January 4, 2012

AP’s Kravitz Ignored Available Data in Holding Out False Hope For Improved Full-Year New-Home Sales

A few readers asked me for my reaction to Derek Kravitz’s December 23 report at the Associated Press on new-home sales. I thought that it was reasonably good, but felt that his leaving open in readers’ minds the idea that this year’s sales could conceivably top last year’s was in bad form.

I was too kind. Based on data available elsewhere, Kravitz should have known (and maybe did) that instead of holding out the possibility that “December would have to produce its best monthly sales total in four years for 2011 to finish ahead of last year’s total,” he should have written something along the lines of: “There is virtually no chance that 2011 will be better than 2010.”

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McCain on Romney, 2008

Filed under: 2nd Amendment,Life-Based News,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:33 pm

John McCain, who endorsed Mitt Romney today, ran this ad against the former Massachusetts Governor in 2008 ad (HT Sister Toldjah):

“Small varmints”?

Who in the world outside of cartoon characters talks like that?

Bachmann’s Out

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 3:24 pm

News here.

I personally don’t think that Michele ever recovered from deciding that she wouldn’t support any increase to the debt ceiling under any conceivable condition during July of last year. As I wrote in mid-August, when Bachmann’s squeaker of a win in the Ames straw poll nevertheless demonstrated that her initial surge was already in decline:

… Bachmann’s official position on the debt-ceiling debate — that the ceiling should not have been raised for any conceivable reason — was untenable and financially impossible. Given her tax accounting background, she knew better, and took a cynical position to corral the votes of less astute folks with Tea Party sympathies whose hearts are in the right place but who don’t fully appreciate how quickly the Obama administration has made the government’s financial situation nearly terminal.

Sorry, Michele, the debt ceiling had to be raised. The Republican House didn’t make anywhere near the progress it could have on cutting future spending, but that doesn’t change the fact that your position was irresponsible.

Unless she was ready to cut total federal spending by about 35% IMMEDIATELY on August 1, and to tell us exactly where she would do it, she could not pretend that the House could indefinitely pout and say “no.”

Let’s see Bachmann go back and serve effectively in Congress for four or eight more years, and then see what happens.

WSJ Assessment of Iowa’s Results Misses One Big Thing

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:56 pm

Good points from this morning’s editorial:

Iowa’s corner of the electorate cast the first verdict of the 2012 Presidential campaign Tuesday night, and the results look more like an opening skirmish than the coronation for Mitt Romney that much of the media had prepared.

… Mr. Romney retains a huge lead in New Hampshire, which votes January 10, but his failure to win a larger share of the vote (in Iowa) than he did in 2008 suggests that GOP voters don’t view the former Massachusetts Governor as inevitable.

… Iowa’s flirtation with so many “non-Romney” candidates shows that a majority of Republicans still find him less than convincing. The media want to attribute this to anti-Mormon bias. But the polls show that Mr. Romney’s Mormonism is a much bigger issue among Democrats than within the GOP.

The real issue is that Mr. Romney is a cautious, conventional politician in a year when many GOP voters want someone willing to fight for bolder change.

… Mr. Gingrich will also try to revive his candidacy by contrasting his views with those of Mr. Romney, whom he calls a “Massachusetts moderate.”

Not bad, but it ignores what in all likelihood triggered Rick Santorum’s rise. Look at the polling in the last three or so weeks:

RCPiowaPollsDec11

Santorum rise came immediately after the final Iowa debate which took place on December 15.

What in that debate could have caused such a shakeup? I say it was this exchange:

Mitt Romney is on the wrong side of the issue of his handling of the Goodridge ruling, i.e., his unilateral imposition of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts without the requisite constitutional authority. He is wrong not only on the facts, but on his contention that “everyone” in the legal community supported what he did in Massachusetts in the wake of the Goodridge decision. The one thing Santorum didn’t mention is that Mitt Romney did what he did because he promised that he would.

Rick Santorum was rewarded for insisting on telling America the blacked-out truth about why we are where we are on one of the most contentious issues of the day. One of these days, politicians will learn that telling the truth is the best route to choose.

McCain Endorses Romney: Good

Filed under: Economy,Immigration,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:24 pm

A perfect match:

John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee in 2008 and a two-time winner of the New Hampshire primary, plans to endorse Mitt Romney on Wednesday in the nation’s first primary state, sources close to the Arizona senator confirm.

The expected backing of the Arizona senator would lend more establishment support to Romney’s campaign and potentially add to the sense of momentum following his ultra-narrow, eight-vote victory in the Iowa caucuses Tuesday.

If this doesn’t motivate Tea Party-sympathetic conservatives to ensure Mitt Romney’s defeat, nothing will.

And a note to establishment conservatives: If McCain’s endorsement doesn’t prove that Romney has no consistent convictions on anything (e.g., on shamnesty, which McCain supported in 2006 and which Rick Santorum opposed, contrary to Ann Coulter’s deliberate mislead last week), and therefore no ability to withstand a general election takeout by Team Obama (or to attack Obama on his far-left vulnerabilities, which McCain himself rarely if ever did in 2008), I don’t know what will.

Wednesday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (010412)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 7:30 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder follows. Other topics are also fair game.

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Erick Ericksen’s observations on Iowa:

  • “Santorum spent about a dollar per vote and Romney spent hundreds of dollars for his votes.”
  • “… while the Romney camp wants you to believe a win is a win, Romney got less votes in 2012 than he got in 2008.
  • “Our process is chaotic because Bush left us no heir to win or to be rejected through a cathartic process of locking in gains or moving on from Bush. Yes, this one is Bush’s fault.” Update: Though I’m not sure he’s ever blogged on it, this vindicates an opinion expressed by Weapons of Mass Discussion blogger Matt Hurley a few times on the TIB radio show. Matt argued that Dick Cheney’s selection by George W. Bush in 2000, while good from an immediate strategy standpoint, endangered the long-term for Republicans. Matt gets an “I told you so” on that one.
  • “Santorum visited all 99 Iowan counties, some of them repeatedly. His “successful” campaign never, ever caught on with Iowa voters despite all that retail time in Iowa. It only became successful when ever(y) single other candidate had been vetted and imploded and there was absolutely no other person familiar to the voters who could stand as the non-Romney candidate.”
  • “As you wake up this morning, the tea party has failed because it has surrendered itself into the hands of Romney, Santorum, or Gingrich — all of whom would use government to suit allegedly conservative ends, which is not conservative in and of itself.”

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Injected Update: Santorum is the only guy with the potential to claim Tea Party credibility at this point (Newt wants to, but two words get in his way: Dede Scozzafava; Newt’s endorsement of this [literally] pretend Republican arguably contributed to a very bitter loss by a genuine Tea Party candidate in NY-23 in 2009). Santorum’s latest pleading for contributions cites a less than stellar source which nonetheless somewhat accurately observes (esp in comparison to Romney and Gingrich) that “Rick Santorum was a tea-party kind of guy before the tea-party even existed.”

Well, yes and no. While he was rock-solid on the social conservative side, which is not the Tea Party’s hot button, he was pretty good but far less than perfect on the econ side, as these Club for Growth grades would indicate:

White this is clearly better than Romney or Gingrich would have done had they been Senators, Santorum needs to do a mea culpa on his previous votes for pork and earmarks to generate the kind of Tea Party enthusiasm he needs. If he does, and can get his message out (two mighty, mighty big ifs), he can potentially come out as the only guy standing after Romney and Gingrich beat up on each other (though this was not a Tea Party era and she was at the time not a Tea Party-like candidate — but hugely improved since — see Jean Schmidt’s 2005 Congressional primary, where she emerged the winner by staying on message as three other candidates with more money and visibility beat each other up).

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Herman Cain was the true Tea Party candidate. He withdrew because of allegations which to this date have not been shown to have any substance — and which disappeared after his withdrawal, proving that the objective was not some kind of “justice” for victims, but to trump up reasons to eliminate him from contention. Oh, and he committed the unforgivable sin (/sarc) of not telling his wife about giving what was surely a relatively small amount of money taken out of their joint multimillion-dollar fortune to a troubled woman in need who turned on him for 15 minutes of fame.

The attacks on Cain were about as clear an example of a bipartisan, media-coopted “get out of our house” attack as we’ve probably ever seen.

Nonetheless, it’s time to get a bit upset with Herman here. Maybe it’s not all his fault, but the fact remains that he is the guy who sucked up all of the Tea Party energy and deterred others in business and from other nontraditional backgrounds who might have considered a run, and who might have been stronger contenders.

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At PJ Tatler, from Clarice Feldman — “It’s January 2012 and so far we’ve avoided the Climate Apocalypse.” Someone is hopefully keeping a list of all of these cataclysmic globaloney-related predictions which don’t come true.

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I’ll have to disagree with John Lott in his assessment of the Obama administration’s insistence that home mortgage approvals be based on ethnic and other criteria not related to the ability to repay.

He says it shows that “Obama Has Learned Nothing From the Mortgage Meltdown Mess.” I say it shows that he’s seen how Cloward-Piven applied to mortgages has contributed to economic ruin, and wants to make it a permanent feature of the landscape. Yeah, that’s right, because his and his administration’s twisted view of “social (and other) justice” is more important than whether or not the economy prospers. At this point, that really shouldn’t even be a controversial contention (see energy policy, regulatory policy, “equal opportunity” policy, fiscal policy, etc.).

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Leftist “civility” update (HT Hot Air)

… liberal Fox News contributor Alan Colmes … called the Santorum family’s approach to grieving for their dead baby boy, who lived for only two hours after his birth in 1996, “crazy.”

In a Fox News interview on Monday, Colmes characterized Santorum’s decision to bring the deceased child home an example of “some of the crazy things he’s said and done.”

But in Iowa this afternoon, Santorum explained that it was important for his other children to “know they had a brother.”

Santorum’s wife, Karen, who was at the event and listened to her husband talk about the experience, began to weep.

The answer to the question “Has he no shame?” is “No.”

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The “Hillary for Veep” groundswell appears to be growing. Can’t wait to see the reax here if that happens.

Positivity: ‘Miracle’ crash survivor grateful for second chance

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:58 am

From Sudbury, Massachusetts:

Posted Dec 24, 2011 @ 01:24 AM

When the police and paramedics found her, Susanne Gilliam was curled up and unconscious, lying on top of the remains of her overturned car’s windshield and front passenger window.

“They believed I was dead,” the Sudbury resident said.

Five hours later, Gilliam would walk out of the hospital with little more than the lingering effects of a concussion and a few cuts and bruises. But in less noticeable ways, she was a profoundly changed person.
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About 140 Caucus Votes 9 Precincts Left In Iowa … (Update: Romney 30,015, Santorum 30,007)

Filed under: Activism,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:52 am

… if the Des Moines Register’s front page is right, and Rick Santorum is up by 4 votes.

Two Nine precincts remain (The Des Moines Register inexplicably dropped its precinct total from 1772 out of 1774 to 1765; those smelling a rat can chime in if they have something substantive).

Already, the insufferable spin is flying (both items from Tony Leys at the Des Moines Register), even though Mitt Romney is in second place, and can’t possibly claim any kind of positive advantage from these results, even if he ekes out a win:

  • Mitt Romney successfully played possum in Iowa …”
  • Romney savors success after running lean, targeted campaign” (yep, the kind of “success” we’ll see on November 6 if he’s the nominee — except that the other guys can cheat by enough to wipe out a 0.006545% “advantage”)

As John Hawkins wrote last week:

It’s actually amazing that Mitt Romney isn’t lapping the whole field by 50 points because he has every advantage. Mitt has been running for President longer than the other contenders. He has more money and a better organization than the other candidates. The party establishment and inside the beltway media are firmly in his corner. That’s why the other nominees have been absolutely savaged while Romney, like John McCain before him, has been allowed to skate through the primaries without receiving serious scrutiny.

As Michael Barone said in another context:

It’s like the old story about the advertising agency and the dog food which I wrote about last June. The best ads in the world won’t produce sales if the dogs won’t eat the dog food. “We have to pass the bill,” Nancy Pelosi said last year, “so that you can find out what is in it.” Well, we’ve had a year to find out, and the dogs still hate the dog food.

Adapt this for Romney, who based on his track record and inconsistency can only say: “You’ll have to nominate me so you can find out what kind of general election candidate I’ll be, and then find out what kind of president I’ll be when I’m giving you absolutely no credible idea.” (Hint to Republicans and conservatives: Please look at what he did in Massachusetts on taxes and social issues, and, thinking longer-term, look at the shape of the Massachusetts Republican Party, which is still in a shambles five years after Romney’s departure ended 16 years of Republican control of the Governor’s mansion.)

Republicans nationally have had five years of exposure to this guy, and 75% of them still aren’t comfortable voting for him.

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UPDATE: Daniel Horowitz at RedState — “Result of Iowa: They Didn’t Want Mitt in 2008; They Don’t Want Him Now”

UPDATE 2, 7:30 a.m.: Final results, apparently learned at 2:45 Central Time –

Romney – 30,015 (24.557%)
Santorum – 30,007 (24.551% — DMR rounded this down to 24.5%, I guess to show a Romney victory margin)
Paul – 26,219 (21.45%)
Gingrich – 16,251 (13.30%)
Perry – 12,604 (10.31%)
Bachmann – 6,073 (4.97%)
Huntsman – 745 (0.61%)
All Others – 310 (0.25%)

UPDATE 3: Interesting observation from someone who I believe was in the state on the Democratic side in 2008 –

The Iowa Caucus is incredibly easy to steal through voter fraud and other nefarious means. It is, by design, a chaotic and horribly organized affair with no ID checks for people attempting to vote. Very elderly people run most of the Caucus sites and most of the counting is done by hand, without a system in place to assure any sort of accuracy. Results are then called in verbally via telephone from the Caucus site to the “headquarters” that tallies the results. I have known of elections in junior high schools that were more secure and safe from both fraud and human error.

… which is why I’m not giving Mitt Romney a “W.”

Sadly (I’m open to correction on this), based on stories out of New Hampshire on the Democratic side from 2008, it was very easy to vote in New Hampshire’s primary if you were not a state resident. If that’s true in 2012 on the Republican side, guess who that helps?