these lazy-ass people won’t take those jobs.Do you seriously believe this?

  100. Scott says:

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/27/for-democrats-losing-the-house-is-not-inevitable-just-very-likely/New post up from Nate that explains in great detail why he makes the caveats that he does. Definitely worth a read, and definitely a very interesting look at the science behind his analysis.

  101. filistro says:

    I got a great haircut this morning, which always lifts my spirits… :-)..and in the salon chair I got to thinking about what Realist said this morning: Wow. I am blown away by Bart’s worst-case scenario, mostly because if you look at Nate’s predictions, they’re barely off the mean. Basically, his worst-case scenario is Nate’s prediction…and that REALLY lifted my spirits.. because what Nate predicts is what is most likely to happen (Note: OPINION)… and in Bart’s words:The Dems will spin this as less than 1994 and attributable to the economy. Obama would be encouraged and completely intransigent. The Tea Party would be disappointed and it would be more of a challenge to maintain the enthusiasmSo (as shiloh would say :-) let’s review, shall we?Bart is bummed, the Tea Party is dispirited , the R’s are stuck with a small and unworkable majority, the Dems hold the Senate and Obama’s hand is strengthened.I ask you… WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?

  102. filistro says:

    Note to Bart… the bleak scenario you are now facing is what happens when you play the expectation game badly.Pay attention next time, okay? :-)

  103. shrinkers says:

    Mule, if I may suggest, Michael had a most fascinating and informative article on the stimulus bill a short time ago. There was also a lively discussion thread attached to it. Perhaps after reading that, you could come back and see how your math works out.

  104. Mainer says:

    I would suggest that every one take a look at Nate’s just put up piece on House numbers. Bart “he is waffeling” DePalma is either going to love it or hate it…..hard to say with Bart.Mule man the number was actually less than 800 million, it was as much as 40% tax cuts and is spread out over 2.5 years. So stop with the Republican math as we already know that regardless the results of the package you would still be bitching about it.

  105. Scott says:

    I ask you… WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?Having to wait at least 2 more years for anything substantial to get done?As much fun as all of this sounds, I have serious reservations about sitting around for two years watching the GOP implode while nothing is actually getting done.

  106. Mule Rider says:

    @Realist,I made no attempt to quantify the motivations (lazy or otherwise) of our nation’s unemployed, just illustrate the math of spending more money on unemployment itself. Don’t put words in my mouth.

  107. shrinkers says:

    @ScottWhat I like most about Nate’s new piece is that he got away with saying “covering out butts” in a NYT article.he said ‘butts’, huh huh huh…

  108. Scott says:

    @shrinkers…I was going to go with the blunt honesty that of the imperfect science as what I liked best but… you know what? Butts is good. Let’s go with butts.

  109. shrinkers says:

    @MuleI made no attempt to quantify the motivations (lazy or otherwise) of our nation’s unemployedA fair point. So, do you approve or disapprove of extending unemployment benefits? And in either case, why?

  110. filistro says:

    @ Scott…As much fun as all of this sounds, I have serious reservations about sitting around for two years watching the GOP implode while nothing is actually getting done.But there was no way anything was going to get done anyhow, because it’s been difficult enough for Dems to do anything even with their current majorities… and nobody ever expected them to increase those majorities.So if we’re doomed to two more years of patience while we wait around for the messy clown car to get hauled off the road, we might as well have something entertaining to watch in the interim.And it will, I assure you, be highly entertaining. The Freepers and Teapers are already suiting up and painting their faces (and their enormous bellies… yuck)… getting ready to go to battle against their own party.

  111. Mule Rider says:

    “Perhaps after reading that, you could come back and see how your math works out.”I have a master’s degree in economics and have a job as a consultant where one of my primary jobs is to monitor economic activity. From what I’ve gathered, you and most of your buddies here are things like writers, novelists, etc. and moonlight as tooth fairies, other mythical creatures, or some such shit as that. I’ll trust my “economic math” long before what you yahoos have to offer.

  112. Mule Rider says:

    “So, do you approve or disapprove of extending unemployment benefits? And in either case, why?”That’s a loaded question. At times it can be a viable and acceptable option. The bigger question is how long do you extend them and how much are you willing to spend? I think when you give the impression that you will continue to extend benefits ad infinitum, that sets a troubling precedent.

  113. Scott says:

    So if we’re doomed to two more years of patience while we wait around for the messy clown car to get hauled off the road, we might as well have something entertaining to watch in the interim.This is the problem – the reservation that we ARE doomed to such a fate. Next Tuesday isn’t written yet; sometimes I feel like if everyone who was saying that they already know we are going to lose next Tuesday would get out there and find just 2 other people to vote, it wouldn’t have to be that way. I know that’s oversimplifying it, but frankly, I don’t know why we need to set the bar so low for ourselves. We’ll at least record a score, but there’s no way we’ll ever win.Who is to say that if nothing gets done for 2 years, Democrats (who control the White House) won’t be blamed, and then we’ll lose the Senate and be watching on as President Romney is getting sowrn in?

  114. Scott says:

    From what I’ve gathered, you and most of your buddies here are things like writers, novelists, etc. and moonlight as tooth fairies, other mythical creatures, or some such shit as that.Though I’ve always aspired to be a Glitter-farting Unicorn who writes French romance novels, my day job is much less interesting, thank you very much! :D

  115. shrinkers says:

    Backwards for me, Mule. I’m a successful software consultant by day, and I moonlight as a novelist. The mythical creature stuff is just a hobby.You did sort of sidestep my question, but perhaps I wasn’t precise enough. Why do you disapprove of extending unemployment benefits in this particular case? Is it simply because of “precedent?” Can a case be made that an unprecedented situation such as we are facing might justify unprecedented measures?And as far as your masters in economics and your job in the economics arena, that should qualify you to comment intelligently on Michael’s article. It should also qualify you to avoid mistakes such as dividing the amount of money spent on the ARRA by the number of jobs, since that clearly provides a meaningless metric.

  116. Realist says:

    @MR,I don’t need to put words in your mouth. You did the same thing I was just discussing earlier of combining fact and opinion to create an opinion masquerading as fact.We paid unemployed people. Fact.They were paid to not work. Opinion.The implication in that statement is that not working is the motivation behind the payment, and therefore the payment becomes a motivation to not work.Want to phrase it in a way that doesn’t make that implication? Try this one for size:We just paid more money for people who are not working.While personally I’d go for We just paid more money for people who are unemployed,” I recognize that there are some who feel that the term “unemployed” is more of a liberal-leaning term than “people who are not working.”But neither of the sentences I provided make any sorts of inferences regarding the reasons for the unemployed status.

  117. dr_funguy says:

    Funny, I coulda sworn you just said that 787,000,000 = 1,000,000,000Then used the 1 trillion to calculate a per job cost without adjusting for either tax cuts or other benefits.Doesn’t speak well for your grasp of economics.I don’t claim to be an economist, but even a biology Ph.D. can do a bit of arithmetic; I only moonlight as a tooth fairy.

  118. Realist says:

    @MR,I think when you give the impression that you will continue to extend benefits ad infinitum, that sets a troubling precedent.Now there’s something we can sink our teeth into. What about linking the duration to the unemployment rate? The only way that someone could game the system to have benefits extended would be through a massive conspiracy, which would be essentially impossible to support.

  119. shortchain says:

    — it’s a standing joke in the classes I teach that those who can’t make it switch to econ.

  120. filistro says:

    @ Scott… Who is to say that if nothing gets done for 2 years, Democrats (who control the White House) won’t be blamed, and then we’ll lose the Senate and be watching on as President Romney is getting sowrn in?Well, historialcl precedent, for one thing. The election cycle that most closely tracks this one is 1982 when Reagan was battling “the worst recession since 1930″, his apps were in the low 40′s, unemployment was over 10%, no Reps wanted the guy to appear in their state, and he lost the House in the midterms. Two years later in 1984 he all but swept the electoral college, taking 49 states. C’mon, cheer up! A unicorn with glittery flatulence is just never supposed to be glum :-)

  121. filistro says:

    which state DIDN’T Reagan take in 84… anybody know offhand?No peeking!(This would be an excellent final Jeopardy question)

  122. filistro says:

    Everybody’s peeking

  123. Scott says:

    I believe it was MN, where Mondale was from.

  124. shrinkers says:

    Heading off italics, if I can …

  125. Realist says:

    Without peeking, I’d guess Minnesota, given the home state of his opponent.Though I’d bet he won DC as well (not a state), since I don’t think they’ve ever gone conservative.

  126. shrinkers says:

    – it’s a standing joke in the classes I teach that those who can’t make it switch to econ.So, the full aphorism — Those who can, do.Those who can’t, teach.Those who can’t teach, critique.Those who can’t critique, become economists.(apologies to teachers, who often are far better than those who think they can do.)

  127. filistro says:

    shrinkers, you missed the last line:Those who suck at economics, spout obscenities on the Internet.

  128. Mule Rider says:

    ” it’s a standing joke in the classes I teach that those who can’t make it switch to econ.”Funny, because in my circle, the joke is that those who can’t make it switch to teaching.

  129. Mainer says:

    I may actually live in an area where the unemployement system has worked pretty well. While folks have been out of work for way too long, by them not living all that high to start with, they have been able to hang on and are now still in the area as the mills need them for work that is now coming in. Had there not been such long coverage it is suspected that many on the highly skilled people would have had to leave and the mills could not have picked up and met new demand and might well have just given up and closed the doors but the unemployement payements preserved their work force and we are almost back to where we started. Now this probably works better in isolated areas such as I live in and obviously sustains an area better if low wages and no economic bubbles are the norm to start with but you can not imagine the mood in our one local grocery store a couple of weeks ago when a bunch of those mill workers came through and one of the clerks noticed that a couple of them were holding mill checks and not state checks…..to say the mood was up beat would have been an understatement.I’m sure there are those that are not displeased to be drawing unemployment but for the vast majority it is what it was meant to be, a safety net and as we have seen around here and I am sure many other places it is equally a safety net for business to hold onto the workers they pray they will need again soon.I am trying to get a vision of a glitter farting Unicorn out of my head.

  130. Realist says:

    I must confess to being confused and disappointed by what appears to be ad hominem attacks on Mule Rider, with respect to his field of economics.Strikes me as unnecessary and uncalled for.

  131. filistro says:

    Realist… Mule Rider richly deserves any attacks he gets… and more besides.What’s more, he KNOWS this.Don’t you, Muley? ;-)

  132. Mule Rider says:

    Re: $787 billion vs. $1 trillionYes, I used the “rounded” number, inflating it by $213 billion. My bad. Funny, though, that people seized on that but no one objected to me using an estimate of 3.5 million jobs created when the “high-end” estimate is only 3.3 million (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/political-economy/2010/08/cbo_says_stimulus_may_have_add.html). And the “low-end” estimate is only 1.4 million. So let’s be as fair/exact as possible and split the difference and say 2.45 million jobs were saved/created. Everyone fine with that? Now, it was said that the $787 million was to be spent over 2.5 years. Fair enough. So let’s knock it down to a per annum cost of $314.8 million. Now some of you will argue that it should be knocked down further by accounting for “tax cuts,” “infrastructure spending,” “extending unimployment,” etc. but that’s not the case. Tax cuts, in theory, encourage spending, and therefore job creation. Infrastructure spending implies people were hired to do the work, ergo job creation. And we’ve already covered unemployment insurance. So the idea is to figure out the total cost to the economy and the total job impact. Applying that $314.8 million per year to the 2.45 million jobs saved/created, it means we spent, on average, about $128,000 per year for 2.5 years on those jobs.

  133. shortchain says:

    Muley,As an economist, you must surely be aware that, although your company pays you X dollars, you actually cost them a lot more. 128K dollars per year is not a lot of money for a job.Now, had the money been spent on all infrastructure rather than tax cuts, the figure would have been even lower. And, according to Krugman, had the stimulus been even larger, it would have had a chance of actually stimulating the economy and producing a multiplication, costing even less because of the increased revenue.I notice, BTW, that you are no longer claiming that the 1T dollars were “wasted”, so there’s some goal-post moving going on here. And, of course, you aren’t counting the worst-case scenario in which, minus the stimulus, we’d be in the midst of another depression, not merely a jobless recovery.

  134. Michael Weiss says:

    @MR,I appreciate your acknowledgement of the 27% inflation caused by the use of the $1T number.While tax cuts do, in theory, encourage spending, they really only have that effect in an appreciable way on the lower-income end of the spectrum. But because they come with no strings attached, they may or may not end up being spent on the economy. In this case, they ended up going mostly to individual debt reduction. Was this a waste? Probably, if your intent was job creation.Infrastructure spending does imply that people were hired to do the work. What percentage of the spending went to wages throughout the supply chain, versus materials? And what percentage of supply chain wages were for people employed outside the US? After all, supply chains are global these days. I’ll pull a number out of my ass and say 30% of the supply chain is in the US. I’d love to hear if you have a source of a more real number.But, really, most of the infrastructure dollars went not to immediate job creation, but rather to reduction of commerce friction, which should have a greater impact over the long run.This makes your analysis excessively facile.

  135. shiloh says:

    1972 Massachusetts was the only McGovern state, so congrats to MA :) for being the (1) state which didn’t vote for a criminal who resigned in disgrace after violating the U.S. Constitution every which way but loose!ok, you can add loose …Indeed, the Rep party should be damn proud of their distinguished recent history, eh.Carry on

  136. Bart DePalma says:

    “Butt covering” does not even begin to self describe Nate’s most recent “on the one hand, on the other hand” tap dancing. It sounds like Nate is losing confidence in his model by the hour. An admitted +/-29 seat margin of error makes his model utterly useless.FWIW, Nate is now up to a GOP gain in the low 50s. I figure he will be up to the high 50s by the weekend.

  137. Mule Rider says:

    Thanks, Realist. That was nice of you to say.

  138. Mule Rider says:

    “I appreciate your acknowledgement of the 27% inflation caused by the use of the $1T number.”And I’m assuming you appreciate me correcting my 43% inflation of the jobs created/saved number, right?

  139. Scott says:

    I must confess to being confused and disappointed by what appears to be ad hominem attacks on Mule Rider, with respect to his field of economics.Strikes me as unnecessary and uncalled for.+1Just as I would never attack a teacher, a construction worker, a mechanic, a scientist, or anyone for his chosen line of work, it seems kind of out of line. Are you next going to criticize me as for contributing to the obesity problem in the United States because I’m in video game development and it’s the only job I’m currently in demand for?The only line of work that deserves attack is politicians. :)

  140. filistro says:

    What Bart says:FWIW, Nate is now up to a GOP gain in the low 50s. I figure he will be up to the high 50s by the weekend.What Nate ACTUALLY says today…This is why we say the Democrats have a decent shot at holding the House. Not because the enthusiasm gap is going to close substantially at the last minute (although it might be tightening very slightly)… Bart, Bart, Bart… (shaking head sadly…)

  141. GROG says:

    The CBO revised the actual cost of the stimulus to $862 billion. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/18/us/politics/18obama.htmlUnfortunately, we didn’t pay $862 billion in cash for the stimulus package. We will pay about $300 billion in interest over 10 years, so the $1 trillion figure is a little low.

  142. Scott says:

    What Nate ACTUALLY says today…This is why we say the Democrats have a decent shot at holding the House. Not because the enthusiasm gap is going to close substantially at the last minute (although it might be tightening very slightly)…Bart, Bart, Bart… (shaking head sadly…)Fili, you really must stop telling the truth. It has a clearly liberal bias.

  143. filistro says:

    Just as I would never attack a teacher, a construction worker, a mechanic, a scientist, or anyone for his chosen line of work, it seems kind of out of lineSo how come you Mulapologists aren’t taking issue with his attack on novelists? FOUR of us in here are novelists… and those are just the ones I know about.(To say nothing of the gratuitous swipe at tooth fairies, which was really hurtful…)

  144. Mule Rider says:

    “This makes your analysis excessively facile.”Facile or not, I’m stating facts (correcting “rounding errors” and “generous estimates” of course). We can debate the merits and direct/indirect impacts of the various parts of the stimulus till we’re blue in the face, but the fact is that it cost $787 billion (over 2.5 years). And it (supposedly) helped save/create (shooting in the middle here) 2.45 million jobs. From there’s it’s pretty easy to derive a very generic cost per job saved/created. Facile or not, it’s just to illustrate a point. It’d be the same thing as someone saying the Phillies spent $15 million on Roy Halladay this year for him to pitch 250 innings. It worked out to $60,000 per inning. Some might consider that a waste. Others might not. Given he’ll probably win the Cy Young in the NL this year, it probably wasn’t a waste, but it just goes to illustrate that you probably need to examine the quality of those 250 innings to determine if $60,000 per was worth it. Judging by what we got for $128,000/year/job, I’m not sure it was worth it. Call it facile if you want, but that’s my take.

  145. Scott says:

    So how come you Mulapologists aren’t taking issue with his attack on novelists? FOUR of us in here are novelists… and those are just the ones I know about.(To say nothing of the gratuitous swipe at tooth fairies, which was really hurtful…)Mine was more meant as a general statement of condemnation about ridiculing ANYONE’S chosen profession, though I do see how that may have been misconstrued. Sorry about that. :(

  146. Mule Rider says:

    Thanks, GROG. That’s a very salient point you bring up re: stimulus costs (plus interest). “So how come you Mulapologists aren’t taking issue with his attack on novelists? FOUR of us in here are novelists… and those are just the ones I know about.”Sorry if that came across as an attack. I didn’t mean to take a swipe at novelists/writers per se, but I do feel the need to stand up to those who tell me I need to go get ed-u-mucated on economic stuff before I can comment on a discussion about economic matters when my academic background says I should have more insight than they.

  147. Mule Rider says:

    Put it this way, filistro, let’s say we’re having a discussion about Charles Dickens (whose work you’re well versed in) and you, knowing my background (that’s weak on literature), butt in with some commentary that I quickly dismiss and then I have the nerve to say, “Hey, fili, if you’re gonna comment on Dickens, why don’t you go read some of his work first, and THEN come back and talk to us…m’kay?!” You’d be a little put off, right? Well, that’s kinds how I feel when a couple of novelists/writers tell me to go read up on some economic stuff before commenting on the economy.

  148. Michael Weiss says:

    Mule Rider,Yes, I also appreciate your correction regarding the 43% inflation of jobs created/saved.I called attention to the 27% inflation of the dollars spent because that one shows up by so many conservatives as what I believe to be a deliberate disinformation campaign.I haven’t seen the same with respect to the jobs number, but I’ve seen less mention of that number anyway.

  149. filistro says:

    Mine was more meant as a general statement of condemnation about ridiculing ANYONE’S chosen professionThat’s okay, Scott.. I’m just kidding. Many of us here have a very long and complex history with Mule Rider.Muley LIKES abuse. That’s why he behaves so badly on a regular basis. It’s an old old pattern.1.) Muley comes in, hangs aorund for a while, gets increasingly offensive, then blows and picthes a massive fit in which he becomes breathtakingly, shockingly obscene.2.)Everyone reacts with horror, censure and scathing disapproval. Muley hurls angry insults and announces he is leaving forever. People say “Fine, great, just GO, already.”3.) Muley scrapes his hoof shyly in the dirt, hangs his hhead and mumbles an apology. People ignore him (they are still pissed.) He becomes sane and sensible for a while, and contributes meaningfully to the conversation.4.) Gradually Muley’s irritation begins to mount, he gets a bit rude, his posts become testier, and…Lather. Rinse. Repeat.Muley ENJOYS this cycle. (We must sort of enjoy it too, since it’s been years now and he’s still with us :-)

  150. Scott says:

    Muley LIKES abuse. That’s why he behaves so badly on a regular basis. It’s an old old pattern.Trust me, I remember. I’ve been away from the 538 crowd for some time, but I most certainly remember what things were like back in the hey-day. I’m sure it’s just gotten more agitated over time. :)

  151. shrinkers says:

    Let’s use Mule’s logic on the Iraq war.We spent roughly a trillion dollars (rounding to the nearest trillion). It was spent to avenge the deaths of the people who died on 9/11, of which there were about 3500. That figures to about $285,714,285.71 per person. Doesn’t seem worth it.The ARRA was intended for many purposes in addition to saving jobs — in brief, its intent was to stop, and to reverse, the collapse of the economy. Just as the the invasion of Iraq was intended (supposedly) for purposes other than (or at least, in addition to) vengeance for the people in the Twin Towers.The ARRA cost per job is a meaningless statistic. Tell you what — divide the total DOD budget (around $600 billion/year) by the number of civilians employed by the DOD, and tell me what the cost is per civilian job. It’s a meaningless number, since the purpose of DOD expenditures is not merely to create civilian jobs. But if I declare that is the reason for the DOD, then you have to accept it — just was we’re supposed to accept that “immediate short-term job creation” was the only purpose of the ARRA.We avoided a second Great Depression. We avoided a total collapse of America’s economy. We are now gaining jobs (slowly), which we may not have been otherwise. The economy has had around 8 months of actual growth in a row, which it would not have had. Tax revenues are up.The Republican talking about about ARRA dollars per job is just typical taking-out-of-context. If Republicans are capable of seeing a larger picture, the seem often to to be able to display that ability in any visible way.

  152. shrinkers says:

    Oh, I forgot the interest payments on the trillion for the Iraq war. Inflate the per-death number by a factor of about 30%.

  153. Michael Weiss says:

    GROG, you said:”Unfortunately, we didn’t pay $862 billion in cash for the stimulus package. We will pay about $300 billion in interest over 10 years, so the $1 trillion figure is a little low.”But, if you’re going to include interest, you need to make a conversion from nominal dollars to real dollars, and therefore look at the net present value of that total cost. That, of course, depends on the rate of inflation over the next decade.Historically, the rate of inflation is pretty close to the interest to be paid on that debt, so the real dollar cost may be pretty close to the same as the $862B number.

  154. Realist says:

    @filistro,So how come you Mulapologists aren’t taking issue with his attack on novelists?Seriously? Because a novelist delving deep into economics is not the same thing as an economist doing the same. Sure, there was a bit of pulling out the ruler, but assuming he told the truth (and I have no reason to doubt it), his is bigger in that area.Of course, you’re welcome to do the same back to him with regards to writing skills. :)What’s odd to me, though, is how Bart seems to have such a weak grasp on constitutional law, for someone whose profession is law.

  155. shiloh says:

    Mule Rider said… Shiloh, I’m pleasantly surprised and happy to see you engage in normal, rational, and INTELLIGENT dialogue rather than just the incessant drive-bys and ejaculations of gnarled witticisms and snide sarcasm. I can’t understand why you don’t do this more often. May 7, 2010 2:34 PM(3) days later …Mule Rider said… Eat shit, shiloh. May 10, 2010 1:51 AM ~~~~~The yin and yang of Mule.hmm, a book title ;) just leave out the chapters dealing with …

  156. Mule Rider says:

    “We avoided a second Great Depression. We avoided a total collapse of America’s economy.”Ding ding ding. And here’s our latest example (from shrinkers, no less!) of opinion masquerading as fact.

  157. Mule Rider says:

    @shiloh,My God, dude, do you catalogue everything that’s been said in every discussion you’ve been a part of?Seriously, get a life.

  158. Mule Rider says:

    Re: money spent on Iraq war being a wasteTo this point, I have to agree. So if you’re using it as a “gotcha” against me, you missed. We’re in the same boat.

  159. shiloh says:

    Dude er MRViolated my diminishing returns post re: you from a couple wks ago, but since you dropped 25/26 ‘F’ bombs on me yesterday lol just my way of sayin’ hi!so to speak …take care, blessings

  160. Monotreme says:

    OK, now it’s my turn to play Mr. Moderator.Anyone who wants to get down in the sandbox and throw muck at each other:STOP IT NOW.I watched with horror the mounting escalation of language and name-calling yesterday, and it won’t happen today.No one has crossed the line yet today, but I don’t even want to see anyone edging towards it.

  161. GROG says:

    MW:But, if you’re going to include interest, you need to make a conversion from nominal dollars to real dollars, and therefore look at the net present value of that total cost. That, of course, depends on the rate of inflation over the next decade.I understand that but real or nominal, $300 billion is still $300 billion. It’s a cost that must be paid.

  162. shortchain says:

    I’m with Monotreme.Apropos of which, I’m now prepared to offer a utopian fantasy for your delectation.For reasons that will keep the pundits in big money for years, the electorate turns the GOP down flat and returns the Democrats to power, but not with Harry Reid, who loses to Angle. Several key blue dogs lose (which requires some absolute long shots to come in instead), leaving the rest with nowhere to go but towards progressive policies.The result gives us a Senate and House which cannot prevent Yucca Mountain, in spite of its faults, from becoming the repository for nuclear waste currently being stored at various plants across the US, and spurring the development of a dozen new, highly efficient, nuclear plants of new design.President Obama fires half his cabinet (the half we don’t like, of course), and, in a fluke of major proportions, finds a truly capable chief of staff (remember, this is fantasy!)The second half of his first term begins with a commitment to full employment, reforming the energy infrastructure, and reforming education from middle school through college while keeping the goal of a liberal education (note: I’ve stopped even trying to be realistic here)….And a new golden age ensues.

  163. filistro says:

    shortchain.. hey, works for me. (Since it’s fantasy, can we also have Palin win the GOP nomination? That’s MY fantasy…)

  164. Monotreme says:

    @filistro and @shortchain:I’ll do you one better, fantasy-wise.In my fantasy, ex-half-Gov. Sarah Palin wins the nomination, but in an October surprise, she’s arrested a week before the election when her obsession with me becomes so strong that she violates a restraining order. My dog bites her and holds her until the local police can arrive.

  165. Mule Rider says:

    “And a new golden age ensues.”Hah! More like chaos/dystopia/Armageddon.

  166. filistro says:

    Treme, I’m sorry (I do hate to come between a platypus and his phantasy) but I simply can’t allow it.If you suffer that greatly just seeing a Jillian Michaels image online, think what Sarah Palin in the flesh would do to your delicate echidna sensibilities. No, it MUST NEVER HAPPEN…

  167. shortchain says:

    Monotreme,Tell me your dog is a toy poodle. Please.Muley,So your fantasy is that my fantasy turns into Armageddon? If that’s what winds your binder. I’ll go happily, if I get my golden age first.Peace.

  168. Mule Rider says:

    No, I just believe that’s what it’ll lead to. I certainly don’t find it preferable. I maintain (from yesterday) that the ideologies of this country have drifted so far apart that the Union as we know it may not be worth being preserved. Better to have a peaceful split now than a bitter divide later on, in my opinion. And for those who think a USA and CSA would be at each other’s throats, I beg to differ. We get along very well right now with some pretty far left countries. I don’t see a Union of Blue States being nearly as far left as a country such as France…and maybe not even Canada. That said, I think a USA/CSA relationship would be fairly harmonious.

  169. Mainer says:

    No shortchain it is a pretty big dog. I should know my neighbor hs one like it and I think the only thing in the neighborhood it gets along with is my wife’s very ancient poodle. Funny the stuff one learns when talking off line when we were trying to get this up and running.

  170. shortchain says:

    One for the irony files, Muley. You think my fantasy would lead to Armageddon, but in your fantasy, with a USA/CSA rubbing up against each other, both armed to the teeth and both with nuclear weapons, fighting over the water coming down the Mississippi, the Colorado, and, not incidentally, whether Colorado would be a member of the NCSA (New Confederate States of America), you think the result would be “harmonious.”I bashfully must point out that, in all such splits that have occurred in living memory, (Korea, Vietnam, Germany, to name a few), the resulting splits have not been described as “harmonious”.

  171. shrinkers says:

    Mule:Re: money spent on Iraq war being a wasteTo this point, I have to agree. So if you’re using it as a “gotcha” against me, you missed. We’re in the same boat.Nope, not as a gotcha against you. Nor as an example of wated money. I provided it, rather, as an example of a meaningless metric. Dividing the amount of money spent by the number of people who were killed on 9/11 tells us nothing.In the same way, dividing the money spent on ARRA by the number of jobs impacted also provides a meaningless metric. As I explained in the post.

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