Kristol Gone, My Brain Rejoices

by TKOEd • Monday, Jan 26, 2009 • no responses - be the first

This is William Kristol’s last column.

No sentence with Kristol’s name has ever made me more joyous. I’d link to the piece directly but then I’d be linking to Bill Kristol op-ed. Here’s the Daily Beast piece by Scott Horton on why Kristol has been dropped.

Why I’m A Democrat

by TKOEd • Friday, Jan 16, 2009 • no responses - be the first

John Cole on his conversion from GOP to Democrat. He gives it to you raw:

What has changed, however, is that I have seen a lot of the arguments that come from the Republicans for what they are- just bullshit. I have watched over the past few years and seen how nonsense bubbles up into the mainstream, and how distorted versions of events designed to distract and queer the debate turn an upside down version of events into the “conventional wisdom.”

This basically what it comes down to me. I have general overall disagreements with the GOP but one of the biggest problems I have with them, and the thing that makes it hard for me to take them seriously, is their seeming complete lack of intellectual honesty.

Maybe I Understated The Situation

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008 • 2 responses - join us

The GOP is increasingly becoming a southern party.

I am. At least according to this great post by Nate over @ at 538. The money shot:

The upshot of this is that the House popular vote tends to discount those areas where a party is so dominant as to discourage competition, because less competition in a district also means fewer votes in that district. Congressional Districts have roughly the same number of people as one another, and so a fairer way to evaluate the House might simply be take the average of the vote share received by each party across all 435 districts (giving a candidate credit for 100 percent of the vote when he runs unopposed). If we do things this way, then we find that the Democrats won, on average, 56.0 percent of the vote on November 4th, and the Republicans 41.3 percent. That’s a difference of 14.7 points, far more formidable than nominal 8.9 point advantage that the popular vote total gave them.

Even in districts where the Republicans did compete, moreover, they were often not truly competitive. The Democrats had 126 districts that they won by 40 points or more (including races that they won uncontested); these are what I call Democrat-Dominant Districts (DDD’s). These districts represent approximately half of the Democratic seats in the House, and nearly 30 percent of the House in its entirety. By contrast, the Republicans had only had 30 districts that they won by 40 or more points, of which 22 are in the South.

The shorter version is the GOP is fucked & doubly so if the Dems do some serious redistricting after the next census, but seriously you need to read the whole post & check out the graphs. Beautiful work by Mr. Silver as usual.

Southern Strategy?

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008 • no responses - be the first

No not that one., this one:

“You look at the South,” Shelby said. “You take — not just Mercedes in my hometown — but BMW, Honda and all of them. These companies are flourishing with American workers made in America.”

But the flourishing of the transplants didn’t come without significant taxpayer help. Shelby’s Alabama, for example, secured construction of a Mercedes-Benz plant in 1993 by offering $253 million in state and local tax breaks, worker training and land improvement. For Honda, the state’s sweetener surrounding a 1999 deal to build a mini-van plant was $158 million in similar perks, adding $90 million in enticements when the company expanded the plant three years later. A 2001 deal with Toyota left the company with $29 million in taxpayer gifts.

Alabama is hardly alone. Corker’s Tennessee recently lured Volkswagen to build a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, offering the German automaker tax breaks, training and land preparation that could total $577 million. In 2005, the state inspired Nissan to relocate its headquarters from southern California by offering $197 million in incentives, including $20 million in utility savings.

In 1992, South Carolina snagged a BMW plant for $150 million in giveaways. In Mississippi in 2003, Nissan was lured with $363 million. In Georgia, a still-under-construction Kia plant received breaks estimated to be $415 million. The list goes on.

Supporters of these deals contend that the economic activity spurred by the arrival of the automakers is worth the up-front costs. Yet some experts say that, considering the ever-growing size of the incentive packages, there’s little evidence to support that claim.

My question is to what end? Obviously these politicos will gain lots of electoral benefits by bringing business to their states but what does this do for the party nationally? Not much that I can see. The GOP is increasingly becoming a southern party. They torpedoed the auto bailout; seemingly to make a point about unions. They scream about free markets while trying to dictate wages at the Big Three. Where is this thinking taking them? Who are they representing? The Washington Independent story shows that doling out subsidies isn’t necessarily a win-win proposition for these states:

Others wonder if the incentive packages don’t go too far to divert taxpayer dollars from vital state services. When Tennessee courted Nissan in 2005, for example, its $197 million gift came about the same time the state was cutting 170,000 low-income adults from its Medicaid rolls. A 1998 Time magazine report found that an Alabama elementary school adjacent to the Mercedes plant was home to 540 kids in a building designed to hold 290.

“The Mercedes-Benz plant illustrates a fundamental principle of corporate welfare,” the article read. “Everyone else pays for economic incentives — either with higher taxes, fewer services or both.”

So what we have are GOP Senators potentially dealing a serious blow to the economy while trying to make things easier for foreign car companies in their home states. The same companies that already have a competitive advantage over our companies because they don’t have to worry about providing health insurance for their workers here, because they don’t have union employees, or back home, because their gov’ts pick up the tab. USA! USA! USA!

Shout out to Yglesias

Seems I’ve echoed Eugene Robinson on this one:

They have managed to position their party as being against unions, against America’s domestic industrial patrimony, against the blue-collar working class — and also, incredibly, against the Rust Belt states, such as Michigan and Ohio, that are home to UAW-represented auto plants and that also regularly tip the balance of presidential elections.

And for what? The Republican senators who voted to kill the bailout knew full well that the White House was determined to find some way to tide the automakers over. It was as if they couldn’t help themselves. Even lemmings must be shaking their heads in dismay.

What happened to the vauted Republican attack machine?

by TKOEd • Saturday, Oct 25, 2008 • one response - join in

Remember all the crap we heard during the primaries about how Obama wasn’t vetted enough? The GOP attack machine was supposedly going to make mince meat out of him. What happened to that?

Yes a large part of this has to do with the fact Ayers & Wright came out during the primaries & not during the general. I think Ayers would have pretty much made no difference anyways but Wright depending on the timing would have done moderate to very serious damage to Barack’s candidacy.
I don’t think it would have knocked him out of the box but he would not have the commanding lead he holds currently in polls.

The thought process behind the GOP machine taking him down was not really based around specific attacks though. It was based on the thought that Obama was too naive, too untested to face down what was supposed to be relentless attacks. Obama of course has proved to be the coolest cat to come down the political road in a long, long time. Maybe ever in modern history. He taunted McCain into bringing up Ayers in the final debate & in the process through McCain off what was his best debate performance up to that point (that’s not saying much but still).

This might just be a function of the awful campaign McCain has run. The best they have done so far are the celebrity ads, which I always thought was pretty pathetic. They were also mightly helped along by a pathetic tradmed. The best line of attack I think they had was the experience meme but of course they threw that out the window with the Palin selection.

In a sense Obama is the new teflon don. Especially as it pertains to character attacks. The right keeps trying to paint him as the loony lefty but all people have to do is turn on the teevee & see for themselves. There is nothing about Barack that will strike you as self-evidently radical. Obama & his family are the exact opposite, self-evidently normal & American. They are the stereotypical American family, living the “American dream”. This is why a lot of McCain’s attacks have backfired on him. A lot of folks want to like Obama & have found reasons to.

You can argue if not for the economy these attacks would be more effective but you would be mostly wrong. One of Obama’s biggest gifts as a politician his abililty to swat aside attacks with ease, grace & a bit of mocking indignation. Ayers is the perfect example: “come on I was 8″.

We also have the stench of desparation that pervades every piece of the McCain camp ever since his campaign “suspension”. All your attacks become less & less effective the more desparate the public percieves you to be. So there are many things that contributed to the pathetic GOP attacks against Obama but the biggest problem was Obama himself. The man is unflappable, whip smart & knows how to make lemonade.

Thank You McCain Supporters

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Oct 21, 2008 • 2 responses - join us

Finally we get some people on the GOP side standing up to this bullshit. While I believe that McCain & Palin are waging a subtler smear campaign around the same ignorance. It’s great to see some of his supporters fighting back. It’s mind boggling how complicit the American public & media have been in spreading these smears against Muslims. Colin Powell’s very powerful statement on MTP on Sunday hopefully is the beginning of a turning tide. As Muslims have become a target for racism, xenophobia & religious intolerance too many people on both sides of the political divide have either stood idly by or actively particepated in it. Democrats hold no high on this issue. I’ve seen & heard too many stories with some Dems saying Obama is a Muslim like he was part of evil race from outer space. We are all better than this. Let’s remember what this country stands for.