Blogging while on TV

Just because I can.  Just did a segment on how the age gap in turnout and the age gap in gay marriage probably doomed the amendment.  I love it when I get to bring the Political Science to television.   It is weird, though, to sit off to the side blogging while the host talks to other “experts.”

Managing a private equity firm ≠ managing a national economy

Let’s go non-election a bit today as I wanted to mention this really nice Paul Waldman piece about Romney’s undeserved credibility on managing the economy:

What I’d really like to see is the Obama campaign taking on the whole idea that because you made a lot of money in business, that means you’ll be brilliant at setting macroeconomic policy for the country. This idea gets repeated a zillion times every election by candidates saying, “I’m not a politician, I’m a businessman,” as though that were a compelling argument for why you’d be successful in politics, not business. This is a pet peeve of mine I’ve written plenty about; see this article for a rundown of all the reasons it’s absurd. But I’m not naive enough to think the Obama campaign is going to spend time arguing against something so many people believe in without thinking. Instead, they’re going to comb through Romney’s career and figure out what combination of attacks will create a negative association in the public’s mind when the words “Romney” and “business” are mentioned together. Maybe the key will be his personal wealth and hilarious habit of saying things that reinforce his distance from the struggles of ordinary people, or maybe it will be stories of layoffs at companies Bain Capital acquired, or maybe it will be some new story we haven’t yet heard of. But they’ll be attacking him on it, good and hard.

In response, Romney will keep saying, “I know how the economy works,” which is just an assertion, not an argument. For the moment, that seems to be somewhat persuasive; polls show him leading on the question of who would do a better job managing the economy (see here or here).

Most importantly, Waldman points out that if Romney has any unique insight into the economy, why then is his economic plan basically the exact same thing we always get from Republicans?

Romney does have a lengthy economic plan, but it amounts to the same thing Republicans always advocate: tax cuts, particularly on the wealthy; spending cuts in domestic programs; eliminating regulations; free trade; undermining labor unions, and so on. The closest thing to an innovative idea is the creation of a “Reagan Economic Zone,” which presumably will create wealth through the repeated incantation of the great one’s name.

Or maybe we are to believe that the basic Republican platform is just the distilled ideas of all those “businessmen” out there.  But, heck, if that’s the case, what’s the advantage for voting for a “businessman” when you can just vote for any Republican?  Or maybe, just maybe, being president is really quite dramatically different from running a business.

Low information elections and the power of social media

So, even Political Science professors don’t really know who to vote for in a primary for Commissioner of Agriculture or Commissioner of Labor.  Thanks to my great success getting advice on judges in “non-partisan” elections last year, I went to FB for some advice on today’s Democratic primary.   Truth is, I know that when it comes to NC Democratic politics,  I have a network of very involved, very knowledgeable FB friends.  I ended up with excellent advice from people in the know that made me feel very good about my choices.  Sometimes knowledge means knowing when to turn to other people and I think low information elections are a great example of this.  I haven’t seen any of my other FB friends do this, but it sure works great for me.

On a quasi-related note, when the Greene family voted around 7:15 tonight, I was voter 470.  That’s excellent for our precinct (I always like to go between 7:00 and the poll closing at 7:30 to see how we’re doing).  One time a few years back in a run-off for a Cary Town Council race, Kim and I were voters 12 and 13 at 7:20pm.  I don’t think I’ll ever see worse turnout that that.

With enemies like these…

From the Heartland Institute– pseudo-scientific veneer for science denialism:

Steve Benen comments:

I’m trying to imagine what the initial conversation was like at the Heartland Institute’s headquarters. Someone must have said something like, “I’ve got an idea. As part of our campaign against climate science, let’s put up billboards equating those who believe scientific evidence with famous madmen. That’ll work wonders to get our message out.”

It must have seemed like a good idea at the time, because that’s what the strange, far-right group did, putting up billboards showing “some of the world’s most notorious killers,” including “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, who accept climate science. It followed a child-like logical fallacy: if a bad person believes in scientific evidence, then scientific evidence must be wrong.

First, Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), a conservative climate-change denier, said he no longer wanted to participate in the group’s upcoming conference. Then, the Heartland Institute started losing corporate sponsors. Now, E&E’s Evan Lehmann reports the fiasco is “prompting a mutiny among its Washington-based staff, which is decamping for less volatile surroundings.”

Probably about the only people who could be convinced by logic so weak are already denying global warming.

Photo of the day

I was going to post a photo from the Post’s collection of Supermoon photos, but I realized that if I waited, Alan Taylor would have better ones.  As expected, he came through.  Love this whole set– you really should check it out.  I think this is my favorite.

The supermoon appears behind the Temple of Poseidon in Cape Sounion, south east of Athens, Greece, on Saturday, May 5, 2012.(AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)

Vote for the amendment

No, don’t really vote for North Carolina’s gay marriage amendment.  Slate’s Will Saletan rounds up some of the many arguments made in favor of the amendment.   Some, he deconstructs.  Others he just lets stew in their own inanity (i.e., God will strike down NC like Sodom if we don’t).  Nice piece.  The summary:

So get out there and vote, people of North Carolina. Make your decision on fact, not fear. Just don’t undermine our productivity, impoverish our children, sanction bestiality, or risk God’s wrath. You’ll be sorry if you do.

Don’t let the pigeon read this blog post!

If you are a parent of kids between the ages of 1-12 and you don’t know who Mo Willems is, where have you been?  You know what, even if you are not a parent at all, Mo Willems is awesome.  And, if you are already a fan of Pigeon, Piggie, etc., you’ll love this recent NPR interview him him (definitely worth a listen, despite the full transcript).   It was especially fun to hear about Willems’ inspiration for the pigeon.

Pigeon image

Courtesy of Hyperion Books

And if you are a parent of younger children (all the kids in our family from 1-12 love them) and are not familiar with Willems’ books?  Get to it!

%d bloggers like this: