The other day in my debt ceiling thoughts, I openly wondered if things would’ve been different had Hillary been president.  Writing in Salon, Jonathan Bernstein wonders the same thing, but being Bernstein rather than me, he writes several hundred words on the matter.  His conclusion:

The bottom line, of course, is that it’s impossible to know how things would play out with someone else in the Oval Office, even in just one set of negotiations — let alone over the course of an entire presidency. But we can say that in most instances there would be little difference between any two Democrats with similar campaign promises. And, for what it’s worth, at least some academic observers believe that the deal Obama cut with Republicans on the debt limit was pretty much what oneshould have expected. No matter which Democrat was president.

Ehhh, I still say Hillary would’ve done better on this.

The real reason I am so honest

From behavioral economist extraordinaire, Dan Ariely:

Creative people are more likely to cheat and lie. That’s according to a new study out of Duke University. Dan Ariely is a Professor ofBehavioral Economics at Duke and co-author of the study. He says the research shows the ability to think creatively makes someone more likely to use that ability for personal gain…

Dan Ariely: Now the fact that creative people cheat more than others has two things, right? The first thing is that it tells us about some dark side of creativity. But more importantly, because we all have some creative ability, it tells us something about all of our ability to basically cheat a little bit, very quickly tell ourselves a story about it, justify it, and feel good about it.

I’ve always thought of myself as an amazingly uncreative person.  I’ve always admired creativity in others because I feel so utterly lacking in it.  I also consider myself a fairly honest (though not extraordinarily so) person.  I just didn’t realize these facts about me are connected.

Are Republicans smart enough to nominate Romney?

I put very little stock in presidential primary polls from way before any real campaigning is going on, but I nonetheless find the latest PPP polling conclusions interesting:

A broad theme has been emerging in our state by state Presidential polling over the last couple months: if the Republicans nominate Mitt Romney it’s a toss up. And if they nominate anyone else it’s 2008 all over again. Our newest Nevada numbers very much reinforce that trend.

Barack Obama took the Silver State by 12 points in his first run. But if he had to stand for reelection today he’d be in a very competitive race against Romney, leading only 47-46 in the state. Pit him against any of the other Republicans there though and the numbers look pretty similar to last time- 9 point advantages over Herman Cain and Rick Perry at 48-39 and 49-40 respectively, a 10 point lead over Michele Bachmann at 50-40, and a 12 point advantage over Sarah Palin at 51-39.

Over the last month we’ve had similar findings in: [a bunch of states]

It’s hard to say how Perry and Bachmann would really do when they are so little known compared to Romney and they’ve actually had the chance to run a big-time campaign and get all the news coverage– good and bad– that goes with it.  Still, I’ve been of the mind that the Tea Party will dominate Republican primaries and that they are so convinced of their own right-ness that they will think their favorite candidate is the most electable, despite any evidence to the contrary.  I just really have a hard time seeing someone who has as moderate a record (and temperate a personality) as Romney winning over the Tea Party crowd that will likely determine the nominee.  That said, anything can happen in a multi-candidate race and maybe Perry and Bachmann split the Tea Party vote.

The economy is really important in determining election results.  But, most everything I have seen to this point suggests that the economy will be in a state next year such that other factors, i.e., the quality of the campaigns and the quality of the candidates could be a determinative factor.  Which is why I say, “Bachmann in 2012!!”

[Also, nice post by Chait nailing the flaws of Politico while highlighting its story about Perry as a general election candidate]

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