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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

William Hull Republicans

Timothy Birdnow

A blogpost at the Enterprise Blog uses a Yahoo analysis to predict a narrow Obama victory in the upcoming elections - and a Senate takeover by the GOP>

According to the article by James Pethokoukis:

"Are Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul—not to mention Republican voters across the nation—wasting their time today on Super Tuesday? Washington insiders from both parties think that with the formerly moribund economy finally picking up, the election is President Obama’s to lose. It’s an opinion reflected in political betting markets such as Intrade, which currently gives Obama around a 60 percent chance of winning a second term.

But does a mild economic recovery really guarantee Obama four more years? I looked at three election forecasting models that key off the economy. Two of them give the election to the GOP, one to Obama. But they’re all real close. And, of course, different economic forecasts produced different results. So when possible, I assumed a so-so recovery, though better than what we saw in 2011."

End excerpt.

Pethokoukis disagrees with Yahoo and disagrees with the GOP insiders that the Presidency is lost, and rightly so. Bear in mind, the numbers are where they are because of a lengthy and bitter primary battle in the GOP - a wound that will heal. The worst will have been aired publicly, taking much of Obama's steam. And people have forgotten why they should despise the Anointed, something the GOP and the alternative media will be reminding them of.

And it assumes what we are hearing from the mainstream media and government statistics are accurate. The fact is the economy is NOT recovering; this is concluded because applications for unemployment are down and there are fewer individuals in the job market. Applications are down because a.the easily shed jobs are gone and b.many of the individuals who would go on unemployment are already there - or have exhausted it. (It's been four years, after all.) There are fewer jobs seekers because so many are "discouraged workers" who are no longer actively looking for a job. Statistics showing a recovery are numerical tricks employed by the government and reported by the media.

And it's amazing how many people fall for it. Consider Ben Stein.

Stein makes the following argument:

"First, the number of foreclosures is dropping. That means a smaller inventory of distressed homes, which in turn means less supply relative to demand.

Second, the economy is reviving. The employment numbers are getting better fast. The stock market is frighteningly buoyant. There are some signs of faltering in manufacturing, but that index fluctuates wildly.

All of this means more optimism about the future and where there is optimism, housing rallies. Home builders are meaningfully more optimistic.

More important, we have to remember that houses or condos or other real estate are an asset. Their prices have -- in most parts of the nation -- fallen drastically. That means the most likely long-term next move is up -- not down. Assets that have fallen a lot tend to recover. So it has been with housing and will be again. Reversion to the mean is a law of finance. Not a hint: a law. Sometimes violated, but a law.

Most important of all, the great majority of us finance our real estate purchases. For a long time, lenders would simply not lend. There is data on this but I also saw it myself when I was trying to refinance. Rates were low, but lenders simply would not lend.

Now, it's different. Lenders are lending again, and even aggressively going out and looking for customers. This means that a rebounding worker and consumer is meeting up with more flexible, available lenders.

This, if continued, will lead to a housing recovery. Again, there are risks everywhere -- war in the Middle East, higher oil and gasoline prices, a recession touched off by a possibly stunning rise in energy prices. But there are always risks. The central tendencies now are economic recovery, much lower home prices, and easier credit."

End excerpt.

But none of this is true, or it means less than Stein thinks. Yes, the number of foreclosures is dropping, but that is rather like saying the number of dying cells in a person is dropping; that is to be expected when the market is as bad as it is. Most of those capable of holding onto their homes have done so. And the government kept the foreclosures alive by subsidy programs, aid to distressed homeowners, and demands for a moratorium on foreclosing. Oh, and don't forget that the government just made a settlement reminiscent of the tobacco settlement, only with mortgage banks over foreclosures. Naturally, the number has dropped.

As to a reviving economy, see my argument above.

I see no evidence of renewed optimism in America, because there is nothing to renew it. And low prices are immaterial if the lenders aren't lending. Why should they? Interest rates are still too low to make reasonable money, and now they dare not foreclose on delinquent mortgages. There are safer and more lucrative investments.

And the lenders are aggressively lending because they face the wrath of the government if they do not. The government is still pushing subprime loans, and enforcing redlining laws aggressively (meaning the lenders have to make loans in high risk neighborhoods).

Stein has fallen for the spin put out by the government and their lackeys in the media.

By the insiders in the GOP have swallowed this hook-line-and-sinker, and are already writing off the Presidency. They make the mistake of assuming "numbers don't lie" which may be true, but numbers often do not tell the whole story - especially where people are concerned. People can and do change their minds.

Remember after the election of Obama James Carville said this was ushering in an era of total Democrat dominance? It dried up in two years. He based this on the numbers, on how the vote turned in 2008. It was wrong because people change their minds. People also do not necessarily take a course of action because they believe in it. Many people simply thought the nation needed to try something different. It didn't work, and now they are ready to replace it.

As military philosopher Sun Tzu so aptly put it, "opportunities multiply as they are seized". This means that you fight, win, and the whole outlook changes. The GOP is too smart for itself - particularly the countryclub blue bloods. They think they succeed or fail on the margins, by tailoring their message to suit the listener, by offering an offense-free, content free message, and by keeping their heads down. They listen to polls, and react. They try to act as middle managers, not leaders. And they are forever puzzled by their lack of success.

We need to not accept the lies, the false premises, the thesis of the Left. They are masters at the Hegelian dialectic; they present a thesis, we present the antithesis, and the synthesis is what they wanted all along. Put it another way; they present their throwaways as fact, then negotiate to where they wanted to be all along. Our side starts with our minimum and compromises from there. We even compromise with the truth. It is foolish. It is shameful.

But Stein lives in one of the bubbles, and even though he is a brilliant man he still falls for this. Rush Limbaugh predicted we were going to hear of a miraculous economic recovery this year. Strange how right he is!

There is a reason why this whole Sandra Fluke business came up; they desperately need to change the conversation. The Democrats know how vulnerable they are. Our side seems to be clueless.

And so they prepare to surrender to Obama. Their hope is to give us Romney, someone guaranteed not to offend so as not to damage the chances in the Senate. When will they ever learn; the public likes fighters. Bill Clinton was the only man who could have survived that scandal of his, and that was because he was ready to fight to the end. The public admired that about him. Courage may be a largely ignored virtue these days, but there is still something primal about it. We don't admire the courageous warrior, but the politician willing to go to the mat still earns grudging respect. It's why Sarah Palin is popular. it's why Donald Trump captured everyone's imagination. It's why Gingrich is still in the race.

But we are too busy looking for reasons to surrender.

During the War of 1812 American General William Hull led 2500 American troops against 100 British regulars, 350 militia and 150 Indian allies. Hull was so cowardly he SURRENDERED his forces and Fort Detroit; he kept imagining hordes of British and Indians massacring his troops. Fear snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

Perhaps it's time to coin a phrase "William Hull Republicans". It's fitting.

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