November 6, 2012

Posted by orrinj at 10:31 PM


Two quick thoughts and then to bed:

(1) When was the last time, if ever, that a president was re-elected to a second term but did worse in that race than in the first?  Ever?

(2) The big enchilada now is making sure that the GOP shares credit for the Peace Dividend-driven recovery.  To that end, John Boehner needs to say to the UR: "Okay, we're still here and you're still there, let's pass that Grand Compromise now."  That way the Republicans get credit for the coming plunge in deficits.

Actually, a third thought: If Mitt does lose FL, NV and CO will the nativist wing of the party please go away?

Posted by orrinj at 9:46 PM


The Other Brother found this cool interactive graphic at the Times, which lets you chart the respective paths to Electoral College victory.

For our contest you just need to pick:

(1) the overall vote percentages for president

(2) The composition of the Senate (currently 53D-47R)

and (3) The composition of the House (242R-191D-2 vacant)

We'll also live blog starting at 8pm on Election Night, so feel free to join in and chatter about your local races as well as the national returns. If you'd like to be added as a panelist to the liveblog (so we don't have to approve your comments, we can accomodate about 20), please let us know - we'll need an email address to send the invite to - by emailing

The live coverage will be on the permanent page for this post - click on the "continue reading" link, the timestamp above, or the comments link to go to the individual post.

Posted by orrinj at 5:16 PM


Ah, the joys of living in a college town...the UR won the mock election at the elementary school by a margin of 327 to 5. The youngest was one of the unchosen few.  
Posted by orrinj at 6:32 AM


...though surely not original, that elections are like sporting events, but with one huge beneficial difference--our favorite team is always in them.  

This explains the excitement we feel about tomorrow and the trepidation.  Sure, we can comb through the party platforms and find some policy differences to gussy up the stakes of the contest, but, at heart, it's as much or more about how our team fares.  Thus, just as you may find the star pitcher your club just signed to be a rather loathsome creature, but still root like heck for him to win that playoff game, so too do many of us who'd not have listed Mitt Romney or Barrack Obama in our top ten choices for the respective nominations suddenly find ourselves fully vested in them.

But, you know what, just like there's always next season, so too is there always the next election.  And the party that celebrates in 1980 has to face 1982, of 1992 has to contend with 1994, of 2004 has to live through 2006 and of 2008 must suffer 2010.  So, if we win, best not be too cocky.  And if we lose, no point being morose.  The Party of  Freedom and the Party of Security are universal and eternal and we're lucky enough to live at a time when there's so little to choose between them that we get to bask in Liberty, peace and affluence, no matter which wins.

There's never a bad time to be an American, but Election Days are in many ways the best times.    

Nope, definitely wasn't original....For Men, Election Is Like Big Game (JONATHAN D. ROCKOFF, 11/06/12, WSJ)

For men, presidential-election nights affect testosterone levels as if they're watching their favorite team compete in the World Series or Super Bowl, according to a study that explored voters' reactions to the 2008 contest.

The study, published in October 2009 in the journal PLoS One, measured the testosterone levels of 163 men and women before and after Barack Obama's defeat of John McCain during the last presidential race. The study subjects, aided by chewing gum, gave saliva samples to researchers for testing.

Testosterone levels typically fall throughout a normal day. But levels stayed about the same among male Obama supporters on the 2008 election night. Among those who supported the losing side, the hormone levels dropped more than they normally would have--some 30% from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., the study found. (The election's outcome didn't affect testosterone levels in women, as researchers had expected.)

It was as if the men weren't just watching the outcome but closely identifying with one of the candidates, said Kevin LaBar, a Duke University neuroscientist who helped conduct the study. Similar hormonal changes have been observed in devoted male sports fans watching their favorite team play, he said.

Posted by orrinj at 5:32 AM


The Electoral College Defends Liberty in Ways Direct Democracy Doesn't (LARA BROWN , November 5, 2012, US News)

[T]he framers in crafting the Constitution sought to promote two major principles: separation of powers and federalism. In short, government's power should be divided horizontally across the three national branches and vertically between Washington and the states. This competition for power would foster a system of "checks and balances," protecting individual liberty and undermining tyrannies. By staggering elections, setting different term lengths, forging different geographical districts, and designing different modes of selection, the framers sought to ensure officeholders would represent "the people" as American citizens and residents of a state. Accordingly, the Constitution "is neither wholly federal nor wholly national."

And this is where the Electoral College fits into our American system and defends liberty in ways that direct democracy does not, despite the fact that the framers imagined that it would operate differently than it does today.

How does it work? Like the World Series, you must win games (states), not merely runs (people). There's not a single election for president, but 51 elections, including the District of Columbia. According to Alexander Hamilton, this "affords a moral certainty, that the office of president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications." If a baseball team were forced to play 51 games, wouldn't we all agree that the team that won the majority of those games would be the "better" team? Generally, this is what the Electoral College does: It forces presidential candidates to win both people (runs in a single game) and states (the majority of games). This makes the president an able representative of the United States of America, who is tasked with balancing national and federal interests.

Posted by orrinj at 5:27 AM


The world is safer. But no one in Washington can talk about it. (Greg Jaffe, November 2, 2012, Washington Post)

There's one foreign policy fact that President Obama and Mitt Romney dare not mention this election season. No American general will speak of it. Nor will it displace the usual hot topics at Washington's myriad foreign policy think tanks.

Measured by most relevant statistics, the United States -- and the world -- have never been safer.

Obama says terrorist networks remain the greatest threat to the United States. "We have to remain vigilant," he warned recently. But global terrorism has barely touched most Americans in the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, with 238 U.S. citizens killed in terrorist attacks, mostly in war zones, according to the National Counterterrorism Center's annual reports. By comparison, the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 293Americans were crushed during the same stretch by falling furniture or televisions.

Beyond the United States, global statistics point undeniably toward progress in achieving greater peace and stability. There are fewer wars now than at any time in decades. The number of people killed as a result of armed violence worldwide is plunging as well -- down to about 526,000 in 2011 from about 740,000 in 2008, according to the United Nations. [...]

[U].S. defense spending, adjusted for inflation, is at the highest level since World War II and is unlikely to decline substantially. 

To the contrary, it'll trend towards the historical norm.  It's only the pace we're bickering about.

Posted by orrinj at 5:22 AM


How Democrats and Republicans View Your Retirement (EMILY BRANDON, November 5, 2012, US News)

Here's a look at how Democrats and Republicans differ in their perceptions of retirement:

Responsibility for funding retirement. Republicans (56 percent) are more likely than Democrats (42 percent) to say the responsibility for retirement finances rests largely with individuals, according to a recent Wells Fargo and Harris Interactive survey of 1,000 middle-class Americans. Democrats were more likely than Republicans to report that employers and the government should also play a role in funding retirement. "Most middle-class Americans are waking up to the fact that I own and control and am responsible for my own retirement," says Joseph Ready, executive vice president of Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust.

When even 42% of Democrats are amenable it just isn't much of an issue any more.
Posted by orrinj at 5:05 AM


Dems' drive to retake House falters (Alex Isenstadt, November 4, 2012, Politico)

Democrats are expected to pick up five seats at best -- a fraction of the 25 they need. On the eve of the election, some party officials are privately worried that Democrats might even lose ground and drop one or two seats to the Republican majority.

It would mark an epic failure for a party that has a legitimate shot at keeping the presidency and the Senate on Tuesday. The inability of House Democrats to pick off a good number of seats from one of the most unpopular House majorities in modern history will cause a lot of soul-searching in the party come Wednesday. [...]

After Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his No. 2 in August, Democrats were elated -- DCCC Chairman Steve Israel even dubbed the Wisconsin congressman a "majority maker."

The argument from Democrats: Ryan's controversial plan to rewrite Medicare would scare seniors, who would rush to the polls to pull the lever against Republicans. It's a bet that Democrats were willing to stake their hopes on: Sixty-four of the 123 TV ads the DCCC ran between Aug. 16 and Oct. 29 focused on Medicare.

Nearly three months after the Ryan pick was made, it's clear that these attacks never really took hold.

Democrats credit Republicans -- some of whom had been initially concerned about Ryan's impact on down-ballot candidates -- with launching a vigorous pushback on the issue, accusing Obama of including cuts to Medicare in his health care bill. By the time October was up, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found Mitt Romney leading Obama on the question of who's more likely to protect Medicare.

Posted by orrinj at 4:50 AM


LED Lighting Riding Price-Performance Curve (Martin LaMonica, November 5, 2012), Technology Review)

At first blush, expensive LED light bulbs are an unlikely technology to succeed with consumers. But the benefits of LEDs for lighting are becoming clearer, in terms of both cost reductions and high-tech features.

Best Buy last week introduced its Insignia line of consumer light bulbs in the familiar A19 shape. The bulbs use LEDs from Cree and give an amount of light equivalent to a 60-watt or 40-watt incandescent lamp. They're designed to last over 20 years, give off a white light at 3,000 Kelvin, and have a color rendering index of 80, according to Cree.

The cost for the 60-watt equivalent, which consumes 13 watts, is $16.99, and a 40-watt-equivalent bulb costs $13.99. That's a lot more expensive than comparable compact fluorescent or incandescent bulbs. But the Insignia shows that LED lighting costs are falling.

Two years ago, similar products from other manufacturers cost more than double what they do now. 

Posted by orrinj at 4:39 AM


The Next President Is Lucky : Whoever wins the election will get to preside over a growing economy and look like a genius. (Matthew Yglesias, Nov. 5, 2012, Slate)

Partisans always prefer victory to defeat, but in retrospect some elections look like poisoned chalices. Jimmy Carter's narrow victory over Gerald Ford in 1976, for example, merely saddled the Democrats with the blame for economic problems that were global in scope and paved the way for Ronald Reagan's 1980 election. In 2004, Democrats were desperate to boot George W. Bush from office, but his second term wound up being uneventful in policy terms, and John Kerry's defeat allowed his party to duck a financial crisis that almost certainly would have come about one way or another.

While anything's possible, 2012 is shaping up to be the reverse kind of election: Whoever wins is poised to preside over a return to economic normalcy that's bound to make any kind of basically competent governance look fantastic compared to the last decade of misery.

If Mitt wins, the GOP gets all the credit.  If the UR holds on, he splits it with the Congressional GOP, as Clinton did.  Those are the stakes.