Patterico's Pontifications


Need another nailbiter that you might be interested in?

Filed under: 2008 Election — Justin Levine @ 11:04 pm

Tom McClintock (one of the few rational voices in the California legislature before term limits forced him out) is in a neck-and-neck race for Congress in California’s 4th District.

– Justin Levine

Still in the mood for a nailbiting election that you might care about?

Filed under: 2008 Election — Justin Levine @ 8:28 pm

As of right now, it looks like the Al Franken Senate race is going to go down to the wire.

UPDATE: Doesn’t get much closer than this –

As of 9:10 PM PST….

64.67% of precincts reporting…

[Republican] Coleman 755095 41.87%

[Democrat] Franken 755200 41.88%

– Justin Levine

UPDATE by DRJ @ 12:38 AM CST: (89.18% of the precincts reported)

COLEMAN 1050011 42.23%
FRANKEN 1034556 41.61%

Obama Wins

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:11 pm

The networks have called it. I’m watching Fox. It’s done. Barack Obama is our next president.

Lauren Learns About Politics

Filed under: 2008 Election,General — Patterico @ 7:02 pm

One thing that has been fun about this election has been the children who are becoming interested in politics, sometimes because of mock elections at their school.

For example, Beldar had a conversation with his eighth-grade daughter Molly about spreading the wealth around. Our own nk tells about his six-year-old daughter’s discussion with a PTA mom who clearly favored Obama, in which nk’s daughter compellingly justifies her vote for McCain in a mock election.

Great stuff.

My daughter Lauren, who is eight, asked me a bunch of questions the other day about the candidates, because her school was having a mock election. I discussed various issues with her, and told her that I support McCain, but that her mother supports Obama. Her mom was out of town with friends, so I had to present the arguments for both candidates, which I attempted to do without brainwashing her. I asked Mrs. P. later whether I made the right arguments, and she said I had (though she would no doubt accuse me of having more enthusiasm for the pro-McCain arguments).

We discussed all sorts of issues, including surveillance of suspected terrorists, the rule of law and philsophies of judging, a little bit on taxes, and various other issues.

Lauren ended up voting for John McCain. I’m so proud!

We just got back from voting, and I asked her tonight to write up something short about why she voted for McCain. Here’s what she said:

Hi! I’m Lauren. I voted at my school. I voted for John McCain! I voted for him ’cause I think he is better. Why do I think he is better? Here is an example. If a kid was being a brat and another kid was being super nice,but the kid that was being nice wasn’t tall enough for a ride Obama’s judges would say”You’re only a little bit to short and you’re being nice so you can go on the ride.” Then the kid might fall off and get hurt. McCain’s judges would say “Sorry, but you are to short.” That is why I voted for McCain. I hope you did too. Bye!

She typed the first several sentences herself — up to and including the words “You’re only” — but she’s a slow typist and her bedtime is approaching, so I had her write out the rest by hand, and I faithfully transcribed it. (I told her how to spell “judges.” She initially wanted to spell it “judies,” and you wouldn’t have understood what she was saying. Also, I’ll have to tell her how to spell “too” when it means “also” — but I left it as is, for the authenticity.)

This reasoning probably requires some explanation.

I told her that one of the main reasons I support McCain is because of the type of judges he would pick. I said that the difference between McCain’s judges and Obama’s judges is basically that McCain’s judges emphasize following the rules, and Obama’s judges emphasize being fair.

I gave her an example: let’s say that there is a rule that says a kid has to be four feet tall to ride a rollercoaster. There are two kids: one who has been a brat all day, but is barely tall enough to ride. Another has been really nice all day, and is half an inch too short. There is a judge — not their parent — who is supposed to decide whether they’re tall enough to ride the ride. That’s the judge’s only job.

I explained that a McCain judge would probably tell the kid who is too short: “You’re too short.” And he would tell the bratty kid that he’s tall enough.

An Obama judge would probably tell the kid who is too short: “Hey, you’re close enough.” And he might tell the bratty kid that he can’t ride, because he’s been a brat.

At first, she said that she liked Obama’s judges better. I said: my opinion is that if someone has been a brat, their parents should be the ones to decide if they can ride the ride or not — but the judge should decide only whether the kid is tall enough. If a judge lets a kid on who is too short, it’s probably not going to be a huge problem if they’re only a half-inch too short — but what if you let on a kid who is three inches too short? or six inches? or a foot? Eventually, the kid might be so short that they might fall off.

I emphasized that this was an analogy, and that Obama’s (or McCain’s) judges would not be ruling on who gets to ride a rollercoaster. But of all the issues we discussed, this is the one that seemed to stick with her.

Anyway, I have told her that Obama will probably win, and she was sad. “I don’t want Obama to be my President!” she said. I told her that McCain and Obama are both good men — and although I disagree with Obama, if he wins, we have to say: “Oh well, we tried. But he will still be my President.”

She’s still not very happy. Nor am I. But I want her to learn that no matter who wins, he’s a good man trying to do what he thinks is right for the country.

Election Map(s) 2008

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 4:40 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Check out the Hot Air/AOL News Presidential election map. It lists the popular and electoral votes for each State and shows how each has been called by the AP.

ML notes Fox News has a good map, too.

Politico’s map has a sidebar showing how the battleground states are voting. It also shows the net gains/losses in Congress in a field at the top.

RealClearPolitics doesn’t have a map on its front page (map here) but I think the format on the RCP front page is the easiest to follow of the websites I’ve seen.

Finally, here are links to the election centers at CNN, ABC, MSNBC, and PBS.

I’m posting this for the links but please feel free to put your election-related comments on WLS Shipwrecked’s thread immediately below.


Open Thread on Election Results — With A Couple Rules

Filed under: General — WLS @ 4:16 pm

[Posted by WLS Shipwrecked]

Patterico has always maintained his comments as a very “open” forum.  But, I want to have a couple of rules for comments on this post.

1.  Regardless of the outcome, no bashing of the other side whether in victory or defeat.

2.  Let’s try to minimize rank rumor and speculation, and put up as much in the way of semi-verifiable facts as we can find across the net and the airwaves.

Violations will be deleted.

Broadcast Indecency – An Example Of The Debate’s Minefield

Filed under: Law,Public Policy — Justin Levine @ 3:00 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the latest case over FCC broadcast indecency regulations – stemming in part from single swear words that were uttered by Nicole Richie and Cher during the Billboard awards show in different years.

A curious admission from the solicitor general found on pg. 10 in the [PDF] transcript of the oral arguments:

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: I suppose the most difficult case for you is the “Early News” case where you have just a fleeting expletive, unlike “Saving Private Ryan” and the others. I mean, how do you distinguish the “Early News” case from the ones before us?

GENERAL GARRE: The Commission has determined that news programming would be treated differently, with greater restraint, because of the different values present in that situation.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: So the same — if you had a news report about Nicole Richey [sic] and the Cher exhibits, they — they could use the actual language, even though they can’t during the — the awards shows?


There are arguments to be made that the public airwaves should not be a constant free-for-all. But I’m not convinced the news/entertainment distinction has ever been sustainable, let alone in today’s world.

– Justin Levine

Through The Eye of the Needle: How The Math Gets McCain to 270+ If Obama Wins By 51% Or Less in the Nationwide Popular Vote — UPDATED WITH VOTE TOTALS

Filed under: General — WLS @ 2:39 pm

[Posted by WLS Shipwrecked]

UPDATE:  Well, Obama won convincingly, and it looks like he will garner about 53% of a nationwide vote that is coming in around 120 million — about the same as 2004, and a far cry from the 10% increase predicted by virture of all the new voters bein registered by the Dems.  That is a final result of about 63.8 million to 56.3 million, a difference of 7.5 million votes.  That’s outside the margin that I had written about — less than 5 million of 132 million cast —  suggesting that Obama could lose the electoral college if he polled less than 52% nationwide, and won by less than 5 million votes.  I have updated the vote dofferentials in each state below the jump with the actual vote tallies taken from CNN’s website.  I’ve moved my pre-election estimates into (  ), though keep in mind the estimates were increased by me by 10% in anticipation of higher voter turnout which didn’t materialize. 

This is my prediction based on the scenario I have previously posted about here, here, and here.

The Battleground Poll, which I maintain is the least partisan due to the makeup of the polling group, today posted its projected final nationwide vote total as 50.8 to 47.4 in favor of Obama.  Take a close look at the historical accuracy of that poll’s predictions over the past 4 elections.

Using 132 million as the projected vote total — 10%  more than 4 years ago — the outcome on a nationwide basis would be 67.1 million for Obama and 62.6 million for McCain – a difference of 4.5 million votes. 

After the jump, I’ve got a state by state breakdown of my projected differential in the Red v. Blue states, and then in the battleground states.  I’ll update it tomorrow or Thursday with the actual vote totals to see where my analysis was completely out to lunch, or why I should expect to receive a call from Karl Rove offering me a part of his company in exchange for working for him. 


Voter Intimidation: A Comparison

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 1:08 pm

[UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Welcome, Huffington Post readers. You have been lied to by Jason Linkins. This post is not how this blog reacted to Obama winning. If you truly want to see how we reacted, try reading this open letter to Obama. Or this post, in which I say that Obama is a good man trying to do what he thinks is right for the country.

Those are the posts Jason Linkins would have linked to if he were being honest with you. Thank you and have a nice day. — PATTERICO]

[Guest post by DRJ]

Republicans complained about voter intimidation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania this morning. Via Hot Air, it turned out to be two Black Panthers – one with a nightstick – who were guarding the polling site doors and reportedly were intimidating voters.

Meanwhile, Democrats complained about voter intimidation in Sugar Land, Texas. Via the Houston Chronicle, it turned out to be “election monitors from the U.S. Department of Justice” who were there to ensure “a fair and open election.”

UPDATE: According to Tim Robbins, it’s intimidation if the poll workers can’t find your name on the voter list and ask you to move out of the way:

“On Real Time with Bill Maher last month, Robbins seemingly foresaw his fate when he urged thwarted voters to “refuse provisional ballots. They’re throwing those out. They can throw those out. If that’s your last resort, take it, but fight in the polling place to vote. It’s your right as an American.” And fight he did, even refusing to move at the behest of a poll worker who threatened to have an officer remove him. “Is this some kind of intimidation? I’m taking this as intimidation,” the Tapeheads star reportedly remarked.”


Clearing Up Misconceptions on California’s Prop. 12

Filed under: Politics,Public Policy — Justin Levine @ 12:35 pm

[posted by Justin Levine]

I have come across many who say they intend to vote against Prop. 12 in California because they understandably feel that the state can’t afford any more bond debt.

That’s unfortunate. What they don’t seem to understand is that Prop. 12 won’t likely cost state taxpayers anything. Not one cent.

Prop. 12 will sell $900-million in bonds to help fund a program that allows California veterans to take out low-interest home loans. It would likely be able to help out up to 3,600 veterans. However, unlike most bond sales, the taxpayers aren’t responsible for paying back these bonds – the veterans who take out the home loans are.

The only way that this will cost California taxpayers is if the veterans who take out these loans manage to default on their mortgages. All 3,600 veterans would have to default on their loans in order to stick taxpayers with the full costs of Prop. 12 bonds. Even then, the state would be able to recoup much of the costs by selling the properties to someone else.

This program has been around since 1921 and veterans have shown that they have a very low rate of default.

If you haven’t voted yet – Yes on 12.

[I suspect that Patterico will be particularly annoyed with me if I don’t allow comments on this particular thread. So have at it.]

– Justin Levine

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