Posts Tagged ‘election’

A new podcast about the election! You bet!

We discuss:

  • Why pundits hate Nate Silver
  • Why issues don’t end up mattering
  • Ballot initiatives
  • What will happen if/when Obama wins
  • Our picks
[audio http://dl.dropbox.com/u/14175885/Podcast9.mp3]

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Ok, I know I’m not supposed to be cocky. And I am overall a rather pessimistic person, so I don’t even feel comfortable saying this, anyway. Plus, like everyone else, my political predictions frequently turn out to be wrong.

But, with Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan for VP, this election is now over. Obama will win, and fairly easily.

You may recall that in the past few weeks, there has been some uproar over Harry Reid’s claim that Romney paid zero taxes over the course of a decade.¬† It’s a claim that could be easily disproved by Romney releasing his taxes, but of course he seems loath to do that.

But now the conversation has changed. Forget the past, let’s look at the future. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which now becomes the Romney/Ryan budget plan, has some specific ideas for cutting taxes. In particular, it would slash corporate taxes to zero. For the one year of tax returns Romney has released, in 2010, Romney paid about 14% in taxes on his income. Under his new Romney/Ryan budget plan, that number would be… 0.82%. The reason? Nearly all of Romney’s income in that year comes from capital gains/dividends and the like.

This is unimaginably toxic. The political ads write themselves. Romney always had to fight against his image as a rich guy who just wants to cut taxes so that he becomes richer, while the middle class foots the bill. Now he picks a guy who has proposed to do exactly that.

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Oh, well. At least I filled out my absentee ballot for the Bonapartist/Vikings. Score one for the good guys, right? Right?

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Election night thoughts

You might have noticed that I’ve stayed quiet during the run up to the elections that were held today. Part of this is because I am still very busy with the paper I am writing (first draft is sitting on my adviser’s table). But the other reason is because I just don’t find them interesting. Pundits like to say that this is some referendum on Obama, but of course pundits say that, because it’s their job to make the trivial bullshit more important than it is. Like Yglesias points out, if you want to know what people think about Obama, instead of looking at the election between 3 people not named Obama in the 23rd district of New York, you could instead, you know, ask people what they think of Obama. Oh but wait, that answer has been clear for a long time: overall positive, not by as much as the early months of his presidency.

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Although the Iran protests seem to have slid into memory as far as our news media is concerned, they are still happening and the leadership situation is far from resolved.

One thing to keep in mind here is the difference in time that we perceive and time that actually passes. Revolutions sound fast, but they aren’t all that fast in terms of 24-hour news-cycles. The anti-shah protests of the original 1979 Iranian revolution began in late 1977 and continued for more than a year before the shah left power.

This all works to the existing regime’s advantage. One can hardly imagine a narrative arc that continues for that long without boredom setting in for media coverage, particularly when Iran cracks down on foreign media. All the green-wearing was a frenzy that burned brightly for a few days, only to disappear after a week.

Consider even longer-term “revolutions” that met strict crackdowns. The Prague Spring was 20 years too early; Tiananmen Square even more so. The moment of outrage matters less than what comes next.

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