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On Stacy McCain’s “gut hunch” & Obama’s standing in the polls

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 4:18 pm - October 21, 2012.
Filed under: 2012 Presidential Election

Yesterday, I caught a post on Stacy McCain’s blog that, well, stuck in my craw.  He joins other conservative blogger’s in questioning Nate Silver’s statistical analysis of the election, to offer an insight, well, from the gut, or as he puts it, in somewhat highfalutin’ terms,  “from the Hayekian Public Intellectual™”:

Like economic “planners,” Silver succumbs to the illusion of expertise and is seduced by the apparent exactitude of data, so that the Forecasting Model becomes a sort of Five-Year Plan. Silver’s method fails to compensate for situations (not really that rare in politics) where unexpected events falsify the predictive value of polling. Remember that we are talking about the opinions of fallible human beings en masse, as opposed to the behavior of a select group of professional athletes, which is why Sabremetrics cannot be too much help in predicting how the polls will shift in response to events that could not have been anticipated:

  1.  The multilayered fuck-up in Benghazi.
  2. An utterly lopsided victory by Romney in the first debate

(Read the whole thing.)  Stacy’s “gut-hunch”, that Obama’s chances aren’t nearly as great as Silver imagines forecasts them to be, appears to correspond with Obama’s standing in recent polls.  In three polls released today, the Gallup tracker, the Rasmussen tracker and the NBC/WSJ poll (which tends to skew left), the president stands at 45, 47 and 47, respectively.  The Democrat seems stuck in the mid-forties.

It seems the two stories that Stacy identified, coupled with a sense of economic anxiety and  an increasing awareness of Obama’s incompetence, seems to have kept Obama’s numbers down.

UPDATE:  Yet another national poll shows Obama at 47%.

UP-UPDATE:  Stacy notes today (10.22.12) “that the last time a national poll showed Obama at 50% or better was a CNN poll taken Sept. 28-30.”

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61 Comments

  1. Dan, did you see Frank Newport on FoxNews Sunday this morning?

    Comment by Andy Mylott — October 21, 2012 @ 4:36 pm - October 21, 2012

  2. Libya is certainly a biggie that Nate Silver misses. I also think Obama could be hurt by Mitt Romney simply bringing up the Fast and Furious executive order a bit more; I just don’t think there’s a good defense for it by Obama, and he’s been fortunate so far that no one has stressed it. But even if there are no deeper scandals revealed to the public before election day, I think Nate Silver simply misses the tea leaves found in the general nature of the two campaigns. People who support Romney/Ryan are proud to do so, and their campaign events are huge. The Obama/Biden campaign—or maybe we can just call it the Obama campaign because I don’t think all that many Obama supporters want to stress Biden’s inclusion on the ticket—is focused on small issues like Bid Bird and binders. Even if one believes that the abortion issue favors Democrats (and I don’t really believe it does), it really isn’t a bid deal to most people; for those that care so much about the issue, they were always going to vote for Obama, and stressing the issue will just turn off the more religious potential Obama voters. I really don’t hear any Obama supporters extolling the messianic characteristics of Obama anymore. They don’t really even mention Obama much at all. Instead, all I tend to hear is about how Romney and Ryan are liars or extreme or flip-floppers. But to the average independent, I don’t think they really fear the GOP ticket. They might not love it, and many of the undecided are likely to not vote. So, I get the sense that the Obama campaign is pretty much an echo chamber. I sense a lot more agitation than confidence from Obama supporters. This does not mean that Obama might not win, but my sense is that Romney’s odds of winning are at least as good as Nate Silver believes Obama’s.

    Comment by chad — October 21, 2012 @ 4:52 pm - October 21, 2012

  3. No, Andy, didn’t see Frank Newport on FoxNews this morning. What did he have to say?

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — October 21, 2012 @ 5:01 pm - October 21, 2012

  4. The polling just isn’t making any sense and doesn’t square with my observations/experiences. Here is what I have been seeing:

    Last summer I took my kids on a coast to coast RV trip from California to the mid-Atlantic East coast and back. We took the Southern route (I-40) across and a central route (I-70/80) back. The only places I saw any support for Obama either displayed on vehicles or spoken about were in New Mexico and Northern Virgina. I asked people what they thought of the economy and the direction of the country in general when I had a chance to engage them in chit-chat (we stayed in KOAs and got a chance to chat with folks). Responses ranged from resignation all the way to outright hostility toward Obama and a feeling he is making problems worse. In one conversation in Northern Virginia someone asked me what I thought of Obama’s chances of being re-elected, I said I don’t see how that is going to happen, and I was met with a look of surprise but we didn’t discuss it any further.

    Here at home in California I see ZERO enthusiasm for Obama. No stickers except a few old ones. In listening to people at work, they almost seem embarrassed for Obama. I hear a lot of the younger ones who voted for Obama saying they are voting Johnson because of the pot thing. I don’t hear any cheerleading AT ALL for Obama. Even the lady on the corner who had her house and all three of her cars absolutely plastered with Obama material in 2008 has nothing left except one Obama sticker on her porch window than I am assuming is too difficult to remove.

    I absolutely do NOT see ANY indication of what few Republicans I know supporting Obama. Many seemed reluctant at first to support Romney but have since come around.

    What surprises me is that Romney doesn’t get more support from both Democrats and Republicans in California because he is exactly the sort of candidate that they claim they want. Romney will put people ahead of party. He isn’t going to do things just to make Democrats look bad. He is going to do what he thinks is best for the country and will accept a good idea no matter where it originates if it makes good sense.

    I have no idea where this polling is coming from but one thing strikes me as odd. If the participation rate is as low as they say it is for people taking polls (only 4% of people attempted are actually reached and responsive) then my phone should have been ringing off the hook with people taking national polls. It isn’t. I have received exactly ONE call from a pollster and that was concerning a local race for state Assembly. Something’s fishy.

    Comment by crosspatch — October 21, 2012 @ 5:05 pm - October 21, 2012

  5. While we’re talking about the significance of Obama’s being stuck in the 46%-47% range–i.e., not breaking 50%–keep in mind that, with only a couple of exceptions, Romney also has stayed in the 45%-47% range–i.e., not breaking 50%.

    Eric Hines

    Comment by E Hines — October 21, 2012 @ 5:22 pm - October 21, 2012

  6. Hi there Just dropping in to say thanks. I have been reading some of your previous posts and comments after. I am so glad that one of my fave Conservative bloggers links to you.

    Comment by R Burns — October 21, 2012 @ 5:23 pm - October 21, 2012

  7. I think Romney’s debater performance was key in one major way.

    Up until the debate the Obama campaign with the help of the media owned the narrative on Romney. Obama had painted Romney as a scary, cruel, rich republican who didn’t care about anyone except other rich people.

    Well Romney shows up, he looks anything but cruel and scary and some of his ideas actually make sense and his arguments ring true. The other thing Romney did was use his own record and how he worked to pass bipartisan legislation with Obama’s inability to do anything.

    Romney made himself viable and he did so on his own terms without the help of the media.

    Then of course there is Benghazi, and the fact that the Obama administration has clearly been lying for their own purposes.

    I don’t think Obama can go back to the summer when he got to define Romney-voters have seen and heard Romney, and this coupled with the fact that Obama essentially has no plan for the next 4 years has made Romney viable.

    I still think Obama has the edge-mostly because he totally owns many of the states with huge electoral vote numbers, but if Obama can’t find a way to get the undecided to break his way and come out and vote, I think Romney can win.

    I think there is a certain faction of Obama 2008 voter that likely isn’t going to show up this election cycle and I think the GOP and anti Obama voters are highly motivated to come vote.

    I think the real question for this election cycle is who shows up to vote and which direction the undecideds break.

    Comment by Just Me — October 21, 2012 @ 5:24 pm - October 21, 2012

  8. There are almost no Obama signs where I live.(in the “hood” section of Ft Myers Fl) In fact I am trying to think of where I have even seen one sign.

    And last time you could barely see past all the signs to drive.

    Comment by R Burns — October 21, 2012 @ 5:31 pm - October 21, 2012

  9. Another thing where the polling is not matching reality: Look at the newspaper endorsements. I can not recall seeing any switches from McCain 2008 to Obama 2012 but there sure have been a lot of switches from Obama 2008 to Romney 2012. One of the most stinging has to be the Union Leader in Manchester, NH:

    Barack Obama was in Manchester on Thursday. When he came to Veterans Park in 2008, he sold “hope and change.” He was uplifting, inspiring. Last week, that was gone. In its place was the negativity, the deception, the nastiness that Obama once said he wanted to remove from politics.

    Obama offered New Hampshire nothing but bitterness and envy. He attacked Romney with a litany of mischaracterizations and deliberate falsehoods.

    Obama had four years — half of them with a Democratic majority in Congress — to try his way. Romney offers a better way, a realistic way, to restore American prosperity. We tried the fantasy. It did not work. Now it is time to stop dreaming and start growing again.

    This is the sort of thing I have seen in several papers that had endorsed Obama in 2008 but are now endorsing Romney in 2012 including very liberal papers.

    Comment by crosspatch — October 21, 2012 @ 5:58 pm - October 21, 2012

  10. One of two things will happen with Silver’s predictions:

    1. As we get close to the election, he will uncover some overlooked “flaw” (that totally isn’t his fault, of course) that suddenly brings his predictions into line with reality yet allows him to put the blame on something else.

    2. He continues as he is doing and becomes a laughingstock in the poll aggregation world and nobody pays any attention to him.

    There is a third possibility that is a variation of #1 and a combination of both 1 and 2

    3. He discovers a flaw AFTER the election that suddenly explains why he was so far off in an attempt to salvage his reputation after doing #2 above.

    Comment by crosspatch — October 21, 2012 @ 6:52 pm - October 21, 2012

  11. I hear a lot of the younger ones who voted for Obama saying they are voting Johnson because of the pot thing.

    I’m glad Obama isn’t getting the votes, but it doesn’t fill me with confidence that people are voting based on such issues as marijuana.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — October 21, 2012 @ 6:56 pm - October 21, 2012

  12. Crosspatch you are completely right that at some point if Romney continues to keep a lead and take enough of the swing states and win the election Silver will find a way to excuse his predictions.

    Comment by Just Me — October 21, 2012 @ 9:51 pm - October 21, 2012

  13. Rattlesnake,

    The drug war is a much more important issue than, well, whatever the hell you guys are trying to say about Libya. The amount of money and energy wasted by the government to enforce hypocritical pot laws is staggering. The amount of people we incarcerate for this trivial bullshit connects directly to the social welfare and low income assistance programs, the coats of which conservatives are always complaining about. Want to get people off the welfare rolls? Stop throwing people in jail that like to get high and watch TV.

    Of course, Obama has an equally atrocious record on this front. in fact, the best way to measure an issue’s actual importance in this country is by how enthusiastically both political parties ignore it.

    I

    Comment by levi — October 21, 2012 @ 10:04 pm - October 21, 2012

  14. Silver has a pretty good track record, and most of what you guys are offering as a counter point is how many signs you’ve seen. This is not persuasive.

    Comment by levi — October 21, 2012 @ 10:06 pm - October 21, 2012

  15. Despair has set in, Levi has lost the will to capitalize.

    Comment by V the K — October 21, 2012 @ 10:33 pm - October 21, 2012

  16. 3. He discovers a flaw AFTER the election that suddenly explains why he was so far off in an attempt to salvage his reputation after doing #2 above.

    Comment by crosspatch — October 21, 2012 @ 6:52 pm – October 21, 2012

    Bingo.

    Silver is a true believer, as is Ezra Klein, as is all the rest of the MSM.

    The magic flaw after the election will be, “Obama lied to us.”

    This will also have the virtue of being somewhat of an explanation for why they will be attacking and “investigating” the Romney administration left and right.

    The MSM should not be given the quarter that the electorate is. They lied for Obama, they deliberately lied for Obama, and they proved that they are nothing more than malicious, disgusting liars who will say and do anything to support Obama and the Obama Party.

    Call them Goebbels and call them Leni Riefenstahl. They deserve every bit of it.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 21, 2012 @ 10:52 pm - October 21, 2012

  17. Honestly, I am not sure any of the telephone polling is any good but I will say that I am not seeing, hearing, feeling *any* of the enthusiasm in 2012 we saw for Obama in 2008.

    Comment by crosspatch — October 21, 2012 @ 10:53 pm - October 21, 2012

  18. The amount of people we incarcerate for this trivial bullshit connects directly to the social welfare and low income assistance programs, the coats of which conservatives are always complaining about. Want to get people off the welfare rolls? Stop throwing people in jail that like to get high and watch TV.

    Comment by levi — October 21, 2012 @ 10:04 pm – October 21, 2012

    Actually, it’s the exact opposite.

    The results of the present study suggest that increasing cannabis use in late adolescence and early adulthood is associated with a range of adverse outcomes in later life. High levels of cannabis use are related to poorer educational outcomes, lower income, greater welfare dependence and unemployment and lower relationship and life satisfaction.

    What a surprise. Levi is a choom boy, just like his Obama.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 22, 2012 @ 12:18 am - October 22, 2012

  19. #13: “The drug war is a much more important issue than, well, whatever the hell you guys are trying to say about Libya.”

    Levi’s position on illegal drugs is no surprise. It’s perfectly consistent with his blazing narcissism and moral bankruptcy. Of course he doesn’t give a sh*t about the murders of 4 Americans in Benghazi or the Obama Administration’s subsequent cover up. His only concern–as with all progressives–is himself and what he wants regardless of the cost to society or the detriment it inflicts on others.

    Levi is on the record admitting that abortion “snuffs out” human lives, but he’s fine with this because the alternative (defending innocent human life) would interfere with his ability to have consequences-free sex whenever he wants.

    Similarly, Levi thinks drug possession/use should be legal not because he gives a rat’s a*s about people incarcerated for “trivial bullshit,” but because the drug laws make it risky and less convenient for HIM to get high and watch TV.

    Levi is not unique. He’s just like every other progressive. They indignantly claim to be the most compassionate, caring and charitable people in existence, but the truth is literally the exact opposite.

    Comment by Sean A — October 22, 2012 @ 12:55 am - October 22, 2012

  20. Comment 13 is a parody, right?

    For the record, I don’t oppose legalizing marijuana. However, that is about the 19th most important issue in this election (I actually just pulled that number out of somewhere). And I sort of doubt these young people in California are supporting legalized marijuana for any principled reason; it’s probably just because they smoke it. Since they’re in California, I don’t really blame them, but it is kind of disturbing to think this is a common enough occurrence to move a significant number of people’s votes. It seems that this generation is going to turn out about the same as the one before it; that is, populated by a bunch of id-driven idiots who don’t know how to run things.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — October 22, 2012 @ 2:02 am - October 22, 2012

  21. I think at this point we have to look at drug interdiction as an industry. The DEA needs the cartels in order to justify their own existence and careers. They aren’t going to go in and wipe them out to the point that nobody needs the DEA anymore. The cartels need the DEA as a barrier to competition. If the DEA weren’t down there working, anyone could get into the drugs business and cut into their market. So, I believe there is something of an unspoken deal. DEA interdicts enough to justify their existence but not so much as to put the cartels out of business. The cartels just see this as a cost of doing business. But they might tip off DEA (and other enforcement agencies, I am just using DEA here because it is easy and gets the idea across) to some up and coming wannabe competitor if they don’t take care of it themselves. A drug operation WANTS to keep drugs illegal else you will have legitimate farmers getting into the business with industrial grade operations that will drop the price of drugs to the floor. They want to keep prices up and competition out, so they want to keep it illegal. Believe me, the last thing Al Capone would have wanted is an end to prohibition. Making things illegal doesn’t make them go away, it simply drives the business to outlaws willing to take the risk. This is economics 101. If I were a drug kingpin I would be shoveling as much money as I could afford into the pockets of politicians that want to be “tough on drugs”.

    If we wanted to actually eliminate drugs, it would be much easier just to buy up the entire coca, opium, and cannabis crop directly from the farmer and burn it in a power plant for electricity. Even if we don’t get it all, we would so bid up the price of the raw material as to put most drugs out of reach. In Afghanistan instead of destroying fields of poppies, it would be cheaper just to buy the crop. How much does a crop of poppies cost compared to fueling, piloting, insuring, maintaining, and protecting a bunch if vehicles, aircraft, and people in Afghanistan? If you want to get rid of it, just buy it and get rid of it.

    Global seizures of opiates were 142 metric tons in 2006. If you look at the cost of all agencies in all countries and the resources, raids, etc. devoted to seizing this 142 tons of opiates, it might just be a hell of a lot cheaper and more effective to just buy it from the producer and starve the drug processors of raw material.

    Comment by crosspatch — October 22, 2012 @ 3:42 am - October 22, 2012

  22. “The drug war is a much more important issue than, well, whatever the hell you guys are trying to say about Libya.”

    Once again, Levi shows his deeply effed-up values system. Four Americans died because of Obama’s incompetence; his refusal to grant a perfectly reasonable request for additional security. Then, he lied about it for two weeks, blaming a YouTube video and a riot that never happened when everyone knew that was BS.

    And he is befuddled that there are people who think this incident should raise concern about his Cult Leader’s competence and integrity.

    Comment by V the K — October 22, 2012 @ 5:41 am - October 22, 2012

  23. @V, don’t forget, LEvi’s also a truther who is now defending actual lies and cover ups from Obama.

    As to the ‘War on Drugs’ no comment from our little Fascist that Obama was arming the drug cartels?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 22, 2012 @ 8:04 am - October 22, 2012

  24. It’s gotten so bad that the MFM is admitting Obama is kinda slow, and they think his handicap should be accommodated.

    Comment by V the K — October 22, 2012 @ 10:10 am - October 22, 2012

  25. The leftist-hippie value system is clear: Access to pot is more important than Truth, or Life.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — October 22, 2012 @ 10:36 am - October 22, 2012

  26. Nate Silver is an Obama MSM hack; his numbers lie to paint an alternate reality. Silver would never submit to Stacey McCain’s bet. He’ll know he’ll lose.

    Comment by Sebastian Shaw — October 22, 2012 @ 11:12 am - October 22, 2012

  27. “Legalizing marijuana” has a fairly large track record and very mixed results. The fact is that legalizing marijuana does not suddenly clean up society from harder drug use or relax the legalized marijuana users so that their output is stabilized or increased.

    The drug trade of the world is aimed at the United States. Why should we think that giving it away at McDonald’s prices would make it less attractive to the users who are devoted to staying high? If they will steal and murder for drugs that cost them a fortune, will they be any more useful to society just stoned on the cheap?

    Addiction is usually a replacement for some major psychological hole in the person. Drug clinics are not facilities where people are “cleansed” of the drugs. They are very costly places where professionals show people who want to be free of the addiction how to combat their temptation and weaknesses. Any drug clinic specialist can tell you who is not going to make it.

    So, the reality is that we have a large population of losers who have weak egos and succumb easily to the power of drugs or losers who have huge egos who believe that the drugs won’t get them. Either way, they all end up the same.

    So, just what is the Obamacare solution to all of this. The addicted have boatloads of medical costs associated with the constant attacks on their brains, organs and skeletons. Shall we feed drugs to the addicted and dedicate ourselves to fighting off the results of addiction at one and the same time?

    Only Levi knows for sure.

    Comment by heliotrope — October 22, 2012 @ 11:17 am - October 22, 2012

  28. So, just what is the Obamacare solution to all of this. The addicted have boatloads of medical costs associated with the constant attacks on their brains, organs and skeletons. Shall we feed drugs to the addicted and dedicate ourselves to fighting off the results of addiction at one and the same time?

    Comment by heliotrope — October 22, 2012 @ 11:17 am – October 22, 2012

    Agreed, heliotrope.

    Levi and his ilk have hectored, screamed, taxed, and outright discriminated against cigarettes, alcohol, Happy Meals, and large sodas as a matter of public health, but then insist that society should endorse, support, and subsidize their desire to sit on bongs all day.

    The price of legalization in my mind would be twofold: one, elimination of any and all public health care or insurance subsidy, and two, an absolute guarantee of the right to fire/not hire any employee who shows signs of drug use, including alcohol and tobacco (whether one chooses to voluntarily employ such people, of course, remains their own decision).

    And then sit back and let nature take its course.

    Levi the Choom Prince will resist this, of course, because Choom People like himself, his girlfriend, his parents, and his Barack Obama want to be able to show up for work stoned out of their minds, not show up for work because they’re stoned out of their minds, and have their bills paid for them when they can’t work because they’re stoned out of their minds.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 22, 2012 @ 12:20 pm - October 22, 2012

  29. You’re kind of stupid if you think the video had nothing to do with the attack. The video and subsequent protests around the world likely prompted the attackers in Benghazi to move up their timetable. There were other attacks, in other countries, at various embassies, mind you. The association of the video and attack was therefore not exactly far-fetched. Additionally, the idea that we should have a crystal clear assessment of what happened as soon as we find out about it is unrealistic. The impatience and hysterical urgency is purely political, and it doesn’t even make sense. Romney was humiliating himself on this issue before anyone was even hurt, if you remember.

    There are security lapses and intelligence failures and we unfortunately don’t have enough resources to grant every foreign service worker all of the security that they need to be totally and completely safe. The nature of ambassador Stevens’ work actually necessitates a certain amount of exposure to these kinds of attacks, since walling yourself up in a fortress with armed guards on all the walls isn’t exactly reassuring to the people we’re trying to befriend. What would conservatives have us do? Should Obama grant every request for security? Should President Romney deploy a battalion of marines to every embassy in the region?

    Oh who am I kidding? Its political season and that is the extent to which you guys care about this at all. It’s a conveniently timed news item for the GOP to try to make everyone forget about their failures and Obama’s successes, and it inexplicably seems to be working despite your complete deficit of credibility on foreign policy.

    Comment by levi — October 22, 2012 @ 12:38 pm - October 22, 2012

  30. By any metric, the drug war is a complete failure. I would think that conservatives, who claim to want smaller, less Intrusive government running smaller budgets, would be enthusiastic about ending policies that are complete failures. Prohibition provides us with a perfect fable about why criminalizing drugs is ineffective at drug use and how it enables massive criminal enterprise. But nope, let’s just dismiss the critics of this policy as bong-toking lowlifes and that will be that.

    I tell you what, if I had a 16 year old kid, I would much prefer to discover a few joints in his/her underwear drawer than find out they’re getting black out drunk every weekend. I won’t be moralized to about the ill effects of marijuana by a culture that loves alcohol as much as ours.

    Comment by levi — October 22, 2012 @ 12:47 pm - October 22, 2012

  31. “I tell you what, if I had a 16 year old kid, I would much prefer to discover a few joints in his/her underwear drawer than find out they’re getting black out drunk every weekend.”

    I had a dream. Somehow you are able to breed abd plague the planet with your spawn. Then your child is forced to use a schoolbus driven by one of those drug addicts you like so much.

    Poetic justice

    Comment by susan — October 22, 2012 @ 2:30 pm - October 22, 2012

  32. Aww, isn’t it cute? The little Truther resorts to the ever shifting talking points that the non-existant protesters turned into terrorists, after Free RPG day took on a very different meaning.

    Of course, the CIA says otherwise. So did Ambassador Stevens.
    So did State.

    But our little fascist loves to cling to his big lie…

    Now hush Levi, the adults are talking.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 22, 2012 @ 2:31 pm - October 22, 2012

  33. You’re kind of stupid if you think the video had nothing to do with the attack.

    More evidence “levi” is a parody. I don’t expect something this stupid even from Levi. Another_Jeremy and Kevin, yes, but not Levi. And what’s with the sudden switch to a lower case handle?

    There are security lapses and intelligence failures and we unfortunately don’t have enough resources to grant every foreign service worker all of the security that they need to be totally and completely safe.

    But it is very important to make sure the embassy in Vienna has Chevy Volts.

    Yes, it is unrealistic to expect any administration to be able to respond to some catastrophe without making any mistakes. But it shouldn’t be unrealistic to expect an administration to handle it with at least a degree of competence and not have a different story every week attempting to make an excuse for its incompetence.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — October 22, 2012 @ 2:33 pm - October 22, 2012

  34. Levi,
    You sit in front of your TV with your piehole closed, I don’t care. You go out and get behind the steering wheel of a car, then you deserve to lose your driver’s license for about 10 years so you can think about it. Because dude, pot smokers think s.l.o.w.

    Comment by midwestlady — October 22, 2012 @ 3:10 pm - October 22, 2012

  35. You’re kind of stupid if you think the video had nothing to do with the attack. The video and subsequent protests around the world likely prompted the attackers in Benghazi to move up their timetable.

    What “spontaneous demonstration” has a previously-established timetable?

    You don’t even realize that you are contradicting your own arguments, Levi. That is how utterly unhinged and stupid you are.

    Additionally, the idea that we should have a crystal clear assessment of what happened as soon as we find out about it is unrealistic.

    But you demanded it of Bush on 9/11, Troofer.

    Again, just admit that Obama is not capable of meeting the same standards that you apply to white Presidents. That’s all we want to hear.

    There are security lapses and intelligence failures and we unfortunately don’t have enough resources to grant every foreign service worker all of the security that they need to be totally and completely safe.

    But we have enough to buy Nancy Pelosi a private airliner stocked with booze and gourmet food for domestic travel and for Obama’s little millionaire slumlord Valerie Jarrett to have a full Secret Service detail, don’t we?

    And this was beyond hilarious:

    I tell you what, if I had a 16 year old kid, I would much prefer to discover a few joints in his/her underwear drawer than find out they’re getting black out drunk every weekend. I won’t be moralized to about the ill effects of marijuana by a culture that loves alcohol as much as ours.

    Comment by levi — October 22, 2012 @ 12:47 pm – October 22, 2012

    Guess what, Levi?

    It is abnormal for a sixteen-year-old to even be in the position that they CAN get “blackout-drunk” every weekend.

    Think about it. They can barely drive, they barely have jobs, which means they are hardly are in the financial position to purchase large quantities of alcoholic beverages, and there are laws that are supposed to prevent them from purchasing alcoholic beverages in the first place.

    Not to mention parental supervision.

    The fact that your parents and your friends’ parents allowed you to get blackout-drunk every weekend with no questions asked and with full funding is abnormal. The fact that your parents and your friends’ parents encouraged and supported sixteen-year-olds like you and your friends abusing alcohol is abnormal. The fact that your parents and their friends abused alcohol and taught you that doing so was culturally acceptable is abnormal.

    This is what you don’t and will never get, Levi. You were raised by incompetent parents who thought that sixteen-year-olds getting blackout drunk was normal, that sixteen-year-olds storing marijuana in their house was normal, that sixteen-year-olds (and younger) coercing women into sex, having sex with them when they were drunk or otherwise impaired, and having unprotected sex because they “forgot” their condoms was normal.

    That is NOT normal. Teenagers are more than capable of understanding and abiding by rules, and it is the number-one-job of parents to establish and enforce those rules. Your parents were abnormal, and more importantly, they were incompetent.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 22, 2012 @ 3:21 pm - October 22, 2012

  36. As a parent of teenagers I don’t send the message that drinking and drugs are acceptable. Neither would be looked on favorably in our house if discovered.

    Comment by Just Me — October 22, 2012 @ 8:17 pm - October 22, 2012

  37. The caterpillar, smoking his hookah on top of the mushroom, intones:

    By any metric, the drug war is a complete failure.

    (Or maybe it was Levi. Same difference.)

    Let us stipulate for the sake of argument that the drug war is a complete failure by any metric. Fine.

    So, does that mean total surrender? Shall we throw open the doors to all stimulants from low grade, home grown pot to killer designer drugs? I can just hear the little fascist user start in on how some drugs have to be kept out of the hands on some age groups, blah, blah, blah, blah…..

    Which, of course means, by only the metrics the little fascist user assumes has the drug war been a complete failure in terms of those drugs the little fascist user favors.

    Once again, the little fascist user shifts the argument to alcohol rather than stick with his original argument which concerns the efficacy of smoking pot.

    Marijuana can have low strengths of 2-3% THC and up to 30% potency in high grade strains. Smoking the flowers of the plant delivers significantly higher THC. So, like the alcohol content level in beer or the content level in grain alcohol not all alcohol is equal and not all marijuana is equal.

    Addicts seek and handle higher strengths of the stimulant source and eventually they lose aspects of their mental and physical health to the addiction.

    The little fascist user seems shy about specifying the strength, usage pattern and age access to his beloved weed.

    Next, of course, the little fascist user will tell us that by any metric, pot is not a gateway drug.

    Comment by heliotrope — October 22, 2012 @ 8:39 pm - October 22, 2012

  38. So, does that mean total surrender? Shall we throw open the doors to all stimulants from low grade, home grown pot to killer designer drugs? I can just hear the little fascist user start in on how some drugs have to be kept out of the hands on some age groups, blah, blah, blah, blah….

    Meh. If people don’t care about people using marijuana, I don’t see why they should care about people using crystal meth. I certainly don’t. Although, I would be more comfortable with that if I had a gun. Then again, since Canada has universal health care, screw that.

    Comment by Rattlesnake — October 23, 2012 @ 1:38 am - October 23, 2012

  39. Just Me @ 36

    Well, obviously. I presented a hypothetical. If you don’t want to play along, then don’t bother.

    Comment by levi — October 23, 2012 @ 6:03 am - October 23, 2012

  40. Rattlesnake @ 38

    Marijuana is not the same as crystal meth. Alcohol is more like crystal meth than marijuana. You sound ridiculous.

    Comment by levi — October 23, 2012 @ 6:06 am - October 23, 2012

  41. Rattlesnake @ 33

    You fail to specify what exactly was incompetent. Additionally, changing the story as new information is revealed is desirable, and completely contradicts the cover-up/conspiracy angle you guys are so desperate for.

    Republicans are doing a huge amount of white washing of their own behavior, as usual, and rapidly fleeing from their own statements and proclamations about Benghazi to pretend like they had it right all along. However, as you should remember, Romney’s original criticism was all about how the Obama administration was apologizing for the video. The initial conservative response was to complain about how irrational the Muslims are and how Obama was abandoning free speech. So the underlying premise of the Republican critiques relied on an association of the video and the attack. This is a perfectly logical conclusion to make, by the way, in that the dual news events of the Benghazi attack and the video protests happened at the same time. If Obama got it wrong, then the Republicans got it wrong too, although they have a lot more to be embarrassed about. Romney’s press conference was shameless political opportunism, and this ‘act of terror’ business from the second debate reinforced the shallowness of his candidacy.

    Comment by levi — October 23, 2012 @ 6:22 am - October 23, 2012

  42. Heliotrope @ 37

    Why is it out of bounds to compare marijuana to alcohol? The prohibition against pot is just as effective as was the prohibition against booze, which is to say, not at all, and only serves to reward criminals and devastate poorer communities. Everyone recognizes Prohibition as a total disaster, and this would seem to be a good point of comparison if you’re making the argument that I’m making. Why should I ignore the best weapon at my disposal? If you recognize alcohol prohibition as a bad idea, then you must also recognize weed prohibition as a bad idea, unless you’ve consumed too much propaganda.

    By any metric, marijuana is safer than alcohol. Marijuana also has a wide range of therapeutic and medical uses, and those facts by itself are all you need to know about why its illegal. Any free-marketer worth a piss should be able to appreciate the monopoly that the alcohol industry has negotiated for itself within our culture. Despite the potential of overdose, despite the clear association of alcohol and violent crime, despite the cumulative health risks, we’ve been trained to consider drinking an acceptable form of altering one’s mental state and to view marijuana use as somehow, much worse. Alcohol doesn’t have to compete against objectively superior competition because the competition is arbitrarily banned. Is that the fee market?

    Likewise with the pharmaceutical industry. Weed fulfills a variety of medical roles, but its unavailable because pharmaceutical companies can’t compete with it. A small dose stimulates the appetite, it soothes pain, it relives stress, all with no hangover and few side effects- and the best part is that you can grow it yourself and effectively pay nothing to have a wonder drug that again, is objectively superior in a number of ways to what you can get in a pharmacy.

    Take into account the prison industry and the various industries that supply law enforcement with equipment and gadgetry and you should have a clear understanding of why marijuana is illegal. Its not because its bad for you, its not because its a gateway drug, its because a whole lot of rich, powerful people have a financial stake in keeping it illegal. That’s all it is, and it seems to me that this is a silly reason to ban something. But what do I know? I’m just a capitalist.

    Weed should be completely legalized and regulated and taxed like alcohol and cigarettes. Other drugs are a different matter, but I’m generally in favor of decriminalization. We need to start treating people’s addictions and not just punishing offenders. We have to tackle the demand, since targeting the supply has not working. This would require a better social safety net, universal healthcare, better education…. you know, stuff conservatives hate. Better than enabling a black market drug trade thats killed millions of people through violence, if you ask me.

    Finally, you should stop making assumptions about me. Its possible to advocate for pot legalization without being a user, just like its possible to advocate for social programs and universal healthcare without needing them personally. You guys have created a ridiculous caricature that bares no resemblance to the real me, and it seems like most of your responses are predicated exclusively on that caricature and not on my arguments. Stop wasting your time.

    Comment by levi — October 23, 2012 @ 7:00 am - October 23, 2012

  43. However, as you should remember, Romney’s original criticism was all about how the Obama administration was apologizing for the video. The initial conservative response was to complain about how irrational the Muslims are and how Obama was abandoning free speech. </blockquote<
    Because he has.

    So the underlying premise of the Republican critiques relied on an association of the video and the attack. This is a perfectly logical conclusion to make, by the way, in that the dual news events of the Benghazi attack and the video protests happened at the same time.

    Wrong as usual.

    First there were no ‘protests’.

    Second, the Republicans criticized Obama for attacking free speech. But we know you’re opposed to free speech anyway. So keep sticking to the Big Lie. Your fellow fascists would be proud.

    Now hush Levi, the adults are talking.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 23, 2012 @ 7:58 am - October 23, 2012

  44. Levi,

    So answer the point. You want to legalize pot. Why not crystal meth? You pronounce alcohol to be more like crystal meth than pot. You declared the war on drugs to be a complete failure. In that statement alone, you tacitly imply that drugs, not just pot, should be legalized.

    And why not put a little pot in a Happy Meal? Maybe you can make a case for toddlers toking rather than Ritalin.

    You storm-troopered this whole issue with:

    By any metric, the drug war is a complete failure.

    Maybe you are thinking that the good old cocaine dens of yore are the solution. Maybe you are just a parrot stuck on one set of words. Maybe you haven’t got a clue on how your beloved social engineering should proceed with your equally squishy and beloved social justice. Maybe you are stuck on stupid.

    Comment by heliotrope — October 23, 2012 @ 8:49 am - October 23, 2012

  45. Marijuana is not the same as crystal meth. Alcohol is more like crystal meth than marijuana. You sound ridiculous.

    I really don’t care. I don’t see why I would care if some people I don’t even know use crystal meth, aside from the universal health care system here (meaning taxpayers have to pay for their health problems).

    Comment by Rattlesnake — October 23, 2012 @ 12:19 pm - October 23, 2012

  46. I did answer the point, moron. Marijuana should be legalized and regulated, as alcohol is, and other drugs such as crystal method should be decriminalized so that the focus can move to rehabilitating people and not simply punishing them. We have a drug classification system in this country that takes into account the health effects and medical value of drugs. This system inexplicably classifies marijuana as among the worst of the worst despite all scientific and medical research to the contrary. If you correct this glaring error, the classifications are accurate enough.

    Your exceedingly dumb dismissals of every one of my political positions as “social engineering” ignores that the status quo is a far more restrictive, inefficient, and unjustifiable example of social engineering. Really, most political positions, including those that you endorse, are attempts to engineer the society. For profit corporations can engineer society too, for good or bad, and as I described earlier (you ignored it), the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries have engineered our society to criminalize a virtually harmless wonder drug for their own private profit. Their conception of social justice includes keeping people in jail for the non-crime of possessing this wonder drug. Tell me that this is preferable, or that such market favoritism is in the best interests of the country. At the very least, acknowledge it for the blatant distortion of the market that it is, since this is what’s supposed to get you conservatives hot and bothered. The social engineering I am recommending means removing that favoritism, granting people more freedom, reducing government waste and bureaucracy, and growing the economy. Get out of here with your stormtrooper bullshit.

    Comment by levi — October 23, 2012 @ 12:44 pm - October 23, 2012

  47. Is it me or is ‘levi’ coming off as Levi’s dumber cousin?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 23, 2012 @ 12:54 pm - October 23, 2012

  48. Rattlesnake @ #45 addresses the little fascist at the core of his socials:

    I don’t see why I would care if some people I don’t even know use crystal meth, aside from the universal health care system here (meaning taxpayers have to pay for their health problems).

    This illustrates the point nicely and it just appeared in the news today:

    AFP – France’s Socialist government plans to test launch a series of “shooting galleries” by the end of the year where addicts can inject illegal drugs under medical supervision, the health minister said.

    Bloomberg wants the government to control the size of sodas a store can sell. The little fascist wants social engineering to be imposed on captive public school children. The grand design for statists is to feed the drugs to their voters and then threaten that the other party will take them away from them.

    The libertarian is nearly cold-hearted on the subject of drugs. If someone goes down that road, fine. Just don’t screw up MY life. I’m not paying for your idiotic choices and if you come threatening me, I will defend myself with my friends, Smilth, Wesson, Remington and Winchester.

    In France, the dear sweet government is going to help addicts shoot up with clean and pure state equipment. “First do no harm” is now set forth as “Let me help you do harm in a safer way.”

    The little fascist refuses to address the depth to which he and his fascists are willing to involve the state in the “legalization” of drugs from rabbit weed to cultivated, high TCP genetically engineered marijuana, to hard drugs to designer drugs.

    Does the little fascist object to big pharma switching to addictive substances that will yield higher profits than pharmaceutical research and development?

    The mind boggles. But, as usual, this is run-away, run-away time for Levi.

    Comment by heliotrope — October 23, 2012 @ 12:55 pm - October 23, 2012

  49. Wow, the little fascist and I cross commented. I will certainly frisk his slithering, writhing attempt to think on the run.

    Comment by heliotrope — October 23, 2012 @ 12:59 pm - October 23, 2012

  50. The libertarian is nearly cold-hearted on the subject of drugs. If someone goes down that road, fine. Just don’t screw up MY life. I’m not paying for your idiotic choices and if you come threatening me, I will defend myself with my friends, Smilth, Wesson, Remington and Winchester.

    And no offence to Lori, but this is the strength and weakness of Libertarians. Not that they (we?) can’t step over the derelict in the street (or choose to spend our own resources to help him), but that human nature says ‘we must do something to help them!’ Our leaders used to be able to say ‘No, it isn’t our role’. Can we as a society still do that?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 23, 2012 @ 1:30 pm - October 23, 2012

  51. Marijuana should be legalized and regulated, as alcohol is, and other drugs such as crystal method should be decriminalized so that the focus can move to rehabilitating people and not simply punishing them.

    Oops, the little fascist just want the same government regulations of marijuana and hard drugs; he just wants to write the regulations and throw a whole Obamacare level of tending to the users on the taxpayers dime.

    Not that any of this is a bit surprising. We already have state laws for personal use and medical use weed. We have clean needle programs. We even regulated that Sterno be less poisonous.

    The little fascist is only now beginning to get a clear picture of what “social engineering” actually means. A statist sees all regulation as social engineering. Therefore, having traffic signals is social engineering by his dull understanding or an “organized democracy.” Social and fascists like Levi are little community organizers in their soft minds and they use the force of law and punishment to organize the society just the way they want it.

    Small government people see people as pretty darned capable of making their own choices for staying on the straight path and not intruding on the rights of others. We expect kids to learn to read in school, do basic math, get a grasp of history. Social engineers (fascists and socialists) are all consumed with what they read and feeding them the “correct” history and making damned sure that “correct” theories be worshipped.

    So, true to form, the little fascist just wants the “war on drugs” to be expanded to a spiderweb of social support services that will run around behind all the user sheeple and take care of them, fully, tenderly, perpetually on the endless budget taken by the point of a gun from other people.

    Once again, Levi is just posturing to recognized as the smartest social engineer in the room.

    Comment by heliotrope — October 23, 2012 @ 1:34 pm - October 23, 2012

  52. Helio,

    You don’t get to say that rehabilitation will be a vast new expense. Currently, the costs of enforcing drug laws , incarcerating people for petty drug offenses, the lost economic potential of the jailed, the violence associated with the drug trade, and the social welfare programs used by the families of those incarcerated are far more staggering. Rehabilitation is a steal in comparison, so to make it seem like I’m proposing a new spending program is dishonest. I’m also talking about saving the government billions of dollars, not to mention generating a huge new revenue stream. More revenue, more private sector growth, less government spending – that is the effect of focusing on full marijuana legalization and making rehabilitation the focus.

    People are making their own choices, and a good number of us are choosing to do hard drugs. This creates a number of social and economic problems and we need a means of addressing them. We have tried criminalization and it hasn’t worked, and indeed it has been largely counterproductive to the goal. We have incentivized fighting the drug war and for-profit companies have a hAve a huge stake in it going on I perpetuity. It doesn’t make any sense to continue a policy that has failed continuously for three decades.

    Comment by levi — October 23, 2012 @ 2:46 pm - October 23, 2012

  53. People are making their own choices, and a good number of us are choosing to do hard drugs.

    This explains much.

    This creates a number of social and economic problems and we need a means of addressing them.

    Shorter Levi, “I don’t want to face the consequences of my Meth use! I want someone else to.”

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 23, 2012 @ 4:05 pm - October 23, 2012

  54. Dang it. Today is “I can’t close an HTML tag” day at the Hermitage.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 23, 2012 @ 4:06 pm - October 23, 2012

  55. little fascist,

    All manner of “studies” litter the universe with what kind of money could be saved by legalizing drugs and letting people just do their thing. So, there are several approaches to “trying” to make change.

    The capitalistic solution is to take control of the products and let the free market manufacture, market and distribute them. Just exactly like cigarettes were made available before the surgeon general and liberals got all whinny about Joe Camel and people like John Wayne knowingly feeding their emphysema.

    So, apparently, your plan is that we keep our eyes out for drug users driving, using power tools, etc. and do what? Throw a net over them and rehabilitate them?

    People are making their own choices, and a good number of us are choosing to do hard drugs.

    Those are your words.

    You want to make drugs accessible to them and you want to keep them on the streets free to take advantage of the accessibility. I understand that part clearly.

    Now tell me where the state comes in as you are the little fascist who adores the state and its awesome power for social engineering. This as close as we get to how your mind tries to focus on the problem:

    This creates a number of social and economic problems and we need a means of addressing them.

    Huh? That is easy. Sweep up the drugs users and put them in internment camps.

    But, why would be do that to people who are doing what we have made legal?

    Maybe 16oz Bloomberg could pass a low against getting high when using drugs. Maybe Obama could use diplomacy to convince people to lay off the highs. Maybe the drug using minority could demand the military accept them and their open drug use. Maybe the AMA could refuse to take a stand against surgeons on drugs.

    You social engineering diversity liberals could get another Democrat voting block by being the government nanny for potheads, crackheads and zombies.

    Have you considered just executing drug users? That would be really cheap.

    Meanwhile, you have contributed nothing remotely new to an age old dilemma.

    Comment by heliotrope — October 23, 2012 @ 5:33 pm - October 23, 2012

  56. @Heliotrope.

    Maybe levi believes that people who are clearly cleaner and more sober than him should drag him kicking and screaming to rehab?

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 23, 2012 @ 7:12 pm - October 23, 2012

  57. Livewire,

    Levi is just kicking and screaming because calm and introspection drives him into a paroxysm of fear of personal responsibility.

    The little fascist has no ambition greater than imagining himself as some sort of satrap for the dictatorship of socialism. He would be an amazingly cold martinet for the faddish political correctness. Brownshirts everywhere would admire him.

    Comment by heliotrope — October 23, 2012 @ 9:12 pm - October 23, 2012

  58. Helio,

    First part – you decriminalize possession of hard drugs while keeping the laws against their production and distribution. We need to start reducing the demand for hard drugs since attacking the supply is not working. Again, the laws against marijuana are incomprehensible, and its manufacture and sale should be legalized and regulated.

    Second part – they already have access to drugs. I don’t want to increase their accessibility, their accessibility is the problem that I am trying to address.

    Third part – the status quo is a failure. People need to be encouraged to ask for help
    with their drug problems, and criminalization prevents that.

    Comment by levi — October 23, 2012 @ 9:26 pm - October 23, 2012

  59. Levi,

    You just drove yourself into a brick wall you built all by yourself.

    How do you differentiate between possession for personal use and possession with the intent to distribute in any different fashion than we are now doing?

    Of course they have access to drugs. That is why they are addicts. Is that some sort of epiphany?

    Any person who asks for help with his drug problem gets it. Show me, please, where anyone is locked up for asking for help.

    Of course they have access to drugs. That is why they are addicts. Is that some sort of epiphany?

    You continually dodge any reference to marijuana as rabbit weed as opposed to the genetically manipulated strains with high THC. That is a purposeful evasion on your part, isn’t it. You don’t want to deal with the weed that will take stun you. You prefer to pretend that a little hippie stash type of pot is benign.

    Wait until you see what Monsanto can do if they are turned loose to capture the pot market. You are the one going for capitalism, so don’t come crying about suppliers satisfying demand, OK?

    Comment by heliotrope — October 23, 2012 @ 11:20 pm - October 23, 2012

  60. First part – you decriminalize possession of hard drugs while keeping the laws against their production and distribution. We need to start reducing the demand for hard drugs since attacking the supply is not working.

    BWAHAHAHAHA!

    So Levi wants the person who makes the drugs for him and the person who sells him the drugs to be put away, but the risk of HIS buying it and using it to be eliminated.

    That’s all this is about, and it is a consistent pattern. Just like abortion — Levi wants everyone else to be forced to give him his way and pay his bills. Just like sex — Levi wants having sex while drunk, coercing other people into sex, and “forgetting” your condoms to be considered no worse than watching the wrong TV show.

    In short, Levi wants the state to be like his parents — pushovers who blame everyone else, punish everyone else, hand over cash to him with no questions asked, and keep HIM fat, happy, and high on whatever he wants at no cost or risk to him whatsoever.

    You are the problem, Levi. You are a druggie. You are sexually irresponsible. You are wasteful. You are lazy. You are jealous and malicious.

    This is not society’s problem; it is yours. YOURS.

    It is not, nor has it ever been, my responsibility to support, endorse, enable, pay for, and deal with the “social problems” that you create because you are too damn stupid to stop shoving heroin in your arm, coke up your nose, and weed heaven knows where.

    Of course, drug users like yourself can always justify what they’re doing:

    This system inexplicably classifies marijuana as among the worst of the worst despite all scientific and medical research to the contrary.

    even when science completely disagrees with you.

    The results of the present study suggest that increasing cannabis use in late adolescence and early adulthood is associated with a range of adverse outcomes in later life. High levels of cannabis use are related to poorer educational outcomes, lower income, greater welfare dependence and unemployment and lower relationship and life satisfaction.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — October 23, 2012 @ 11:23 pm - October 23, 2012

  61. We have to tackle the demand, since targeting the supply has not working.

    you decriminalize possession of hard drugs while keeping the laws against their production and distribution

    Dear little levi,
    Don’t do meth and post.

    Comment by The_Livewire — October 24, 2012 @ 8:08 am - October 24, 2012

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