Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

US election may be tight but probably not tight enough to change the guard…

Mon 5 November 2012, 12:40pm

You have to congratulate Mitt Romney for running a more than decent campaign. He took on the run that few others in the GOP fancied has made a good job of it.

The most exciting moment was the first debate, when he literally cleaned the floor with a sitting President who’s minders has not remotely prepped him for a proper fight. As noted in Slugger’s US panel on Google Plus, it was probably the only time policy raised its head.

And most of it came from Romney, rather than the President.

However you don’t have to believe that that pesky kid Nate Silver (Kevin Anderson on his background last night) is the new secular god of US politics to understand that the heavier burden is on the GOP to get their man over of the win line.

Silver doesn’t give odds, he quotes probabilities modelled over and over against past election outcomes. Currently he’s giving Obama 86.3% probability of winning (hear Mel on the difference between probability and poll rating). At the same time in the UK William Hill (who do do odds) are giving a miserly 2-7 to Obama backers, whilst Ladbrokes are quoting 1-4.

So Obama gets the next picks for the Supreme Court. But the attritional battle with Congress is not going to go away you know. However likely the Senate is to stay in Democrats, the gap in the House of Representatives is thought to be too much for them to close in one election.

And despite all the talk of one nation, this President does not have a great record of punching out policy deals with Congress, as last week’s beautifully hedged editorial from The Economist points out:

Mr Obama spends regrettably little time buttering up people who disagree with him; of the 104 rounds of golf the president has played in office, only one was with a Republican congressman.

The problem for Obama if he does win, is that he needs Congress (Here Kevin talks about how liberals may have too conveniently forgotten this part of the constitution).

As has been well observed elsewhere, neither the current POTUS, nor his opponent are a LBJ. But without a more full-minded attention to matters in Congress, there has to be danger of a second Obama term becoming something of a lame duck presidency.

Adds: Tomorrow night, I’ll be setting up a long, through the night hangout… which will be just what it says on the tin… a place for people to drop, hangout and talk US Politics and election news…

I’m hoping we can get Gerry in early on before he starts crunching numbers big and small from counties in the Ohio valley that you and I may never have heard of before. And we’ll be taking a break on the hour every hour whilst the big figures are announce via the TV networks.

Join us directly on Google Plus, or punt us some good videos, tweets we can re-share using the hashtag #SluggerUS… I’m particularly interested to hear from you if you have a vote tomorrow and can give us some idea of what people are thinking in your next of the US’s political woods?

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Comments (48)

  1. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Mick

    “he literally cleaned the floor with a sitting President”.

    I’m sorry I missed that moment of slapstick.

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  2. pauluk (profile) says:

    You have to congratulate Mitt Romney for running a more than decent campaign.

    Absolutely correct. And it is why there is going to be a big surprise tomorrow. Most people are sick if the bickering, and Romney, for the most part has stayed above it.

    It`s not over until it`s over, and definitely not over until the fat lady sings. Here`s hoping for a `decent` new era in American politics.

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  3. Greenflag (profile) says:

    ‘At the same time in the UK William Hill (who do do odds) are giving a miserly 2-7 to Obama backers, whilst Ladbrokes are quoting 1-4.’

    Paddy Power is once again way ahead of these UK misers ;) Power is already paying out Obama backers at 1/4 . One gambler laid on 40,000 Euros and picked up an extra 10,000 Euros . Given the real rate of interest nowadays and inflation, 40,000 euros or dollars in the bank will be worth less than that in a year.

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  4. Greenflag (profile) says:

    If Romney had been a Christian (Protestant or Catholic) or even Jewish ) and NOT a vulture capitalist and a centrist he’d have won by 10 points .

    But then given the current extremist nature of the GOP and in particular the power of the Tea Party ignorati and the Neo conservative financial capitalists -Romney would never have been nominated had he not kowtowed to the extremist factions in the GOP .

    Ironically of all the prospective GOP candidates Romney was the safest choice . I can’t imagine Bachman or Perry or Cain or Gingrich being anywhere near as close to defeating Obama as has Romney .

    The conservative Financial Times and the Economist have both plumped for Obama which is just further evidence of how far out the GOP have been dragged over the past decade or more .

    Obama winning is not another new era but just a reminder that the American ‘system ‘ is broken and it’ll take a generation to fix and most Americans know that Romney/Ryan and their backers don’t have the answers . And they are not convinced that Obama has either . Given the constitutional restraints assuming theres a Republican majority Congress the country may be on ‘hold ‘ for another two years until the 2014 interims .

    Can the USA or the Democrats or Republicans or the American people afford that ?

    I don’t believe so . But that is what their politicians given the polarisation of USA politics will give them .

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  5. GEF (profile) says:

    Where has Sarah Palin disappeared to? Why did the GOP drop this former vice president. She was the greatest advocate for Obama if ever there was one.

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  6. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    @GEF – Mitt stated a while back that Russia was our number one threat today. Sarah, wanting to sound knowledgeable in regards to foreign policy, once boasted she could see Russia from her house. Putting those items together in my head, in my mind’s eye I see her with her binoculars fixed on the Russian horizon, keeping an eye on those godless Russkies!

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  7. GEF (profile) says:

    She may not have been able to see Russia from her house, unless she lived on the “Little Island of Diomede. Big Diomede Island is Russian island & the smaller island “Little Diomede” belongs to the US. At the closest distance between the two islands are about 3.8 km (2.4 mi) apart. “During winter, an ice bridge usually spans the distance between these two islands; therefore it is possible to walk from the United States to Russia, or vice versa.”
    In fact there is no need for the use of

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diomede_Islands&sa=U&ei=YgOYUPyYCOuT0QXZ-IDABA&ved=0CBgQFjAB&usg=AFQjCNF7I-fdAt3edIzblORbBDGjl5stwg

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  8. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    *tongue recedes from cheek*

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  9. GEF (profile) says:

    She may not have been able to see Russia from her house, unless she lived on the “Little Island of Diomede. She wouldn’t even need binoculars. Big Diomede Island is Russian island & the smaller island “Little Diomede” belongs to the US. At the closest distance between the two islands are about 3.8 km (2.4 mi) apart. “During winter, an ice bridge usually spans the distance between these two islands; therefore it is possible to walk from the United States to Russia, or vice versa.”

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diomede_Islands&sa=U&ei=YgOYUPyYCOuT0QXZ-IDABA&ved=0CBgQFjAB&usg=AFQjCNF7I-fdAt3edIzblORbBDGjl5stwg

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  10. You have to congratulate Mitt Romney for running a more than decent campaign.

    Do I? Well: put it like this — I don’t know whether it’s Tweedledee or Tweedledum, come our Wednesday dawn. I’d hope it’s Obama, but I don’t know.

    That said, an awful lot of real money have been piddled up the wall. All in, it may be $6 billion dollars — plus (it depends which estimate you take). We just don’t know — because Citizens United and the Supreme Court won’t allow us to know in advance.

    All that apart, this ought to have been a GOP candidate’s election for the taking. Unemployment stubbornly high. Mortgage defaults. Falling real incomes. Energy prices. Budget crises. The worst Capitol Hill-White House stand-off in history. Throw in bits of redneck racism, Birthers, anti-feminism, homophobia … If all else fails, lie like Fox.

    And here we are, a few hours out, with most (credible) polls and statisticians showing a slight, but useful Obama lead.

    If — correction IF — Romney fails tomorrow, a lot of hard-headed political minds (and they do exist, even in the GOP) have to start plotting the back back. It must not be the negative tactics of the 112th Congress: that has been sterility with aded salt. It can’t be the closed minds and exclusivity of the tea-partyers. It ought not be the depressing negativity and serial character assassination of the shock jocks.

    Provided the runes are rightly read, whoever is President for the next four years will preside over the ‘Recovery’. Therein is a massive political credit.

    I’d be hoping for a major shift, especially in reconstructing the GOP, in the next while. Or, in short, put Palin and Bachmann, Akin and Schweikert back in their boxes, nail the lids down, and move on.

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  11. Greenflag [1.21] Even if Obama gets to stay in the White House, it’s likely he will be a dead duck President almost immediately anyway because of Congress. The whole US system of government is self defeating and nobody there has the commonsense to change it because the US is still too young, and with negligibe history to see any serous removal from the constitution, as if those who devised it were more intelligent than anyone around since. It’s called insecurity. They fly the stars and stripes as if they lived in 1776 because they have no history. They can’t afford to
    change whatever is wrong with the original. There’s no confidence.

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  12. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    @danielsmoan, with all due respect. What?

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  13. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    He’s dissing your Constitution Kev… Cos ourses is sooo much better n yourns… ;-)

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  14. pauluk (profile) says:

    Daniel, to channel Churchill a little, America is the worst country in the world, apart from all the rest.

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  15. Americans have no history, which is why their constitution is 240 years old and is why they worship their flag?

    I’m sorry, but was there a logical train of argument that I missed in there?

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  16. GEF (profile) says:

    Keeping fingers crossed for Obama. To hear Republican Americans call Obama a Russian Commie for bringing in health care for the poor. When in fact the US is just coming into line with countries like Belgium, France, Germany and Sweden who run publicly funded health services similar in scope to the UK’s NHS. Since when were these European countries dominated by Russian commies? Thanks to Obama & the democratic party millions of the very poor native, black, spanish & white americans have free health care for the first time in their lives.

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  17. OK: OK, leave aside the AlÞingi, Stortinget, Tynwald and the like. The Founding Fathers created the first (and, despite its imperfections, arguably the best) democracy in the world. “No history”: huh! — that’s Fanny by Gaslight.

    And yet … Obama becomes lame duck soup only after the demise of the 113th (i.e. next) Congress. Yes, I recognise that’s a firm prediction: I only wish I was as sure of it and anything as the likes of some, here and on other threads, are of everything, including NH. Between now and then the first point of interest is the fiscal cliff (due 2 Jan 2013) — and that still has to be on Obama’s watch.

    After that, we’re into the next congressional electoral cycle. However one reads it, the GOP has a major problem with its weirdo right. As long as the Rand Pauls and the Paul Ryans are devising impossible budget scenarios, the Washington machine is ungovernable. Where there is that kind of lunatic vision, the people perish.

    Welcome, my friend, to the show that never ends.

    [I'd love to do colour subtitles here, but I've never sussed it. Any clues?]

    We may forget just how abbreviated the US political cycles are. In 2014 they will be electing at least 33 Senators (plus any intervening deaths and resignations), 435 Congressmen and women (re-apportioned on the 2010 census), 36 State and two territorial Governors.

    Anyway, cue one of my faves from The West Wing, the double episode that started Series 4 (i.e. Spetember 2002):

    The newly-elected Congressman, of Vietnamese origin, for the Texas 22nd comes to the White House:

    CHARLIE: Congressman Lien.
    President BARTLET: Could somebody get Leo for me, please? Peter, you hear that? He called you “congressman.”
    Congressman Peter LIEN: Yes, sir.
    BARTLET: You think when your folks got you out in ’74, they imagined they were taking you to a place that’d be willing to make you a Congressman?
    LIEN: As a matter of fact, sir, I think that’s exactly what they imagined.
    LEO: Good afternoon, Mr. President.
    BARTLET: Leo, meet Congressman Peter Lien, Texas 22nd. Peter, this is Leo McGarry, U.S. Air Force, 144th Fighter Wing.
    LEO: Pleased to meet you, Congressman.
    BARTLET: Peter’s family fishes in Galveston Bay … Peter’s 34 years old.
    LEO: I’m sorry it’s been two months and we haven’t been able to get you up here until now.
    LIEN: No, please. It’s a bust time. If there’s any help I can give you in Texas…
    BARTLET: Ordinarily I would tell you that … you’ve got big shoes to fill, … and you do, but obviously you have a bigger symbolic responsibilty then that.
    LIEN: Yes, sir.
    BARTLET: But you biggest responsibiltity isn’t symbolic, right?
    LIEN: Yes, sir.
    BARTLET: What is it?
    LIEN: It’s my district, my country, and the Congress of the United States.
    BARTLET: Welcome, my friend, to the show that never ends.
    LIEN: Thank you, Mr. President.

    In 2008 the Louisiana 2nd District elected Anh ‘Joseph’ Cao (Rep), in a district that is 64% Black, and in place of a corrupt, long-term Democrat with a well-greased political machine and the support of the Congressional Black Caucus.

    Tell me again, Mr Moran (I think I got the right vowels there), this is a democracy without ‘confidence’ in itself, immature and unable to ‘change’.

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  18. pauluk (profile) says:

    Looks like PA might just go to Obama after all, that`s if these thugs get their way.

    SF FST vote rigging doesn`t have a look in! ;)

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  19. pauluk (profile) says:

    these thugs

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  20. The bottom of the barrel must be in sight. Here we have a shill for the Powerline blog — those guys who reckoned Dubya Bush was namby-pamby, the Iraq and Afghan Wars not being pursued with sufficient violence, and John McCain a wimp for not supporting torture. If it’s thugs you want, it takes one cockroach to recognise another.

    Now if anyone really wants the gen on problems voting, the Daily Beast has a running blog.

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  21. Pauluk Well the non constitutrion the UK has [which is that they haven't got one at all, by design] is hardly perfect but the flexibility in it shows the confidence in making adjustments. The amendments to the US Constitution still hasn’t ironed out the basic flaws in they way Congress works[or doesn't] You keep hearing whichever party is n’t in the wmajoity in Congress at any given point – complaining about a ‘do nothing congress’ even though it’s nearly always their own filibustering tactics which stymie anything radical getting done.

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  22. gendjinn (profile) says:

    Not a very effective thug as he completely fails to intimidate the two women he holds the door open for.

    Fox trotted this exact line on election day 2008 about scary black panthers intimidating voters, it was complete crap then and it’s complete crap now. The only fools believing it are those whose minds have been corrupted and debased by Fox, Limbaugh, Beck and cohorts.

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  23. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    The only think keeping Fox News from being more hilarious is its predictability. Still pretty funny, though.

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  24. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    *thing*, the word think is out of place when Fox News is the subject.

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  25. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    Daniel, I really do hate to say it, but you are so completely out of your depth when discussing US politics that I see no benefit for either of us for me to try to enlighten you.

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  26. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Daniel @ 6 November 2012 at 1:15 am

    ‘ the US is still too young, and nobody there has the commonsense to change it because the US is still too young, ‘

    Eh ? So the inference is that ‘older ‘ countries /nations/civilisations will have more commonsense and be more amenable to change ?

    Some of these ‘older ‘ countries /nations don’t even have written constitutions and some are not yet democracies . The USA may have it’s seeming Constitutional contradictions -name a country which doesn’t ? -but I would rate the USA ‘founding fathers ‘ even today as being a century or two or three ahead of much of what passes for political leadership across half of Asia and much of Africa and indeed some parts of Europe in particular with one region /province not far from Slugger’s bailiwick.

    Some tweaking of their Constitution and some practical socialism in Health Care and Education and some practical but effective deregulation for small and medium sized business and an effective break up /downsizing of the too big to fail banks and the USA would be well on it’s way to a renewed propsperity for most of it’s citizens i.m.o

    Americans like other people around the world are ‘identifying’ themselves by their ‘values ‘ rather than simply by their skin colour or race or national origins .

    I may disagree with GOP ‘extremists ‘ but I take seriously those who are fiscally conservative but who at the same time are practical social ‘liberals’ .

    I don’t know if a defeat for the GOP in this election will help resurrect the old yankee wing of Republicanism but I hope it does .

    In the meantime Obama is the better bet to keep American ‘values ‘ from being usurped by the extreme right .

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  27. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @ kevsterino .

    ‘the only think keeping Fox News from being more hilarious is its predictability’

    Question :

    Whats the difference between Fox News and the Soviet Union ?

    Answer :

    ‘In the Soviet Union the future was always predictable but the past was’nt .’

    In Fox News the future , the past , the present and the present perfect are always predictable !

    George Orwell thou should’st be living at this hour and watching Orally O’Reilly and Hannibal Hannity lying through newly whitened sepulchral teeth :(

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  28. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    @Greenflag “George Orwell thou should’st be living at this hour and watching Orally O’Reilly and Hannibal Hannity lying through newly whitened sepulchral teeth ”

    I may have to steal that golden nugget. Cheers.

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  29. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Anytime Kevsterino .

    If they happened to be ‘gold’ instead of white sepulchral I’d recommend if you were anywhere near either of the above mentioned Goebells – to prise said golden teeth from both Fox mouths using a sharp plyers -no anaesthetic and a pair of Doc Martin boots to plant against either jaw – and immediately repair to your local gold exchange for a tidy profit ;)

    But before reaping your monetary reward I’d kindly suggest you to call the Tea Party to come and clean up the eh mess !

    Just kidding (not) !

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  30. A lot may depend on who’s doing the counting. This afternoon a rigged voting machine was discovered in PA switching votes cast for Obama to Romney.

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  31. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    I saw that on TV, Joe. I think as long as they don’t find any more machines doing the same thing, no problemo. At least the machine provided immediate feedback to the voter so he could report the machine (and record it on his iPhone).

    all the best

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  32. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Daniel,

    The UK does have a written constitution. It’s just not all codified in one place. Unlike the US, the law in the UK is not codified in one place either (ie we do not have an equivalent to the USC).

    If you were to produce a single constitution for the UK tomorrow it would probably look something like the Irish constitution, swap out the monarch for the Irish President and you’ve basically got the same thing.

    I think you were making an important point, albeit in a slightly inflammatory way. It is quite disturbing how many Americans you encounter who take the view that the people who wrote the constitution were on some sort of a higher plane. When it comes to constitutional matters, especially controversial ones such as a gun control, a lot of the arguments are to do with want the founders really meant. This is not very surprising considering the way American history is taught in schools, and especially the way there is even a debate (and has been for some time) over compelling children to take the pledge.

    Malcolm, as I imagine you might agree I think we are approaching the time when the federal government is ungovernable. The GOP have deployed brinkmanship tactics over the budget several times in a row now, and they have openly used their position in the House specifically to thwart President Obama’s agenda. There is nothing to stop the Democrats operating a similar strategy, which would lead to President Romney being just as much of a lame duck as President Obama now is. It would be difficult for the Democrats to resist this temptation, just to make the point to the GOP that they are not the only ones who can play the game.

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  33. Kev,

    Hope so. Out of curiosity, how many boxes do you have to tick today? Are State House, Senate and Governors also elected today?

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  34. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    Joe,

    I voted for Missouri Governor, US Senator, US Congressman, Missouri legislators, several judges and a couple of state and city ordinances. Took about 2 minutes once I got the ballot and pen in my hand.

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  35. Thanks, Kev.
    My thought for the day desk dictionary gave this today:
    An honest politician is one who, once he’s bought, stays bought.

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  36. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Even when they got it wrong -once- they actually got it right in the end (2000 election)

    The straw poll that gives a commanding win for Obama with 72% of the vote or 23,067 votes for Obama with Romney gathering 8,443 .

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2012/11/06/164400277/in-guam-non-binding-straw-poll-gives-obama-a-commanding-win

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  37. Comrade. I recall from the eighties Tories who were saying there was no British Constitution and lauding that as a good thing, so I must have got that idea from there. The Right wing in the US and the gun lobby know perfetly well that the constitution refers to military groups in allowing the bearing of arms, but they have twisted it to allow every nutcase to have a gun. Shows how little resoect they have for their own constitution when they don’t like parts of it.

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  38. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    It doesn’t matter what right wing nutcases think of the 2nd Amendment, Dan. What matters is what the Supreme Court thinks it means, along with the rest of the Constitution.

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  39. Kev. I admit i’m out of my depth in US politics. I followed US politics in the GWBush years for entertainment purposes [especially watching Faux News coverage]rather than seriously commenting on it. I’ve stopped following it since 2008. As you say, I’m not an authority on it. I’ll take that on the chin.

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  40. greenflag. Poor old Brit Hume, Fred Barnes and Bill Orilly[as Manuel in Fawlty Towers had it], must be weeping into their wine glasses. They badly wanted Obama to be a one term tenant of the Oval Office, but he’s back. I expect the GOP to still control the House or Senate, or even both but come the midterms, they will be punished for their spoiling tactics as Gringrich was, in the end.

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  41. pauluk (profile) says:

    Congratulations to both Obama and Romney. Obama wins with 50.2%, what a close race!

    Who would have thought that Obama would have to depend so much on a smear campaign, the Clintons, a storm and a strategically placed tear to be re-elected?

    But, hey, all`s fair in love and war!

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  42. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Obama won all the swing states and had a 2.5 million majority in the popular vote . GOP ‘intellectuals’ of the ilk of Mourdock , and Akin were rejected in ‘red Indiana and in red Missouri .

    Despite the efforts of Fox LIES TV a majority of American voters continue to believe that their current economic problems are the result of GOP incompotence and malgovernance during the Bush era .

    Good news for the USA and the world with only the Israelis and the Pakistanis not happy about the the verdict of the American people .

    Well done the Yanks ,

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  43. GEF (profile) says:

    Billionaire Donald Trump is not very happy with Obama’s re election and “Urges a march on Washington”

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/1107/breaking40.html

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  44. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    *Cheers*

    Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin was my Congressman and sat on the House Science and Space Committee. Now, come January, he is out of Washington (for good). He did poorly even in precincts that went for Romney 9-1. The world should rejoice that at least one flat earther has been “put beyond use” to borrow that foreign phrase.

    The GOP is going to have to do a recalculation if they want to start winning national elections again. Another good thing.

    Young people came out in huge numbers in this election. I’m very happy to see that as well.

    all the best

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  45. Greenflag. Predictably enough, with Trump, he didn’t mind the electoral college contradicting the popular vote when Bush got the advantage of the warp back in 2000, and didn’t call for a march on Wasdhington for that. There will always be an asterick inserted in the records of US elections at GWB’s entry details.

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  46. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    Great to see the true America, the true diversity of the nation, expressed and those who the lazy call minorities are the people who hold the reigns.

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  47. andnowwhat (profile) black spot says:

    GEF

    Apparently, a lot of the Trump tweets were deleted. Some dude has them saved. Just search for Donald Trump

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  48. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Daniel @ 7 November 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Trump’s an idiot . A wealthy idiot but still an idiot . It should not surprise that the GOP which under Dubya Bush turned the American financial sector into a gambling casino led by irresponsible and rapacious banksters , derivative traders and hedge fundies should now be supported by the likes of Trump and Adelson another gambling casino mogul !

    These casino types prefer their clients to be poorly educated suckers who are ‘creamed ‘ 999 out of thousand times they step into a casino .

    But we see already Wall St once again taking the poor wannabee suckers for another heist . No doubt todays sellers which have driven down the Dow Jones by over 2% have been egged on by Wall St emanating it’s ‘distaste’ for Obama’s re-election and cobbling together whatever other factors can be flung into the hyped rational for todays drop .

    Not to worry -today’s sell off suckers mostly those who have been intravenously fed by Fox News and the nuttier gold bugs etc of the blogosphere will once again be left high and dry minus tens of thousands from investment funds .

    And we should all know by now who will be buying up those low priced stocks for a quick few millions . And the moral of the sttory ?

    If these are the suckers who could be bought to support Rmoney then they can be suckered again in another Wall St hyped fear anxiety attack.

    There’ll be a lot of suckers taken to the cleaners before the fiscal cliff ‘deal’ is worked out .

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