Post from November, 2010

The TOC & Thanksgiving

Friday, 26. November 2010 4:05

John Stossel gives us an interesting and undertold story of the first thanksgiving and what lessons about the common (and the tragedies that can ensue without the collateral benefits of private property) the first settlers quickly learned in the harsh, new land of America.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, 25. November 2010 20:41

If u have a Droid or an I-Phone, you’ll probably think this is funny (language warning):

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Quantitative Easing Explained

Sunday, 14. November 2010 16:31

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Cheaters Caught by Statistics!

Wednesday, 10. November 2010 22:37

I’m sure this isn’t true of any of our students here at Tech. Particularly the student who minimizes the sin by claiming that “everyone cheats in life.” No. No, they do not. And even if they did, that doesn’t make it right! I think that business prof. went pretty easy on the cheaters. I’d have kicked em all out!

Don’t Cheat. Winners never Cheat, and Cheaters get Caught! D.GOOCH

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Jonah Goldberg on C-SPAN

Tuesday, 9. November 2010 20:21

For those of you who didn’t get enough of Jonah at the talk, here is Jonah Goldberg on C-SPAN’s program “In Depth” which spends 3 hours with an author going into detail about their works, the lives of the authors, and takes calls from viewers. D.GOOCH

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Hitler Reacts to 2010 Midterms

Monday, 8. November 2010 16:23

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Russvegas Mayoral Runoff

Thursday, 4. November 2010 22:28

I gave some comments on the upcoming runnoff election between the current mayor, Tyron Williamson (38%) and Bill Eaton (27%) to the Courier. Their article on the runoff is here. I spoke with the reporter over the phone, but I’d say she did a fair job of distilling my points on the runoff:

Dr. Donald Gooch, assistant professor of political science at Arkansas Tech, said there are elements that favor both Eaton and Williamson and it is impossible to predict what will happen in the runoff election.
Gooch added it is possible voters might take into consideration that all but two members of the city council will be new next year.

“You lose some of your institutional memory and lose some of your institutional expertise anytime you do a wholesale replacement of the government,” Gooch said. “If Williamson wins, that’s mitigated because he has the experience.”

The flip-side, however, is that runoffs are often considered bad for incumbents, Gooch said. He said the principle behind that assumption is if people wanted to keep the current administration, they would have voted for the incumbent to start with.

Gooch also said one must keep in mind a runoff election draws a different set of voters than the general election. Because district and state offices are no longer a factor, Gooch said the electorate is going to be a lot smaller.

“Neither of the candidates can be feeling comfortable (going into the runoff),” Gooch said.

My point with respect to institutional memory was more an observation of the fact you lose some expertise/memory with the loss of currently serving members of a government…particularly a wholesale replacement. This could influence voters, but I’m not sure whether any significant number of the voters in the electorate would take that into account when they vote in the runoff.

As to incumbents and runoffs, I did make one point that didn’t make it into the story. The reason I’d argue the incumbent may be in trouble here is the fact that there were 4 candidates and that, while he won a plurality between the 4 with a healthy margin, there are alot of votes for those other 2 candidates (about 30%) which could easily overcome his lead. So if they break 2 to 1 against him, he’ll see that lead disappear.

The final point I’m quoted on is spot on. Neither can feel comfortable, because we have no idea what the complete ranking ordering of the candidate preferences was in the election. We only know who their first choice was in the 4 candidate election. It’s possible that either Williamson or Eaton are the primary second choice of the other 2 candidate’s voters.

Of course, even if we did know, there still would be a great deal of uncertainty. Mostly because we have no idea what the composition of the runoff electorate will be. All I can say with certainty is that it will be significantly smaller than that which showed up on Nov. 2nd.

All of that to rhetorically shrug my shoulders and say, “Dunno!” But that’s the honest answer. Local elections are extremely difficult to predict for exactly these reasons. Multiple candidates, small N elections, absence of well-defined partisanship/ideology in the candidates, and inconsistent partisan/ideological voting in the local election electorate.

Your guess is as good as mine. But if I had to pick, I’d probably guess that, if the turnout is comparable to that of the general, the incumbent pulls it out as the percentages would stay roughly the same. However, in a small-n turnout race, I’d go with the challenger. The incumbent won’t earn votes above his general election percentage, but the challenger certainly can. Best guess: Williamson 56, Eaton 42 in a big turnout, Williamson 48%, Eaton 52% in a low-turnout election.


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Keynes vs. Hayek – The Sequel

Thursday, 4. November 2010 20:36


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The House: R+ 62 – 68

Thursday, 4. November 2010 6:11

This is the NY Times take on the current standings in the House. Republicans currently sit at a net gain of 60 seats and are projected to take between 62 and 68 House seats. I have seen it rated likely they’ll end up picking up 65 seats. As you’ll recall, I projected a net 66 seat pick up. Pretty good. 😉 The Senate? Let’s not talk about the Senate…

You can keep up with RCP’s tracking of the final resolution for the House races here and here. The interactive NY Times electoral map depicted above can be viewed here.

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Red vs. Blue

Wednesday, 3. November 2010 9:21

electoral map

This map gives us the traditional red vs. blue dichotomy while representing the share of the vote in the district with the third dimension. So the greater number of votes for either party located in the district, the ‘taller’ that district appears on the map. Cool. D.GOOCH

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The Morning After

Wednesday, 3. November 2010 7:46

vote 2010

Well, that was quite a night! Update for this morning: The senate races in WA, CO, & AK are still too close to call. The Dem leads slightly in both WA & CO, but the outstanding ballots to be counted still far exceed the margin of the lead. AK in particular could take a long time, as write-in is currently leading…but we do not know how many of those wrote in, correctly, “Lisa Murkowski.” Figuring that out could literally take weeks.

Lessons we learned on election night:

  • Obama was sent a serious cease-and-desist message from the electorate. The Republicans are going to win between 61 and 72 House seats and between 7 and 9 Senate seats (even if Murkowski wins, she’ll caucus with the Republicans) when it is all said and done. Republicans have taken the House and the Democrats have retained only a slim majority in the Senate. In addition, the Republicans picked up a number of state legislatures and 10 new govenors tipping the state electoral balance strongly in favor of the Republicans nation-wide (and making Obama’s road to re-election tougher). Obama is going to have to shift towards the center if he wishes to accomplish anything over the next two years.
  • Candidate quality matters. Republicans cost themselves a chance at taking the Senate, and defeating the Senate majority leader, by nominating candidates with little state-wide electoral experience or established popularity. Reid was disapproved by 55% of the voters in NV, and yet he still won. That is an amazing testament to the weakness of Sharron Angle. Eschewing the easy victory of Mike Castle in Delaware, the DE Republican primary voters wake up this morning represented by a unified D federal delegation. As Dr. Phil would say: How’s that working for ya?
  • California and Massachussets have become two of the bluest states in the Union. Even in a wave election, Republicans went down across MA. Even the unpopular Deval Patrick won re-election as the MA governor. Scott Brown is in serious trouble when he seeks re-election in 2012. Despite Boxer’s relative unpopularity and Jerry Brown, the ex-Governor from the 70’s, and his goofiness, both won comfortably. Even in a terrible economy and a political climate dominated by the Democratic party, the CA voters refused to chage course. Whitman and Fiorina may have been hurt somewhat by the unpopularity of the Governator, but this election shows CA is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans for the forseeable future.
  • The claims of the “Death of Conservatism” and the reduction of the Republican party to a regional rump party in the South following the 2008 election were greatly exaggerated. Those political observers over-read the 2008 election as a rejection of conservatism and an endorsement of Democrats when it was really a referendum on George W. Bush, the war in Iraq, and a reaction to the financial crisis which emerged just months before the election. Claims of a Democratic realignment have gone down in dust.
  • Just as 2008 shouldn’t have been interpreted as an endorsement of and realignment to the Democratic party, so too it would be a mistake to interpret the 2010 election results as a Republican realignment. There is still a strong plurality of the electorate that doesn’t like the Republicans. They just liked the Democrats less. This election was primarily about three things – 1) reasserting divided government (unified government is almost invariably rejected by modern American voters), 2) fiscal responsibility (the debt and the deficit have rarely been significant electoral issues…they were quite significant this time), and 3) the economy (unemployment near 10%, sluggish GDP growth, and regulatory uncertainty doomed the D’s). Republicans will have to do something to address these concerns or they could be looking at a disappointing 2012.
  • Looking forward, it may have helped the Republicans that they didn’t win the Senate. It will be more difficult for Obama to run against Congress for the next two years, having retained nominal control of the Senate. The key will be the economy. If it rebounds and unemployment declines back into the 5% to 6% range, then Obama stands a good chance of being re-elected. If the economy remains stagnant, then Republicans could win in 2012 what Democrats won in 2008.
  • Federalism resurgent. With Republicans dominating in the state legislatures and governor’s mansions nation-wide, and the Democrats in control of most of the federal government, look to see a revival of the “states rights” and “laboratories of democracy” arguments so popular in the 1990’s. The first front in which this battle will be evident is the State AG challenge to Obamacare, which will almost certainly end up before the USSC some time before the 2012 election. It will be interesting to see whether the USSC’s nascent re-emergent protection of states rights doctrine is extended…or if we see the Court once again revert to a rubber stamp for federal legislation.

  • All in all, a very good night for the Republicans, though they clearly missed some opportunities to make it a great night.

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    Election Day Live Blog!

    Tuesday, 2. November 2010 16:10

    5:14 PM – I will be live blogging the election returns as they come in. We should get a good idea fairly early how big the wave is (assuming it exists).

    5:37 PM – Early on, I’ll be anxious to see the returns on the Hill/Young race in Indiana and the Barr/Chandler race in KY. If Republicans take both, it’s a good sign the R wave is definately going to crest this evening.

    5:41 PM – Fox News Exit poll indicates 75% of voters are either ‘angry’ or ‘dissatisfied’ with the federal government. A plurality of voters (38%) are registering an Obama protest vote today. 6 in 10 say the country is on the “wrong track.”

    6:12 PM – Coats called for Indiana. That’s R + 1. Paul has already been declared the winner in Kentucky. That’s a hold, but a big win for the Tea Party.

    6:32 PM – Portman gets Fox nod in Ohio.

    6:46 PM – Burr is down to Chandler but the rural counties aren’t in yet. Still…word is he’s running behind Paul. Grayson down in Florida, but 6% just in.

    7:02 PM – Another BIG Tea Party pickup. Rubio takes out Crist and Meek to win the senate seat in FL. Unsurpisingly, Linda “WWE” McMahon down for the three count (heh) against Blumenthal. Also, Coons declared winner in Delaware over Christine “I’m not a Witch” O’Donnell.

    7:26 PM – Student X: “Republicans are half the reason we’re in this power struggle!” Yes. Yes they are.

    7:33 PM – Arkansas’ big races are in. Fox calls it for Boozeman in the Senate and Beebe in the Governor’s mansion.

    7:40 PM – Fox calls West Virginia for Manchin. The chances of Republicans taking the Senate just shrunk considerably.

    7:47 PM – Young wins in the Indiana bellweather. The exerable Alan Grayson is projected a loser. And there was much rejoicing.

    8:13 PM – NBC projects – Republican takeover of the House.

    8:16 PM – It’s an interesting dichotomy. The House is turning out a little better than expected for the Republicans…while the Senate results have been rather tepid.

    9:19 PM – The Senate is alot of trouble for the Republican wave. Toomey & Kirk trail, and the exit polls indicate Reid sqeeks it out in Nevada. But all three races could still go Republican. This suggests California and Washington are lost casues for the elephants.

    11:14 PM – Republicans are going to eek out wins in PA and IL. Colorado remains too close to call. Angle is toast in NV…how did that happen? Reid had an underwater approval rating. What happens in Vegas…anyway. No word on AK…but the Miller camp is reportedly nervous. Writing in “Murkowski” is still a big hurtle…weird election.

    12:17 AM – Shocker, Nevada Senate seat has been called for Harry Reid. I made my predictions a few weeks ago and hence missed out on the late breaking move for Machin in WV and Fiorina didn’t close like I thought she would. Had I made predictions yesterday, I’d have said Machin & Boxer would win. But I still would have called Reid a loser. He was down in nearly every poll. I attribute this stunning victory to four factors:

  • Reid’s Machivellian strategy of picking his opponent in Angle, keeping better candidates like Lowden and Tark on the sidelines.
  • A scorched earth ad campaign against Angle, defining her as extreme, which poured millions of dollars into the race in the summer. Angle was defined before she even got on the air.
  • The Casino/culinary union vote a.k.a. Harry’s ground game. His turnout organization was unbelievable. And he was aided by several powerful LV corporations and unions in turning out his vote. But those are the good corporations (casinos)…right my Lefty friends?
  • The odd electoral quirk where Nevada actually has a “none of the above” on the ballot.

  • But as explainable as it might be, it is still a shock. It shouldn’t have happened. It wasn’t supposed to happen. Reid may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer and a bad majority leader…but the guy knows how to win an election. D.GOOCH

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    Election Day!

    Tuesday, 2. November 2010 5:36

    Don’t foget to vote! It’s your right and duty as a citizen! It’s your license to complain! It’s your voice! Many Americans gave their life to give you this opportunity…don’t waste it! V-0-T-E!

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    Election Night Signals

    Monday, 1. November 2010 19:32

    The Washington Examiner gives us a look at bellweather races that could tell whether it will be a triumphant night for the GOP and Dems in despair…or an evening of disappointment for the Reps and big sigh of relief from the Donkeys.

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