Mitt Romney’s Prospects

It isn’t impossible that Mitt Romney will become the next president of the United States. But if I were a gambler, I would invite any bets from BCC readers who find his prospects at all positive.

Let’s start by reviewing Romney’s advantages. First, Romney has raised a great deal of money. As of June 30 (the most recent publicly available data; new reports are due on October 15), Romney had collected $44,432,350 in campaign funds for the 2008 presidential cycle. His campaign also had a great deal of cash on hand: $12,121,554. Money doesn’t unilaterally decide elections, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. (Keep track of candidates’ finances at opensecrets.org, if these numbers are of interest.)

Second, Romney has a solid lead among Iowa Republicans who are likely to participate in that state’s caucuses. In polls over the last month, his average lead for the Iowa caucuses has been about 16.4%. That’s big enough that some kind of major scandal or political misstep would probably be required for Romney to lose that state’s vote.

Romney also holds a lead right now in New Hampshire, although that lead is much narrower than in Iowa and seems to be currently shrinking. Averaging over polls during the last month, Romney leads Rudy Giuliani by about 4.7% in New Hampshire. Yet the trend over the last month has been negative for Romney, and New Hampshire is clearly becoming quite competitive.

The Iowa and New Hampshire leads that Romney holds are important because those are, by apparently insurmountable tradition, the first two states to caucus/vote in US presidential primary campaigns. In the past, a victory in one or both of these elections provided weeks of positive press coverage before the next primary elections took place, as well as access to additional fundraising opportunities as the party front-runner. This year, that will probably not be the case. Several states have moved their primaries so far forward that various elections will take place within a week or two of these early primaries. The media and fundraising advantages of early victories may therefore be substantially reduced compared to earlier years. Nonetheless, these remain good states to win.

Finally, Romney holds large leads in some other states. He is obviously likely to take Utah by a wide margin, and he currently has a double-digit lead in Nevada. Romney’s other strongest state in current polling data is Michigan, where he now leads by a margin of somewhere between 2% and 26% (there is an unaccountable margin of variance across polls in Michigan at present). Michigan is one of the states that has moved its primary far forward in the year; a law was passed there this summer setting its primary for January 15th. This date violates national Democratic and Republican party rules, with the consequence that 1/2 of Michigan’s delegates may be rejected at the Republican National Convention. This is clearly bad news for Romney, although the prospect of a third early victory is not.

While there is thus some good news for Mitt Romney, the bad news for his campaign right now is vast and probably overpowering. Let’s start once again with Romney’s campaign bank accounts. While Romney has raised a great deal of money, he has also spent most of it. His $12,121,554 in cash on hand is substantially counterbalanced by his campaign’s $8,945,028 in debts. In net balance, Romney is far behind Giuliani’s $18,326,220 and only about two million dollars ahead of John McCain and Ron Paul. By the end of June, Romney had spent more than any other candidate, Democrat or Republican.

What has he gotten in exchange for all that money? Obviously, leads in a handful of states, as mentioned above. However, Romney’s national polling is far more negative than it is for any of the states discussed so far. Nationwide, Romney currently polls about 9.9% among likely Republican primary voters. This puts Romney firmly in fourth place, about 6% behind third-place McCain and about 4.5% ahead of fifth-place Mike Huckabee. Romney enjoyed a brief surge of momentum in the national polls late this summer after winning the Iowa Republican straw poll. The most recent polls, from about September 10 to the present, show that the momentum is gone, and Romney’s support has slipped back to the level it has been at since about April.

Romney is also far behind in most of the states with significant numbers of electoral college votes. In California, Romney is in third place, and stands more than 15 percentage points behind the leader, Rudy Giuliani. In Texas, there seems to be a close race between Fred Thompson and Giuliani; Romney is 6-10% behind both of them, and about 2% ahead of Mike Huckabee. New York seems to heavily favor Giuliani. In Florida, Romney is in third place and about 17% behind Giuliani. The most recent polling data I can find for Illinois show Romney in fourth place and about 19% behind Giuliani. In Pennsylvania, Romney is 20% behind. In Ohio, Romney stands in fifth place, at about 13% back from the leader.

These polling numbers can clearly change. We’re still probably about four months out from the first elections. Yet the fact that Romney has spent as much money as he has this year and has not put himself in a better position than this is problematic.

More problematic still is that American voters just don’t like Mitt Romney. In a September 14-16 Gallup poll, 38% of respondents didn’t yet know Romney well enough to say whether they liked or disliked him — a high number for a candidate who has been actively running for president, and spending money, for as long as Romney has. More problematically, 35% of respondents said that they regard Romney unfavorably, while only 27% regard him favorably. Even among Republicans, Romney is not especially well-regarded. Only 39% of Republicans see Romney in a favorable light, compared with figures of 55% for Thompson, 65% for McCain, and 70% for Giuliani. An August 23-26 Gallup survey showed that voters’ feelings toward Romney are the most negative, overall, of any major or mid-level candidate, Democrat or Republican.

Can Romney overcome his relatively moderate overall financial situation, bad standing in national and many state polls, comparative unfamiliarity for many voters, and generally negative image to win the Republican presidential nomination? Democrats certainly hope so. Polling data over the last two months or so have consistently shown that, when asked to choose between Romney and Hillary Clinton (the Democrats’ likely 2008 nominee), Clinton wins by a wide margin — probably 10% or more in the popular vote.

The most likely scenario for Mitt Romney’s political future over the next year is as follows. He garners relatively little attention between now and January. In January, he wins contests in two or three states, producing a brief spike of media attention — but this attention is counterbalanced by the fact that other Republicans quickly start winning bigger states. Then Romney fades out and probably concedes defeat by mid-March. He is probably not an attractive vice presidential nominee for either Giuliani or Thompson, and so Romney’s life in national politics ends and he returns to relative obscurity. Other outcomes are of course possible. I just wouldn’t bet on them.

Comments

  1. I’d be interested if there were any other LDS folk supporting Ron Paul for president.

    I’ve leaned libertarian (small-L) for awhile, and while I don’t agree with all libertarian ideas, so far, they are typically the party I agree with most.

    Plus I’ve been very frustrated the past few election cycles with just the general “same-ness” of all candidates, Republican or Democratic notwithstanding.

    You can certainly argue that there are libertarian ideals in the Book of Mormon itself, as well as many early leaders of the church, even as recent as Ezra Taft Benson (see his speech entitled The Proper Role of Government)
    http://www.zionsbest.com/proper_role.html

    Anyway, having been somewhat “on board” with Ron Paul for the past few months, it has been interesting to follow him and try to reconcile his enormous lead in many Internet metrics (website hits / YouTube views / Meetup members) with his so far fairly low national polling numbers. I can speak for myself (and many others from what I’ve seen) in that I have *never* felt actually *excited* about a Presidential candidate (or many local / state candidates for that matter). It has been odd actually WANTING to vote and be involved, rather than just doing it out of civic duty and choosing the “lesser of 2 evils”

    Anyway, I was just wondering if there were any other LDS folk similarly-minded.

  2. I predict Romney gets the nomination. He hasn’t been concentrating his resources on a nationwide level yet, hence lukewarm polling numbers. Where he has been putting his money, i.e early Primary states, he is doing very well. This is good strategy. Once we start seeing ads on a nationwide level from Romney (after he will already have gotten a bounce from winning early primary states, his polling should increase substantially. Romney is in this to win and is playing his cards as such.

  3. and so Romney’s life in national politics ends and he returns to relative obscurity.

    Mitt Romney is a good man, a very effective, intelligent, and capable leader, and a success in practically everything he has undertaken. Hopefully, therefore, he will not simply fall into relative obscurity but rather will be able to make a contribution in some other endeavor that benefits the nation, or the people of some state. A lack of desire to do so, however, would be understandable should he fail in his bid for the Presidency because of his religion.

  4. AH, the negative nationwide perceptions of Romney, as well as the relatively mediocre financial situation and the emerging close contest in New Hampshire, really argue against that analysis.

  5. JNS,

    What has he gotten in exchange for all that money?

    This is a very important question to ask especially in light of the fact that most of it was spent to convince hardcore Republicans that he is conservative enough. What happens come the general election when he has to convince the rest of America (you know the other 90%) that he isn’t a hardcore conservative?

    Mitt Romney’s prospects to become president in 2009 are bleak. Most of the reasons have nothing to do with him, though. The biggest reason is Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. Republicans have so strongly tied themselves to the fate of that country that they will lose really badly come next year. Republicans are going to have to defend 22 Senate seats while Democrats are only going to have to defend six, if I remember correctly. Where will Republicans (who have not done very well in raising money) going to spend their efforts? Will it be for the White House or for the Senate? Democrats need only take a net of ten of those 22 Republican seats to ensure a filibuster-proof majority.

    Unfortunately for Mitt Romney, he chose the wrong year to run for the White House. His prospects would have looked better if he waited until 2012. 2008 is the year Democrats retake control of our government and bring back sanity to our country.

  6. The other Dan,

    I would tend to agree with you about Iraq being a huge focus in the Presidential election. Which would be another reason for conservatives to look at Ron Paul, who is the only Republican candidate advocating leaving Iraq.

    He mentioned that in the most recent debate, and was chastised by someone (Huckabee I think) with the whole “we broke Iraq we bought it” nonsense.

    With 60-70% of the American people against the war, I think any candidate that is supporting it is bound to fail, whether you or I personally believe we should continue it or not.

  7. Nick Literski says:

    I just wonder how long it will take, after Romney’s campaign ends, for him to start claiming that “religious prejudice” was the only reason he didn’t win the presidency. Orrin Hatch did it, despite the fact that his chances were far less than Romney’s.

    Maybe Romney will be mature enough not to play that game, but I’m willing to bet many of his LDS supporters will play it for him.

  8. Chris Laurence says:

    I think he should be vying for Hillary Clinton’s Vice President.

  9. I’m sorry to say that Ron Paul will also not fare well. For one, he will not get anywhere close to enough Republican votes to become the Republican nominee. Aside from Iraq, the rest of his views are far too extreme for most centrists and leftists. Doesn’t Ron Paul believe in removing the Department of Education from the government? Yeah, that’s not going to pass well with centrists and leftists.

    I wish Mitt Romney luck, but, as visitors to my blog have seen, I do not treat him kindly, especially when it comes to the issue of torture and Gitmo.

  10. If Romney manages to win the election, it will be by default. Giuliani is doing well know, but that is largely due to name recognition. (Same with Fred Thompson.) Giuliani has many things in his personal life as well as social politics that are very unappealing to Republican primary voters. They may bite down, swallow hard and vote for him anyway because he’s the party’s best shot at beating Hillary, but they could very easily become disillusioned with him as well.

    Fred Thompson is all style and no substance, as near as I can tell. He’s a professional actor with a trophy wife, and has about the same experience as Barak Obama (without the youthful idealism). There’s reason to believe that his appeal is inflated by social conservatives who are looking for a viable candidate. A few missteps, and Thompson’s out.

    McCain is probably not as dead as the media has led everyone to believe, but things aren’t looking great for someone who started as the frontrunner.

    I disagree that Romney isn’t an appealing running mate for Giuliani. (I agree, though, that he doesn’t offer much to a Thompson ticket.) Giuliani might find himself desperate for someone who can appeal to heartland, traditional values Republicans.

  11. It’s too bad that there isn’t more cross-pollination between BCC and M*, because there are rabid Romney and Paul fans over there (Geoff B and Mike Parker, to name one from each side).

    Maybe they’ll see this thread and comment.

    The problem with Romney potentially using the religion card as a reason he doesn’t win (should that be the reason) is that there are lots and lots of LDS members who don’t like them. Many LDS people I know don’t like him for being another Northeasterner or a venture capitalist. Others just don’t like his politics.

    I think Romney may fare better against Clinton than Guiliani, but if Clinton gets a head of steam, she may be unstoppable.

  12. By “win the election” above, I meant “win the nomination.” By the time the general election comes along, all bets are off.

  13. BTD Greg, the problem in my view is that there are other potential vice presidents who more effectively appeal to heartland (read Southern) religious conservatives. Romney’s poll numbers in the South are abysmal.

  14. queuno, polling data right now show Giuliani as a much more formidable challenge to Clinton than Romney. Clinton is currently beating Giuliani head-to-head by about 4%. She beats Romney by 10% or more. A lot of this has to do with Giuliani being much more positively perceived — by Democrats and Republicans — than Romney.

  15. As a mormon democrat I do find myself intrigued by the fact that I am interested in Ron Paul. But for now, I like Barack Obama and John Edwards in equal measure, and am still pulling for a democrat.

    John McCain has been our neightbor for years (though he recently moved) and I would have seriously considered voting for McCain, mainly because I don’t think the man is capable of b.s. – but his stance on the war is disconcerting to me.

    My husband likes to irritate all the Romney Republicans in our stake by saying “we like Mitt Romney…he might be one of the best democrats running”. I think the real Romney truly is not a hardcore conservative and he’s never going to get over that (perhaps well deserved) reputation.

    A friend of ours knows him well and he has told us that he can’t support Romney. I find this interesting as our friend is a pretty prominent lobbyist, republican, mormon and knows him personally. I think he might have shared this information with us because he knows we are democrats. He said that Romney’s biggest problem is that he’s never learned to think for himself. He asks other people to tell him how he should feel about a particular issue (after all the proper research is conducted) and that’s his opinion – the opinion the research tells him he should have.

    I have to say it will all be very interesting to watch. I’m kind of a political junkie so it all fascinates me, regardless of who wins.

  16. Kevin Barney says:

    I realize the conventional wisdom is that a Republican has to veer hard to the right to gain the nomination. But in Mitt’s case, I think this was a mistake. He should have stuck to his historic moderate values and run hard on a campaign of competence, which is his core strength. But the competence advantage has been overshadowed by all the flipping, and some of his relatively thoughtless statements about gitmo, torture and the war also seem to cut against the notion that he has a handle on things and is uber-competent.

    I don’t know him personally. I liked what I saw when he was on Leno, but I would like him a lot more if he were still the moderate that managed to become the governor of Massachusetts.

  17. Well, Ron Paul believes in limiting government to its constitutionally approved powers. See also the speech / paper by Pres. Benson which I linked to in comment #1.

    He believes (as do I) that education is best performed when it is done locally, not by federal bureaucrats. That is a simplistic one-sentence analysis of a complicated program, but when you look at the issue, I tend to see that whenever the government is involved in something, it usually mucks it up.

    I have yet to meet (though I don’t deny that they exist) an educator that is pleased with the No Child Left Behind law.

  18. Chris Laurence says:

    #7 Nick,

    You don’t think religious bigotry figures in to a dislike for Romney? If it does, though, could a better candidate overcome it? There is a substantial difference between anti-Mormonism of “shoot them and drive them out of town” versus, “I won’t vote for the Mormon”, so the bigotry claim can be overblown. The “I won’t vote for the Mormon” type of bigotry seems to me that it can be overcome by someone who makes a compelling case for his own candidacy.

    Regardless, Republicans are in a particular mood that no real human candidate can satisfy, making Romney as likely as any of the others. Predicting the general election is ambiguous too. Amazing that one little country, Iraq, can keep our nation so preoccupied since 1990.

  19. Bandanamom–that is the single best reason to vote for Romney, in my opinion (given the option and correct political persuasion, that is). I, personally, am all for politicians who do research on a topic and then use the results of that research to guide their decisions. I’m rather sick of the idea that it’s better to go with your gut and be inflexible about ideology. Also, I disagree with your characterization (or your friend’s) that using research as a decision-making tool means you’ve failed to learn to think for yourself. I think it shows a caution and ability to consider multiple possibilities that is a hallmark of good, higher-level thinking.

    Man, I don’t even like Romney.

  20. Ron Paul wants to return the power to the States, as it once was. His ideas are definitely on the “crazy” side, but I don’t think he’d actually be successful at dissolving the IRS like he says he would do.

    I would love to vote for Paul simply because it would be something different. I was really hoping for a Bloomberg/Hagel-type ticket so we could finally get a third party going.

  21. JNS – I’ll defer to your expertise on this, but it seems like a problem in that (a) we don’t elect people based on national polls and (b), sometimes polls don’t focus on likely voters anyway, and (c) that study would suggest that there are people who prefer Guiliani to Clinton, but Clinton to Romney.

    Who are the people that prefer Guiliani to Clinton but Clinton to Romney? Certain not the Christianist right.

    I’m no expert on the political implications, I admit.

  22. The President is the Chief Executive of the nation and the Commander in Chief. I want someone who will enforce the laws of the land and wage war only when unavoidable – but who then will wage it with vigor and try to win and win now. I want someone who lets his core moral beliefs guide his decisions – but also who doesn’t try to legislate from the Oval Office – using the veto power only in what s/he perceives to be for critical, constitutional issues.

    My biggest problem with most of the recent presidents is that they tried to be more than the office – and that, almost without exception, they had little executive experience in the real world. Romney is an intriguing mixture of what I want and don’t want – and that is true of Obama and Richardson and Paul and McCain and Huckabee. Guiliani and Clinton and Thompson simply scare me, so I am not optimistic right now about the next 4 years.

  23. Mephibosheth says:

    All these discussions about poll numbers and whatnot are completely useless this early in the race. Last election cycle at this time, one John Kerry was polling around 4%, and in the end he got more votes than any candidate in history (besides George W. Bush, of course).

    Same story with Romney’s flip-flopping: it doesn’t matter. John Kerry was the most shameless flip-flopper in recent history and none of the other Democratic presidential candidates could lay a finger on him.

    Ron Paul tugs at my libertarian sympathies, but whenever I hear him talk his voice just leaves me with that “You kids get off my lawn!” kind of feeling.

  24. I personally can’t predict the winner of the Republican nomination, but I don’t think it is Romney. Most southern conservatives can’t get over the religion issue, and most other conservatives are alarmed by what they see as flip flopping (interesting to see that argument thrown against a Republican this time. Cannibals truly eat their young). Moderate Republicans doubt his sincerity as he has veered to the right based on his track record in Massachusetts. And he won’t be anyone’s VP choice, as the logic is always “who can’t hurt my chances, and just may help”. Utah doesn’t drag enough electoral votes to make him attractive, and Massachusetts and Michigan are likely to go blue, to go along with all the negatives above.

    Just a note. Don’t any of you Mormon Democrats wish that Chris Dodd were doing better? Got to love his real world experience, and likely the most intelligent and thoughtful of the democratic candidates. Plus, his “trophy” wife is an LDS woman from Orem. :)

  25. Ron Paul never will be a serious contender simply because he is a Libertarian. I am glad there are Libertarians out there, if simply to provide a counterpoint to more socialists. But realistically the whole nation rejects Libertarianism.

    I agree that if Romney wins he won’t have much of a chance simply because of Iraq along with other personal issues. (Flip flopper) Of course if he wins the nomination (and frankly I don’t think he will) he’ll most likely be battling Hilary who has quite a few negatives of her own. The whole Health Care debate might actually end up drowning out Iraq if Iraq is going better (i.e. there is some semblance of political reconciliation) and if Romney can successfully distance himself from Bush.

  26. re # 7, I think a very good argument will be able to be made that religion will be a key reason that Romney does not win the Republican nomination if he doesn’t win. Do you see that differently? If so, why?

    Conversely, if you believe that religion is not the reason that Romney fails, if he does, then what do you base that view on?

    It seems uncontroversial that many or most Evangelical Christians will not vote for a Mormon because he or she is Mormon, and since those voters are a key constituency in the primaries, Romney’s failure there could easily be attributed directly to religion.

  27. My worst fear is that the choice for president will end up being Hillary vs. Giuliani.

  28. Nick Literski says:

    #18:
    You don’t think religious bigotry figures in to a dislike for Romney?

    For some individuals, certainly it does. My point is that Romney and/or some of his LDS supporters are likely to point to religious bigotry as the “only” reason that “such a great man” didn’t win the presidency.

    #7:
    I think a very good argument will be able to be made that religion will be a key reason that Romney does not win the Republican nomination if he doesn’t win. Do you see that differently? If so, why?

    Okay, so you shocked me, john f. I really didn’t expect LDS Romney fans to start the “poor persecuted us” whine before even a single primary vote had been cast. There are a number of other reasons, which would cause voters to reject Romney. One major reason would be his inconsistency on policy issues, and the resulting impression that gives that he is insincere. As noted in the original post above, the man has a very negative image among many voters. He’s a pompous man, bred to wealth and power, who conveys an attitude of entitlement. That’s a turn-off for many voters. Further, he seems rather insistent on playing the part of Bush 3–something that scares even conservatives.

  29. queuno, good questions.

    I agree that we don’t elect people based on national polls. But the national polls are averages across the states, and we do elect people based on the states. As a matter of math, if Romney polls well in three or four states, but badly nationwide, Romney must poll worse on average in the 46-47 other states than he does in the nationwide poll. So nationwide polls do tell us a lot. Just not quite everything. But that’s why God made state-by-state polls. Romney doesn’t do too well in most of those, and he seems especially poorly positioned in the biggest states that do the most to decide nominations.

    The polls I’ve referred to all impose a likely voter filter. So these numbers are indeed based on likely voters.

    Who are the 5-6% of people that we can infer prefer Giuliani to Clinton, but Clinton to Romney? Almost certainly centrist independents. Clinton and Giuliani both play fairly well to such characters, although Clinton currently may have a small edge due largely to the unpopularity of Republicans. Romney, by contrast, doesn’t appeal to these people anymore since he has (as Kevin Barney pointed out) recast himself as a strong conservative.

    Mephibosheth, an error of fact. In September, 2003, John Kerry was polling about 21% if we average across the major polls at the time. He was clearly the second-place candidate and had been the front-runner for much of the year. Romney, by contrast, has been in third or fourth place in pretty much every poll. Kerry’s financial situation was also better than Romney’s. Really, Romney is very badly positioned; if he turns this around to win the Republican nomination at this point, it will be a historic campaign triumph.

  30. Miles (27) – No, the worst would be if Bloomberg, despite his denials, entered the race as an independent and we had three New Yorkers. Grrr.

  31. JNS – I get the math; I just wish that we’d see real studies that broke it down state-by-state. I get frustrated with the national-poll shorthand. I’m much more interested in seeing how Guiliani and Romney poll against Hillary in the 10-12 swing states that matter. I wasn’t sure if it took into account likely voters, so thanks for the clarification.

    Your comment on the centrist independents is intriguing, since I classify myself as one of those, but I can’t see a single reason to prefer Giuliani against any candidate except Obama. Maybe I’m not a real centrist independent. Guiliani just frightens me. (Which is part of my problem liking anyone right now. I’m indifferent thus far on Romney, don’t like Clinton, like Thompson as a Naval Commander better, but favor McCain, who isn’t going to get nominated. The thought of President Guiliani makes me want to run for the hills.)

  32. queuno, we will start seeing state-by-state polling breakdowns on Giuliani vs. Clinton probably in February or March of next year. We probably won’t see much in terms of Romney vs. Clinton simply because he won’t be the likely Republican nominee. For now, we are seeing a good number of state-by-state polls for the primaries, but less for the general election. This is because the primary season will be effectively over by mid-March at the latest, while the general election will still have more than half a year to go. If it ends up being Giuliani vs. Clinton, New York state will be interesting to watch. It’s typically pretty Democratic in presidential politics, but Giuliani may change the game there.

    I should note that not all centrist independents will have the preference ordering I sketched above. All subgroups of the population have internal diversity; I was just describing central tendencies. There are things about Giuliani that frighten me, too. His strongman tendencies are a bit too Juan Peron for me.

    A general point worth making here. One of the really pretty solid and reliable rules in political science is what’s called Duverger’s Law. Duverger (and the many other researchers on this topic) have found that election contests in which there is only one winner tend to concentrate nearly all votes on the top two candidates. This is because all the other candidates suffer from a wasted vote argument. If Romney is still in fourth place or so on January 1, 2008, we can expect to see him lose most of his remaining support as Republican primary voters start to focus on which of the two front-runners is the proverbial “lesser of two evils.”

  33. Dan,

    #17,

    I have yet to meet (though I don’t deny that they exist) an educator that is pleased with the No Child Left Behind law.

    I also no of no educator that likes the NCLB law. That said, I also know of no educator that wishes to get rid of the Department of Education.

  34. I think at this point not even the Governator could win if he ran for President. This election has got to be a shoe-in for any Democrat. Even Hilary.

  35. Mephibosheth says:

    JNS,

    I read that little John Kerry 4% number in an article the other day, and I’d be hard pressed to find it again. So I have no idea how reliable it is compared to where you’re getting your data.

    However, that’s certainly the story I remember –apart from some very early talk of John Kerry being the front-runner, during the primaries he comes out of nowhere to clinch the Democratic nomination. And the news polls here tell very much the same story.

  36. Mephibosheth, the data I was drawing on are a moving time-series average across all the polls. They include the polls you were discussing and others, so the average should be the most accurate. If you look toward the bottom of your own link, you’ll see some very different — and much higher — numbers for Kerry. Basically, the 4% figure was an outlier, and people using it today are spinning.

  37. Personally I think that Romney is going to fade away and not win the nomination. I think that Guliani has staying power and could well be the nominee.

    I think it will be G vs. HRC. At that point I think the blue/red map will do some mixing.

  38. re: 34 May you prove to be a prophet(ess), Susan M.

    I’m with bbell. Should be very interesting if that turns out to be the scenario (and good for the gays either way… :)

  39. Bandanamom #15:

    As a mormon democrat I do find myself intrigued by the fact that I am interested in Ron Paul. But for now, I like Barack Obama and John Edwards in equal measure, and am still pulling for a democrat.

    That’s rather odd, because Ron Paul and John Edwards are about as opposite as two candidates can get. Edwards is a universal healthcare activist and a class warrior; Paul is opposed to both of those (in a big way).

    Clark #25:

    Ron Paul never will be a serious contender simply because he is a Libertarian. I am glad there are Libertarians out there, if simply to provide a counterpoint to more socialists. But realistically the whole nation rejects Libertarianism.

    Paul is a registered Republican, although he is a “small-L” libertarian.

    I think what libertarians like myself are hoping is that a viable, charismatic candidate will be able to convert more people to the small government philosophy. Once people realize the power government have over their lives, they’ll want to break free of it (or so the thinking goes).

    Freedom is a very compelling philosophy; all it needs is the right evangelist.

    .
    I invite everyone to take a look at Ron Paul’s message:

    http://www.RonPaul2008.com

  40. bbell #37, it’s hard for me to see how Romney could fade much from the present situation. Maybe Mike Huckabee starts passing him in the polling numbers, I guess, or Giuliani takes the lead in New Hampshire.

  41. ~Bandanamom–that is the single best reason to vote for Romney, in my opinion (given the option and correct political persuasion, that is). I, personally, am all for politicians who do research on a topic and then use the results of that research to guide their decisions. I’m rather sick of the idea that it’s better to go with your gut and be inflexible about ideology. Also, I disagree with your characterization (or your friend’s) that using research as a decision-making tool means you’ve failed to learn to think for yourself. I think it shows a caution and ability to consider multiple possibilities that is a hallmark of good, higher-level thinking.

    Man, I don’t even like Romney.

    Kristine, I see what you are saying. But at the same time when we were having this discussion with our friend, his point was, when you are a grown adult man with as much experience in the political arena as he has, you should know at least what you personally think about a given topic. I agree, it may not be a bad idea to use some consensus to make decisions (I sure which GWB would do that sometimes). However, our friend indicates that Romney doesn’t really know, or at least won’t indicate, what he personally thinks about anything. He said at their last lunch meeting Romney spent about an hour asking Matt Salmon (AZ mormon republican who lobbies and held state office)a lot of questions about policy, whatever Matt would say, Romney would say “yes, that’s what I think as well”. Our friend said this was very annoying, and that in fact, is probably why he is seen by some as a “flip-flopper” (though I loathe that term as it’s thrown about so frequently and in many cases when it should not be) – the sense was that Romney may have very different ‘opinions’ when having lunch with someone else.

    So yes, I can see what you are saying, and I don’t disagree with it. But the problem I think is when a person wants to appear to agreee with everyone. I guess that’s what I sorta like about McCain as a person – he’s pretty strongly sure of his own principles, I don’t always agree with him, but I can respect him.

  42. Chris Laurence says:

    #28 One major reason would be his inconsistency on policy issues, and the resulting impression that gives that he is insincere. As noted in the original post above, the man has a very negative image among many voters. He’s a pompous man, bred to wealth and power, who conveys an attitude of entitlement.

    I’ve tried to imagine Romney as an evangelical, and how I’d feel about him as a candidate if he were. The above-list is magnified when I do. Nonetheless, I like his healthcare plan (his presidential race plan). More importantly, I think he would deliver on it. As noted in another post, in his run to the right, his attempt to appeal to evangelicals who will never vote for him, he has magnified his negatives, and hidden his positives. That doesn’t have anything to do with being LDS.

    Regardless, it ought to feed our persecution complex rather healthily, which is, I believe a central concern of Nick’s post. It’s a comfortable place. Like blaming the liberal media at Republican events. There’s just enough truth to it to feed it, amplify it, and obsess over it.

  43. There are things about Giuliani that frighten me, too. His strongman tendencies are a bit too Juan Peron for me.

    But, can Judith Nathan sing?

  44. #39 That’s rather odd, because Ron Paul and John Edwards are about as opposite as two candidates can get. Edwards is a universal healthcare activist and a class warrior; Paul is opposed to both of those (in a big way).

    This is the main reason I probably would not vote for Ron Paul. But in a lot of ways I like to listen to him. Maybe I just like the fact that he doesn’t seem like your run-of-the-mill republican. He said some things that made sense to me in the last debate.

    But I’m convinced we need to find a solution to health care issues in this country and I like John Edwards ideas.

    I’m very political diverse. Many of my friends are libertarian. I’m democrat. I disagree with republicans often, but not always. I never feel that I fit neatly into any category, but I feel best with democrats (although I’m often one of the most conservative democrats in the room).

  45. I think what libertarians like myself are hoping is that a viable, charismatic candidate will be able to convert more people to the small government philosophy. Once people realize the power government have over their lives, they’ll want to break free of it (or so the thinking goes).

    Pipe dream. Most libertarians seem unwilling to really understand why people reject their ideology.

    Freedom is a very compelling philosophy; all it needs is the right evangelist.

    The problem is that libertarians recognize only a certain class of freedoms. (i.e. freedom from government) Often freedom from corporations or other entities are just as important. For instance I’d not want all highways to be run by for profit companies. I like the government doing it. (Recognizing that not all libertarians are that hard core in their ideology)

    I like the conservative mentality that wants minimal government intervention but which recognizes that some regulations are necessary. (Say inspecting the meat packing industry by the FDA) Further even many conservatives recognize a duty to citizens. So I don’t think too many conservatives would be in favor of simply abolishing medicare and all other programs for the poor. They might wish to reform them. But not abolish them.

    But, as a practical matter, lots of people want government intervention. Lots of people want better health care that can go to the poor, for example. It’s not merely a problem of finding the right messenger. It’s that many people just fundamentally disagree with libertarian ideology. It’s pretty extreme to them. A lot of people even disagree with conservativism – but most conservatives are far, far more moderate in their aims than libertarians.

  46. JNS, as a Romney supporter, I’d like to say that this post is an excellent analysis of the situation. I think Romney does win a few of the first states, and then the question is, “does his campaign take off or not?” I’m hoping it will, but I also acknowledge all of the problems you mention (lack of name recognition, potential money problems, and the general feeling that Romney cannot beat Hillary). So, it really comes down to January and February. We will also have a better view of the polls by December, and a lot can happen between now and then.

    Personally, I think Romney has the potential to “catch fire” with the voters in a way that Giuliani and Thompson do not. For me, the most important thing is keeping Hillary out of the White House. I don’t think Giuliani or Thompson will do that. But I also acknowledge that I could be very, very wrong in my reading of public opinion.

    One small note on the early Romney vs. Hillary polls: they are simply name recognition polls right now. Very few people nationally know anything about Romney. If Hillary is still leading Romney by 10-plus points in, say, July 2008, then the Republicans have a serious, serious problem (and I admit this could very well happen).

    You may also want to consider the possibility that because there are three Republican candidates who will probably win hundreds of delegates, it is possible the candidate will be chosen at the Republican convention. I posted on that possibility at M*.

    http://www.millennialstar.org

  47. “Ladies and gentlemen: The President of the United States!” Mitt Romney is going to be addressed as such in the next eight years starting in 2009. ~ from “Truth and Political Facts”

  48. I thought this was interesting from Ron Paul’s website:

    Brief Overview of Congressman Paul’s Record:

    He has never voted to raise taxes.
    He has never voted for an unbalanced budget.
    He has never voted for a federal restriction on gun ownership.
    He has never voted to raise congressional pay.
    He has never taken a government-paid junket.
    He has never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.

    He voted against the Patriot Act.
    He voted against regulating the Internet.
    He voted against the Iraq war.

    He does not participate in the lucrative congressional pension program.
    He returns a portion of his annual congressional office budget to the U.S. treasury every year.

    Congressman Paul introduces numerous pieces of substantive legislation each year, probably more than any single member of Congress.

    As a democrat I can appreciate the idea of a balanced budget, not taking government paid junkets, voting against the patriot act, against regulation of the internet, and especially, being against the war.

    But I do think libertarians take things too far. Interestingly, I often said that my uber-right wing libertarian friend and I agree on things more often than my more moderate republican friends. I think that’s because if you go far enough to the right, it’s actually a circle and you’re making your way back around to the left again.

    Kind of a thread-jack. Sorry. Just trying to articulate my thoughts.

  49. Romney will place but not win in IA and NH and then will sink out of sight in SC, ending his campaign. It won’t be Mormons but rather the national press and media which will attribute it to religious prejudice (that’s the Romney story they have loved the most all along).

  50. Thomas Parkin says:

    Ron Paul.

    I kept thinking, isn’t this that drag queen? I wonder how a drag queen polls with Americans!!?

    No! My wife says, “That’s Ru Paul, you idiot.”

    ~

  51. Clark #45:

    Most libertarians seem unwilling to really understand why people reject their ideology.

    No more than most Mormons seem unwilling to understand why people reject their ideology. I think both groups believe that what’s needed is a fair hearing and competent public representatives, and more people will convert.

    There are, of course, informed people who disagree with libertarian (and Mormon) positions, but the main obstacle right now is getting the message out to people who are unaware of it or have a incorrect understanding of it.

    The problem is that libertarians recognize only a certain class of freedoms. (i.e. freedom from government). Often freedom from corporations or other entities are just as important.

    But the Constitution only guarantees freedom from government, not from corporations.

    Corporations have no power over me except as I permit them through contract. If I believe a corporation has violated their contract with me, I can end it. If I believe a corporation has harmed me, I can take them to court.

    For instance I’d not want all highways to be run by for profit companies. I like the government doing it. (Recognizing that not all libertarians are that hard core in their ideology)

    A for-profit tollway to relieve congestion on a crowded freeway could solve the problem without taxes and with less waste and incompetence.

    Having said that, I believe public roads to be one of the legitimate roles of government. (See Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution.)

    I like the conservative mentality that wants minimal government intervention but which recognizes that some regulations are necessary. (Say inspecting the meat packing industry by the FDA.)

    Most libertarians would say that a non-government industry group would be preferable to the FDA, for reasons that include FDA policy is too easily politicized by special interest groups, government employees are relatively easy to buy off and/or be incompetent, and (from a philosophical standpoint) the Constitution doesn’t give federal government power over food production in the United States.

    Further even many conservatives recognize a duty to citizens. So I don’t think too many conservatives would be in favor of simply abolishing medicare and all other programs for the poor. They might wish to reform them. But not abolish them.

    Except that private organizations could provide better care at less cost and without the corruption and waste endemic to government-run programs. The Shriners Hospitals for Children is a perfect example of this.

    But, as a practical matter, lots of people want government intervention.

    And many of them don’t realize the ineffeciency and loss of freedom entailed in that choice.

    It’s not merely a problem of finding the right messenger. It’s that many people just fundamentally disagree with libertarian ideology. It’s pretty extreme to them. A lot of people even disagree with conservativism – but most conservatives are far, far more moderate in their aims than libertarians.

    Since the modern social welfare system has shown itself to be such a complete failure (how many people prefer to go to a V.A. hospital?), perhaps enough people could be convinced to give a libertarian approach a try.

    I am a realist, however, and fully admit that it’s not likely to happen.

  52. Except that private organizations could provide better care at less cost and without the corruption and waste endemic to government-run programs. The Shriners Hospitals for Children is a perfect example of this.

    Thus the lack of problems with the uninsured in America. Hey… Wait a minute…

  53. Just in case the sarcasm didn’t work. (Plus I always feel guilty when I wax sarcastic)

    My big problem with libertarians is that they confuse “could” with “will.” Right now private organizations could provide better care at less cost yet very few do. Yes you can point to a few that do a good job. But there are too few of these to cover the problem.

    Multiply this for nearly every libertarian critique of government action.

  54. Isn’t it interesting how all political threads these days eventually become a debate on Libertarianism? Just an observation. (Mike, I agree with you on most of your #51, just commenting on the pervasiveness of Libertarian discussions lately).

  55. Bandanamom #48:

    As a democrat I can appreciate the idea of a balanced budget, not taking government paid junkets, voting against the patriot act, against regulation of the internet, and especially, being against the war.

    But I do think libertarians take things too far.

    The fundamental principle behind libertarianism is that the Constitution was written so as to guarantee the God-given rights of individuals from oppression by government by strictly limiting the powers of government. So any “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution…are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people,” per the 10th Amendment.

    Where libertarians believe the Democratic and Republican parties have gone astray is in enacting and enforcing laws they do not have the power to enact or enforce. The three branches of government have all given up on Constitutional limits and now simply fall back on doing what is best “for the common good.” But that has nearly destroyed our country as each branch has assumed powers for itself (war for the Executive, enormous welfare programs for the Legislative, and the writing of law from the bench for the Judicial).

    So what sounds like “extremism” to your average Democrat or Republican is actually the vision of the Founders.

  56. Clark #52 & 53:

    Libertarians would counter that the existence of a massive government-run healthcare system gives no incentive for private organizations to set up their own. As with everything else, government is the problem. (And often the problem is compounded by government and business teaming up to shut out competition.)

    Unlike socialism, libertarianism isn’t trying to establish a utopian society where no one is ever denied medical care. This is an imperfect world and people sometimes have unsolvable problems. But my contention is that fewer people will suffer as badly under a libertarian system than under the current quasi-socialist system.

  57. Mike Parker, eh. I don’t think the founders were modern libertarians at all. In the late 18th century, states lacked the technological or bureaucratic capacity to do most of what they can now do. So it’s hard to say that the founders would necessarily have objected to what our government does today, had those men lived in our times. Living when they did, it would have been pretty much impossible for them to conceive of the world we live in now, and so pretty much impossible for us to determine what they would have thought of it. Libertarianism is a modern invention, because it affirmatively demands kinds of government inaction that were once simply inevitable.

    Geoff B. #46, thanks very much for your remarks. Regarding Clinton vs. Romney polls, I’d emphasize that, among people who do know enough about Romney to offer an opinion, the existing opinions do trend negative — more so than for Hillary Clinton or any other noteworthy candidate. Romney’s problem isn’t only that many Americans don’t know him yet; it’s also that more than half of the Americans who do know him don’t like him. I don’t really understand why he’s especially disliked in this way, since he doesn’t seem worse to me than many of the other people in this year’s race. But it’s nonetheless a reality, and almost certainly part of the reason that head-to-head polls filtered for political attentiveness still show Clinton handily beating Romney.

    On the possibility of the nominee being decided in the convention, I think that’s probably less likely than it looks right now. If, by the end of January, Giuliani’s still in the lead, anti-Giuliani Republicans will most probably bandwagon around the second-place candidate and the race will become a two-person show. That’s what typically happens in these things, because people vote strategically.

  58. Libertarians would counter that the existence of a massive government-run healthcare system gives no incentive for private organizations to set up their own.

    Exactly what I was thinking but I think you put it better than I was going to.

    When a discussion comes down to this, I always think of washing the dishes. Yes, I could wash the dishes, but if I don’t, then my wife probably will get around to it one of these days.

    So I have less of an incentive to do it myself of my own accord. (Note, analogy does not necessarily reflect my own marriage) :-)

  59. Libertarians would counter that the existence of a massive government-run healthcare system gives no incentive for private organizations to set up their own. As with everything else, government is the problem. (And often the problem is compounded by government and business teaming up to shut out competition.)

    Unlike socialism, libertarianism isn’t trying to establish a utopian society where no one is ever denied medical care. This is an imperfect world and people sometimes have unsolvable problems. But my contention is that fewer people will suffer as badly under a libertarian system than under the current quasi-socialist system.

    But this is exactly the kind of thing that can be empirically tested. It’s one thing if you oppose government involvement in health care because you think it just intrinsically wrong. But if you say “fewer people will suffer” then that is just demonstrably false.

    Right now there just aren’t many businesses providing charity to the uninsured. Not nearly enough to cover the need. Certainly if there were government insurance there would be fewer. But that’s because the need is being met.

    To say that no government involvement in health care would lead to more people having health care boggles the mind.

  60. Clark: You’re right it is hard to test what would happen if the government weren’t in health care since we have massive government involvement already – it’s called Medicare and Medicaid. However, the fact is that private business and charities provide a must larger percentage of the American health care system than anywhere else in the world. My concern is that these incentives would collapse with universal government health care, and with them the entire health care industry collapses.

    I lean more libertarian on this issue with Mike. I like Mitt Romney’s health care plan and I believe that he is the only candidate with enough executive presence and experience to actually accomplish what he sets out to do. We’re all dancing around why Romney polls poorly. He doesn’t do well with liberals and evangelicals because he is Mormon — and that is all that most eligible voters need to know about him to make up their minds. It’s called bigotry friends.

  61. The internet: Where a discussion of one candidate’s prospects can turn into a crash course on the political philosophy of a party other than the candidate’s own party – a party that will have very little if any bearing on the prospects of the candidate in question.

    Gotta’ love that internet!

  62. Right on, Blake (#60).

  63. On the foreign policy front, there’s really no distinguishable difference between the candidates. All of them are saying variations of the:

    “we broke it, we bought it – so let’s sit back and see what happens”

    stance on Iraq.

    Since all candidates are taking the same highly reactive stance, I’ll settle for a candidate who will surround his/herself with highly competent advisors, and then demonstrate enough leadership to get the advisors to shut up and take orders when the decisions have been made.

    I don’t want to see another Cheney-Rumsfeld-Wolfowitz trifecta emerging in the White House, while a weak and ignorant President sits on his hands and watches the powerful personalities in his own cabinet eat each other to death.

    Bush has been almost a non-entity in his own cabinet meetings. A very weak president, ironically enough.

    I’d like to see some real leadership. Romney, McCain, Hillary, and possibly Giullianni seem to have it. It remains to be seen whether any of them have the judgment to choose the right advisors.

  64. Newsflash: Romney is closet Libertarian. Carry on. Interesting perspectives!

  65. StillConfused says:

    If we have universal health care then where will the rest of the world go to get the good stuff?

  66. Clark #59:

    To say that no government involvement in health care would lead to more people having health care boggles the mind.

    First, I didn’t claim “more people [would have] health care.” I claimed “fewer people will suffer as badly under a libertarian system.”

    It’s an issue of both quantity and quality — government can provide health care to more people, but at a lower standard of care and at a higher cost due to the bureaucratic waste. Look at Canada’s system: Just fine at meeting urgent care needs, but horrible dealing with therapy-related issues like transplants, cancer treatment, and non-critical surgery.

    Switching to a free-market-based system is only mind-boggling if one tries to conceive of doing it overnight. Certainly there needs to be an orderly, planned transition period. Considering how dependent Americans have become on the nanny state, that transition could take one or more generations.

  67. Seth R #63:

    On the foreign policy front, there’s really no distinguishable difference between the candidates. All of them are saying variations of the “we broke it, we bought it – so let’s sit back and see what happens” stance on Iraq.

    Ron Paul is the only candidate not saying this:

    http://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/war-and-foreign-policy/

  68. I realize the conventional wisdom is that a Republican has to veer hard to the right to gain the nomination. But in Mitt’s case, I think this was a mistake. He should have stuck to his historic moderate values…

    I totally agree. Didn’t we learn anything from Season 7 of the THE WEST WING?

  69. He should have stuck to his historic moderate values and run hard on a campaign of competence, which is his core strength.

    I agree. I think he has run his campaign all wrong. I think that by nature he’s an executive, someone who sees problems and tries to solve them, more than an ideologue. And that was what got him elected in Massachusetts and helped him develop a forward-thinking health plan.

    By running as an ideologue, Romney has downplayed his key strength, in my opinion, and also opened himself up to criticism of being a flip-flopper.

    I think he’s a decent man, but I could never vote for him on the basis of his views on torture.

  70. J. Nelson-Seawright #57:

    Mike Parker, eh. I don’t think the founders were modern libertarians at all.

    I never claimed they were. I did mention in #55 something about the “vision of the Founders” with respect to limited government and the assuming of powers not explicitly granted, which is the core of the Constitution and libertarianism (and all other things are only appendages).

    In the late 18th century, states lacked the technological or bureaucratic capacity to do most of what they can now do. So it’s hard to say that the founders would necessarily have objected to what our government does today, had those men lived in our times. Living when they did, it would have been pretty much impossible for them to conceive of the world we live in now, and so pretty much impossible for us to determine what they would have thought of it.

    Certainly some of what you say is true. The Constitution doesn’t deal with abortion, how free speech affects the Internet, and many other such issues. But this is why we have courts that interpret the Constitution in the light of new developments, as well as the process of amending the Constitution when circumstances arise that it did not foresee.

    What libertarians are claiming is that the Founders’ intent is what was remarkable, and that we should try to stay true to that vision, even in a modern society they didn’t anticipate.

    Libertarianism is a modern invention, because it affirmatively demands kinds of government inaction that were once simply inevitable.

    That is completely untrue. In fact, the entire point of the Declaration of Independence is that the state is by nature overactive in attempting to control the lives of citizens, and that it needs to altered or abolished when it becomes destructive of the rights of men to life, liberty, and property.

  71. Mike, nonetheless, one can affirm the contents of the Declaration of Independence in whole without being a libertarian. Indeed, most Americans of most political stripes do this. Furthermore, most Americans of most political stripes see themselves as staying true to the founders’ vision as translated for a modern society the founders didn’t anticipate. All of the debate lies in the details of what this means. Invoking the founders, the constitution, etc., rarely resolve debates. The Bush folks feel that they’ve respected the constitution by strengthening the executive branch, even while many others feel that the Bush people have been farthest from the constitution precisely when they’ve made their most extreme claims of executive power. Appeals to fundamentals rarely accomplish anything in real-world political debates. Such appeals are much more effective as propaganda than as reasoned argument.

  72. JNS #71:

    Granted, although I doubt most Americans have read the Constitution, and those legislators who have routinely ignore it or view it as being permissive rather than restrictive.

  73. Mike Parker, I like you better when you’re talking about small-L libertarianism than when you talk about Ron Paul.

    I think the campaign is still in such a ridiculously strange, overcrowded, and EARLY state that predictions (other than ones like “Mike Huckabee will have a real hard time with the immigration issue in the primaries, to the extent that voters recognize his name”) are kind of insane.

    To reflect this, my entries at the National Journal Political Stock Exchange so far have consisted of “buy” orders for every major candidate, except for Ron Paul, who I thought had a smaller than 20% chance of winning the Republican nomination. Nearly everyone that most people can identify as a candidate (Clinton, Guiliani, McCain, Paul, Obama, Romney, Thompson) is going to have big happy news and big unhappy news in the next three months. Oh, and then people will get to start actually voting for them, a process that won’t rap up until May/June. Come on.

    Incidentally, at this point in the 2004 election cycle, we’d been in Iraq for not quite 8 months, Howard Dean was leading the pack by a wide margin, General Wesley Clark had just (literally, on September 17th, 2003,) declared his intention to run, and it’d been a little over two months since Dennis Kucinich came in second in MoveOn’s much-hyped first-ever online “primary” (behind Dean, ahead of Kerry.)

    We’ve got a long way to go, still.

  74. I’m an independent. I’d never vote for Romney, and I don’t think he’s going to last once the campaign really becomes front and center news. He’s too slick and seems too untrustworthy. I don’t think it has anything to do with his religion. He just seems – plastic and false.

    He seems to choose his politics of the month based on how he’s polling, and I think Americans are sick of that. And his stance on gay marriage makes me ill. Not the fact that he’s taking a conservative position (what else would he do), but the fact that he’s running on it.

  75. JNS, I am one who does feel that Governor Romney’s chances are positive.

    You have to look at his opposition- Rudy will have a hard time once the true attack ads come- as a candidate who is not pro life will have a hard time winning the nomination. Thompson has no definitive qualities that make him different than Romney. Paul is a joke. Huckabee could be a spoiler, but I prefer him as a vice presidential candidate- a Mormon and a Southern Baptist- what better message to send about “bipartisanship”?

    Then the presidential election will come and the evangelicals and others who stay away from the polls simply because Romney is a Mormon will be utterly offset and more by those who don’t want Hillary anywhere near the Oval Office again.

    And Sue, if you are referring to the media labeling Mitt as a flip-flopper, take a look at his governatorial decisions while he was the governor of Massachusetts.

  76. Brian, I’m referring to my own perceptions of his honesty.

  77. Romney will make a great president…great MISSION president, that is.

  78. Sarah, there is a lot of time to go. Yet I think that sensible things can nonetheless be said. Nobody in quite a few electoral cycles, if ever, has won a nomination from the kind of position that Romney is currently in at this point in the cycle. Romney might do it, but it’d be an amazing accomplishment given his overall negative image, relatively weak finances, and so forth.

    The John Kerry analogy is helpful only to an extent, but it’s worth remembering that he was in a much better position in September 2003 than Mitt Romney is right now — and even so Kerry needed an amazing comeback to become the Democratic nominee.

    Brian, I agree that all of the Republican candidates have weaknesses. Romney’s major weaknesses are (a) public persona, which is evidently not terribly likeable for a majority of Americans, and (b) a political record that is inconsistent with his campaign strategy on social issues. These two liabilities probably make him a serious underdog in the current Republican race.

    Rudy Giuliani has exactly the weakness you point out, but he has some strengths that nobody else in the Republican pool can offer. No other candidate can realistically offer the kind of authoritative personality and leadership style that Giuliani has displayed in New York. That leadership style is closely associated, for a lot of Republican voters, with success in the war on terror. There are reasons why Giuliani is currently the first-place candidate even among very attentive Republicans — he may do poorly with them on social issues, but he leads the pack on terrorism leadership with core Republicans. To the extent that people are willing to sacrifice on social issues to feel safe against terrorism, Giuliani may be less vulnerable than people think. And there are a lot of core Republicans around for whom terrorism is the number one issue.

    With respect to Thompson, you say that he has no definitive qualities that make him different than Romney. If this is true, then it’s the end for Romney. Thompson’s image and popularity are far more positive than Romney’s, even though the two candidates have similar name recognition levels. Thompson also has better fund-raising resources at this point. If Thompson and Romney really have the same profile, then Thompson wins every time because people like him more.

    Finally, there are about 40% of Americans who really don’t like Hillary Clinton. That really doesn’t matter as much electorally as one might think, because the large majority of that group are Republicans who wouldn’t vote for a Democratic nominee no matter what. I’d prefer another candidate, myself, because the emerging dynastic aspect of American presidential politics makes me very uncomfortable. But I think realistically that Clinton is currently the candidate to beat.

  79. Nick Literski says:

    #77:
    Romney will make a great president…great MISSION president, that is.

    I like it! Imagine–Gordon B. Hinckley saves the country by calling Romney as mission president in some far-away nation, putting a quick end to the presidential campaign!

    Wait–maybe that’s Romney’s whole plan. If he’s running for POTUS, he can’t get stuck being called as the next apostle! :)

  80. Finally, there are about 40% of Americans who really don’t like Hillary Clinton. That really doesn’t matter as much electorally as one might think, because the large majority of that group are Republicans who wouldn’t vote for a Democratic nominee no matter what. I’d prefer another candidate, myself, because the emerging dynastic aspect of American presidential politics makes me very uncomfortable. But I think realistically that Clinton is currently the candidate to beat.

    This might be a bit of a thread jack but…

    I am curious as to why so many conservatives really seem to have a hatred of Hillary Clinton. I honestly like Edwards and Obama more but that’s based on my assessment of the candidates policies. But what I see in regards to the feelings towards Hillary kind of baffle me. I hear it all the time – but I never hear why they don’t like her.

    I usually don’t want to get into that conversation with people from church so I’ll ask it here. Why?

  81. Poor Mitt has followed lousy advice in running hard to the right in his quixotic quest for the votes of conservative Republicans. It’s only made him look silly (the “varmint hunter”) or opportunistic and mean (let’s double Gitmo) or phony (“get tough on illegal immigration”). Those things, and not the Mormon question, will sink his candidacy.

    Oh, by the way, the President is the commander in chief “of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States.” I’m not in the Army or the Navy or in the militia of any state, and the President is not my commander in chief. Once we start calling him that we may as well call him “der Fuehrer.”

  82. re: 80

    That would be a better post over at M*: “What are YOUR personal reasons for hating Hillary Clinton?”

    For me it’s inexplicable too. She’s incredibly savvy, knowledgeable,tough as nails, and a moderate to boot. The first female president someday will probably be a Republican version of, well, her. I personally just don’t think she’s electable in this country at this time.

  83. Bandanamom #80:

    It’s long and complicated and goes back (at least nationally) to Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign. A lot of it has to do with backlash against her non-traditional role as First Lady.

    Bill Clinton ran on a “two for the price of one” strategy, touting Hillary as a strong voice in shaping policy. This ran against the traditional view of a First Lady as “White House Hostess.”

    Hillary also made the infamous “I could have stayed home and baked cookies but I went out and did something important with my life” comment, which went a long way toward alienating a lot of households with stay-at-home moms.

    After Bill Clinton’s election, he put her in charge of the White House task force on health care, which met somewhat secretively and ended up recommending a single-payer nationalized plan. This angered many free-market types.

    She also decided to go by “Hillary Rodham Clinton” shortly after the election, which went against the traditional-marriage grain.

    So a lot of it has to do with her “uppity woman” persona, and also her left-leaning policies. Her negative ratings have been, and remain, among conservative voters. Chalk some of it up also to conservative talk radio demonizing her (Rush Limbaugh, I’m looking at you).

    This section of her Wikipedia article sums up most of this.

  84. “Other outcomes are of course possible. I just wouldn’t bet on them.”

    According to the political futures markets (Intrade, for example), Romney has about a 20-25% chance to win the nomination, presumably for all the reasons you went through in the post. Giuliani’s odds are not much better (30s), Thompson’s are about the same. Ron Paul is at 1 in 20 as is Huckabee. McCain is at 5-10%.

    Technically, since no candidate has more than a 50% chance of winning the nomination, for any of the Republican candidates, the chances are that that candidate will not get the nomination. Giuliani is the most likely, but not really all that much more likely than one of the other two leading options.

  85. #82

    I also think that under normal circumstances say 2000 or 2004 she would be unelectable.

    The wind though is pushing so far at whoever the Dem nominees back that it might just propel her over the top.

    I personally think she will win by 2-4 points over just about any Repub with the exception of Guliani. I think he can beat her because of his appeal to white moderates. This will help him in the great lake states and places like Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    If HRC loses say in Michigan or Penn she is done

  86. prairiechuck says:

    #59 “But this is exactly the kind of thing that can be empirically tested. It’s one thing if you oppose government involvement in health care because you think it just intrinsically wrong. But if you say “fewer people will suffer” then that is just demonstrably false.”

    It’s demonstrably true. In the 19th Century (prior to government meddling in health care) America was the healthiest nation on earth. Up until the 1920′s service organizations (Lions, Elks, etc) flourished. Members of these clubs pooled their money to provide health care for their families. We have historical proof that free market health care is superior by every measure (more options, cheaper, more accessible, higher quality) than the government controlled variety.

    It was when gov took the side of the AMA and began passing laws that gave preferential treatment to the AMA and enforcing AMA agendas that there began a decline in health care. (Prior to that there were a variety of self-policing organizations, similar to Underwriter’s Laboratory [UL] an independent, self-policing organization for electronic goods.) FDR instituted more laws governing health care delivery and that was the end of free-market health care.

    The health care mess we’ve enjoyed since the turn of the century is all thanks to gov intervention.

    Here is a brief overview of how we got this mess:
    http://www.fff.org/freedom/1201e.asp

  87. Frank, the betting markets did a good job predicting the last few electoral cycles — but at least so far this cycle, there are marked signs of irrationality in the markets. A bettor can make guaranteed money right now by arbitrage, since different markets offer quite different prices for and even rank-orderings of the candidates. This is a sure sign that the markets are not currently firing on all cylinders right now. Regarding Romney, all three major markets give him a price in the 20 to 30 cent range — attributable in small part to different sets of candidates in the market and in large part to an evident lack of arbitrage, implying serious market defects. Furthermore, the various markets have quite different opinions of Romney’s trend over the last month or so. The Intrade market has Romney slightly declining in early August and basically flat since. The News Futures market has Romney absolutely flat through the same period. The Iowa Electronic market is noisier but projects a basically declining trend through that same time period. A gambler wouldn’t be well advised to take these figures too seriously right now; clearly there are major information problems in these markets at present, although that might well get worked out later in the cycle. If not, this is the year the political futures markets fall.

  88. prariechuck, this is getting way off topic. But isn’t it worth pointing out that the countries that rank better than the US in health and life span mostly have far more government intervention in health care markets than the US?

  89. JNS, before we go off on tangents about arbitrage between the two markets (newsfutures is not real money), let me just check something. The markets currently put Mitt at 20-25%. If you were a gambling man, would you be willing to bet that this is too high a percentage? If so, by how much?

    If not, I guess the markets have you pegged nicely!

  90. Mike (#83) hit the highlights on Hillary’s problems, but the one I hear the most when I hear social conservatives rail against her is her infamous “Stand By Your Man” comment. You can’t ridicule Loretta Lynn (especially in the South), make fun of hundreds of thousands of women who identify with that song, then stand by your own philandering man in a way that makes it look like you are doing it purely for the power and prestige – and then be surprised when the people who felt attacked see you as a callous, conniving, calculating b****.

    I know that’s simplistic, but it’s also deeply emotional to millions of people.

  91. JNS,

    While you mentioned Nevada you didn’t mention that it is an early primary. This will also help his momentum.

    As far as California goes, I would guess that his chances are better than one might think. If there are religious attacks on him (and the chances of this happening are high if he wins Iowa and NH) LDS voters might take this personally. Primaries are all about getting people out to vote. If California’s large LDS population is motivated to participate by unusual circumstances I could see him doing much better there than any poll would be able to show.

    The problem is that he’ll get creamed in the South, especially if Thompson picks up steam.

  92. prairiechuck says:

    JNS, perhaps it is off topic, but it’s in good company with other tangents, most notably #44-45, 51-60 and 70-73. (Not to mention mini-tangents #17, 33, 39 and 48.)

    Yes, you’re right–it’s worth pointing out that we are doing a terrible job at imitating every other nation’s health care. But why do we want to measure ourselves using other nations’ values? When we were a nation set apart, following constitutional principles (i.e. before 1900′s) our health care was miles ahead of the rest of the world. Doesn’t that mean anything?

    And history certainly negates Clark’s assertion that saying “‘fewer people will suffer’ [under free market health care]…is just demonstrably false” when the exact opposite is true. I was merely rebutting a false statement of another very off-topic post.

  93. Chris Laurence says:

    I’m not even sure Romney will do poorly in the South for one reason: apathy. Republicans are not motivated this election cycle, and I see nothing yet to change that. This makes a candidate’s get-out-the-vote effort more valuable than usual. Thompson’s campaign is trying a different strategy that requires immense enthusiasm for the candidate, of which there is not much. Romney’s organizational skills may come into play more than any other factor. Even in the South, a motivated Mormon’s vote will count for a lot more when very few come to the polls.

    That apathy becomes a huge problem in the general election, though.

  94. Frank, the political futures markets are evidently experiencing a great deal of inertia this summer — probably related to the fact that they’re clearly incomplete at this point in the cycle. So I see them as giving us a better read right now of how the race looked in early summer. At that point, Romney probably had a 1-in-3 to 1-in-5 chance of winning. His situation has deteriorated somewhat since then. In particular, it seems that the markets haven’t yet reacted at all to the new information that Romney is disliked by more people than he’s liked by.

    arJ, true regarding Nevada. Romney’s early problems will be South Carolina and Florida, where as you say he’ll probably be creamed. That’s bad news because those are among the larger of the early states. But the other problem is that the big rush of states where Romney’s weak will come quickly after his probable early victories. There just won’t be as much time as in years past for him to take advantage of early victories for favorable news coverage and fund-raising.

    Romney’s California numbers are weak, and it’s worth remembering that LDS folks are a fairly small percentage of California Republicans.

    prariechuck, I’m not sure what you’re getting at. Do we have values for our health care system that somehow offset shorter life expectancies, etc., in comparison with many other advanced industrial democracies?

    I also don’t understand the comparison to the 1800s. Our health care system is far more effective now than it was then. We live longer, are healthier, have many fewer infant deaths, etc. So we do better now than we did then, but not as well as other countries, that also happen to have a great deal more state involvement in health care. This doesn’t prove that we should have more state involvement in health care, of course. But it does provide meaningful evidence against causal claims that state involvement destroys health care outcomes.

  95. cj douglass says:

    I think you’ve all got the religious prejiduce issue wrong. Ofcourse Romney’s religion will be a giant factor in whether people vote for him. My question is, so what? Welcome to the game Mitt. Voters always size up candidate based on the most idiotic analysis – let alone a candidates religious affiliation. They always have. Know any Muslims in the House or Senate? I think there is one. Remember any Catholic presidents? Again – one. And that’s what pisses me off about Mitt’s comments about Sharpton’s comments. “A bigoted thing to say”?? Romney doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

  96. Blake (#60) and Mike (#66), the point is that if there were more government intervention you are saying access to health care would go down. That’s frankly almost impossible to believe. Further the very reason for Medicare was poor care for the poor. That is the public sector wasn’t doing a good job so the government stepped in.

    But what you have to establish is that the poor and lower middle class in the US have better access to health care than countries like Canada. That’s demonstrably not the case.

    Mike (#66), the mere fact you have to go back to the 1920s (!!!!) demonstrates the problem. Modern health care really only develops in the post war era. In the 1920′s things were so primitive and doctors so limited that of course private facilities could do a good job. However since the development of the technology in this field with the associated costs it’s very, very arguable that private groups can’t do as good a job. So you’re comparing apples and oranges.

    The comparison is this. Very socialist programs (like most of the 1st world) with very little socialism. Who has better health? That’s an empirical question which doesn’t bode well for libertarians.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying one has to support socialism. (Although there are many options open that aren’t a Canadian like system) One could say you don’t support it because health care for the rich and upper middle class would go down. (The selfish view) One could say you don’t support it due to costs. (A very valid view, especially given Hilary’s more German or Australian proposal which seems wishful thinking on her claims about cost) One could even offer different proposals. (I kind of like the Mass. health care proposals, truth be known.) One can even do what many conservatives and libertarians do and simply say there is no right to health care so the sick poor children just need to buck it up for the sake of Ethics.

    However what one can’t do is say that empirically less government involvement would lead to better care.

  97. That apathy becomes a huge problem in the general election, though.

    That’s why if he makes it to the general election, he needs to choose JC Watts as his running mate.

    Romney/Watts, now THAT would be formidable.

  98. Seth (#63), I think you’re dead on in terms of rhetoric regarding foreign policy. I think part of this is because in the primaries you’re primarily dealing with activists who are more favorable towards Bush’s foreign policy than regular Republicans and certainly than Independents. I’m not sure this is ultimately wise though given that they’ll have to really swing towards the middle once the nominations are over. (And, as Geoff noted on M*, there may not end up being a clear winner for a while – that will hurt Republicans further)

    The only real hope for Republicans is that there is some political reconciliation in Iraq the next 12 months and they can do a “see, I told you so” moment to Democrats. I think the probability of that is exceedingly low though – even if violence had decreased significantly in Iraq.

  99. cj douglass says:

    But Clark, What about the long lines?!!? (the reasoning I keep hearing) Sure, we’ll help the poor at first but inevidably those long lines will kill us all! lol!

  100. Mike, (#66), “It’s an issue of both quantity and quality — government can provide health care to more people, but at a lower standard of care and at a higher cost due to the bureaucratic waste. Look at Canada’s system: Just fine at meeting urgent care needs, but horrible dealing with therapy-related issues like transplants, cancer treatment, and non-critical surgery.”

    I’d dispute that portrayal of Canada’s health care system. I don’t like the Canadian system but the above simply isn’t the case. Certainly in Canada there are waiting lists for less important treatments. (You have to limit health care somehow – in the US it’s simply done by money) But overall for the population Canada does a dramatically better job of taking care of cancer and other such things.

    Don’t get me wrong, it bothers me when my Dad had to wait for heart surgery or my mom waits a long time for knee replacement surgery. But it’s simply not how many Americans who oppose health care reform portray it. There’s an awful lot of FUD in the rhetoric here in the US.

    Having said that I’d never want a Canadian system.

  101. Mike: (#70) What libertarians are claiming is that the Founders’ intent is what was remarkable, and that we should try to stay true to that vision, even in a modern society they didn’t anticipate.

    I should say that I actually completely agree with that. However what I think J. Nelson-Seawright is saying is that the founders intent is very under-determined for many issues. Libertarians like to think they are representing the intents of founders whereas in reality it is very, very unclear on many issues that they are.

  102. prairiechuck says:

    JNS #94–You (and others who advocate gov controlled health care) always use CURRENT statistics and values, comparing us to other nations’ CURRENT practices and outcomes. You then use that as proof that we aren’t doing it right because look at how far behind everyone we are.

    I’m saying that we need to look at HISTORY–not other countries–for direction, to see what works. Like ancient Israel, we want to have kings (or in this case, health care) like all the other nations. It’s when we try to imitate all the other countries that we fail. When US health care policies were constitutional (like they were prior to 1900) we enjoyed the best health care in the world.

  103. Steve Evans says:

    prairiechuck, you want to go back to a 19th-century healthcare system? God bless America and her nutcases.

  104. Prariechuk.

    This is from PBS’s site on american healthcare:

    1900s
    America lags behind European countries in finding value in insuring against the costs of sickness.

    You say we must go back to the 1900s. I say we’re still there.

  105. This string is becoming a bit of an incoherent mess, imho. Somebody should write a separate post to discuss health care issues.

  106. I’ll drop the libertarian critique as it is a bit tangential. My only point was that there was a reason why Americans don’t support too libertarian of issues. There’s a big difference between Reagan styled conservatives and libertarians. Of course everyone is trying to portray themselves as Reaganites (even George Bush claimed to be) but few seem to me to bear much resemblance.

  107. Chris Laurence says:

    RE: #100 (You have to limit health care somehow – in the US it’s simply done by money)

    Is it necessary? I know there are some oddballs who love going to the doctor for everything, but most only go when necessary. It’s not a very enjoyable experience. I would rather that we had enough and to spare with healthcare. With the amount of money Americans spend on healthcare, I think that should be a reality now, but the dollars are being misallocated. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that any presidential nominee’s plan yet addresses this. If there were true competition in healthcare, many inefficiencies would be wrung out, but with the supply of doctors and nurses tightly controlled, premiums paying outlandish salaries at health insurance companies (I don’t see how that serves the free market), sizeable malpractice insurance payments by doctors, prescriptions controlled by doctors even for the mundane (in Russia of all places you can buy anti-biotics from the pharmacist directly without seeing a doctor, and you bring your own stent, etc., to the hospital, which, in America, would create a new market on eBay, et al, for hospital supplies), and finally with the number of hospital beds for a region somewhat controlled, we don’t have a free market.

    With government money, regulations, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, government employees’ (not a small portion of the population) healthcare, the market is even less free, but seems to be well-funded. I don’t think we’re limited by money. I think we’re limited by the system that has evolved into being. It will take a Mitt Romney or a Hillary Clinton to change it. I’ve gone off my original topic into a rant. Oops. That’s all.

  108. This string is becoming a bit of an incoherent mess

    Just like the US healthcare, , system, which Mitt Romney intends to fix, if we will but elect him. There. Back on topic.

  109. Clark: But what you have to establish is that the poor and lower middle class in the US have better access to health care than countries like Canada. That’s demonstrably not the case.

    Alright Clark: show that the poor in Canada or socialized medicine states in Europe are better off than the poor in America. You’ve already admitted that Medicare and Medicaid, which rely totally on private doctors and not government agents, provide the care. I’d like to see what you are referring to. Frankly, I don’t see any information to substantiate what you claim.

  110. Just to add to the incoherence of the mess (hat tip to MikeinWeHo):

    Here’s Mitt on immigration:

    Implement An Enforceable Employer System. Issue a biometrically-enabled and tamperproof card to non-citizens and create a national database for non-citizens so employers can easily verify their legal status in this country.

    I would like to hear how this will work. How do you know someone is a “non-citizen” so you can ask for the card, without requiring a national identity card for everyone, citizen and non-citizen alike? I mean, do you ask Steve Evans for the card, or only Jose Jimenez?

    It seems that the libertarian wing of the Republicrats should wake up and smell this rat!

  111. Duh, he’ll just tattoo 666 on immigrants’ heads. AMIRITE?

  112. Blake (#109). Quick 1st order answer and then I’ll drop it.

    Infant Mortality Chart

  113. California Condor says:

    Mark B., I’m with you on the card idea (I think– I support completely open borders).

    How do you “biometrically” enable a card? Encapsulate a blood sample inside the card?

  114. I know I would ask for Steve’s card – or, at least, I would ask for anyone’s card who carries a man-purse with a little rat dog in it.

  115. a random John says:

    I love it, I’m attacked on both fronts!

    First my assertion that Romney will get creamed in the South is questioned:

    Even in the South, a motivated Mormon’s vote will count for a lot more when very few come to the polls.

    Baloney. A few motivated Mormons will be just that: very few people with one vote each. There simply aren’t that many Mormons in the South and there is deep distrust of all things LDS. The influence southern Mormons will be nil, if that.

    Then JNS comes after me for suggesting Mormons could have an influence in CA:

    Romney’s California numbers are weak, and it’s worth remembering that LDS folks are a fairly small percentage of California Republicans.

    My point is that the CA numbers are likely artificially weak. LDS are the 2nd largest religious group in CA, and CA has the largest number of Mormons of any state other than Utah. Perhaps more than Utah now, I don’t know. I would guess that they are largely Republican. I would guess that if 90% of LDS in CA happened to participate in primaries that it would be a very good thing for Romney. I’m not saying that he will win CA, just that his is more competitive there than the national candidates might give him credit for.

    I am happy to admit that in my experience CA is a very large state and the LDS population is a medium fish in a very large pond there.

  116. California Condor says:

    Nice chart, Clark (112). It’s compelling. But what you have to remember is that capitalism is a system that rewards winners. Do we want a system where everyone gets decent medicine even if they do nothing, or do we want a system that rewards hard workers with the best medicine in the world (Mayo Clinic?)?

  117. a random John says:

    As for biometric cards, that’s easy! Well, it is to me given that I’ve worked on them for eight years.

    You have a smart card (credit card sized device with a small computer in it) that can store fingerprint templates. It could also store a iris temple, a portrait, and biographical information. This information is cryptographically signed by the issuing body such that it can’t be forged.

    The problem, as some have stated, is that you have to give a high-security card to everyone (REAL-ID act) or else it doesn’t work.

    Cards can be verified on handheld readers that can read the card, verify the digital signature, scan your fingerprints, verify the fingerprints, display your facial photo, etc. It isn’t that hard. I’ve implemented more than one such system.

    I am not claiming that it is a good idea to implement such a system. Just saying that it is doable.

    Mexico is also working on such a system for its own citizens, but they have some serious problems due to political corruption. The system they are trying to implement is outdated and is only being used because the richest man in Mexico has rights to sell that system in Mexico. Also, they don’t have any features that would prevent someone from enrolling multiple times with different names.

  118. a random John says:

    California Condor,

    I work hard and can’t go to the Mayo Clinic. The guys that painted the house that I lived in Boston work even harder and don’t have health insurance. Hard work does not directly correlate with getting excellent medical care.

  119. See #105.

  120. California Condor says:

    a random John,

    Well, maybe you should get out of the bio-card business and then you would be able to afford some Mayo Clinic visits. (That was supposed to be a whimsical joke.)

    You may not go to the Mayo Clinic but you probably go somewhere for care that is in-line with your salary / contribution to society. And if Mitt Romney gets elected and forces us all to get bio-metric driver licenses, maybe your bank account will swell and you’ll be able to visit the Mayo Clinic as you age. Wouldn’t you like to be rewarded with Mayo medical care for your efforts rather than be forced to get mediocre care after waiting in line (behind people who haven’t done much for society)?

  121. random John (115), we cannot assume that all LDS voters will vote for Romney any more than all Catholics voted for Kennedy, but it is true that we generally seek a candidate with like values who stands as close as possible to us on issues. While you might expect him to get most of the LDS vote, it is doubtful that California LDS members would lock-step as much as say Utah ones might.

    I do not think you should vote for anyone based solely/souly on religion any more than others should exclude him on that basis. On the other hand, in the category of Character (which is a huge part of the analysis of a candidate, but one of many necessary qualities to run the country), his devotion to the Church demonstrates his faithfullness, belief in morality, and loyalty to his religion in spite of the fact that it has not been politically expedient.

    In a field of the present candidates, that should serve as his leapfrog to the next level. Let us pray that it is so.

  122. JNS,

    So you thought he had a 20-30% chance and now you think it has gone down but the markets have not, to your mind, picked this up. Your arguments about the markets being incomplete is a little odd. They may be thin (though I doubt it), but why would you say they were incomplete? And no, the existence of arbitrage does not make a market useless. The markets have given me two numbers, fairly close together. So far you’ve given me no number… Apparently you are saying you think it is less than 20%. So give me your best guess– 15%?

    Actually, I am curious to see how political scientist types deal with this base intrusion on their precognitive prerogatives! There are lots of reasons to be concerned about futures markets, but probably fewer reasons that to be worried about individual expert opinions.

    Weren’t you the guy writing a post on the wisdom of the masses. So here are the masses JNS, do you agree with them? :)

  123. You may not go to the Mayo Clinic but you probably go somewhere for care that is in-line with your salary / contribution to society. And if Mitt Romney gets elected and forces us all to get bio-metric driver licenses, maybe your bank account will swell and you’ll be able to visit the Mayo Clinic as you age. Wouldn’t you like to be rewarded with Mayo medical care for your efforts rather than be forced to get mediocre care after waiting in line (behind people who haven’t done much for society)?

    California Condor – is this a serious statement?

    If so I stand amazed.

  124. Chris Laurence says:

    #115

    Obviously there are not enough Mormons in the South to swing the vote one way or the other. Nonetheless, when turn out is low, each vote counts more than it should. Romney has other supporters in the South. He has an organizational advantage over other campaigns at present, because he is doing a better job at it than his opponents. He can leverage that in the South. The Southern Mormon was just an example of that larger strategy.

    It’s probably not enough to win in the South for the obvious reasons everyone understands. I still wouldn’t rule anything out, though, in a season with so much apathy. We just had a primary here where 8% of registered voters turned out. Just about anybody could swing an election with turn out that low. Of course the presidential primary will turn out more than that. You were making this case yourself with regard to California.

    If Mormons are Romney’s only supporters, he might as well quit now. He still has the opportunity, however, to garner support, even in the South. And if turn out is low, he could really surprise people.

  125. CC (#116) I said I’d drop the topic so I’ll not really address your comment. I’d just say be wary of the false dichotomy. I think you’re presenting a false dichotomy.

    Getting back on topic, the biggest problem Romney faces is that the timing of many primaries has shifted dramatically (and probably will continue to shift until December). He was counting on winning big in a few primaries and using that momentum. That’s much harder to do at this stage, although his monetary advantages will help him overcome this though.

  126. Well, maybe you should get out of the bio-card business and then you would be able to afford some Mayo Clinic visits.

    Don’t worry, I’m out. Still not heading to the Mayo, unless I’m using it to mix up some fry sauce.

  127. cj douglass says:

    Mark B., I’m with you on the card idea (I think– I support completely open borders).

    Don’t get Mark B. started on open borders!

  128. show that the poor in Canada or socialized medicine states in Europe are better off than the poor in America.

    Easy, Blake. The poor in America receive no health care (not counting the trips to the emergency rooms for Vicodin, which, incidentally, was invented in a European Socialized Medicine State) while the poor in European Socialized Medicine States simply hand the doctor of their choice their insurance card and get a healthy serving of care.

  129. arJ, the LDS are a medium sized fish in California? Really not. According to the Deseret News 2001-2002 Church Almanac, there were 740,236 Mormons (active and inactive) in California as of 1999. In the 2000 census count there were 33,871,648 people in California. That makes Mormons about 2.2% of the California population. Surveys suggest that active Mormons are only about 1% of the California population, and inactive Mormons outside the Utah corridor may or may not have any kind of identification with other Mormons or Mormonism. It’s hard to see that small of a proportion of the population making much electoral difference, unless the race is otherwise close — which it currently isn’t.

    Frank, political scientists helped develop some of the earliest voting futures markets. I think they’re a neat idea, and worth paying attention to. But, remember, at the end of the day, the polls reflect the masses much more than do the markets.

  130. Peter, that’s not accurate either. There are many medical programs for the poor in the US. One can dispute what they cover but that’s an other issue. (Sorry, I know I promised no more medical coverage – I just wanted to be even handed)

    BTW – one thing no one has commented on is how none of the Republicans running have what I’d call a positive message. i.e. Reagan’s “are you better off today” Something even Bill Clinton used successfully. I think this lack of the traditional Republican optimism is a huge mistake.

  131. “Frank, political scientists helped develop some of the earliest voting futures markets. ”

    Does that tell me something? There are plenty of things done by one group of political scientists that are roundly despised by large groups of others. Surely futures markets are no different.

    “But, remember, at the end of the day, the polls reflect the masses much more than do the markets.”

    As your analysis above makes great use of, the polls are not designed to answer the question you are asking: “will Mitt Romney win the nomination several months from now”. Political futures markets are trying to answer exactly that question.

    And hey, polls have huge variation in them due to well-known problems. You don’t seem quite as ready to chuck them as you are the futures markets due to _their_ variation. Instead you average them or make do with what you’ve got. Whereas with the futures markets you seem unwilling to do the same thing.

    Also, you still haven’t ponied up your number — what do you think the probability is Mitt will win the nomination?

  132. Frank, I’m not by any means chucking the futures markets altogether. I just don’t know what to make of them. Their properties simply aren’t known with as much precision, especially this far from an election, as is the case for survey data — which, warts and all, are at least reasonably well understood.

    And I’m not going to offer up a probability number, since I’m not really that much of a Bayesian, thanks all the same.

  133. “And I’m not going to offer up a probability number, since I’m not really that much of a Bayesian, thanks all the same.”

    Hah! Well I guess _your_ properties as a predictor aren’t known with much precision either. There is certainly more to be learned about futures markets, but they seem to perform well empirically, are based on a sound theory, and are willing to cough up a number when asked… So I’d say there properties hold up pretty well against the alternatives.

    All the same, I enjoyed your post telling me reasons why Mitt has what turns out to be about a 20-25% chance of winning the nomination.

  134. BTW – one thing no one has commented on is how none of the Republicans running have what I’d call a positive message. i.e. Reagan’s “are you better off today” Something even Bill Clinton used successfully. I think this lack of the traditional Republican optimism is a huge mistake.

    The Republican line seems to be doom and gloom these days, which surprises me as well. Is the fear of Iraq/War on Terror enough to get Republicans out to vote? I don’t believe so. The Democrats don’t seem to have much of a positive message either. The most positive candidate seems to be Obama, and you have to read his book to find out how great he think this country can be.

  135. Well, Frank, I do have one great advantage over the futures markets: I can explain the reasons why I think what I think. And you can accept or reject those reasons as you see fit. None of that’s possible with the futures markets, so there’s a reason to do this post in any case!

  136. None of that’s possible with the futures markets, so there’s a reason to do this post in any case!

    Just so.

  137. California Condor says:

    Bandanamom (123),

    Somebody has to pay for health care. Doctors won’t work for free. It appears that you would be willing to sacrifice some of your health care to subsidize the health care of others. Is this true?

  138. Peter: The poor in America receive no health care (not counting the trips to the emergency rooms for Vicodin, which, incidentally, was invented in a European Socialized Medicine State) while the poor in European Socialized Medicine States simply hand the doctor of their choice their insurance card and get a healthy serving of care.

    Really? You’ll have to tell that to my clients who specialize in giving health care to the poor — in spades. No health care for the poor except Vicodin? Which country are you living in? The amount of unpaid, charitable and Medicare Medicaid for the poor is actually in the billions of dollars a year. Your knowledge about American health care would be funny if it weren’t scary and precisely what promotes the kind of socialized medicine non-sense we’re going to be hearing this election.

    Clark: As you know infant mortality rates have a lot of correlates and causes, so they are irrelevant to this discussion. You’d have to show that it is due to the lack of available medical care.

  139. As you know infant mortality rates have a lot of correlates and causes, so they are irrelevant to this discussion.

    Correlation is not sufficient to conclude causation, but it surely isn’t irrelevant to causal claims, either. Given the first-order evidence, it would seem to be incumbent on skeptics to show that there is something else wrong with America, other than its medical system, causing all those excess infant deaths.

  140. I think we should look for potential running mates for Mitt among the other folks whose names are also pieces of sporting equipment (or at least homophones):

    Possibilities include:

    Clete Boyer
    Shoe-less Joe Jackson
    Jersey Joe Walcott
    Jock McBaine
    Bat Masterson
    George Ball
    Joan Baez (all right, I know how to pronounce it, but if Matt Diaz who plays for the detested Atlanta Braves can pronounce his name “Die-as”, we can call her “Base”)

    This is more interesting than the endless discussion of health care, or even immigration. Take that CJ!

  141. Infant mortality rates actually are a pretty lousy measure to use for cross country comparisons. Mostly because they are measured differently by country Our attempts to keep alive 25 week old babies count against us, but other countries just count it as dead on arrival so not an infant death. I don’t know what the numbers would look like after you did some correction for this, but it does make the infant mortality numbers hard to use for much.

    I’m not sure why they’d be considered better than just looking at life expectancy. It seems like they have a lot of the same problems, plus some bonus ones.

  142. Frank, for whatever reason, infant mortality scores and life expectancies are highly correlated, so the choice probably isn’t too consequential.

    Mark B., I think Mitt should look for someone from Romney, West Virginia.

  143. JNS,

    How many votes did Bush need in the 2000 CA primary in order to win? Could roughly .5 million motivated Mormons make a difference in CA?

    Personally I hope it doesn’t happen. I think the Church really hurt itself PR-wise with the gay marriage proposition in CA and I think that a similar thing happening with Romney wouldn’t help in the long run in CA.

  144. California Condor #137

    Actually I’m not at all sure that’s what it requires. I’m fortunate to have very good health coverage. I guess it would be easy to say “I have mine, too bad, you’ll have to find yours”. However, there was a time in our young married life when we did not. It’s a terrible situation to be in when your child is ill and you can’t pay for the doctor visit, and you just pray you won’t have any major problems.

    I think it’s so short sighted to imagine that a lack of health coverage for others is not my problem. I think it is my problem. One of the major reasons for bankruptcy in this country is major medical bills. If you only want to look at it from a strictly monetary perspective rather than a social good, I still think there are plenty of reasons to hope for universal health care coverage for all.

    We are a great country, there’s no reason we can’t have as good of a health care system as France. Yes, I said as good as. As far as I’m concerned, it’s all very well and good that the richest people in this country, and those most fortunate, can afford the best care in the world, but that doesn’t do the anything for the masses who cannot.

    A few years ago I had medical bills of over 50,000 (and by that I mean, our share of the bill, not the whole bill)when both my son and I had some major surgery in the same week. It’s a long story, but the short of it is we fought blue cross for 3 years to try to get them to pay what should have been covered. In the meantime, we had to pay those bills. This luckily was something we were able to do. Most people would not have been able to handle it. Blue cross has still never reimbursed us completely.

    So where’s the tipping point for you? Suppose we have the best health care available, but it’s only actually available to a certain percentage of people in this country. What percentage becomes acceptable?

    Are you telling me you would mind being slightly inconvenienced at times if it meant everyone could always afford or was provided coverage? Because I guess to answer your question – if that’s what it came, to yes, I would definitely have to look at what is in the best interest of everyone, not just myself.

    I’m stunned that anyone could look at it differently. And frankly stunned that you would imagine that the guy who works his butt off all week in a manual labor job without health coverage is somehow less deserving. Because that seems to be your argument right? That those without health care coverage don’t deserve it anyway because they aren’t contributing to society?

  145. arJ, the math is trickier than that, though. First, some of the 500,000 or so Mormons in California are Democrats — in fact, probably more than are Democrats or Independents on average in California than throughout the US, given that Northern California is part of the state. So that cuts into the figures. Let’s be generous and assume that 450,000 of the active Mormons in California are Republicans, although the real number is probably much lower.

    Second, Republican Mormons won’t turn out at 100% for a primary election, even with a Mormon in the race. A truly great turnout would be 60%. If that’s the turnout level, we’re down to 270,000 Mormons.

    Third, the Republican Mormons in California who do vote probably won’t all vote for Romney. Survey data for Utah preferences are a bit thin on the ground, but some polls from this summer suggest that Romney has about 40% support there among Republicans, most of whom are Mormon, right now. Let’s be generous and suppose that Romney gets 50% of the Mormon vote. That would be 135,000 votes. That’s about 4.7% of the Republican vote in the 2000 California primary. It’ll probably be somewhat less this year, since the electorate has grown in the last eight years. So the Mormon weight in the California Republican electorate is not zero, to be sure, but certainly only enough to really matter if the race is otherwise close. Which it isn’t right now.

  146. “Frank, for whatever reason, infant mortality scores and life expectancies are highly correlated, so the choice probably isn’t too consequential.”

    Yes, that’s true. But at least now you have the answer to your question as to how “skeptics” would explain “all those excess infant deaths”. Start with measurement (move to lifestyle, demographics, etc.)

  147. Frank, the US ranks below most developed Asian and European countries on most health indicators, so measurement probably doesn’t explain anything. Lifestyle? Demographics? Could be, but it’s a nontrivial task to say the least. France, Singapore, and Cyprus need to line up in the same direction from the U.S.

  148. Alright Clark: show that the poor in Canada or socialized medicine states in Europe are better off than the poor in America.

    Please see

    Inequities In Health Care: A Five-Country Survey

    Robert J. Blendon, Cathy Schoen, Catherine M. DesRoches, Robin Osborn, Kimberly L. Scoles and Kinga Zapert

    Health Affairs, May/June 2002

    This paper reports the results of a comparative survey in five nations: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The survey finds a high level of citizen dissatisfaction with the health care systems in all five countries. Citizens with incomes below the national median were more likely than were those with higher incomes to be dissatisfied. In contrast, relatively few citizens reported problems getting needed health care. Low-income U.S. citizens reported more problems getting care than did their counterparts in the other four countries.

  149. Way to go BandanaMom! I agree totally. This american selfishness is doing no one good. I’ve seen too many cases that could’ve been prevented with a fairer healthcare system. I personally know of a man in Bellevue who worked in construction and complained that he had a blinding headache. But he couldn’t take the day off work, and didn’t have insurance but made just enough to not qualify for medicare. So it was a choice of go to the doctor or have enough food to eat for his family. He made the choice I would’ve made and kept working. Three days later he died. Now his wife will have to declare bankruptcy the kids are on state management and without a father. Thank goodness he wasn’t a pull on the state with that dr’s visit. I guess the guy should’ve worked harder?

    Even if you take out the altruistic reasons for UHC, look at the economic impacts. CEOs from all the big auto manufacturers have blantantly stated they can’t compete against Japan and Europe because those countries pay for their employee’s healthcare, and in the US the employers are made to pay the bill. Not only in the auto industry but it’s also true in engineering and consulting and I can’t count how many others. It is hurting our bottom line, which is something republicans and libertarians should be able to appreciate.

    Sure the current system works if you live in a land of puppies sunshine and ice cream where anyone who works hard has insurance and companies play fair.

    I guess the saying is true.
    Democrats say, “If you give a man a fish he only eats a day. So you’d better give him a fish every day.”

    Republicans say, “If you give a man a fish, he owes you a fish. Teach a man to fish and you’ve just lost your fish monopoly.”

    Libertarians say, “Why would I give anyone a fish? Let them get there own fish and leave me alone.”

  150. California Condor says:

    BandanaMom & ronito,

    Of course we all would like everyone to have complete medical care.

    But that’s a fantasy. Someone has to pay for it. Who will?

    If you think everyone should put their money in a big pool and split it up equally, that’s your right I guess. Just keep in mind that that sort of a system will deaden the quality of care for those at the top and give them less incentive to be contributing members of society. Medical researchers will have less incentive to innovate because they won’t be paid as much as under a competitive market. People at the bottom will have less incentive to improve their lives to chase better medical care.

  151. Ronito said: “Even if you take out the altruistic reasons for UHC …” What? How can there be altruistic reasons when the service isn’t paid for by charitable contributions but out of governmental coercion? Actually, I was thinking about the economic impact. Every small business in America will suffer with socialized medicine!

  152. Okay, I know I’m a bit guilty here, too, but the medical debate as we’re having it doesn’t really have much to do with Mormonism, does it? I guess, let’s either try to connect the discussion back to Romney, or let’s find some Mormon basis for the conversation — if you all wouldn’t mind. Cheers!

  153. California Condor says:

    Wouldn’t that be awesome if Romney won and he loaded his cabinet with Mormons?

    Okay, maybe that wouldn’t go over well.

  154. JNS: How about this?

    An important part of personal and family preparedness is the ability to purchase necessary health care. These costs routinely place considerable stress on family budgets. However, unexpected catastrophic health problems often ruin families financially who aren’t prepared.

    Health insurance is an excellent way for most people to prepare for ongoing and unexpected health care expense. President N. Eldon Tanner has counseled us: “Nothing seems so certain as the unexpected in our lives. With rising medical costs, health insurance is the only way most families can meet serious accident, illness, or maternity costs, particularly those for premature births. … Every family should make provision for proper health … insurance.” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1979, p. 121; or Ensign, Nov. 1979, p. 82.)

    Young, growing families are a high risk for unexpected medical needs. Because of the highly unpredictable nature of potential health needs, it is appropriate that health insurance receive high priority when planning family budgets. Families should select insurance wisely, matching coverage with needs and ability to pay. It is important to understand clearly the details (cost, coverage, exclusions, waiting periods, deductibles, reputation of the company, etc.) of a potential policy before purchasing it. Unwise insurance decisions may only increase financial burdens. Through extensive examination of health insurance alternatives and careful budgeting, however, most families can find ways to prepare adequately for ongoing or unexpected health care needs.

  155. I don’t know who added the editor’s note to my post. Maybe you could show that individual small business owners are advocates of universal health care. BTW tampering with posts is Verbotten. I won’t participate on this site any longer given this kind of editorial heavy-handedness. Bye.

  156. Chris Laurence says:

    #152 Okay, the medical debate as we’re having it doesn’t really have much to do with Mormonism, does it? let’s find some Mormon basis for the conversation

    Is anyone aware of church statements regarding UHC? With members all over the world, in countries with UHC, would it be appropriate to have a church stand regarding UHC? There is quite certainly a libertarian tradition which opposed government services which is often pulled out as a moral cudgel. Should we be morally opposed to UHC because it is the idler eating the bread of the laborer, or should we be morally supportive of UHC because it is an appropriate way to care for the weakest among us?

  157. Romney is a dark horse candidate who likely won’t win. Yet Romney might. Sometimes even dark horses do.

  158. Blake,

    Surely you don’t mean to leave the rest of us less articulate but similarly socially inclined folks to fight off the wolves all on our own now, do you?

  159. Blake,
    Oh well, if it’s going to cost money and stuff it’s not worth it.

  160. Blake, not sure what you are talking about. I can’t see any editor’s notes at all.

  161. The real question is if there is an objective foundation from which to claim that editor’s notes exist, in general, and, in particular, if that specific reference gives adequate cause to doubt such a foundation, whether it is problematic to assert the truth of that foundation, or whether editor’s notes reside on a shelf somewhere – only to be used by proper ecclesiastical authority unencumbered by pressure from the top to mandate that the shelf be used as the national standard for evangelicals, as well.

    That’s the simple, indisputable question at hand – well, that and if the editor’s notes will increase the cost and quality of health care.

  162. thus affecting Mitt Romney’s chance of being nominated. (Now #161 is relevant to this thread.)

  163. A smart website from some smart people:
    http://www.evangelicalsformitt.org

  164. prairiechuck says:

    #103 “prairiechuck, you want to go back to a 19th-century healthcare system? God bless America and her nutcases.”

    Nutcase? hoo boy–THERE was a lapse in courtesy. Ouch.

    That’s not what I said. I didn’t advocate anything. #59 made a statement that was proved false by looking at history. But apparently the fine distinction between disproving a statement and advocating for a policy is lost on some.

  165. Chris Laurence says:

    For the record I think that health care policy should balance between individual responsibility and care for the needy. I support Romney’s plan because it strikes the right balance, especially if he can get the federal gov’t to allow states to use funds to subsidize private insurance based on need, rather than turning everything over to the government. Considering this will probably be the #1 domestic issue in the upcoming campaign, Republicans would be wise to choose someone who can talk about healthcare proactively, rather than reactively as they have for every election up to this point.

  166. LDS Anarchist says:

    Who cares about Mitt Romney? People should stop voting to usher in the Lord’s Second Coming.

    ANARCHISM-APPROVED AND PROPHESIED

    The Lord said, “Wherefore, hear my voice and follow me, and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws when I come, for I am your lawgiver, and what can stay my hand?” (D&C 38: 22)

  167. Nick Literski says:

    Wouldn’t that be awesome if Romney won and he loaded his cabinet with Mormons? Okay, maybe that wouldn’t go over well.

    Lay aside, for the moment, the question of whether such a thing would “go over well.” Why would loading the Cabinet with LDS be “awesome?” To me, this statement illustrates a significant portion of LDS support for Romney. It appears to me that many LDS members support Romney because he’s LDS, rather than for any qualifications he may or may not have. It’s as bad as a high school pep rally. “Whoo-hoo! Let’s win for our team!”

    I’m not saying this is a strictly LDS phenomenon. I imagine there were Catholics who primarily supported Kennedy because he was “one of them.”

  168. 166) And I thought people read the WoW selectively. This beats ‘em all by a mile.

  169. California Condor says:

    Now hold on there, Nick Literski (167). Let’s take a look at what this cabinet might look like, then maybe it won’t seem too bad:

    Secretary of State……….Dieter F. Uchtdorf
    Secretary of Treasury…….Merrill J. Bateman
    Secretary of Defense……..Harry Reid
    Attorney General…………Dallin H. Oaks
    Secretary of the Interior…Sherri Dew
    Secretary of Agriculture….Jeff Flake
    Secretary of Commerce…….Steve Yong
    Secretary of Labor……….Thurl Bailey
    Secretary of HHS…………Mike Leavitt
    Secretary of Education……Chieko Okazaki
    Secretary of HUD…………J. W. Marriott
    Secretary of Trans……….Jon Huntsman, Sr.
    Secretary of Energy………Jon Huntsman, Jr.
    Secretary of Vet. Aff…….Wally Joyner
    Secretary of Homeland Sec…Mike Crapo
    Chief of Staff…………..Jim McMahon
    Adm. of the EPA………….Mike Leavitt (again)
    Dir. of OMB……………..Gerald N. Lund
    Dir. of Drug Control……..Rocky Anderson
    Trade Rep……………….Deedee Corradini
    NSA Advisor……………..Dale Murphy
    Chairman of Joint Chiefs….Norman Schwarzkopf
    Dir. of Nat. Intelligence…Danny Ainge
    Dir. of CIA……………..David Neeleman
    Dir. of FBI……………..Shawn Bradley

    You’d be hard pressed to put together a team with as much talent as this one, Nick. Our country would be in good hands.

  170. CC, a very, very white-male-dominated team. It would certainly be noteworthy.

  171. Nick Literski says:

    On the off chance that California Condor isn’t joking….

    Secretary of Treasury…….Merrill J. Bateman

    A man who, as a university president, was caught plagiarizing material for his speeches, should be trusted in this position?

    Attorney General…………Dallin H. Oaks

    Probably highly qualified, but would he be able to distinguish his religious views from sound legal analysis? There’s also that troublesome incident where he had to publicly admit that he had misrepresented the truth in regard to an interview with Steve Benson and the involvement of Boyd K. Packer in an excommunication.

    Secretary of the Interior…Sherri Dew

    What would qualify Ms. Dew in this arena? I have personal knowledge of this woman directing employees to wilfully violate the laws of the State of Illinois and the ordinances of the City of Nauvoo in the summer of 2005.

    Secretary of Commerce…….Steve Yong
    Secretary of Labor……….Thurl Bailey

    Huh? Star atheletes are qualified administrators of commerce and labor? At least Steve Young has a law degree (maybe that’s not a good thing…).

    Secretary of HUD…………J. W. Marriott

    Shouldn’t he be appointed as “Porn Czar?”

    Dir. of OMB……………..Gerald N. Lund

    Given his portrayal of LDS history in The Wreck of the Glory, he’s better suited as a propaganda director.

    Trade Rep……………….Deedee Corradini

    Ummm…Deedee Corradini is Catholic, and was involved in her own shady business dealings.

    Chairman of Joint Chiefs….Norman Schwarzkopf

    Also not LDS.

    Dir. of Nat. Intelligence…Danny Ainge
    Dir. of FBI……………..Shawn Bradley

    What’s with the sports stars again?

  172. 169) It certainly would be the tallest cabinet in history.

    (BTW, McMahon isn’t and never has been Mormon)

  173. Nick Literski says:

    Yes, McMahon is at least nominally Catholic, though he is married to an LDS woman. I’m acquainted with the latter’s sister and brother-in-law.

  174. I think Deedee is actually a Presbyterian. Definitely not Mormon.

  175. California Condor says:

    Nick Literski,

    Merrill J. Bateman has a PhD in Economics (from M. I. T.–have you heard of it? It’s only the #1 school for Economics), so yes, I think he’d do just fine as Secretary of Treasury. Okay, so he might have inadvertently forgot to put quotation marks in a speech that he gave but my goodness the man had a busy schedule.

    Dallin H. Oaks was once on the short list of Supreme Court candidates, so yes, I think he has what it takes to tango in Washington as A. G. Steve Benson has an ax to grind and he used his family connections to get a personal audience with Oaks just so he could play a “gotcha” word game with Oaks. By the way, Benson’s cartoons are unfunny and his artwork is sloppy. Plus the Arizona Republic newspaper (where Benson works) is really only useful for lining birdcages.

    Sheri Dew is the CEO of a large publishing house with 150 employees, so she has the credentials to be in a presidential cabinet. You claim that she told people to violate the “ordinances” of Nauvoo… give me a break. What did she do, tell a senior missionary couple that it was okay to sell Deseret Book material on a streetcorner? Seems like a bitter non-Mormon in Nauvoo has an ax to grind.

    Plenty of atheletes have gone on to post-sports careers, especially in politics. Does the name Bill Bradley ring a bell?

    The Marriott porn scandal almost brought down another blog so we better not go there. It may be a dirty little secret about the Marriott Hotel chain, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Marriott hotels has been an all-American Mormon success story (plus the hotels are nice). Maybe we can just close our eyes and pretend the hotels don’t sell porn and just wait it out and hope that Romney will apply a little pressure and get the company to drop the porn.

    Okay, I admit I’m not a big “The Work and the Glory” fan but you have to admit that Lund hit a home run with his books.

    Schwarzkopf may not be Mormon but he gets a pass because of what he did in Operation Desert Storm. Deedee Corradini could be thrown into the cabinet for a little diversity.

    And Jim McMahon is an honorary Mormon because of his performance at BYU.

  176. Nick Literski says:

    Merrill J. Bateman . . . might have inadvertently forgot to put quotation marks in a speech that he gave but my goodness the man had a busy schedule.

    A minor matter, to be sure. Nonetheless, I wonder if students at BYU who are accused of plagiarism get such an easy pass? They have “busy schedules,” too.

    Steve Benson has an ax to grind and he used his family connections to get a personal audience with Oaks just so he could play a “gotcha” word game with Oaks.

    So it was all a big conspiracy, planned ahead by Steve Benson? Come on, CC. Steve Benson certainly had “an axe to grind,” but he didn’t make Oaks prevaricate. At least Oaks publicly acknowledged the “misstatement of the truth.”

    Sheri Dew is the CEO of a large publishing house with 150 employees, so she has the credentials to be in a presidential cabinet. You claim that she told people to violate the “ordinances” of Nauvoo… give me a break. What did she do, tell a senior missionary couple that it was okay to sell Deseret Book material on a streetcorner? Seems like a bitter non-Mormon in Nauvoo has an ax to grind.

    Notice that I didn’t just say she directed employees to violate the city ordinances of Nauvoo. She also directed a violation of the laws of the State of Illinois. I was one of the two people who made formal complaints, and no, I wasn’t a “non-Mormon” at the time. I was an active member of the LDS church. Under her direction, the company came into town with a truckload of clearance merchandise to compete against local businesses during the annual pageant. They completely ignored local business registration ordinances, as well as ordinances requiring vendor permits for the kind of sales event they held. They also violated local signage ordinances by failing to obtain required permits, not following local sign construction requirements, and ignoring ordinances intended to require that signs be placed so as not to interfere with the safety of pedestrians. As for state laws, they were charging customers UTAH sales tax while selling and delivering merchandise in Illinois. They failed to obtain an Illinois sales tax number, which means they had no intention of reporting the income to the State of Illiois, let alone paying their proper Illinois sales tax.

    I’m sorry if you think that’s all just “an axe to grind.” After another business owner and I complained to local law enforcement and LDS church authorities, Ms. Dew was forced to make a call to pull the entire enterprise. We ran them out of town within just over 24 hours.

    Plenty of atheletes have gone on to post-sports careers, especially in politics. Does the name Bill Bradley ring a bell?

    Yes, but what has Shawn Bradley done (for example) that would actually prepare him for such a role? Shooting baskets alone doesn’t cut it.

    The Marriott porn scandal almost brought down another blog so we better not go there.

    Heh…

    Okay, I admit I’m not a big “The Work and the Glory” fan but you have to admit that Lund hit a home run with his books.

    True enough, though the senior missionaries in Nauvoo frequently get asked by LDS members where the Steed family lived. Ugh.

    And Jim McMahon is an honorary Mormon because of his performance at BYU.

    Heh…do you realize just how much he ran his mouth against BYU and the LDS?

  177. Nick Literski says:

    Ugh.
    “….State of Illinois.”

  178. Um, is Deiter Uchdorf even a citizen of the United States? I’m not sure, personally, so maybe someone else can verify.

  179. California Condor says:

    Nick,

    Well, I don’t think Steve Benson wanted to chat with Oaks about BYU football.

    And I hope you’re happy that you ran Sheri Dew out of Nauvoo during pageant time. I hope it was worth it. Thousands of Mormon converge in Nauvoo, Sheri Dew gives them the books they want, and you force the Mormons to buy over-priced books at the local bookshops. Those bookshops should be grateful that the LDS Church has embraced Nauvoo. Without the LDS Church history enthusiasts, Nauvoo would be a backwater.

    Dan the Good Democrat, think Henry Kissinger.

  180. California Condor says:

    Yes, Steve Young does have a law degree. After he winds down at ESPN, we should get him elected governor of Utah, then he should run for president.

  181. Nick Literski says:

    Yes, I was quite happy I ran Sheri Dew’s minions out of Nauvoo, and it was quite worth it. They were selling clearance items at far less than what they charged retailers for the same items at wholesale. (Interestingly, they happened to do this shortly after their attempts to purchase my store were refused. Gosh–you think maybe the Divine Mz. Dew was trying to make a retaliatory point?) Further, the store I managed happened to sell LDS books (including titles by Deseret Book) at 10-25% below the suggested retail price, so we certainly didn’t “force” Mormons to buy anything, let alone “over-priced” books.

  182. California Condor says:

    I’m impressed that Sheri Dew wasn’t afraid to pull out the brass knuckles.

  183. Nick Literski says:

    Wow…anything that the CEO of an LDS church-owned business does must be right, eh?

    A lot of good her “brass knuckles” did her. Fortunately there are those in law enforcement and at LDS church headquarters, who believe in “honoring, upholding and sustaining the law.”

  184. California Condor says:

    I’m sure it was just an oversight on her part. She was probably just acting on keen business instincts. Actually, I’m not so sure there should be so much red tape just to sell a few books. The red tape only serves to protect monopolies and it hurts consumers who would benefit from a free market.

  185. Nick Literski says:

    I’m sure it was just an oversight on her part. She was probably just acting on keen business instincts.

    LOL. Okay, CC, it’s pretty clear you’re going to justify her, no matter what. Enjoy. Oh…and you might want to read a few Book of Mormon passages about living according to “the management of the creature.”

  186. Now, now Nick- don’t start throwing stones…..

  187. California Condor says:

    Nick,

    Do you really think Sheri Dew willfully violated the law? The ordinances you mentioned were so miniscule in nature that I’m sure they didn’t even cross her mind. It wasn’t like she sent some Church security agents to break into your shop and steal books. She was just fighting fire with fire.

  188. Nick Literski says:

    Suppose that Deseret Book was entirely ignorant of local ordinances which are well-publicized to potential visiting vendors each year. Is it reasonable to think that Sheri Dew and her minions thought it was legally proper to charge Utah sales tax on purchases made (and merchandise delivered) in Illinois? Is it reasonable to think that they thought it was legally proper to not charge Illinois sales tax on sales made in Illinois?

    The thought makes reason stare.

  189. California Condor says:

    If you asked Sheri Dew that question point blank, I’m sure she would assume that she should have been paying Illinois sales tax.

    But in the heat of the moment during all of the pageant mayhem, something like this would have been easy to overlook.

    What incentive did Sheri Dew have to pay sales taxes to Utah instead of Illinois for a week’s worth of book sales?

  190. Nick Literski says:

    For one thing, the Utah sales tax was less than the Illinois sales tax at the time.

    Other than that, I don’t know. One could only guess at other motives, such as a possible preference that tax dollars go to Deseret Book’s home state?

    I still think it takes “wilfull ignorance” to think that their sales tax conduct was legal.

  191. California Condor says:

    Nick, please tell me you’re joking. You think that Sheri Dew would care one way or the other if Utah got a week’s worth of sales tax instead of Illinois? How many books could someone move during pageant week? $10,000 worth? That has to be it. How much is Illinois sales tax on $10,000 worth of books? $500? So by paying these taxes to Utah instead of Illinois Sheri Dew saves Deseret Book what, $250?

    Sheri Dew probably has $250 in spare bills laying around in her car. Why would she care about saving $250 in sales taxes? And why would she want $250 to go to the state of Utah instead of Illinois?

  192. Nick Literski says:

    For goodness’ sake, read! I didn’t say that was her motive. I said that one could only guess, and that was one possibility. I didn’t even advocate it.

    Further, charging the wrong sales tax doesn’t save Deseret Book any money, but it does allow them to further undercut local, law-abiding merchants.

  193. I asked my friend who works directly under Sheri Dew in DB. He assured me that she would be horrified if she know of unethical business practices being done in her name. I’m sure that is why it only took 24 hrs. to drive the evil-doers out of town rather than them putting up much of a fight.

  194. California Condor says:

    Thanks, Darrell. Straight from the source.

  195. I can tell you with 100% confidence that J McMahon is in fact on paper a Mormon. He has a membership number. I cannot remember if he was just a child of record or if he was baptized at 8.

    I served in the ward clerks office in his familys home ward in the Midwest in the late 1990′s

  196. California Condor says:

    Thanks, B Bell. Wasn’t his Mom less active or something like that? I think he was born in Roy, Utah.

  197. Nick Literski says:

    bbell,
    I know you don’t mean any harm, but there just might be an issue with you publicly broadcasting information you gained in your capacity as a ward clerk? It might be best if the powers that be delete your post, as well as this reply of mine.

  198. Nick Literski says:

    Hmmm…
    Unidentified DB Employee –> Darrell –> BCC
    Actual complainant –> BCC

    You have an interesting definition of “straight from the source.” Yeah…I guess I’m the one just spouting third or fourth-hand rumors. ;-)

  199. California Condor says:

    Okay, Nick Literski, you may have a point about being an “actual complainant,” but I think you might be a little biased because you were on the receiving end of one of Sheri Dew’s shrewd business decisions. By the way, why didn’t you just sell your bookstore to Deseret Book?

  200. Nick Literski says:

    I can certainly understand why you might be concerned about bias on my part, CC. As for selling the store, as I mentioned, I was the manager, not the owner.

  201. I think I liked this thread better when it was about Romney and medical insurance.

  202. California Condor says:

    I am curious as to why so many conservatives really seem to have a hatred of Hillary Clinton. I honestly like Edwards and Obama more but that’s based on my assessment of the candidates policies. But what I see in regards to the feelings towards Hillary kind of baffle me. I hear it all the time – but I never hear why they don’t like her.

    I usually don’t want to get into that conversation with people from church so I’ll ask it here. Why?

    Well, for starters, she’s not particularly bright. She failed the Washington D. C. bar exam, and as a lawyer at the Rose Law Firm she didn’t do much. She’s like one of those people in high school who gets straight As because they kiss up to the teachers but then when it comes time to take the SAT they get a mediocre score. Yep, that’s her. Sure, she got into Wellesley and Yale, but back then those opportunities were there for the taking for anyone in her situation who wanted to try really hard for them.

    She really hasn’t done much her whole life other than try to become president of the United States. She voted for the Iraq War because she thought she would need that credential to become president of the United States in a post-9/11 world. Oops. Now she tries to say that George W. Bush tricked her. Interesting.

    She didn’t give two cents about Global Warming until Al Gore made it a marquee liberal issue, then she hopped on board with the Climate Change crowd.

  203. #201 – Amen. I came back after my meetings to this? Even if the topic that started the whole thing weren’t so mind-numbing, I might have tried to step in and stop a serious thrashing that was so one-sided.

    I posit that if those who are concerned about Romney’s religion ever get a hold of the last 35 comments, his prospects will plummet.

  204. California Condor #202 – Make no mistake, Mrs. Clinton is VERY bright. She married a man with huge ambition then kept a sociopathic, lying, philandering husband so that when her time came she could use his political ability to raise money and buy herself a throne. She ran for the New York senate seat when she wasn’t even from there so that she would have a large, big-money constituency.

    She fired everyone on the white house staff who objected to the stealing of travel money, dishes, etc., and got away with it. She engineered a place for herself on the important committees, set herself up for a run for the presidency, despite serving in the very body that voted to impeach her husband for lying to said body, successfully covered scandal after scandal, and has successfully hidden her militant side for the side-step to the middle for election purposes.

    Don’t lets confuse book-smarts with cold, calculating, genius-level dirty political savvy. Make no mistake, she is a bright, hard-working, marxist, narcissistic, opportunist and has many like friends who are staying in the background until after the election, when she hopes to fill her cabinet with a den of indebted thieves.

    She has everything it takes to be a great President, except honesty, honor, integrity, and love of country (contrast this with Romney)–but then we all have our weaknesses. Unless one believes that more power changes people overnight for the better, buyer beware. In the meantime, she will do anything it takes to get more power and presumably be even more transparent in the process, requiring no warning label. But then, I’m betting you knew all this already.

  205. 1. bbell, actually, being a “child of record” with a membership number does not actually make one Mormon. Don’t we generally think that people have to be members?

    queuno, also a former ward clerk…

    2. Regarding the comment that there aren’t many members in the South, consider that Texas has the fifth most number of stakes in the US, and Florida is in tenth, I think. Then again, most Texans I know don’t consider themselves part of the South.

    3. Why do we automatically assume that the CEO of an LDS subsidiary company would *not* mess up with regard to local laws? Isn’t there an unwritten rule (bolstered by tons of talks from bishops) that people shouldn’t do business with Church members?

  206. bbell, actually, being a “child of record” with a membership number does not actually make one Mormon. Don’t we generally think that people have to be members?

    I meant, don’t we generally think that people have to be *baptized* to be members.

    I’m going to bed.

  207. re: 204
    So Hillary Clinton is the yin to GWB’s (and Rove’s) yang? Perhaps, but only time will tell.

    I just read all 206 comments. If this isn’t enough to drive someone to violate the WoW, I don’t know what is.

  208. Mike, how do you spell that sound you make when you are strangling with laughter?

  209. queuno, it’s complicated at best to infer the demographic importance of Mormons from the number of stakes. In Florida, there were 108,955 members of record in 1999. In 2000, there were 15,982,378 people in Florida. That makes Mormons less than one percent of the Florida population — not even adjusting for the inevitable inclusion of people who were baptized but have no remaining ties to Mormonism in the count of Mormons of record. The story’s similar in Texas. As of 1999, there were 210,892 Mormons of record in Texas, against a general population of 23,507,783. That makes Mormons about 0.9% of the Texas population. There is some evidence that less than half of those Mormons of record actually consider themselves Mormons; in a 2001 survey regarding religion — in which about 4500 interviews were done in Texas — less than 23 respondents described themselves as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    In other words, there aren’t very many Mormons in the South.

  210. California Condor says:

    Ray (203),

    You don’t have to blow someone else’s candle out to make yours shine brighter.

  211. California Condor says:

    Sammie JD (204),

    Take-no-prisoners ruthless, yes. Smart, not really.

  212. Nick Literski says:

    I posit that if those who are concerned about Romney’s religion ever get a hold of the last 35 comments, [Romney's] prospects will plummet.

    In which case the entire nation should bow in silent reverence, thanking us for our immense public service.

  213. Nick, see #208. Frankly, I think the can of whoop-a** you opened and administered is service enough. (Am I blowing too hard?)

  214. Nick Literski says:

    Thanks, Ray. (I think?) ;-)

  215. California Condor says:

    Nick, I’ve read about your background elsewhere on the Bloggernacle enough to understand why you would not be a supporter of Mitt Romney. But I think you might like him. He drinks caffeine and he is not afraid to use salty language if necessary. Plus, you have to admit that he would be a good president even if you disagree with the rhetoric he has adopted in courting the Moral Majority. Can you imagine how he’d manhandle the White House press corps in a press conference? He’d have them in fits. As much as I like some of George W. Bush’s policies, I have to confess that it is painful to listen to him in a press conference.

    Ray, go back and re-read the thread and you’ll see that Nick didn’t open a can of “whoop-a**,” even though he tried. BTW, you shouldn’t be using terms like that.

  216. CC, don’t get me started on the bastardization of the English language by people who take Biblical injunctions out of their proper context and impose restrictions on speech in the name of religion that have nothing to do with the foundations and core moral principles of that religion. I avoid potentially offensive language in this sort of forum NOT because I believe most of those words actually are offensive when used in their proper context but rather in order to keep from offending the sensibilities of those who read and comment here – but there is nothing wrong with the phrase I used in and of itself. I could have used the word in a different phrase, but the one I chose suited the context better, imo.

    I’m sorry if the use of the word “ass” in one of its proper contexts offends you. I won’t list the other words I might use in their proper context in the future if the situation warrants it, since I am aware of the forum. Frankly, if I did list them, simply to illustrate the point, it would be done in the proper context and would be understood as such by 99.9% of those who participate here.

    Suffice it to say that the word “ass” is not a “swear word”, nor is it a “curse word” or “vulgar” or anything else remotely sinful. To say, “You shouldn’t be using terms like that,” is simply childish and condescending – especially in the context in which it was used.

    I won’t respond further to this, since I do not want to contribute to another 30 comment battle that truly would constitute an asinine threadjack.

  217. California Condor says:

    Ray, it’s always best to speak like a gentleman in public and at Church.

  218. Eric Russell says:

    Edwards beats Romney in the national election. I’ll put five dollars on it with anyone right now.

  219. cj douglass says:

    Eric,
    I’ll take that action. Romney and Edwards won’t even make it to the national election.

  220. Nick Literski says:

    Nick, I’ve read about your background elsewhere on the Bloggernacle enough to understand why you would not be a supporter of Mitt Romney. But I think you might like him. He drinks caffeine and he is not afraid to use salty language if necessary.

    CC, I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this comment. Romney’s membership in the LDS church has nothing to do with whether I support his candidacy, whether he follows all LDS standards or not. I have problems with his political positions, and would have those issues with him regardless of what church he belonged to. Further, I simply feel a gut-level distrust of the man.

    Plus, you have to admit that he would be a good president even if you disagree with the rhetoric he has adopted in courting the Moral Majority.

    The POTUS swears to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Several of Romney’s prominently-held views conflict with my understanding of that Constitution. He may be a very accomplished businessman, but in my view that doesn’t trump his willingness to ignore (or change) the Constitution in order to implement his personal political and/or religious views.

  221. Constitutional amendments support the Constitution, Nick. That is why there is a process outlined in the Constitution for doing so.

  222. Re Eric Russel’s five-dollar action on Edwards against Romney in the General (#218)?

    Well, certain horserace prognosticators such as our own Roasted Tomatoes think such early states sprinters as Romney are not too likely to build enough Big Mo to get to the tape first over the full 2 1/2 minutes of the full distance. And, sure enough, Tycoon I’m-the-only-one-who’s-advertising! Mitt’s lead in polls in New Hampshire seems have presently stalled a bit against 9-11 Rudy at the moment.

    But maybe Roasted Tomatoes should consult with Ted Kennedy about the political organizational genius Mitt Romney (who’s not too terrible as a communicator, neither).

    There’s a National Public Radio report out today that quotes Romney consultant Manning as saying that during Romney’s Kennedy race, Mitt was the best first-time candidate Manning had ever worked with. “The Boston Globe called (Mitt) ‘the multimillionaire Prince Charming with the Midas touch in business.’ Surveys taken around Labor Day showed the race in a virtual tie….” But, then, of course (as Roasted Tomatoes will tell you) the Kennedys pulled out the anti-Mormon silver bullet and–puwoof! lol

    But then there’s this currenly interesting result of Fred, the good ol’ boy in Hollywood’s, poor showing in the Palmetto state against Mormon carpetbagger Romney in an ideosyncratic, just-released ARG poll (see the
    http://americanresearchgroup.com/ website).

    Ain’t horse racin’ fun?!

  223. (Postscript): …yet, despite this quirky recent poll by American Research Group out of early-voting South Carolina, Fred’s value at Intrade was the only guy’s to go up October 3rd!… (See http://news.yahoo.com/s/intrade/20071003/pl_intrade/intrade_news_2007100325;_ylt=AhZYCDDjd3jv9tm.cOebAyzyLYt4 Yahoo news story.)

  224. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    “Political markets see Clinton vs Giuliani contest” by David Alexander (Reuters) October 29

    “WASHINGTON – Traders on the Iowa Electronic Markets [...recently] gave Clinton, the senator and former first lady, a 70 percent chance of winning the Democratic nomination…. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, had a 40 percent shot at the Republican nomination, versus a 31.5 percent chance for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

    “‘It’s not like you look in the magic crystal ball and you can see what’s going to happen,’ said [Joyce Berg, of the Iowa markets board.] ‘It’s pulling together all the available information that’s out there, saying … this is what we think….’

    “[Trading on] Intrade, the Dublin-based firm that claims to be the largest political prediction market [...has] produced numbers similar to those from Iowa…. John Delaney, the chief executive of Intrade, said the similar results are a sign the markets are trading on the same information….”

  225. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    “Election 2008: South Carolina Republican Primary: Thompson 24% Giuliani 20%” September 30

    “[...T]he latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds Fred Thompson leading Rudy Giuliani 24% to 20%…. Mitt Romney has moved into third place and is now supported by 15% of South Carolina’s Likely Primary Voters while John McCain is barely in double digits at 11% support. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee earns 3% of the South Carolina vote while four other candidates split 5% and 22% are undecided.”

    “South Carolina Republican Primary” (Real Clear Politics) Sep 5–Oct 2 poll-of-polls
    ———————– %
    Thompson – 20.3
    Giuliani —— 20.5
    Romney —– 16.5
    McCain —— 14.3
    Huckabee — 5.3

  226. California Condor says:

    Romney knows what he is doing.

  227. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    I think Rudy scored such a very important coup yesterday with his endorsement yesterday from religious broadcaster/one-time presidential candidate Pat Robertson. There’s blog talk excoriating Robertson for it, noting Robertson’s history of strangely hyberbolic statements, so we’ll see.

  228. A pronounced rift is certainly cutting through the evangelical fabric. Lo here and lo there. Considering Robertson’s historical differences with Giuliani, it makes one wonder what the dominant factor that caused him to cast his lot (Damn, I’m waxing scriptural this morning).

  229. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    As a student of what the Internet’s political commenters (including Roasted tee) says, I’ve come up with this:

    Mitt = the guy hitting the ceiling this string has discussed?

    While “no money” Mike = early states’ flash in the pan?

    However, the likewise folksy) “He’s one of us!” Freddy, as social conservatives’ hoped-for “savior,” who is now (literally) “performing” better on the stump, has cha-ching money that maybe makes for well-wrought commercials that will = big states’ momentum on election day among social conservatives?

    Nonetheless, while Fred’s enough of a dreamer to run, maybe he’s enough of a realist to know he doesn’t really stand a chance. Which brings us to Rudy, who is, of course, so many Republican voters’ not only 1st but 2nd choice. Yet, also, the “student body elections” fact is that Rudy is Freddy’s collegial friend. And…[looks side to side, then whispers]…should Rudy makes a deal for Fred to, starting now, go all negative all the time on Mitt, well…hmmm…!

  230. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    What I mean is, if I rewrote the above (commentator instead of commenter, etc. etc.) would it get a passing C in a poly sci class?

  231. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    Translation: I say Thompson learns his lines well enough that he remains viable (/”becomes viable again” in the media’s eyes).

    But, if it actually does turn out to be Mitt who is (/”becomes”) the Not Rudy candidate in the social conservatives’ eyes, then all bets are off (and Roasted tee’s analysis is a “but” that’s amazingly been answered?)

    * * *
    Extra credit. If Mitt does become POTUS then it will then become the style for a while to come for presidents to be MBAs that say Golly Gee: As, remember that the example of the non-balding, youthful Kennedy–our first Catholic POTUS, who did away with the style/standard of formality of hats-wearing for men!

    But whenever this style of politicos goes out of sytle, the very next POTUS will have a close-cropped goatee. (Note that the last specifically “non-Christian” president was Teddy’s Progressive protege, Wm Taft–who was not only the last Unitarian prez of the United States but who had turned down an Ivy League university’s presidency due his dis-belief in Christ. And Taft was the prez with whiskers. Then, the first rather- overtly-agnostic prez of the United States was Lincoln (although he was said to have converted on his death bed). And Lincoln had been the Commander in Cheif with facial hair.)

  232. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    edits – Taft was the LAST commander in chief with whiskers, Lincoln the FIRST

  233. truebluethru'n'thru says:

    The RealClearPolitics polls-average for November 1 through 12 has Guiliani leading by 13.2.

    Guili 29.3
    Thomp 16.1
    “Mc”- 14.3
    Rom – 13.6
    Huck – 8.3
    Paulie 4.3

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 8,395 other followers