Category Archives: Mitt Romney

Thigs Reach Their Logical Conclusion

TwitterThe other day the fellas at Poison Your Mind posted on shenanigans Romney supporters partook of to influence a form of social media:

Of course some genius for Romney did this:

“A new academic paper digging into presidential betting in the final weeks of the 2012 election finds that a single trader lost between $4 million and $7 million placing a flurry of Intrade bets on Mitt Romney — perhaps to make the Republican nominee’s chance of victory appear brighter,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“The anonymous trader placed 1.2 million pro-Romney contracts, some of which were actually in the form of bets against a Barack Obama victory. The most plausible reason for the betting, the authors conclude, is that ‘this trader could have been attempting to manipulate beliefs about the odds of victory in an attempt to boost fundraising, campaign morale, and turnout.’”

A fascinating story to be sure.  On one hand, $1.2 million is just some sum of money spent to convince people to vote one way or another.  It’s hard to distinguish between that and spending money on TV ads.  The other hand?  It’s chumpy.  There’s something about placing that bet that violates “man law”.

But whatever.  The mark of a desperate man only indicates a desperate man.

But is Romney alone in his “deception”?

Among influential U.S. political tweeters, President Barack Obama is the undisputed king of the fake followers. A MailOnline analysis ranks his sizable Twitter following as the most deceptive total among the 21 most influential accounts run by American politicians: More than 19.5 million of his 36.9 million Twitter followers are accounts that don’t correspond to real people.

The four phoniest accounts in the sample, which included Democratic and Republican Party leaders in Washington, D.C., were those belonging to President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and the White House communications shop.

Of the president’s 36.9 million Twitter followers, an astonishing 53 per cent – or 19.5 million – are fake accounts, according to a search engine at the Internet research vendor StatusPeople.com. Just 20 per cent of Obama’s Twitter buddies are real people who are active users.

Read the whole article, politicians of all kinds, from both sides of the aisle, are shown to have significant Twitter followers.  Obama isn’t alone.  However, it just goes to show that when a metric matters, people will maximize that metric.

I hate people.

Romney’s Tax Plan

It seems that the whole campaign season has been about Romney’s tax plan.  Namely that it’s nothing more than a giant gimme to the rich at the expense of the middle class.  The argument goes along the lines of this:

You cannot reduce the marginal rate by 5 points across the board and eliminate enough deductions from the wealthy to make the plan both revenue neutral.  Therefore the plan MUST raise rates on those of us not in the upper 5 to 1 percent in income.

First this: I am a firm believer in the Laffer curve, a concept that describes what people do with their money to expose it to a tax burden.  The idea is that a tax rate of 0% will bring in the same amount of income as a tax rate of 100%.  Revenue increases at the beginning of each end until it reaches some theoretical maximum along the way.  Conservatives like to use the Laffer Curve as an argument against HIGHER taxes.  In this I am using it as an argument against LOWER taxes.  While I disagree with liberals that we need to raise taxes, I think that inserting a level of confidence that we are simply going to keep tax rates consistent is enough to grow the economy.

Second this: Romney’s plan has three planks –

  1. 5 point reduction across the board
  2. Deficit neutral
  3. Revenue neutral

Admittedly I get frustrated by the confusion created when “deficit” and “revenue” are used interchangeably, but it is what it is.

With all of that said, if Romney’s plan IS impossible, all it means is that what he is describing cannot be done.  It does NOT mean that there MUST be a tax hike on the middle class.  Of that he’ll blow a hole in the deficit.

For example, it could mean that he can’t move the rate by 5 points for the wealthy.

Okay, so my two issues aside; is the Romney tax plan impossible as the Obama campaign posits?

Rumor has it at “Yes.”

Princeton professor Harvey Rosen tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD in an email that the Obama campaign is misrepresenting his paper on Romney’s tax plan:

I can’t tell exactly how the Obama campaign reached that characterization of my work.  It might be that they assume that Governor Romney wants to keep the taxes from the Affordable Care Act in place, despite the fact that the Governor has called for its complete repeal.  The main conclusion of my study is that  under plausible assumptions, a proposal along the lines suggested by Governor Romney can both be revenue neutral and keep the net tax burden on taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 about the same.  That is, an increase in the tax burden on lower and middle income individuals is not required in order to make the overall plan revenue neutral.

I’ve always thought that Romney’s plan counted on growth.  Growth of existing salaries and then growth of the transition from unemployed to employed.

Now, do I think that’s the path we need to take?  Not necessarily.  But do I trust Romney more than Obama on anything, and I mean ANYTHING financial?  Most assuredly.

Obama Bounce Was Just That – A Bounce Up And A Fall Down

Romney was losing badly before the first debate.  Largely due to the fact that America hadn’t seen him and was relying on the negative attack ads delivered by the Obama campaign they viewed him as a monster.

Then came Colorado.

And Romney showed himself as a compassionate capable leader who would deliver America to a path far more favorable than Obama.

And he sky rocketed.

Obama won the second debate in a narrow decision, it did very little to slow the momentum.

The third debate was more of a decisive victory for the President and he enjoyed a resurgence; Gallup, a favorite of the left, saw Romney’s lead go from +7 to +3 in days.  However, today Romney is back to +5 thanks in part to rising Romney and falling Obama.

Further hurting Obama is the on going drama that is Benghazi.  It’s clear now that the Obama administration handled this badly.  They had direct knowledge within hours, failed to act appropriately and then lied to the American people starting in the Rose Garden, in spite of Candy Crowley’s defense.

 

Romney gains as Obama loses in Likely voters while Obama suffers a 6 point turn around in Approval.

2012 Election: Obama 271 Romney 267

Razor thin margins everywhere.

Back in August I had this to say:

I’m out on a limb with Virginia and Colorado while Obama is pretty much a lock in every state going blue in the map above.

I no longer think I’m on a limb in Virginia, possibly Colorado.  But Romney seems to have stolen New Hampshire.  And I think Iowa breaks Red.

Again, there is plenty of “limbness” going on here, but…and this is a significant but, if Romney moves even one single state such as Nevada, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio or Pennsylvania, it’s over.  Going back to August again I said this:

I think Obama will carry the big Ohio and Pennsylvania states with Florida going for Mitt.

I’m now more sure of Florida and less sure of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Net/net – I am really demoralized that the Union states of Michigan and Ohio are supporting Obama as strong as they are.  The President made a clear power play there with the auto bailouts and then the ensuing bankruptcy that he totally manipulated.  Add in Wisconsin to that Union dominated list of states and you have an election dictated by Unions.

Yuck.

Romney Rising

I was reading Scott’s latest post over at World in Motion when I saw his update:

An added tidbit – Ezra Klein of the Washington Posts note that traders have been putting massive Romney bets in intrade to try to manipulate the market and make it appear Romney is rising.   Usually those upswings are short term as real investors recognize the chance for some ‘easy money’ off the manipulators.

I haven’t been over to Intrade for a few days so I thought I’d hit ’em up.

Here’s how Romney is doing since the 2st debate on October 3rd:

Romney has gone from 26 to 45 and rising.

What did Ezra have to say about the manipulation?

Here’s the backstory: On Monday night, after the debate, Barack Obama was leading Romney on Intrade by around 60 percent to 40 percent. But at around 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Romney had surged to nearly 49 percent. Was this evidence that the conventional wisdom was wrong? Had Romney actually won the debate handily? Or, alternatively, was the nosedive in the stock markets putting a dent in Obama’s re-election chances?

Or maybe it was something else. As economist Justin Wolfers pointed out on Twitter, the huge swing toward Romney appears to have been driven by a brief burst of trading, with someone spending about $17,800 to push Romney’s chances on Intrade up to 48 percent. But the surge only lasted about six minutes before other traders whittled the price back down to what they saw as a more accurate valuation. Romney’s odds of winning are, as of Tuesday morning, back at around 41 percent:

Ezra, at the writing of the article, points out that manipulation had boosted Romney’s numbers.  But even Mr. Klein acknowledges that the manipulation was corrected in 6 minutes.  It leads us to believe that the current value is the result of normal market forces.

But continuing to read the full column today, we see that Ezra has updated his post:

Update: Over at the Atlantic, Carl Wolfenden, the exchange operations manager for Intrade, says, “We checked this out for potential manipulation—it certainly fit the pattern at first glance.” But, he says, that doesn’t seem to be the case this time around. The Romney blip was apparently driven by a number of traders during an early-morning period when the market was very thin, rather than just one person.

Interesting.

I’ve Said It Before … Obama Is A Liar

Incredibly I watched the whole debate last night.  I’m a well documented junkie now, but last night’s sleeper was just about as much as I could take.

90 minutes of boredom.  But there were some really good moments:

The first such moment is when Obama accused Romney of wanting to liquidate the auto industry.  By taking the position that the companies should have been brought through bankruptcy.  Obama said that Romney didn’t support Federal assistance.  Clearly he did.

There are more.  My next favorite is when Obama stood there, actually sat there, and said point blank that he did not support leaving troops in Iraq after the end of major conflict there.  Of COURSE Obama support that.  The condition is called Status of Forces.  And the President put Joe Biden in charge of securing it.  The fact that Joltin’ Joe couldn’t seal te deal doesn’t change the fact that Obama supported it.

On the subject of education Romney worked hard to demonstrate his state’s achievements while he was in office.  Romney mentioned the normal facts surrounding test scores, but then he moved into the “John and Abigail Adams Scholarships.”  Obama countered that fact by saying that had occurred before Romney came into office.

It’s hard to blame Obama.  He was defeated as soundly as any candidate in history during their first debate.  And last night it was Obama playing the role of challenger to Romney’s role champ.  Romney was simply playing defense and Obama was trying to … well, lie.

An Extension Of And Then a Grabbing Of

That darn Mormon continues to pull ahead:

It would appear that the undecideds are deciding.  That, or the republicans that have been on the fence are gaining confidence and moving themselves from “Registered Voter” to “Likely Voter.”

And then the big news:

For the first time, Romney is now ahead in the Electoral Map.

To be sure, we have 20 odd days to go, a debate to digest and another yet to take place.  Much can, and will, happen between now and election day.

But momentum feels good right now.

Who Won

I can’t know.

No one doubts that Obama had his ass handed to him in the first debate.  And I think that has been clouding everyone’s expectations for this one.

If Obama is anything at all Presidential he’ll do better than he did last time; which is “a win.”  However, winning means swaying voters.

Obama was much stronger than he was last time.  And Romney was much more, ahh, less CEO’ish than last time.  I think that adds up to an Obama win.  I think Obama gets it in a nod; 3-4 points.  But I said that about Biden too.

The real question – Did either win votes?

No.

Neither did well enough to sway independents.

 

UPDATE:

Both CNN and CBS have Obama by 7 points.  They are both calling it an “edge.”

I agree.  Obama did better largely on the fact that he didn’t suck as much as he did last time.  Neither sealed the deal.

Romney And Obama – Second Presidential Debate

Okay, kids are in bed and I’m in front of my TV getting ready to watch the debate.

There is no way, none, that Obama can do worse than he did in the first debate.  He’s simply too competitive and too skilled to allow that to happen again.  I’m not sure what happened that first time; I suspect that the theory that speaks to his never having been challenged to be the closest to accurate.  That failure will be addressed this time around.

The key for Romney:

Continue to demonstrate that he has better plans and that those plans will directly help the average American.

The key for Obama:

Take responsibility and appear Presidential.  This includes not passing blame AND presenting a plan.

We’ll see.

UPDATE #1

Right.  Obama is not voting “present” tonight.  He’s much stronger and is going toe to toe with the Governor.

Romney – First and Last, he didn’t answer the question as to how he’s going to get Jeremy a job.

Obama – Left himself open on two points: GM Bankruptcy and Green Energy job.  Romney tagged him on one and missed on the second.

UPDATE #2

Obama’s answers on energy are the same as the answers when he ran the first time 4 years ago.  And his insistence that he’s for fossil fuel energy just isn’t believable.

Romney delivered a body blow in his answer; permits are down and production is down; though he did mix his % between the two.

WOW!  I love the direct back and forth.  I didn’t see that coming.

Hmmm……Crowley gives Obama a third whack at the question and is talking down Romney.  Out of bounds but good on Romney to muscle ahead.  Obama doesn’t help his cause with comments from the sidelines.

UPDATE #3

GREAT question on asking Romney to speak to the deduction he might consider eliminating.

And Romney addressed the main point with his first statement, “I want lower taxes for the middle class.”  His second point is also a strong one.  He clarifies his position that the wealthiest Americans will continue to pay the same proportion of taxes that they’ve been paying in the past.

In his response, Obama draws on Romney’s “60 Minutes” interview and delivers a strong blow to Romney.   It’s hard to defend the claim that “it’s fair” for Romney to pay a lower rate than a bus driver.  [Though to be fair, the pay the same rates].

Obama goes off the rails on his follow up response.  No one thinks that Romney is going to reduce tax revenue by $5 trillion.  The defense spending might score a point, but then Obama comes back with the continuation of the Bush tax  cuts for the wealthy.  He’s double counting that.

But Obama does score big when he challenges Romney on the specifics.

Let’s how Romney plays Obama’s tactic of rolling out the critiques in the last follow up.

Good on Crowley; she gives Romney an extra go at it.  But then he makes a mistake; he mixes up deficits and debt.  Obama DID promise to cut the deficit in half when he took office.  But Romney then mentions the debt has doubled.

UPDATE #4

Oh you poor little misguided woman.  I’m going to skip the update on this one because women do NOT earn 72% of the wages their male peers make.

UPDATE #5

Romney, dude, this is right to you – “Shut the hell up about equal time.  You look petty and dumb.”

So, how is Romney different than Dubya?  Sigh.  Serious?

He answered the question well enough but what people wanna hear, the money shot, is that he won’t get us into two foreign wars.  Romney didn’t touch on that and the moment is lost.

UPDATE #6

The man asked a question about how Obama would help his situation.  Obama talked and then Romney talked.  Neither one answered the man; all they did was repeat talking points.

Blah.

This is the late rounds of a heavy weight bout.  No knock downs and the fighters are “defending” waiting for the last round or two.  Fantastically boring.

UPDATE #7

Is it just me or does MSNBC always show the time clock in Romney’s shots but NEVER in Obama’s?

UPDATE #8

Okay, there’s the clock behind Obama.

Immigration.  Little difference I suspect between the two.  However, Obama goofed on the Arizona law.  Police officers may NOT stop one because they look foreign.  Once stopped they may request papers…..

Romney is clearly not listening to me.  Stay on topic and leave the whole, “I need to answer the President” bit alone.

That being said, holy moly but I love it when they fight!

UPDATE #9

One hour and eight minutes in and we get Libya.

Finally.

Obama VERY strong on the first response to this question.

Obama, “We are gonna find out who did this and hunt them down.”  He even choked on that part he sounded so much like Dubya!

Incredible how you can tell when the candidate is reading the script and when he’s not.

All in all, I’m impressed with Obama’s response.  He took responsibility.

Jeepers Romney is weak on the response.  It’s as if he didn’t rehearse this response.

Oh for fuck’s sake.  Romney rambled on to include “apology tour.”

Obama’s answer to Libya has been powerful, Romney was unprepared for the canned answer and was schooled in the give and take.

Ooo.  Obama just lost the gain by being happy to move off the subject.  Reminder of debate #1.

For the record, I’ve read the transcript, the President does not describe the incident as a terrorist attack.  In fact the administration continually took the position that the attacks were spontaneous and a reaction to YouTube.

Obama is lying.

UPDATE #10

Okay, now I’m tired.

However, the question is outsourcing jobs.

Romney has an answer in two parts:

1.  America doesn’t make it attractive to hire here.  He’s right.

2.  He’s going to label China a currency manipulator and will impose tariffs.  He’s wrong.

 

Romney And Obama – First Presidential Debate

It turns out that a debate can be huge.

Going into Wednesday last week Romney had experienced a series of perceived setbacks.  The video of Romney talking to high dollar donors about the 47% certainly played into Obama’s attempt to characterize him as a member of the rich white guy club.  This only contributed to the continued bad press Romney was generating for his critique of the White House during the Libya crisis.

Romney was having a hard time of it.

People said his only hope was the debate.  However, there was little belief that Romney would even win the debate much less win it by enough to influence polls:

The overwhelming odds on favorite was Obama heading into the debate.  While I favored Romney, he has better ideas and isn’t hampered by Obama’s habit of “aaahhhhing” everything, I thought the win wouldn’t matter.  Further, I was sure that the polls would suggest Obama won regardless of what I thought.

I was wrong:

It wasn’t just “not close” it was historical.  Never before has a debate been so lopsided as this one.  From the opening bell to the final round Romney completely dominated Obama.  There wasn’t even one time where Obama even looked like he might rally and make a showing of it.  The night was completely and wholly Romney’s.

Obama’s fate was sealed when he issued this advise to the moderator:

You might wanna switch topics Jim.

Even Obama knew this was a disaster.

However, what NO ONE could have anticipated was the impact this debate would have on the race.  As I mentioned, Romney came into last week’s contest behind, way behind.  And today…?  Today’s he’s not only closed the gap, he’s leading:

Romney has moved ahead of Obama.

This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who has the ability to be objective.  Obama has been an abject failure.  His policies haven’t led to prosperity, they’ve led to a suppressed recovery.  His policies overseas are failing, or worse, are undefined to the point that success or failure can’t be determined.

Last week we saw what happens when a life long community organizer goes up against a successful CEO.

It wasn’t even close.