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02 Jan 2012 21:14


Politics: The perfect antidote to Iowa caucus coverage: This video

  • As you might have noticed, we’ve been somewhat light on the Iowa caucus coverage today in part because it’s gotten so overwhelming. (We’re leaving the good stuff for tomorrow, when it ACTUALLY HAPPENS.) But Scott Siepker, this guy … This guy. He offers a progressive defense to the perception that Iowa is full of conservatives that don’t represent the country at large. And wow, it just makes you like you’ve been translated to Iowa for three minutes. You get it, with lines like: “Next time you ‘fly over’? Give us a wave. We’ll wave back. We’re nice. That’s right. We’re nice. @(&!%!^.” It’s profane, but there’s a PG-rated version over here. Must watch. (h/t Buzzfeed)

27 Dec 2011 22:28


Politics: Rick Perry sues Virginia GOP over ballot exclusion

  • SUE ’em if they don’t let you on the ballot! source
  • » That’s Rick Perry’s calculus: A total of five Republicans won’t appear (also including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Jon Huntsman) on the ballot in Virginia’s presidential primary, having failed to collect the 10,000 signatures required by state law, but Rick Perry is the only one to react with a lawsuit (so far). He’s suing the Virginia Republican Party, and the state board of elections, claiming that the state’s signature requirements — in particular, the provision that bans out-of-state circulators from gathering signatures — are unconstitutionally restrictive. Of course, he’s seeking retroactive change in the law, one that would allow him to appear on Virginia’s March 6th ballot after all. We agree with Talking Points Memo that suing one’s own party, even at a statewide level, isn’t normally the best move for a presidential candidate, but then again, what does he have to lose?

20 Dec 2011 22:47


Politics: Supervillain? Or Newt Gingrich?

  • “Celebrating our next president’s best ideas:” This wonderful little website presents you with a proposal, and then asks you to guess whether it came from Newt Gingrich, or a supervillain from a movie/comic book/etc. It’s harder than it looks; we follow Gingrich pretty well, and we only scored 50%. source

14 Dec 2011 21:08


Politics: MSNBC is sorry…for what, exactly?

  • An unnecessary apology? Yesterday, a post over at America Blog noted that “Keep America American,” a phrase Mitt Romney sometimes uses while campaigning, is also a slogan once used by the Klu Klux Klan. Now, while this is embarrassing for the Romney campaign, it’s probably not an intentional effort by Romney to co-opt the KKK’s message, or pander to the group’s base. That is, it’s almost certainly just an unfortunate coincidence. What’s odd, though, is that hours after reporting on the story, MSNBC felt the need to issue an apology. But why? We missed MSNBC’s original report, but as you can see above, Chris Matthews specifically apologizes for “report[ing] on a blog item that compared a phrase used by the Romney campaign to one used by the KKK way back in the 1920s.” But…the phrase was used by both groups. It’s a fact. MSNBC doesn’t dispute this. So why was it, in Matthews’ words, “irresponsible,” and indicative of an “appalling lack of judgement,” for the network to point it out? Can someone who saw the original report shed some light on this? source

13 Dec 2011 21:15


Politics: Newt stumbles, Paul and Santorum gain

  • Newtiny on the bounty? This is the second poll this week indicating a slip in Newt Gingrich’s support. The winners are Ron Paul and Rick Santorum (and, to a lesser degree, Jon Huntsman), all of whom saw gains since the beginning of the month. Gingrich’s favorability dropped 19 points in the last week, and on the question of who has “stronger values,” Romney beats him by 21 points. Meanwhile, the oft-forgotten Gary Johnson–who, it’s worth saying, is a libertarian who holds many of the same positions as Paul–is still stuck at 1%. source

13 Dec 2011 17:45


Politics: Is Newt Gingrich beginning to fade?

  • 37.7% Newt’s support from Nov. 30-Dec. 3; that is, in the couple of days before Herman Cain withdrew from the race
  • 24.4% Newt’s support–in the same poll–from Dec. 3-Dec. 7, the first few days after Cain withdrew source
  • » What’s going on here? Actually, we’re not sure. Common wisdom says that Cain’s support flocked to Gingrich after the former dropped out of the race (or, sorry, “suspended” his campaign). So how come the same University of Iowa poll–taken in the state over a weeklong period–shows a drastic fall in the former House Speaker’s support after Cain’s exit? Of course, the standard “this is just one poll” disclaimer still applies; this could just be an anomaly. But a 13.3% decline in one week is significant, and outside the poll’s margin of error. Given the boom-bust tendency of the GOP field this year, we can’t help but wonder if this is the beginning of the end for Newt (note: it’s rather unusual for a polling house to make available the intra-week trends of a single poll; much respect to Reuters, who co-sponsored this poll, for doing so).

05 Dec 2011 14:15


Politics: Gingrich leads in Iowa…but so what?

  • 8 points Newt Gingrich’s  (average) lead in Iowa, one month before the caucuses
  • 73% historical win record (in Iowa) of presidential candidates who lead one month out. However…
  • 40% historical win record of candidates, like Gingrich, who only lead by single-digits source
  • » The point here isn’t that Gingrich won’t win. It’s that that attempting to predict election results based on polls is tricky, and remains tricky even when you factor in historical precedent. To drive the point home even further: Ronald Reagan led in Iowa polls by about 9 points a month prior to the caucuses. He ended up losing (to his future VP, George H.W. Bush), but then ultimately came back to win the nomination, making his Iowa loss more or less irrelevant. Every election has its own quirks and nuances; Gingrich is looking good in Iowa right now, no doubt, but so was Herman Cain before him, and Rick Perry before him, and Michele Bachmann before him.

17 Oct 2011 23:28


Politics: Herman Cain takes a stroll towards becoming president

  • He’s not running for president; he’s sort of strolling for president.
  • George F. Will • On Herman Cain. If Cain is strolling for president, Newt Gingrich is crawling for president. source

26 Aug 2011 14:57


Politics: What do Rick Perry and Rudy Giuliani have in common?

  • 26% Rick Perry’s average support in GOP primary polls since announcing his candidacy; he’s now in the lead
  • 29% Rudy Giuliani’s average support in GOP primary polls at this point in 2007; he was then in the lead source
  • » Just a reminder of how difficult it is to predict the outcomes of presidential primaries  six months before Iowa. It’s also instructive to recall another Southern Republican who, four years ago, was seen as a savior by the GOP establishment. He announced his candidacy late in the game, and immediately vaulted to the top of the polls. That candidate was Fred Thompson.

18 Aug 2011 22:15


Politics: Bachmann warns of “the rise of the Soviet Union”

  • What people recognize is that there’s a fear that the United States is in an unstoppable decline. They see the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the Soviet Union and our loss militarily going forward.
  • Michele Bachmann • In a radio interview. Anyone fearing the rise of the Soviet Union can rest easy, as the country hasn’t existed since its collapse twenty years ago. Bachmann has previously claimed that America’s founding fathers “worked tirelessly” to end slavery, and that the Revolutionary War started in New Hampshire. Are we unfairly picking on a popular candidate for making a few innocent gaffes? Or is Bachmann’s tenuous grasp on history a legitimate concern for a candidate seeking the presidency? source