Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Limits of Facts

I don't blog every day, which probably limits my audience. In particular, I don't generally blog about hyper-current events. When Obama issued his executive order on immigration last week, you can imagine that I might have had a serious problem with that - I did. But there were probably hundreds of pieces out there that felt the same way, and expressed it well. I write something only when I think I have something original to say. That explains why sometimes I will go a month without writing anything.

Today's media tsunami is about Ferguson. There is little, on either side, unexpressed. But let me add one thought to the noise.

Facts don't matter much anymore, at least to the progressive left. Perhaps they never did, but Ferguson really seals it.

I watched the Ferguson DA lay out the case (or lack of one). It was thorough, logical, and overwhelming. But the crowds outside weren't listening - they couldn't, since they weren't in front of TVs. But even if they had been, it wouldn't have mattered. Witness all the people around the country who took to the streets in the hours after. Presumably, many of them had been watching. No matter.

The real proof came yesterday, when social media lit up with outrage, and left-wing journalists goaded on the mob. 

Or how about this, in an email from the Episcopal Diocese of New York:

Join Faith leaders and community members at First Corinthian's Baptist Church as we grieve with the Brown family and at justice denied in Ferguson. Join us as we also recommit to changing the system that perpetuates these injustices.

What injustices? Did they watch the DAs presentation? Did they look at the evidence that was subsequently made public? Perhaps, perhaps not. It wouldn't have mattered, because facts that disturb the narrative are facts to be ignored.

There is an anarchist element within the left that is going mainstream. It was Occupy. It was the G8 protests. It was the climate march. Now, Ferguson. They move from opportunity to opportunity, with little coherent thread other than a tearing down of America's traditions and values.

That's why you can argue all you want, you can lay down the most bulletproof argument imaginable, you won't get anywhere. They can't be reached.

Facts don't matter.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Who You Calling Stupid, Gruber?

Jonathan Gruber, Liberal Man

By now, Jonathan Gruber's comments about the stupidity of the American voter are well publicized. (Oh, wait, except for two of the three major networks that decided not to report a word of the scandal.) 

But what I want to know is, who did he mean?

Every conservative in America knew the truth about all those things in Obamacare that Gruber said had to be obfuscated. Every conservative talk show host and every GOP lawmaker raised those issues and shouted them from the rooftop for months. And remember all those town hall meetings when Democrat congressmen were getting yelled at? That was conservatives doing the yelling. I remember well, since I was one (rest in peace, Congressman John Hall).

So who does that leave? Who did Gruber need to dupe?

His own people, of course. Liberals. More specifically, the media and Democrat lawmakers. Gruber, Obama & Co. knew this crowd was in their pocket, of course, but air cover was required. To secure every last Democrat vote, a rosy picture had to be painted, one that would be reliably passed on without any unpleasant questions being asked. (And certainly no one would bother to read the 2000 page bill!)

Not a single conservative supported Obamacare, and not a single Republican lawmaker voted for it. So don't call us stupid, Gruber, you incredible asshole. We got it. Your people didn't.

One more thing about this guy. I have to think, that when he was sitting on all those podia, that there was a little voice inside his head saying, Don't say those things out loud. It might be a bad idea.

But he just had to show everyone what a smartypants he was. Not only only am I responsible for this wonderful law, but I used my superior intellect to trick people into liking it.

This guy is the very embodiment of liberalism. We are really smart and know what's best for you, so, really, the ends justify any means we want to use.

At least MIT has fired this guy. Hahahahaha...just kidding.

P.S. Don't you love the fact this guy wrote a comic book allegedly explaining the law. Apparently, even the lies had to be dumbed down.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Failure of Diversity

I had an interesting conversation with a member of the admissions staff of a major university recently. I asked, had the university ever done an analysis of how well their students do, both while at college and after? After all, the admissions department makes many assumptions about what a successful freshman class should look like - are they good assumptions? How effective a job, in other words, was the admissions staff doing?

The short answer was no, they had never looked into it. More interestingly, it was clear it had never occurred to them. One would think, in a place like a university, filled with professors whose job it is to study things, that the first thing they would study would be, well, themselves.

One would think wrong. To my knowledge, no college or university has ever analyzed the success of their own students. In fact, it's the last thing they want to know. Which brings me to one of the principle reasons why: the pervasive cult of diversity, and its misunderstood effects.

If you talk to anyone on the board of a school at any level these days, you will hear about the staggering amount of time taken up at meetings about diversity efforts, often to the exclusion of other matters. Look at the literature the schools hand out; diversity is often featured before academics. But to what end? The theory behind diversity seems logical (and noble): students with differing backgrounds and perspectives come together and learn from each other, the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

But that's not how it goes down, not at all. The whole effort gets derailed by diversity's evil twin, multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism's key tenet holds that all cultures, other than America's, are equally valid and should be celebrated. Leaving aside the fact that this is ridiculous, that some cultures are horrific, in practice this view leads to Balkanization. If my culture is better than yours, why should I join yours? I'll keep mine, thank you, especially since you keep telling me how awful yours is.

All you have to do is walk into the dining hall at most schools to see the result: the black table, the Asian table, etc. Then there are the cultural clubs, the ethnic studies classes, and so on. What good is diversity if no one is actually talking to each other?

Diversity, to schools, is checking a bunch of ethnic boxes. The admissions office checks them, and then pats themselves on the back. A job well done. But what about what comes after? They won't look, because they know, on some level, it's not working. They are bringing the kids together but then promoting a poisonous ideology that drives them apart. The end result? Diversity likely hurts more than it helps. But, hey, we don't know exactly, because no one will study it!

I have children in two different schools, and they are an interesting contrast. One is in full throes of the diversity fetish. The result is drawn lines and a cynical student body. Last year, the student body president, a black lesbian, was removed, reluctantly, from her post for mocking white students. There is bad will all around. Many students believed that the school, in a desperate bid to have both their first female and first LGBT president, rigged the election. I seriously doubt this, but the mere fact the students think this way shows you how polarized things have become.

My other child's school is quite different. On the surface, it looks the same, a broad ethnic palette. The headmaster is black, but you won't hear the word diversity much. Instead, he speaks of "inclusion," as in, we want to include everyone in what we have here. The school has a very strong culture, and students are expected to join it, not to spend four years in some sort of parallel existence. No, they are not expected to throw their cultural identities overboard, but rather to bring them to the party. The students get in and buy in. The whole becomes greater than the parts.

It is noteworthy that this same headmaster says, "I am an American African," placing "American" - that thing that unites us - first. 

Unfortunately, most schools and universities resemble the first school far more than the second. They are diverse, but highly polarized. This means that assumptions about diversity's benefits are flawed, and that is something no one wants to hear.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Bad Were the Polls?

First, the Naked Dollar's report card. Our calls were:

+9 in the Senate 

Actual result: +9 (assuming Cassidy wins the LA runoff, which he will)

+11 in the House

Actual result: +14 with four more too close to call (all of which would be GOP pickups)

-1 Governorships

Actual result: +3

Regarding the governorships, holy cow. No one saw that coming, and in states like Massachusetts and Maryland, no less. And no one saw the GOP picking up 14 house seats (with the potential for 18). After netting 63 four years ago, their upside was limited.

A wave, indeed.

So, how bad were the polls? Pretty bad, as it turns out. I did a quick analysis, comparing the actual results with the RCP polling average in each race. The results are as follows...

The average poll in the Senate missed the mark by 5.5 points. Out of 36 races, the polls underestimated the GOP result in 24.

The average governor poll missed by 5.4 points. Out of 36 races, the polls underestimated the GOP results in 29.

Bottom line: the pollsters missed by a lot, and they systematically underestimated GOP turnout (or overestimated Democrat).

No, I don't think they were biased. Every election usually produces a bias, but there is no consistent direction. Poll is a science, but an inexact one. Heck, the polls for the Virginia Senate race were off by 10 points. The lesson here is that they are useful, but only to an extent.

Will Obama Pivot NOW?


Are you kidding? There's not a chance.

When most pundits predicted he would after the 2010 thumping, the Naked Dollar said no way. The man is a committed progressive, and it's just not in his DNA. More to the point, he doesn't understand conservatives because he's never been around any. His entire life, from Hawaii to Columbia, to Harvard, to Chicago, has been spent in a series of left wing echo chambers.

Bill Clinton, by contrast, came up through Arkansas, where little could get done without compromise with Republicans. He famously pivoted after the huge GOP win in 1994, and it saved his presidency.

No such thing will happen now. I will now tell you exactly what's going to happen: Obama will say that he needs to save us from the evil GOP, that they are the problem, and then he will embark on an unprecedented series of executive actions, possibly triggering a Constitutional crisis.

What does he have to lose? He's never running for anything again, and we've already established that he doesn't give a crap about collateral damage to his own party. He will blatantly dare the GOP to do anything about it. Under McConnell's leadership, they likely won't. the wounds from the Clinton impeachment overreach have not entirely healed.

Monday, November 3, 2014

National Pulse Index - the Final Chapter, Plus Predictions

For an explanation of this, click here.

The mood of the electorate shifted decidedly towards the GOP over the last week, with the caveat that Democrats had a slight parry at the end. Overall, there was a 81-point move in the GOP's favor since October 25th. That's a big move. Since Labor Day, it's been a 248-point move, a clear sign of a shifting national mood.

Stepping back, tomorrow's election is a home run for political junkies. I mean that in a non-partisan way. There are just so many close races at every level. We all know how close many of the senate races are: currently, there are eleven seats within 5 points. Unless there is systematic polling error favoring Republicans (i.e. the turnout models that pollsters use make poor assumptions about relative GOP/Democrat turnout), it's hard to see that they won't win the Senate.

My take:

Montana, Colorado, Arkansas, West Virginia, and South Dakota are over. That's five out of a needed six pickups.

Alaska, Iowa, and Louisiana are all but in the bag. Louisiana will require a runoff. that's eight.

North Carolina and New Hampshire are jump balls. My hunch is that it's a split. That's nine.

Georgia is looking like a hold, although will possibly require a runoff as well.

Kansas is a potential loss with incumbent Pat Roberts, a creature of the DC establishment, a hair behind, but catching up fast. I was going to predict a Roberts loss until his opponent, Greg Orman, said some stupid things about Kansas icon Bob Dole two days ago. Narrow hold.

My prediction: the GOP picks up 9 seats. Sounds high, I know, but it only requires the most modest nudge from current polling.

My prediction for the House is a GOP pickup of 11 seats.

But how about those gubernatorial races? There are fourteen races within five points. Of particular interest are Wisconsin and Kansas. In Wisconsin the labor-left is having yet another go at Scott Walker, who, if he loses, will not only be out of a job but won't have a shot at the presidency, either. Walker is a slight favorite to hang on.

In Kansas, Sam Brownback pushed through some significant tax cuts to catch up with more competitive neighboring states. The left wants him punished so no other governors will be tempted. Brownback is a slight underdog.

My prediction: Democrats pick up one Governor's seat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

National Pulse Index Update

It looked like the Democrats were trying to counterpunch until the last couple of days, when the Republicans have made a serious move, the biggest yet. My guess is that this is the last momentum swing before the election, putting the GOP in a strong position.

The GOP is now a net positive 289 polling points since May. Significantly, all of this has come since Labor Day, traditionally when the electorate starts to pay attention. In fact, Dems were actually slightly positive at Labor Day at +15, meaning that Republicans have picked up a remarkable 304 net polling points since.

Clearly, the Democrat playbook, one that hasn't changed much (war on women, etc.) in years, isn't working. There will be blood.

Scroll down a few posts if you want to understand this.

The Naked Dollar will make its predictions shortly.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What Republicans Should Do If They Win the Senate

Republicans are clearly favorites to retake the Senate. Based on current polling, they would pick up nine seats. It's time to start thinking about what an Republican-controlled Congress should do.

Those that have given it thought, and it's not many, seemed to either be focused on legislation that will make Obama look bad when he uses the veto (say, a strict border bill) or legislation that he actually might sign (e.g. piecemeal Obamacare fixes).

They are missing the bigger opportunity. There's a decent chance we will get a Republican president in two years. Why not pass a flurry of long-sought-after big ideas? Yes, Obama will veto all of them, but they will be "shovel ready" for a Republican president. All he (or she) has to do is pull them off the shelf and sign them. Imagine what a productive first 100 days it could be!

This sort of opportunity does not come around too often. I checked, and in the last 100 years, these circumstances have presented themselves only twice, for Warren Harding in 1921 and George Bush in 2000.

No one is talking about this. This could even become central to the Republican primary process - i.e., which bills would you sign? I only hope Boehner and McConnell don't completely spit the bit.
  So, what should Republicans pass? Here's my list:

(Starting with a big one)

1. An optional, alternative flat tax for all individuals and corporations of 20%, plus eliminate the estate tax. Optional so that all people who whine about losing, say, their mortgage deduction can still opt for the old, hideously complex system. However, when they see their neighbors filling out a post card and spending 5 minutes on their return and not paying an accountant thousands, they will quickly rearrange their lives to take advantage of the new system. The economic benefits would be breathtaking.

Here's the kicker: sunset the IRS in the same bill. Give it 5 years, by which point everyone will be expected to convert to the new system.

The Dems will howl about fairness, but everyone, of all political stripes, hates the IRS, and now we know it's corrupt, as well. There are no small fixes anymore. The only way to abolish it is to have a system that's so simple that you don't need a huge agency to oversee it. Roll responsibility for collections into some small Treasury division and call it something else. Five years also gives the 120,000 people who work at the IRS ample chance to find other work. Taxpayers will save the $11 billion it takes to run it (think of the irony of spending $11 billion in the name of collecting taxes).

This also solves the problem of crony capitalism, since the source of most of that is in the form of tax code exemptions. This angle will help sell the idea across the political spectrum. Also, wouldn't it be great to say, "Senator X voted to keep the IRS?"

2. Connie Mack's "Penny Plan." This requires the government to cut 1 penny out of every dollar until the budget is balanced. This might take 6 or 7 years. If Congress can't agree on where cuts should fall, then automatic, across the board cuts are mandated. Wonderfully simple and marketable. What household hasn't been forced to cut a penny in recent years? If we have to, the government should have to.
3. The regulatory state is out of control and has led to an unconstitutional shift in power to the executive branch. This must be stopped. Require all federal agencies to conduct a third party cost-benefit analysis on any proposed regulations. Any regulation exceeding a $100 million net cost to the economy would require explicit legislative approval.

4. Repeal and replace Obamacare. I won't write much about this one since it's well covered by others, but the "replace" part should include selling insurance across state lines and tort reform. As an aside, I get wild with anger when I hear Republicans like Susan Collins say things like, "we've moved passed" the idea of repealing Obamacare. Holy crap! If our Republican senators can't repeal a law that remains wildly unpopular, what in the hell can they do?

5. Approve Keystone. A no brainer - good for jobs, good for the economy, and a bonus: unions will like it.

6. Abolish Freddie and Fannie and all other government meddling in the housing market.
7. Dramatically increase the punishments/penalties for Medicare and disability fraud.
8. Make it legal for companies to hire interns under age 25 for specific, limited periods for no salary. (Not a huge one, but close to my heart.)

9. Get the Senate to pass the border bill that's already passed in the House.

10. Create an annual "Congressional Entrepreneurship Award." Who's creating the only jobs right now? Who's coming up with the new technologies that may be the only way we achieve enough growth to offset the $100 trillion in funded and unfunded liabilities we have? Entrepreneurs. And while politicians are constantly getting things named after them (for giving away other people's money), Hollywood types get a different awards show every week, journalists are feted with Pulitzers, academics with Nobels and a 100 other things, what kind of official recognition do entrepreneurs get? Nothing, and they take much bigger risks than anyone else as well. Guys like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos might be the most important people in the world right now in terms of their lasting impact. Or how about Elizabeth Holmes, who has created a way to dramatically reduce the cost of a blood test? The prevailing wisdom is that these accomplishments are somehow sullied by the attendant remuneration. That's an attitude that must be changed, and governmental recognition would help.

Bonus round: one thing NOT to do, which is screw in any way with the internet.

National Pulse Index Update

The latest polls show the wind at the backs of Republicans nationwide. This is significant, because, being up a net 176 point since I started looking at the numbers in May, it's arguable that they have less upside.

Still miles to go before anyone sleeps.

For an explanation of all this, click here.

Friday, September 26, 2014

National Pulse Index Update

Here's the latest. Marginal wind behind the Republicans' backs, but volatility has been decreasing. Calm before the storm?

See the last post for an explanation.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The National Pulse Index

Every two years, we here at the Naked Dollar trot out our proprietary political model called the National Pulse Index.The purpose of this index isn't so much to predict elections as it is to see which party, nationally, has the political momentum. who has been winning the news cycles. The model does this by aggregating polling changes in every available race, at every level. (For a complete explanation, see below.)

This is a daily graph going back to early May. (Sorry, I can't seem to make it show dates - curse you, Excel!) Lines going up mean the Republicans have momentum, down the Democrats. You can see that there's been a whisper of Dem momentum of late,and a couple of really big Republican moves earlier. Overall, Republicans are net +58 polling points since the start (although the graph looks like an oscillator, it is not.)

I will update this a few more times before election day so we can see which way the wind blows.


I used to run a quant hedge fund. What a quant does is take lots of data and make sense out of it. So, how to use this approach to capture the ebb and flow of an election cycle at the national level? Is the national mood swinging Democrat or Republican?

The approach I came up with four years ago is a simple metric, and the purpose is to use data - not the media or the water cooler - to track short term swings in political momentum. As it happens, it's a quick way to determine if the media narrative has any merit.

Essentially, the Index aggregates polls from everywhere, from presidential down to the House level. The idea is to pull in a huge and continuous sample, exploiting the wisdom of crowds. Specifically, the Index compares each new poll with the previous poll from the same race. The other day, for instance, Fox News reported that Terry Branstad, who's running for re-election as Governor of Iowa as a Republican, was up by 13 points. While this may seem like good news for Republicans, the previous Quinnipiac poll actually had him up by 23. I assign this a "minus 10" for the Republicans.

Each day, as new polls come out, they are compared to the previous polls from the same races. The numbers are added up to get a net score for the day. Then, I use a moving average of the last five days to smooth out the data. This gives us a very good picture as to which side has the momentum.

Allow me to make my case for why this works.

1. On any given day, this will capture the aggregate opinions of up to 20,000 people, whereas an individual poll (that might get one side or the other excited) can have as few as 300 people.

2. There really is a national "mood," and it really does matter which way it's moving. Opinions are infectious. It matters in Ohio what people are thinking in Alabama. They may not be perfectly in sync, but they do tend to move in the same direction at the same time. Thus, if Governor Jerry Brown just went from 20 points up to 30 points up, it doesn't mean anything for Brown - he's still going to win easily - but it does mean the mood in California is moving in a certain direction. This makes it likely the mood is moving in the same direction elsewhere.

3. Aren't some of these polls partisan and/or sloppy? Absolutely, but the Index takes them all, because the very next poll will likely net it out. Bad polls tend to get balanced out, in other words. To the extent that they don't, they probably have useful information, which is why one doesn't want to make judgments about which polls to use, and which not to.

4. What about the Generic Ballot polls, the ones where people are asked whether they intend to vote for a Republican or a Democrat? Don't those show the national pulse? Yes they do, but they don't come out every day, and they survey far fewer people (as few as 700).

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Growing Trend of Hate Crime Hoaxes

Perhaps it started way back with Tawana Brawley. When it was reported that "KKK" and "N*gger" were written on her body in human feces, I remember thinking that it just didn't sound right. Not that bad things, including hate crimes, don't happen, but this just sounded like a cliche, or someone's fantasy of a hate crime. And it was, of course. It was a 15-year old's attempt to get out of trouble for being late.

Later, motivations would change. Maybe a decade after Brawley, a black student at my very own high school, Milton Academy, had a nasty note thrust under his door. Lots of n-words, of course, and this: You don't belong here in our world. I remember thinking, people just don't speak like that, or even think like that, any more. This is a liberal Massachusetts prep school we're talking about. I smelled a hoax, and I suggested as much to the school. Of course, it was, but they didn't figure that out until after hand-wringing town halls and the involvement of the Massachusetts Attorney General.

Lately, the trend has accelerated. Just this month, someone posted "Whites Only" and "Coloreds" signs over water fountains at Sweet Briar College. They also made threatening phone calls, saying things like, "First Ferguson, now this!" The school president was prepared to come down hard, until it turned out that the perpetrator was black. Then it became a teachable moment about hate and bigotry, and perhaps we should we should even thank the young woman for raising our consciousnesses.

Last year, two students perpetrated a series of stunts at Oberlin, including flying Nazi flags and painting swastikas on classroom walls. The very liberal school was not-so-secretly excited to have perpetrators of right-wing hatred so palpably in their midst, and classes were abruptly cancelled for a "Day of Solidarity," during which everyone got to express their feelings. It turned out that the bandits were two Occupy types frustrated by the lack of anything evil and right-wing to rail against. Oops, this didn't fit the school's narrative at all.

The solution? The school president, who I am embarrassed to say is a college classmate of mine, tried to cover it up. He failed, and was fired. 

(Hahahahaha. That last part was a joke. He's still there, and probably got a big raise.)

There have been many other incidents. There was the (black) Columbia professor who hung a noose outside her office door to deflect attention from the fact the school was about to fire her. There was the University of Wyoming woman who posted fake rape threats to herself on Facebook and the two lesbians who spray-painted "Kill the Gays" on their garage door. There was the Central Connecticut State University woman who put fake, anti-gay hate messages to herself under her door, prompting an anti-hate rally at which, conveniently, she spoke. And who can forget the Duke lacrosse incident.

There are many, many more. Perhaps my favorite was at Vassar college last year when someone spray-painted things like, "F*ck N*ggers," and "Hey, Tranny, you know your place" on walls around campus. The offending writings were discovered by the college's Bias Incident Response Team. The ensuing investigation revealed that the incidents were actually committed by...wait for it...the Bias Incident Response Team.

It seems that we conservatives just aren't mean and hateful enough. There are college freshman out there who are in danger of not having properly raised consciousnesses, and if we're not going to play our part, the left will just have to do it for us.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The GOP Presidential Field Could Be Huge

Here are the names of all the Republicans that I hear are considering a run. Some are widely known, others might come as a bit of a surprise:

Ted Cruz
Rand Paul
Mitt Romney 
Chris Christie
Mike Pence
Scott Walker
Jeb Bush
Bobby Jindal
Rick Santorum
John Bolton
Rick Perry
Paul Ryan
John Kasich
Mike Huckabee

Did I miss anyone? Let me know.

This is a HUGE potential field, and it will coalesce into the establishment versus the conservatives. It will require some sorting out, but I am told the GOP learned its lessons from 2012 that nineteen debates is a horrible idea.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Romney Drumbeat Begins

Word has it, in certain circles, that, despite protestations to the contrary, Mitt Romney is definitely interested in a third run at the White House. Indeed, his surrogates are already floating the idea. Two weeks ago, Romney insider Emil Henry wrote a piece for Politico outlining how Romney could win. (Full disclosure: Emil is an old friend.)

The piece only addressed Romney's chances in the general election, however, not the primaries. But here, there may also be a strong case. You see, unlike 2012, there is a huge crop of principled conservatives that could potentially run. Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Jindal...these people terrify Wall Streeters and the country club crowd, not to mention most of the Washington Republican establishment. The moderates are desperate for an alternative, and that seems to have boiled down to three choices: Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, and Romney.

The problem is that Bush and Christie each has a lot of hair. Christie has Bridgegate and, perhaps more seriously, a festering scandal about the allocation of bond proceeds. And he's wicked fat.

Bush has family issues. His wife has been busted for smuggling luxury goods through customs and reportedly has substance abuse problems. His daughter has been to jail for crack use. And, let's face it, "Bush" isn't a strong brand right now.

This leaves Romney, ever the eagle scout.

The scenario is simple: the establishment rallies behind Romney while conservatives divide themselves between their guys. It could end up being an easy win, and, as I've outlined before, it would be a mistake. The GOP loses with moderates, and it wins with conservatives. Winning the presidency for the Republicans is a matter of turning out the base, not winning independents.

Is there is a compromise candidate out there, one who appeals enough to both sides? Scott Walker comes to mind, although he needs to get re-elected in Wisconsin first. He is also a tad bland. I admire the hell out of the guy, but he doesn't light up the room.  

Why not Kasich?

Another is John Kasich, governor of Ohio. I wonder why there hasn't been more talk about Kasich. There are twenty Republicans you can bet on for 2016 with the London bookmakers, including the likes of Susana Martinez and Dr. Ben Carson, but not the Governor of Ohio. In many ways, though, he is a dream candidate. 

Tall and presidential looking, exceedingly articulate, Kasich is the former Chair of the House Budget Committee - back when we actually ran a surplus. In Ohio, he turned an $8 billion dollar deficit into a $1.5 billion dollar surplus, all while lowering taxes. And did I mention he's from Ohio?

Kasich, like Walker, needs to get re-elected in the fall. But keep an eye out after.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Well, That Didn't Take Long - Here Comes Elizabeth Warren

As I said in my last post, the Democrat nomination process will be more interesting than everyone thinks. It is now being reported that Obama has reneged on his promise to the Clintons to support Hillary (in exchange for Bill's full-throated support in 2012), and that he is promising Elizabeth Warren the full support of the Obama machine. If Warren is enticed to say yes (the country needs you, I need you), 2016 will basically be a replay of 2008 with the two Democrat machines squaring off.

One can only imagine the depths of anger in Camp Clinton. They must be furiously hitting the phones, making sure their people stay in line, promising whatever. And what an unnerving time for party loyalists, the kind who are looking for ambassadorships. Where to place their chips? It was all so easy until now.

In my last post I speculated that the Clintons would reach out to Warren and offer the Secretary of the Treasury post. C'mon, Elizabeth, you can spare our party a battle it doesn't need and get to be one of the most powerful people in the world at the same time...One can hear Bill laying on the sales job with his unctuous charm.

It wouldn't surprise me if that call was being made today.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Election 2016: Early Democrat Handicapping

Hilary's a shoe-in, right? 


I have been saying for a while that Hillary is vulnerable, but now that seems to be a more widely held notion. To be blunt, she is not her husband. She possesses none of his personal charm or on-the-fly political instincts, nor is she as facile a liar. She makes things up to establish empathy with her audience that stand zero chance of holding up to scrutiny (Bill does this too, but his fabrications are always harder to disprove). 

Remember when Hillary claimed she had to duck beneath sniper fire in Bosnia? Or how about when she claimed, at the time she was running for the Senate from New York, that she was a life-long Yankee fan? Suuuure, a feminist who grew up in Chicago and went to college in Massachusetts and then lived in Arkansas was secretly following the Bombers every move. 

So, here's quiz question: When you're running for office and someone hands you a hat from the hometown team, what do you do? You freakin' put it on! Anyone knows that. When someone handed Hillary a Yankee hat at a press conference, she held it out to the side like it was toxic. Probably didn't want to mess with her helmet hair.

She is stilted, and more than that, thin-skinned. We saw that in a recent interview with more-than-friendly reporters. On top of all this, there are legitimate questions about her health. 

In sum, she is a highly flawed candidate, but making things worse, for her, is that Democrats love finding the hot new thing. In fact, it is being reported that the Obama machine is quietly trying to lay the groundwork for another Obama, likely Elizabeth Warren. It's no secret, particularly after the publication of Ed Klein's Blood Feud, that Obama doesn't care for the Clintons (and vice verse).

No, Hillary will not be coronated, not unless the Clinton machine finds a way to buy off all potential challengers. (Since there aren't many - the Dems have a weak bench - this is a possibility. They might dangle Secretary of the Treasury in front of Warren).

What do the betting markets say?

                                Odds of Winning Nomination

Hillary Clinton                              61%
Elizabeth Warren                          7%
Joe Biden                                      7%
Andrew Cuomo                             4%
Deval Patrick                                2%
Rahm Emanuel                             2%
Deval Patrick                                2%
Martin O'Malley                            2%

(Note: this doesn't add up to 100% as there are many others at 1% or less.)

The following are buy, sell, and hold recommendations relative to each person's current odds.

First, holy cow, Hillary's only at 61%? Wouldn't you have guessed about 85? Seems like the markets are as skeptical as I am. I was all ready to rate Hill as a strong sell, but at 61, I'll call her a hold. Let's remember she will have more money than Croesus to play with, and many favors owed to her and Bill.

Elizabeth Warren at 7% is the new darling of the far left. She doesn't just say she hates Wall Street, she really does. Compare this to Hillary who has collected over $3 million from Goldman Sachs in the form of contribution, speaking fees, etc. Warren, like Hillary, also gives the Dems a shot at another "first," as in the first woman president. Strong buy.

Joe Biden...seriously? Strong sell.

Andrew Cuomo has tacked hard to the left in New York lately, striking a deal with Bill De Blasio and the SEIU (a hard left labor union). This either means he is worried about being re-elected this fall or he's tidying up his bone fides with the left, nationally, signalling a presidential run. Personally, I don't see any incipient "draft Cuomo" movement out there, and I don't think he would play well at all on a national stage. Strong sell.

Deval Patrick didn't particularly shine as Governor of Massachusetts, but there are close ties to Obama and he gives a good speech. At 2% Patrick is a buy.

Rahm Emanuel: see Joe Biden. Strong sell.

Martin O'Malley, the Governor of Maryland, is popular on the left and has been quietly working hard beyond Maryland's borders. Could be a sleeper. Buy.

I'll throw one more in the mix. My college classmate, Amy Klobuchar, the Senior senator from Minnesota, is another interesting sleeper, and currently trading at less that 1%. She checks all the boxes for liberals but has appeal to the middle as well. She comes across as genuine and nice, and enjoys high ratings in her home state. Only issue is that she might be too nice to take on the Clinton machine. Still, at less than 1%, she's a strong buy.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Obama and the Death of Honest Journalism

Not even the left tries too hard to argue that the mainstream media is ideologically impartial, not anymore. That reporters are overwhelmingly liberal is nothing new, of course. They vote that way and they cover news that way. Even Harvard, studying coverage of the 2008 election, was forced to conclude there was considerable bias in favor of Obama. (How it must have pained them to reach that conclusion.) 

But the problem is reaching farcical proportions.

Sure, there's Fox News and talk radio, but they mostly preach to their own choirs. They don't have the ability to create what one observer calls the "drumbeat." Without the drumbeat, scandals soon whither and die. More on that in a moment.

What most don't realize is that media bias is most pernicious in what they don't report. Stories that don't advance their world view are simply ignored, or relegated to page A17. It's clever, really, because it's harder to be accused of malfeasance for something you didn't do.

Which brings us to the Obama administration and its incestuous relationship with the Fourth Estate. There certainly has been lots to write about. In fact, sometimes it's hard to keep track of all the scandals surrounding this White House. Here's a list that is by no means complete, and you'd be forgiven if you've forgotten some:

  • IRS used as a political tool and subsequent cover up
  • Benghazi and false story about an internet video
  • Spying on the AP
  • Spying on reporter James Rosen 
  • Fast and Furious
  • Obamacare roll-out
  • HHS Secretary Sebelius soliciting money from companies HHS regulated
  • Eric Holder (likely) committing perjury in front of Congress (see James Rosen, Fast and Furious)
  • GSA spending on wild parties and Vegas boondoggles
  • VA mismanagement and neglect of veterans
  • Opining on local criminal matters before they are settled (Robert Gates, Treyvon Martin)
  • Solyndra
  • EPA chief Lisa Jackson using a fake email personality to avoid scrutiny
  • Violation of War Powers Act invading Libya without Congressional advise and consent
  • Swapping al Qaeda thugs for U.S. deserter without Congressional advise and consent
  • Release of identity of CIA station chief in Kabul
  • Flood of illegal immigrants across southern boarder
  • Refusal by Justice Department to enforce laws it doesn't like
  • Use of executive orders to make law

I submit that maybe a third of these would have ended the presidency of a Republican. The media would have created the drumbeat. The New York Times would have found some angle to keep these stories on the front page until special prosecutors were hired and the presidential scalp was acquired. This is how the drumbeat works. Remember how the death of every single U.S. soldier in Afghanistan or Iraq was always the first item on the nightly news. It was relentless, and incredibly effective at driving down poll numbers for Bush. Arguably, the war fatigue that the coverage created got Obama elected. The drumbeat did its job.

But the absence of a drumbeat can be even more effective. Did you know that three times as many servicemen have been killed in Afghanistan under Obama as under Bush? Well, you wouldn't, would you, because it's never reported. No drumbeat.

Remember Valerie Plame? She was a mid-level CIA office worker at Langley. Her name was leaked and it was front page news for weeks. Most Americans learned her name. She and her husband were featured in a glamorous photo shoot in Vanity Fair. A total non-issue, but major drumbeat. Damage was done to the Bush white House.

Have you ever heard the name of the CIA station chief in Kabul? Now, there's a real spy, and that's a name that needs to be a secret, except that the White House leaked the name just last week. Haven't heard the story? That is exactly my point. No drumbeat.

Oh, when a story that breaks that liberal reporters find inconvenient, they will dutifully write about it, but one or two perfunctory efforts on A17 and they're good, and likely the angle is about Republican overreach and scandal-mongering.

The IRS scandal is a perfect example. The New York Times, and others, should be ashamed of the way they have handled this incredibly important story. Paul Wehner of Commentary sums it up perfectly:

Here’s a thought experiment. Assume during the George W. Bush administration the IRS had targeted, Planned Parenthood, the Center for American Progress, and a slew of other liberal groups. Assume, too, that no conservative groups were the subject of harassment and intimidation. And just for the fun of it, assume that press secretary Ari Fleischer had misled the press and the public by saying the scandal was confined to two rogue IRS agents in Cincinnati and that President Bush had declared that there was “not even a smidgen of corruption” that had occurred.

Let’s go a step further. Assume that the IRS Commissioner, in testifying before Congress, admitted that the emails of the person at the heart of the abuse of power scandal were gone, that the backup tapes have been erased and that her hard drive was destroyed. For good measure, assume that the person who was intimately involved in targeting liberal groups took the Fifth Amendment.

Given all this, boys and girls, do you think the elite media–the New York Times, Washington Post, The News Hour, and the news networks for ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN–would pay much attention to it?

Answer: They wouldn’t just cover the story; they would fixate on it. It would be a crazed obsession. Journalists up and down the Acela Corridor would be experiencing dangerously rapid pulse rates. The gleam in their eye and the spring in their step would be impossible to miss. You couldn’t escape the coverage even if you wanted to. The story would sear itself into your imagination.

Bingo, my friends.

Did you know that one of the articles of impeachment for Richard Nixon was his trying to use the IRS as a weapon against political enemies? The IRS wouldn't do it, but just the trying was deemed an impeachable offense; and damn straight it was.

But Obama didn't just try, he did it. We don't yet have a smoking gun, but that's because the IRS and the White House are in full cover-up/obstruction mode. This is where the media - the mainstream media - is supposed to get busy. Just yesterday we learned that the IRS violated the law by not reporting the "lost" emails to the National Archivist. Front page news, right? Not at the Times, but they did find room for their 1,498th story on gay rights so far this year.

This is despicable behavior, but worse, it's dangerous for our democracy. When a president - any president - is conditioned to believe that he can get away whatever he wants because the media will have his back, then he will keep pushing the envelope in every way. We see this happening as we speak.

Sorry, you must stop paying for this:

It is no longer acceptable for conservatives to subscribe to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, or any of the other apologists for a presidency that has left the rails. If you are subscribing just to "see what the other side thinks," I submit you couldn't avoid finding out what they think shy of holing up in a Unabomber shack for a few years. If you have to, go online so you don't have to pay. If you like the crosswords, I don't care. There are lots of crosswords out there.

We must stop feeding our enemies.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Left is Winning Because They Work Harder (at Politics)

Google "college liberal" and this is the first image that comes up. It's a popular one, so much so that it's become a "meme," like so...

(There are lots more, and they are pretty funny. And, yes, I know there's a typo in the meme above.)

Remember this person back in school? I'm sure you do. I'm not talking about the exact woman in the picture, of course, but people like her, wholly committed leftists, whose every waking moment is an expression of their political identity. From the food they eat, to the courses they take, to the protests they attend. Being a liberal, a.k.a. "progressive," is their first, second and third priority.

We conservatives are a different animal. College, at least for me, had healthy doses of studying, sports, beer, and girls. Politics, while important, was maybe fifth on the list. Libs, even if they were doing something on my list, like drinking beer or chasing girls, it was always in the context of their progessivism. Beer was consumed over animated discussions about Che or Paul Ehrlich. Girls were chased at consciousness-raising rallies about the issue de jour.

Above all, they were aggressive, loud, and in-your-face. If there was ever any push back, say from an administration that didn't think a shantytown in the middle of campus was a particularly good idea (unlikely, I know), the howl of outrage was so loud that there was rapid acquiescence.

We conservatives just couldn't compete with that, because, frankly, we just didn't have time with everything else on our plates. The result was that our views were never really heard, or worse, they symbolically and literally, shouted down like those of any conservative speaker who tries to be heard at a Northeastern campus.

None of this changes just because college ends. Progressives typically transition into teaching, media, and politics, all of which give them ideological leverage, platforms from which to propagate their views. Conservatives often go into business, which is great for the country, but leaves little scope for political activities or influence. Between families, jobs, perhaps charity work, who has time to spend on politics, let alone camp out in Zucotti Park, shouting slogans and handing out pamphlets.

And this is how our country is being lost to a tiny fraction of its most ideological. And I mean tiny. I would guess that we're talking about no more than two or three percent. But they work harder at it than we do, and they have positions of influence.

I wish I had an answer to this better than, "make time and get involved," but I don't. We will continue to lose as long as we are outworked and outshouted.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

De-Coding the Language of the Left

Do you bristle when you hear the word sustainable? How about diversity, or social justice? Do you get a nagging feeling about the word bullying? Can you say why? Can you articulate why these words bother you, or do you just try to keep your mouth shut? Maybe there's something wrong with you...

Take sustainable. Nothing wrong with that, right? We take the word to be an absolute good. After all, it's hard to argue that conserving resources is a bad idea, all other things being equal.

Ah, but there's the rub, all other things aren't equal. The environmental left doesn't believe in cost/benefit analyses, so "sustainability" has come to mean whatever the Greens want it to mean.  Simply attaching the word to other words conveys its essential goodness to anything. Sustainable practices. If one had to define the word now, its real meaning is, "this is something of which we environmentalists approve."

Conversely, if something's deemed not sustainable, it conveys disapproval. Google "Keystone Pipeline not sustainable," and you will get 642,000 hits. But you, good rationalist, say, "Wait, I think more natural gas is a good thing, both for the environment and for our economy." Sorry, you are now anti-sustainability, and since we know, without having to discuss it any further, that this is a good thing, you are ipso facto morally and logically tainted. Excuse us, while we dismiss your viewpoint without having to, well, think it through at all.

That's the way it works these days. The left, unable to marshal anything beyond emotive arguments, finds it simpler to shut down opposing viewpoints than to engage with them. Co-opting language is part of this strategy.

Let's look at some other examples:


This one has been a very effective lexical weapon for the left. How can one oppose diversity, at least beyond a personal thought bubble? Say something like that to your kid's principal and see the horror in his (her!) face. Because really, it should be a good thing. It should mean the bringing together of disparate people of disparate views and ideas, who then challenge each other with reason and intellect to make something greater. Except it doesn't. The kind of diversity that matters most - the intellectual kind - is the one shunned by very purveyors of the word. What diversity really means is that progressive viewpoints will be welcome from people of all races (but not quite as much from whites and Asians).


I was once hazed by a fraternity; it was fun, and helped me bond with my fellow initiates. Having said this, there certainly are hazing rituals out there that I'd be just as happy pass on. Yes, hazing can go too far, but so can the reaction of schools and parents. Hazing has now become a catch-all phrase that means something we school administers disapprove of, particular if it involves a team or a fraternity. It's a useful cudgel for the scolds to go after institutions they profoundly dislike, particularly as those institutions scrape out an existence outside the progressive bubble of academia. Last year, the president of Bowdoin suspended the entire tennis team for the year because the seniors jokingly made a couple of the freshman eat a goldfish, something that was practically a national sport in the on 50s campuses. Look it up.


Apparently, our country is suffering an epidemic of bullying. The Anti-Defamation League defines bullying as "repetitive and aggressive behavior while exploiting a power differential in size, age, or numbers." Sounds about right. But lots of other stuff is bullying now. Disagreement on the playground? Bullying. Someone gets left out of a social circle? Bullying. A girl's basketball team wins by 70 points? Bullying. So, the statistics soar, and administrators get another tool for control, and another excuse to hire more staff to deal with the problem.


I think we all know what the word is supposed to mean: if you tolerate something, you may not like it at all, but you will not actively oppose it. You quietly accept it. But now, notably within the gay rights movement, its real meaning is appreciate, or even celebrate, as in, you will actively celebrate our lifestyle. Or else. (See: Brendan Eich, ex-CEO of Mozilla.) Recently, my kid's school had "Days of Dialogue," which featured work sessions in things like "Gender Expression and Sexuality." There's little doubt that the dialogue was mono-directional, pointed squarely at the pre-enlightened.

Social Justice

Again, how can anything with the word justice be a bad thing? And hey, throw social in there for good measure. I dare you to speak the words, "I am opposed to social justice." But just in case you're out of the loop and haven't been to an Al Sharpton rally lately, what it means is equality of outcome, and specifically the wholesale, coerced transfer of wealth from those who have it to those who don't. This can even be expressed on a global basis as an excuse to transfer wealth from the First World to the Third. Many view proposed UN climate regulations as just such a measure.

Can you think of the first word that liberals stole? It is the word liberal itself. Classically, a liberal was someone who believed in a limited state and embraced the rapid change that happens to societies and economies when the government stays out of the way. In Europe, it still has the definition (if only just). American liberals fight for an ever-growing state, one that locks in the vested interests of unions and big businesses. That is anti-change, which is...conservative!

Confused? It will only get worse.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Tea Party Is a Metaphor

Nothing, it seems, gets the media more in a lather than the idea of the Tea Party, so much so that they can't get their stories straight. One week, the Tea Party is dead, the next they are a potent force. That they are a force for evil goes without saying, of course.

The deposing of Eric Cantor is the latest happenstance that has apparently raised the Tea Party from the dead. What nobody seems to have noticed is that the Tea Party had nothing to do with Cantor's loss. Not in any literal sense, anyway. Understand there is no actual political party called the Tea Party. There is only a fairly motley collection of organizations such as the Tea Party Patriots that try to raise money for candidates. David Brat, the unknown professor who beat Cantor, had no financial support from any Tea Party organizations. Brat, in fact, spent all of $100,000. I'm guessing most of that was from friends and relatives.

What does exist, though, is a profoundly unhappy conservative base that isn't willing to give the Republican establishment too many more chances. This tension has existed for decades. It was once the Goldwater Republicans versus the Country Club Republicans. Later, it was Reagan Republicans versus Bush Republicans. Always, on the right, it has been about constitutional and limited government.

So, the "Tea Party" is simply what we call this faction now. If you are a limited government conservative, you are a Tea Partier, whether you sport a "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker or not. This is somewhat unfortunate, in a way, because once something has a name, it becomes easier to demonize - "Oh, you know all those Tea Baggers are racist, right?"

The interesting thing is that the Tea Party was (and is) one of the most truly spontaneous and widespread grass roots movements in our lifetimes. The big Washington rally a few years back was probably a thousand times larger than the entire "Occupy" movement. Many were getting involved in politics for the first time in their lives. To the media and the left, though, it is a toxic movement. Naturally, when the same sort of grass roots, political new-comers kind of movement got Barack Obama elected, it was hailed as the greatest thing to ever happen to our democracy.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Today's Idiocy

A friend of mine took this photo in his hotel room in California. So, let me see...they ship water from Iceland to LA so you can drink something that comes out of your bathroom spout for free, and somehow it's carbon neutral? As my friend says, it's more important to feel good about yourself than to actually know what you're talking about...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hide Your Children, It's the Kochs!

It's a Ko-ko-ko-ko-koch!

One wonders if the left ever suffers from a moment of self-reflection. Likely not, as the resulting cognitive migraines would make life unbearable. Much easier to surround yourself with people who agree with you, and try to silence those who don't.

Take the latest meme from the left, the "Koch brothers." Just keep repeating it, even if you don't know why. The left is angry because the Kochs have a lot of money, and they use it to fund things with which liberals don't agree. Harry Reid took to the Senate floor to label the Kochs "un-American." What at appalling precedent, that a sitting Senate leader would call out two citizens who have broken no laws and have done nothing worse than fund things in which they believe.

So, why no rebuke for George Soros? He spends billions on lovely things like drug legalization. Or how about Tom Steyer, who has spent $100 million fighting the Keystone pipeline? I could argue anyone into the ground about why the Keystone pipeline is a good thing, but that's not the point, is it? It's Steyer's money, and he can do what he wants with it. Alas, this right only seems to belong to billionaires on the left.

I happen to know David Koch. Not well, but well enough to know he is soft-spoken and incredibly generous with his money, funding many charities in education and health. But the fact that he's a nice person who gives billions to charity is hardly the point. He could be nasty and cheeseparing, and he'd still have the right to fund things he believes in. Right? Nod your head now.
The left has grown bolder when it comes to silencing speech it doesn't like, the latest example being the CEO of Mozilla, hounded out of office for once giving to a pro-traditional marriage group (at the same time Mr. Obama held the same view, no less). Students and faculty at Rutgers are trying to shut down a speech by Condoleeza Rice. Likely, they will resort to shouting if they don't get their way. When was the last time you heard about a liberal speaker shouted down by campus conservatives? Right, it's never happened.
I am reminded of the old joke, what's the definition of a Nazi? Answer: a conservative winning an argument. My friends on the left: the First Amendment isn't there to simply protect speech you like. Argue with us until you're blue in the face, but suppression of speech is a bad habit you need to break.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Election 2016: the Early Handicapping

Most readers of this blog know I was a big fan of Intrade, which set up publicly traded markets in current events, including political elections. As you may know, betting markets tend to have greater predictive accuracy than polling because people are more honest with their money than they are with an anonymous pollster calling at dinner time. I used data from Intrade to construct my electoral model, which had great success the last three elections.

Alas, Intrade's founder died within 100 feet of the summit of Mt. Everest, and there were some financial irregularities, so the site was shut down. It was a blow. Fortunately, I have found a substitute of sorts, Betfair. They don't have as many political markets, but at least we can have a peak at where the early money is for 2016.

First the Republicans...

Odds of Nomination

Jeb Bush                 18%
Marco Rubio          15%
Rand Paul               10%
Chris Christie           9%
Scott Walker            6%
Paul Ryan                5%
Ted Cruz                  5%
Bobby Jindal           4%
Mitt Romney           3%
Mike Huckabee       3%
Rick Perry               1%

There are markets on others, but this list probably includes all the serious possibilities.

This is both a more conservative group and a better-qualified group than last time. It's also wide open, which should make for fun. Some observations:

Note: my buy, sell, and hold recommendations are versus the current odds.

Jeb Bush: With the Christie sun setting over the George Washington Bridge, the establishment is desperately trying to draft Bush. Anyone but those Tea Partiers! He speaks Spanish, and he's from a big swing state, but really? Another Bush? Still, the establishment is not without power, and more Christie supporters will likely move over. Hold.

Marco Rubio also speaks Spanish and is from Florida, although short on experience. The base will think him squishy on immigration, but solid otherwise. Has impressed his Senate colleagues, to which I say, who cares? But the Tea Party already likes him and it might make him acceptable to the establishment. Marginal Buy.

Rand Paul is trying to craft a new alignment of social moderates and free market conservatives. Has his father's database and recently got a standing O at Berkeley. Great debater. Buy.

Chris Christie: We all know about Bridgegate, which was blown out of proportion. If it were only that, Christie might have survived. But now there are serious conflict of interest allegations around the Port Authority, and that may be too much. Further, the base will not forgive "the hug." My prediction: he doesn't even run. Sell.

Scott Walker may be the most mild-mannered stud on the planet. You might think you were talking to an accountant, but this guy stared down some vicious unions as well as a six-inch stack of death threats to win the day on labor reform. The results have been spectacular for Wisconsin. Great experience, plus being from a left-leaning, but possibly-in-play state make, plus appeal to establishment and Tea Partiers alike make Walker compelling. Needs to survive re-election, though, and needs to find some charisma. Strong Buy.

Paul Ryan did a credible job running for Veep, but he didn't really light anyone's fire, did he? Came across vaguely nebbish. Hard to see him finding his way in what looks to be a much tougher field than '12. Sell.

Ted Cruz is a formidable debater and a huge intellect. I have written here about meeting him a few months ago. The base loves him but the establishment thinks he's a dangerous loose cannon. But here's the thing, I don't think the base is going to give a crap what the consultants and Beltway Republicans have to say this time, because they've been burned too many times by people saying, "We have to nominate someone who can win," who then, of course, doesn't... Cruz does have a hang-dog look about him, and the media has somewhat succeeded in Palin-izing him. At 5%, though, he's a Marginal Buy.

Bobby Jindal: Great guy, great experience, but are we ever going to get over "The Speech?" Sell.

Mitt Romney: Hmm. I've heard some establishment guys lately talking about how it's possible to "re-invent" yourself as a politician and come back to win the White House. Think Nixon. Well, maybe, but I don't see it in a potentially much-tougher field than last time. Still, at 3%, Mitt's a Hold.

Mike Huckabee: not sure about Huck, but he's popular with the base, and will do well in Iowa. Unclear if he will run. Hold.

Rick Perry has done wonders in Texas, and his message is great. Still, some things you never recover from, and in Perry's case, it's forgetting the names of the three federal departments he'd eliminate during a debate. Hey, we've all had those moments, but this makes it too easy for the media to cast him as another dumb Texan. Sell.

The only person I couldn't find odds on that deserves serious consideration is John Kasich. Never dismiss a potential candidate from Ohio.

Next up: the Democrats. Is Hillary inevitable? Maybe, maybe not...