What If Romney Wins?

As I’ve made my presidential endorsement and my prediction as to how next Tuesday’s election will go, it’s clear to see that I both want and expect Barack Obama to win a second term as president. But what if I’m wrong, and what if I don’t get my way? What if I wake up on Wednesday morning in a world where Mitt Romney is the President-Elect of the United States of America? How will I feel about it and how will it affect me personally?

Well, I won’t feel great about it, of course. No one really likes it when their presidential candidate of choice doesn’t win the election. Up to this point I’ve had that happen 50% of the time I’ve voted for a president. I don’t really remember liking it any of those times. The time I felt the most sanguine about it, actually, was in 2000, when I thought George W. Bush might actually be the sort of moderate fellow he’d advertised himself as during the campaign. Look where that got me. But in each case, the “feeling somewhat depressed about my presidential candidate getting the thumbs down” phase lasted about a week. I figure there’s no point in marinating in it after that. There’s too much to do.

As for how it will affect me personally: Guys, I’m a white, heterosexually-paired, well-off dude. I’m on the right side of the divide, for various definitions of “right,” many deeply ironic. The GOP is going to go out of its way to make sure nothing bad ever happens to me. If Romney gets his way, I’ll be getting a tax cut, so my already historically-low federal tax burden will get even lighter. Being well-off I don’t use a whole lot of obvious federal government services, so on a day-to-day basis I wouldn’t notice any immediate change. Likewise I am well-positioned to take short-term advantage of any relaxed financial regulations the new president is likely to attempt to enact. Basically, in the short term at least, there’s not much downside to a Romney presidency for me.

Also, I’m not going to lie to you: if Romney becomes president, I’m going to take advantage of every single break he would give me, because the long-term effects of his intended social and economic plans are, in my opinion, largely ruinous. I would be stupid not to insulate myself and my family as much as possible against the day when that bill comes due. Sure, I’ll give to charity and all that; I do already. I don’t pretend that giving to charity has the same systematic benefit as paying taxes.

(Now, this is the part where the fatuous would say “you could always pay more to the government if you want!” Sorry, no. Say there’s a dam that’s been built, for which I am willing to pay my share of its upkeep but not enough others are. When that dam is cracking all across its surface, I’m not going to listen to the idiot who didn’t pay for upkeep screaming “stick your finger in that one tiny hole!” while he’s running for higher ground as fast as he can. I’m going to already be on that higher ground, watching him try to outrun the deluge.)

Bear in mind that Romney getting to enact the more dam-cracking aspects of his proposed agenda is contingent on the GOP winning back the Senate, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s already told Romney he can forget trying to get most of his proposed agenda past the upper house. On one hand, the polls tell us that the GOP taking the Senate is unlikely. On the other hand, the polls also tell us that Romney winning is unlikely as well. If I’m willing to assume the polls on Romney are wrong, I should also be able to believe that they’re possibly wrong on the Senate front as well. So if Romney wins, I suspect a better than even chance on the Senate going GOP. In which case Romney should have no problem passing the more reactionary aspects of his agenda and/or the GOP should have no problem getting the President to sign his name on their most reactionary bills. In which case, again: Lucky for me I’m a white, well-off, heterosexually-paired-off dude.

If Romney wins but the Senate stays in Democratic hands then what we’ll have is a right-leaning version of the status quo, in which Romney uses his executive power to neutralize as much as possible the things he can’t get Congress to change, and starts working on the 2014 mid-term elections. From my personal political point of view, this is about as optimal as it’s going to get under a Romney presidency, although it might mean I forego a tax cut or two. Or maybe not, as the congressional Democrats seem to be spineless about tax cuts for the well-off.

So, again: Personally speaking, as political matters go, I’ll be just fine under Romney, just as I’m likely to be fine under any GOP presidency. The GOP sees me at its kind of people — or at the very least, I get swept along as collateral under its definition of what “its kind of people” is. After the sting of not having my guy win, I’ll be chugging along nicely. So don’t you worry about me.

But if you’re not like me — white, well-off, male and heterosexually-paired — you might worry about yourself.

241 thoughts on “What If Romney Wins?

  1. I’d add, if you’re in the military, you might have additional worries about a Romney presidency and the executive powers for war. (Though I think the military largely skews non-well-off these days, so maybe that’s implicit in your read of the situation.)

  2. Typo watch: 7th para, “this is about as optional..” Should that be optimal?

    I think you’re right about the effects, depending somewhat on which Mitt Romney we get. My worry is that regardless of who’s President, I can’t see a way this reigns in the current extreme tendencies dominating the Republican party. And without that I can’t see a way the US polity gets healthier. (and as America goes, so goes the world. For now).

  3. I think if Obama wins the economy will continue its slow, steady uptick (barring a Eurozone collapse or China’s bubble bursting), but if Romney gets in and begins doing what he claims he will do, the economy will tank again, likely hitting recession by the second or third year of his term.

  4. Personally, I’m in much the same boat in that not a whole lot will change for me. That being said, a goodly number of the people I care about are not in that boat and run a much greater risk of drowning. I might not be too worried about myself, but I am greatly concerned for them. Especially so for my female friends and their rights to, you know, control their bodies.

  5. Wife and I are right at the sweet point for tax changes, on either side, to hit us in the pocket book. We’re making enough that we’ll still get by but things will be tight. As for my extended family, they’re going to be hurting if Romney gets in.

  6. There is a crisis heading our way on a federal level due to hospital cuts, and we’re about 3-5 years and 1 major health crisis away from mass casualties. I mean deaths in the thousands. I mean a health crisis equivalent of Sandy.

    So that said, 4 years of Romney/Ryan could potentially enable that crisis. I’m not even sure that 4 years of Obama can, but having the poor not use ERs as urgent care clinics because they have insurance will at least slow things down until someone can find a solution. The Romney/Ryan ticket will press down the accelerator on what’s happening in hospitals right now.

    That has the potential to affect everyone. Not just the poor, though they will be hit the worst. It’s like, oh, say, not building flood infrastructure because lowering taxes on the wealthy is more important, and you’d have to raise taxes to build flood infrastructure.

  7. “because the long-term effects of his intended social and economic plans are, in my opinion, largely ruinous. I would be stupid not to insulate myself and my family as much as possible against the day when that bill comes due. ”

    I could have written that…

    about the President.

  8. John, I’m sorry to read that you’ve written the polite long-form of, “I’ll get mine. Screw you.”

    The real question is, considering what you’ve said previously, what are you going to do for your neighbors – the ones that aren’t well-off, or white, or male – if the GOP sweeps into power.

    I’m probably reading this within my own experiences. In 2004, as a white, married, well-off male, I was interviewed by the local Gannett rag about if I was better off now than in 2000. I went on a 10 minute tirade about how I was better off because I had gotten married, was working a salaried job, and had won custody of my son; I was not better off because of the Bush administration. The Bush administration was in fact watching employers move their middle-class labor forces overseas in a great rush and not doing a goddamn thing about it. The Bush administration was knee-deep in Afghanistan and was so horny to dick Iraq over that they showed the boner off on TV.

    What got published: “I’m a heck of a lot better off”.

    I couldn’t have been any more embarrassed.

    So, yeah, I’ll probably be okay if Romney and the GOP are elected. But I’ll be working against invading or bombing Iran, getting entangled in Syria, keeping the social safety net from being completely destroyed, lobbying for the millionaires to be fairly taxed, keeping all citizens enfranchised (not just the ‘right ones’), and women’s rights.

  9. I’ve long been in favor of improving the healthcare safety net in this country. Today, with family members who have pre-existing medical conditions, I find that the results of this election could affect me personally. If Romney wins I don’t see significant improvements in our healthcare system happening within my lifetime.

  10. On Facebook there’s a page titled: “We survived Bush, you’ll survive Obama.” My guess is if Romney should win, although I’m not entirely optimistic about the sentiment, somebody will create one that says, “We survived Obama, you’ll survive Romney.”

  11. idiosyncratic:

    “John, I’m sorry to read that you’ve written the polite long-form of, ‘I’ll get mine. Screw you.'”

    Well, no. What I’ve written is the polite long form of “I’ll be fine because the system will be biased in my favor. You may not be so lucky.”

    I think anyone who believes that my reaction to being the beneficiary of systematic bias is to be complacent and suggest that as long as I’ve got mine, everything’s cool and too bad for you, should probably go back through the archives and see whether or not that was my position through the Bush years.

  12. Scalzi: I don’t see where you cover what you’re going to do about the apocalypse if Romney wins. The Mayans will have been wrong about the dates by -.002%. And we’re all gonna have to buddy up to renegade limo drivers and head for Nepal, of all places. I’m also told the dead will be walking.

  13. Mark,

    Whether or not we’ve survived Obama is still an open question regardless if he is re-elected. If he is not, surviving Obama will largely depend on whether or not we can manage to erase the debt he’s incurred and what it will take to do that.

  14. I think the longest term negative impact of a Romney Presidency will be changes to the federal judiciary. TPM did a write-up on this last week, but it’s been on my mind for a while. The next President will probably get to select at least two Supreme Court justices, most likely due to retirements (or deaths) from the left wing of the Court.

    Regardless of the composition of the Senate, Romney will get through Justices that are substantially to the right of those being replaced. We might not get a Bork like figure, but another Justice in the mold of Alito or Roberts would be devastating to the modern regulatory state. I also think that civil libertarians who can’t stomach supporting Obama because of Gitmo/ drone strikes/ etc should seriously consider what a Romney influenced Court would do on those issues.

    All of this is to say nothing of the massive lower court appointments that would almost certainly go through. The incredibly influential DC Circuit (which has jurisdiction on most federal regulatory programs) was slammed far rightward by Pres. Bush, and due to Republican machinations has had many vacancies go unfilled under Obama. The court is already at the docket breaking point, so more retirements will force the Senate’s hand on more confirmations.

  15. Some of us females might not be so lucky to escape relatively unscathed. I’m a little protective of my lady parts and personal autonomy. I haven’t even entertained the notion of Romney winning, because I can’t bear the thought. I don’t think he is personally as extreme as he has been acting LATELY, but his weak minded and unprincipled flip-flopping shows that he will be quite malleable in the hands of the neocons and corporatists.

  16. If Romney wins, the important thing to remember is that Spam has it’s own key.

    And if Romney loses, it certainly won’t be Jon Husted’s fault. He’s certainly doing everything he can to help.

  17. @idiosynchronic, I read it as: I’ve got mine. I put in my vote to help out but it’s only one vote.
    John Scalzi can in fact change the world but not by himself and he won’t always succeed.
    I’ve got manufacturing job of the future skills where there have been job openings throughout the recession. I will probably do OK. I am worried that my buddies still in the Army will have to fight a war against Iran. I know he said it was the last option but he also dismissed the other options as not working and used a general tone of belligerence that could fracture the alliance required to keep the most comprehensive sanctions in history in place.

  18. As someone not in America I think Romney will be bad for me because a victory for him will make my own right wing leader bolder in his own approach and just recently he’s been very weak on almost all of his positions. A win for Romney in the US will make him feel bolder in his right-wing decisions and rampant deregulation as well as letting his own anti-women/gay/etc wingnuts feel they can make more demands. A win for Obama won’t really do anything for me, as a non-American, but a win for your Romney could seriously damage my own living standards and lifestyle due to its knock-on effect. A Romney win would have unpleasant effects worldwide.

  19. surviving Obama will largely depend on whether or not we can manage to erase the debt he’s incurred and what it will take to do that.

    Unless he had a time machine and a George W Bush disguise, this doesn’t make sense. The debt that Obama has “incurred” is almost entirely fallout from the Bush tax cuts and the two wars.

  20. > But in each case, the “feeling somewhat depressed about my presidential candidate getting the thumbs down” phase lasted about a week. I figure there’s no point in marinating in it after that.

    I can generally get behind that.

    The one exception, for me, was in 2008; it took me a long time to get over the passage of Proposition 8.

  21. I can honestly say that I am way better off now than I was four years ago. Four years ago, I was living paycheck to paycheck as a waitress, now I have a full-time job with benefits. But I have real worries if Romney wins. Two really stand out. First, I’m a single woman so I’m not thrilled about attacks on my personal autonomy. Second, I work in the non-profit world, so if we have another downturn, my org could be really hurting, especially since we serve a lot of low-income people and get paid through Medicaid.

    That said, I’ll be okay, even if I lose my job. I have family, I’m lucky. But “okay” doesn’t save for retirement. “Okay” doesn’t pay for health insurance. I really don’t want to go back to that; it wasn’t fun.

  22. I’m a very light shade of brown, I’m not white. And you won’t be okay if Little Mitchel Romney wins because people like him keep finding ways to separate the people from them who do not fit into their agenda. I understand exactly what you said, and why you said it(from my point of view), and I will not fault you on trying to be positive. Let’s just be grateful when this kind of talk stops being so fatalistic.

  23. John, there’s one way in which you’re on the wrong side of the divide: you have a kid, and thus a stake in the future. A Romney win puts anyone in that group at a distinct disadvantage.

  24. As I have friends and family who are already living close to the edge, I am genuinely frightened at the prospect of Romney winning… Frightened for the lives of all the people the Republicans would screw over, and also frightened at how some of them might lash out when the excrement hits the fan. People are starting to get desperate.

  25. John – sure you have it OK now but another 8 years like ’00-’08 and you may have it a bit too good. You may have to invest in some brass and lead because the odds are that you will need to defend what you have. Once the teabaggers have taken their hostility out on the blacks and Hispanics and there is no road ahead there it may dawn on them that it was “Barzini all along” and come gunning for anyone who has had it better than them. “Not my fault” isn’t going to appease them. All the guns & ammo they have been storing up because they have been convinced – contrary to all actual evidence – that Obama is coming for their guns and all that practice for the zombie apocalypse may give them the idea that there are ways to achieve what they have been denied

  26. Hi John,

    Though in my gut I’m more terrified of Willard (the rat) Romney, yeah I can only stomach the man if I see him as a masked mysterious wrestler from places unknown ala the eighties WWF, I pretty much expect that the actual next four years will be mostly indistinguishable when we look back. Barak achieved little if anything in the last four years that I had hoped for like single payer health care, regulating wall street,closing Guantanamo, legislating the right of gays to marry, ending two pointless and costly wars and ending the untenable Bush era tax cuts for the very rich.

    My fears are for things that effect me little. I fear the end of choice for women in regards to their bodies, Im a man. I fear another pointless military action but seeing as Im nearing 50 its effects on me might be little. I fear what they might do to immigration law and to people not so white as myself. And the one that will hit me personally what new taxes they will put upon the working class….

    Im frankly again terrified of the next four years if the white man gets in but the power base behind both is the same…..

    I’m going to go cower in a corner…

  27. BTW, if any conservatives here can come up with recoveries that didn’t involve either stimulus, higher taxes, or a combination of the two, you’re welcome to post them.

  28. I’ve been joking with my friends — “joking,” rather — about what I’m going to do when the radical right-wing nut jobs take power and decide that women aren’t allowed to own property anymore: do I hire a beard or try to pass as male?

    So yeah, I’m a little bit afraid.

  29. A Romney win means that The Daily Show & The Cobert Report will be even more hilarious than they already are. Although, as I nom nom nom my popcorn while watching, I’ll probably notice it being a little soggy from the tears falling into the bowl between the gut busting laughs.

  30. This is why I suck as a writer – both responses totally missed my point.

    There are 2 points-of-view: 1) I’m going to be fine, you may not be so lucky. (John) 2) I’m probably going to be fine, but I know you’re not, and I’m not okay with that. (me)

    Both are easily misconstrued into I’ll Be Fine, Screw You.

    Don’t let it happen.

  31. Mark,

    Whether or not we’ve survived Obama is still an open question regardless if he is re-elected. If he is not, surviving Obama will largely depend on whether or not we can manage to erase the debt he’s incurred and what it will take to do that.

    I was gonna come back with a nasty reply, but I honestly wish to know how it is you can believe this. Are you perhaps so young remembering more than a couple years is impossible? Have you been locked in a room with nothing but fox news to keep you company? What is the answer? I simply must know how you can remain so stubbornly ignorant of reality.

  32. The presidential candidates are more alike than they are different in every way that matters (ie in every way they have power to change things). Sure, one likes gay marriage and the other didn’t, but last election they were both against it. Does the president have any power to do anything about gay marriage one way or the other? No. One may be pro-choice and the other pro-life, but the president doesn’t have any power to affect abortion. For foreign policy, they both seem to like expanding US power and enforcing our will on other countries with force and supporting regimes to take out those we disagree with, and assassinating with drone strikes anyone they like, national sovereignty be damned. Terrorism is a convenient excuse.

    As you suggest, the congress is what matters. Why people seem to think the president is a king (and believe his personal views matter for more than some tiny subset of issues) is beyond me.

  33. “I’m going to already be on that higher ground, watching him try to outrun the deluge.”

    Does this mean the Scalzi clan is heading to the True North Strong and Free? Canada’s fast-tracking permanent resident applications now for young, college-educated English and/or French speakers!

    If Romney wins, I don’t think there’s going to be a high enough spot to sit out the deluge in the USA.

    If Obama gets another four years, and someone decent and sensible gets to take over after him, there may be a way to channel the coming flood (which includes the deficit and the imminent retirement/decrepitude of the boomers, among many other huge problems), but the US still is in deep, deep trouble.

  34. Genufett,

    Both Kennedy and Reagan knew how to do a stimulus. Johnson and Carter didn’t. Even Bus ’43 put on a better stimulus than Obama.

    Obama’s idea of a stimulus was to tell his Democratic majority to go spend a bunch of money. No vision. No leadership. No goal. Just spend money. Then he went about doing other stuff.

    We need someone to herd the cats that is Congress. There needs to be a vision and there needs to be presidential engagement in the process. Without it the cats just go feral. Especially the famously raucous democratic cats.

    My biggest problem with Obama is not really his politics, which I don’t agree with surely but I disagree with lots of people on politics. No my biggest problem with Obama is his lack of leadership which I believe to be mostly because he hasn’t got a clue as to how the levers of power work. In fact it seems to me he has yet to find the Start button.

    He wasn’t qualified for the job in ’08 and he’s still unqualified for the job.

  35. Yeah, I’m effing terrified, me.

    I have a metric butt-ton of privilege on the economic and social fronts, but none of it’s going to save me from a Supreme Court that thinks that rape is God’s way of telling me to get back in the kitchen. Or from a president who doesn’t think I deserve the life-changing benefits Obamacare has already brought me.

  36. Obama’s idea of a stimulus was to tell his Democratic majority to go spend a bunch of money. No vision. No leadership. No goal. Just spend money. Then he went about doing other stuff.

    $288 billion in tax cuts.
    $224 billion in extended unemployment benefits, education and health care.
    $275 billion for job creation using federal contracts, grants and loans.

    Being deliberately ignorant is no way to go through life son.

  37. Both Kennedy and Reagan knew how to do a stimulus. Johnson and Carter didn’t. Even Bus ’43 put on a better stimulus than Obama.

    Proof, please. What stimulus efforts did Kennedy and Reagan undertake, or for that matter Johnson and Carter and Bush I? How were they more effective.

    Obama’s idea of a stimulus was to tell his Democratic majority to go spend a bunch of money. No vision. No leadership. No goal. Just spend money. Then he went about doing other stuff.

    As someone who has to work with people in charge of how and where to spend a good portion of ARRA funds, I can tell you firsthand that this is false, but then again anyone who’s bothered to read either the act itself or it’s provisions can tell you this is yet another demonstrably false statement. Hell, anyone with access to Wikipedia can tell you that.

    We need someone to herd the cats that is Congress. There needs to be a vision and there needs to be presidential engagement in the process. Without it the cats just go feral. Especially the famously raucous democratic cats.

    The ones who worked with Bush in 2001 and 2003 to help pass tax cuts and approve the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? BTW, Democrats didn’t go in front of the cameras just after Bush won and say that they intended to make him a one-term President, but the Senate GOP leader did. They didn’t even wait until the inauguration was held before holding a meeting of the House and Senate GOP leaders to agree to deny any efforts to work with Obama, a meeting attended by the current candidate for VP. That same VP candidate also voted against the bipartisan financial study (Simpson-Bowles) he said he would work with Obama to put together.

    My biggest problem with Obama is not really his politics, which I don’t agree with surely but I disagree with lots of people on politics. No my biggest problem with Obama is his lack of leadership which I believe to be mostly because he hasn’t got a clue as to how the levers of power work. In fact it seems to me he has yet to find the Start button.

    Well, judging by your declarative statements, you may want to go back and do some research on what’s actually happened, because you’re coming from a position of either an enormous misunderstanding or stubborn tribalism.

  38. I don’t care what economic class you may be in, the recession in 2008 hurt. Many, such as myself, strongly believe that “he who will not be named” directly caused that recession and the policies of that administration have resulted in a massive budget deficit that has tied Obama’s hands on fixing the problem more than just about anything else. That recession hurt ordinary people the most, but it also hurt many of the Republican prime constituency who saw their stocks drop in half, who no longer get any reasonable return on investments, who’s businesses that made them rich suddenly tanked, who’s salary was cut or increased at an anemic rate.

    I benefited from the Bush tax cuts, but I really think I would be so much better off paying the higher Clinton tax rates because I’m sure any other president would have been better for the economy, I would be making a lot more money right now, and the country would be in a much sounder fiscal state. Yes, you may get tax benefits from a Romney administration, but will that net gain offset what a new European-style-austerity recession may do to book sales? Will even the big-money Romney supporters be better off with their tax benefits if their corporations and investments are again struggling to survive in a down economy?

    And, there is well-being beyond the fiscal that directly impacts even well-to-do white men. If crime increases due to more poverty and a decreased safety net, could that impact you or your family? Is scientific research important to the future for your children? Is education? What about the potential for health care companies to regain the ability to drop you from their policy should they decide you are a poor risk for them.

    Then, there is the debt that so many are concerned about. I really do believe we are headed for a debt crisis. I also believe that Romney will bring it on much quicker. Ask this simple question: how many Republican presidents in the last fifty years have decreased the budget deficit during their time in office? The answer? Zero. Not one of them. Meanwhile, only Kennedy actually increased the budget deficit. Yes, Obama has decreased the deficit, not increased it.

  39. Even if the Senate gets a Republican majority, which I don’t think will happen, it won’t get a Republican supermajority, so the Democrats may be able to scuttle some of the worst Republican laws passed by the House, just as they are doing today. The Supreme Court will probably get more conservative and more corporation friendly. The social safety net will get less effective. We’ll see more environmental problems as the Republican administration will ignore or eliminate environmental regulations they view as anti-business. I’ll probably do fine, I’m not in the bottom 47%, although I’m not in the top 10% either.

  40. You finally touched on it in the 6th paragraph of your post. Congress is the key. The President can’t do anything but guide Congress with his objectives. Even Obama, with a Democrat majority in both the House and Senate, couldn’t get his agenda passed during his first two years.

    What we really need to fear is partisan politics with the sequestration law poised to go into effect in January. I predict that regardless of who we elect on Tuesday the opposite party will stall and allow sequestration.

  41. Very surprising how you and most commenters overlooked completely how the impact of 2+ supremes dwarfs other potential Rombot effects in setbacks to our progress as a society and the duration of those effects.

  42. If Romney wins but the Senate stays in Democratic hands then what we’ll have is a right-leaning version of the status quo…

    Sorry John, I agree with DC Spartan. What’s at stake here is nothing less than the next 25-30 years. If Romney gets to add two more conservative justices to the SC, the damage will be enormous. I’m quite confident you can ride things out, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts regarding the future being left for Athena in that case. Off the top of my head, severe curtailing of women’s right, total abandonment of any and all environmental issues, and the elevation of rights of the corporation over the rights of the people. All as the Founders intended of course.

  43. We need someone to herd the cats that is Congress. There needs to be a vision and there needs to be presidential engagement in the process. Without it the cats just go feral.

    Ah, someone who ascribes to the Green Lantern theory of domestic politics: a leader with enough will can accomplish anything!

    Sorry but no, that’s not how our system works. Congress is filled with people who have actual policy preferences and interests — things they’re not willing to cede just because of “presidential engagement.” As noted elsewhere, the current House majority (and Senate minority with filibuster power) decided their primary interest was to undermine anything the President sought to accomplish. I’m at a loss to see how you think engagement could have changed that.

  44. I’m just a little over half white and with a Spanish surname. The culture I grew up in is distinctly old world where families and the inter-relationship of families is more important (and sometimes more powerful) than government. This culture is more socialistic in nature than in the continental USA, though that could be partially explained by a strong Roman Catholic element. What this comes down to is that I’m somewhat uncomfortable living in the continental USA as it is. It’s so … legal, almost as an excuse to de-emphasizing ethos. At least that’s the way I feel about it oftentimes (Sorry, I know. A whole lot of stuff about ‘me’, but thought it was important to help explaining the rest).

    Should Romney win, this place will become more uncomfortable still. Besides the possibility of a racial element, the idea of a society more divorced from community than at present is unsettling. My own culture places a lot of importance on respecting and relating to people on their familial backgrounds. Families are not only parents and siblings, but cousins, aunts and uncles by several degrees. We know where we come from and how we relate to one another. Because of that, we share a heritage that is very tangible and personal. All the laws in the world can’t break those bonds. It’s a powerful and empowering feeling for an individual resulting from a deep network of support.

    Romney is of a conservative American element which favors pecuniary freedom at the expense of fairness and stability. He talks of religion but identifies with a religion not my own. He and others of his party want to impose their religious values upon me and enforce it with the power of law. This is a precarious precedent for a country that has marginalized the structure of community and family. Where does one go when such things become law? A court of law? One doesn’t want to lay the groundwork for what could later be claimed as tradition and precedence. Not in a country as deeply dependent on law as the USA.

    There is no community to this man, only the grooming of a confused politician by a group more concerned with power than people. To have such a person as leader of a country that holds diminished value to community would be very unfortunate. That it is the USA means the world as a whole will be the lesser for it.

  45. Genufett,

    Kennedy had the space program, Reagan the military buildup. Either of these would have been more effective then the one passed by democrats in the 111th Congress.

    Davis,

    The president has to set policy goals and work with both democrat and republican leaders on an on-going and regular basis to help craft legislation that is in line with his goals while allowing the opposing party to accomplish at least some of theirs. Reagan did this well as did Clinton.

    Our self-declared post-partisan president utterly failed. But then again he really never tried.

  46. Our self-declared post-partisan president

    It’s extremely hard to be a post-partisan President when the other side declares–as Mitch McConnell famously did–that the GOP’s goal for the next four years was to make Obama a one-term President. Obama’s problem was not not reaching out to the GOP too little, but too much.

  47. Our self-declared post-partisan president utterly failed. But then again he really never tried.

    Almost 1000 bills couldn’t get past the house. A house who came right out and said ” we wont work with this president” During the debt ceiling crisis some even suggested it would be better to let the country burn than work with him, but you of course see it as “hes not a good leader derp derp derp”

  48. Vague disclaimer: I wanted to comment to Scalzi’s post, not other comments, first, so I haven’t read the thread, yet. K? K! That said…

    I am not a het white male, and my household is sturdily middle-class by the real definition, not Romney’s. (I would LOVE to have triple my current household income, but alas, no. If wishes were horses, well, maybe I would have had one in the Olympics.) I’m also in a strongly blue state, though, so while things could get a bit rocky (again), we’ll pull through. We (my partner and I) survived two terms of Bush II, and the two layoffs off Bush II; we weren’t rounded up, raped, and forced to bear future GOP operatives; and praying to Jesus in the public square didn’t become mandatory. Organic foods and lattes were likewise not outlawed, NPR and PBS stayed on the air, the libraries didn’t close.

    If Romney wins, I will not be a happy camper, but I’m not going to throw myself off of any bridges, either. I may have to make certain changes in my lifestyle. We would probably end up having to sell our house, in the worst case scenario, but being unemployed for a long stretch taught me how to squeeze a dollar until it begs for mercy, how to shop and barter on the black market, and how to get work on the grey market. That’s probably not what conservatives intend with their policies, but that’s what happens when folks are desperate, and frankly, ruthless. I’ve noticed that I don’t have much of a “conscience” when starvation and homelessness are staring me right in the peepers.

    The worst result of a possible Romney presidency, imo, is that the US goes back 12 years, politically, and I have to relive it, but as a person 12 years older, 12 years less resilient, with less of a cushion, because it was exhausted the last time and we are only starting to recover. I worry about this, a lot.

  49. Kennedy had the space program, Reagan the military buildup.

    Not sure how those count as stimulus, or if so how they differ from that of the current stimulus. And of course, the current GOP thinks that most scientific spending, especially that of the space program, is wasteful and wouldn’t agree to higher funds in non-ARRA budgets.

    Either of these would have been more effective then the one passed by democrats in the 111th Congress.

    How, exactly? Are you just saying this or do you have objective descriptions and other proof of effectiveness?

    The president has to set policy goals and work with both democrat and republican leaders on an on-going and regular basis to help craft legislation that is in line with his goals while allowing the opposing party to accomplish at least some of theirs. Reagan did this well as did Clinton.

    Our self-declared post-partisan president utterly failed. But then again he really never tried.

    His healthcare plan is virtually identical to the GOP version from the mid-1990s, including the individual mandate. He agreed to cuts in domestic spending via both the Simpson-Bowles plan (scuttled by Ryan et al) and the sequestration. He extended the Bush tax cuts (twice!) because the GOP wouldn’t agree to budgets without it. He agreed to a surge in Afghanistan when it was asked for.

    And yet when he wanted to pass a simple bill for equal pay for women (Lily Ledbetter), the GOP tried to block it. When he wanted to protect gays and lesbians from violent hate crimes (Shepard), the GOP tried to block it. When he tried to regulate Wall Street (Dodd-Frank), the GOP tried to block it. When he tried to reauthorize a bill to prevent domestic violence (VAWA) that had unanimous support under Bush and Clinton, the GOP blocked it (and continues to do so) because it protects gays. When he proposed an American Jobs Act that was deficit-neutral and already paid for by existing funds, the GOP refused to even bring it to a debate.

    How, again, did he not try to be bipartisan?

  50. History tells me, I’ll be ok, if Romney wins. Just like I was ok when Reagan, and Bush and Bush, Jr. won. My gut says that the current powers-that-be in the Republican party will make it very hard for me, indeed. I’m white, but a homosexually-paired female which doesn’t feel very safe right now. Not least of this is the fact that I have no idea who Romney really is. He has been working so hard to remake himself toward the center, after having remade himself to the right, after having remade himself to left of center, that I am totally unable to guess where his true politics lie or whether he will be able to stand up for what he does believe in the face of opposition from within his party (and there is room for that within the Republican Party). I fear that a Romney win will make the extremists on the right feel that they have the power to do whatever they want. I foresee the remaking of the Supreme Court and the inevitable repeal of rights for gays, people of color and women. Not because the extremists are a majority or even a majority of the right. But because they will think they are and they will have a puppet to make it happen.

  51. Either of these would have been more effective then the one passed by democrats in the 111th Congress.

    The President wanted to pass a bigger stimulus; the Republicans (and, admittedly, some Democrats) refused. I think that insasmuch as the stimulus failed–and it didn’t fail, the economists agree that without it we would be in a full-on depression, instead of on a slow recovery–it did so because it didn’t include enough infrastructure work. It was the perfect opportunity to repair or rebuild all those bridges, dams, and roadways that are in such poor condition. And some of that did get done, but not enough.

    But then again he really never tried.

    I recall quite clearly hearing about many hours of meetings, again and again, between the White House and GOP members of the House, addressing financial issues and health care. And at almost every turn, the GOP dug their heels in and said “Don’t wanna!” rather than be seen by their constituents as playing nice with the uncomfortably-brown guy in the White House. Mitch McConnell announced as soon as Obama was sworn in that the GOP’s primary goal was to make Obama a one-term president, rather than to save the economy and secure the future of the American people.

    In those circumstances, I fail to see what Obama could have been expected to do. There’s only so many times you can reach across the table and have someone spit on your hand, before you stop reaching. The people he was reaching out to are the same people who are calling him “UnAmerican,” who claim that offering respect to foreign leaders is “an apology tour”, who make stupid allegations about “death panels”.

    I don’t lay all the blame for this on Obama, mind: the Congressional Democrats were running scared, as much as the moderate Republicans, terrified of the foam-flecked rantings of the Tea Party and their mouthpieces Beck, Limbaugh, and Palin. Nothing Obama proposed in the first two years of his Presidency would have been considered ojectionable to Republicans in the Reagan years, but because it came from Obama, they wouldn’t take the risk of agreeing with him, for fear of the backlash from their short-sighted and (somtimes) racist constituents.

    National politicians are supposed to look out for the people first, and their careers second. But I’ll be damned if I can think of anyone on the national stage who’s willing to do that, Obama included.

  52. For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been checking 538 every day, just so I can reassure myself Romney is not likely to win. The thought of him as president scares me more than McCain did 4 years ago.

    My oldest son turns 18 this month. I do not want to see him drafted into another useless war.

    As a woman, I can’t stand the thought of the GOP ruling over reproductive choices.

    Our taxes will go up under Obama, and that’s just FINE.

    We’ll be @ the polls when they open on Tuesday.

  53. If Romney gets in, and then announces that as part of the energy production aspect of his vaunted five-point plan he will seek to abolish the EPA, I wouldn’t be surprised. Such a position would please all his constituents – he’d be the Great Deregulator.

    How many here are old enough to remember the first Earth Day in April 1970 and the conditions that led up to it? Or recall the poisonous exhaust fumes from pre-emissions-control cars?

    (How left-wing the Nixon administration, which created the EPA, must seem to present-day Republicans.)

  54. Reagan did this well as did Clinton.

    Oh, I almost forgot about this. If Clinton was a paragon of bipartisanship as you claim, then by all means explain how “bipartisan” the GOP impeachment hearings and blocking of healthcare in the 1990s was.

  55. Genufett,
    They count as stimulus because they both stimulated the economy through government spending. In both cases the directly and indirectly supported the hiring of thousands of high-paying jobs in science and engineering which in turn supported tens of thousands of support jobs in manufacturing. Then there is the added affect of all these people with job spending money in the service and hospitality industries and of course they bought cars and such.

    What’s more the technologies developed spun off to civilian use created more entirely private-sector companies and jobs. These spendings had long term economic effects as apprised to the short term effects of having a stimulus directly hiring government and construction workers. No spin offs. No secondary and tertiary effects. Nothing. Flat.

    And for the record minority leader McConnell made those comments in 2010 after it became clear to the Republican caucus that the President was not only clearly uninterested in working with Republicans but further was completely irresponsible with regards to his policies.

    It was not, as generally believed on the left, his position from the beginning of the presidents term.

  56. But if you’re not like me — white, well-off, male and heterosexually-paired — you might worry about yourself.

    Then again, Mister Scalzi, who’s actually going to be paying for that lovely tax cut? What’s really bemused me this election season is that Paul Ryan’s budget math doesn’t add up, unless a non-trivial number of “white, (reasonably) well-off, male heterosexually-paired” really don’t mind seeing Main Street burned to the ground to save Wall Street from the vile impertinence of paying any taxes whatsoever.

    Our self-declared post-partisan president utterly failed. But then again he really never tried.

    @coo1b1ue: Yeah, I mean, Obama’s a shit for not unilaterally dissolving Congress, shutting down the judiciary and acting like the Communist dictator the usual suspects accuse him of being. What a bastard.

    And it’s so adorable watching the party that loves to present itself as being all about personal responsibility refusing to take any such thing for Congressional Republican’s explicit, and oft repeated, strategy of obstruction all the way. Because when your default position is “fuck off”, it’s really the fault of the guy who makes concession after concession, keeps putting his hand out only to have it slapped away.

  57. How many here are old enough to remember the first Earth Day in April 1970 and the conditions that led up to it? Or recall the poisonous exhaust fumes from pre-emissions-control cars?

    I am worried about the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, and a host of other environmental laws. If Romney thinks he’s going to save jobs by de-regulating the environment, he has no idea how many state, federal, and local government employees, as well as thousands and thousands of private-sector biologists, engineers, hydrologists, geologists, planners, and analysts, work in the environmental field.

    I suspect that a massive rollback of federal environmental laws would result in a net loss of jobs.

    But my big fear is that Romney will nominate two more conservative justices to the Supreme Court, who will roll back the last century’s precedents which rely on the Commerce Clause to justify federal employment, civil rights, and environmental regulation.

  58. Genuflect,

    Believe what you want, but the fact is Clinton’s congresses were hugely more productive than Obama’s despite Clinton having the opposition in control of both houses for the majority of his presidency.

    And when Clinton passed big things like welfare reform, he had bipartisan support while Obama’s healthcare legislation had bipartisan opposition.

  59. coo1b1ue: I think you are conflating two different statements.

    On CNN’s Larry King on March 19, 2009, Mitt Romney said, “I want liberal policies to fail. I want him to fail in trying to put in place a health care plan that takes away the private sector from health care. I want him to fail in this cap and trade program as long as China and Brazil and Indonesia are not going to play in it. But I want him to succeed as a president, meaning, I want him to succeed in strengthening our economy, keeping us free, bringing our troops home in success from Iraq and Afghanistan. But I don’t want his liberal policies to succeed.”

    In a National Journal interview on Oct. 23, 2010, McConnell stated, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

    Neither of these statements were outliers. What they show is a consistency within the GOP leadership of intent and message from the beginning of Obama’s term, through the midterms, and demonstrably into the present.

  60. They count as stimulus [etc.]

    This is exactly what ARRA does.

    And for the record minority leader McConnell made those comments in 2010 after it became clear to the Republican caucus that the President was not only clearly uninterested in working with Republicans but further was completely irresponsible with regards to his policies.

    Timing is correct, but the sentiment of being obstructionist is not. Proof here.

    It was not, as generally believed on the left, his position from the beginning of the presidents term.

    Again, false. See article linked above. Also see votes on office confirmations that were held up by the GOP Senate that later passed unanimously.

    Believe what you want, but the fact is Clinton’s congresses were hugely more productive than Obama’s despite Clinton having the opposition in control of both houses for the majority of his presidency.

    Because they didn’t gum up the works nearly as much, to the tune of nearly twice as many filibusters under Obama as there were for Clinton. Proof here.

    And when Clinton passed big things like welfare reform, he had bipartisan support while Obama’s healthcare legislation had bipartisan opposition.

    Huh? Both laws had bipartisan support and bipartisan opposition. And like I said before, Obama’s healthcare legislation of 2010 was the GOP healthcare legislation of 1996. Up until at least 2006, John McCain, Orrin Hatch, Charles Grassley, Robert Bennett, and Chris Bond–all of whom were Senators during the Clinton years and voted against Obamacare–publicly supported health care reform that included an individual mandate.

  61. @coo1b1ue wrote:

    And when Clinton passed big things like welfare reform, he had bipartisan support while Obama’s healthcare legislation had bipartisan opposition.

    What you forget to mention there, is that “obstinate child” Obama’s healthcare legislation had concession after concession Newt Gingrich would have been insufferably pleased with himself to get out of Clinton and Congressional Democrats in the welfare reform legislation. But it’s still not good enough, is it?

    FFS, is it really that hard for the current GOP to own anything they do or say. I guess not when their standard bearer can’t tell the same lie the same way twice in a row.

  62. The president has to set policy goals and work with both democrat and republican leaders on an on-going and regular basis to help craft legislation that is in line with his goals while allowing the opposing party to accomplish at least some of theirs.

    Which is pretty much exactly what the President tried to do. As it turns out, the Republican bargaining position was “you’ll get nothing that you want.” Because this Republican majority has shown no interest in enacting any positive policy during Obama’s tenure (except for some of the reactionary social policies that the Tea Party was supposed to represent a departure from, or so we heard in 2010), there’s simply nothing to trade off. And there’s not much room for negotiation on important issues like taxation when the better part of the opposition has pre-committed, signing Grover Norquist’s ridiculous no-tax-increase pledge.

  63. Here’s an interesting question: If Romney wins, which Mitt do you think would show up to work on January 22nd? Moderate Mitt? Let’s Nuke Iran and Start A Trade War With China Before Balancing The Budget By Defunding FEMA, PBS and Planned Parenthood Mitt? Malibu Bikini Beach Party Mitt? Who?

  64. Davis

    I am pretty sure the President had a position of strength when he held both the House and the Senate, and what did he choose to do, with a major piece of legislation? Did he choose to work with the minority party and pass a piece of bi-partisan legislation? No, he basically told them to go “sit in the back” and that he had “won”, but still barely got it passed, with a lot of tax payer money bribery. This President is incredibly partisan and polarizing and as they say what goes around comes around; so whats the problem?

  65. Paul, that’d why he bent over backwards to constantly negotiate with the Republicans on the healthcare law, right, even as they kept negotiating in bad faith (“make this one change, we’ll vote yes. No, wait, now you have to make another change.” etc.)? Why they ended up with essentially the ’90s Republican healthcare idea, and the one that Romney implemented in MA?

    You’re entitled to your opinions, but not your own facts – that’s called “lying” and is contemptible.

  66. I am pretty sure the President had a position of strength when he held both the House and the Senate, and what did he choose to do, with a major piece of legislation? Did he choose to work with the minority party and pass a piece of bi-partisan legislation? No, he basically told them to go “sit in the back” and that he had “won”

    Yet more demonstrably false statements.

    but still barely got it passed, with a lot of tax payer money bribery.

    Gonna need some evidence on this one.

    This President is incredibly partisan and polarizing and as they say what goes around comes around; so whats the problem?

    Yeah, god forbid a Democrat tries to pass exactly what Republicans wanted to pass only a couple years before. How totally polarizing and partisan!

  67. @Genufett:

    Yeah, god forbid a Democrat tries to pass exactly what Republicans wanted to pass only a couple years before. How totally polarizing and partisan!

    And even if Obama was the ranting Marxist who got wood at the thought of smothering Sarah Palin’s granny with a pillow (or whatever gets Rush Limbaugh’s froth on today), I find it hard to get terribly upset by a duly elected President at least trying to advance the policy agenda he campaigned on. It’s infinitely preferable to ‘Multiple Choice’ Mitt who’s come down on every side of every issue, until I’m genuinely unsure who GOP folks think they’re voting for. As Andrew Sullivan puts it, in his fisking of David Frum’s truly bizarre Romney endorsement:

    The premise of his argument is that Romney is a liar of massive proportions whose campaign David accurately describes as “one long appeasement of the most selfish and stupid elements of the Republican coalition,” but who actually, in private, doesn’t believe a word of it. So not to worry. The “real” Romney will emerge – compassionate, moderate, practical and data-driven, as in Massachusetts – the day after he is elected.

    Some questions. First off, he worked in Massachusetts with an 85 percent Democratic legislature. That’s a guide to how he’d run the entire country with a Republican Congress? Not buying it. But secondly, if Frum is right, then Romney does not have the character to be president of the US. Someone who lies his way to the top will have no credibility with the American people and no mandate from his party. I do not believe we should elect a fathomless cynic to the White House. David’s argument for Romney is even worse than David Brooks': Brooks predicts that circumstances will force Romney into pragmatism. Frum simply says that nary a jot of what Romney said in the primaries is what he actually believes.

    Sullivan: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/11/case-romney.html
    Frum: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/11/01/why-i-ll-vote-for-romney.html

  68. My Very Sweet Boyfriend has, in the past, voted republican. When he and I were walking to the polls for early voting, I told him, I do not WANT to be a single-issue voter, but I am being FORCED to be a single-issue voter by the policies explicitly espoused by the republican party.

    Equal pay for equal work. Being able to get health care services and medication at a reasonable cost (note that the same people who scream about under-25 males being charged more for car insurance were quite okay with females paying up to 80% more for health insurance). Being in sole control of and having dominion over my body, which directly translates to controlling my fertility, which directly translates to my ability to decide what may or may not be in my uterus (fetus, IUD, or nothing at all). Living in a culture where rape, assault, abuse, sexual harassment, and gender discrimination is a real-world phenomenon that happens to real people and is dealt with seriously and with alacrity, and not either hush-hushed or dismissed by people with neither any concept of the consequences nor desire to understand them. Living in a world that is better than the one my mother grew up in, who as a nurse who started hospital work before 1973, had to care for the women with perforated uteruses and hold the hands of their family members after they died of massive infection or bleeding out.

    With Romney in the white house and the possibility of a republican senate (and certainty of a republican house), I’m going to assume that they will do exactly what is in their stated party platform, which would roll back many of the legal protections I have had all my life, back to the way they were when my mother was young. It’s a terrifying prospect. It really, really is.

    At the end of the day, I hope I managed to make clear to my VSB that this isn’t me being shrill; the official GOP policies (e.g. no abortions, no exceptions) are policies that are quite literally a life-and-death matter for me. At the end of the day, I’m afraid to ask him. At the end of the day, I’m not sure I want to know.

  69. @Kay, I don’t believe Romney has ever expressed interest in reinstating the draft, so unless you believe your son is likely to enlist, you shouldn’t have to worry about him. On the other hand, one must assume that with his stated aim to increase the military budget by a trillion (as opposed to the trillion drop if Obama is re-elected), there will be an increase in military deaths if the US is involved in more military campaigns in the middle east or elsewhere.

  70. What if Romney wins? What if he wins and does exactly what he says he’s going to do? Cuts taxes, limits spending, repeals Obamacare, fast-tracks the Keystone pipeline, increases drilling, stops massive cuts to the military, eliminates unnecessary regulations, and concentrates on doing everything to improve the horrible economy and crippling unemployment.

    My question for all of you people who have commented on how terrible it will be if he does all that is; what happens if he does it and things get better in this country? If he basically takes everything Obama did for the last four years and throws it out the window and things get better, what will you think?

    Say unemployment is around 5% in four years. The economy is rolling and no one is being “drafted” to fight in Iran. Civil liberties are at least as protected as they are now under the Drone War president. Health insurance premiums go DOWN. Abortion is still safe and legal. Everyone has access to all the contraception they want (although Catholic institutions may not have to pay for morning after pills just so Sandra Fluke can frolic like a mink without paying for her own care) Sesame Street is still thriving since it’s already a billion dollar industry, gas is down to $2.50/gallon and will stay there even if Iran does something stupid because we are drilling our own damn oil.

    What then? Will you admit you were wrong? Will you vote for him to have a second term? Just asking.

  71. @cool1blue: It’s funny that you are so much in favor of the Kennedy/Johnson space program and the Reagan military build-ups, but against the Obama EPA funding green energy initiatives, like funding wind generator farms (which have been paying back all of their loans), domestic solar energy (mixed record), domestic lithium battery (at least one bankruptcy). Personally, I’d rather see more support of domestic green energy development, because I guarantee that the Chinese and Koreans are not ignoring that. China has been systematically using government sponsored companies to stifle foreign competition of rare earth metal mining/refining (used in magnets any other high-tech uses) and solar energy. Solara mainly failed because of competition by the Chinese. To stay on topic, I fully expect Romney to kill the EPA and these initiatives, and ensure that the US loses any competitiveness in this area. It won’t hurt during his term, but 10-20 years from now, it will matter.

  72. Billy Quiets: To the answer to your question, see the 1984 election.

    It is relevant. Ronald Reagan was going to do a lot of things from your list of potential Romney actions. Some of them happened. A lot of them didn’t. (At the time, we were pretty sure he’d invade or nuke Iran. 32 years hasn’t changed much.) The economy got better and that was enough for most people when it came time to re-elect him. However, the left still hated him and probably always will.

  73. @Billy Quiets: I really fail to see why you want to see the portion of the Keystone pipeline built that will go over the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska. This aquifer provides water to 8 states. And the portion of the pipeline that goes from Cushing OK to Texas? It will be mostly used to send oil overseas. Transcanada had 14 major spills in another Keystone pipeline in the first year, and the Canadian government shut it down at least once. Every other pipeline the Canadian government shut down had been over 25 years old. Do you really want to risk that much to create a couple thousand jobs?

    I’ve seen reports that the housing market has finally started to recover, and that regardless of who becomes president, the next 4 years will probably have 12 million jobs created. Gas isn’t going to go down to $2.50 unless there’s a decrease the global economy. Oil is a fungible commodity, they’re not going to keep it domestic if they can sell it for 25% more overseas. Health insurance may be cheaper, but we’ll continue to have 15% or more of our citizenry uninsured.

    Abortion may still be safe and legal, but it certainly won’t be because the Republican leadership in the House and White House are trying to keep it that way. Ryan’s been trying to pass a constitutional amendment to ban abortions, I don’t see that effort diminishing under a Romney administration, but I doubt that it would ever get a 2/3rd majority in the Senate.

  74. Billy:

    That’s a ton of “ifs,” of which I can think of zero that have been borne out by historical precedent thus far. The last test we had of a supposedly centrist President who threw out most of his predecessor’s gains was the last guy, and I don’t think anyone can say he did a good job of it by any stretch of the imagination. Plus, you’re basically giving us contradictory hypotheticals vis-a-vis what he’s promising and what will happen when it comes to abortion/contraception. Which, BTW, it’s kind of telling that your attempt to reach across the aisle on those issues comes down to asking us to trust that he’s lied and/or changed his position multiple times.

    ANYWAY, while that makes your question hard to answer, if he’s managed to do everything you say and the world is a safer place, climate change hasn’t gone further out of control, more people have better health care with lower premiums, and the social safety net is just as available and effective as it is now, then that would make things very interesting. Again, since pretty much none of what you proposed has worked like that before, it would mean that roughly 80 years of policy magically changed to being relatively ineffective in the course of four years, and that changes the dynamic of economic and political activities for the foreseeable future.

    PS: Sandra Fluke’s conversations about birth control were regarding her classmate, who like millions of women needed it for health issues entirely separate from sexual activity, so please stop BSing that story.

  75. @billy – I’d love that to happen, but it’s not going to.

    – what massive cuts to the military, apart from sequestration, which isn’t going to happen? Why are we spending more on “defence” now to hunt a bunch of loonies with AK-47s than we spent to defeat the “evil empire” under Reagan? And “China” is not an answer, thanks.

    – US Healthcare costs have never gone down, and won’t go down – the US spends 16% of GDP on healthcare, compared to 8% in pretty much every other developed nation, and gets, on average, similar or slightly below outcomes, solely due to the clusterfcuk that is private health coverage.

    -Keystone – is solely to export Canadian oil to China, so won’t make any difference to the US oil prices, as that is a global market.

    -US already is the worlds’ third largest oil producer, at 8M barrels per day, but consumes 19M bpd. Oil independence is not. going. to. happen. Global market = global pricing. OPEC is happy where the price is, and that’s where it will stay, until Romney attacks Iran, when it will hit $250 per barrel and put the whole world into recession.

    – Tax cuts – we’ve seen this movie before, doesn’t create new jobs the last 4 times it was tried, maybe fifth time is a charm.

    -Abortion – being banned is a given, I’d expect a Republican lead personhood amendment to be passed within a year, then court cases to ban hormonal contraception and IUDs, as these are incompatible with personhood ideals, so no birth control and no abortions. It’s the GOP party position to ban abortion, without any exceptions.

  76. so Sandra Fluke can frolic like a mink without paying for her own care

    @BillyQuiets: Could you try making your point without re-writing history and sounding like Rush Limbaugh at his most noxious?

  77. @Billy Quinn, what if he does what he says, and pushes through legislation that makes abortion illegal? What if he does what his party platform says, and tries to push through personhood laws? What if certain very effective forms of birth control are outlawed, such as IUDs, because the prevailing pseudoscience that is part of the GOP platform says they might cause a fertilised egg to not implant? That’s his party platform, and I have every reason to believe that the same cohort of people elected by the republican party at the federal level would decide that they would follow that platform, just like the various state-level republican party members did between 2010 and now.

    What if Romney does what he says, and turns abortion legislation back to the states? Do we want the situation we had in 1971, when New York and California saw women who could afford it travelling up to 2,000 miles to get an abortion, and poor women either tried to self-abort or to find somebody to do it for them and wound up in the hospital? Why should a woman living in Mississippi have fewer legal options for her own health care than a woman living in Pennsylvania? Put in a more ugly way, why should a woman living in Mississippi have to go before a judge with a police statement to prove that she was raped, and have some judge determine whether or not she was “legitimately raped,” and have to relive all that trauma in intimate and gory detail over and over, just to rid herself of a rape pregnancy, but a woman in Pennsylvania can find a physician and end the pregnancy, no questions asked? Aren’t we equal citizens under the law?

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/tgr/06/1/gr060108.html

    What if Romney follows along with his party platform, and pushes through a “Conscience Clause” bill? The kind where an objecting medical practitioner can refuse to provide contraception? Like the bill that was voted down in the US Senate in March of this year? It’s easy to say, well, go find somebody else to give you your pills….which, as Sandra Fluke tried to point out and you gloss over, are medically indicated for MANY purposes other than preventing pregnancy, and in many cases are prescribed to protect the health of the woman taking them…..easy to find another provider if you’re in a big city and you have the money to go somewhere else. If you’re in a tiny town in south Louisiana? Better hope that somebody you know will drive you to Lafayette or New Orleans, or you can just sit there and suffer while your endometriosis makes your life miserable and makes your risk of cancer go up, or your PCOS wreaks havoc with your whole body, or what have you, because a licensed professional has decided that her or his personal (not professional–key distinction) opinion outranks the medical decisions of your health care provider.
    Source:

    http://www.rollcall.com/news/senate_votes_to_kill_birth_control_conscience_clause-212782-1.html

    I should note that I’ve never heard of the conscience clauses being invoked except where reproduction is concerned–either birth control, abortion, or stem cell research. Two of those three directly impact the lives and health of women.

    What if he does what he says and repeals the PPACA, and all of those under-26s (who were very hard hit in the recession) are booted off their parents’ insurance, and may or may not be able to afford it on their own? What about the people who have had serious injuries or illnesses and reached a maximum cap in coverage? Do we throw them to the side and let them suffer or not, or do we keep the high-risk pools introduced by the PPACA? (For the record, I think it is a GREAT idea to let cancer patients still be covered.) Do we throw out the part of the PPACA that made recissions illegal–when an insurance company would drop a high-cost patient for something irrelevant, like a paperwork error or not listing something like acne on a form, once they got really sick?

    What if he does what he says and pushes legislation that says the states, and not the US as a whole, are the ones who decide whether same-sex couples have visitation rights in hospitals? That was a law passed early in the Obama administration. Again, why should a lesbian mother in Florida be denied the right to see her dying life partner, and their children denied the right to see their mother, when the children of a pair of lesbian parents in New York can say goodbye? Aside from the question of are we equal under the law or aren’t we, the sheer cruelty of this position is breathtaking. It’s all the more so given it will be made under the guise of “family values.”
    Sources:

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/chrisgeidner/romney-campaign-backs-off-federal-marraige-amendme

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/how-hospitals-treat-same-sex-couples/

  78. cranapia: I’ve seen dozens of comments here about Republicans banning contraception. It’s ludicrous. From my perspective it started with an unqualified 30 year old “student” going before congress and claiming that everyone else should be paying for her and her fellow students’ contraception. Well, no thanks. And that isn’t what we are discussing here.

    If Romney wins, throws out everything Obama has done, and the economy surges etc., will you vote for him next time?

  79. @ Billy Quiets: Because of the business cycle, I assume that the economy is going to be in a better place in four years regardless of what a President Romney or a re-elected President Obama do. We can argue around the edges whether it would have been much better or whatnot, but things are improving and are likely to continue to improve.

    If a President Romney does the things you talk about, we’re going to suffer a lot of not easily quantifiable harms; a lot of those “unnecessary regulations,” particularly in the environmental arena, are correcting market failures that allow externalization of pollution. Those include short to medium term public health impacts as well as broader ecological damage due to climate change.

    So, to answer your question: No. I do not think that if the economy improves under a Romney Administration it will be because of his policies. I also won’t be attributing success to Obama, other than to note that the whole edifice didn’t collapse because of him.

  80. No, she said HER insurance, that SHE pays for should pay for HER contraception and that she shouldn’t have HER health choices held hostage to a bunch of medieval monks who don’t, you know, actually have sex. Unless it’s with children.

  81. I’ve seen dozens of comments here about Republicans banning contraception.

    No, what you’ve seen is dozens of comments about contraception not being covered by health plans, despite the fact that it’s widely prescribed for non-contraceptive uses.

    From my perspective it started with an unqualified 30 year old “student” going before congress and claiming that everyone else should be paying for her and her fellow students’ contraception.

    Which was a lie touted by Rush Limbaugh, and a particularly nasty one at that. If you can’t make your point without repeating said lie and engaging in name-calling/slut-shaming, then you’re being kind of nasty and childish.

    Well, no thanks. And that isn’t what we are discussing here.

    You brought up the thing about contraception and you’re the one repeating the lie that you heard on the radio. If you didn’t want to be discussing it, then maybe you shouldn’t have done those things.

  82. Billy: If, if, if, if… if Romney wins, the world turns upside down, and policies that failed for a decade somehow magically start raining gold bullion down on the populace, I will assume that I stroked out and am in a coma, spinning fairy stories in my brain.

    And if I had ever been tempted to take you seriously, your comment about Ms Fluke has cured me, and convinced me that you are trolling. Silly, false, slut-shaming, vulgar, and irrelevant.

  83. Carter was stuck with the tab for the Vietnam War. He had to name Volcker to hammer down Nixon’s inflation. Reagan’s “stimulus” was just the voodoo-economics hoax that reducing revenue would increase revenue, which was simply stealing from the next generation. Republicans are weirdly anti-Keynesian in that they throw away the surplus in good times (not that they have a lot of good years) and then slash spending in bad times.

    If you want to insulate yourself from the downside, I’d suggest not investing heavily in economies where science-denialism is common.

  84. I’m NOT trolling. But no sweat, I’ll not mention this touchy subject again. It derailed my overall question anyway, which was that no matter how successful Romney is, will anyone here give his policies credit for it? I think the answer is clear.

    If Romney wins he will dismantle Obama’s signature achievement, Obamacare. He will do the exact opposite of what Obama would do on taxes and spending. I don’t see how you can say Romney’s policies will destroy the economy with one breath, and then say it was just the inevitable business cycle if they succeed with the next breath. That is my point.

    Let me put it another way. I believe that if Obama wins the economy will NOT improve. Increased taxes will cripple an already anemic economic rebound. Housing starts will tank again. Unemployment will go UP. I don’t think anything good will come of it.

    If Obama wins, and everything turns out the opposite of what I expect, (unlike the last four years, which turned out even worse than I expected) I’ll eat crow, and admit I was wrong. Can you say the same?

  85. @Billy Quiets: As a non-American I generally stay out of these discussions, it’s your election after all. But I do wonder what the point you’re trying to make? That people who don’t belive in Romney don’t believe in Romney?

  86. @mrrges: No, I think it’s that all of us Obama supporters are so lost to the ideological left that if Romney gave everyone a unicorn we’d still call him the devil. Which, whatever. It’s a hypothetical. And, personally, I refuse to lay out an opinion on something that hasn’t happened yet.

  87. Let me put it another way. I believe that if Obama wins the economy will NOT improve. Increased taxes will cripple an already anemic economic rebound. Housing starts will tank again. Unemployment will go UP. I don’t think anything good will come of it.
    If Obama wins, and everything turns out the opposite of what I expect, (unlike the last four years, which turned out even worse than I expected) I’ll eat crow, and admit I was wrong. Can you say the same?

    I find this hard to believe since you can’t even get a handle on current reality. Obama’s policies have improved the economy, this is not an opinion, its basic math and a fact. You can’t even bring yourself to acknowledge it.

  88. I’m wondering what will happen to the stock market if Romney wins. Historically, the stock market has underperformed (on average) when we’ve had Republican leadership. So if Romney wins, will knowledgeable investors start fleeing the market?

  89. I like the dam analogy. That “If Warren Buffet et al. wants to increase the tax rate, then why doesn’t he pay more now himself” crap drives me crazy.

    A dam breaking was a pretty workable illustration of how stupid the idea of only advocates taking part in something that by definition requires the cooperation/contributions of everyone in order to succeed.

    In the past, I’ve used a “storming the machine gun nest” analogy. Either everyone does it, or it’s useless, stupid and completely suicidal.

  90. Is it really that silly? How can we ever learn, if we don’t let results/reality change what we believe?
    If one party has been telling you something for 25 years and it never happens, why would you continue to vote for them? Similarly, if one candidate promises something and the exact opposite happens, shouldn’t you hold him accountable?

  91. @ cranapia: “It’s infinitely preferable to ‘Multiple Choice’ Mitt who’s come down on every side of every issue, until I’m genuinely unsure who GOP folks think they’re voting for.”

    My understanding is that they’ve decided that Mitt’s telling the truth when he’s speaking to *them*, or at least will not bother to block any of their agenda. The fact that it implies that he’s lying to (at least) everyone else is irrelevant to them … except that lying to the socialistic pagan liberals of Massachusetts etc was arguably praiseworthy. (I think there must be a sub-clause of the 9th Commandment that allows for that.)

    I’m used to politicians of all stripes being less than honest, but the Romney/Ryan campaign has taken it to levels that must arouse awe and envy in McCain/Palin, the previous record holders.

  92. Is it really that silly? How can we ever learn, if we don’t let results/reality change what we believe?
    If one party has been telling you something for 25 years and it never happens, why would you continue to vote for them? Similarly, if one candidate promises something and the exact opposite happens, shouldn’t you hold him accountable?

    How did your head not explode just typing that?

  93. which was that no matter how successful Romney is, will anyone here give his policies credit for it? I think the answer is clear.

    The hypothetical was asked and answered, Billy. It’s just that every single one of your presuppositions had no historical basis to back them up.

    If Romney wins he will dismantle Obama’s signature achievement, Obamacare. He will do the exact opposite of what Obama would do on taxes and spending. I don’t see how you can say Romney’s policies will destroy the economy with one breath, and then say it was just the inevitable business cycle if they succeed with the next breath. That is my point.

    Part of the cycle is baked in. For example, Romney’s jobs plan calls for 12m new jobs. What he doesn’t say is that this what the economic consensus is for the status quo anyway. It’s like saying that his plan for Christmas is that he will give his family Christmas presents when he’s already got them hiding in his closet.

    Let me put it another way. I believe that if Obama wins the economy will NOT improve. Increased taxes will cripple an already anemic economic rebound. Housing starts will tank again. Unemployment will go UP. I don’t think anything good will come of it.

    Yeah, except that’s coming out of nowhere. Economists almost unanimously say the only thing that would have sped up the rebound would have been more stimulus spending. When Clinton raised taxes after the early 90s recession, we had an economic boom. That economic rebound increased, housing starts went up, and unemployment went down. Obama is promising the same thing, so why do you expect different results? “Because of…reasons, that’s why” is not a valid argument.

    If Obama wins, and everything turns out the opposite of what I expect, (unlike the last four years, which turned out even worse than I expected) I’ll eat crow, and admit I was wrong. Can you say the same?

    What exactly is worse? Pretty much every economic indicator is up, we’re already seeing savings from Obamacare, the current sanctions on Iran have crippled their capabilities, members of terrorist organizations are being toppled faster than they were under Bush, and the auto bailout brought back companies from the brink to being top sellers. You should technically be eating crow now.

  94. I’m NOT trolling. But no sweat, I’ll not mention this touchy subject again.

    @billyquiets: Touch it all you like — nobody is telling you not to. Just try paying Ms. Fluke the fundamental respect of accurately characterizing what she said (on the public record and easily accessible, BTW) without the demeaning and HIGHLY TROLLISH comparison of her to an animal in heat. Or if you must, please don’t play the victim when you get an entirely predictable hostile reaction.

    If Romney wins he will dismantle Obama’s signature achievement, Obamacare. He will do the exact opposite of what Obama would do on taxes and spending. I don’t see how you can say Romney’s policies will destroy the economy with one breath, and then say it was just the inevitable business cycle if they succeed with the next breath. That is my point.

    And there’s a whole lot of projection going on there, Billy. When [sarcasm]Paul Krugman’s soul mate{/sarcasm} David Stockman says Romney-Ryan’s budget numbers just don’t add up, I take him seriously. When Romney consistently refuses to offer any specifics about how he’ll actually pay for massive tax cuts, balance the budget (oh, apart from defunding FEMA, PBS and Planned Parenthood) and pull millions of jobs out of his arse, it’s safe to say I’m highly sceptical.

    That’s no inconsistent with a reality-based view that while the Presidency of the United States is an enormously powerful and influential position, he (or she) can’t magically control something as vast and complex as the global economy Harry Potter-style. But, oddly enough, that’s a break only Romney gets. Never Obama.

    When you’re accusing others of being hypocritical partisan hacks, it might help if you clean your glasshouse before stoning anyone else.

  95. Is it really that silly? How can we ever learn, if we don’t let results/reality change what we believe?
    If one party has been telling you something for 25 years and it never happens, why would you continue to vote for them? Similarly, if one candidate promises something and the exact opposite happens, shouldn’t you hold him accountable?

    What, exactly, are you talking about here? What has been told to us for 25 years and never happened? What was promised and the exact opposite happened? Right now all you’re doing is repeating talking points and making an emotional argument, but you’ve yet to present a single metric for promises unfulfilled or policy that failed.

  96. Genufett, “What was promised and the exact opposite happened?”

    Umm, off the top of my head: cut the deficit in half, bring down health care premiums by $2500 (it’s gone UP about that amount), make America “respected again” in the Middle East, transparency, solve the energy crisis, close Guantanamo, unemployment around 5%, no Cheneyesque policies like using drones to kill American citizens, fix the economy, etc.

  97. @Billy Quiets: If Romney wins, and the economy recovers,but he manages to dismantle the social safety net and most of the regulatory agencies, he kills Obamacare without “preserving the good parts”, and works towards privatizing social security and medicare, I won’t vote for him in 4 years. That’s why I left the Republican party in the first place.

  98. @Billy Quiets: My health care premiums sure haven’t gone up by $2500/year this year. Maybe over the last 4 years. But if so, I suspect they did something like that over the last 4 years with Bush, too.

  99. cut the deficit in half

    It’s at 75%, which isn’t 50%, but isn’t 200%.

    bring down health care premiums by $2500, (it’s gone UP about that amount)

    First of all, premiums went up by ~$320, not $2500. And the premiums will be lowered under the coverage expansion, which doesn’t go into full effect until 2014.

    make America “respected again” in the Middle East

    It was in the world, not the Middle East, and considering nearly every poll of a foreign country says they see us better under Obama than Bush, that’s a success. And considering the response from the Libyan President and people after the 9/11/12 attacks, they certainly seem to respect us quite a bit.

    transparency

    Speaking as someone who has to deal with government reporting requirements on an hourly basis, I can guarantee that transparency is increased nearly across the board, certainly more than under Bush. The major exception has been the drones and rendition, I’ll allow.

    solve the energy crisis

    He never vowed to solve the entire energy crisis, but by most metrics he’s done a good job. Gas prices have much more to do with inflation and demand than anything he’s done (or not).

    close Guantanamo

    Attempted several times, shut down by the GOP Congress every step of the way,

    unemployment around 5%

    Which was (a) before he knew how bad Bush’s losses were going in, and (b) his fixes have again been blocked by the GOP Congress, including one major one that was deficit-neutral and already paid for. In any event, unemployment is under 8%, not 16% as you claim.

    Cheneyesque policies like using drones to kill American citizens

    I agree with this one, but Romney’s only promised to go further, so I’m not sure why you think this is something he’ll do better on.

    fix the economy

    Again, never promised to fix everything, but pretty much every economic indicator has improved, and again, the consensus amongst economists is that it would have improved with some of his proposals that were blocked by the GOP Congress.

  100. Billy Quiets – What exactly is this deregulation that’s going to help? deregulation lead to the housing bubble, led to the toxic banking debts. It’s even led to the problems that greece and italy are having right now, as they should not have been able to qualify for EU membership in the first place. I personally have worked in oil refineries, powerplants and etc up here in Canada and even with regulations and enforcement, I think that you would be amazed at how much environmental damage is done.
    How are tax cuts going to help? We lowered our corporate tax rate from 21% in 2008 to 15% in 2012 with a cut happening every year inbetween those eg. 16.5% in 2011. And even though we pretty much made it through the global recession unscathed (we experienced a techinical recession between 2008 to 2009 summer which led to a 3.3% GDP loss) the GDP gain in 2010 alone was 3.2% pretty much making things even, to prerecession, our corporate tax revenue was 40.6 Billion in 2008 and 31.7 Billion as of the last financial year (2011). So to put it more clearly, our GDP has gone up but government income from corporate taxes still has yet to match it’s income pre tax cuts. And also, bare in mind that we never had the banking collapse or the housing bubble burst like you guys did because our regulations on banks and housing mortgages are much more strict. If I can put it another way, you could argue that because of the basic soundness of our housing market and banking systems, that we would still be as good as we are now with no tax cuts and government tax revenue would be even higher. I could still write pages about this debating certain aspects of it but I’m not that great at typing, so the overall summary: Tax cuts can be good and successful, but they are wayyyyy overhyped. It takes a long time to pay off. American example: Democrat Jimmy Carter lowered corporate tax rate from 49% to 28% unemployment was 7.5 when he took office and it was 7.5 when he left office (outside reasons but still).
    Repeals Obamacare- How will this help you? As a canadian I think it’s a terrible system.. really terrible. BUT it’s better then what you had before. I make between 100000.00 to 150000.00 a year and I will get taxed less then a US resident who makes the same amount before and after obamacare because a single payer system like healthcare in canada is BULK purchasing, we get lower prices because a costco system is what we use. And make no mistake Health Canada is a Large part of our government budget. Everybody gets access and help, the negative things you hear in the press are overhyped, some bad things do happen but for the most part it works excellently. Also, keep in mind that if the USA had the same system as we do, it would cost less per tax payer then the canadian system because our country is heavily underpopulated in comparasion to you guys so we need a wider service with fewer taxpayers paying for it.
    Fast track Keystone Pipeline- Short term solution to a long term problem, all you’re doing is delaying the oil and energy crisis. Population is growing exponentially, and inorder to keep up economically the United States has to have immigration to support it’s ageing population. As other nations (china) develop their going to need more resources for a better standard of living, so drilling simply can’t keep up with all the demand. As well, you seem to forget that the keystone pipeline is from canada.. we get on average 10 to 20 dollars less selling bitchumin (raw oil from the tar sands) then we would selling it to China.. all that’s missing is the infrastructure to send it to china or europe for that matter. And considering what a deal we give you guys in refining the product instead of doing it ourselves and keeping 10000+ way plus jobs in canada, that is just a bad (for you guys) political election away from changing. On top of all that, enbridge has a terrible record for spills with their pipelines but a good record of low media coverage. It’s cheaper for them to run it to the ground until there is a spill to clean up then it is for them to make sure it’s okay unless there is government oversight. Trust me I know this, I work for oil companies all the time, you would be amazed at the shit that goes down.
    Stops cuts to military spending- Why is this a good thing? you spend more on the military then china does I believe half a trillion more. 500 Billion more.. think about that. Are aliens about to attack the earth? You guys could and can and do beat everyone else in the world. You spend more then China, Russia, Britain, France….combined. As long as the cuts aren’t to veterans returning from the wars what’s the problem? you still can kick ass and take names. CRAZY
    As a canadian, it really doesn’t affect me too much who gets in on your election. We avoided the iraq war, avoided the worst of the recession, so… chose who you want but for your own sake research stuff.
    We had the exact same economic problems you guys have now back in the early nineties, just on a smaller scale, population is what 10 to 1?, credit rating downgrade, enormous deficits, over extended military (before bush we use to go on pretty much every un mission possible.. stupid) stagnate economy.. and we got through it, but it sure wasn’t by tax cuts, and military spending increases.

  101. Wow billy you finally made some valid points, bravo. Obama should never have made the promise about the deficit there are a lot of excuses as to why he didn’t but they all end up being just excuses. He screwed up in the making of the promise not in the delivery there was little chance of it ever happening no matter who was president.

    I would like Guantanamo closed I find it offensive, but I also can’t think of a solution to the problem that sits there. Realistically I also know that politicians make promises they can’t always keep, it pisses me off and I wish they wouldn’t do it.

    America is far more respected now than it was under the bush years, also if i were a terrorist I would be very afraid of another Obama term, hes been more effective against them than all republican presidents combined. When he said he would go into Pakistan after Osama bin Laden whether they liked it or not, well I was doubtful. When he actually did it, well sometimes I still can’t believe it.

    Solve the energy crisis, don;t think hes made that promise but he is actually working on it and has made progress.

    Using drones, I’m OK with that, I wish there were never any mistakes as I am sure there are, but I don’t think collateral damage would be reduced by having boots on the ground, I think things would be worse.

    Reducing unemployment to 5% well that would be nice, of course perhaps if every single republican didn’t block anything he tried to do he might have achieved this, we will never know. Same thing with healthcare.

  102. I have a daughter the age of Athena. Contraception and abortion are both easily and safely available for her and her friends in the part of Western Europe I live in. The next US president will be able to tip the Supreme Court. If I were you, I’d be very nervous.
    PS I’m also worried about the US economy if R&R win. We need the US to buy our products.

  103. Your taxes are not “historically-low”, unless you are either 1) in the bottom tax bracket or 2) not looking at the history of tax rates. The top bracket under Reagan (post ’86) was 28%. Right now, your marginal rate is 35%. The actual historic low is 7%. Source: dammit, wordpress won’t let me paste on Android. Wiikipedia has a table under the US Income tax page.

  104. If Romney wins, I will be utterly dependent on my husband and his job for my very survival. Granted that that was also the case during the Bush years, but it’s even more so now. I’m extremely lucky that my husband and I have a great relationship, and he has a great job with great benefits, but if one of those things were to fall, my chances of survival would plummet dramatically without the protections afforded by the ACA, without cheap prescriptions, and without access to full-range reproductive health care.

    I have a cluster of chronic illnesses which entail expensive, ongoing treatment. I’m not disabled enough to qualify for automatic aid on those, however, so without good insurance, I would lose the health care that literally keeps me alive. In addition, one of the illnesses means that if I were to get pregnant (a very unlikely but not impossible prospect) and were forced to carry the pregnancy to term, I would likely bleed to death. True that some GOPers, including Romney, believe in life-of-the-mother exceptions for abortion, but my condition is rare enough that qualifying for one under restrictive abortion laws would probably be a nightmare.

    I suppose some people would insist that since I’m so sick, then I’m nothing but a parasite, and frankly ought to simply die rather than risk costing anyone else a dime to keep me alive. Nevermind that I started working at 14 and have probably paid for my care in taxes and insurance premiums several times over already, to those people there’s nothing I can say to convince them that my existence benefits the world enough to make it worth the cost. But for anyone else with an ounce of compassion, I beg you to please consider my needs and the needs of others in similar situations. Private industry does NOT cover all contingencies, and never will, because it is focused on profit, not public service.

  105. PS I by no stretch of the imagination think that obama is good. Just lesser evilish. And trust me I don’t mean to say canada is perfect because we are far from it.
    Also, spending cuts? what spending cuts could he make? education? the usa is below china now in world rankings. That means that soon the white collar jobs will join the blue collar jobs that have already gone to china. Infrastructure? that causes economic problems down the road eg. we’d be making 10 bucks more per barrel if we could have afforded the infrastructure for shiping it to china instead of you guys lol. I simply don’t see the cuts to spending that would equal the loss of revenue in tax cuts.

  106. My unborn son will loose his access to healthcare if Romney wins, so I’m not quite as sanguine about a Romney win. Luckily, it doesn’t look like he’s going to (still, I’ve bookmarked the website for Canadian immigration forms, just to be safe).

  107. [Deleted again! Well done! And now you’re banned, because it’s clear you have nothing to add other than being an ass — JS]

  108. @BillK You’re looking for the wikipedia link here:

    Which reveals that, yes, the marginal tax rates are historically low, for the post-1945 period. Perhaps not the absolute lowest, but pretty close.

  109. @ Billy Quiets
    You know, you actually had me interested until your ” (although Catholic institutions may not have to pay for morning after pills just so Sandra Fluke can frolic like a mink without paying for her own care)” comment.

    FYI, how hormonal birth control works is you take a pill EVERY day, at as close to the same time of day as possible. You take a pill EVERY day whether you’re taking it to treat a condition like endometriosis or to prevent pregnancy.

    Since you seem to think the only reason for taking contraceptives is to prevent pregnancy, let me address that specifically. Missing a day, or even taking that day’s pill late, decreases the effectiveness of the pill drastically. Missing three days in a row means you have no protection. When you start the pill, it can’t be relied on to protect you from pregnancy until you’ve been taking it for seven days. EVERY day.

    If you’re taking the pill for contraception, it doesn’t matter if you’re out having dozens of sexual encounters a day like Rush Limbaugh fantasizes, or if you’re having sex a couple of times a month with your spouse. You must take a pill EVERY day for it to be effective on any one day. That is how it works.

    Also FYI, the provisions in Obamacare relating to contraception mean that it is covered by your insurance. If you have a high-deductible health plan, which is the most affordable plan most people lucky enough to have access to insurance can BUY, that means that the fee for the contraceptives count toward the deductible, NOT that they are “free”.

    If my family, God forbid, has $5000 worth of applicable medical expenses within the year (which doesn’t include dental or vision expenses, also FYI), my insurance will then pay for the contraceptives, but that would be a very painful way to get “free” refills on my prescription.

    Now please stop being an ass about it.

    On to the rest of your post, “What if he wins and does exactly what he says he’s going to do?” is a problematic question because:
    A: he’s on both sides of every issue, so he can’t do *everything* he says he’s going to do without standing in his own way.
    B: If he does what he and his party currently say they want to do, I believe that we’re all screwed, whether it’s right away (most of us) or long-term (the “1%”).

    If, however, Romney wins and over the course of four years manages to improve the economy, reduce unemployment beyond what’s currently expected, improve global relations without starting any wars (declared or otherwise), maintain the current protection of civil liberties that we enjoy (or even expand upon them), bring health insurance premiums down without reducing either coverage or the percentage of the population covered, keep (and where it is already being reduced, restore) access to both abortion and other gynecological services safe, legal and accessible, and improve our energy independence without enabling any environmental disasters through excessive deregulation, then yes, I would happily admit that I was wrong about what he would do, and I would most likely vote for him.

    I would, however, not agree that I am wrong to vote against what he says he will do, or wrong to fear the disasters his actions may spawn.

  110. @Billy Quiets
    If one party has been telling you something for 25 years and it never happens, why would you continue to vote for them?

    Let’s see, Reagan told us he could cut the top tax rates and the economy would do so much better we’d have more money coming into the treasury than before. Didn’t happen. (In fact, he had to raise taxes multiple times in the rest of his term in office.)

    When Clinton raised taxes on those at the top (without a single Republican vote), they told us it would cause the economy to crash and the deficit to explode. Didn’t happen. (Instead he balanced the budget for the first time in 40 years, and left office with “surpluses as far as the eye could see”.)

    Bush 44 said he could cut taxes on the top and it wouldn’t cause the surplus to go away. It would cause the economy to flourish because the wealthy would use their extra money to hire more people. Didn’t happen. (Instead he left office with the worst job creation record since 1939 — when those records started being kept — and left the country facing the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.)

    So, I’m really curious. Why would you continue to vote for them?

  111. You forgot to mention how much we white heterosexual men in swing states are coddled. With the defense industry here in New Hampshire we are below 5% unemployment. A republican president will bring it to 4% and double my home value in the short run.

  112. You have summed up the biggest reasons why my coworkers can’t believe I don’t vote Romney. I’m female, but I make enough money to buy my own birth control or any healthcare I need. I work for a financial institution. I’m white (or at least look that way). I’m well-off. If I’m not quite “their people” because I’m female, I’m at least suitable to be married to one of “their people.”

    Will I be personally better off if Romney wins? Probably. For awhile. But in my head I’ll never get over being a poor Mexican from the wrong side of town. I’m terrified for all the people who are barely making it and will end up failing to keep their heads above water if Obama loses. We had Jimmy Carter to thank for not being homeless when I was a little girl. I’ve never forgotten that. Plenty of poor little girls like I was have food and water and shelter and healthcare thanks to Barack Obama. I can’t imagine those services remaining under GOP rule. I voted for Barack Obama because I know that there are people who need him. I don’t, anymore, not that way, but you have to try to pay it back whenever you can.

  113. @Clytemnestra’s Sister, your boyfriend thinks you’re being “shrill” for having concerns about political issues that affect you (but not so much him)’ accuses you of being a single-issue voter because you have serious and valid concerns about a host of issues as set out in your second paragraph; and you’re afraid to ask whether you got through to him? The world is full of very sweet men who are great boyfriend material, yet don’t act like you’re a silly-headed, yapping female if you have concerns other than taxes and foreign policy; you might consider an exchange.

    @Eric D: the President appoints the Federal judiciary, the Cabinet, the senior staff of agencies, and sets policy for what the federal government will and will not do – whether the SEC will actually go after white-collar lawbreakers instead of merely wagging its finger at them, whether the EPA will fine environmental lawbreakers or just ask them to pinky-swear to be good in the future, and so on.

    @Billy Quiets: Slut-shaming as a tactic hasn’t worked out so well for Republican politicians in this election cycle. Why did you think it would work for you?

  114. I happen to believe that even if you’re not white, male, and heterosexually paired, you can still take care of yourself and you don’t need the US government any more than the rest of us.

  115. @ Bruce:
    ALL young men have to register for Selective Service when they turn 18. I am truly scared a president Romney would get us mired in a long, useless war in the middle east (Syria, Iran or someplace else?) and there would have to be a draft to supply the needed bodies.

    The current GOP blathering re the middle east leads me to believe that a Republican-lead Senate (John’s worst-case scenario) would support our bumbling into a huge mess costing many lives.

  116. mythago, Anthea and others, I would be happy to debate the Fluke issue with you in a forum dedicated to that subject. Seriously, I would welcome the opportunity, but this isn’t the time. My comment was snarky, and impolitic. Although it reflects my honest opinion, I can’t defend it without risking the Mljoiner of death, so let’s agree to save it for another time, OK?

  117. Antonio

    http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparebar.jsp?ind=14&cat=1

    summary of above in relation to your point: Latino and African Americans are far more likely to fall below the poverty line and if you are claiming that people below the poverty line don’t need help you might not want to do it on the site of someone who started out poor and received government cheese.

    http://civilrightsproject.ucla.edu/research/k-12-education/integration-and-diversity/private-school-racial-enrollments-and-segregation/Private_Schools.pdf

    summary of above in relation to your point: There is significant segregation in public schools and in private schools this is even more prevalent.

    The gender pay gap is still significant even after the the Lilly Ledbetter act.

    http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/lgbt/news/2011/06/02/9872/gay-and-transgender-people-face-high-rates-of-workplace-discrimination-and-harassment/

    “Studies show that anywhere from 15 percent to 43 percent of gay people have experienced some form of discrimination and harassment at the workplace.”

    I rest my case.

  118. @Billy Quiets, I meant to be informative rather than debating, since I’ve been taking the pill for over a decade and am therefore intimately familiar with how it works, but I can understand wanting to let the sidetrack peter out.

    I did address your core question at the end of my comment, at least. :)

  119. @Billy Quiets, our host gave you a warning because you were sneering at your mental image of Fluke’s sex life – not because you questioned whether Obamacare should cover contraception, or argued employers should have a “conscience clause.” Indeed, we’ve talked about those things – which I assume is what you meant by “the Fluke issue” – on political threads here before.

    Certainly you’re free to discuss or not discuss anything you wish, and if you can’t discuss health-care policy and reproductive health without snarling “WHORES” then, yes, probably best not to go there. It seems a bit unfair, though, to lay that at Scalzi’s feet.

  120. Anthea, yes you did address my core question, thank you. I hope we get the chance to find out if Romney’s policies work as advertised. Could be a moot point. If not, I think everyone who is worried about extreme right-wing social agendas will be happy to see that Romney knows how to work in a bipartisan environment. It’s the one thing that made many in the conservative base uncomfortable with him. He will do what needs to be done to accomplish his objective. Make no mistake, Romney’s objective is fixing the economy.

  121. mythago, Take your foot off the gas and stop putting inflammatory words in my mouth. I made my position clear. I didn’t blame anyone for my choice of words. I own them and I’ll defend them, don’t try and act like I’M hiding behind the Mallet.

  122. ISAAC ASIMOV 1987
    Assuming we haven’t destroyed ourselves in a nuclear war, there will be 8-10 billion of us on this planet—and widespread hunger. These troubles can be traced back to President Ronald Reagan who smiled and waved too much.

    -Funny substitute Romney for Reagan and you have a few too many of the posters here. between that and the historic inaccuracy of SF writers of any specific future event, quite amusing.

  123. Did he choose to work with the minority party and pass a piece of bi-partisan legislation?

    Actually, yes. This is precisely what a lot of people on the left criticize Obama for — he put so much effort into bipartisanship, even after it was clear that the Republican members of Congress were not bargaining in good faith.

  124. Well after the 2000 election, I felt like it was no big deal as America was too big for one group of people to completely trash in 4 or even 8 years. I’ve reevaluated that position somewhat after Bush and I’m equally concerned since much of Romney’s ideas about the economy, the environment and foreign policy seem to be to do the exact same dumb things that Bush did. Only trust us, they’ll work out just fine this time around…

    On the other hand, I think four more years of the current GOP running things would be enough to send them out of power for 20+ years.

  125. MyName:

    You might think that, but lots of people thought the GOP was on the road to being a mere regional party after the ’08 elections.

  126. If Romney wins, the first thing I will do is send a very strongly worded e-mail to Nate Silver. I’ve been clinging to 538 like a child holing its blanket since the first presidential debate. Silver has been giving a high probability to Obama winning.

    Second, I will check the immigration policies of New Zealand. It’s beautiful there, and they put hobbits on their currency. It sounds cool to me. On second thought, I’ll check out New Zealand even if Romney loses.

    Third, I’ll start collecting the numbers. Because Obama’s lead in the polls is increasing, Romney winning through election fraud is something that should be tested. It could turn out that the polls are wrong, but I don’t believe so many polls could be that wrong. Some people are claiming that Republicans have been using electronic voting machines to their favor already. I don’t believe it, but seeing Romney win in Ohio would be amazing and would get my attention for real.

    Finally, I’ll realize that I live in Kentucky, where the Democrats are mostly to the right of Romney. I don’t think much will change on this side of the Ohio River.

    (John, your dam breaking metaphor is poorly timed in my opinion. Hurricane Sandy brought back memories of Hurricane Katrina to my mind recently. I think we learned there that dams or levies breaking is less of an issue for the well-off as it is for the people who cannot get out of the way. That’s why some people, like me, read “I’ve got mine, Jack” into what you wrote. Your post works well enough without the metaphor.)

  127. @ Kevin Williams:

    It’s still possible that the GOP is on the road to being essentially a regional party, but managed to delay the process with the temporary “Tea Party” rebranding.

  128. Chris Sears, if you read Nate Silver instead of clinging to him, you’ll see that he’s very clear that he’s dealing in probabilities and not certainties. If Romney wins, it won’t mean Nate has done or said anything wrong. (Just as when a weather forecast says 80% chance of rain, it’s not wrong just because it doesn’t rain.). Judging by mashing all the polls together in meaningful ways, the odds are high that Obama will win, but it’s not a sure thing. If you flip two coins, the odds are high — 75% — that you won’t get 2 heads. But you might.

    That said, if Romney wins, I’m sure lots of people who don’t know any better — and some folks who *do* know better but won’t care — will claim that Nate Silver was wrong, ha, ha, WRONG! (Or in some cases, people will say he was wrong, boo hoo, WRONG.). Do you really want your email to be in that pile?

  129. Bearpaw, Please. Nate Silver has thrown himself willingly on this particular grenade. He deserves praise if he is correct in his extreme prediction, and scorn if he is wrong.

  130. “just so Sandra Fluke can frolic like a mink without paying for her own care”

    This is unacceptable John. Totally unacceptable. Since when is slut shaming okay around here?

  131. @Billy Quiets,
    I don’t see that Silver’s is an extreme prediction.
    Every poll aggregator out there including Real Clear Politics and Election Projection, both right leaning, give Romney the edge. And that’s all a 75% prediction is, an edge. (Note: the latest is up to 85.5%, which is a definite lead, but still the chances of going against are the same as throwing doubles at dice. A definite possibility.

    @Chris Sears
    A Romney victory is no cause to cry election fraud. OTOH, I’d be skeptical of the results if Ohio and only Ohio went against the polls, or if counties with no paper trail show a marked divergence from the rest. (Note: skeptical accusation of fraud.)

  132. “Bearpaw, Please. Nate Silver has thrown himself willingly on this particular grenade. He deserves praise if he is correct in his extreme prediction, and scorn if he is wrong.”

    Please Billy use your expertise in statistics to demonstrate to us why Nate Fucking Silver is wrong and you, Mr Random Internet Poster and Slut Shamer, are right?

  133. @Bearpaw – I realize that Silver is dealing with probabilities. I have a degree in mathematics, so I get how that works.

    If we flip a fair coin three times, there is a 12.5% chance of getting three heads. If I bet on getting at least one tail and lose, then that is just dumb luck.

    Silver’s prediction is different because the model is much more complicated. He is currently giving the probability of 14.5% that Romney will win, approximately the same as flipping three heads. If Romney does win then there are three possible reasons for Silver being so far off with his model. The first is that the mathematical model is not correct, that would be an error on Silver’s part. The second is that the information, i.e. poll data, inputted into the model does not reflect reality. That would be an error in the pollster’s part. The third is just bad luck, just like flipping three heads. That is nobody’s fault. A thorough postmortem on the data in the case of a Romney win should investigate all three possibilities.

    My “clinging” comment is about how demoralized I was after the Denver debate. Knowing that at least one measure still put Obama ahead was comforting.

    For the record, I wouldn’t really send Nate Silver an e-mail. He would be busy enough without me pestering him.

  134. @Jim Lovejoy – We are in agreement. I was suggesting that we look for evidence of fraud in the hypothetical situation that Romney wins Ohio when many polls suggest an Obama win.

  135. Either way, come this Tuesday, I’m putting on some shades, chewing some bubblegum, and watching They Live on Blu-ray.

  136. BillyQuiets said:

    If one party has been telling you something for 25 years and it never happens, why would you continue to vote for them?

    Yet the US Republican party still has supporters. (I’m reminded of P J O’Rourke’s description of the Republicans as “the party that says that government doesn’t work, and then they get elected and prove it.”)

  137. There are a number of ways John is not actually in the core of people Romney will look out for. He’s now under 55, and therefore would get his Medicare voucherized under the Ryan plan. Someday, he will likely be both old and quite ill, as will we all. While well-off, he is not a billionaire, and relies for his pay on a population which is both literate and possessed of disposable income. I’m not convinced he’d be entirely insulated. Note he qualified his statement as being short-term, probably for this reason.

  138. @Mythago, you mistake my point. I’m the one who is upset at my being forced into a single-issue voter (because, you know, drone strikes are NOT COOL among other things), not my boyfriend, and he has never me of being shrill, that’s just my private concern. As for him, the poor dear has only JUST started to awaken to what his white straight male privilege really means to everybody else in the real world. There is a lot to like about him otherwise, and I’m willing to give him the opportunity to show me he can be a decent, worldly-aware human being. It’s a process that has to happen in his head, I can’t drag him into it kicking and screaming–nor do I want to miss the inevitable moment of enlightenment. If he just can’t face up to it, or starts humming the derail/deny/dismiss chorus of intellectual laziness, I will move on.

    Back on topic, the most striking thing about the Romney campaign is the sheer level of contempt he has shown to folks both inside AND outside the US who he thinks aren’t on his team. First we had him refusing to release his tax returns, even though he required it of his running mate, and then releasing only certain bits of information such as to put himself in the most flattering light possible. The brouhaha over how the city of London were running the Olympics (IN LONDON, no less) was, in the grand scale of things, a teapot tempest, but at the same time one of the more honest things Romney has ever done. He was off script, out of his cottonwool wrapped glass sphere, and he managed to insult his host and make a horse’s ass of himself in front of the world (with apologies to Rafalca, whose ass is much more balanced with superior rhythm and impulsion even at the highest degrees of collection). Then he went to Israel and showed the same degree of callous contempt–accusing the Palestinians of somehow being a lesser society, despite the fact that they have been living in what is an apartheid state in all but name for decades. (Black, hispanic, and first nations americans, Jim Crow, the drug war, redlining, blockbusting, and repeated treaty violations and dumping on the rez are irrelevant, and just pull yourself up by your bootstraps already.) Then he came home and the 47% video came out–again, unscripted Romney, talking to “his” people, and showing nothing but contempt for almost half the nation, of an ugly “gotcha” variety: they don’t pay income taxes because of specific decisions by Congress to exempt them from income tax, so by following the laws that were written and his own opinion that only a fool pays more tax than he is required, they’re deadbeads and moochers. It went on and on and on….not giving specifics of any of his policies, just “trust me,” doubling down on a pair of misleading campaign ads to the point that not one but TWO CEOs of major corporations called him out on it publicly, changing his position on the public record to suit the audience he was talking to on a frequent basis….
    Oh, and his wife is on the record stating that her husband’s time as a missionary was like going to war. Yes, because living indoors and eating hot food while doing a mission in a peaceful, stable, and prosperous developed nation is EXACTLY equivalent to being forced to join the military or go to jail for a LONG time, and then being sent to the other side of the world to live in a tent, doing patrols in pouring rain and glue-like mud, wondering if you will be fed, and between shooting at anybody who moves and hoping it’s not a little kid, praying that you will be one of the ones who goes home with all your body parts, and not either in a pine box or like that poor guy the next unit over who lived but lost both his legs and one of his arms.
    Put in that context, the contempt towards women that he shows, that we aren’t capable of making our own decisions about our bodies, health, fertility, ability to do simple sums to determine if we are being screwed out of fair pay, etc, is par for the course. Given that this contempt is the single most notable thing about the Romney campaign, I see no reason to believe that he wouldn’t continue to show such callous disregard to the entire electorate, and in his foreign policy dealings, the leaders of other sovereign nations around the world.
    It’s a bad, bad thing when the leader of a team has no respect for the people he is leading.

  139. @Clytemnestra’s Sister: but you’re NOT a single-issue voter. The fact that a host of issues – reproductive health, medical privacy, insurance – affects you disproportionately because you’re a woman does not make you a single-issue voter whose issue is Women, any more than voting Libertarian means your single issue is Privileged White Guy.

    @Billy Quiets, I don’t even know what “take your foot off the gas” is supposed to mean. You tried to talk about an issue in an inflammatory way. Our host told you not to be inflammatory, and you’re waving your hands saying Scalzi will Mallet you if you talk about the issue. That’s really only true if you can’t talk about the issue in a civil fashion, so what you’re saying is that either you can’t talk about a “conscience clause” without being a doucheloaf, or you realized you just put your foot in it and would like to change the subject roughly forever.

    See, the reason people keep talking about the “hurrrr sluts” thing (whether by you or more widely-known conservatives) is that we expect this is what will happen If Romney Wins: women’s health and well-being is again going to be contingent on whether social conservatives think they are appropriately chaste, though it will be papered over with weasel excuses like “conscience clause” and “personal responsibility”. But underneath, it’ll be driven by the attitude that you were impolitic enough to let slip.

  140. Jim Lovejoy:

    I rather suspect Billy called it an “extreme prediction” simply because it disagrees with his gut. He’s a habit of that sort of hyperbole.

    Laura:
    I noticed that and wondered if it was a pic from his address on that Hispanic TV channel, when he was reputed to have gotten rather dark makeup.

    MPAVictoria:
    JS already stomped on Billy for that upthread but chose not to delete the entire post.

  141. @Billy Quiets-

    I made my position clear. I didn’t blame anyone for my choice of words. I own them and I’ll defend them

    The very fact that you think that what you said about Sandra Fluke is in any way defensible doesn’t exactly help your credibility..

  142. I don’t get it John. You think Romney’s economic plans will be bad for the country over the long term, but don’t see the negative ramifications of Obama’s spendthrift ways? Have you seen the size of the deficit we’ve picked up already?

  143. Have you seen the size of the deficit we’ve picked up already?

    The vast majority of which came from Bush.

  144. Right. Blame the previous administration. Bush’s powers must indeed be formidable if he can make Obama try to outspend him in every imaginable way (with the exception of the military, because liberals don’t like supporting national defense beyond giving lip service to our troops).

  145. @Eric, other than “because he’s a liberal” why do you believe Obama has overspent on everything but military personnel salaries? Saying that the President must be doing X because he’s a liberal/conservative and you know how THEY are is not really evidence that the President is, in fact, doing X. It’s an exercise in PvP politics, an attitude which is fine in sports or online games but frankly inappropriate in the real world.

  146. Right. Blame the previous administration.

    Hey, if you’ve got proof that two wars, massive tax cuts, and . Here’s my proof that blaming the previous administration is right.

    Bush’s powers must indeed be formidable if he can make Obama try to outspend him in every imaginable way

    The deficit’s gone down under Obama, bro. And Obama’s spending is, again, mainly due to Bush policies. Here’s my proof for that as well.

    with the exception of the military, because liberals don’t like supporting national defense beyond giving lip service to our troops

    Apart from the fact that Obama supported the surge in Afghanistan (a GOP-supported idea), has a much better record with anti-terrorist efforts than Bush, and killed OBL, this is another falsehood. Defense spending is at or above the levels it was under Bush. Again, here’s the proof.

    Got any more talking points you want to have disproven?

  147. ght. Blame the previous administration. Bush’s powers must indeed be formidable if he can make Obama try to outspend him in every imaginable way (with the exception of the military, because liberals don’t like supporting national defense beyond giving lip service to our troops).

    I love the people who drove the car off the cliff blaming the new driver for the damage. “How can you blame the old driver? The car was fine when he was replaced! In free fall, but undamaged!”

  148. I’m in an odd position as a Green Card holder I have taxation without representation, something I think your people fought a war with my mother’s ancestors over a while back.

    Anyway. As a white, middle class, heterosexual business owner in a nice, liberal, part of the country, I don’t really see much changing for me under a Romney Presidency. My already laughably low taxes will probably get lower.

    That said, I just got back from a visit to the UK where they are busy trying to follow the GOP/Tea Party austerity plan and the talk was of a Triple Dip recession once the short term effects of the Olympics wear off. I see healthcare for millions being degraded back to what it was, and the social safety net vanishing.

    While I might not be affected too much, the impact of Romney/Ryan and the GOP on the lives of tens of millions of Americans is just too disturbing to contemplate.

    While rationally, between Dr Sam Wang, Nate Silver and Daryl of UW, I can see Obama is well placed. I really won’t relax until Obama is re-elected tomorrow night.

    Oh, and for Billy Quiets – yes, all those things could come to pass. Except, they already are happening under Obama – why change leader when it’s working? He’s effectively a moderate 1990s republican – I can only think of one reason and one reason alone why he is being targeted in the way he is, and that this election isn’t a 1984 landslide for him as, based on his record, it ought to be.

  149. @BillyQuiets Amid the many arguments here, I think your original question is a valid one: If Romney is elected and his policies work as you described, would someone who voted for Obama vote to reelect Romney for a second term? From my standpoint, I have to say that I very well might vote for Romney for reelection. I’m a big evidence person. Do I expect this to happen? No, but if it did (after all, Hugh Hefner got married) it might drastically change my opinion. After all, after four years we will know what his actual positions are, something we have no idea on right now.

    But, Billy, I expect you to answer the converse question: If Romney is elected and the deficit is higher in four years than it is now (and that’s the major argument from the Republicans), will you vote against him for reelection? Now, keep in mind that not one Republican president in the last 50 years has decreased the deficit at all, so I expect my scenario to be highly probable. If Romney makes six, will you accept the evidence of half a century that Republicans don’t actually accomplish the deficit reduction they always promise and vote for a Democrat?

  150. One may be pro-choice and the other pro-life, but the president doesn’t have any power to affect abortion.

    Except, of course, appoint a Supreme Court justice or two. Sheesh.

    I can understand some are disappointed that Obama didn’t govern as as much as a liberal as they would have liked, but the “they’re both alike” argument is absurd on its face. Consider any of the split Supreme Court decisions, and then ask yourself if you agree with Kagan and Sotomayor, or with Roberts and Alito (let alone Scalia and Thomas). Obama would (and did) appoint the former; Romney, the latter. There’s your answer, right there.

  151. “If one party has been telling you something for 25 years and it never happens, why would you continue to vote for them?”

    That’s a good question, Billy Quiets. The Republicans have been telling you for a lot longer than 25 years that cutting taxes for the rich will improve the economy, and that has been scientifically proven to be false (in a study that the Republican House quashed because it didn’t like the message). So why do you keep voting Republican?

  152. Daveon, you should move to Washington DC if you aren’t there already – then you can have a taxation-without-representation x2 combo! (Plus, unless things have changed recently, you’re also required to register for Selective Service, are you not?)

  153. Billy: Let me put it another way. I believe that if Obama wins the economy will NOT improve. Increased taxes will cripple an already anemic economic rebound. Housing starts will tank again. Unemployment will go UP.

    What is wrong with you? You just made a bet that you already lost. Housing starts are the highest they’ve been in 4 years. Unemployment peaked in 2009 and has been going down ever since.

    What then? Will you admit you were wrong? Will you vote for him to have a second term? Just asking.

    A most excellent series of questions, the answer to which you have clearly given. No, you will not admit you’re wrong. 4 years of Obama has improved the very economic markers you used as yardsticks, and you still insist that the world is flat.

    Thank you for demonstrating Red State Specs in action.

  154. I read this, but I don’t want to get tangled up in the economic arguments, mostly because I come down pretty firmly on the side of those with empirical evidence and the others aren’t providing any or being convinced, so what’s the point?

    This election has me scared. My relationship is on the ballot in both of my home states, for one thing, and if we lose this I’m going to have a hard time for a while. Leaving my house and having to look into the faces of the people who voted against me… for just a little while I’d like to believe that my neighbors don’t hate my gayness.

    But even if we win the ballot initiatives, if Romney wins, my life is going to suck. I’m currently uninsured with a couple of controllable chronic health problems, for one thing. I rely on Planned Parenthood for well-woman checkups. I (thankfully) don’t need birth control and don’t foresee an abortion for any reasons other than the most tragic. (I could be impregnated by rape, of course; any fertile uterus-owner could, and we don’t control if that happens. Or I could be pregnant with a wanted child that is non-viable or will threaten my life or health too much. Neither is likely, both are possible, both would be horrible things to live through.) But that doesn’t mean I want to lose my bodily autonomy to the state, thanks.

    Overall, for my health and well-being, I need our country to be on a road toward legal equality for myself and my community. Romney’s court appointees, if he is elected, are unlikely to want us on that road. They’ll hide behind “textualism” like Scalia (disingenuously, that man is a disgrace) does, probably; but they’ll push moral conservatism down all our throats. I’m pretty sure we have a damn good case; as long as we accept the opinions of ALL THE EXPERTS THERE ARE that being gay is what someone one is and not an aberrant behavior, we should be able to make a solid case for equal access and equal protections. But even one more anti-gay justice would kill it.

    I’m a woman and I’m gay (oh, and poor, let’s not forget that one), so I’m a punching bag every election cycle. I’m looking forward to that part being over for a while. But I’m also scared.

  155. I’d have liked Obama much more if he was a budget-balancer like Bill Clinton. I was voting for Democrats when Democrats still seemed to care about sensible spending and were actually serious about working to forge a solvent fiscal policy. Alas, Obama saw a continuation of ruinous deficits along with monstrous “stimulus” spending.

    Bush’s excuse was the GWOT. Obama’s excuse was Bush himself.

    It’s time to end the excuses

    I believe Romney will chart a new course. I believe this because Romney has walked the talk. He walked the talk when he fixed the Olympics. He walked the talk in Massachusetts. He knows how to work across the aisle to rein in spending and find solutions.

    When Obama is out of the White House he can go on the lecture circuit and make millions speaking and writing books about how he was the change we’d all be waiting for. Meanwhile President Romney might actually effect the change we’re all waiting for.

    Not that this will stall anti-Romneyists from bellyaching. I fully expect Leftist apoplexy on November 7 when the inevitable truth of the Romney Presidency begins to sink in. This apoplexy will last for four years, and if Romney’s been even halfway successful, it will continue for a full 8. Worse still (for the Left) is the spectre of a Ryan Presidency. A successful 8 years (economically) sets up Paul Ryan for a perfect segue candidacy of his own. Imagine 16 years of sensible spending and balanced budgets?

    Yeah, the cynic in me doesn’t necessarily think it’s probable. But possible? I like to vote for the possible. Not revenge. Not payback. Possibilities.

    And if the possibilities dry up and Romney hasn’t walked the talk, by 2016 I will absolutely withdraw my support. Unlike Obama voters, I expect my candidate to keep promises and get results. I am not in love with the man. I like him. I may still like him four years from now, even if I won’t be voting for him. I like Obama, as a person who has been faithful to his wife and seems to be a good Dad. In this way he’s been honorable. But he’s not earned my vote in 2012.

    President Romney. Faster, please.

  156. I’d have liked Obama much more if he was a budget-balancer like Bill Clinton. I was voting for Democrats when Democrats still seemed to care about sensible spending and were actually serious about working to forge a solvent fiscal policy. Alas, Obama saw a continuation of ruinous deficits along with monstrous “stimulus” spending.

    So you like what Clinton did with balancing the budget, but when Obama’s plans are to do the exact same things Clinton did, he’s to blame? I don’t know if this is cynicism, misunderstanding, or pure whitewashing.

    He walked the talk in Massachusetts. He knows how to work across the aisle to rein in spending and find solutions.

    You do know that this is a lie, right?

    Romney used his line-item veto 844 times, more than 700 of which were overturned by the Legislature, including every veto offered during his last year in office, according to an analysis by the Boston Globe.

    Many Democratic lawmakers in Massachusetts have also complained that Romney rarely reached out to them — or even knew their names.

    In any event, the fact that Romney’s defenders here basically say that we should trust that he’s lying to someone (or everyone) on every major issue, particularly abortion and gay rights, is worrying.

  157. I shall permit myself this single rejoinder to the #1 Obama defender on Whatever:

    Genufett, there comes a time when track records matter more than evasions. Obama has had four years. Even people whose business it is to follow and monitor politics — and who have been sympathetic to Obama in the past — are grudgingly throwing in with Mitt Romney. Do you think they’re all just credulous dupes ready to fall for “lies” every time someone points out that Obamanomics is literally throwing good money after bad?

    Obama isn’t a terrible guy, he’s just failed to walk his talk, that’s all. If I hire someone to do a job and he fails to walk his talk, why should I give him four more years during which to further fail to walk his talk?

    Now, in fairness, Romney may also fail to walk his talk. He’s already got that 12,000,000 jobs claim hovering over his head — for starters.

    But like I already said, when I vote, I vote for possibilities. Not revenge. Not payback. And certainly not for partisan loyalty. Obama had his shot. It’s time to give someone else a shot. You may think Obama’s superb, or at least that Romney’s far, far worse. I think you will find yourself in the minority on November 7.

  158. @Brad;

    If Romney become president, I sincerely hope your faith in him is justified, but, I have little of it, not because of just the facts that Genufett brings up about his record in Mass. but also, — you do realize it was the taxpayer at large and Federal Dollars that allowed Romney to be able to claim he saved the Olympics in Salt Lake,right?

    In truth, like John, in a lot of ways, a Romney presidency won’t affect me all that much — I’m too old and too white. But I spent a huge portion of my (younger and more energetic) adult life fighting for women’s and LGBT rights and could rightfully claim some progress. I really don’t want to see that all shoveled into the trash heap of wasted effort.

  159. Genufett, there comes a time when track records matter more than evasions. Obama has had four years.

    Odd, how this only applies to Obama. Every time it’s pointed out that your version of Romney’s track record is entirely manufactured, you go silent.

    Even people whose business it is to follow and monitor politics — and who have been sympathetic to Obama in the past — are grudgingly throwing in with Mitt Romney.

    One newspaper does not constitute this entire population. And the polls show that, at this point, it’s not enough.

    Do you think they’re all just credulous dupes ready to fall for “lies” every time someone points out that Obamanomics is literally throwing good money after bad?

    I don’t know, Brad, you tell me. Every time you’ve been challenged to come up with a non-opinion-based defense of Romney or criticism of Obama on “Obamanomics”, it’s ended up being refuted by nonpartisan or bipartisan sources. As the saying goes, you’re entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

    Obama isn’t a terrible guy, he’s just failed to walk his talk, that’s all. If I hire someone to do a job and he fails to walk his talk, why should I give him four more years during which to further fail to walk his talk?

    So then I presume you voted against Bush in 2004?

    Now, in fairness, Romney may also fail to walk his talk. He’s already got that 12,000,000 jobs claim hovering over his head — for starters.

    Except, of course, the only reason you guys keep on trotting out that number is because, not coincidentally, it’s the exact same number that economists have come to a consensus as being the trajectory of job creation that is–get this–the result of Obama’s existing policies. They also say that we could be creating more, if Obama’s other policies were allowed to be enacted. In other words, Romney’s claim is the baseline, not a possibility due to anything he would enact.

    But like I already said, when I vote, I vote for possibilities. Not revenge. Not payback. And certainly not for partisan loyalty. Obama had his shot. It’s time to give someone else a shot.

    There’s nothing wrong with this sentiment, but if you claim that you vote for possibilities, then what possibilities are you basing that off of? There’s little that’s functionally different from what Romney proposes than what Bush actually did, and the same could be said for Obama and Clinton. Since we know you liked how Clinton did it, then what’s the difference with Obama? If you or any other conservative can answer that question, or for that matter the cold hard numbers that say that the proposals that Romney offers have never worked in economic historical trends, I’d be surprised. In the end, it’s not about possibilities, at least not ones with a scientific basis, it’s pure tribalism. I can’t say that I’m immune to my own brand of tribalism, but at least I can be secure in the knowledge that my tribe has a century of economics in action to back it up.

  160. Brad: he’s just failed to walk his talk, that’s all. If I hire someone to do a job and he fails to walk his talk, why should I give him four more years during which to further fail to walk his talk?

    Walk his talk? Maybe you could be a little more non-specific, and avoid saying anything in particular which would probably be immediately disproven by someoen on this thread.

    I love how a lot of people’s big criticism of Obama is that he’s not a “leader”. It’s an unfalsifiable statement. It means whatever the critic wants it to mean. And its generic enough that its impossible to point out the person is wrong. Push for specifics though, and far more often than not, the reason the critic thinks Obama is not a good “leader” is because of (insert Fox News talking point that is verbatim disproven on Snopes.com).

    Shorter: I don’t like Obama because he doesn’t have enough je na sais quoi.

  161. Plus, unless things have changed recently, you’re also required to register for Selective Service, are you not?

    Nope. Pretty certain that isn’t the case, I’m merely a resident alien… that said, as a British Citizen I can’t renounce that citizenship either so even if I did go for the full package, I would always have an escape route too. Besides, I’m a decade or two beyond selective service.

    Brad: The deficit is currently meaningless, sorry, it really is. He’s actually reduced spending, while avoiding the double dip and probably triple dip one that the UK is going to have through the policies which Romney has recommended.

    Obama has been a good fiscal steward given the utter train wreck he was given in January 2009.

  162. That article Genufett linked to is worth quoting from – When Romney was governor of Massachussetts he vetoed 844 bills. 844. And he has boasted to his supporters that he vetoed any bill supporting a woman’s right to choose. Most of those bills were passed into law anyway because the Democratic-majority legislature, who deserves massive credit for the the state not imploding during those years, was able to get enough votes to override the veto.

    Brad – you’ve got a carrer as a political hack and sloganeer waiting for you. All you have to do is what you’ve been doing all along – Wrap a gold-foiled layer of smug arrogance around whatever this week’s talking points happen to be and when someone uses facts and history to expose your glib falsehoods for what they are – as Genufett has done immediately above and many others have in the past – just keep right on spinning out the talking points as if no one said a word, sprinkling an extra measure of disdain into the mix for flavor.

    I have watched a host of smart, honest, reasonable, thoughtful, well-informed people do yeoman’s work with you in these pages for a long time, pointing out where and how you are wrong time and time again with seemingly limitless patience and forbearance. You have been given endless opportunities to admit error and adjust your course and attitude, only to respond with a sneer and vague generalities. I expect you’ll continue that course, since you seem to derive so much satisfaction from it.

    Well. On Wednesday we’ll know how Tuesday shakes out. Good luck to us all.

  163. So, after this is over, assuming Obama wins, can the Christine Todd Whitmans, Lugars, Castles, even Chris Christies yank the party back to some sort of mainstream footing? Or does the GOP spin off the rails? The house isn’t likely to change– the prognosis isn’t great

  164. But like I already said, when I vote, I vote for possibilities.

    But you don’t have to vote for possibilities, Brad. You can check Governor Romney’s actual record while he held elected office. Did he keep his promises? Did he practice fiscal responsibility? Did he create jobs? Did he improve the economy? Waving your hands that he “walked the talk” and then refusing to discuss what talk he in fact walked in your “one-plus-one and done” post doesn’t really address that.

    I find the selective amnesia and lack of interest in his existing record very strange; or rather, I would find it very strange if that were the actual reason for your support of Romney. As you said on your own blog way back in, what, the primaries?, you support Romney because he’s a co-religionist and because you agree with him on most issues. Not because he’s a shot in the dark and that’s better than the known quantity. Not because perhaps a businessman is what we need to fix the economy.

  165. That’s it, I can’t lurk any more. Something must be said!

    It’s walk the walk. Talks don’t get walked, walks do. He talked the talk, is what we say, but did he walk the walk?

    Anybody who can actually walk a talk I believe is eligible for sainthood in the Catholic Church.

  166. And if you’re Terry Pratchett, you walk the chalk. And if you’re Leonard Nimoy, you walk the Spock. And if you’re Francesca Lia, you walk the Block. Etc.

  167. Seth E. I’m not going to defend Brad’s politics, but now you’re just piling on for no good reason. “Walk the talk” is perfectly fine shorthand for “if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk.”

  168. Robl, an additional comment isn’t necessarily a pile-on. But unfortunately for me in this case, though I’ve really never heard of the shorthand before, Google says I’m wrong, so there you go. I still think it’s a clumsy formulation, especially (last dig) if you repeat it over and over in lieu of evidence for your assertions.

  169. Ah the time in the comment thread where we all huddle around a fire fueled by Brad’s…leavings. That’s one thing that will probably change for the better in a few weeks at least. I had plenty of things to say about Brad’s latest manifesto, but I am pretty sure I have already said them before. (And the last line of his first comment is such a perfect set up for a punch line..yeesh.)

    If Romney wins, not too much change for me personally in the short term (other than deeper, darker depression.) But I think it is bad for everyone in the long term and probably the middle term too. My biggest problem with Romney/Ryan is what it says about our country or political culture in general that these guys were ever a viable option, particularly in light of recent history. And that won’t change immediately even if Obama wins and the Dems still control the Senate.

    I hear so much distortion in the way people talk about these candidates and issues. People don’t just fear Obama’s potential for socialist dictatorship; they actually speak as if this has already happened. Really, we have all been living under a brutal marxist strongman for four years and I just didn’t notice. But magically we are being allowed to banish him with a simple vote today, despite his satanic might. It goes on like this. A woman walks out of a polling place in NC saying she thinks gay people should be satisfied with domestic partnerships and leave marriage alone, after voting to make it impossible for them to have civil partnerships in her state. In 2004 Bush went on national TV and said point blank, Iraq was not about 9/11. The next week the polls still showed the same ridiculously large number of people believing we went there to get the terrorists. Bush could not undo the lies because he was just the tip of the iceberg. Did Bush create this culture or did he just recognize it as a legitimate power base in our democracy as it is currently constituted? If a large percentage of our population is insanely ignorant, is it wrong for them to have representation? (In the abstract, no; in the real world, OH HELL YES; I’ve got kids.)

    Despite what I may think of Romney’s character or his policies, he may actually represent his constituency, not just in his substance, but in the style of his candidacy. All the contortions and desperate dancing may be necessary to hold these “values” and choices against a reality which has become increasingly intolerant of them.

    As for Obama, my thoughts run something like this. I had some guys working on my house and it started to slide towards the river. I called in a new guy. He said he would save my house and then improve it, plus reclaim a bunch of the eroding land. He got to work and my house stopped falling into the river. But then nothing else happened. I might be annoyed I did not get all the other stuff and if there was a third company with new plausible* solutions, I would be open to listening to them. But I would have to have rocks in my head to hire the first guys again, particularly when their proposals have not changed in the slightest. So the second guy gets paid; the first guys should still be sued if their cronies were not protecting them and I am sitting in my crumbly, but above water house. (*For all the third partiers here, emphasis on the plausible bit.)

  170. Whatever happened to the idea of votes being a private thing? And as much as I may like a given celebrity, what does it say when people are (potentially) swayed by said celebrity endorsing one or another candidate? And what’s with all the debate? Has anyone in these discussions ever done anything but retreat deeper into their own position? Just reading the progression of the discussion shows opinions increasingly expressed as certainty. Really? Obama or Romney will single-handed save or ruin the country?

    The reality is, and I’m sure indignant voices will disagree, neither major party candidates are “good”. There are arguments to be made for which may be “less bad”, and most of the above are such. But people vote on one or two issues dear to them, and ignore all the associated crap-baggage their choices come with, so even those “lesser-evil” arguments are suspect.

    It is sad we have come down to voting for “less bad”, as if there is a real distinction between the two. It’s even sadder individual voters buy into one side or the other as having all the answers or causing all the problems; for one, it makes compromise and negotiation less likely. For another, it lets people blame the politicians, Super-PACs, and everyone but themselves for the system we have.

    My hope? I ain’t got much hope any more. Regardless who wins, the parties have successfully polarized the malleable public to such extent that it’s hard to see anything but bitter, contentious, and possibly violent environment going forward. It’s hard to imagine anything getting accomplished, so I’m banking on inertia keeping things relatively calm until my time ends, but unfortunately that’s also bad.

    The thing is, I find it difficult to pin my hopes for the future on either the guy who wants windows on airplanes that open (relying, no doubt on the protective power of his magic underwear), or the guy whose self-professed lack of understanding of math has him counting on winning the majority of the 57 states.

    Yes, those are stupid characterizations of two people who probably mean well (within their ideologies). Sadly, that’s what political discourse has come down to in this country (i.e. “Your guy sucks!” . . . “No! Your guy sucks!”).

    That said, people should go out and vote . . . for no other reason than to take responsibility for their mistake, and learn from it for next time (yeah, if only).

    As for my vote, it is cast . . . I don’t care to say where my votes (yes, plural; there are more races than the presidential race) fell . . . I did my research, you do yours. And then, maybe, you know, let others do theirs.

    . . . again . . . if only.

  171. disperser, endorsements are as old as elections themselves, as are debates in some form or another. And while I understand your frustration at the worst qualities of the electoral process, pretending that there are no genuine substantive differences between the candidates or their parties is a lazy cop-out.

  172. @Jonathon Laden –

    So, after this is over, assuming Obama wins, can the Christine Todd Whitmans, Lugars, Castles, even Chris Christies yank the party back to some sort of mainstream footing?

    No, I don’t think there’s any hope of that happening. The modern Republican Party is the result of a decades-long campaign to make it precisely what it is. The oligarchs and theocrats have exactly the party that they want, and they are not going to give it up for any reason.

    Or does the GOP spin off the rails?

    As appealing as that thought is, I don’t see that as very likely either. The Republican party has a well-established pattern; treat any victory as a blanket endorsement of their policy and idealogical postions and shift further to the right, and treat any defeat as evidence that they weren’t right-wing enough and so leap further right. They’ve been consistent in this pattern since at least the ’92 presidential election when they decided to treat Bill Clinton, even before he took office, as The Enemy and oppose him at every turn. This led to the so-called Republican Revolution in the 1994 mid-terms, which they liked so much that they repeated the same strategy against Obama in ’08. And it’s worked. It’s been awful for the country but very successful for them, and that’s really what they primarily care about.

    If Obama wins again in today’s election, I doubt we will see any more willingness to reach across the aisle and compromise than before. Instead, I expect that they will most likely decide that the problem is they didn’t impede and denigrate Obama enough and will double down on their already legendary intransigience. What we have to hope for in all that is that they finally get called on their bullshit in the allegedly-liberal media, and that a small number of Republicans will break with the leadership of their party to work with the Democrats for the sake of their constituents. Failing that, Obama continuing to do what he’s been doing so far should at least keep moving the country along as it has been doing, which is better than nothing and far far better than the Republican alternative.

  173. Lines are really long in Virginia. I heard there is supposed to be a 70% turn out. People at work are talking about how much longer the lines are. I did my part to help them with their wait by not voting.

    There is also a close senate race. So that adds to it. I think it has been a really long time since Virginia has been a true tossup, so this is the first time in years anyone’s vote really mattered.

  174. mrrrges: I would be intrigued to know what people here make of it

    I don’t think the parties are indistinguishable. But I think they’ve both drifted quite a lot to the Right. I think this election is a choice between one right-of-center candidate and one right-of-crazy candidate. One could try to blame it on the “elite”, but its partly the responsibility of the people as well. This election is quite close from a popular vote perspective. No one can blame any “elites” for that. The problem is there are a lot of people who are right-of-insane and who will willingly vote for a right-of-insane candidate for president.

    We can blame the Koch brothers for dumping endless money into campaigns to push the country to the Right, but the Koch brothers can’t yet force you to vote their way. There’s no elite to blame for how close this election is.

  175. When will we recognize that the idea that “we have come down to voting for ‘less bad'” for the fallacy that it is?

    “Accept certain inalienable truths: prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.”

  176. @mrrrges –

    I would be intrigued to know what people here make of it

    Well, the feudal divide he asserts is a plausible worst-case scenario (if presented in a somewhat overwrought manner), but we’re not there yet. As to the contention that Democrats and Republicans are indistinguishable – No. Just, No. I know that to the rest of the world the differences between Democrats and Republicans are less pronounced than what they are accustomed to in their own political parties, but the differences are still real and substantive. This author is confusing (justifiable) fears for present reality; I can understand and appreciate that fear, but I also do roll my eyes at the Alex Jones-like presentation of it as fact. And for that matter, his otherwise accurate critiques of the US banking giants applies equally to Deutsche Bank. Things are worse than they should be, but we still have a distance to go before the United States he depicts is a current actuality.

  177. @Doc Rocketscience-

    When will we recognize that the idea that “we have come down to voting for ‘less bad’” for the fallacy that it is?

    Never. The advocates of that exercise in false equivalency love it because it’s the ultimate exoneration; it spares one the trouble of becoming informed, caring about what you learn when you become informed, and exercising rational judgement on the issues and people about which one can be informed. Cynicism isn’t just an easy trap to fall into, it’s a comfortable position in which to recline. I don’t claim I’ve never fallen into it myself, but I can say that I’ve always made a point of getting up off my ass and re-engaging with my civilization. Like most of us on these pages, I would think.

  178. `

    Guys, I’m a white, heterosexually-paired, well-off dude. I’m on the right side of the divide, for various definitions of “right,” many deeply ironic. The GOP is going to go out of its way to make sure nothing bad ever happens to me.

    This is just race baiting. You’re just coming right out, without evidence, and declaring the GOP to be a racist organization.

  179. Adam K:

    “You’re just coming right out, without evidence, and declaring the GOP to be a racist organization.”

    Well, no. You’re saying that’s what I’m doing, and I’m sure you have your own reasons for that. What I’m saying is that as a white, heterosexually-paired, well-off dude, the GOP has totally got my back. If you don’t think the GOP does, then you’re ignorant of roughly the last 35 years of GOP policy and electoral tactics.

    Do I think the GOP is a racist organization? Well, I certainly think it’s an organization that white racists are more comfortable with these days than its leading competitor. Wasn’t always thus, of course, if you know your history. Is now.

  180. Eric, all I know is, when I think about my tepid support of Bill Clinton and Al Gore (my first three presidential votes, cast at the ages of 18, 22, and 26) I want to go back and kick my younger self.* Not because they were so much better than today’s politicians. Because they were better than their day’s oppositions. Seriously, I almost voted for Perot in ’96.

    *In fairness, I want to do that about a lot of things. Grad school, Doc. Go directly to grad school. Maybe then “doctor” could be an actual title today, and not a snarky internet handle.

  181. Doc, I was tepid on Gore myself. And I do blame Gore for that; he went to great lengths to present himself as a clone of Bush II, which is why I don’t blame the 4% or so of people who voted for Nader (especially when 11% of registered Democrats voted for Bush II!). Afterwards, of course, we found out the hard way just how much of a difference there really was and how dogawful bad it was going to be. It’s a lesson I hope we never have to relearn.

    That reminds me: My favoritest ever Onion headline was from the week of the inauguration in 2001 – “Bush: ‘Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over.'” Damned if that wasn’t the most prescient headline in any newspaper in history.

  182. Doc: When will we recognize that the idea that “we have come down to voting for ‘less bad’” for the fallacy that it is?

    Strategic voting doesn’t exist on your planet?

    Adam: You’re just coming right out, without evidence, and declaring the GOP to be a racist organization.

    Say it isn’t so, Joe!

    Eric: Gore for that; he went to great lengths to present himself as a clone of Bush II,

    Yeah, um, no. Not really. Not at all, in fact. Bush was clearly a benefactor of the Peter Principle and got to where he was purely because of the family and wealth he was born into. Anyone who looked at Jr during the first debate and didn’t immediately think “doofus” wasn’t paying attention.

  183. Greg, I certainly thought “doofus” when I saw Bush II during his tenure as governor of Texas, much less his first presidential campaign. But despite Gore being smarter and succeeding a popular and (comparatively, somewhat, vaguely) liberal outgoing president he aimed for a conservative image, tapping Joe Lieberman as his running mate and espousing his agreements on almost everything with Bush II during the debates; he adopted every Fox News talking point about how a Democrat should be post-Clinton. It was a bone-headed campaign in which he did nothing to sufficiently differentiate himself from his opponent, which was cause for despair in those of us who feared a Republican in the White House.

  184. Also –

    Bush was clearly a benefactor of the Peter Principle and got to where he was purely because of the family and wealth he was born into.

    I absolutely 100% agree. No question. I’m not denying anything about Bush II’s connections and shortcomings. I’m merely saying that Gore’s campaign strategy of tacking to the right was ill-advised, and that presenting himelf as an extension of the Clinton years would have been more effective and almost certainly have put him in the White House.

  185. Eric: I certainly thought “doofus” when I saw Bush II … But despite Gore being smarter

    Bush=>doofus
    Gore=>smart

    Exactly, so why the confusion?

  186. Greg, I’m not entirely sure what you are asking. The fact that Gore was smarter than Bush II does not change the fact that this quality was not adequately reflected in his campaign. I don’t think it’s at all controversial or non-obvious to say that if a candidate runs a campaign that is less than it should be it will demonstrably have a negative impact on their chances of winning an election. I’m not attempting to make a case for why someone should vote for Bush II over Gore, I’m simply noting one reason why numerous voters did. This doesn’t make those votes “right”, it just makes them a result of the failure of one side to win votes over the other.

  187. I’m taking issue with this statement: Gore’s campaign strategy of tacking to the right was ill-advised, and that presenting himelf as an extension of the Clinton years would have been more effective and

    If we assume that Gore really was just to the Left of Bush, then all things about Gore and Bush were equal from the point of view of their political positions. Assuming that, then if both men would have the same political response to every situation, then you should pick the smartest men of the two.

    The fact that people didn’t would tell me that (1) there really was differences between Gore and Bush and (2) people more often than not chose a doofus.

    The more I look at the history of elections, the more I come to the conclusion that blaming the campaign and the candidates and outside influences like Fox news and the Koch brothers is removing a LOT of responsibility that should lay at the feet of voters. People knew Bush was a doofus. They voted for him anyway. We got 8 years of Barney Fife because that’s what people voted for. We got what we deserved.

  188. Greg,
    The fallacy isn’t in the phrase “less bad”. The fallacy is in the phrase “we have come down to”.

  189. Greg again,

    I’m gonna back Eric on this one. My memories of the 2000 campaign was of feeling very ambivalent about Al Gore as a liberal. to the point where I seriously wasn’t sure there was any real difference in their positions or in what their respective presidencies would be like. I actually seriously considered voting for W, despite feeling he was both a Bush (ugh, again? Really?) and utterly inadequate to the task. I did come to my senses by November and cast my ballot for Gore, but I never felt enthusiastic about it. If I knew then…

  190. Greg,

    If we assume that Gore really was just to the Left of Bush, then all things about Gore and Bush were equal from the point of view of their political positions.

    Not what I said or implied. I said that Gore’s campaign strategy was to present himself as if he was.

    Assuming that, then if both men would have the same political response to every situation

    Again, not what I said now or what I assumed then (though admittedly I was concerned that he would bring people onto his team who would be uncomfortably Bush-like, as evidenced by Lieberman).

    The fact that people didn’t would tell me that (1) there really was differences between Gore and Bush and (2) people more often than not chose a doofus.

    A position with which I did not express disagreement. Who, exactly, are you arguing with?

    the more I come to the conclusion that blaming the campaign and the candidates and outside influences like Fox news and the Koch brothers is removing a LOT of responsibility that should lay at the feet of voters.

    Greg, the fact that I hold candidates accountable for whether or not they run an effective campaign does not mean that I absolve voters of their own responsibility; I was, after, the one who brought up the fact that 11% of registered Democrats voted Bush II in 2000. By that same token, I flatly and absolutely reject your attempt to deflect blame that rightfully belongs to candidates onto the voters as though elections are something that happen in a fucking vacuum.

    In an ideal world, we would look at candidates for election, see which ones scored highest in intelligence, honesty, integrity, competence, and commitment to justice and fairness, and which ones scored highest in sociopathy, bigotry, self-righteousness, greed, selfishness, and commitment to oligarchic feudalism. And then we would unfailingly choose everyone in the former category and repudiate the odd outliers in the latter.

    But we don’t live in that world. There will always be certain number of people who want the latter category. You and I and Doc Rocketscience and Genufett and Mythago and many others have engaged some of those people right here in these pages. They want these things in their candidates and proudly cheer these qualities while constantly attempting to pretend that they are actually the former sets of qualities. That they don’t fool us is irrelevant; they know full well that there are a lot of others for whom authoritarianism is a bill of goods that is just familiar and comfortable enough that they can be tricked into buying it, and who can be convinced that rest of the package isn’t really as bad as it seems and/or is just propaganda from the other side..

    That’s why campaigns are important, and why candidates absolutely must be expected to run good ones. Remember the Republican Revolution of 1994? A good part of how that happened was due to Gingrich redefining the ways issues and candidates were talked about; he instructed all Republican candidates and surrogates to put positive terms in front of their people and negative terms in front of the opposition when discussing them in the media and to keep repeating them until they stuck. He even drafted the list of specific terms to be used. That tactic sticks with us today as the Republicans talk about “job-killing taxes” and “socialist healthcare” and the like.

    Gore didn’t court the voters with whom Clinton was so popular (and who were, at the time, a reliable majority), instead he courted the conservative voters who were already solidly in the Republican camp and not likely to budge. As result, he lost a lot of voters who otherwise would have backed him. Blame those voters all you want, but the fact is that if you want good candidates in office, those candidates HAVE TO run campaigns that have a reasonable chance of winning said office. If they don’t do that, they simply won’t get in. And we live with the results.

  191. romney works for the rich and will destroy the rest of whats left of the usa. i was laid off had no healthcare but genesee health plan to provide me chemo to save my life from cancer. obama saved my job while romney shuned him for that. he wants to let the rich go nearly tax free while whats left of middle class picks up the slack. fuck that and wake up im well off but not gonna piss on ppl who arent for my benefit………..

  192. In fairness to Karl Rove, arithmetic is an unreliable way to tabulate results. I mean, I rarely use simple arithmetic to calculate a tip. Or, to budget. Because, that’s what they teach children, for crying out loud. I use an Adult Mathematical Bodge. Of course my calculations indicate that Obama has won by both negative ninety percent and eleven billion votes.

    Seriously, everything is relative. Math may be off at the moment, in Rove’s light cone.

  193. @Mythago –

    Fox News is apparently very strange right about now.

    Oh, yeah. They are openly complaining that America isn’t white enough anymore. And they are saying that Romney may have actually won the popular vote by a razor-thin margin, and that means no mandate for Obama; this, interestingly, is the opposite of what they said in 2000 when Gore took the popular vote but Bush wound up with the White House.

  194. Well, no. You’re saying that’s what I’m doing, and I’m sure you have your own reasons for that. What I’m saying is that as a white, heterosexually-paired, well-off dude, the GOP has totally got my back.

    Yet you just doubled down. You’re saying, “as a white” person the GOP “has totally got my back.”
    But John, if what you say is true, that would make them racists. Is that what you think?

  195. Adam: You’re just coming right out, without evidence, and declaring the GOP to be a racist organization.

    Say it isn’t so, Joe!

    I notice that at least one reader – Greg, not only believes that the GOP is racist but chortles ironically, “say it ain’t so”!
    This is the problem with the modern left: manicheanism. So invested in the cartoonish evilness of conservatives and the Republicans that they believe that the other side are racist, among other things (corporatist, exploitative, warmongers… etc).

  196. Interesting you only latched onto the skin-color part.

    The other stuff doesn’t invalidate the skin-color stuff. Being looked after because you’re white, male etc still means that skin color is a factor. To flip it round if I said “you just hate her because she’s black and a woman”, it’s still an accusation of racism; the “and a woman” has no impact on the imputation of racial motives.

    Anyway, there’s no point in giving an extended analysis of everything you thought about every line in article. Best to keep it short and home in on something you consider important, which is what I did.

  197. @Doc RocketScience: Well, on Wednesdays I don’t carry the two. That’s Tuesdays and Thursdays only. But, given the state of the lunar cycle and the fact that the measured events took place on Tuesday but were tabulated by me on Wednesday I’m coming up with 7 for Romney and, wait, eleventh-seven *ba*zillion for Obama.

    So. Yes? I just wish maths were a less relative art and more, I don’t know, constant. You know?

  198. Sorry for the double John:

    “So invested in the cartoonish evilness of conservatives”

    Says the presumptive supporter of the party what were the architect of Obama as the Foreign Islamo-Fascist-Anarcho-Commie-Socialist That Strikes At Midnight With FEMA Concentration Camps In The Name Of Kenyan Revolutionaries World Wide?

  199. Adam: Greg, not only believes that the GOP is racist but chortles ironically, “say it ain’t so”!

    Dude. If the Republicans ran a black candidate, I don’t think you’d see Democrats demanding to see his birth certificate. Not every Republican is racist, but there are enough racist Republicans who want to “put the white back in the white house” that it reflects on the party as a whole.

    This is the problem with the modern left: manicheanism

    manicheanism? The problem with the Left is it sees the world in terms of Good versus Evil? Give me a break. Saying rape is “god’s will” is manicheanism. Saying sex is Evil is manicheanism. Saying abortion is murder is manicheanism. Pushing for prayer in school is manicheanism. Pushing to teach creationism is manicheanism. Execute a mentally handicapped person is manicheanism. Questioning Obama’s citizenship because he is black is manicheanism.

    You need pay attention a bit more.

  200. If the Republicans ran a black candidate, I don’t think you’d see Democrats demanding to see his birth certificate.

    Both sides run black candidates all the time. As far as I know, the birth certificate thing is a first for either side.

  201. Really? I would pay more taxes but everyone else won’t do it too, so I’m not going to be the first? Where is the vaunted liberal courage of the little guy taking on the system? That “I got mine and I’m keeping it but I’ll tell you other rich folks that you should share yours” liberal hypocrisy is just why no one should listen to successful liberal authors, actors, etc. You have received every advantge that capitalism has to offer and yet you want everyone else to tty and succeed under a different set of rules. I was a poor single mother who put herself through college and am now married and solidly middle
    class. I will probably never be “rich”, but I have worked hard to be secure. My husband came from a poor, uneducated Hispanic family and worked his way up in the world as well. We never took welfare and paid back every dime plus interest in student loans we received. We
    want to give our children the same opportunities. I cannot understand people who get paid large sums of money out of proportion with the value of what they do for doing something they
    obviously love, like writing, acting or singing and then think they have some insight on how the rest of us should live and spend our hard earned money. I don’t want you to pay more taxes. You earned it fair and square, enjoy it. There are probably any number of people who have jobs because of what you do and how you spend your money. Great! Do more of that. But please don’t tell the rest of us that we should share more with those that live off the government. They have made that choice. They can make better one any day. By the way, some that money you earned came from me purchasing your books. Needless to say, you won’t get any more now that I have read your blog. Capitalism at work, gotta love it

  202. Kelly:

    “Where is the vaunted liberal courage of the little guy taking on the system?”

    Actually, with liberals, it’s collective action they like. In which case I’m right in line with their philosophy.

    As for you never buying anything I write again: Ask me if I care.

  203. We never took welfare and paid back every dime plus interest in student loans we received.

    On behalf of the taxpayers who subsidized the interest rate you paid on those student loans: You’re welcome.

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