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Nov 09 2012

Math keeps interfering with the Republican rationale

It’s like math has a liberal bias. One of the current common tropes from the people making excuses for Romney’s loss is that it was Hurricane Sandy’s fault: it broke Romney’s momentum, it gave an unfair advantage to the incumbent, it discouraged Republican voters.

Oops. Data!

No wonder they usually seek comfort in fantasy and lies. The truth hurts.

99 comments

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  1. 1
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    That god damned reality. Always getting in the way of what I want.

    Signed, Karl Rove.

  2. 2
    skeptifem

    Even if it were true I don’t see why it would matter. The storm is a legitimate issue for voters to worry about because you can’t predict when the next natural disaster will be, and romney snarked about global warming at the RNC. He fucked up on something people care about.

  3. 3
    xmnr

    Yeah, it kept the republicans away from the polls in those traditionally deep-red states of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.

  4. 4
    jamessweet

    Yup. Sandy probably widened Obama’s lead in the popular vote by a little bit — not by a tremendous amount, but probably a little. It had no effect on the electoral college.

    Because you know… there’s no way Obama would have carried New York or New Jersey otherwise. (eyeroll)

  5. 5
    Tapetum, Raddled Harridan

    Most of the republicans I know where gleefully predicting that Sandy was going to help Romney, so they end up arguing with reality no matter which way it cuts. I also love how Sandy helping Romney was just fine, but boosting Obama would be unfair.

  6. 6
    Kees

    The start of the downward slope in the middle of September in Romneys ratings seem to coincide with the 47% remark. What caused the sudden rise at the start of October and the big downswing at the halfway mark of that month?

  7. 7
    Vicki, duly vaccinated tool of the feminist conspiracy

    If it was just turnout, Sandy might have helped Romney in New York, since it did a lot of damage here in New York City (heavily Democratic) and little or none in the Republican areas upstate.

  8. 8
    robro

    So, Nate Silver. That’s a sharp change at the beginning of October and again at the middle of October. I don’t remember the details well enough to correlate that to specific events. Debates? Benghazi? Economic stuff?

  9. 9
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    What caused the sudden rise at the start of October and the big downswing at the halfway mark of that month?

    The first debate – that Obama whiffed badly – was on October 3.

  10. 10
    Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    And, FWIW, the Veep debate was the 11th and the second Presidential debate was the 16th.

  11. 11
    JJ831

    Reminds me of this recent XKCD:
    http://xkcd.com/1131/

  12. 12
    Larry

    Reminds me of the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy was reciting the awful stats for Charlie Brown’s baseball team. Charlie finally has enough and says to Lucy: Tell your statistics to shut up.

  13. 13
    Traveler

    I love how the losing team can perceive a natural weather event as unfair, while going to war in time for the 2004 elections was unavoidably necessary. Hmm…

  14. 14
    nowimnothing

    @robro Romney got a temporary bump from undecided voters based on their first real look at him at the first debate. Silver correctly pointed out at the time that these kinds of bumps tend to fade quickly and return to the previous long term trends. Coincidentally the election happened right as it got back to its previous trend line.

  15. 15
    grumpypathdoc

    Rev. BigDumbChimp@#1

    You obviously heard about Rove’s melt-down an Faux News when they called Ohio for Obama!

    Science and math don’t lie, only humans have the ability to twist things the way they want it. Observational bias? I don’t think so. Psychological bias (psychopathic?) bias on the part of the Rethuglicans, you betcha. Delusional state, quite possible. Look at what Allen West is doing Florida.

  16. 16
    nooneinparticular

    The money quote from a Faux News talking head; “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is this real?”

    Sometimes, when they are stressed and aren’t looking at their teleprompters, political hacks let the truth slip out.

    Jon Stewart noted the mudslide on bullshit mountain

  17. 17
    raven

    excuses for Romney’s loss is that it was Hurricane Sandy’s fault..

    Sandy was god’s doing then. God sent that storm to NYC because it is full of you know, gay people.

    God is in charge and everything happens for a reason.

  18. 18
    naturalcynic

    Rove melt-down number one was denying the numbers for the Ohio vote. Even better was Rove melt-down number 2: Dems suppressed the Republican vote by [unfairly] criticizing Rmoney.

  19. 19
    David Marjanović

    I do see a kink in the line at the point where Sandy makes landfall. (Whether it’s statistically significant is a different question.) Sandy being named coincides with a very small jump in the opposite direction, however.

  20. 20
    Fred Sanford

    Wouldn’t that then mean that Mythgod hates Republicans? We already know the “gay shield” worked in the French Quarter.

  21. 21
    Zugswang

    So, Nate Silver. That’s a sharp change at the beginning of October and again at the middle of October. I don’t remember the details well enough to correlate that to specific events. Debates? Benghazi? Economic stuff?

    The sharp dip for Obama happened on October 3, after his terrible debate performance. I don’t know what happened around October 13th (unless Romney’s foreign policy speech was more negatively impactful for him than I would have thought) to cause the sudden rebound, but the embarrassment Romney suffered in the second debate, combined with more Republicans turning into, and defending, rape apologists following Murdock’s comments on the 22nd or 23rd certainly put the final nails in the campaign’s coffin.

    I want to say that mid-October is when the political advertising really started pushing the “war on women” trope really hard, or maybe this date coincided with a national realization that Republicans view women as nothing more than ambulatory uterine life supports.

  22. 22
    Big Boppa

    I would like to see a line on that chart showing when the republican press started whining that the polls were unfair and biased toward the Dems. My gut told me then and I continue to believe that a large portion of the Romney bump had little to do with Obama’s performance in the first debate and much to do with the pollsters obediently skewing the numbers to make Fox News, et.al. stop picking on them.

  23. 23
    truthspeaker

    To paraphrase a Republican member of the House Science and Technology committee, mathematics are a lie straight from the pit of hell!

  24. 24
    intelligentdesigner

    All those people praying for Romney to win should be wondering if Hurricane Sandy was an act of God.

  25. 25
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Tapetum,

    Most of the republicans I know where gleefully predicting that Sandy was going to help Romney

    There was some reason to think it might.

    A senior adviser to President Obama said that the campaign doesn’t expect the storm to be a major issue. But according to a 2007 study published in the Journal of Politics, bad weather generally helps Republicans — better weather, the authors say, would have won Al Gore Florida in 2000. Another study, from 2004, found that “voters regularly punish governments for acts of God, including droughts, floods, and shark attacks.” [...]

    There could also be more subtle electoral effects. If Obama handles the crisis well, it would likely boost his image; if he handles it poorly, it could damage it. The president held a conference call Friday with emergency management officials, directing FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate towards preparations. The electoral impact of severe weather, one study finds, is dwarfed by the impact of officials’ response to that weather.

    That article claims both teams’ ground games were about equally good, which is absolute bullshit, but they correctly point out that the Democrats rely more on their ground game. (Whether the Republicans should rely more on their ground game is another matter.) So, bad weather in the last days before the election would impact voter turnout.

    Had Sandy arrived a few days later, it might still have been raining in Virginia and Ohio all weekend and on election day. Rain on election day in swing states is bad news for the Democrats, because it makes people less likely to vote.

    But I haven’t yet read those studies linked above, and I don’t know if the expected reduction in voter turnout would be big enough to have turned this election, or even if it is well quantified.

    +++++
    As for Romney’s “momentum”, though, it was already over.

    +++++
    grumpypathdoc,

    (psychopathic?) bias

    What a fucking stupid thing to say.

  26. 26
    Reginald Selkirk

    It’s like math has a liberal bias.

    Yes. conservatives are put off by all the integration.

  27. 27
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Zugswang,

    The sharp dip for Obama happened on October 3, after his terrible debate performance. I don’t know what happened around October 13th (unless Romney’s foreign policy speech was more negatively impactful for him than I would have thought) to cause the sudden rebound

    There doesn’t really need to be an event. However bad the effect of the debate is, it would be just so bad and no worse. Eventually the polls would stop registering a downward shift resulting from the debate, and Romney would have to keep on performing relatively well, not necessarily in debates but in some way or another, to keep on gaining ground.

    Obama had many structural advantages and a better voter targeting effort, so on an average boring day, he was favored to win.

    +++++
    Big Boppa,

    My gut told me then and I continue to believe that a large portion of the Romney bump had little to do with Obama’s performance in the first debate and much to do with the pollsters obediently skewing the numbers to make Fox News, et.al. stop picking on them.

    Only Scott Rasmussen would likely do that, so ignore your gut.

    It was expected for Romney to get a bump after the first debate.

  28. 28
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Nutted By Reality

  29. 29
    deniseroyer

    wait, wait, wait a gosh darned minute! If Sandy was from some deity annoyed about homosexuality and Sandy disrupted the vote enough to put President Obama back in… does that mean conservatives are in the closet?

    Once again, I think I’ll stick with the data. It doesn’t hurt my head.

  30. 30
    anubisprime

    OP

    “Math keeps interfering with the Republican rationale”

    Seems what is actually interfering with the Republican rationale is, in fact, the Republican rationale!…who would have thought it?

  31. 31
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Hurricane Sandy . . . broke Romney’s momentum, it gave an unfair advantage to the incumbent, it discouraged Republican voters.

    This is already enshrined in the Conservative Pantheon of Eternal Truths. Other ones in there are The Obama Administration is the Most Corrupt Ever! (WARNING — WND LINK); Obama caused the recession ! (WARNING — RUSH LIMBAUGH LINK); Obama won in 2008 and 2012 via voter fraud ! (WARNING — RIGHT WING CONSPIRACY SITE). To many conservatives, there is nothing controversial about these ideas. The mainstream media doesn’t cover the story? The mainstream media are all liberal commie nazi Obama lovers! There is no evidence to support the theory? That just shows how devilishly clever these liberal commie nazi Obama lovers are — the conspiracy is That Deep!

    “Romney Lost Because of the Hurricane” will be another of those right-wing lies that gets repeated long enough that most of the US will accept it as truth. How long has the lie about Gore and the internet been around? Or Roosevelt letting the Pearl Harbor attack happen? Or that Carter caused the stagflation of the late 1970s? Once these lies enter the right-wing liarsphere, they never leave.

  32. 32
    consciousness razor

    Why do they even care? It’s not like you get a consolation prize for having your part of the graph curve up at the end. You have to actually win.

    Obama had many structural advantages and a better voter targeting effort, so on an average boring day, he was favored to win.

    Also notice that he was favored to win (if we’re relying on Silver’s forecast) since at least June. Probably much earlier. It’s not a huge lead, but at every point in that graph, Obama consistently has it. That’s a good sign.

    But when your predictions are themselves a form of propaganda, math and other such “facts” may as well go out the window. You could rattle off a few numbers now and then to give your stories a touch of realism, but I guess that’s really just a stylistic decision. Either way, it’s not going to help.

  33. 33
    hillaryrettig

    Had Romney won it would have been held out as a testament to his awesome managerial prowess.

    Now that he’s lost, it’s everyone else’s fault but his own.

    Your Modern Day GOP: can’t even steal an election competently.

    PS this -

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/11/08/shorter-romney-to-campaign-aides-cabs-are-for-closers/

    “From the moment Mitt Romney stepped off stage Tuesday night, having just delivered a brief concession speech he wrote only that evening, the massive infrastructure surrounding his campaign quickly began to disassemble itself. Aides taking cabs home late that night got rude awakenings when they found the credit cards linked to the campaign no longer worked.”

    What a gracious dude. Of course, those underpaid (mostly young) staff who worked their hearts out 24/7 also failed him, so the hell with them.

  34. 34
    Big Boppa

    Strange gods before me:

    Only Scott Rasmussen would likely do that, so ignore your gut.

    Oh, really? Check out the performance of Gallup, Susquehanna, Soffolk, Mason-Dixon and Foster-McCollom. It was their (along with Rasmussen’s) favorable numbers for the repubs that Fox relied heavily upon to support their claim that the repubs were going to win big.

  35. 35
    dianne

    I still think the voter suppression laws were a major tactical error. They reminded people that their right to vote is always at risk and made them more eager to exercise it.

  36. 36
    Amphiox

    The only thing Sandy did of measurable impact was to reduce Obama’s margin of victory in the national popular vote by about 800 000, by reducing turnout in highly populous and very blue states like New York and New Jersey.

    Without Sandy, Obama’s victory would have been a landslide of historic proportions, almost as big as his win in 2008, instead of a Electoral College decisive victory with a relatively close popular vote, which has been the more or less standard pattern for Presidential races in most years.

  37. 37
    Amphiox

    Oh, really? Check out the performance of Gallup, Susquehanna, Soffolk, Mason-Dixon and Foster-McCollom.

    In the spirit of never assuming malignancy where incompetence would suffice, I suspect the inaccurately pro-Romney results of Gallup reflect not some deliberate kow-towing to Fox or whatnot, but some inherent unrecognized bias in Gallup’s polling technique (most likely culprit being their “likely voter” model).

    It should be noted that Rasmussen and Gallup rank among the very worst of the worst of all the polling firms this election, and Fox News’ own polling little better.

    And that supposed bastion of liberal bias, MSNBC, had their polls come out the best of all the major networks, and sixth best overall.

  38. 38
    Amphiox

    I still think the voter suppression laws were a major tactical error.

    The list of major tactical errors the Republicans made this time around is extensive, and voter suppression proved to be but one.

    But that’s what you get when you insist on divorcing your perceived ideas from the test of objective reality.

  39. 39
    laurentweppe

    There could also be more subtle electoral effects. If Obama handles the crisis well, it would likely boost his image; if he handles it poorly, it could damage it

    What? Are you implying that being competent increases one’s chance at reelection? This goes against the collective wisdom of the Most Serious & Erudite Caste of the Pundits. How dare you doubt their supreme expertise in pontification?

  40. 40
    Christoph Burschka

    It did help Obama – his competent response to it caused him to gain even more momentum and turned a very likely victory into a certainty.

    The earlier FEMA stuff coming back to bite Romney was another factor.

    It’s indeed so unfair to the GOP that a hurricane happened to strike during hurricane season after their candidate got on record about cutting federal disaster response and dismissing climate change.

  41. 41
    anubisprime

    Statistically it seems Mittens did only slightly better then
    Kerry in 2004 with regards to the electoral vote tally!

    Kerry’s deficit was 35 whereas Mittens managed a deficit of 33!

    Not sure if it is relevant but was not Bush more popular going into the election then Obama’s rating that was being touted?

    Just thinking that given the global financial meltdown, the war that has grown weary, and the Right wing emergence of a rich and powerful virulent and toxic ‘tea party’ and the oodles of dollars spent by the Mittens campaign team against a debatably weakened sitting president, and a ostensibly black one at that, the Republicans were actually thrashed.
    All the Palin ya b’etch’s and macho rhetoric all the praying and public exhorting of the jeebus legions, gave them just 33 extra Electoral votes over 2008 still far short.

    Given the social climate & general SNAFU of things economic…that is extremely poor…it might be a genuine reaction to Mittens personality or maybe it seems the Republicans have a real problem, they seem to be unelectable.

  42. 42
    Parse

    I find it exceedingly unlikely that math has a liberal bias.

    It was in math, that I encountered my first radical.
    It was in math, that I encountered my first irrational thing.
    It was in math, that I encountered my most dividing moments.
    It was in math, that I encountered the most negative values.

    Why aren’t Republicans falling all over themselves to support math? It seems like they’d fit right in.

    (It was also in math, that I first learned of my poor pun-related impulse control).

  43. 43
    feralboy12

    It should also be noted that Obama’s uptick seems to coincide with the beginning of the new season of The Walking Dead, during which Obama ran ads and Romney didn’t (from what I saw in my state, anyway).
    Obviously voters were forced to imagine each candidate’s response to the threat of a zombie apocalypse. They chose wisely.

  44. 44
    strange gods before me ॐ

    Oh, really? Check out the performance of Gallup, Susquehanna, Soffolk, Mason-Dixon and Foster-McCollom. It was their (along with Rasmussen’s) favorable numbers for the repubs that Fox relied heavily upon to support their claim that the repubs were going to win big.

    I was only joking that Rasmussen would change his poll results just to avoid being attacked by the right wing. I don’t believe he would, or that any of them would.

    Some polls do skew right, of course, and Rasmussen’s is one. And he is also a partisan hack. I don’t see any case for saying the same of these others that you’ve listed. (Agreeing with Amphiox at #37.)

    And of course those among the right wing who genuinely prefer wishful thinking — as well as those who understand that if the polls get really bad then it’s important to lie about them just to keep your side motivated enough to show up — will focus on those polls which skew right.

    But that doesn’t mean those pollsters are deliberately giving Romney a post-debate bump, and indeed you’ve shown no evidence that they might have been.

  45. 45
    DLC

    The GOP has not yet and may never realize that it was their message that the majority rejected. It was not Mitt Romney, but the far -right verbiage they poured forth. It was not Todd Akin, but the far-right blather that belched from his mouth. It was not Paul Ryan, but the outright reality-denying Randian bullshit he spewed that turned people away from them. The majority of the people are not interested in what they’re selling. The Republicans need to change their positions on issues or they will find themselves going the way of the Whigs, and Anti-Masons.

    (N.B: of course, those people listed above would not be who they are without their lunatic fringe opinions. They’re all reality-deniers in one form or another.)

  46. 46
    Nick Gotts

    My gut told me then and I continue to believe – Big Boppa

    Compare and contrast with:

    I try not to think with my gut – Carl Sagan

    Also compare and contrast: the numerous right-wing pundits trusting their gut when it told them Romney would win, and Nate silver.

  47. 47
    Randomfactor

    and shark attacks.”

    “We’re gonna need a bigger vote…”

  48. 48
    johnlee

    I’m slightly surprised that the Lord wasn’t more explicit in this case. I’ve been told by a very reliable source that the floods in Australia a couple of years ago were caused by the Australian government having a tolerant attitude to homosexuals. I would have thought that he would wait until after the election result to show his wrath. Oh! wait a minute! He’s omniscient and didn’t need to wait for the result! He knew the voters were going for Obama before the election! He IS smart!
    Can’t say the same for his political party, though.

  49. 49
    mikeyb

    I think “shellshocked” Romney and the right wing pundocracy was thinking we were living with the electorate of 1980 instead of 2012. By my calculations, if we had the 88% White electorate of 1980 with his ~59 -39% spread of the White vote, he would have won by an even larger landslide than Reagan, by my calculations ~55 – 43% vs Reagan’s ~51-41%, because he had an even larger margin of the White vote – Reagan ~55 -36%. As far as I can tell, his campaign was pretty much identical to Reagan and W, but the demographics have shifted from underneath the GOP.
    Still don’t get it after all these years why the White working class perpetually votes against it own interest. The ol’ Nixon/Reagan trickle down, southern strategy with social crumbs to the religious right is starting to wear thin. But perhaps I’m over analyzing this.

  50. 50
  51. 51
    Andy, uncultured Brit

    anubisprime @41

    Statistically it seems Mittens did only slightly better then
    Kerry in 2004 with regards to the electoral vote tally!

    I think you might have meant something different here; Kerry got 251 electoral votes, while Romney got either 206 or 235, depending on how Florida ultimately goes.

  52. 52
    anubisprime

    Andy, uncultured Brit @51

    “I think you might have meant something different here”

    Yeah probably explained the point badly…

    In 2004

    Bush got….286
    Kerry got…251
    Margin of…35

    In 2008

    Obama got…365
    McCain……173
    Margin of…192

    In 2012

    Seems that

    Obama got…303
    Mittens…..206
    Margin of…97

    So in fact I was out there in just how badly Mittens managed…confusion will be my epitaph….

    This is a devastating result which ever way the Repub’s spin it.
    Because they made no real gain in electoral votes…which is what they presumably attempt to cultivate between elections.
    He was in fact far adrift of even Kerry’s margin.

    Given circumstances and the “tea party’ rhetoric in the media for the last 4 years, quite a shameful showing really!

  53. 53
    Jafafa Hots

    The GOP was predicting that the number of women, African-Americans, and young people voting would drop off from the record-setting levels of the 2008 election.

    Instead of dropping, new records were set.

    Clearly Sandy turned these disaffected “not going to show up” ex-voters into very engaged voters.

    Hurricanes. Amazing the power they have.

  54. 54
    sailor1031

    I think the rethugs are correct. Looking at the time between the naming of Sandy and Sandy coming ashore Romney’s downward momentum does level off for a few days. Then Sandy hits and Romney’s downward momentum starts again.

  55. 55
    peterh

    PZ,

    You start right in with “…the Republican rationale,” but I’m not convinced there is such an animal. Equivocation, now . . . . yeah, I could buy equivocation.

  56. 56
    robro

    raven

    Sandy was god’s doing then. God sent that storm to NYC because it is full of you know, gay people.

    God is in charge and everything happens for a reason.

    I thought God sent Sandy so Obama could demonstrate his leadership abilities, and thus win the election. God didn’t want Mitt to win because God really doesn’t like him. I know this because a little voice in my head kept saying, “Mitt’s a jerk. Mitt’s a jerk.” Over and over, endlessly. Either that or my tinnitus was acting up.

  57. 57
    Grue Convention

    Hey all. Long time lurker. I’ve only been brave enough to make a couple of comments.

    Two things:

    One, I have inadvertently used my real name as my username, and the system won’t let me change it. Any ideas on how to fix this?

    Two, and here’s the REAL ISSUE.

    ARIZONA’S ELECTION IS BEING STOLEN.

    I thought I’d let Pharyngulites in on this, since the lame stream media isn’t covering it.

    Around 600,000 ballots have not been counted in Arizona. Most are provisional ballots cast by Latinos. There are certainly enough ballots there to swing the vote for many offices in Arizona, including U.S. Senate. The mainstream media is not covering this. Moveon has a petition (http://signon.org/sign/count-every-vote-in-arizona?source=mo&id=57438-3928008-CvFI7vx), as does the AFL-CIO.

    Here’s a link to an Alternet article.

    http://www.alternet.org/speakeasy/jeffbiggers/breaking-arizona-outrage-over-unprecedented-provisional-ballot-mayhem-record

    I live in Arizona, and voted under a provisional ballot since I misplaced the envelope for my early ballot. I can virtually guarantee it has not been counted.

    Please sign the petitions, and pass this on!

  58. 58
    chigau (違う)

    Giana
    Just above the comment box you should see your ‘nym
    Logged in as Giana
    as a link.
    clicking it get you to a place where you can adjust your “profile”

  59. 59
    consciousness razor

    #57:

    One, I have inadvertently used my real name as my username, and the system won’t let me change it. Any ideas on how to fix this?

    While logged in, if you click on your username just above the commenting box, that link leads to your “Dashboard.” From there, click on “Profile,” then edit the “nickname” however you like and hit the “Update Profile” button on the bottom of the page.

  60. 60
    llewelly

    Amphiox | 9 November 2012 at 2:56 pm :

    Without Sandy, Obama’s victory would have been a landslide of historic proportions, almost as big as his win in 2008, instead of a Electoral College decisive victory with a relatively close popular vote, which has been the more or less standard pattern for Presidential races in most years.

    For historical perspective:

    1996: Clinton: 379 vs Dole: 159
    1992: Clinton: 370 vs H. W. Bush: 168
    1988: H. W. Bush: 426 vs Dukakis: 111
    1984: Reagan: 525 vs Mondale: 13
    1980: Reagan: 489 vs Carter: 49

    The only presidents in recent memory who won by smaller electoral college
    margins than Obama are Carter (1976) and W. Bush (2000 and 2004) .

    Obama’s victories had healthy margins, but they were hardly landslides. Since Sandy’s greatest effect was on blue states, it is not likely it moved the EC votes much, and 800,000 is only 0.65% of 121,366,971 . That would not have made “a landslide of historic proportions” .

  61. 61
    Grue Convention

    Thanks all. When I come up with a good nym, I’ll change it, possibly with my name in there somewhere so you know it’s me. I don’t know why the nickname thing didn’t work before, or how I screwed it up.

    Also, there is now some coverage of the ballot counting, but it’s still not as big a story as it should be due to the magnitude of the votes not being yet counted.

  62. 62
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Giana (or whatever your ‘nym turns out to be?):

    Petition signed.

    When I lived in Arizona, one of the white kids in my class made a comment about the Mexican immigrants coming into the state. One of the Hispanic kids looked at him and asked when his ancestors had come to the US. The white kid answered, “About 1850.” A very Irish kid.

    The Hispanic kid then said, “My family has been in Arizona since the 1750s. Who are you calling an immigrant?”

    Then one of the Navajo kids spoke up and the whole class (there were 16 of us in that fourth grade class) had a long and involved discussion about how our families came to be in North America and the US. I think our teacher scrapped the lesson plan and spent a couple of days discussing immigration, nationalism, nationality, ethnicity, and anthropology with us. One of the perks of being in a small school in the 1970s.

  63. 63
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    So… when are we going to just stop voting and rely on Nate Silver’s mathiness to decide elections?

  64. 64
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    But Audley, if there was no vote, Nate Silver would have nothing to actually predict which means we would never know if he was right. So Nate Silver does actually decide the election, but we still have to have the vote in order to confirm that his prediction was correct. The vote collapses the quantum wave created by Nate Silver.

  65. 65
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Of course, Oggie! Why didn’t I think of that?

  66. 66
    kreativekaos

    Once these lies enter the right-wing liarsphere, they never leave.
    — Ogvorbis @ 31

    Yes,.. the right-wing liarshpere is sort of like the event horizon of an ideological Black Hole: whatever goes in never comes out, not even truth.

  67. 67
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Of course, Oggie! Why didn’t I think of that?

    Wife and I both agree that parenthood destroys brain cells. Or, at the very least, some of the connections. For both mom and dad. Of course, for you, losing a few brain cells would just knock you down to fucking brilliant.

  68. 68
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Yes,.. the right-wing liarshpere is sort of like the event horizon of an ideological Black Hole: whatever goes in never comes out, not even truth.

    Well, the lies come out. At high speed. I guess that means that a liarchon is actually faster than light?

  69. 69
    kreativekaos

    A ‘liarcon’–love it.
    (Didn’t they detect one at the LHC?)

  70. 70
    kreativekaos

    (sorry, ‘liarchon’)

  71. 71
    kreativekaos

    Yep. the lies do come out,..the ideological equivalent of Hawking radiation,… but much deadlier.

  72. 72
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Oggie:

    Of course, for you, losing a few brain cells would just knock you down to fucking brilliant.

    *blushes!*

  73. 73
    Lynna, OM

    Republican rationale has, once again, come up with the idea that Texas should secede.

    Peter Morrison, who serves as treasurer of the Hardin County Republican Party, wrote in his post-election newsletter that there was a clear solution to the problem of Obama’s re-election.

    “We must contest every single inch of ground and delay the baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists at every opportunity,” Morrison wrote. “But in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity.”

    “Texas was once its own country, and many Texans already think in nationalist terms about their state. We need to do everything possible to encourage a long-term shift in thinking on this issue. Why should Vermont and Texas live under the same government? Let each go her own way in peace, sign a free trade agreement among the states and we can avoid this gut-wrenching spectacle every four years,” he wrote….

    That middle paragraph is especially enjoyable. We maggots really riled them up this time.

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/11/peter_morrison_texas_leave_us_obama.php

  74. 74
    strange gods before me ॐ

    [Crossposted from TET.]

    Nate Silver is a sucker on global warming:

    «Nate devotes far too much space to the highly questionable claims of a University of Pennsylvania marketing Professor named J. Scott Armstrong. Armstrong made a name for himself in denialist circles back in 2007 by denouncing climate models as having no predictive value at all. Armstrong’s arguments were fundamentally flawed, belied by a large body of primary scientific literature — with which Armstrong was apparently unfamiliar — demonstrating that climate model projections clearly do in fact out-perform naive predictions which ignore the effect of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. As discussed in detail by my RealClimate.org co-founder, NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt, Armstrong simply didn’t understand the science well enough to properly interpret, let alone, assess, the predictive skill of climate model predictions. [...]

    Nate Silver was trained in the Chicago school of Economics, famously characterized by its philosophy of free market fundamentalism. [...]

    Unlike Levitt, Nate did talk to the scientists (I know. I’m one of them!). But he didn’t listen quite as carefully as he should have. When it came to areas like climate change well outside his own expertise, he to some extent fell into the same “one trick pony” trap that was the downfall of Levitt (and arguably others like Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point). That is, he repeatedly invokes the alluring, but fundamentally unsound, principle that simple ideas about forecasting and prediction from one field, like economics, can readily be appropriated and applied to completely different fields, without a solid grounding in the principles, assumptions, and methods of those fields. It just doesn’t work that way (though Nate, to his credit, does at least allude to that in his discussion of Armstrong’s evaluation of climate forecasts).

    As a result, Nate’s chapter on climate change (Chapter 12: “A Climate of Healthy Skepticism”) is marred by straw man claims that don’t stand up to scrutiny. These include the assertion that (a) climate scientist James Hansen’s famous 1988 predictions overestimated global warming (they didn’t), that (b) “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) settles on just one forecast that is endorsed by the entire group” (pure nonsense — even the most casual reading of the IPCC reports reveals that great care taken to emphasize the non-trivial spread among model predictions, and to denote regions where there is substantial disagreement between the projections from different models) and that (c) “relatively little is understood” about the El Nino cycle (here I imagine that Nate might have misinterpreted our own discussion about the matter; I explained in our discussion that there are still open questions about how climate change will influence the El Nino phenomenon — but that hardly means that we know “relatively little” about the phenomenon itself! In fact, we know quite a bit about it). Finally, and perhaps most troubling (d) while Nate’s chapter title explicitly acknowledges the importance of distinguishing “signal” from “noise”, and Nate does gives this topic some lip service, he repeatedly falls victim to the fallacy that tracking year-to-year fluctuations in temperature (the noise) can tell us something about predictions of global warming trends (the signal). [...]

    Nate’s view of uncertainty, and its implications for climate model predictions, is particularly misguided. He asserts that the projections of the IPCC forecasts have been “too aggressive”, but that is simply wrong. It neglects that in many cases, e.g. as regards the alarming rate of Arctic sea ice decline (we saw a new record low set just weeks ago), the climate models have been far too cautious; We are decades ahead of schedule relative to what the models predicted. Uncertainty cuts both ways, and in many respects — be it the rapid decline in Arctic sea ice, or the melting of the ice sheets — it is cutting against us. Uncertainty, as many economists recognize, is thus a reason for action, not inaction! I’m surprised someone as sharp as Nate just doesn’t appear to get that.

    Nate also takes some unnecessary cheap shots. In what has now become a rite of passage for those looking to establish their “honest broker” bona fides in the climate change debate, Nate makes the requisite “punch the hippie” accusation that Al Gore exaggerated the science of climate change in An Inconvenient Truth (a team of climate scientists reviewed the movie for accuracy and found that by-and-large Gore got the science right). He characterizes climate scientist Gavin Schmidt as a “sarcastic” individual who is unwilling to put his money where his mouth is by betting his personal savings on his climate model predictions (this felt to me reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s widely mocked $10,000 bet challenge to Rick Perry). And while I do appreciate some of the nice things Nate says in the book about me personally (e.g. “Mann is exceptionally thoughtful about the science behind global warming”), he at the same time deeply misrepresents our discussion on several counts. [...]

    Nate cherry-picks a single sound bite (“our statements [should not be] so laden in uncertainty that no one even listens.”) to once again reinforce the false narrative that scientists are understating uncertainty. The point I was actually making was that we cannot spend so much time talking about what we don’t know, that we don’t end up telling the public what we do know. That, as Nate correctly quotes me, “would be irresponsible”. Nate states that “the more dramatic [climate scientists'] claims, the more likely they [are] be quoted…”, seemingly implying that scientists have a motivation to overstate the science. He ignores the fact that those scientists willing to feed the false “scientists are exaggerating” narrative are the true darlings of the “balance” over “objectivity” school of news reporting — a school of thought that Nate sadly seems to have subscribed to.

    Most disappointing to me of all was the false equivalence that Nate draws between the scientific community’s efforts to fight back against intentional distortions and attacks by an industry-funded attack machine, and the efforts of that attack machine itself. He characterizes this simply as a battle between “consensus” scientists and “skeptical” individuals, as if we’re talking about two worthy adversaries in a battle. This framing is flawed on multiple levels, not the least of which is that those he calls “skeptics” are in fact typically no such thing. There is a difference between honest skepticism — something that is not only valuable but necessary for the progress of science — and pseudo-skepticism, i.e. denialism posing as “skepticism” for the sake of obscuring, rather than clarifying, what is known.»

    And so on. I cut some details and links.

  75. 75
    kreativekaos

    Lynna @ 73:

    Taking that last paragraph by Morrison seriously, it would be an interesting thought experiment to envision or project the look of the social/political landscape generated by a world suggested by Morrison and his fellow wing-nuts.

  76. 76
    rogerfirth

    You obviously heard about Rove’s melt-down an Faux News when they called Ohio for Obama!

    That was absolutely hilarious!

    My wife and I had been following the returns on MSNBC all night (what can I say, I lean left). After they called OH for Obama and a minute or two later called the election for Obama, we watched for a few more minutes to confirm that virtually everybody was calling the election for Obama and there were cheers from Chicago and everybody was celebrating. Then my wife said “I wonder how the mood is over on Fox News”.

    We switched channels and there were a couple somber anchors (including Rove) on the screen who looked ready to slit their wrists. They were quite obviously shell shocked. Rove had his meltdown and I don’t think we ever laughed that hard. It was priceless. I just about pissed myself when Megyn Kelly said to Rove, “Is this just math you do to make yourself feel better as a Republican?”

    And then the justification afterward has been incredible. Cognitive dissonance at its absolute finest. To the nutbaggers, Romney’s policies (whatever they are) are loved and supported by all. But the hurricane skewed things, or the 47% just “want stuff” so badly they got more people to vote their way, or the republicans weren’t conservative enough, or Obama “suppressed the vote” (insert record needle scratching noise here).

    And it was funny that the Romney camp was so caught off guard that Romney had to quickly scramble together a concession speech, they had to take down the Romney White House transition web pages that somebody made live, and they had to quietly disassemble the barges of fireworks they had ready in Boston Harbor.

    And I don’t know if it’s been confirmed, but there are reports that the Romney campaign workers’ credit cards were shut off before they even got cab rides home.

    The United States dodged a bullet on Tuesday.

    But sadly, the next four years won’t be very different from the last four. The republicans’ goal of making Obama a one-term president will change to making him a failed president instead, and they will still stand in the way of every piece of legislation that might possibly be construed as a success for Obama. They are so filled with racial hatred that they’d rather see the United States burn to the ground than to see a black man succeed as president.

    What’s that about cutting off your nose to spite your face?

  77. 77
    Lynna, OM

    More direct link to the relevant segment from Jon Stewart:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-november-7-2012/post-democalypse-2012—america-takes-a-shower—karl-rove-s-math

  78. 78
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Lynna:

    “We must contest every single inch of ground and delay the baby-murdering, tax-raising socialists at every opportunity,” Morrison wrote. “But in due time, the maggots will have eaten every morsel of flesh off of the rotting corpse of the Republic, and therein lies our opportunity.”

    My my my. You can just feel how much Petey loves democracy, can’t you?

  79. 79
    Lynna, OM

    For his This Week in God series, Steve Benen created a nice graph of the outcome of the election by religion. The only surprise is that the Mormon and evangelical votes are so damn close. You would have thought the mormons could have pumped up that vote to 98% for Romney.

    Hey, a new excuse for why Romney lost: not all mormons have lost their minds… yet.

  80. 80
    Nick Gotts

    Audley@78,

    I’ve noticed quite a number of frank anti-democracy statements from right wingnuts and posters on blogs post-election, mostly around the theme that women/ethnic minorities/poor people voted for Obama because they “want stuff”, and so they shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

  81. 81
    Alexandra (née Audley)

    Nick:
    Yep, I’ve seen that too. The sentiment boils down to: the only legitimate votes are cast by white men (and their wives*), because only they know what’s good for the country.

    BAAAAAAAARF!

    *’Cos they’re obviously not part of the “slut vote” and married white women were more likely to support Romney than single women. I’m sure that this will be twisted into some bullshit support of the patriarchy (if it hasn’t already).

  82. 82
    dean

    @ 80 and 81

    While I waited in line to vote there were two men behind me discussing the fact that (in their opinions) only people who owned businesses or were employed should be allowed to vote, because if you weren’t in one of those categories you weren’t contributing to society anyway.

  83. 83
    Jadehawk

    Nate Silver is a sucker on global warming:

    well, apparently being numerate doesn’t protect from being wrong, even about numbers.

    have i mentioned lately that i think we’re doomed?
    and have I linked to the chart of doom recently?

    DOOMED

  84. 84
    Amphiox

    You obviously heard about Rove’s melt-down an Faux News when they called Ohio for Obama!

    It’s even more hilarious when you realize that not only did Rove expose himself as self-delusional fact-denying idiot, he did it over something that turns out wouldn’t have mattered anyways.

    If you rank all the states that voted for Obama in order of margin of victory (ie all the “blue” states in order of their “blueness” and thus ease with which Obama won them), you find that Obama gets to 272 Electoral College votes after comfortably winning Colorado by 5 points.

    Ohio? Virginia? Florida? North Carolina? (ie all the states in which the race was close and where the night’s media focused all the drama?) Obama didn’t actually need any of them.

    So even if Rove was right about Ohio it wouldn’t have mattered. His side’s goose was already cooked.

  85. 85
    Amphiox

    Republican rationale has, once again, come up with the idea that Texas should secede.

    Hey, taking away Texas’ 38 currently reliable red Electoral College votes right now, rather than waiting for 2020 or 2024 for the state to turn purple by demographic trends alone, would quite solidly turn the rest of the US permanently blue in presidential politics for decades to come.

    I therefore heartily endorse the idea of Texas succession!

  86. 86
    ck

    But sadly, the next four years won’t be very different from the last four. The republicans’ goal of making Obama a one-term president will change to making him a failed president instead…

    Of course it won’t be much different. Next stop: impeachment. He is a Democrat after all. You’ve already heard the rumblings about the attack on embassy in Benghazi or the sudden resignation of the CIA director General Petraeus. They’re already fishing for anything they could use against him.

    The funniest thing was that Boehner was talking about how Republicans would be willing to discuss all options, including tax increases, when dealing with the deficit the day after the election, but immediately said the opposite the following day when he insisted that increasing taxes was “unacceptable”. How would you ever get anything done with people who act like this?

  87. 87
    Crissa

    What I don’t think I understand is that Obama got more votes in 2012 than McCain did in 2008. Romney got less than either of them.

    Why do they think that should have won? Sure, 10 million white votes disappeared. Some portion of those votes died. We have in the US half a million less non-hispanic white than we did in 2008. And the younger cohort aren’t voting for the conservatives. What did they think would happen?

  88. 88
    wanstronian

    So what happened in early October to prompt the big slip for Obama and increase for Romney?

  89. 89
    John Phillips, FCD

    wanstronian, first debate.

  90. 90
    Lynna, OM

    In Arizona, Republicans are failing at the simplest kind of math, the kind that requires you count all the votes that are cast.

    The idiots set it up so that many Latino voters were forced to cast provisional ballots. Then they said they weren’t going to count all the provisional ballots because, gosh, that would take a long time.

    Several congressional races and even the reelection of Sheriff Joe Arpaio hang in the balance.

    video and text here:
    http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2012/11/10/15073336-heard-in-arizona-counteveryvote

    Take a look at the Latino activists in the videos. They are not giving up. They’ve been out there protesting every day since the election. They’re still not getting a lot of national media coverage. But The New York Times did cover the story.

    … More than 630,00 votes left to count after Tuesday’s election, more than 172,000 of them provisional ballots, and many of those believed to have been cast by newly registered Latino voters who experienced some kind of hitch at the polls….

    The Secretary of State in Arizona is Ken Bennett, a mormon who seemed intent on electing Mitt Romney. He became briefly infamous after he threatened to keep Obama’s name off the Arizona ballot unless Obama showed his original long-form birth certificate to Ken Bennett. Bennett is in charge of elections in the state.

    Other twisted dunderheads from Arizona who are mormon: Jeff Flake and Russell Pearce. Jeff Flake’s campaign fielded robocalls telling Democrats to go to the wrong places to votes. He is also openly hostile to free lunch programs for children (guess who benefited from nutrition programs for low-income families when he was a child). Russell Pearce is the guy who sponsored the “papers please” immigration law in Arizona (sometimes called the “driving while brown” law). He’s also the guy who ordained a neo-nazi as an Elder of the mormon church.

  91. 91
    Lynna, OM

    Saturday Night Live skit in which Mitt Romney drowns his sorrows in milk. “Ah, darn it! Darn it all to heck!”

    http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/mitt-romney-on-a-balcony-cold-open/1423634/

  92. 92
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Arizona. It’s the new Mississippi.

  93. 93
    Lynna, OM

    In the Saturday Night Live skit in which the actor playing President Obama appears on Weekend Update, they had Obama say that the Republicans couldn’t win even though he gave them a one-debate head start.

  94. 94
    Lynna, OM

    Republicans already have a new hate ad out. Yes, Obama won, and he won’t be running again, but “we must win this war,” and “fight against Obama’s radical big-government” etc. is being pumped into the airwaves by a bunch of right-wing doofuses.

    Seems they are primed to push for more seats in the House of Representatives in 2014.

    video here: http://heritageaction.com/2012/11/stand-with-us-america/

  95. 95
    Lynna, OM

    In a novel approach to explaining why Obama won, the men of the American Family Association have explained that George Clooney is responsible.

    Excerpt:

    Vitagliano: They said ‘what Hollywood star do women love’ and they found that they love overwhelmingly George Clooney, so what they did is they went and got George Clooney to have a dinner with President Obama and then they had a big fundraiser and they said to women, ‘if you want to have dinner with George Clooney and President Obama here is how much you pay per plate for this big fundraiser.’ They did the same thing in the east with Sarah Jessica Parker, who was a beloved icon of many women. So what they did, and it’s brilliant even while cynical, is they hooked women to Obama through these Hollywood stars. These women were saying well ‘George Clooney loves President Obama,’ and a fair number of them I’m guessing said, ‘so I love President Obama,’ and the same thing with Sarah Jessica Parker. That to me, and this is obviously an overstatement, that to me is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned that when they were hoping for a well-informed electorate being advised of the issues and studying the issues, no, what we’ve devolved to is ‘I love George Clooney, George Clooney loves President Obama, therefore I love President Obama.’

    Right Wing Watch link.

  96. 96
    Lynna, OM

    Arizona. It’s the new Mississippi.

    Sad, isn’t it?

    Baptists, mormons, racists, nativists, neo-nazis.

    One thing Arizona has going for it when it comes to pumping up its quotient of batshit craziness is that some of it’s worst exponents of right-wing radicalism are not old white guys. They are young white guys like Jeff Flake. Mormonism keeps on breeding them. They will be around for a long time.

    On the other hand, Arizona is blessed with an expanding Latino population that will dilute the young crazy white dudes.

  97. 97
    anteprepro

    They said ‘what Hollywood star do women love’ and they found that they love overwhelmingly George Clooney, so what they did is they went and got George Clooney to have a dinner with President Obama and then they had a big fundraiser and they said to women, ‘if you want to have dinner with George Clooney and President Obama here is how much you pay per plate for this big fundraiser.’ They did the same thing in the east with Sarah Jessica Parker, who was a beloved icon of many women.

    Gotta love the sexism. Also gotta love that it has to be a diabolical conspiracy that Obama went out of his way to orchestrate because he thought it would play well, rather than it simply being that these are rich liberal stars who were supporting Obama. Nah, celebrities don’t have any more agency than women do! They were just Obama’s unwilling pawns, used to pull the puppet strings of Star-crazed womenz everywhere!

    Fucking Republicans. And to think I almost felt bad for them for losing on Tuesday. I shouldn’t have forgotten for one moment why they deserve nothing but burning contempt.

  98. 98
    Lynna, OM

    I keep seeing more articles on this issue. It seems the Supreme Court is getting ready to nuke the Voting Rights Act.

    Sheesh! It was just this year that the VRA was used to challenge an unfair redistricting map in Texas, a map that disenfranchised Latino voters. And that’s just one example.

    We still need the VRA, and probably an even bigger federal cudgel to keep regressives from suppressing the vote of populations they don’t like.

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/11/supreme-court-ready-nuke-voting-rights-act

  99. 99
    carbonbasedlifeform

    I came across an interesting article by Frank Rich, “Fantasyland” in New York Magazine. It says in part

    As GOP politicians and pundits pile on Romney in defeat, they often argue that he was done in by not being severely conservative enough; if only he’d let Ryan be Ryan, voters would have been won over by right-wing orthodoxy offering a clear-cut alternative to Obama’s alleged socialism. In truth, Romney was a perfect embodiment of the current GOP. As much as the Republican Party is a radical party, and a nearly all-white party, it has also become the Fantasyland Party. It’s an isolated and gated community impervious to any intrusions of reality from the “real America” it solipsistically claims to represent. This year’s instantly famous declaration by the Romney pollster Neil Newhouse that “we’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers” crystallized the mantra of the entire GOP. The Republican faithful at strata both low and high, from Rush’s dittoheads to the think-tank-affiliated intellectuals, have long since stopped acknowledging any empirical evidence that disputes their insular worldview, no matter how grounded that evidence might be in (God forbid) science or any other verifiable reality, like, say, Census reports or elementary mathematics. No wonder Romney shunned the word Harvard, which awarded him two degrees, even more assiduously than he did Mormon.

    At the policy level, this is the GOP that denies climate change, that rejects Keynesian economics, and that identifies voter fraud where there is none. At the loony-tunes level, this is the GOP that has given us the birthers, websites purporting that Obama was lying about Osama bin Laden’s death, and not one but two (failed) senatorial candidates who redefined rape in defiance of medical science and simple common sense. It’s the GOP that demands the rewriting of history (and history textbooks), still denying that Barry Goldwater’s opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy” transformed the party of Lincoln into a haven for racists. Such is the conservative version of history that when the website Right Wing News surveyed 43 popular conservative bloggers to determine the “worst figures in American history” two years ago, Jimmy Carter, Obama, and FDR led the tally, all well ahead of Benedict Arnold, Timothy McVeigh, and John Wilkes Booth.

    Read the whole article, about how “truthiness” is sweeping America, especially American conservatives.

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