January 6, 2008

Another debate? Let's watch.

Things are getting exciting these last few days. I'm up for another debate — or forum (whatever). Giuliani looks happy. Thompson grumpy. Huckabee piercing. Romney dashing. McCain — excited and happy as all get-out.

UPDATE #1: I'm a little distracted by these new polls on the Democratic side. CNN has Obama at 39% in New Hampshire, with Clinton a 29%. USA Today has Obama at 41% and Clinton at 28%. Clinton is crashing! What is going on? My theory: I think people want to fall for Obama and want to be free of Hillary Clinton. Iowa has given them permission to do what they already wanted to do. Okay, now, let's concentrate on these Republicans.

UPDATE #2: "You're going to get rid of death?" Fred Thompson says the funniest thing I've ever heard in a debate (after Huckabee says "We oughta get rid of taxes on dividends, capital gains... and death"). Huckabee has the wit to say "I'd like to get rid of death," and Fred is all "Put 'er there," and the 2 men shake hands. Huckabee adds: "In my previous profession, I got rid of death..." [CORRECTION: That last quote should be "In my previous profession, I dealt with getting rid of death..."]

UPDATE #3: Sorry for the lack of updates. I listened — and looked a little. (I was editing photographs, contemplating how much to clarify the fog that filled the 100+ photographs I took on my little walk today.) I thought all 5 men did well, mostly repeating things I've heard before. I'll just cite 2 things that stood out for me (which I'll supplement later with quotes from the transcript): 1. I liked what Rudy Giuliani said about how he dealt with poverty in New York City. 2. I liked when Mitt Romney objected to Mike Huckabee's anti-corporate rhetoric.

UPDATE #4: After the debate, we get Frank Luntz with his focus group, and these people are very favorable to Romney and highly critical of Huckabee, especially his response to the first question. This is strong enough to make me go back and review that part of the debate. Ah, this was when he was asked to respond to Romney's criticism about his raising taxes in Arkansas. Romney, who's sitting right next to him, takes over cross-examining him about the facts (and bragging about the surpluses he produced in his state): "Did you raise taxes in your state by half a billion dollars?" Answer: "We raised jobs. We built our roads." Romney breaks in: "You know, that's political-speak." Huckabee just changes the subject and asks if Romney opposed the 2002 tax cuts. Romney gives a clear no. Romney repeats the question that he's refused to answer "3 times." Huckabee talks about a court order relating to education and attempts, again, to turn it back on Romney: "Maybe you don't have to obey the court in Massachusetts." Kids are important, education is important, blah blah blah. And Chris Wallace breaks in and move the discussion over to Giuliani. Luntz goes on to ask the focus group if they were affected by what happened in Iowa, and this becomes another occasion to trash Huckabee: You might be able to get votes with religion in Iowa, but that's not the way we do things here. Finally, the group says it thinks Obama will be the Democratic nominee and that Mitt Romney can beat him. Frankly, I agree. I think Obama will be the Democratic nominee, and I don't know if the Republicans can win this go-round. (I think we need the presidency needs to shift sides periodically.) But if I had to bet on one Republican to beat the Democrat, I'd bet on Romney.

UPDATE #5: Here's the video of that Frank Luntz focus group:



UPDATE #6: Here are the two things I said I'd add from the transcript. First, Giuliani on poverty:
I took over a city that had 1.1 million people on welfare. I left behind a city with 670,000 fewer people on welfare. I took over a city that had 10.5 percent unemployment. I left behind a city with less than five percent unemployment and I instituted a work fair [sic] program. As Republicans, we don’t do well, including me, all of us. We do not explain to the poor that our programs, our policies are the ladders out of poverty, that they are being denied, by a lot of the Democratic programs, a good job, a good education, the work ethic. So what I did with welfare immediately upon coming into office is I tied welfare to work for anybody who can work. It was called work fair [sic]. It was very controversial. People were very angry at me. The ACLU, I think, sued me, I don’t remember. They sued me a lot. I can’t remember all the times they sued me.

But I stood up and we fought the battle and we ended up with 670,000 fewer people on welfare, hundreds of thousands of people on welfare working, by allowing the basic principles that work in America of work, good education operate in the lives of poor people. And as Republicans, we need to go into the neighborhoods where there’s poverty and explain how our programs work. I would go into the neighborhoods where I was being castigated for work fair and I would say to them, “I’m doing work fair [sic] because I love you more. I care about you more. I care about you more than just being a statistic. I believe that if I can get you a job, I will keep you out of poverty and I will keep you with the dignity to be able to take care of your family.”
(Can somebody tell Fox it's "workfare," not "work fair"?)

Second, Mitt Romney on corporations:
You’re not going to help the wage earner in America by attacking the wage payer in America. It’s an old saying. The truth of the matter is, it really is kind of offensive, I think, when I watch our Democrats, or anybody else, for that matter, attacking corporations that are creating jobs. I’ve spent 30 years in the private sector. I spent my time learning how to build a small business. I built a small business and grew it. I helped go back and turn around a company that was in trouble. I’m proud of the fact that some of the companies we invested in created a lot of jobs. I had some failures, too. I know what it’s like to have to make a tough decision. I’ve seen businesses go under. But I can tell you, I’ve been in the economy, I’ve been there in the real world, and we need a president who knows how the economy works, knows why jobs come and go, understands what the competition from China really means and how to stand up to it. We also need a president who knows how to shrink the federal government, and I know how to take out people that aren’t needed and how to take out programs that aren’t needed, and we need some of that in Washington.

51 comments:

Cedarford said...

One bad moment of 25-year Inside Beltway pride that might bite McCain later is his bragging that the Chairman himself of the Senate Appropriations Committee (that has boosted spending 40% since Bush took office) - called McCain "The Sheriff!.

Well, maybe a Sheriff like the constable in Casablancas. "Gambling? I'm shocked!" and, "Round up the usual suspects."

If McCain was a sheriff, he was a dream sheriff for all his "good friend" appropriators. The guy is part and parcel of the Senate failing to work well over the past 30 years.

*****
OT - Nice top picture in midday fog.
Fog of course is mood evoking. The picture is very fresh because it shows a couple from a distant, overhead perspective taking a path into the fog not a clearer path..Snow and black tarmac. This picture could work very well in B&W too, I think.

rcocean said...

Chris Wallace is getting on my nerves.

Shut up, stop arguing with the candidates, and just ask questions.

Where's Charlie Gibson?

rcocean said...

The Huckster is so smooth. Great at explaining how inequitable and bad our current tax law is but his "Fair tax" is a pipe dream. So what's plan B when the "Fair Tax" goes nowhere?

Jenny D. said...

Yuck, Chris Wallace.

McCain leads for patriotism, not profit.

Rudy sounds great, Romney and Thompson are boring and annoying.

Verso said...

I think people want to fall for Obama and want to be free of Hillary Clinton. Iowa has given them permission to do what they already wanted to do.

I think you are right. I was prepared to support Hillary, but never enthusiastic about it.

Meade said...

You and her husband, Verso.

Middle Class Guy said...

Many years ago, the late Chicago columnist, Mike Royko, was a co-host on TV during a national election. The oh so wise anchorman was babbering, blubbering, and slobbering over the polls. Royko looked at him and said that all of the polls are useless, meaningless, worthless, and never accurate. There was only one poll that mattered, the actual election results. The avuncular anchorman was appalled. Royko was right.

As to Hillary, the only reason she did so well for so long was she was practically running alone. She was inevitable, she was the chosen one, she was the anointed one. The media and the party went along. Now that she has real competition from people who actually say things and can point to actual accomplishments, she is tanking and tanking fast. Hillary is an empty suit, unless someone can provide proof and verification of her thirty five years in public life and policy.

age group mom said...

If Hillary is not the Democratic nominee, how long until she dumps Bill?

Sean Wisnieski said...

Well, being a Republican, I can't speculate as to why Hillary's campaign is deflating to the extent it is. I can say, though, that if a GOP candidate were being touted as "inevitable," I'd certainly bristle at it. No one, right or left, likes being told who to vote for. The fact that Hillary has virtually no policy differences with Obama and Edwards hurts her in this regard: there's nothing she doesn't offer that Obama doesn't, but the sound of Obama's voice at least doesn't make your ears bleed. (A friend of mine suggests a good bit of Obama's appeal lays in the fact that his election would confer a sort of racial absolution on white Americans who are getting very tired of being accused of racism. If true, look for his momentum to pick up as the primaries drag on).

Romney's cleaned up since the last debate, and he's on the right track by framing himself as an accomplished technocrat (which he is). I only just tuned in a little bit ago, so I haven't seen if McCain's had any of his real nasty, petty outbursts like last time, but if he has, Romney had best hold his feet to the fire over it.

Thompson, meanwhile, comes across as the only one who's actually given some substantial thought to the issues. I sincerely hope the crotchety old fart (and I say that affectionately) wins the GOP nomination, just to see how he would fare in a debate against the Dem nominee.

Freeman Hunt said...

I'm also live-blogging the debate. I missed the getting rid of death comment in your UPDATE #2. That's hilarious!

Middle Class Guy said...

Oh gee. Let's all be friends here. When are they going to sing Kumbayah?

Meade said...

Huckabee adds: "In my previous profession, I got rid of death..."

He really said that?

Jesus.

And I do mean... Jesus.

Middle Class Guy said...

I'm going over to the FoodNetwork. This is to gushy.

Will Conway said...

Hilarious

tightspotkilo said...

If Hillary is not the Democratic nominee, how long until she dumps Bill?

Or Bill her?

Simon said...

rcocean said...
"The Huckster is so smooth. Great at explaining how inequitable and bad our current tax law is but his "Fair tax" is a pipe dream. So what's plan B when the "Fair Tax" goes nowhere?"

I thought he was for a consumption tax? There are good arguments for that (harder to evade, for example), but one of them isn't that it's "fairer." A tax system that increases the cost of living hits those whose total income is close to the cost of living far more than those for whom the total cost of living is incidental compared to income.

Simon said...

That is, a loaf of bread costs the same whether you make $6 per hour or $6000, but that doesn't mean that increasing the cost by 6 cents hits both people equally.

Simon said...

age group mom said...
"If Hillary is not the Democratic nominee, how long until she dumps Bill?"

She has me on speed dial.

AJ Lynch said...

Ann don't forget Thompson's retort after Huckabee said his last job was to get rid of death...

Thompson said "well you failed at that one". (paraphrasing a bit).

George said...

Amazing how the graphs nearly hit 100% approval when Romney talked tough on immigration (in Luntz's focus group).

Romney, like Obama, has a great twinkly presence and is a most artful rhetoritician.

Just wish he were more of a rhinoceros, like Fred.

In his book, Thompson paints himself as a dogged investigator, willing to follow the [Watergate] investigation wherever it led, [according to the N.H. Union Leader]. He describes the gift that [Sen. Howard] Baker's staff gave to him that Christmas: "two brass spherical objects mounted on a rectangular platform with the inscription, 'You've got 'em, kid, you've got 'em.'"

(He also cheated in his high school French class, copying his girlfriend's papers. Probably a plus in the eyes of most Americans.)

AJ Lynch said...

Simon:

Most fair tax proposals give a stipend or tax credit to lower income folks. Its intent is to mitigate the impact of the regressive (Fair) tax.

I doubt a Fair tax could be fully enforced without maintaining a tax compliance group the size of the IRS. A tax of 23-30% collected at the retail/ wholesale level encourages -entices- forces you to participate in an undergrond economy!

Middle Class Guy said...

I think that Obama will obliterate Hillary Clinton. Rudy looked nervous, but sounded better tonight than he has in a long time. I agree that it will be Romney.

Obama does have some Illinois baggage and if certain corruption trials start during the campaign, he, as Desi used to say, have some splaining to do.

Hillary was interviewed and used the record word again. Yet, she refuses to illuminate us on her record.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

(I think we need the presidency needs to shift sides periodically.)

Ya that's Chris matthew's "swing theory" but that would conflict with the 70's political theory that you never want a President, Senate Majority Leader and Speaker of the House from one party.

I can't remember the label of it but it was bantied about as a furtherance of the checks and balances in our government.

I never really bought it-it seemed to be something Democrats believed in but only when it wasn't on the horizon for them.

rcocean said...

One reason I dislike Huckabee is his "Fair tax" proposal. I think its simply political rhetoric.

He got tired of being slammed as a "tax and spend" Governor so he came up with the perfect response:

"Not only am I against raising taxes, I want to get rid of the IRS,the income tax, and corporation tax altogether. My Fair tax proposal will do this, etc."

Not only is this a great response. but when POTUS and the fair tax goes nowhere, which it will, he'll be free to raise taxes. Has he ever pledged NOT to raise taxes?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

"A tax of 23-30% collected at the retail/ wholesale level encourages -entices- forces you to participate in an undergrond economy!"

Amen.. and pass the bartered goods. Cash is KING!!

Dont' think for a moment that people aren't smart enough to figure this little wrinkle out.

Trumpit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trumpit said...

I'm also not in favor of the same party being in power forever. But after Nixon was elected twice, I said that there shouldn't be another Republican president for 100 years. After G.W. Bush, I've upped it to 1,000 years.

Middle Class Guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mcg said...

Most fair tax proposals give a stipend or tax credit to lower income folks. Its intent is to mitigate the impact of the regressive (Fair) tax.

I believe that, as proposed, the stipend is given to everyone, or every household, or something like that. It is a fixed amount intended to compensate for the taxes spent on essentials.

I do not see how the fair tax is regressive, though, even without that stipend. It is a flat consumption tax, is it not? Now don't get me wrong, I don't support the Fair Tax, even with the stipend. I could easily be persuaded that compared to the current tax code it is worse for lower income families. But regressive is a technical term and it doesn't strike me as such. Am I missing something?

Middle Class Guy said...

Trumpit,
I guess you like to turn over more of YOUR hard earned money to the government to finance more failures.

Clinton raised taxes on the Middle Class. I personally saw my paycheck drop by over one hundred dollars a month because he raised the with holding rates. For what?

Under Bush, my check went up over one hundred dollars a month. Give me the tax cutter every time. I believe that my money is mine, not the government’s. I do not believe in bearing a burden for the right to be an American. I do not believe I should pay for other people's problems or failures. I do not believe in financing failures.

No, sir. I care not about abortion, Moslems, war, poverty, or anything else. I care about keeping as much of my money as possible. I worked for it. I earned it. It is mine. Not Hillary Clinton's, Barak Obama's, or John Edwards. It is mine. I will vote for whom ever will lower taxes or eliminate certain taxes every time.

JackDRipper said...

Ann Althouse said ..Clinton is crashing! What is going on? My theory: I think people want to fall for Obama and want to be free of Hillary Clinton.

Yes, the White women in two very White states are falling in love with a black man, just like Obama's Kansas White mother.

And they see Hilary as the mean, disapproving mother who wants to break up the relationship. The more she fights back the more they rebel. They going to show her!

That's a subtext that I see to all this Obamamania. But then again what do I know about White women. Maxine is the expert there.

There's also a bitterness and hate for Hilary that reminds me of the young feminist blogger hate for A. Althouse.

Anyway I hope Romney wins this and becomes president. I actually see him as a major shift from Bush. Bush is a non-achieving, reality-phobic and personally insecure person. Romney has a history of great personal achievement, an obsession with an empirical, data rich world view and a willingness to be open to intellectual competition and dissent within his top management. Bush sees that as a threat and sign of disloyalty.

Trumpit said...

From the NYTimes:

Romney also prodded Huckabee about whether spending had increased during his decade as governor of Arkansas.

Huckabee said: ''I had a court order that said we had to improve education.''
----------------------------------
A former minister governor who needed a court order to improve the rotten condition of Arkansas' public schools is a sorry soul sorely in need of redemption and salvation. He also ought read that section a high school biology textbook that deals with evolution by natural selection. Do we need another simple-minded person as president of this country? Haven't we had enough of that for the last 8 years? Shame on the people who voted for him in the caucuses in Iowa. It would be far better to have stayed home and watched TV than to have voted for any of the Republican candidates. They are bad bunch of motley characters that only represent narrow and wealthy interests. A pox on all of them!

Trumpit said...

Middle Class Guy,

I'm glad you think Bush gave you a $100 dollars and that Clinton took it away. You are a peasant to talk that way. Bush gave trillions of dollars to rich people via tax cuts who didn't need the money and he took it out of the pockets of the middle class. Who do you believe should be paying for the war in Iraq? We know who is fighting it - the lower classes for the most part. If there were still a draft, this president would have been impeached already. Your devalued $100 isn't worth squat. Ask the Canadians; they'll tell you what their dollars can buy. Spend your $100 wisely on beer and popcorn during the Hoosier football games.

tyranothesarus said...

Trumpit...I'm going to guess you're college age. Why be a jerk on the internets? "peasant"??? wtf does that even mean in this context?

"lower classes" fighting the war? I bet any random service man/women has a higher degree than you do. My brothers a service man in the navy--and we ain't "lower class"--I'm assuming you mean poor by that term, but since you're just regurgitating someone elses thoughts I can't be certain you know what you're typing.


also...when is someone gonna bring up Keating-Savings-and-Loan fiasco that McCain got wrapped up with in the 80's....McCain is a crook and was lucky he didn't go to jail over it.

SouthernOntarioan said...

Allow me to butt in for one moment concerning the 'Fair' tax proposal.

Canada has sales taxes and has had rather high taxes on our goods for decades now. Ontario, the largest province had total combined sales taxes of around 15% (now 13% - our Conservatives cut taxes believe it or not), some smaller provinces had as high as 25%.

Our economy didn't implode. There isn't a massive underground economy. People didn't resort to the barter and trade system. Sure lots of people were pissed, especially because it was a straight-out tax increase with no offsetting decrease in our income tax. However, to make the sales tax less regressive and lessen the burden on lower income families they receive a rebate. Just as this 'Fair' tax proposal indicates.

So people who argue that a 23% sales tax replacing all income tax would spell the end of the world as we know it are exaggerating.

Hey, quick question for all you folks, how many of you know who the Canadian Prime Minister is?

Fen said...

Canada? That name sounds familiar.

;)

SouthernOntarioan said...

Yes you know, the country that supplies you with more oil than Saudi Arabia?

Shares the longest undefended border in the world?

Largest trading partner?

Closest ally?

No, Cancun is in Mexico, not Canada.

;)

Palladian said...

"Hey, quick question for all you folks, how many of you know who the Canadian Prime Minister is?"

Glenn Gould!

SouthernOntarioan said...

At least he's Canadian. In 2000 our comedians convinced Bush it was someone by the name of 'Jean Poutine'..

Google poutine if you don't know what it is.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Sounds like Trumpit wants his candidate to apply natural selection to social policy. He must really miss David Duke.

Blake said...

Mmmmm...poutine....

DaveW said...

I'm a little distracted by these new polls on the Democratic side. CNN has Obama at 39% in New Hampshire, with Clinton a 29%. USA Today has Obama at 41% and Clinton at 28%. Clinton is crashing! What is going on?

People want "change". Based on the fact that its every third word from every candidate's mouth in either party I'd say "change" is polling somewhere north of 95%.

But what change?

I'd point to a Joe Gandelman post you linked below:

"The fact of the matter is a lot of us Independent voters are tired of the politics of slash and burn where a candidate’s camp feels it must demonize, whip up the voters so they hate someone as the main reason to vote for them — a technique used as by political operatives in both parties under the two Bush administrations and yours. We are truly sick of it and want to toss out those who insist on perpetuating it."

The "change" people want, I think, is something close to: No more Clintons and Bushes. No more politics as usual. (Note: 'no more politics as usual' *always* polls well)

In other words, when people say they want change, at some level they're saying they don't want Hillary. I submit that Hillary knows this, and that's why she came close to melting down the other night on the whole "change" thing.

Hillary is going to lose on Tuesday, and she's going to lose Michigan a week later and then SC. The question now is what the Clinton camp is going to do (how low will they go) and will it work in time for her to get some traction even after losing the first few contests.

She has a lot of money, and the Clintons are very good at this. FWIW, I think Obama wins the nomination, but Bill and Hillary are going to raise holy hell over the next 30 days while its happening, you can count on that.

Stephen Snell said...

Good call on Trumpit. It's pretty clear to me that he doesn't know what it means to work hard to pay the mortgage and feed the kids, and watch more than 50% of your income (when you add up all govt taxes and fees) go to the governments.

Trumpit reminds me of a college friend--I was really expecting Trumpit to work in a reference to "the masses."

Trumpit seems to think the wealth starts with the government and is distributed to the rich and "lower classes" so it's safe to assume that he is a bit of a buffoon.

He also doesn't seem to understand that the tax system is already regressive--er, progressive--and that the definitions are hogwash, i.e. a guy making $200,000 and living in a suburb of Boston or maybe in Los Angeles is NOT rich.

I'd wager Trumpit is the type who would advocate "social justice" through state-mandated personal sacrifices on productive people, sacrifices that would just happen not to require any sacrifice from him.

Middle Class Guy said...

also...when is someone gonna bring up Keating-Savings-and-Loan fiasco that McCain got wrapped up with in the 80's....McCain is a crook and was lucky he didn't go to jail over it.

11:37 PM
Uh, the Clintons had something to do with that too. It is part of the Whitewater scandal.

Middle Class Guy said...

Ah, Trumpit, I see you get your news and views from KOS, MyDD, and the Democratic Underground. You probably do not work for a living either or pay bills, and try to raise a family. A hundred bucks is a hundred bucks. It pays for necessities.

I have friends who have sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are not of the poor, who you consider low class. They are middle class and upper middle class people.

As to being a peasant, I would rather be a free peasant than an enslaved pissant.

BTW, remember, I have been insulted and demeaned by the best. You do not even come close.

DaveW said...

Demographic Characteristics of U.S. Military Recruits Before and After 9/11

From the conclusion:

Put simply, the current makeup of the all-voluntary military looks like America. Where they are different, the data show that the average soldier is slightly better educated and comes from a slightly wealthier, more rural area. We found that the military (and Army specifically) included a higher proportion of blacks and lower proportions of other minorities but a proportionate number of whites. More important, we found that recruiting was not drawing disproportionately from racially concentrated areas.

Perhaps more could be done to dismantle the claim that an all-volunteer military relies disproportionately on ignorant, black, poor, urban young citizens in America, but the evidence already clearly shows this claim to be hollow.

Trumpit said...

Name some rich kids who enlisted in the U.S. military? I know who are making the sacrifices; it's very sad you don't. Your vile propaganda won't wash with me. If rich kids were being drafted, this war in Iraq wouldn't have been fought. You know it and I know it. No bullshit from the Heritage Foundation will change that reality.

And only a peasant could think that Bush was a better president than Clinton was, $100 or no $100 dollars. So, you are a peasant, MCG.

rhhardin said...

contemplating how much to clarify the fog

You can produce very convincing and scenic fog from a sharp negative of lighted building windows at night, by raising the enlarger as you expose the paper.

I don't know if photoshop has anything similar.

mcg said...

Huh? When did I get on Trumpit's shit list? I asked a technical question about the FairTax. (I'd still like an answer if someone has one.) I mean, I guess since I'm a rich white boy he'd hate me regardless, but I suspect he's got me confused with someone.

mcg said...

Oh, nevermind, I get it. A little coincidental acronym going on here.