I am in complete agreement with Taleb here. Ron Paul is the only one talking economic sense in the entire Presidential race. I give Newt some slack because he is the only one that has actually done the seemingly impossible, balanced a Federal Budget. But we don’t need a balanced budget, we need a reduced budget. We don’t need to control the growth of Government, we need to reduce Government. All this Bullshit about contraception is lipstick on a pig. It’s obfuscation to the real and only problem we are facing, fiscal meltdown.
My quibble is not with Taleb, but with this idea that the economic morass is a Black Swan. Black Swans are unpredictable. The mess we are in was/is very predictable.
There has always been a huge chink in Romney’s armour of electability. Last night, that chink turned into a chasm.
Romney lost 25.2% to Santorum 55.4% in Missouri; 17% to Santorum 45.2% in Minnesota and 35% to Santorum 40% in Colorado. To be fair, two are non-binding caucuses and MI was a non-binding primary. Does it mean that Santorum is the man now. I still don’t think so. I’m still convinced that Santorum was the lucky man at the right time to receive the Not Romney bounce going into the Primaries. Santorum hasn’t been the focus of a $30 million negative ad bomb that Newt is dealing with. That’s all going to change.
It will be interesting to see how Santorum reacts to the carpet bombing of negative ads that Team Romney will unload on him. Meanwhile, Newt is waiting for Super Tuesday. I think if Newt is smart, he’ll let Romney do all the dirty work against Rick (which is the only thing Romney is good at) and focus on the positives of his campaign, which is what he wanted to do in Iowa before Mitt went negative first.
Where does that leave poor Mittens? Well besides the millions in SuperPAC funds to unload a barrage of negative attack ads on Newt and Rick….not much. Romney is/has peaked. His constant negativity has hurt him. His percentage of votes has all gone down vs ’08. If you look at the States Romney has won, you see two things pop out, money spent on attack ads and demographics. Money is the big reason that Romney won Florida. Romney’s campaign spent $7 million to Newt’s $1 million and the Romney’s PACs spent $8.5 million to Newt’s $2.2 million. In Nevada, the huge Mormon population played a big factor in Romney’s win. As for New Hampshire, what can you expect when the candidate campaigned in the state for the past 5 years?
Looking ahead, there are some bright spots for Mitt. He should do well in Maine, Michigan, Vermont and Massachusetts. After that it looks bleak. Going out West, he might do well in Idaho (sizable Mormon population there) and of course Utah, but that’s it. One of the problems for Romney, is that he doesn’t have enough money to sustain the constant stream of negative attack ads against two opponents. If he goes full bore on the attack against Santorum, Newt will come out the winner. If he goes full bore against Newt, like he has been, Santorum will come out the winner.
This is the big reason Team Romney and it;s surrogates have been pushing the meme to end the primaries early. They know, just like in 2008, a longer primary will spell their doom. It’s not because the longer primary will expose more and more of Mitt weaknesses as a candidate, which are legion. It’s because Mitt only campaigns negatively. A prolonged negative campaign only hurts the candidate in the long run, while propping them up in the short run. Unless Mitt can campaign on positives, telling people why they should vote for him instead of why they should vote against the other guy, he will continue to lose support.
Romney would help himself and his party if he realized that he will have a much higher chance of winning the general election if he reaches out to conservatives and convinces them to be enthusiastic. It’s one thing to win the vote of every anti-Obama voter in the country, but on his current trajectory Romney will fail to convince many of them to make that extra effort to get their friends and neighbors to the polls. That could ultimately mean the difference between victory and defeat — and for now Romney seems oblivious to that fact.
This is also the reason why I don’t think Romney would win against Obama. You can’t win by hoping that the electorate will vote against the other guy. I think Republican’s misunderestimate Obama’s 2008 win. I think the GOP thinks Obama won purely by running a 100% against Bush campaign. He didn’t. He gave Liberals a reason to vote for him as well. He gave them Blue meat as well as telling then to not vote for the other guy.
Excellent interview with Sen. Jim DeMint
I like DeMint. He is not a Status Quo kind of guy.
I like how he equally criticizes Democrats and GOP for falling for more centralized control.
Every time you have a compromise, it’s more Government, more spending and more debt.
4 years of Obama or Romney….same thing really
First the spin via MSNBC:
The U.S. economy created jobs at the fastest pace in nine months in January and the unemployment rate dropped to a near three-year low, offering a hopeful sign for hiring in the year ahead.
Employers added a net 243,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department reported Friday – that’s the most since April and far better than economists’ expectations for a gain of only 150,000.
January saw the most jobs added since and April and May 2010, when 277,000 and 458,000 jobs were created. But those months were skewed by massive hiring for the census. Before that, the last month with more job creation was March 2006.
The upbeat tenor of the January jobs report was further strengthened by revisions to November and December payrolls data, which showed 60,000 more jobs created than previously reported. In addition, hiring was widespread across many high-paying industries. And average hourly earnings rose four cents, which should help to support spending.
The continued labor market improvement could be a relief for President Barack Obama who faces a tough re-election campaign this year.
Speaking at an event in Arlington, Va., Friday, Obama welcomed the strong January jobs report. But, he added, there are “still far too many Americans who need a job.”
“The economy is growing stronger. The recovery is speeding up. And we have to do everything in our power to keep it going,” Obama said.
Now let’s look at the numbers via ZeroHedge:
A month ago, we joked when we said that for Obama to get the unemployment rate to negative by election time, all he has to do is to crush the labor force participation rate to about 55%. Looks like the good folks at the BLS heard us: it appears that the people not in the labor force exploded by an unprecedented record 1.2 million. No, that’s not a typo: 1.2 million people dropped out of the labor force in one month! So as the labor force increased from 153.9 million to 154.4 million, the non institutional population increased by 242.3 million meaning, those not in the labor force surged from 86.7 million to 87.9 million. Which means that the civilian labor force tumbled to a fresh 30 year low of 63.7% as the BLS is seriously planning on eliminating nearly half of the available labor pool from the unemployment calculation. As for the quality of jobs, as withholding taxes roll over Year over year, it can only mean that the US is replacing high paying FIRE jobs with low paying construction and manufacturing. So much for the improvement.
If you look at the first graph, you’ll see a huge uptick in the number of people not in the Labor Force. Remember how they calculate unemployment? Unemployment rate = Unemployed workers / Total labor force. It’s easy to see how a huge drop in the labor participation rate, which is the total labor force, can make the numbers look artificially good.
Expect more of this chicken-fuckery as the election cycles gears up. The media will portray the unemployment numbers as “unexpectedly better than forecasts” in an attempt to carry water for their Chosen One.
A lot of people have been talking about what will they do if Mitt Romney is nominated for the GOP Presidential Candidate. I’m not alone in thinking that the GOP establishment is desperately trying to prop up Mitt as their establishment candidate. The establishment GOP media is pushing Mitt and attacking Newt. They have their various reasons, mostly citing “electability,” for pushing Romney but that won’t help Mitt if he should become the nominee.
The level of negative attacks coming from Mitt Romney’s campaign is turning people off. How else can you explain almost a $10 million ad blitz from Team Mitt (with 80% being attack ads) and losing independents nationally (his Raison d’être)? Mitt seriously lacks any Tea Party support as well. The establishment has been openly hostile to the Tea Party, wanting the votes but not the criticism. Rubio is a perfect example, elected by the Tea Party only to shun the Tea Party (TP Caucus and SOPA?) and put himself in Mitt’s camp. Mitt probably think that since Liberals think Tea Partiers are all racists, he better stay away so as to not be guilty by association.
So what does that mean for the Libertarian party?
I would argue that many of the Tea Partiers are libertarian minded voters. I’d challenge anyone to find huge level of disagrement with Tea Party fiscal policy (since there is no central figure for the TP, Wiki is the best source) and CATO’s fiscal policy. Many Tea Partiers are endorsing Ron Paul, an Austrian economic style libertarian. There would be no room for a Paul in a Romney administration, every knows it. So where will all that support go? Dr. Paul has said he will not run as a third party candidate, I believe him.
I think a lot of people that cannot stomach the notion of voting for Romney will instead vote for the Libertarian party candidate, most likely Gov. Gary Johnson. I know a lot of Paulites like Johnson. I like Johnson and I know a lot of Tea Partiers do too. Looking at Gov. Johnson’s fiscal policy aims, they mesh with the Tea Party.
If the GOP primary keeps going like it’s going, with Mitt Romney poisoning the well in his Pyrrhic quest for the nomination, I see the Libertarian Party growing. As Soros said, “There’s not much difference between Obama and Romney.” Where will the people go if faces with two of the same?
Update: Like Mana from heaven comes this great link from Legal Insurrection: The Conversation With a Florida Tea Partier That Should Scare Every Republican
“I see a Romney nomination causing Tea Partiers like me to tune out. We are already disheartened by the congressional leadership. Romney will be the final nail in the coffin. He is completely uninspiring, and is everything we have been working so hard to defeat within the GOP,” Rebecca said. “Don’t even get me started on that Bain Capital picture. Ugh. There is no way he can win. And I don’t want to have to defend him while he tries.”
“I will be voting this Tuesday. I will make it fit into my schedule. I feel like my vote matters right now,” Rebecca said. “But can you see how I might not make it a priority if I feel like either my vote doesn’t matter, or if I don’t feel like the candidate I’m voting for will be much different then what we have? Can you see how life may take precedence over casting an uninspired vote? I can’t be alone in this thought process, and if enough people feel this way (and I think they will) it will be catastrophic for Romney and really very bad down-ticket as well.”
This is exactly the way a lot of people are feeling. It reinforces my point that a Romney nomination will cause a lot of people to just not vote Romney. They won’t vote Obama either, but Romney will be as much of a uniter for the GOP as Obama has been nationally.
Parallels to the 2008 Democratic primary? You betcha! Remember the PUMAs? Remember how they caved and enough HRC dems held their nose to vote for Obama? That turned out great didn’t it? There is little difference between the GOP establishment and Democratic establishment. Do we cave in this time as well, for another empty suit?