Monthly Archives: September 2012
Despite my extremely high confidence in the assumptions which form the basis of my prediction of a Warren victory in November, obviously I cannot rule out completely the possibility of a Brown upset. Though I haven’t even attempted to precisely quantify my confidence, I expect it’s at least 95%. Frankly, I would analogize my confidence in this regard to that of meteorologists who have (or had) a high degree of confidence that Western Mass had nothing to fear from tornados. So, since longshots happen, I thought it would be interesting to speculate how I would try to figure out what happened if Brown did win.
The media’s reporting and analysis of the 2012 election is replete with two irrepressible canards: a phony notion of balance and a need to inflate the competitiveness of marquis races. Obviously, it’s literally true that even the most lopsided races are not over until they are over, so to speak, but the tendency of media analysts to break their backs trying to include positive and negative comments about both sides in campaign coverage is annoying and absurd. For example, ending every column with some version of “anything could happen” is often transparently absurd, if not dishonest.
Sunday Boston Globe: “I never met her,” [Ray Flynn said of Elizabeth Warren]. “I never said hello, not that I wouldn’t. I never met her, I never saw her, I don’t know the first thing about her.” And my question is, why didn’t Warren reach out to Ray Flynn?
Don’t be so hard on yourself Jon. It was a pretty good debate.
Readers interested in economics should take a look at the Economist’s View. For example, there is a lively piece by Tim Duy on the debate over how much the Federal Reserve should do, bringing in the work of Carmen M. Reinhardt and Kenneth S. Rogoff, authors of the very influential This Time It’s Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly. Duy argues that a true understanding of their work would suggest that in the kind of crisis we have faced since 2008, the government including the Fed should do more, not less.
According to the recent Suffolk University/7News poll Republican Scott Brown leads Democrat Elizabeth Warren among union households, 46-41%. What gives?
Americans are well conditioned to be contemptuous of the so-called “politics of personal destruction” where in contending candidates or parties level personal attacks against their political foes in an effort to discredit them in the minds of voters on matters not related to public policy or political philosophy. On the other hand, American voters have been equally well conditioned to celebrate another brand of personalized politics that is actually just as deceptive and destructive of deliberative democracy. Indeed, personal attacks on opponents would be far less useful in elections if not for Americans’ embrace of the other side of the personalized politics coin. The “politics of personal CONstruction” are not a popular subject of political cautionary tales, but they should be.
Over at Mischiefs of Faction there is a post by political sciewntist Hans Noel explaining why The person is not more important than the party. Noel is responding to a moderate Republican so fed up with Mitt Romney that he is considering crossing party lines in his presidential vote. Don’t do it, says Noel — the nominee isn’t so important, but the party is:
They certainly had their themes. Senator Brown is against all taxes and for middle class. Sen. Brown’s approach was personal, using the invitation in opening question to belabor Warren over native American heritage claim and calling for her to release her personnel records. He also went personal on education linking cost of higher ed to salaries of Warren and her husband. On certain issues he explained himself in personal terms as well, as on standing for women, he said he has been standing for women since he was 6 defending his mother against an abusive step father, or his wife and daughters on equal pay for women. He was effective in attacking her on Travelers Insurance, for which she lacked a good response. Odd answer twice on Iran, opposed to a nuanced policy–what does that mean?
I like to scan polls for information that is given inadequate attention in the media but with five polls out in a week I’m staying busy. A few thoughts on the three polls out since my Tuesday post: WBUR/MassInc Polling Group, Suffolk/7News, and UMass Lowell/Boston Herald. The first two show Warren ahead, the Herald has Brown in the lead; in all cases there is little space between the candidates.