blueollie

The 2016 election is heating up: Sanders vs. Clinton and D’s vs R’s

The general election It is often claimed that Barack Obama is on the 2016 general election ballot, in a way that George W. Bush was in 2008. If so, what can we infer at the current time?

jan15obamaapproval2016

(from here) The dotted line is the average Gallup approval rating of the past several presidents (back to Truman) at that time in their administration (including the second, if they had one). The light green line is President Obama’s, which is tracking the average very well (48 percent as of yesterday) and the dark green which had the spikes and falls is President W. Bush’s.

So, at least as of now, President Obama is fairly typical of past presidents.

Now you might be hearing “oh no, Obama’s approval rating plunges” but if all you hear about are the plunges (or dips in the market, etc.), you miss the ups and get a false picture.

011516krugman1-tmagArticle

So, watch for that when the Republicans attack the Democrats.

The Democratic Race The Clinton campaign admit that things are tightening up. What will happen? I don’t know (I am expecting a split between New Hampshire and Iowa) but this is turning into an election.

The Clinton campaign has thrown some punches. One of those is on health care. Where Sen. Sanders wants a single payer plan; a type of “Medicare for all”, the Clinton campaign does correctly point out that means a dismantling of Obamacare (ACA) and…STATES running the system with the federal government stepping in if certain criteria are not met. Factcheck.org calls the attacks “misleading”; I call them “nuanced”. This is similar to what the two candidates want in terms of financial institution regulation. Sen. Sanders wants Glass-Steagall to be revived. Sec. Clinton has a different idea as Paul Krugman points out:

For what it’s worth, Mrs. Clinton had the better case. Mr. Sanders has been focused on restoring Glass-Steagall, the rule that separated deposit-taking banks from riskier wheeling and dealing. And repealing Glass-Steagall was indeed a mistake. But it’s not what caused the financial crisis, which arose instead from “shadow banks” like Lehman Brothers, which don’t take deposits but can nonetheless wreak havoc when they fail. Mrs. Clinton has laid out a plan to rein in shadow banks; so far, Mr. Sanders hasn’t.

Surf to the Krugman article; he goes on to say that those who think that Sec. Clinton is cozy with Wall Street are behind the times; this may have been true in 2008 but it is no longer true.

Right now, big money is hostile to the Democrats.

Social Divide between Clinton and Sanders
Now THIS is starting to look a bit like 2008. I remember the bitter divide between those “latte sipping college types” and the “blue collar” types; the former being with Obama and the latter being with Clinton.

Well, I am seeing this again, albeit in a different way. I am on the Clinton campaign mailing list because I made a campaign contribution (as has my wife).

So, I get this e-mail message from James Carville:

ourgirlhillary

“Our girl Hillary”??? I can see college feminists grinding their teeth on this one. Yes, I “get it”; this sort of language plays well with the sort of crowd that they want to inspire. But it is a faux pas with the academic crowd that I hang with.

I should also be clear: I had more of a personal investment in Barack Obama; he was from my state and a modern professorial type guy. He is cool, calculating and uses Sunday mornings to work out..and he watches football and basketball when he can. I don’t have such a personal investment with Hillary Clinton.

But it is my opinion that she is smart, sober minded, level headed and knows how hard it will be…as she warned in 2008:

I am glad that I voted for Barack Obama, but she did have a better idea of how hard the Republicans would fight Obama and how uncooperative they would be.

Humor This is a silly, which candidate would you want with you in a bar fight post.

January 16, 2016 Posted by | 2016, Democrats, health care, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Gearing up for Politics

Ok, I am feeling energized this morning. And with the primary races heating up, it is now time to pay attention.

Some thoughts before I hit the gym and do some work:

Politics: well, we are seeing some action in the betting lines. Take a look at 13 January and 14 January:

jan13odds

odds14jan

Though Hillary Clinton remains the “overall leader”, her odds of winning the D nomination have worsened from “prohibitive favorite” to “solid favorite” to win the nomination. And yes, that lead to a slight drop in the odds for a Democrat to win the election. Still, the Sanders campaign deserves some credit. They are now only favored in New Hampshire but have a bona fide shot at winning Iowa.

Yes, the Clinton campaign is paying attention and I’ve noticed a change in tone in their e-mail messages:

Ollie —

This week, two new polls came out that show us losing Iowa.

Don’t let it happen. Chip in $38 right now to show you’re not afraid of a fight.

There are three things I want you to know about those numbers:
(1) We always knew this would happen. From day one, Hillary was ready to fight hard in a competitive primary and earn every last vote. Polls always tighten — and nothing is going to change that as we get closer to the caucus.

(2) Polls might fuel our fire, but they don’t affect our strategy. We can’t risk being outworked and conceding this election to the Republicans. We’ll keep knocking doors, making calls, and showing up every single day even more determined to elect Hillary and make a difference for the families she’s fighting for.

(3) Even though Sanders is outspending us on TV, I truly believe we will win Iowa because of what this team is capable of. That means you, Ollie.
Bernie’s counting on momentum to take him across the finish line. Hillary’s counting on you.

Yes, they are starting to take Sanders seriously, as well they should.

I back Clinton but if she can’t put Sanders away in a couple of months or so, she doesn’t deserve to win the nomination.

No, I am not a “feel the Bern” type; I see the Bern Victims as a collection of idealists and wishful thinkers. But IF he wins the nomination, I will vote for him and support his general election campaign. In 2016, I am a “I prefer Hillary but Bern will do” type of guy.

The state of the economy No, it is not GREAT but it is BETTER than it once was. It is sort of like this: people are concerned with a stock market drop. But:

market

So, what about our Republican friends?

Yes, I have them and some of them absolutely drive me crazy. We discuss the issues: civil liberties. GAy marriage. Religious discrimination. Macro economics. Public investment. AND WE AGREE. Yet they vote Republican?
Basically, there are some who suggest that Republicans are more driven by abstract ideas and Democrats more by the individual issues.

But yeah, I’ll admit it; one some things, I have more in common with my Republican friends than I do my Sanders supporting Democrat ones. This might explain one difference:

But what Clinton suggested in place of a more expansive welfare state illuminates another difference between her politics and Sanders’. Where Sanders tended to focus on inequality and inequality-reducing policies, Clinton focused heavily on increasing opportunity, repeatedly expressing a desire that all Americans be able to realize their “God-given talents,” as she and her husband have. “I have spent a very long time—my entire adult life—looking for ways to even the odds to help people have a chance to get ahead, and, in particular, to find the ways for each child to live up to his or her God-given potential,” Clinton said in her opening remarks, revisiting the idea throughout the debate.

The difference between the two approaches has expansive implications for the American left. A pro-equality platform aims to universalize benefits, so that all people really do have the option to enjoy the same social goods, including education, gainful employment, and family life. An opportunity-focused approach neither intends to reduce inequality per se nor has a clear political apparatus with which to do so. Instead, opportunity-increasing politics aim to increase social mobility without necessarily altering how many people will end up on the top and bottom respectively. The individuals might change, in other words, but the absolute number of destitute versus fabulously wealthy can remain virtually the same.

The bottom line: if things were fair, some people would still fail anyway. I believe in safety nets for those who are hit by horrible luck (lay offs, diseases, accidents, mental illness) and therefore I support stuff like SNAP, unemployment and educational benefits. I believe in a minimum floor for our neighbors and grudgingly acknowledge that a small percentage of people are slackers and moochers …and they’ll continue to be parasites. But I’ll tolerate some of this in order to give those who hunger for success a path upward.

January 14, 2016 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , | Leave a comment

US political odds…

From here

uspolitics

Hillary Clinton is now rated as better than even money, by quite a bit. Note who is 3’rd.

Hillary Clinton is going the right things; e. g. reminding voters that Mr. Trump’s positions are actually in the mainstream among Republicans; it is his style and mannerisms that they don’t like.

December 11, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | | Leave a comment

Why conservatives get called out so much

Some conservative made this cartoon about college students being coddled and “protected” from competing ideas on college campuses:

cribforcollegestudents

On one hand, I agree that it is dumb to think that college students are qualified to dictate campus policy and some go to far in protecting the “sensitive ears” of those who are deemed to be part of “oppressed classes” and, at times, we don’t fact check our liberal friends because of “solidarity”.

On the other hand, look at what is over the crib.

There is a Hillary Clinton campaign logo; in fact Hillary Clinton is viewed as being “too establishment” for many liberals.

And notice the Barack Obama campaign logo. In fact, President Obama said this:

This is the heart of what Obama said:

“I’ve heard of some college campuses where they don’t want to have a guest speaker who is too conservative, or they don’t want to read a book if it had language that is offensive to African Americans or somehow sends a demeaning signal towards women,” Obama said Monday while speaking at a town hall meeting at North High School in Des Moines. “I’ve got to tell you, I don’t agree with that either — that you when you become students at colleges, you have to be coddled and protected from different points of view. Anybody who comes to speak to you and you disagree with, you should have an argument with them, but you shouldn’t silence them by saying you can’t come because I’m too sensitive to hear what you have to say.”

Obama, who spent just more than a decade teaching constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said what the vast majority of college faculty think about intellectual freedom and freedom of expression on campus: Ideas need not be popular, palatable or even easy to digest to merit discussion. College is a place where ideas of all kinds should be openly explored. Theories are, after all, like viruses; they build on one another.

Conservatives get called out because many of their ideas are wrong.:-)

But hey, I’ll borrow from the style of one prominent conservative:

Wonder why they hire such untalented cartoonist; he is a real dummy who doesn’t know what he is talking about. No wander they are failing!

December 3, 2015 Posted by | Barack Obama, hillary clinton, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Ugh…that course

Workout notes rainy 8 mile run/walk on the Cornstalk 8 course. I did the “walk the hills” to practice conserving energy. It was slow (13 mpm order, given all the stupid stops to tie the shoes, pull up the shorts, blah, blah, blah) but I finished feeling like I had done nothing, and that is the point. At least for now.

Marathon POSTURE!!!
mepeoriamarathon2015

This was about 2:06 into this video.

Well, I used to be a sort-of-fast walker…no longer.

Football This was taken from the Illinois student section:

memorialstadiumilwiscon2015

Note: this was the “best crowd of the year” and there was an announced 45,000, which seems about right. At this game, students got free tickets.

Politics Primary polling has been volatile; wide swings between polls. I do know that in the betting lines, Sec. Clinton’s odds have improved to better than even money. The Republicans are a mess at the presidential level.

27octpoliticalodds

How will 2016 go? My guess: Democrats win the presidency and the Republicans keep Congress. Why?

This theory leads to at least a few major conclusions about American politics. The one Abramowitz and Webster emphasize is that it gives Republicans an enduring advantage in congressional elections. Republicans have long had a geographical advantage in both House and Senate elections because their voters are more spread out than Democratic voters. In the past, Democratic candidate could compete by distancing themselves from the national party and making the election about local issues. But as the country grows more partisan, that’s becoming harder, and the result is that Republicans are likely to be dominant at the congressional level for some time.

Jonathan Chait, meanwhile, pulls some good news for Democrats out of the data. Just as Republicans have a natural advantage at the congressional level, Chait believes Democrats have a natural advantage at the presidential level, where the voters skew younger and less white. And if fear of a Republican president means the Obama coalition persists after Obama, then it’s going to be a long time before Republicans win back the White House.

So, at these “internet candidate forums” I always ask “how will you work with a possibly hostile Congress?” No answer…ever.

October 27, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, marathons, politics, politics/social, running | , | Leave a comment

The Evil Dr. Ben Ghazi

Workout notes: sort of low energy today.
weights: rotator cuff, some yoga after which included 2 sets of yoga leg lifts and some vertical crunches. Abs are weak.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (decent)
incline: 10 x 135, 6 x 150, 8 x 140 (1-2 reps off)
military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell (standing)
rows: machine, 3 sets of 10 x 110

run: 10:58 warm up on the treadmill. Track: started to run a “tempoish” 2 miles..realized I had zip in the tank in the first 4 laps, relaxed to a 10:25 mile.
Ran another 10:2x mile on the treadmill prior to doing some yoga (included leg lifts, abs)

Marathon when one accounts for age, this was very similar to the marathons/50K that I walked from 2003-2005 and again in 2009. No, it wasn’t among my best 2-3 performances but it was with the “decent” performances.

Benghazi and Hillary Clinton So the Republicans…well, not sure what they did. But it was not productive at all. At times, they remind me of a high school student council. I am sick to death of those idiots. Evidently, even John Boehner was too.

October 23, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics, politics/social, running, weight training | | Leave a comment

Clinton, Sanders and Trump

Ok, I’ll talk about The Donald first. No, I really don’t have a good feel for whether he will flame out prior to the first primaries or not. At hone time I thought that he was a fad that would pass quickly and he is still a force. As to why people are taking him seriously: this makes as much sense as anything:

From a psychological perspective, though, the people backing Trump are perfectly normal. Interviews with psychologists and other experts suggest one explanation for the candidate’s success — and for the collective failure to anticipate it: The political elite hasn’t confronted a few fundamental, universal and uncomfortable facts about the human mind.

We like people who talk big.

We like people who tell us that our problems are simple and easy to solve, even when they aren’t.

And we don’t like people who don’t look like us.

Most people share these characteristics to some degree, but they seem to be especially prevalent among Trump’s base. Trump’s appeal certainly has other sources, too, such as the nostalgia he so skillfully evokes, his financial independence from special interests, and the crucial fact that he had his own reality TV show. Some Republicans like Trump’s anti-establishment approach. And many support Trump because of his substantive positions — his views on immigration, his antipathy toward China, his defense of Social Security, or his opposition to tax deductions for wealthy bankers.

Surf to the article to read the rest. Bill Clinton has some ideas too, as well as some ideas as to why Bernie Sanders has the support that he has. And yes, there is a rebellion of sorts against the “political establishment”.

And here are some campaign ads; one from a group supporting Trump and one from his own campaign.

And he really let lose on Sanders and Clinton:

So, what about the Democrats?
Well, it is really a two person race. Ok, seriously, a one person race with Bernie Sanders being a foil of sorts.

The first thing to note is that the candidates are embracing President Obama instead of running away from him (the way the Republicans did from President Bush). Note Hillary Clinton’s comeback line:

But many of my friends like Bernie Sanders and some of them are under the impression that many of the liberals who are supporting Hillary Clinton are doing so because we believe that Sanders can’t win.

Now it is true that I think that she is a better politician than he is, it is also true that if I KNEW that the next president would be one of those two, I would still pick her.

Why? Well for one, she is a liberal, and more so than President Obama. Many of the scandals (e-mails, Benghazi) were simply made up. She is also realistic about the challenges ahead and about the Republicans being unwilling to work with her. (And to be fair, so is Sanders).

She understood this at a time when Barack Obama did not (from 2008):

But there are other key differences.

1. Sanders appears to be focused on a few pet issues and almost indifferent to many other important issues:

The debate showed why his fans are so passionate about him: Sanders is at his best when he’s going on the offensive—against the big banks, Wall Street, and the “millionaires and billionaires” who are funding elections. But the debate also forced him to go on the defensive, pushing him out of his comfort zone, and on those occasions, Sanders simply muddled through. Those responses spoke to his limitations as a candidate whose greatest strength and greatest weakness is his singular focus on anti-corporate economic populism.

A President has to deal with many things, and he can’t meet Sec. Clinton’s foreign policy knowledge.

2. Though I like many of Sen. Sanders’ stances, there is still a difference between him and Sec. Clinton:

But what Clinton suggested in place of a more expansive welfare state illuminates another difference between her politics and Sanders’. Where Sanders tended to focus on inequality and inequality-reducing policies, Clinton focused heavily on increasing opportunity, repeatedly expressing a desire that all Americans be able to realize their “God-given talents,” as she and her husband have. “I have spent a very long time—my entire adult life—looking for ways to even the odds to help people have a chance to get ahead, and, in particular, to find the ways for each child to live up to his or her God-given potential,” Clinton said in her opening remarks, revisiting the idea throughout the debate.

The difference between the two approaches has expansive implications for the American left. A pro-equality platform aims to universalize benefits, so that all people really do have the option to enjoy the same social goods, including education, gainful employment, and family life. An opportunity-focused approach neither intends to reduce inequality per se nor has a clear political apparatus with which to do so. Instead, opportunity-increasing politics aim to increase social mobility without necessarily altering how many people will end up on the top and bottom respectively. The individuals might change, in other words, but the absolute number of destitute versus fabulously wealthy can remain virtually the same.

And in this instance, Sec. Clinton appeals to me a great deal more. What I want is for those at the economic bottom to have an opportunity to raise themselves up; right now many don’t have a good shot at that. Like it or not, there will always be people who keep themselves on the bottom by repeatedly doing stupid things.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

First DNC Debate: parting shots

I wonder what Mitt Romney was thinking:

poormitt

As far as who won: here is the one professional poll that I saw:

Clinton: 62-30. Sanders did get noticed though.

Bill Clinton explains the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump:

Note: Clinton’s performance was enough to bump her odds from 6/4 to 7/5.

odds14oct

October 15, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, politics | , , , | Leave a comment

Democratic Debate: Clinton shines; Democrats openly embrace Obama

I chatted about the debate on Facebook and just a bit on Twitter. Here are my main takeaways:

1. The Democrats openly embraced President Obama. He had a video message to the audience and he was mentioned positively several times throughout the debates. Contrast this to 2007-2008 where the Republicans distanced themselves from President Bush.

2. There weren’t many big surprises there, though it would be expected that those polling lower get larger bumps in the polls, for statistical reasons. But by all accounts, Hillary Clinton had a good night.

3. Contrast this to the Republican debates, which were a combination reality show and professional wrestling event. The level of discourse was much higher here. Also notice that the Koch Brothers weren’t mentioned once, and Donald Trump was only mentioned by Gov. O’Malley, once. Bernie Sanders did mention that he didn’t have a Super PAC, but then again, candidates aren’t allowed to work with Super PACs.

As far as the candidates:

Lincoln Chafee He appears to be there to be able to say that he once “ran for President”. He is the only one that took direct shots at Hillary Clinton (“I never had a scandal”). Chafee was a life long Republican who got chased out of the party.

Jim Webb Another former Republican (Naval Academy graduate) who is there…not sure as to why. He is nuanced and knowledgeable but really isn’t going to fire up members of the public; he has no “show-biz” aspect to him. I see him as a great cabinet member (Secretary of Defense? Energy?)

Martin O’Malley One of the two life long Democrats on the stage (not counting Hillary Clinton’s youth days). He had nice things to say about contrasting everyone there vs. everyone on the Republican side. Is he angling to be a running mate?

Bernie Sanders Very passionate and those who like him REALLY like him. He did get hit on the gun control issue. Personally, he reminds me of an old rumpled activist college professor who can really fire up a very narrow audience. But he is too much of a “get people to get out the pitchforks” type..and he seems to not “get” that being a millionaire does not mean that much these-a-days.

Don’t get me wrong: I like Sen. Sanders (though I find some of his supporters to be like the old Paul-o-bots). But I see him as someone who can attain a cult-like following but not a broad, national coalition.

Hillary Clinton In terms of politics, she outclassed everyone there and everyone on the Republican side. Her political polish might turn some people off as it has, by design, a level of insincerity that turns off many of my friends. But I think being a national caliber politician means having a mastery of salesmanship. Personally: I like her intellect and her mastery of “realpolitik”; she understands that we aren’t going to get everything we want.

Some things I remember: Sheryl Crow wore VERY tight leather pants (sang the National Anthem)

sherylcrowanthem

Hillary Clinton responding to Lincoln Chafee that President Obama trusted her judgement:

Bernie Sanders saying that we are sick of hearing about Hillary Clinton’s e-mails:

Fact Check: there were some falsehoods, but nothing approaching what one saw in the Republican debate.

October 14, 2015 Posted by | 2016, hillary clinton, politics, politics/social | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Democratic Debate Tonight…

Frankly, I am just not that interested. I’ll force myself to watch, but there will be only one viable candidate there. Sen. Sanders has attracted a moonbeam following and as far as the others: why? Personally, I find the Republican debates to be much more fun and interesting.

dummycratdebate

Compared to the Obama vs. Clinton clashes of the 2007-2008 cycle, this will be a varsity vs. the JV scrimmage.

True, afterward the Berniebots and Sandfleas will be gushing about his performance but anyone can file bills that will go nowhere and deliver stuff that people want to hear.

Here is the one question that I would be interested in hearing the answer to: “How will you work with a hostile, dysfunctional Congress?”

Yes, President Obama was naive; he thought that his running with Republican ideas would get Republican support. But a huge part of the GOP has no interest in governing, at all, unless THEY are in power. Republicans who compromise are seen as being weak by their base and their donors.

October 13, 2015 Posted by | hillary clinton, political/social, republicans | | Leave a comment

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