Sunday, November 8, 2009

Quote of the Day...

From Ann Althouse:
I'm trying to imagine the political environment that Washington Democrats occupy. A President glibly lays out that analogy, and it is received — without any wincing or taint of disgust — as awesome inspiration. These are the minds that will be making decisions for us for quite a while.
Read the whole thing for the context...

Miss Me Yet?

The InstaPundit posts this image and says:
Heck, some Republicans are missing Bill Clinton. I think before it’s over, even Jimmy Carter will look okay.
As he (Glenn Reynolds) would say: Heh!

And: Ouch!

The Sausage Factory...

So the House has passed a health care reform bill, 220 to 215.  Just exactly what bill they passed is anyone's guess – at over 2,000 pages and with amendments being made right to the last minute, I doubt that anyone who voted for it had any real idea.

Pelosi used a combination of compromise (e.g., removing funding for abortions), threats (e.g., withholding desirable positions, earmarks, or election support), and bribes (e.g., special language directing health care funds to particular districts) to get enough votes.  Many commentators on the right are crowing because the vote was so close – the Democrats have a 70+ vote majority and all they could muster was a 5 vote margin?

But these commentators miss an essential part of the sausage factory of politics...those Democratic “no” votes were carefully calculated and parceled out to at-risk Democrats.  They fought each other for the right to vote “no” without incurring Pelosi's fearsome wrath (and subsequent punishment).  The Democratic leadership isn't completely stupid – they know darned well that Democrats will lose a significant number of supporters over this health care bill (only a bare majority of Democrats support health care reform at all, and less than a majority support this reform).  So those Democrats who don't have very solid support at home are placed at risk by a “yes” vote on this ground pig of a bill. 

So the main thing the close vote really tells us is that the Democratic leadership is indeed very afraid of the impact of Pelosicare on the 2010 elections.  They would rather have the bad PR of a close vote than put too many members at risk.  Insiders report that competition for Pelosi's permission to vote “no” was intense and hard-fought – and a good number who wanted that permission were denied it.  In other words, the number of House Democrats who perceived a risk in voting “yes” was substantially larger than the number who voted “no”.

Here's hoping the voters remember the ground pig bill come next November...

Heat's On... our house, that is.  November 8th is the earliest either Debbie or I can remember lighting off the heater.  The house was down to 53°F (about 11°C), and we were getting uncomfortable.

Must be that “global warming” we've been hearing about...

The Brit's Observe Us...

Toby Harnden of the London Daily Telegraph writes:
A year into his presidency, however, Mr Obama seems a curiously bloodless president. If he experiences passion, he seldom shows it. It is often anyone's guess as to whether an event or issue truly moves him.

He has spent more than two months considering a troop increase but do we know how he really feels about the Afghan war?

In a sign that the Obama honeymoon truly is over, I began to hear this week the first stirrings of a wistfulness about Mr Bush. "I never thought I'd hear myself say it," one Democrat told me. "But Obama makes you feel that at least with Bush you knew where he was on something."

I hear this general sentiment a lot from friends and co-workers.  But that is a biased sample, to be sure (my friends are self-selected, and my co-workers are all professional high-tech workers in Southern California). 

Is the Telegraph accurately reporting a general trend?  I sure hope so...

Potential Net Migration Survey...

Here's a fascinating Gallup poll of over a quarter million people worldwide.  The survey asked people “If you could live in any country you wanted to, which country would that be?”

The results from this poll lead to several interesting results, such as “What's the most popular country people want to move to?” (the U.S.) and “What countries do people most want to leave?” (basically anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa).  But it also leads to some interesting results on net immigration.  By summing up all the people who want to move into a country, then subtracting from that all the people who want to leave that same country, then dividing that result by the number of people currently in the country, you get net migration figures.  The larger the positive net migration, the more people (on a percentage basis) want to move there.

These numbers get distorted a bit by the current population.  For example, tops on this metric is little Singapore, at 260%.  This means that if everyone who wanted to move into or out of Singapore could magically do so, Singapore's population would almost quadruple.  Now Singapore's population is less than 2% of the U.S. population, so this means that roughly 10 million more people would like to move into Singapore than out of it.

The U.S. is 12th from the top on this metric, at 60%.  Because the U.S. population is so much larger, that means that about 180 million more people would like to move into the U.S. than out of it.  Yikes!  That's a lot of people!!

Also very telling are the country-to-country net immigration numbers, where the U.S. is set against other developed countries.  It turns out that in every case, more people want to move to the U.S. from another developed country (the U.K., France, Sweden, Norway, Canada, etc.) than vice versa.

It would be very interesting to see these data trended plotted over the years, to see the trends...

Flying Pig Moment...

In the New York Times, aka “Obama Lickspittle Times”:
But the limits of rhetoric were on display last week when the president could not rescue two foundering candidates in governor’s races in New Jersey and Virginia. Has Mr. Obama lost his oratorical touch? Is the magic finally beginning to fade? Does the White House rely too heavily on his skills on the stump to advance his priorities?
The editor who let that through probably ought to be thinking about an alternative career.  Or could it be that even the New York Times is waking up?