FiveThirtyEight.com runs a Super Tracker that averages all the tracking polls. That’s some bounce.
As far as I’m concerned Hurricane Gustav was a gift to the Republicans. Now they don’t have to go through prime time speeches by George Bush and Dick Cheney in St. Paul. They can actually pretend that they have no connection to the last 8 years of incompetence.As conservative author Andrew Ferguson pointed out this morning, the Republican platform is presented that way.
The premise of most party platforms is that while this is the greatest country the world has ever seen whose most wonderful days lie just ahead, it’s headed straight for hell. Our only chance, therefore, is if you read these 50 boring pages and do exactly as we say.
Blame is easy to apportion: If your party holds the White House but not Congress, you blame Congress for the country’s precarious position. If you hold Congress you blame the White House.
But what if, for most of the previous eight years, you’ve held both the White House and Congress, and things are still a mess?
The draft platform’s answer is ingenious: Blame Republicans, too, just the way everybody else does.
Former Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder makes a pretty convincing argument, that no matter where you are on the income scale, you do better under a Democratic President.
The stark contrast between the whiz-bang Clinton years and the dreary Bush years is familiar because it is so recent. But while it is extreme, it is not atypical. Data for the whole period from 1948 to 2007, during which Republicans occupied the White House for 34 years and Democrats for 26, show average annual growth of real gross national productof 1.64 percent per capita under Republican presidents versus 2.78 percent under Democrats. That 1.14-point difference, if maintained for eight years, would yield 9.33 percent more income per person, which is a lot more than almost anyone can expect from a tax cut.
What’s even more remarkable is the differential at different income percentiles (chart above) in terms of wealth generation. Though the very rich (95th percentile) do slightly better under Democrats, the very poor (20th percentile) do remarkably better, thus shrinking the income inequality that builds up under Republican Presidents.
Needless to say, McCain vows to continue the Republican tax cuts for the wealthy that the last four Republican Presidents have favored.
A few months ago, as grain prices soared, the Wall Street Journal wondered if we were reaching a Malthusian moment, where the world’s ability to feed itself would be challenged. I certainly felt like the ability of the U.S. agriculture economy was severely stressed. But this morning the New York Times ran an article on Russian agriculture that was a real eye opener.
Russia occupies an unusual niche in the global food chain. Before the Russian Revolution and the subsequent forced collectivization of farming under Stalin, it was the largest grain exporting nation in the world.
Today, roughly 7 percent of the planet’s arable land is either owned by the Russian state or by collective farms, but about a sixth of all that agricultural land — some 35 million hectares — lies fallow. By comparison, all of Britain has 6 million hectares of cultivatable land.
What is happening is that global capital (including the infamous Carlyle Group) is flooding into the Russian agriculture sector, buying up huge collective farms and providing modern technology–much of it made by John Deere–to increase the productivity of the land. If this works, it will be one more huge export commodity for the Russian economy, which already controls more oil and gas reserves than any other country.
Frank Rich nails what I’ve been saying all week–the establishment media just manufactured fake political drama on the Obama-Clinton feud out of whole cloth.
What is most surprising is how astonished the press still is at each Groundhog Day’s replay of the identical outcome. Indeed, the disconnect between the reality of this campaign and how it is perceived and presented by the mainstream media is now a major part of the year’s story. The press dysfunction is itself a window into the unstable dynamics of Election 2008.
Andrew Sullivan looks at the polls and sees that Palin is not helping with independants.
More to the point: among undecideds, 59 percent said Palin was unready to be president. Only 6 percent said she was. If the first criterion for any job is whether you’re ready for it, this is a pretty major indictment of the first act of McCain’s presidential leadership.
A blogger at Daily Kos has written a story, which if it checks out, will be the end of Sarah Palin’s 15 minutes of fame. I read it all, but it comes down to the ability to read photos. Before I left for church this morning, I read all the posts on this. And then I pondered my own responsibility. I can’t make this post disappear, but I can say I regret putting it up. I have no way of knowing the truth of this matter, so I should not have linked to it.
For those of you who haven’t been following the Michael Lee White melodrama that started here three days ago, you should check it out. Many posters, claiming to be relatives of this guy showed up. It’s a real time mystery story unfolding.
If you want amazing background on the strategic importance of the Georgia area for Russia, you must listen to the Ian Masters interviews with Michael Klare and Scott Horton from last weeks radio show. The more you know, the more the fingerprints of John McCain’s guys like Randy Scheuenemann show up all over.
Afghan and coalition forces were undertaking an operation in the area in pursuit of a Taliban commander named Mullah Siddiq. The attack on Azizabad was launched when intelligence reports indicated that Siddiq was in the village. A large crowd had assembled in Azizabad to commemorate the recent death of a local leader. When the airstrike occurred, an estimated 90 people – 60 children and 30 adults – were killed and many homes were destroyed, according to witnesses and a report made by the Afghanistan government. This has later been confirmed by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), led by the norwegian diplomat Kai Eide. The attack was carried out by a US AC-130 ground attack aircraft.
Using the 105 Millimeter Howitzer from 10,000 feet to blow up a town while seeking one man, is a classic example of mismatched firepower. It is almost as stupid as using F-18 Strike fighters in Counterterrorism operations. Now that the Army is finally admitting they may have killed a lot of civilians, perhaps we can begin to recalibrate our fighting strategy in Afghanistan. If our soldiers believe they can call in airstrikes whenever they are under attack, with no regard to collateral damage, we will never win the hearts and minds of the Afghani people.
It seems to me that John McCain had two choices with his VP. He could either reach out to the center and try to pull in independents or he could play to the base of the hard core conservatives. In choosing Palin, he obviously felt the base was far more important than the center.
At the same time, they suggested, Ms. Palin would also be given the task of appealing to evangelical voters, who have long been unenthusiastic about Mr. McCain. In many ways, the choice of Ms. Palin may prove to have been as much an effort to drive up turnout among the Republican base as it was a move to compete for women.
“We had a solid Republican and evangelical base,” said Charlie Black, a senior adviser to Mr. McCain. “But now it’s going to be very intense.” James C. Dobson, the influential conservative Christian leader who said in the primaries that he could never vote for Mr. McCain, said the selection of Ms. Palin had won him over.
If 65 days before an election, McCain is still worried about conservatives voting for him, he got real troubles.