Tuesday, November 06, 2012

A Pennsylvania Surprise?

My last official campaign entry "Election 2012: What's the fundamental issue?" is still posted below. But it seems I must do one more.

You see... I'm worried about Pennsylvania.  Mitt Romney just campaigned there and many in the press wondered why? Why take time from crucial swing states like Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Colorado, to campaign in a state President Obama has apparently sewn up? There's a chilling hypothesis, related to my recent posting about potential fraud with e-voting machines.  (NEW: see how easy it is to hack the voting machines!)

So, in that context, why might Mitt go to Pennsylvania? To give fig leaf cover for a Big Surprise?

Consider. The real potential for fraud lies in states that use electronic voting machines without accompanying paper ballots that can be audited. These are mostly red states where stuff like this -- and gerrymandering -- is apparently just fine. Expect Mitt's popular vote tally to be boosted even higher than plausible in those states, in order to give him a plurality sheen.  Those states won't shift the Electoral College...

...but Virginia and Pennsylvania are two swing states that also have no-audit electronic voting! Moreover, they have people in the right places. Carol Aichele is Secretary of State in Pennsylvania, and also a member of the Republican State Committee. Janet Vestal Kelly, Secretary of Virginia, is a veteran partisan operative. And all the voting machine manufacturers have deep connections to right wing politics.

If there's a Pennsylvania surprise, remember you heard it here first.  Expect Supreme Court Madness! Ah, but if it happens, here are some things Ms. Aichele and Ms. Kelly may not expect --

-- for good billionaires to come out with huge whistle blower rewards. For some henchmen to die then, in mysterious plane and car crashes. Whereupon one will blab and the rest go to prison.

Aw heck... expect that I'm being paranoid and it'll all work out and we'll prove wise and good and live up to the investment that our ancestors devoted to us.

Be sure to vote.

     =====     =====     =====

==See also: Attention Henchmen: Voting Machines and other conspiracies

and The Electoral College: A Surprisingly Easy Fix

142 comments:

Jacob said...

I've mentioned that I recently took Security Digital Democracy which focused a lot of its attention on E-Voting. One of the Posts by the Instructor was on Highest Risk of an E-Voting Meltdown.

It had the following states listed with a threat levels 0-100.

1 Pennsylvania 100.0
2 Ohio 67.0
3 Virginia 66.0
4 Colorado 42.0
5 Nevada 36.0
6 Iowa 20.0
7 New Hampshire 20.0
8 Florida 16.0
9 Wisconsin 11.0
10 Michigan 8.0

https://freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/kroll/risk-of-an-e-voting-meltdown/

Now I'd like to say that I'm not sure if I believe this.

Jason said...

Hey David,

I voted in Virginia this morning. I was pleasantly surprised that they gave me a paper ballot to fill out and then scan into the electronic voting machine.

I assume that the paper ballot is kept as an official record, so perhaps VA is no longer as susceptible to what you suggest?

Take care,

-J

David Brin said...

Jason, my source on the voting machine problems was
http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506676/the-states-with-the-riskiest-voting-technology/

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/506676
/the-states-with-the-riskiest-voting-technology/

which appears to rate PA and VA worse than OH.

Jacob said...

Hi Jason,

Let me cover some of the ways VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail aka what you used.) can be compromised.

- The counting program on the scanning machine could be hacked.
- The scanned count total could be replaced with a different one between end of polling and the Centralized Counting Machine which adds them together. (Insider Attack)
- The Centralized Counting Machine could be hacked.
- The Officials could simply report a different total than the one the Centralized Counting Machine Reported.

Most of these problem can be resolved by post election auditing. I'm not sure how much money Virginia has devoted in order to ensure Election Integrity. It can be relatively cheap so I would hope they would do so. You'll hear a lot about the process in the news IF there is a big surprise. (At least, I hope you will.)

Experience: I've worked elections as a the head of a precinct and taken a class on Election Security.

Jacob said...

Ok, the main point of David Brin's post is to explore the possibility of Election Integrity Failure (Someone stealing it.)

My class explained the primary thing which reduces Election Integrity is Ballot Secrecy. Ballot Secrecy is important for the following reasons...
- Violence, Firing, Disappointment used as coercion by those in your life to bring negative consequences to voting against their interest.
- Bribery and Favoritism used as coercion on encourage people to vote other than they would have in the first place.
- Simple Privacy which many people think very important. (Although this is pretty much the same thing as soft versions of the above.)

---
The tension is Integrity vs Secrecy.

My question is would you accept moderate risk of Secrecy failure in order to promote a large increase in Integrity?

bobsandiegio said...

Ahh Dr Brin, you are one of the nicest pro in the SF community, but you do love your conspiracy theories.
Republicans always make a'play' for PA late in the election. I truly doubt that there is the underground plan to steal the election. (Sadly their plan is above ground with voter ID laws.)
Let's suppose though that the electorate is not as predicted and they win PA. Your friendly billionares come out, make their offer, and no one come forward. Would you admit that there is not conspiracy?

Brett Glass said...

David:

Looked like you called it!

http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/11/06/machine-turns-vote-for-obama-into-one-for-romney/

David Brin said...

Smoking gun video from inside a voting booth!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdpGd74DrBM&feature=youtu.be

Then see:

http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/12q6wu/2012_voting_machine_altering_votes/c6x8sbi

http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/
12q6wu/2012_voting_machine_altering_votes/c6x8sbi

David Brin said...

MSNBC has picked it up:

http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/11/06/machine-turns-vote-for-obama-into-one-for-romney/

http://tv.msnbc.com/2012/11/06/machine-
turns-vote-for-obama-into-one-for-romney/

If it's true than.... WHY??? Why make your cheating visible on-screen? Are you guys morons?

Robert said...

Oh no, Dr. Brin. It's much more insidious. It's "obviously" a defective machine. A couple defective machines turn up in Democratic districts. They get turned off. Lines for voting increase, so voters are discouraged. Meanwhile, OTHER voting machines are tinkered with more carefully so to hide the changed votes. Why investigate machines that appear to work properly?

Romney wins, an investigation shows that a couple machines had defects, Diebold replaces the machines for free, and no one questions how Romney actually won.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Robert, hard to see that. This thing is super viral and may inspire a lot more folks to go out and vote. In fact, I wonder if it is fraudulent for that purpose. But probably it's real and proves me right! Probably. Yeah.

Danny Adams said...

And not only is Virginia a state whose attorney general didn't think our nationwide-newsworthy verified case of GOP vote fraud was worth investigating, but whose GOP officials didn't press charges against the fraudster until they bowed to popular outcry.

Tacitus2 said...

Lets not bring out the tin foil kepis quite yet.

Tacitus

amy campbell said...

Vote by mail!

Randy Winn said...

The touch screen video *might* have been the result of a very thin layer of gunk on the screen....easy to apply by either by a set-up worker or by a voter. Experiment with your cellphone's touchscreen; how easy is it to mess *that* up? And the crime would be almost impossible to prove. The problem is in doing it wholesale although who knows? Other explanations are possible of course. It might "just" have been calibration "error" by a poll worker, another thing hard to prove ("sorry, I just screwed up!"). The easiest thing to prove would be deliberately induced code defect, so long as the code were auditable. If voting machine code is not audited, only a fool would trust the results.

There's plenty of evidence that this is a dirty, dirty election, from blatant attempts to block political opponents from voting to outright ballot tampering; maybe it's always been so, but we have the right to expect 100% integrity.

(The Oregon poll worker suspected of altering ballots is now saying she only altered two. She would be well advised either to lawyer up and shut up, or else to spill the beans to one of Dr. Brin's billionaires.)

Anonymous said...

About the "broken" machine in the Obama leaning district... What happens to the votes already collected by that machine? Discarded? Because if so, that would be a nice way to kill some Obama votes...

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

If it's true than.... WHY??? Why make your cheating visible on-screen? Are you guys morons?


It's not that kind of cheating. The machine in question didn't flip the vote internally. It just had an ACTUAL space on the screen much bigger than the VISIBLE box next to Romney's name which triggered a vote for Romney. That area covered most of the visible boxes next to Romney's AND Obama's names.

Apparently, the voter could get it to register an Obama vote by locating a very tiny sliver at the bottom of the Obama box. So the poll worker told him "Then there's no problem."

Look, I can be as much a partisan warrior as anyone here, but do people really sleep well at night knowing that they've helped their side "win" by blatant cheating? What, do they rationalize that they're just compensating for the other side's cheating? Or that it's so important that they win that the end justifies the means?

matthew said...

Exit polling showing ohio D+7, cnn reports. Let us watch to see what the margin is at the end of the night. Of we see a big swing, ready the billionaires on the henchmen tip.

Paul451 said...

Re: The hacking video for the Sequoia voting machines.
I hadn't seen those kinds of machines before (seriously, America, WTF is with these stupid voting machines), but wouldn't these kinds of "paper screen over buttons" machines be vulnerable to an election day "hack" where a group of early voters just smuggle in a different paper front? (Assuming you wanted to steal a county rather than the Presidency.) Even if a group of late voters restore the original paper front, it still only takes two people per "hacked" machine.

Tacitus2,
Why is it so important for you to explain away or diminish claims of Republican electoral fraud? If someone was talking about ballot stuffing or bribery in Illinois, or amongst the old Southern Dems back in the day, you wouldn't bat an eyelid.

Paul451 said...

Looks like Johnson's getting less than a percent, even in safe states.

Virginia looks like the "surprise" state so far. Wildly different result to prior polling.

[I originally wrote "Johnson's pulling..." but that made me giggle.)

(Dircou 42: A blaster in every belt, a cruiser in every dock.)

Robert said...

Shame about Johnson. I voted for him, seeing I'm in Massachusetts. I hope he gets a better percentage as time goes on. As for Election Fraud... I'm with Tacitus, for all my gloom and doom forecasting earlier. I feel it is easier to attribute these events to individuals working alone than to a large-scale conspiracy. One person can keep a secret. Two might be able to. Three? Secrets almost never last once they grow beyond two.

Rob H.

Tacitus2 said...

Paul 451

I have actually not commented much on the issue of Republican voter fraud. So I am not minimizing or explaining away anything.

If there are specific instances you want to discuss I am of course open to doing so.

Tacitus

Paul451 said...

I stand corrected, Pennsylvania is wildly diverging from polls, but towards Obama. 64/35 at 25% counted.

Paul451 said...

Was looking at some of the referendum measures:

Maine and Maryland appear to have both legalised Same Sex Marriage. While Minnesota has rejected a ban on same.

Massachusetts has legalised medical marijuana, but rejected physician-assisted suicide. Colorado has also legalised medical marijuana, but Arkansas has rejected it.

A couple of states have carried challenges to Obamacare, Florida has rejected a rejection. And a bunch of presumably local issues I don't have the foggiest idea about.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Brin & Company, did you forget to comment on this one? http://www.marionstar.com/article/20121031/NEWS03/310310009/Voting-machine-swaps-Romney-Obama

Or am I to understand that switching Romney votes to Obama is not an issue?

Besides, PA is sown up for Obama, so I guess the henchmen did a very poor job this cycle.

Paul451 said...

Florida's still in play. Wisconsin is tightening.

Anon,
The NC vote-swap hasn't been videoed yet. Nor has it changed the result. On the flip side the size of the Obama win in Penn is... surprising.

Hmmm, given the widespread belief in Republican... shenanigans, to use David's word, I wonder if there's now a strong sense of justification amongst Dem true-believers of defrauding votes/voting-machines.

Since it looks like Obama will romp in the Electoral College, but lose the popular vote, we can hope there'll be a push by Republicans to undo the damage they have done to vote-transparency, and hopefully the Dems are smart enough to agree. But the cynic in me says that won't happen. Republicans will use it to rally the base rather than actually do anything, and the Dems will be weak and stupid and waste the opportunity entirely.

Ian said...

Paul, lots of votes still to be counted in California - probably enough to give Obama a win in the popular vote.

Anonymous said...

This is going to get ugly. Look at the maps! America is Romny country! Obama loses popular vote? This will be the most illegitimate president in history. Get ready for civil war folks...

David Brin said...

WOw Paul! Thanks for those updates on ballot initiatives. So Gay marriage has finally passed with actual voters? Milestone.

Marihuana? Fantastic! This gives Obama cover to call for a national conference. One can hope.

The Senate is the big news. We'll get a sane court. The next appointee will be a white protestant male, the vanishing species.

David Brin said...

Anon, where was your outrage about the popular vote winner having it stolen from him... in 2000?

LarryHart said...

Hey, I want to believe President Obama has won as much as anyone, but I can't believe the networks have all "given" Ohio to him when it looks to me like the race is neck and neck.

I'd feel much more comfortable if Virginia or Florida comes in for the pres, so it won't all hang on Ohio.

I'm going to hit the sack soon, so I guess I'll see in the morning. Or if it's 2000-redux, then I'll find out in mid-December.

A bit of schaudenfreude, not for the presidential race, but for the Senate. Once again, the Tea Party costs Republicans control of the chamber. Take that, Mitch MoConnell!

TheMadLibrarian said...

ANY switching of votes, either direction, is bad and I'm agin' it. We shall see if Obama gets the popular vote after everything is tallied; right now, it's statistically too close to call, and the electoral vote is not as close as in 2000, so I don't think we are in recount-land.

TheMadLibrarian
34 tygnes: gene-spliced tigers and... pines???

Randy Winn said...

I hope the call for Ohio is correct, or mooted by success in a couple of other states.

I am pleasantly surprised that the flood of money from Citizens United did not overwhelm other factors. Perhaps it was offset by technology-enabled openness, e.g. the 47% video was not only captured but disseminated by means not available until recently.

Paul451 said...

Washington State has voted to legalise marijuana, not just medical marijuana. Oregon rejected the same. Washington also voted to legalise same sex marriage. Democrats might finally grow a spine on both issues.

Bunch more red states have voted to reject Obamacare (or aspects of it).

Physician-assisted suicide in Mass. is back on a knife-edge. No pun intended.

North Dakota voted for a smoking ban for bars and clubs, by a massive margin, surprising for such a conservative state.

Speaking of which, Montana has voted for anti-abortion, anti-illegal-immigrant, and anti-Obamacare measures, but also for medical marijuana.

Been an interesting election.

LarryHart said...

Randy Winn:

I am pleasantly surprised that the flood of money from Citizens United did not overwhelm other factors.


I'm with you there!

In 2008, I wanted Obama to win mainly because I wanted his strategy of collecting many small donations to be validated. This time around, I want the big donors to Karl Rove and company to understand that they don't get any bang for their buck.

Paul451 said...

Oops, misread Colorado referendum. It was marijuana as well, not just medical marijuana. So that's two states that have voted to legalise marijuana.

(It depresses me that Australia isn't leading on this issue. We have lost the reform instinct.)

sociotard said...

As I type this, Obama has an insurmountable lead in the electoral college, yet trails a bit in the popular.

David Said...
Tacitus, talk about governing without a mandate? Geez! GWBush entered office with most voters having voted against him! A decent, humble person would have

1) at once asked two electors to switch their vote for VP and chosen Lieberman, as a gesture of good will to that majority -- heck, though Lieberman was ostensibly a democrat we'd have had a conservative republican (Goldwater type) instead of a lunatic-olugarch-old-manshoting-criminal.


David, would you advocate your side lead from the front? If Obama does trail in the popular, even by 0.1%, who would you like Obama to take as VP or stick in his Cabinet?

matthew said...

I'll answer that one- put in johnson in the cabinet. You can't undermine your sitting vp when he is more liberal than you, it'd be real ugly intra party. But offer johnson a cabinet position, or better yet how about the Government Accountability Office? Inspector General? Turn loose a rabid anti spending libertarian on government waste. Now thats a reach across the aisle...

Paul451 said...

Sociotard,
Hillary's retiring (and claims she's not running in 2016), so there's space for a Republican Sec.State.

LarryHart
"I want the big donors to Karl Rove and company to understand that they don't get any bang for their buck."

Krugman speculated that Rove is running what is essentially an investor scam. Making token efforts at campaigning, but skimming vast sums into his own pocket.

Robert said...

And now it's looking like Obama is managing both an Electoral blowout and squeaking by with a majority of the popular vote. So, Anon, do you still think we'll have Revolution since Obama won legitimately? After all, if the majority of voters reelected him, then it's the will of the people. Isn't it time to reach out across the aisle and stop this silliness?

Though Huffypost is being very pessimistic. They believe that the House will be anti-negotiation with the intent of waiting 'til 2014 when a bunch more vulnerable Democratic Senators will be up for reelection, sweep the Senate, and then take the White House in 2016 with Obama being a four-year-lame-duck President.

I'm not sure. I think that Democrats are going to start recording every single incident with Republican House and Senate members... and then will swamp the 2014 elections with a huge amount of information on how these congresspeople have refused to do their job and deliberately obstructed the legitimate President. And after two more years of obstruction... Americans might very well have had enough.

Rob H.

Paul451 said...

Re: Job for Johnson.

Attorney General. (Call off the Federal dogs over State medical marijuana.)

Mitchell J. Freedman said...

Jeez, David, you sounded like my folks this morning. Have some faith in the Nate Silvers of the world. I told my boss this afternoon CA time that Obama would be announced as the winner by 9 p.m. Pacific Time, and that he'd win PA, Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin. He said he kept hearing Romney's gonna win--he watches lots of FoxNews--and I said those guys will be revealed as Baghdad Bobs for their rank propaganda.

It's still very close in Ohio and Virginia, but not in Wisconsin and Iowa. But Obama should still win when the counting is all completed...

Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton sat as President for two terms, but never won a majority of the popular vote (43% in 1992, 49.2% in 1996). Only three other Presidents did this (John Q. Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Benjamin Harrison) and they were all one term Presidents. Did Clinton steal 8 years of the Presidency or lack legitamacy?

G. W. Bush is alleged to have 'stolen' his first term in office for having lost the popular vote while carrying the majority of the states, but one a majority of the popular vote for his second term. The 2000 election raised one major issue with me -- how do you determine the outcome of an election when the results are within the marjin of error for the voting system? No one has addressed this question. Ever.

Paul451 said...

So, all that effort, money, time and attention. And the US votes for Obama as President. Democrat control of the Senate. And Republican control of the House.

Again.

David Brin said...

Gloat? Nope. Instead...



To all whom I might have offended, with the intensity of my engagement in the political process via social media, my apologies for any excesses, polemical or emotional or personal. I sincerely hope and pray we can get past the Baby Boomer generation's penchant for indignation, which has played into the hands of certain media manipulators who are instigating Civil War...

...and that we can move back to NORMAL politics. Arguing. Negotiating. Finding pragmatic mixes of private, market and state solutions as we overcome problems with good will and science. Compromising when logic and decency and evidence and facts suggest it's time to shift. Reciting that most sacred of phrases taught to all young scientists:

"I think I'm right, but admit that I might be partly - even wholly - wrong. Let's come up with clear tests to check it out."

Travc said...

I've given the topic of voting systems quite a bit of though, and come to a few rather simple conclusions.

1) The only trustworthy system is one which does not require that you trust any of the parts.
2) Error is unavoidable, so near uniformity of error rates is required to avoid biasing the results.
3) If you aren't talking about the voting SYSTEM, as opposed to machines or some other part, you're missing the point.

There are some possible electronic systems using clever and exotic cryptographic approaches, but they aren't practical even if they are technologically possible. It may be fun and even educational to think about them, but they aren't going to make any sense to actually use anytime soon.

So...........

A voter verified paper trail is required. (Any relatively durable human-readable physical token recording the vote choices would work, but paper is easy.)

This paper trail is the actual vote. Any direct electronic recording records are counts or estimates, not votes. Physical security for the paper votes is required, but this isn't particularly difficult... though does raise issues for vote-by-mail. A stub/receipt which can be used to verify that a ballot has been received (and later counted) may be in order, but this raises some other issues.

Random sample recounts are required. Always required, not just a good idea or something to do if the race is very close. These sample counts have to be conducted in full public view. Even better if multiple sample counts are independently conducted. (The sample size doesn't have to be very large unless the race is close. We actually have math which should be used to determine the sample sizes.)

If we implement these, the actual voting machines don't really matter much. A fancy electronic voting machine (which can be useful, especially for the disabled) is really just a nice interface on a ballot printer, possibly with some electronic recording to keep a tally as it prints out those filled in ballots.

However...
The voter registration system is also very broken. This also needs to be fixed.
Additionally, ease of voting, mostly access/lines, needs to be addressed. This pretty much requires federal funding.

Travc said...

Anonymous said...
"The 2000 election raised one major issue with me -- how do you determine the outcome of an election when the results are within the marjin of error for the voting system? No one has addressed this question. Ever."

I'm glad you brought this up. One little appreciated fact about FL in 2000...
The voting machines used in some large strongly Dem areas had roughly double the error rate of the machines used in the rest of the state. This biased the results in GW Bush's favor by quite a bit more than any of the various vote-count differences.

Add in registration crap and other suppression, and we can say with quite a bit of confidence that the will of the people who tried to vote in FL went for Gore.

But you are certainly correct. Voting is a sort of measurement process. It has a margin of error, and we really should handle statistical ties in a better way than flying in armies of lawyers.

BTW: MIT and Caltech created a very good report on the whole FL 2000 debacle.

PS: It would be nice if you used an identity other than Anonymous. Even an arbitrary one just for here, so long as you're consistent.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Krugman speculated that Rove is running what is essentially an investor scam. Making token efforts at campaigning, but skimming vast sums into his own pocket.


And Thom Hartmann has also speculated that Limbaugh, FOX etc actaully preferred an Obama victory. They do better with an audience to rile up against liberal rule than they do with Republicans actually in charge.

LarryHart said...


The 2000 election raised one major issue with me -- how do you determine the outcome of an election when the results are within the marjin of error for the voting system? No one has addressed this question. Ever.


Well, I'm not "anyone" famous, but I thought about the same thing in 2000. I actually believe there should be an agreed-upon margin of error prior to the election, and if the difference falls in there, it counts as a tie. Otherwise, there's always some sort of Heisenberg-uncertainty where you can't truly know the exact number of votes. Re-count 5 times and you'll get 5 different numbers. Which is the "true" total?

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Reciting that most sacred of phrases taught to all young scientists:

"I think I'm right, but admit that I might be partly - even wholly - wrong. Let's come up with clear tests to check it out."


So despite all protests to the contrary, a liberal after all?

(Sorry, but that's meant as a compliment)

Tony Fisk said...

So despite all protests to the contrary, a liberal after all?

No... a scientist, I'd say ;-)

Tim H. said...

I'm amused that, in at least a couple of states, libertarian-friendly issues were passed...by liberals. Vox populi, vox dei, but the house still has a GOP majority, and Missouri passed a constitutional amendment banning health insurance exchanges, apparently, God's still pissed at us.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Brin,
My issues with your coverage of the election has nothing to do with your passion, however over the top, for your position. You are not a news outlet, so you can be as over the top on these things as you wish.

My issues are with the way you use "evidence" in your arguments. You have quite willingly presented only the "facts" that support your thesis, and ignored or dismissed the facts that contradicted your thesis. Any attempts to point this out have been met with handwaving and bluster at best, silence at worst. You have a doctorate in the sciences (space science, I believe) which should have educated you quite well in the dangers of selection bias. You should know better.

So, while you are not a news outlet and do not owe the truth a scrap of consideration, you do try to portray yourself as providing a rational, objective argument for your positions. You are not, so I will be signing off as one of your readers.

Tim H. said...

Anonymous, not as I'm anybody, I wish you'd stick around, I find it useful to hear a range of viewpoints, and attempt to triangulate a position between. It would mean respecting the right to viewpoints you don't agree with, and taking as many lumps as you dish out, and I've heard some opinions that shocked me, but, I possess fewer illusions as a result.

Tacitus2 said...

David

You apology for "excesses" is well said and darn near unique in the current political environment.

I too hope Annonymous comes back and I suspect he/she will. Otherwise why remain annonymous?

No politics for me today. Beyond the observation that the pollsters were pretty accurate this time around.

Tacitus

Ian said...

So: two states vote to legalize marijuana; two states vote to legalize gay marriage; the first openly gay woman is elected to the US Senateand California the state that virtually launched the anti-tax movement with Proposition 13, appears to have passed Propostion 30 which is intended to raise $6 billion in additional taxes.

All up this looks like a victory not just for the Democratic party but for liberalism.

The only real win for the Republicans appears to have been retaining their majortiy in the house - but this came after a reapportonment that increased the number of seats in traditionally pro-Republican states and after unusually aggressive redistricting.

If not for those factors, they would probably have lost more seats in the house.

Come 2014, with another two years of demographic change, they may actually lose control of the House.

Robert said...

Looking at the latest popular vote statistics... and it seems Obama not only won more of the popular vote than Romney (which was a concern for a bit), but won by 3.2 percent more than Romney... with over 50 percent of the vote. In short, Obama was voted in by over half of active voters and with a decent-sized spread over Romney.

I'm not sure. I think this is in some ways a mandate. At the very least it's a repudiation of Romney's economic and social philosophies. And maybe, just maybe, we'll see some House Republicans starting to break with Tea Party fanaticism and working with Democrats to create reasonable legislation again.

I can hope.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Tim H:

Missouri passed a constitutional amendment banning health insurance exchanges, apparently, God's still pissed at us.


Did you hear Todd Akin's concession speech? Sounded like he was running for Preacher In Chief.

Tim H. said...

LarryHart, I work the "Anne Rice" shift, so I missed all of that. Did he concede that a high school level understanding of biology would have saved him from one faux pas?

Ian said...

I know I said Syria was the first issue Obama would have to deal with but I wasn't expecting it to happen this fast.

"Western efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad shifted dramatically Wednesday, with Britain announcing it will deal directly with rebel military leaders and Turkey saying NATO members have discussed using Patriot missiles to protect a safe zone inside Syria.

The developments came within hours of Barack Obama's re-election, with U.S. allies anticipating a new, bolder approach from the American president to end the deadlocked civil war that has killed more than 36,000 people since an uprising against Assad began in March 2011."

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/11/07/obama-re-election-signals-new-phase-in-syria-war/#ixzz2BXstMZhV

LarryHart said...

Ian:

All up this looks like a victory not just for the Democratic party but for liberalism.

It looks that way. And I'd add a victory for "liberalism" in the sense of tolerance and government helpfulness.

I say that because some conservatives I know have quite a warped idea about what the word "liberal" means. After a particularly exasperating conversation on another site, I asked the guy I was arguing with straight out what he thought the word "liberal" meant. The way I put it was along the lines of "When you hear someone identify themSELF as a liberal, what do you think that person is saying about himself?" His answer was "He wants to use government to force his views on everyone else."

It's hard to even converse in a common language with someone who honestly thinks that way.


LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

No politics for me today. Beyond the observation that the pollsters were pretty accurate this time around.


I'm hoping that the explosion of social media is helping advance the cause of transparency and making it harder to cheat (for either side).

LarryHart said...

Ian:

All up this looks like a victory not just for the Democratic party but for liberalism.


A win for a "We society" instead of a "Me society". And I'm guessing Hurricane Sandy was somewhat responsible for making the case.

Tim H:

LarryHart, I work the "Anne Rice" shift, so I missed all of that. Did he concede that a high school level understanding of biology would have saved him from one faux pas?


He mentioned how much his supporters love God many, many times. To the point of self-parody actually.

Ian said...

Another overlooked result: Puerto Rians voted to apply for US statehood.

obama has said he would support such a move if it got majority support.

I look forward to the House Republicans explaining why they're opposed.

Robert said...

BTW, Dr. Brin... now that the election is over and Pennsylvania moved significantly to Obama... and Ohio and Florida (and Virginia!) went to Obama as well... are you going to come out and admit your fears about electronic voting machine fraud was much ado about nothing? Or do you believe that the increased visibility of possible fraud "scared off" oligarchs?

I've mentioned this in the past, but you do seem drawn toward your own conspiracy theories. Amusingly you even alluded to this in "Existence" with the thoughts of one Aristocrat that maybe NO ONE was in control. Perhaps... just perhaps... there is no conspiracy. Maybe there are fears of the rich trying something... but no true cohesion between separate actors who each want the same thing but do not trust one another enough to cooperate (or consider them competitors).

Of course, this could be tiredness caused by staying up past 1 a.m. and two cups of coffee speaking, mind you. ;)

Rob H.

Randy Winn said...

In voting, can we usefully distinguish the balloting process from the scorekeeping?

Improving how the actual election decision is scored [Electoral College, popular vote, IRV, or something else (..."one dollar one vote: put your money where your mouth is!"...)] would require an interstate pact or constitutional amendment, but reforming the balloting process, from voter registration to ballot collection, could be a simple business system development problem.

If we were to treat elections as Just Another Business system, we would observe that USA, Inc. already has a database that includes everyone eligible to vote: the Social Security System. Sending out an annual or even a bimonthly mailing to everyone making the citizenship and birth date cut would be trivial; there is no real need to make people register.

Mailing a ballot tuned to the address of residence would be mildly complicated but doable. On the federal level, there would be only 535 variations and they're tied to ZIP code. State ballots are more complicated and perhaps should be a separate process, with optional state buy-in.

To reduce the task of processing 200 million ballots mailed on November 1st, we would use a system well-tested in corporate governance: you cast your vote anytime you want, well in advance, but if you change your mind, you submit another ballot. Only your most recent ballot is counted.

What else? I suppose biometric identify validation would help, probably a place to put your thumbprint or a lick-and-stick saliva ID.

I also propose a modest tax break for all who actually submit a ballot. The $3 Presidential Election Fund is obsolete; let's make it a $25 "I Voted" checkoff instead!

Run it all through some nonpartisan civil service drones, or maybe the Post Office would be better, since they're expert at mass processing of paper.

Marrakech tours said...

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LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

The Senate is the big news. We'll get a sane court.


Only if Harry Reid abolishes the filibuster on Day-1 of the Senate session.

Rob Perkins said...

Randy, that idea is complicated by the fact that the SSAN is defined as "not an ID number"

Still and all, fellow WA citizen, how you feelin' about the outcome here so far? Three more days left to count 40% of the ballots!

LarryHart said...

Robert:

are you going to come out and admit your fears about electronic voting machine fraud was much ado about nothing? Or do you believe that the increased visibility of possible fraud "scared off" oligarchs?


I can't speak for our host, but I shared his concerns about black-box voting. I do wonder if my concerns were overblown, but it seems to me that unverifiable voting machines are corrpution waiting to happen. Why even go that route?

I admit that machines are a tool, not the root problem itself. The root problem is (or has to do with) the fact that elections are run by blatant partisans at the state level. That's akin to having baseball players function as umpires in games that involve their own teams. It makes no sense to do it that way.


I've mentioned this in the past, but you do seem drawn toward your own conspiracy theories. Amusingly you even alluded to this in "Existence" with the thoughts of one Aristocrat that maybe NO ONE was in control. Perhaps... just perhaps... there is no conspiracy. Maybe there are fears of the rich trying something... but no true cohesion between separate actors who each want the same thing but do not trust one another enough to cooperate (or consider them competitors).


I absolutely loved that bit in "Existence". Glad others noticed it too.

LarryHart said...

Anonymous:
So, while you are not a news outlet and do not owe the truth a scrap of consideration, you do try to portray yourself as providing a rational, objective argument for your positions.


I'm not sure that's accurate. Dr Brin presents himself as an expert in speculation. "What If?" scenarios, rather than "This is!" scenarios.

After all, first and foremost, he's a storyteller.

LarryHart said...

Randy Winn:

If we were to treat elections as Just Another Business system, we would observe that USA, Inc. already has a database that includes everyone eligible to vote: the Social Security System.


Is that true? The Social Security system would have everyone legally-eligible to WORK in the States, but that's not the same as those eligible to VOTE.

I like your train of thought here, but I'm not sure the details are correct.

Anonymous said...

THERE IS NO HOPE FOR UNIFYING AMERICA. AMERICA AS WE HAVE KNOWN IT IS DEAD. HALF THE NATION DOESN'T WANT TO LIVE IN YOUR LIBERAL DYSTOPIA. THE FUTURE IS SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR...

Tim H. said...

Sad anonymous, cruelly used, and sadly mistaken about the identity of the assailant.

sociotard said...

Yeah, SS doesn't distinguish between felon and non-felon, which matters in some states.

David Brin said...

"Thom Hartmann has also speculated that Limbaugh, FOX etc actaully preferred an Obama victory. They do better with an audience to rile up against liberal rule than they do with Republicans actually in charge..."

Hmm... possibly. But if the dems appoint Sup Court justices then Citizens United goes away. And if they get too strong then a Fairness Doctrine will force them to bring on rebuttal folks for a minute for every ten minutes of Hannity ranting. These are real downsides.

LarryHart, I am proud to be about 40% "liberal" in my leanings... but I won't call myself "a liberal" because that would deny my ability to be 25% libertarian, 15% flag-waving conservative nostalgist plus jumbles of anarchist and Heinleinian and bits of nostalgic-romantic feudalist. (Especially if I happen to be the one offered a crown!)

Anon... we allow anonymous postings here and even welcome them, when they are courteous. But you know you criticisms came across as very ironic? COming from a fellow hiding behind anonymity?

You offer no examples, no counter, just aspersions. Moreover, my most powerful points were not "facts" but CHALLENGES! When no one could name a clade of intellect NOT under attack by Fox, that was telling! When no one could name one time when the GOP ran on its record or mentioned its last time in power, that was telling.

Sorry if it hurt.

OOPS! It appears Anonymous went off the deep end after that. Unless... now bear with this crazy notion... it was a different guy?

David Brin said...

Tacitus, yes, the real winner was Nate Silver. He is in effect a demigod, now.

What I don't get is how he could be so right when his input data were so wrong about the definition of "likely voter". The Obama ground game has permanently changed the meaning of that term. They have found ways to shame and drag lazy folks to the polls.

Expect those methods to be used with a vengeance in 2014 by elections.

After the Supreme Court, my biggest sense of relief is that Blue America is in a position of sufficient strength that maybe a critical mass of conservatives will decide that Civil War is not their best option. I'd rather this weren't fought to Appomatox.

Puerto Rican Statehood! Wow. I will weigh in on that soon.

Robert, my aim in ranting about e-voting machines was to help PREVENT the scenario! Indeed, how do you know I didn't? ;-) The PA or VA Secretary of states, finding a lot of name hits on my blog and realizing that the jig might be up, decide not to trust their henchmen and to give up on the scheme? eh?

Anyway, it only works when things are close enough to seem plausible. And some of the polling companies upped their exit polling at the last minute! Check parallel worlds wherein I didn't issue my Henchman alert!

I do feel certain of one thing. In the Confederacy, GOP numbers were inflated. Who's to check?

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Robert said...

That's the one problem I have with Anonymity. If each Anon is named Anon, then we have no idea which Anon is speaking. The end result is that we can have a reasonable intelligent speech... which then turns into bile and baseless accusations when a different Anon decides to speak.

My belief is that it was two Anons. Notice the use of "all caps" by the newer Anon. His speech patterns also seem somewhat different. This suggests then that our first Anon did as he said and left. A second Anon decided to troll and try to rile things up. (I must wonder. Is there any satisfaction to getting a sane and intelligent response to a raving troll attempt? It's akin to trying to troll Bronies. They try to tolerate the heck out of people despite the trolls. So where's the satisfaction? And I say this as one who has trolled in the past, though for the past 15 years or so I've avoided Anonymity out of a personal decision to take responsibility for my words.)

Dr. Brin, it is entirely possible that the exposure of fraudulent voting machines by YouTube users, news articles, and your blog may have warned the heads of a "conspiracy" to wait four more years. But there will become a point of diminished returns. This is a theoretical weapon with a half-life... and the growing strength (and alienation by Republicans) of the Latino and women communities has done some serious damage to Republican margins. Right now the only thing keeping Republicans in power is gerrymandering. And I suspect Republicans know this.

Which of course means Republicans will to a man (and woman) refuse to allow Puerto Rico to become a State. It would force states to reapportion Representatives once more (unless they decided to add just enough Reps to the total amount to account for Puerto Rico) and damage their gerrymandering efforts. Further, Puerto Rico is Democratic if I remember correctly, which means Democrats suddenly gain a half dozen or more seats in the House without working for it.

I could see the Senate Republicans going for this if another territory went for Statehood, like Guam and other islands we hold, as they would likely believe they could get a seat or two from the Islands.

Rob H.

Tacitus2 said...

Indeed young Nathan had a good day. But he is far from the only reader of entrails to get it right.

This:

http://www.electionprojection.com/blog/

is a site I follow. It is somewhat along the lines of Nate Silver but run by a conservative. He called all the states right except Florida. His posting today has some interesting reflections on the outcome of the race and on his methodology.

I would not waste too much time on textural analysis of troll posts. Life is too short.

Tacitus

Robert said...

Ah, but it's fun to track then down and e-mail them, revealing that you know who they are and where they've been trolling. And then outing them. Truly freaks them out. ;)

Not that I'd actually do anything like that. Not at all. *whistles innocently*

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Robert, I do indeed have some ways of tracking down anonymous posters. No always. But some log in that way just out of laziness because I allow it as the one-click option.

Frankly, I am amazed at how many years go by with as little trolling as we see here. It really is an elevated group, and the rare tolls soon feel out of their depth and wander away. (One comes back annually, but he's more of a joke than anything else.)

PR statehood puts the GOP in a harsh place. But my worries are entirely different than ANYBODY else's! Can any of you predict what I will Say????

I think I did mention my reasoning here, a few years ago....

Robert said...

My concerns are about Puerto Rico itself. There is a part of the population that does not want to be a U.S. State. I believe there may be corruption problems as well, though when you get down to it, corruption is a problem for several U.S. states. The existing political parties are not associated with the mainstream parties, but undoubtedly they could align themselves with the parties that best represent their own interests.

There could be accusations of U.S. imperialism I suppose. Or other poor small countries across the world might decide it's better to be a part of the U.S. and try to join in turn... but that's just idle speculation. So no, Dr. Brin. I'm not really sure of what you speak. ^^;;

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

Not hiding, Dr. Just not sure I wanted to join the community. Yes, my responses got sarcastic after a while, and for that I appologize and will offer no excuses.

As for offering counter examples, I offered several that fell into silence or were just dismissed out of hand, almost with a "that dosn't count" argument.

So, I will not participate in your blog any longer as I feel I have no way to participate in a constructive way.

It was somewhat entertaining while it lasted.

Anonymous said...

By the by, I am not the all caps guy. Distasteful and unconstructive.

LarryHart said...

Anonymous:

As for offering counter examples, I offered several that fell into silence or were just dismissed out of hand, almost with a "that dosn't count" argument.


Well, I wouldn't think "The country went for Romney" is an argument that DOES count. Maybe at the time, Romney was winning the popular vote, but he isn't now. Does that refute your argument?

Or were you referring to maps that show how much more TERRITORY looks red than blue, conveniently ignoring the fact that the islands of blue are where most of the human beings live?

If you're talking about examples of voting machines flipping FOR Obama, well, I'd say examples of cheating on either side are arguments in favor of better audit trails and verification, and certainly arguments against non-verifiable electronic totals. Sure, I think Democrats will win fairer elections, but the fair elections thing is an end in itself.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

LarryHart, I am proud to be about 40% "liberal" in my leanings... but I won't call myself "a liberal" because that would deny my ability to be 25% libertarian, 15% flag-waving conservative nostalgist plus jumbles of anarchist and Heinleinian and bits of nostalgic-romantic feudalist. (Especially if I happen to be the one offered a crown!)


Fair enough. I probably should have just said "liberal" without the indefinite article in the first place.

And to whoever countered with "I'd say a scientist", that was my point--that scientific method has a liberal bias. From a certain point of view, anyway. And I mean that in the sense of explaining why I favor liberalism, not in the sense of discrediting science.

Brendan said...

As an Australian I just hope the second ANON isn't planning on joining the mass of Republicans all buying their tickets to Australia now Obama has won.

Sorry to be downer but my vision for the future of the Republicans is they will blame Romney for not being "pure" enoungh. They will look on Obama's reduced College numbers from 2008 and see it as vindication of their stance.

LarryHart said...

Brendan:

As an Australian I just hope the second ANON isn't planning on joining the mass of Republicans all buying their tickets to Australia now Obama has won.


Wait till they find out Austrailia has nationalized health care (right?).

And they make fun of us for threatening to run to Canada every four years. Heh.


Sorry to be downer but my vision for the future of the Republicans is they will blame Romney for not being "pure" enoungh. They will look on Obama's reduced College numbers from 2008 and see it as vindication of their stance.


Reduced numbers, how? Ok, I guess Florida isn't decided yet, but otherwise, isn't it just North Carolina and Indiana that flipped against him? In both cases, the surprise was 2008, not 2012.

Ian said...

A quick note for all American Republicans thinking about moving to Australia.

1. You'd be welcome. We have a virtual open-door immigration policy (except for our odious and disgraceful treatment of asylim-seekers.) I'm sure you'll feel right at home with the Somalis; Iraqis; Sri Lankans; and East Asians who make up about 90% of the people on my bus to work in the morning.

2. You probably wouldn't like it here much what with the universal government-funded healthcare; gun-conrol laws that make NYC look like Tombstone; hate speech laws and a Priem Minister who's not just a women but an atheist.

Brendan said...

Larry,

I was just trying to get into the mind of the Republican political machine. My guess is they will any metric they can to deny reality. This loss isn't extreme enough for an about face in the way they have been thinking.

Boehner has said he will compromise with the Democrats and the President but at the same time talked about cuts to "entitlements" which I understand is code for Social Security and Health Care and stated his opposition to any tax increases. He has used his continued his continuing majority in the House as his justification(even though his majority has been reduced).

Brendan said...

Oops , sorry I forgot to conclude(I had already written the line in my head so it should have been typed in as well shouldn't it?)

"To me this all sounds like 'business as usual' from Boehner, not a recognition that his party needs to re-examine itself."

David Brin said...

Good luck in your wanderings, anon. I regret any logical faults on my part. Even when passionate I try to be reasonable and the nature of THIS online community is a testament that I wear proudly. But I know I lapse.

Even though I am mostly right, most of the time! ;-) Thrive on.

Jonathan S. said...

Still and all, fellow WA citizen, how you feelin' about the outcome here so far? Three more days left to count 40% of the ballots!

Well, Rob, I am a little disappointed that so many people got suckered in by Eyman's latest scheme to avoid having to pay taxes on anything he buys or does (that was pretty plain from his very first initiative, when he bought the Mercedes SUVs and then lobbied to have the MVET removed); on the other hand, I'm also buoyed by the passage of R-74 and the fact that I-502 is still ahead. (Can't smoke the stuff myself, it makes my lungs stop working, but that's no reason why somebody else can't light up, and from what I've seen of both sorts of addicts, it's less harmful overall than alcohol.)

Still not sure which person I want to see as governor; both have points in their favor, but neither has impressed me as being particularly suited to the job. OTOH, I'm really hoping Reagan Dunn didn't get elected Attorney General (haven't seen the returns on that yet), as he seemed to have confused the job with that of District Attorney.

Randy Winn said...

@Rob Perkins said...
fellow WA citizen, how you feelin' about the outcome here so far? Three more days left to count 40% of the ballots!

I don't mind stretching out the fun a little. Needing to know at 8:05 pm election night who is going to take the oath of office in a couple of months seems excessive.

I know Reagan Dunn on a casual-professional basis and while I did not vote for him, he seems to be just the sort of sane Republican that our nation needs to recapture the party.

In the governor's race, both Inslee and McKenna seem competent and sane, and would be constrained by our Democratic Legislature, so I won't be too sad if the Republican wins, although I prefer the Dem especially since we need to build our farm team.

R-74 (marriage equality) will be a point of pride for our great state!

I don't intend to take advantage of state-legal marijuana, and especially don't like smoking, but from my Deep Youthful Past I recall that brownies, in moderation, are delightful. Just don't think you won't eat the whole pan.

---

@Rob Perkins @LarryHart @sociotard

Thanks for helpful comments in re using SSA for voter registration.
While SSN may be defined as "not an ID number" (and IIRC there was language in the legislation forbidding it to be used for other purposes) yet it has data sufficient to let it functions as one; it is uniquely associated with individuals. The law and the data may need to be cleaned up of course.

Non-citizens in the SSA system should be identifiable and excluded from voting. I could be wrong, but I doubt there are many adult citizens *not* in the system.

The issue of felons may require the addition of data to the system; of course, the simpler solution would be to permit felons to vote in federal elections (or, if you're finicky, felons no longer incarcerated.) I question whether disenfranchisement of felons serves a good purpose.

Of course, the SSN database may not be the best. Perhaps CARNIVORE has something that could be used; it probably has more current address information anyway. Indeed it might enable the system not only to issue you a ballot, but also figure out how you want it filled in ... a great timesaver!

David Brin said...

Let me take one of my patented contrarian veers. While I am HUGELY in favor of experiments to escape the infinity-damned Drig War and to emphaisize personal responsibility, I am not without awareness of drawbacks. for example:

1) THC remains detectable in blood for days after all symptoms of use are gone. It will not be as easy to establish DUI rules as simply adopting the alcohol standards.

2) Those who call marijuana "harmless" are liars and they know it. The thing everybody admits (who is honest) is that it is an ambition-wrecking drug. In some, many, though not all users, it fosters torpidity and mellow harmlessness -- unless you want your kids to actually get up off their asses and accomplish something in their lives! I predict that we will drift toward a new approach to quasi addictive and addictive drugs, allowing personal choice to use... but that continuous and extensive use is prima facie reason to diagnose impaired judgement. Your heavy or extended use of such a drug is sufficient cause for your loved ones to intervene with medical cause, even to the extent of imposing short term involuntary commitment for observation or a chance to dry out.

Before shouting and cursing at me, consider that this provision would serve as a sop to those who puritanically dread the flood of cheap drugs and who (rightfully) know that some human beings - including those they love - may be snared and ruined. A low and easily met burden of proof -- e.g. holding a job etc. -- in order to avoid a two week stint in rehab imposed by your folks? That is a compromise that we can all live with.

David Brin said...

I approve and vote for marriage equality.

I still wish they had compromised and used "garriage."

Tony Fisk said...

To quote that amusing tweet that's gone viral:
@JustineLavaworm: For those saying "if Obama wins I'm going to Australia" our PM is a single atheist woman & we have universal health care & mandatory voting.

A lot of South Africans came to Australia after Mandela came to power... (a friendly warning to those considering the move! Sense of place changes you!)

Agree with David's take* on drugs: use with extreme caution. Still, the current situation is ridiculous. Being a dope shouldn't be a criminal offence.

*avoiding the obvious eggcorn there!

Tony Fisk said...

"Love and marriage,
Love and marriage,
go together like a horse and gar... Hey! Wait a minute!"

(Just word play! Apologies to those who enjoy a stable same-sex relationship!)

Pilfit said...

Bin lurking here for a while and I just had to comment on "garriage".
This is the first time you have you have made me truly facepalm... Garriage.. really? I am a gay man and I can tell you I will never get Garried!

Randy Winn said...

@Pilfit ...

What if Gary were really, really hot ;-)

--

@Tony Fisk -

Cowboys have stable relationships!

Robert said...

Sorry, Dr. Brin. Garriage is "Separate but Equal" or to read between the lines, separate and vastly inferior and sneered upon. Garriage would be the black segregated schools of the early 20th century. It would allow for continued prejudice against gays and lesbians with a veneer claiming "oh but we're giving them what they want."

There are two methods of approaching this. The first was ignored but would have been the easiest method (and would have revealed the bigots for who and what they are): state that marriage is an institution of the Church and that under the "Separation of Church and State" doctrine is not allowed. Therefore, all existing legal (under the eyes of the Federal government) marriages and marriage licenses will now be considered "Civil Unions" and all future legal marriages will be "Civil Unions" with no discrimination for gender, race, or sexuality (age limits will still exist). Thus churches provide marriages. You want legal protections that go with it? You also get a Civil Union. And you don't need a marriage for the Civil Union.

The second approach is the one taken. And you know something? It's working. State by state it's working. What's more, I'm willing to bet that the whole "gay marriage" thing (along with gays and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces) is a good part of the reason why Republicans are not doing as well these days (relying on gerrymandering in order to stay in power).

In short, garriage would not work and would have perpetuated the covert discrimination against gays and lesbians. Genuine marriage may be the more difficult path, but it's a more genuine one and also one that is allowing gays and lesbians (and the whole LGBT community when you get down to it) to be more accepted into society.

Rob H.

Paul451 said...

Shouty Anon,
"THE FUTURE IS SECESSION AND CIVIL WAR..."

Secession, okay, but why civil war? After the split, everyone should be much happier.

Personally, I'm pro-secession. I think the US would be much better off if the old confederate states left again. And this time, with no threat of European powers, particularly England, picking them off, there's no reason for a Civil War for force the New Confederacy back into the Union.

Try it. Many of the states in question allow publicly initiated referenda. Get signatures. Get on the next ballot. Put it to a vote.

David Brin said...

Plifit, please understand that I know it sounds silly at first... and now with victory in sight, I am ready to give it up.

But I think the whole hurricane of controversy would have been over TEN YEARS AGO if activists had realized the law of politics that you win be reducing the opposition's coalition. And you guys (gays) could have done this by noting that a third of the folks opposing you are only upset about a few WORDS!

Probably 30 million would have shrugged and said "okay" if you proposed "let us have EXACTLY the same thing as Marriage, in every single legal and other way... but we'll let you keep your damn word. We'll leave husband and wife alone too. Happy.

Now let me garry Gary - my new gusband - and let sue and Rita be gives for life.

Dang! Are you forgetting who you guys are? You are the folks who transformed "gay" and "queer" into terms of adoration! You could have done that with garriage in a trice. Enjoyed the ironies for a decade, and thenplucked marriage as your own when the dust all settled.

It woulda worked and save us a decade of pain and saved a bunch of democratic politicians... but that's over.

Congratulations!!!!!! I mean it. Mazeltov.

Rob Perkins said...

Yeah... speaking behind the lines, here, I wouldn't go all congratulatory so soon, David, because it's a distraction. The federal law needs changing in order to fully equate these households. This or that state victory is Pyrrhic compared to that hurdle. Except maybe California, but we'll see.

Two years ago that's precisely what they said to win the passage of R-71 in Washington. Every right, privilege and responsibility. Just, not the word. It passed 2-1.

It would have been far less of a disruption for them not to wait only two years to go back on that, demand the word as well, and then stencil-spray-paint "STOP HATE" on the signs opposing R-74. Spend five instead showing stable domestic partnerships to everyone, until everyone just shrugs. But we didn't do that. Our leaders in WA seized on a 52-48 poll, ONE 52-48 poll, and abandoned all other legislative duties to erect this.

Most times I think people involved in this would rather have the fight than the tolerance. It's the only way, right now, how I can understand how a faction of 3% of the electorate could be satisfied with having 40% so enraged at them that the commons is further poisoned.

So instead, you have this marginal victory, just like the poll predicted, 52-48, instead of 2-1. I have no doubt (absolutely none), that coexisting with LGBTs in peace is the absolute right thing to do. But it's those sign defacement that lend me no confidence that 90% of that "48" won't carry this bitterly into the next fight, since that's the apparent preference, rolling over every other person around you and I'm stuck in the middle of it all, unable to speak for you in my circles as a fellow traveler, because now, in their rage, nobody is listening, and fewer will be kind.

So, yeah, I guess. Thanks for that. Enjoy the right you just won. It's set you back at the Federal level by a significant span of time. Maybe a full human generation.

Travc said...

Regarding some people thinking this election outcome is evidence that there was not improper manipulation of the voting system in favor of the GOP...

Nope. They just didn't suppress and possibly tamper enough to overcome the legitimate electoral margin.

The sort of stuff which I'm (and others) are worried about with respect to black-box voting, voter suppression, ect. are about gaining an small advantage. They matter when races are very close.

I think a good number of GOP operatives were delusional with respect to GOP prospects. They expected it to be close, but it wasn't.

I'm also very curious what the margins would be if there wasn't all the voter suppression. That almost certainly had a significant effect, but who knows how much.

On actual voting machine fraud... That is hard to speculate about. I'd be it did happen, but only had a very small effect. The sort of analysis which needs to be done to detect it won't be done (except maybe in FL, but probably not there either).

Robert said...

One thing to consider as a thought game is this: Republicans still own the House. What if voter fraud wasn't on the Presidential level... but on the Legislative level? It didn't go over on the Senatorial level because that's state-wide and harder to pull off... and because certain Republicans opened their mouth and inserted boots that were covered with muck after trodding through cow pastures. But on some closer Representative races, it would be easy to take rural districts and flip them to be more Republican.

Any such efforts would only be on local levels. Conspiracy rarely works because someone blabs. One or two people can keep a secret. Thus a couple of clerks could miscount ballots or manipulate electronic voting here and there, with no connections. And in the end, they steal elections.

We've already seen a couple real-life examples of this... like the woman in Louisiana who failed to file thousands of voter registration forms (I think it was Louisiana) and the woman in Oregon who was altering mail-in votes. In these cases... it's individuals working to manipulate things. Not conspiracies. And the solution is increased oversight.

BTW, when I mentioned to my Republican friend about the youth vote he snarled and claimed they were voting twice - once in the state they go to college in, and once through a mail-in ballot on the state they came from. Seems there is little faith in our children these days. Sadly.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

One thing to consider as a thought game is this: Republicans still own the House. What if voter fraud wasn't on the Presidential level... but on the Legislative level? It didn't go over on the Senatorial level because that's state-wide and harder to pull off... and because certain Republicans opened their mouth and inserted boots that were covered with muck after trodding through cow pastures. But on some closer Representative races, it would be easy to take rural districts and flip them to be more Republican.


I think Republicans held the House because so many state governments went Republican in 2010, and they gerrymandered themselves safe districts. That doesn't apply to the Senate because those are state-wide races. And yes, the GOP might have picked up more Senate seats if the Tea Party hadn't forced crazy candidates to replace almost-sure-winning moderate Republicans. Richard Lugar would have won handily in Indiana, for example.

Robert said...

If there is one thing that Republicans have learned from the 2012 elections, it is that you need to have an established infrastructure to get out your votes. Incumbent moderate Republicans (and there are still a few) and Republicans willing to negotiate but who are concerned about Tea Party opposition hopefully will have taken notes and found a way around this issue.

Specifically, court the moderate Republican voters and moderate-conservative Independent voters and get them voting in the Primary. Specify the voting record and on working in a bipartisan fashion with genuine negotiation to enact the best legislation around and how the Tea Party challenger would throw that under the bus and espouse values that would either allow a Democrat to take his or her place... or cause gridlock in Congress.

I don't know what else Republican Leadership can do about the Tea Party. It's not an actual organization as much as a groundswelling of discontent. And they cheer on the "my way or the highway" antics of those they elect. They want to force their views down the throats of those who dare vote Democrat (or who don't vote).

Though I do have to wonder: if Puerto Rico gets Statehood within the next few years, will Congress redistrict everyone, or just give Puerto Rico temporary seats in excess of the 435 (or however many Reps there are) and then redistrict after the next Census?

Rob H.

Paul451 said...

Travc,
The cynic in me suspects that cheating on the other side cancelled out cheating on the Republican side. After all, if you believed that the Republicans were going to steal the election, how easy would it be to convince yourself that cheating-back is actually noble. (Indeed, that may be how Republicans justify it to themselves and their henchmen. It's not like you have to go back very far to find examples of Dem ballot stuffing. That is, after all, how they justify electoral role rigging, necessary to "counter" Dem voter fraud.)

Rob H.,
"when I mentioned to my Republican friend about the youth vote he snarled and claimed they were voting twice - once in the state they go to college in, and once through a mail-in ballot on the state they came from."

Agree with him. Point out that standardised national electoral roles would solve that problem once and for all. Then ask him to sign your petition.

Paul451 said...

David,
"And you guys (gays) could have done this by noting that a third of the folks opposing you are only upset about a few WORDS!"

No. It was claimed they are upset over words to justify "separate but equal". But "Garriage" wouldn't have really stopped their objections to... well, garriage. It likely would have deepened objections by being seen as mocking, too-clever patronising, while splitting the pro-gay lobby into those who accept a compromise and those who equally feel patronised and mocked by the new word. (Heh, equally.)

And indeed, that's my argument-from-a-conservative-angle for legalising gay marriage. It splits the LGBT movement into those who want to become mainstream, away from those who want to break more people away from the mainstream. Gay marriage reinforces the idea of traditional marriage, of families in the suburbs, children and grandchildren, church on Sunday, PTA bake sales, commuting to 9-5 office jobs, dreaming of retiring to a warm state. A marriage of two ordinary people in a very ordinary mundane life. Gay couples in TV shows. Gay celebrity couples. It makes those mainstream gays think the issue is finished, solved. It splits them away from anyone (including straights) who adopt some other lifestyle. "Marriage is for everyone, yay!", instead of "Marriage is a decaying corrupt institution that reinforces the worst of our failed judeo-christian culture."

It's like gays in the military. There were gays who wanted to have openly gay servicemen and women. And then there were those who objected to anyone being in the military. Ending DADT splits those two factions, one is now normal and conservative and flag-waving patriotic; the other, the minority, the transnational socialists, attempting to break the norms of nationalism and force.

As Rob Perkins said: "Most times I think people involved in this would rather have the fight than the tolerance"

Allowing, encouraging gay marriage splits the movement. Weakens it for future social revolution, and reinforces the traditional and mundane.

Robert said...

My friend commented on the "practice" of some Democrats of going to facilities where they care for individuals with mental disabilities and putting them on buses, going to polling places, and walking them through the voting process to get them to vote Democrat. I pointed out how few severely mentally disabled people there are as a percentage of the population and he admitted it was more to affect local elections. (He got this information from his sister who is in the psychiatric field. She and I don't really get along, me because she's a member of the Evil Science (psychology) and her because my friend joked for a while of the two of us hooking up.)

To be honest, I think the whole "voter fraud" thing could be significantly reduced if we eliminate ballot votes and instead use mail-in ballots for everyone. Voter registration would use social security numbers for identification purposes (with voter registration taking the number at time of voter registration rather than registering every Social Security number). Since each number can only be used once, when a number shows up more than once it's flagged and investigated.

The mail-in ballots would use certified mail to let the voter know their vote has been delivered (and provide a paper trail of their vote). States would report the results to a Federal Database which would thus determine if people are voting in more than one state (to put an end to that practice). Polling places would no longer be required, thus eliminating lines and some voter repression efforts.

Best of all, it gives the U.S. Postal Service a renewed purpose. ;) Well, once every couple of years at least.

Rob H.

Jonathan S. said...

The difficulty with R-71 was that while it was sold as "everything but marriage", in actual practice it turned out not to be the case. Take as an example the couple in Seattle a year or so ago; one partner was caught in their basement by the floods, and wound up comatose in the hospital before dying. The other couldn't get in to see the woman she'd been sharing her life with for two decades, because hospital policy limited the visitation in those circumstances to spouses and other immediate family, and in the absence of a legal marriage she wasn't a "spouse".

Similar tales abound.

My niece and her wife have been together for longer that I've been with my wife; I'm looking forward to the day DOMA is struck down by the Supreme Court as violating Article IV, Section 1 of the Constitution, and they can come across the state line from their home in Oregon, get married, and still enjoy all the benefits thereof when they go home.

Dave X said...

I think the results are a victory for CITOCATE, or rather, a counterexample -- Republicans insulated themselves from criticism, and did not get what they expected. Gerrymandering does the same.

I expect the 'true' Republicans to become more pure and get increasingly higher percentages of the old, rural, white, male vote, unless they open themselves up to and act upon criticism from young, non-white, urban, or female citizens.

Tacitus2 said...

Robert

The group home voting block is another variant on the practice of vouching for the bona fides of other voters.

It need not be voter fraud, but if so it is on the retail level and so unlikely to swing important events.

Some of my conservative friends used to speak to the need to win by more than a whisker so as to overcome "the margin of ACORN".

Interesting times. You could in general argue that the electorate has voted for the status quo...no change in the White House, not much change in Congress. And by retaining the GOP House and an impressive number of Governerships a case for fiscal prudence can be made.

But the darker side is that some people who should have been leaders in a bipartisan effort have been rejected. I liked Scott Brown, and while he may not be mainstream for Mass, he was a worthy symbol of moderation. Warren seems less likely to play well with others, but we shall see. Locally we now have a fairly far left Sen elect Baldwin versus the breezy old school pol Tommy Thompson.

Having said that I was ruminating yesterday on how female Senators in general (S.Brown aside) seem to be better liked and less sleazy....

A topic for another day.

Robert said...

If you look at the end-result statistics, Tacitus, this would appear the case. The true test however lies with looking at the underlying situation.

Democrats lost nine elections for Representatives, and yet had a net gain of (if I recall correctly) seven seats. This means 16 seats switched from Republican to Democrat. Several of the seats lost were due to the consolidation of two Democratic districts as a result of the Census... but others were the result of redistricting by Republican State Legislatures to increase the conservativeness of some districts.

The last time Republicans tried this, it backfired. They cut margins too close and several areas they thought would stay Republican switched to Democrat. This time they used gerrymandering to ensure several Democratic areas were going to go Republican without the hedge factor that caught them last time.

The problem is, these tactics end up harming both parties. The best politicians are the ones from areas where there is a legitimate chance of either party winning. This brings rise to moderate Democrats and moderate Republicans who are willing to negotiate and get things done.

What will be interesting is to see how redistricting in California will play out with partisanship. Will a citizen-derived district that is more equal end up with a crew of Moderate Californians coming to Congress? That would be a true hoot, and I hope more states follow this method. Heck, I'd love to see some competitive districts in Massachusetts... but I'm not sure how competitive you can get in this state these days.

Rob Perkins said...

Jonathan S, it's heartbreaking to hear such stories. The hospital could have been sued completely out of that policy, but it should never get that far. The domestic partnership law has permitted hospital visitation rights for years now.

David Brin said...

It wasn't so much status quo as confirmation of outright civil war. Just look at the darned map, with Indiana switching sides for Virginia and Florida.

---
re e-cheating?


Actually I think Nate Silver and me scared em off! His precision meant that they could only meddle in a very very close race. And my henchman warnings really rattled them! (Yeh... uh... right.)

No, where there was probably a LOT of meddling was in the popular vote in deep red states. There's nobody there who will ask for an audit, few care about the electoral result, and the e-machines have no audit trail. I bet Romney's popular vote is inflated by more than a million.

And yes, local congressional and state races.

Robert, good insight. The place to see real action for America is the PRIMARIES in 2014. That means planning must be done in 2013... recruiting moderates from both parties to run in 2014 primaries. There is a source. Retired US army colonels and generals.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

And you guys (gays) could have done this by noting that a third of the folks opposing you are only upset about a few WORDS!"


The problem is that the word "marriage" is written into so many laws. Allowing gays to legally marry immediately grants those who do all of the associated rights and responsibilities associated with marriage. Giving them a separate thing called "civil unions" or "garriage" or whatever doesn't fulfil that function. Separate action would have to be taken to enshrine the equivalence between "marriage" and "civil unions" into law, and that fight would go on for generations in the courts.

The source of the semantic problem is the fact that a religous ceremony is enshrined in civil law. But you can't change that without a working time machine. As Isaac Asimov once wrote, "We've known for 400 years that 'oxygen' is a misnomer, but what are you going to do?"

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

But the darker side is that some people who should have been leaders in a bipartisan effort have been rejected.


Well, a lot of that happened in the primaries. Richard Lugar, for example.


I liked Scott Brown, and while he may not be mainstream for Mass, he was a worthy symbol of moderation. Warren seems less likely to play well with others, but we shall see.


Warren is an example of unintended consequences.

If only the Senate Republicans had only allowed the President to appoint her to that cabinet post instead of filibustering her nomination, they wouldn't have to share the Senate chamber with her now.


Having said that I was ruminating yesterday on how female Senators in general (S.Brown aside) seem to be better liked and less sleazy....


Hadn't thought about it that way before, but you do have a point.

Robert said...

Dr. Brin said: Actually I think Nate Silver and me scared em off! His precision meant that they could only meddle in a very very close race. And my henchman warnings really rattled them! (Yeh... uh... right.)

Actually, Dr. Brin, I don't think Nate Silver's precise statistics did a thing to "scare off" cheating efforts. Remember, there was side-scale disdain of these statistics. When Karl Rove was blindsided by statisticians in Fox News, they marched on them and tried to get them to repudiate the statistics... and ran smack dab into Statistical Gandalf who announced "You Pundits Shall Not Pass!"

And they did not.

For a while, the pundits derided the statistics. They stated the polls were flawed. They claimed the numbers were fudged to benefit Obama. They claimed that "experts" knew better than data-tenders. And the people were buying the argument. There was genuine belief by a number of Republicans that Obama was going down and that this was their moment. And sure, Romney wasn't GREAT... but he was going to carry the day.

So then. If people weren't buying into the statistics and Republicans believed the statistics were wrong... why would a conspiracy NOT decide to play their hand (especially considering that their weapon would become less and less effective the longer it was left unused)? Now was the perfect time.

Think of it. The statisticians have been validated. Their arcane science has been verified. Any attempt in the future to manipulate the votes would be in danger of being outed... by statistics showing the outliers in the final vote.

No. There is no widescale conspiracy. No one was scared off of cheating and manipulating events... and the instances we've found were isolated events done by individuals rather than a concerted effort by the aristocracy to seize control of the nation.

In short, Dr. Brin, you got caught up in another conspiracy theory. But it was no more real than the conspiracy theories claiming 9/11 was a government operation, we never landed on the Moon, or even that the governments of the world are faking a space program and that the world is, in fact, flat.

But they do make for fun fodder for stories, do they not? ;)

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Robert, the coincidence of ALMOST ALL red-ruled states having non-auditable e-voting ... it is just too perfect and meshes with the attempts to do voter purging. This should stay on our agenda! But not right now...

Robert said...

You're still doing it, Dr. Brin. Tell me. How is this any different than the 9/11 Truthers or the "Faked Lunar Landing" theorists?

Rob H.

Robert said...

And on a different note, I think Dr. Brin will enjoy this Colbert Report... at the 9:30 point when Colbert interviews conservative blogger (who was pro-Obama) Andrew Sullivan, who has some interesting things to say about the Republican Party, including the fact that Obama is a moderate Republican. (Though the "let me lick the tears of unfathomable sadness" was... disturbing).

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Brin,

I think you're *mostly* falling into a conspiracy theory trap. The distribution of in-auditable voting machines across red states has more to do with crony capitalism. Recall, California had the similar issues until Secretary of State Debra Bowen changed the certification rules.

Where I think you are right is that voting machine manipulation *may* have become an issue if the election was close. Throughout Tuesday I heard persistent rumors that Romney lawyers had already prepared a lawsuit to enjoin the Ohio results, targeted a sympathetic federal judge, and were ready to file. There's also one public mention implying this at the NY Times:

"It was 11:30 p.m., and Romney field teams in Ohio, Virginia and Florida called in, saying the race was too close for the candidate to give up. At least four planes were ready to go, and aides had bags packed for recount battles in narrowly divided states. Bob White, a close Romney friend and adviser, was prepared to tell the waiting crowd that Mr. Romney would not yet concede."

If the results were close, I suspect some people may have attempted to tamper with the votes and Romney also would have contested unfavorable close results. This was why it took team Romney so long to concede, they were waiting to see where the other States would fall.

When the results showed Obama would have won even without Ohio, Virginia, and Florida (and the Colorado margin was almost 5%), shenanigans with vote tampering and lawsuits became moot.

Paul451 said...

Rob H.,
"let me lick the tears of unfathomable sadness"

It's a South Park reference. Cartman crowing after utterly destroying a rival who tricked him out of $6.

David Brin said...

QUICK APPEAL TO THE COMMUNITY!

I know I have asked this before. But I may replace my ancient, creaking Mac g% with Tiger. What I need to know is:

1) Did somebody say that they know of a program that can run on new macs but emulate a CLassic environment (OS9)? I'd really love that. There's a word processor I use.

2) Do any of you use the new Mountain Lion? If so, can you use FLASH? I have yet to see actual evidence of an actual Mountain Lion machine using Flash.

Tim H. said...

There is an open-source emulator, sheepshaver http://www.emaculation.com/doku.php/sheepshaver
I haven't used this, but it might be the thing. If memory serves, there is a gatekeeper preference box that can be checked to allow flash to work.

Tim H. said...

In gatekeeper security and privacy preferences, have you selected "Allow applications downloaded from:" "mac app store and identified developers". That should allow you to use the current version of flash.
support.apple.com/kb/HT5290

Rob Perkins said...

I have ML installed on my MacBook. I did it two weeks ago.

Rosetta is gone, therefore PowerPC emulation is gone. I don't know how to get it back.

But Flash apps are working just fine.

Paul451 said...

Rumours that Foxconn is thinking of moving some of its production to the US.

Rightist Gramscian said...

What you guys needs is a dose of European New Right criticism. This is the new Gramscianism, and it will be relentless in its attacks on the dystopia that is the modern West:

"The destruction of the life-world for the benefit of instrumental reason, (economic) growth, and material development have resulted in an unprecedented impoverishment of the spirit, and the generalization of anxiety related to living in an always uncertain present, in a world deprived both of the past and the future. Thus, modernity has given birth to the most empty civilization mankind has ever known: the language of advertising has become the paradigm of all social discourse; the primacy of money has imposed the omnipresence of commodities; man has been transformed into an object of exchange in a context of mean hedonism; technology has ensnared the life-world in a network of rationalism — a world replete with delinquency, violence, and incivility, in which man is at war with himself and against all, i.e., an unreal world of drugs, virtual reality and media-hyped sports, in which the countryside is abandoned for unlivable suburbs and monstrous megalopolises, and where the solitary individual merges into an anonymous and hostile crowd, while traditional social, political, cultural or religious mediations become increasingly uncertain and undifferentiated."

infanttyrone said...

Interesting that you ride a horse called New Right that is a dead ringer for an influential Marxist theoretician. Another data point on the road to eventually ditching the Left/Right labels.

In finding out about Gramsci I did encounter this curiosity...

In an interview archbishop Luigi de Magistris, former head of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See stated that during Gramsci's final illness, he "returned to the faith of his infancy" and "died taking the sacraments."

Maybe there is at least one more 'black prison' site than anyone had thought.

Brendan said...

Rumours that Foxconn is thinking of moving some of its production to the US

That was probably the idea if Romney got in. Now they have having worker issues in thier Chinese plants they needed another country that would be willing to put up with extreme worker abuse.

Ian said...

Wages are rising rapidly in China and Foxconn has been reportign difficulty in attracting new workers for some time.

The US plants if they happen will likely be very different ot their current Chiense planst - lots of robots, relatively few workers.

Jumper said...

A binary answer to an analog question may not be wisest. (election fraud exists(ed) yes/no). I recall some admirable thinkers who can live with "I don't know." Too many unanswered questions, such as convictions for '04 recount rigging.

David, there is an ap to replace flash with VLC in newer Firefox versions. I am feverish about it but my old Power PC machine OS won't do it.
Newer VLC is pretty awesome. Fast forward, recording of YouTube, aspect ratio control, nice audio control, etc., etc.

Ian said...

Jumper, I think we can note one very strong piece of evidence against the hypothesis of massive, unliateral voter fraud by the Republicans: they lost.

Tacitus2 said...

Before David moves on to a new topic a few thoughts on the Election outcome.

-It means that President Obama is not an "accidental" president. I have always felt that it took an unusual convergence of circumstances to get him elected the first time, but even through the imperfect lens of our media the electorate has indicated that they like what they see. It must be a significant personal vindication for him.

-This does not mean his will be a great or even successful presidency. See G.W. Bush for another "accidental Pres vindicated".

-It will be very interesting to see if he changes either his policies or procedures. In some ways he has always been a more enthusiastic campaigner than administrator. He has not fought his last political campaign. So what now? Legacy? Bipartisanship? Working for the presumptive D nominee in '16?

-Expect a great deal of shuffling behind the scenes in this regard. A Biden balloon will fly briefly. Much ink will spill regards H.Clinton. A few untried men and women will be ballyhooed (President Elizabeth Warren!). And eventually a midwest Governor should get the nod.

-Stock market is in for a rough ride. I made some adjustments the day before the election. You gotta do this when your career is in theory in the top of the ninth inning.

-Of course, we all might end up working longer than we expect/prefer...

Tacitus

Jumper said...

Actually, Ian, it depends on what you mean by "massive." Those who think it's been an ongoing thing call it the "red shift" such that just a few races such as state legislatures, House races, governors, etc. are "nudged" a bit rightward. But like I said, I simply am not in a position to know, simply to point out fairly new security holes which arrived with the more modern machines and system changes. Changes mostly put in by Republicans or avowedly Republican companies. In the old days machines could be hacked but if you looked inside you could discover a gear with a non-regulation amount of teeth and such. And ballot box stuffing, a matter which requires many more than one software/chip expert working a backdoor and using self-erasing software.

Jumper said...

Tacitus, i see parallels with Truman, who had a shite-storm of problems thrown at him. He did pretty well all things considered, I believe. Or maybe it's just because I read the bio by McCullough. (I found the author biased but I can read between the lines, I think, and still thought it very worth reading.)
I also wanted to hire a young man with plenty of stamina and a serious outlook for '08 because of the mountain of problems to solve.
This time around there was a guy who had three and a half years of recent experience as President of the United States on his resume, which I felt was pretty valuable.

Robert said...

There's always the possibility of a true twist. Consider for a moment the claims by some former Republicans that Obama is a moderate conservative Republican President. Consider also that the last sane Republican candidate for the Presidency was Jon Huntsman... and he was rejected soundly by the Republican base.

Could we possibly see Huntsman run as a Democrat in 2016? Especially if Hilary Clinton is legitimate in her claims she's uninterested now in running for President (or events manage to derail a Presidential run due to health or family issues)?

And if Huntsman did run... would he attract disaffected former Republicans and current Republicans who see the insanity of the current group of Republicans and believes a DINO with moderate philosophies would be the best candidate?

(I would give this a 0.1% chance of coming about. But again, it's a fun theoretical to consider.)

Rob H.

sociotard said...

I've heard the argument that Obama is a conservative, but that XKCD graph David liked showed his time in the Senate as a dotted line firmly in the middle of the medium-blue pack. I'd expect a conservative-in-democrat-clothing to be at least in the bright-blue area.

David Brin said...

Tacitus I am gradually adjusting my mental image of you. A respected physician, yes. Sane conservative. But you write with the verve of a younger man... as do I!

Onward to a post-election posting...