The Republican Senate in 2015

In my previous post from Yglesias, he linked to a map of Senate elections in 2014.  Look at all those Blue Senate seats in very red states.  Hard to see how Democrats hold onto a 50+ majority with this map and only a single red seats in blue states to pick up.  Not surprising when you consider that this is the result of a great Democratic year in 2008.

File:2014 Senate election map.svg

Back in the real post-election world

Yglesias throws a much needed glass of cold water on a lot of the campaign hyperbole.  Whoever wins, there’s just this tiny thing called Congress that just maybe might have a say in what policies we see.  Yglesias discusses a Romney presidency with a Democratic Senate:

 The fact of the matter is that unless current polling is badly mistaken, even if Romney wins, Democrats are overwhelmingly likely to hold a majority in the Senate, meaning swathes of his stated agenda will be dead on arrival.

Optimistic conservatives and pessimistic liberals have largely avoided acknowledging this based on a mistaken analogy to the first year of the George W. Bush presidency. In 2001, Senate Republicans were extremely aggressive in employing the budget reconciliation process to overcome potential Democratic filibusters. Combine budget reconciliation with the fact that any 2013 Democratic Senate majority would rest on the backs of senators from red states like West Virginia, South Dakota, and North Carolina and it becomes easy to spin a story in which a handful of Democratic defectors would create the legislative majority Romney needs for major economic reform. The problem is that without a formal majority, the necessary reconciliation instructions could not pass the Senate in the first place. A Democratic-controlled Budget Committee would have no interest in writing them, Majority Leader Harry Reid wouldn’t want to bring them to the floor, and moderate Democrats wouldn’t vote for it.

In other words, the whole Romney agenda the Obama campaign’s been warning you about—the $5 trillion in tax cuts, the privatization of Medicare, the steep cuts to everything from FEMAto Medicaid—isn’t actually going to happen.

So what would happen? …

Problems with Romney-era economic policy are likely to start with the scheduled beginning of Obamacare implementation in 2014. Republicans won’t have the votes to repeal Obamacare, but Democrats won’t be able to force Romney to do any of the implementation. The result will be a chaotic mess, with different states doing different things and insurance companies, hospitals, and firms with large numbers of uninsured workers all screaming for clarity. This is the issue where Romney’s leadership will be most dramatically put to the test. His official position is that he’ll achieve de facto repeal bybroadly issuing waivers from the law’s requirements, but this is nonsense. Under current law the president can’t begin issuing these waivers until 2017. Had congressional Republicans done the sensible thing and passed a bipartisan proposal from Scott Brown and Ron Wyden to accelerate the waiver process back when the Obama administration announced its support in 2011, they’d be in better shape, but they didn’t.

The question for Romney will be whether he can craft a new version of this Brown-Wyden compromise. Finding something that conservatives would count as a win but Democrats don’t view as gutting the law will be very challenging, but if he makes it stick, it would be a signature achievement. If not, a huge swathe of the economy will be thrown into temporary chaos.

Sandy and climate change

Now, we all know that you should never attribute the effects of any single storm to climate change, but I still love the point that this ad makes:

Either the polls are almost all systematically biased, or Obama is going to win

That’s basically what I told Kim this morning.  She suggested I not talk about it rather than jinx things.  A few hours later, Nate Silver had (yet another) great post explaining this fact (and taking a good swing at that pundits who still insist the race is “too close to call”:

My argument, rather, is this: we’ve about reached the point where if Mr. Romney wins, it can only be because the polls have been biased against him. Almost all of the chance that Mr. Romney has in the FiveThirtyEight forecast, about 16 percent to win the Electoral College, reflects this possibility.

Yes, of course: most of the arguments that the polls are necessarily biased against Mr. Romney reflect little more than wishful thinking.

Nevertheless, these arguments are potentially more intellectually coherent than the ones that propose that the race is “too close to call.” It isn’t. If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public.

But the state polls may not be right. They could be biased. Based on the historical reliability of polls, we put the chance that they will be biased enough to elect Mr. Romney at 16 percent.

Photo of the day

Y’all know I’m a sucker for a good dog picture.  From N&O’s day’s best for 11/1:

A dog named Shaggy is handed from a National Guard truck to National Guard personnel after the dog and his owner left a flooded building in Hoboken, N.J., Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, in the wake of superstorm Sandy. Some residents and pets are being plucked from their homes by large trucks as parts of the city are still covered in standing water. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

On 13 years of parenthood

My firstborn David turned 13 yesterday (here we are at a recent Duke basketball game).

David’s birthdays always make me more reflective than the others as David’s birthdays are also a milestone of my own life as a parent.  Short version, my kids absolutely drive me crazy lots of the time.  Sarah aside, they are not all an easy bunch.  And Sarah certainly acts like an almost two-year old plenty of the time.  David can be exasperatingly immature at times.  Alex sure has his own issues.  The fact that they are not at all is fault doesn’t really help when he’s throwing Ipads off the deck.  And damn can Evan whine like nobody’s business.  But, being a parent is so amazingly awesome and fulfilling that I cannot even put it into words.  You know how much I love being a Political Science professor (and love it dearly I do), but when I think about what defines me, dad to my kids is #1.

I was talking with a friend at lunch today about just how awesome parenthood is and how it seems hard to square with the social science that seems to show that having kids leads to less overall happiness.  Either we’re both total outliers or something is just missing in those studies.  (His theory: they are measuring a superficial level of happiness that cannot really capture what parenthood brings).  Of course, it’s also possible we’re underestimating how happy we’d be without kids.  Though, we do have before and after within subjects comparisons.   I do also think there’s something to this study I wrote about a while ago that the key measure is satisfaction, not happiness (or that the key may be whether you are a married and intended parent).

And, okay, I do accept that it’s not for everyone, but wow, am I a big proponent of parenthood (at least within a stable, preferably married relationship).  Far and away the most awesome thing in my life and something I’m grateful for even on the days when I’m cleaning up vomit and calling in my Ipad warranty.  (And in the event she’s reading this– it certainly helps to have the right partner for this crazy adventure).

Oh, and lastly.  I was telling David yesterday about how in many cultures one is officially a “man” at 13 and how if we were Jewish he’d be having a Bar Mitzvah.  Reminded me of a classic Seinfeld moment:

%d bloggers like this: