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Category Archives: models

The GOP Field, Considered

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(One in an occasional series, or when the various candidates prove irksome…)

Nate Silver considers the odds of the GOP field via regression analysis and polling magic.  No matter how he slices it, Mitt Romney comes out on top for the GOP nomination in 2012.

Let’s take a moment and look at Romney’s record:

  1. Venture Capitalist;
  2. GOP nominee for US Senate v. Ted Kennedy 1994;
  3. Salvaged, reorganized and successfully managed 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City, UT;
  4. One-term Governor of Massachusetts;
  5. Drafted, passed single payer health plan for MA;
  6. GOP candidate for US President 2008, 2012.
None too shoddy, one has to admit.
However:
  1. Romney is a Mormon, a denomination considered by some Christians (especially Evangelicals) as cultists and/or non-Christian;
  2. In the 1994 Senate race he affirmed to the Log Cabin Republicans that he’d be better for gay rights than Ted Kennedy would be; and then backtracked in 2002 and 2008;
  3. he is personally pro-life but believes abortion should be safe and legal; until he doesn’t….
  4. Drafted,passed single payer health plan for MA;
  5. See #1.
Note: The Bitch does not hold Governor Romney’s religion against him.  Certain evangelicals have done, and some figure prominently in their states’ nominating processes.
What does Mitt Romney believe?  Well, it depends what he’s running for.  In the 90s, when he ran for the US Senate seat from Massachusetts, he believed in gay rights and abortion.  Romney, from one of his Senate debates with Ted Kennedy:
I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate. I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that law, and the right of a woman to make that choice, and my personal beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be brought into a political campaign.
Sounds pretty unambiguous, doesn’t it?  However, once he was running for President, his tune changed:
On January 29, 2007, in a visit to South Carolina, Romney stated, “Over the last multiple years, as you know, I have been effectively pro-choice, I never called myself that as a label but I was effectively pro-choice and that followed a personal experience in my extended family that led to that conclusion.” Romney continued saying every decision he made as governor, “in a very liberal state has been on the side of favoring life, I am firmly pro-life.”
Well, Governor, aren’t we all?  Currently, the Governor believes that life begins at conception, that Roe v. Wade should be overturned, with the states making the decisions on abortion legality, and that partial birth abortion should be banned.  He’s not too partial to stem cell research, either.
On gay rights, well….”varied” is the term of art used most often to describe the Romney worldview.  In 1994 he sent his infamous letter to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, claiming he’d be a better advocate for gay rights in the US Senate than Ted Kennedy had been:
If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.  My opponent cannot do this. I can and will.
Boys and girls, that’s a declarative statement.  However, Mitt Romney lost the 1994 US Senate race.
He continued to support domestic partnership rights, including health care coverage and rights of survivorship through the 2002 gubernatorial election, but couldn’t bring himself to support civil unions or, Heaven Forfend, gay marriage, despite his commitment to equality for gays and lesbians in 1994.
And then there’s health care…as usual, Greg Sargent nails it:

Let’s get one thing straight: No matter what Mitt Romney says in his big health care speech tomorrow, it won’t solve the huge political problem he faces with conservatives unless he flatly repudiates the individual mandate at the center of Romneycare.

Finally, there’s the Mormon question…

In 2008, Romney’s religion cost him the Vice-Presidency, and possibly even the Presidential nomination itself.  He didn’t have much of a chance at winning that one, but evangelical leaders made it very clear to GOP nominee John McCain that they wouldn’t support Romney as his running mate.  Thus we got Sarah Palin.

Fast-forward to 2011:  It’s not at all clear that evangelicals continue to hold Romney’s religion against him.  They may have learned something about Mormonism in the three years since 2008, or they may have just decided that a Mormon is better than any Democrat…Then again, the sticking point may not be his religion at all.  It may all come down to his refudiation of single payer.  Or it may come down to his track record of trying to have it both ways on contentious issues near and dear to GOP hearts.

What does Mitt Romney believe?  Who knows?

ADDENDUM:

The Bitch’s two favorite headlines on the Mitt Matter:

Mitt Romney Continues to be Haunted by Past Reasonableness; and,

Mitt Romney Haunted by Past of Trying to Help Uninsured Sick People.  Enjoy!

I know I am,

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but what are you?

Trust Pew to confuse us with New Big Thoughts.  There can’t be substrata to Red/Blue, can there?  That would make the world so….complicated….

(In case you were wondering, the Bitch is a New Coalition Democrat.  Guess it’s time to change that voter registration for realz…But at least we are, as a group, “upbeat!”)

Predicting Elections and Other Magical Thinking

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Nate Silver has a great piece in the NYT today (quick! read it before the paywall goes up 3/28!) that deconstructs college blogger Harry Enten’s statistical model that predicts — with a 95% certainty, no less — that the GOP will hold the US House in 2012.

Now, the Bitch is no statistician but Nate Silver is, and he points out in various ways that I will not recount here (read the article, lazybones!) why Harry Enten’s model is flawed…although his conclusion, that the GOP will keep the house, could well be true.  Sadly.  Mind you, the Bitch’s model is her gut, which says that 1. We don’t know the candidates; 2. We don’t know the issues; and, 3. 2012 is a redistricting year, so we don’t know the districts (and depending on how contentious the process may be, we might not know for sure until right up to the election, and beyond!), so trying to game the outcome is a waste  of time.  Unless you are into statistics like Harry Enten and Nate Silver.

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