Wednesday, November 30, 2022

"Great Sort" Progress Report

Writing at PJ Media, Mark Tapscott describes data from a survey done by Trafalgar Group asking likely voters whether they (a) had moved, or (b) had made plans to move, to a region with politics more resembling their own. For those who report having already moved, the numbers are these:

4.1 percent of Independents say they have moved in the last 3 years to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.
4.4 percent of Republicans say they have moved in the last 3 years to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.
1.1 percent of Democrats say they have moved in the last 3 years to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.

Those who had not yet moved but report planning to do so, the numbers are:

9.6 percent of Independents say they are planning on moving in the next year to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.
10.4 percent of Republicans say they are planning on moving in the next year to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.
2.1 percent of Democrats say they are planning on moving in the next year to a region that aligns more closely with their personal beliefs.

Meaning red states get redder, and blue states get bluer. Trafalgar doesn't use the term "independent" but calls these likely voters "no party/other."

If you are an Independent, do you move to a purple state? From the similarities, I'd judge self-identified Independents are "shy" Republicans, wouldn't you?

Afterthought: Not certain where the DrsC fit into this matrix. We recently moved our vacation home to “a region that aligns more closely with … personal beliefs” but our legal residence remains conservative Wyoming where it has been for nearly 20 years.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

A First Step

Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City, has ordered the city police and fire departments to do something long needed but even longer resisted. Fox News reports as follows:

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said the NYPD, FDNY, and other city agencies will start forcing homeless people who are determined to be suffering a "mental health crisis" off the streets and out of the subway system. They will be taken to a hospital for evaluation even if they refuse to go on their own.

"It is appropriate to use this process when a person refuses voluntary assistance and it appears that they are suffering from mental illness and are a danger to themselves due to an inability to meet their basic needs," Adams said.

I presume this policy will be tested in the courts for legality, and I hope it will be found to be constitutionally acceptable. It could be a first step in the long overdue reinstitutionalization of the addicted and mentally ill. 

Ken Kesey be damned.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Weird Virological Science

Instapundit links to an Ars Technica article about the suspected role of the Epstein-Barr virus in causing multiple sclerosis in a very few of those infected by it. The virus also causes mononucleosis in adolescents who haven’t been previously infected. 

It turns out that in a group of military members who’d never been infected when they entered the service, those subsequently infected were 20-30 times more likely to develop MS than those who were not infected as adults. Since, however, most of us were infected as children and most so infected don’t develop MS, other factors are undoubtedly involved.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The Mixed Blessing

At the height of his popularity, Donald Trump was always a mixed blessing. He advocated a more popular strain of conservatism and dissed the obvious lefty losers - all of that was very positive. On the other hand, he was also a bully and a braggart, and had an ego the size of Texas - not so positive.

If he’d married a string of three supermodels, he’d also had children by them and appeared to love and be loved by those kids - more positives. On the other hand, while married he’d also had various liaisons with Playboy models and strippers that were basically one-night or weekend stands - again, not so positive.

He’d made a great deal of money in real estate development and building, and kept enough of it to be genuinely wealthy - again positive. On the other hand, he’d also started more failed businesses than successful ones, typical of entrepreneurs but not entirely positive because the start-ups that failed hurt some others along the way.

He’d been successful in show business, in what is facetiously called “reality TV,” and that was okay. He’d also been involved in professional wrestling which is definitely show business posing as athletics, not so okay.

In 2016, Trump was a mixed blessing, but a blessing on balance. He took us beyond the failed corporatist GOP of George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and John McCain - an excellent policy change and one long overdue. 

However, once elected some of his Covid policies didn’t look great in the rear view mirror, and his failure to anticipate the shenanigans associated with the 2020 election and his petulant reaction to losing that election have tipped the balance for a lot of us.

Now it is easy enough to imagine a 2024 GOP presidential candidate who espouses Trump’s populist/nationalist policies without dragging behind him- or herself all of the Trump baggage. And perhaps one who understands how to get things done in the public sector, never a Trump strength. 

It is time to sincerely thank Trump for what he accomplished, including the originalist judges nominated, and ask him to accept senior statesman status. He needs to leave the governing to younger Republicans. 

If Trump is the party’s nominee in 2024, I’ll vote for him as the lesser of two evils (2 weevils?). Sadly, doing so will not be a new experience for me.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Saturday Snark

An oldie worth repeating

Quite a haul this week; all images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures and its Comments section.

Friday, November 25, 2022

Why This Friday Is Black

Do you know why this Friday-after-Thanksgiving is known as “Black Friday?” Unlike most things with the label “black,” it has nothing to do with race and racism.

It dates back to the days when bookkeeping was done with quill pens. When a business was operating at a loss they used red ink to signal that state. When the business was earning a profit the ink used was black. 

Historically Christmas shopping begins in earnest on the day after Thanksgiving. Many retail businesses do a substantial fraction of their total year’s sales in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Black Friday got its name because, in retailing, that was the day your store began to move from operating at a loss (in the red) into operating at a profit (in the black) for the year. 

The so-called “Christmas sales season” was and perhaps still is the key to retail profitability, and it now spills over into online sales. Retail establishments are scaled to cope with the anticipated Christmas rush. Most of the year, they are larger than their day-to-day business would require.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Asked and Answered

 Instapundit Glenn Reynolds rhetorically asks:

Why is higher education such a cesspit of hate and sexism?

Dr. Henry Kissinger has the sarcastic answer:

The reason that university politics is so vicious is because stakes are so small.

Quote of the Day

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds airing a jaundiced view:

The press is largely made up of garbage people who cheerfully operate as partisan hacks.

Back in the day, you would have been hard pressed to guess David Broder’s political party preference. He was the real deal - a journalist and no hack. I suppose we must indict Woodward and Bernstein for turning journalism into a leftist ghetto.

Accepting Human Nature

Thanksgiving, we are reminded, began with a group of religious refugees trying to make a life in what would later become the Boston area. Writing at the New York Post, John Stossel reminds us that upon arriving in 1620 the Pilgrims tried socialism, really wanted it to work, and it darned near killed them. 

After they gave up on collectivism and went over to private property, they began to make a living and actually have some things for which to be thankful. By the time one of my ancestors arrived in the area some 13 years later it was only an unpleasant memory.

Most of us, most of the time, are unwilling to view humanity as “our family” and act selflessly in the best interests thereof, regardless of our personal outcomes. Every year, while remembering the Pilgrims, we need to relearn the lesson that socialism is based on a mistaken idea of human nature and therefore doesn’t produce abundance. 

Private property and individual initiative are based on an accurate view of human nature and do produce abundance. One of the enduring mysteries is why idealists keep rejecting the realistic view of human nature, preferring one that often works in a family but rarely, and then only briefly, in a larger enterprise. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Very Colorful

Image originally appeared in The European Conservative, and was reprinted at Power Line by Steve Hayward.

Food For Thought

Image courtesy of Power Line.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Weekend

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, our national harvest festival. We celebrate the various bits of good fortune we've experienced over the past year. Traditions include a pig-out meal with extended family, and pro football on TV. Tomorrow the DrsC will follow none of those traditions except for the thankfulness.

We have no nearby family, and will travel to do the large family gathering 3-4 weeks from now in the Christmas season. So tomorrow we plan to do some serious cooking, making a lot of what cookbooks call braciole. 

The other DrC's Sicilian ancestors called the dish (in English phonics as nobody wrote it down) "sausa setti." We will eat a few of these for supper and freeze most to transport to CA to share with the extended family at Xmas.

We have plenty for which to be thankful. Our health is better than it was a year ago, our new winter home is getting finishing touches with outstanding landscaping and, this afternoon, our ceiling fans will be installed. 

We've finally unpacked most of the boxes, and identified some additional stuff we should have tossed instead of moving. Finally, it is snowing today in western Wyoming so we've NV sunshine and shirtsleeves weather to be thankful for.

The DrsC wish you all a happy fall harvest festival, with good food, good company and, in the absence of abject gluttony, good digestion. 

New Yorker Plays Catch Up

Almost two weeks ago I wrote the following:
What a mess if in 2024 the nominees are Biden and Trump. Neither is the actual preference of his party but both could end up getting the nod.

Yesterday The New Yorker writes the following:

The election of 2024 might come down to exactly the same choice as the election of 2020: Biden versus Trump. The American public appears to dread a rematch between its two oldest Presidents, and both of them are viewed unfavorably by a majority of the public. In one survey this fall, just six per cent of voters wanted another Biden-Trump face-off. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It might even be one of the likeliest scenarios.

To be clear, author Susan Glasser goes on to indicate that what looks likely at this point has every chance of not happening. After all, in 2016 the frontrunners for the Republican nomination all faded away while Trump came from behind.

My perception: Republicans have a great "bench" of other people I wouldn't mind seeing as president. I'd list Mike Pompeo, Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Tom Cotton, for starters. I can't come up with a similar list for Democrats although some might argue for Gavin Newsom.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

When You’ve Lost Salena Zito….

Salena Zito writes for the Washington Examiner, her beat is the back roads of the rust belt. Today she writes of Donald Trump losing his hold on the blue collar people for whom nobody spoke, until he did.

She quotes with approval the following:

Bruce Haynes, a South Carolina native and conservative strategist, said there are 900 ways to say it. “When the concept of Trump was that he stood for the grievances of the voters, they were for him," he said. "At some point, it stopped being about the voters, and it started being about his own personal grievances. And that is when he started losing voters."

There is another piece of this that is pretty difficult for him, said Haynes. “A lot of the ethos of Trump was built around winning, but now he’s being accused by some of having a pretty substantial losing streak," he said.

“He used to say 'they,' now he says 'me,'” said Haynes, “That's where he's lost people — he stood for them, and now he's perceived as standing for himself.”
My opinion: That’s a pretty darn good insight. Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

The Birth and Death of a Non-Event

The current headline at Politico is "U.S. Lawmakers to Foreign Allies: Midterm Results Show Our Democracy Is Safe." As though the issue was ever in doubt? What nonsense.

Even if the prophesied "red wave" had actually occurred, our democracy was still safe. I know, many people, mostly Democrats, lied to you that our democracy was in danger. It wasn't, it isn't, and there is little sign it will be in the foreseeable future.

With the caveat that our governmental form is not, technically, a "democracy" but a representative republic, we'd need to see more than a pack of unarmed yahoos misbehaving at the capitol for our governmental form to be endangered. We'd also need to see more than the orderly changing of nameplates on Congressional offices. 

What truly was at risk was "rule by Democrats;" which is not the definition of "democracy" even if Democrats would ask you to believe it is. 

Weird Metabolic Science

Instapundit links to a Science Alert article about why we gain back weight lost on a diet. I will paraphrase one interesting finding.

We humans walk around in a body designed by evolution to survive in conditions of food scarcity. Our bodies are programmed to eat a lot when food is available because stored fat can help us survive the lean times, like winter and early spring before the new crops come in. 

Modern agriculture and technology mean many of us no longer experience food scarcity, but rather its obverse, food abundance. Evolution - being a slow process - hasn’t caught up with our changed circumstances and isn’t likely to do so within the lifetime of anyone now alive.

In our modern lives food is almost always present, or nearby and available. Controlling our weight in the face of food abundance means fighting our instinctual programming to eat whenever food is available. The hopeful finding, while tentative, is this.

As you lose weight, your brain reduces your metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories), making you subtly more efficient. The reality is, if there are two people of identical weight, one weight stable and the other having just lost weight, the latter will have to eat less food to remain the same weight.

It turns out that a hormone secreted from fat called leptin is largely responsible for this. One of leptin's key roles is to let the brain know how much fat you are carrying. The more fat you have, the more leptin is produced. So when you lose weight, your brain senses the corresponding drop in leptin.

What is exciting is that scientists have shown that if you administer just enough leptin to fool your brain into thinking you haven't lost any weight, then many of these weight-loss-related changes are mitigated. There is no treatment based on these findings yet – but watch this space.

Imagine if you could diet down to your preferred weight and then take a daily leptin pill to keep from gaining it all back. Now that would be something fine, sez I, who have been plump essentially forever. 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

A Different Slant

Writing for Politico, Seth Masket makes a point I haven't seen elsewhere explaining the atypical outcome of the recent election. He concludes:

Republicans are understandably disappointed by the election outcome this year. But one of the core reasons is they secured a huge policy win, one that they’ve advocated for nearly half a century. And despite those self-imposed headwinds, Republicans still took the House, albeit narrowly. If that’s the cost, the GOP arguably got a good deal.

The "huge policy win" he refers to is the Dobbs SCOTUS decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The red wave outcome we expected would still have left Joe Biden as President in place to veto Republican policy initiatives. From that perspective, the lesser outcome we got isn't bad. 

Saturday Snark

A good haul this week.
Images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures.

Sauce for Goose, Gander

Attorney General Merrick Garland has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump for possible crimes in connection (a) with Jan. 6, and (b) with regard to documents retained and taken to Mar-A-Lago. His stated rationale is that Trump’s announcement of a run for the presidency in 2024 and Biden’s stated intentions to run again mean the DOJ - which reports to Biden - has a conflict of interest in prosecuting the former president in the normal, in-house way.

If he is correct, then how is it that the DOJ doesn’t have a conflict of interest in deciding in-house not to prosecute Hunter Biden, and by implication Joe Biden, for the Biden family influence peddling schemes and scams? Isn’t a special prosecutor equally justified by conflict of interest in the Biden family corruption matter? 

This looks like Merrick Garland getting even with Trump and McConnell for not being confirmed as a Supreme Court justice in the last days of the Obama administration. It isn’t a good look, either.  Some of the above reflects comments made by law prof Jonathan Turley yesterday on Bret Baier’s Special Report for Fox News.

Friday, November 18, 2022

There Will Be Math

In the recent election, results were not what had been anticipated, based on prior midterm elections. Writing for City Journal, Jeffrey H. Anderson does a deep dive into the numbers to understand why the odd outcome happened. The whole column is interesting but I particularly enjoyed this bit.

The more years voters spent in school, the more apt they were to vote Democratic; the more money they made, the more apt they were to vote Republican. Thus, for Republicans, the sweet spot would seem to be the relatively affluent tradesman who didn’t go to college (a plumber, for example); and for Democrats, the grossly underpaid adjunct professor whose degrees fill up most of the wall space in the tiny apartment he can barely afford.

Anderson's two archetypical voters occupy different life spaces, that is certain ... both physically and ideologically. As a retired professor, I side with the plumber, who is actually a contributing member of society. 

I also like this data point which I’ve not seen reported elsewhere:

A pair of numbers leaps out of the exit polling: 32 percent of voters said that they cast their House vote to “oppose” President Joe Biden, while 28 percent said they cast their House vote to “oppose” former President Donald Trump. In other words, for every eight votes cast against Biden, all but one was negated by a vote cast against Trump. This is surely unprecedented in a midterm election.

In other words, if Trump hadn’t been making noises about another try for a second term, the red wave of Biden revulsion would have rolled. Maybe so, or it could be Democrats putting an anti-Trump spin on votes they’d have cast anyway.

Friday Snark

Images courtesy of Politico's Cartoonists' Week in Politics.

Intentional Gruesomeness

If you spend a fair amount of time online, as I do, looking at various websites which report news and opinion, you also see a ton of ads. If you're like me, mostly you don't pay much attention to the ads.

The people who make the ads know we are ignoring them and have traditionally used photos of nice looking women to get our attention. I don't expect that to stop anytime soon. I also don't find that offensive.

A phenomenon I've noticed in the last year or two is the use of gruesome photos, photos that appear to be some sort of ugly sore, wound or infestation. These are used as ways to break through our indifference and get us wondering what is that ugly thing? What does it have to do with whatever the ad is selling?

In a couple of cases I've clicked through to see if the photo had any relevance to what they were selling. It didn't. 

The ads doing this take advantage of our "can't look away from something gruesome" instinct. I do hate it when people use our relatively few vestigial instincts against us, especially when my reaction is one of revulsion. 

I can't imagine it will convince many people to buy whatever produce or service is advertised. The gruesome probably does drive "clicks" which is what the agency gets paid for in the weird world of online advertising.

Afterthought: I wouldn't want products or services I was offering associated in potential customers' minds with gruesome images, would you?

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Pelosi Passes the Mantle

Nancy Pelosi has announced that she will not be in the running for Minority Leader when the next Congress convenes in January. She will, however, keep her seat in the House and continue to represent her ultraliberal San Francisco district. 

Minority Leader isn't as much fun as Speaker, so let someone else have a shot.

Weird Oncological Science

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered a highly targeted anti-cancer drug, of a type they call a "prodrug." The obvious need for such therapies is clear.

The technology takes clever advantage of known properties of cancerous versus noncancerous cells to deliver meds to tumor cells while avoiding healthy cells which would otherwise be harmed. has the report. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Trump Announces Run 3.0

Former President Donald Trump last night announced that he is running for president a third time in the 2024 election. Only a few hours have elapsed but the hosannas of praise you might expect to follow such an announcement seem somewhat slow in coming.

We have plenty of time for these encomiums to emerge, and they may well appear in the next few days. Let's keep track to see if Trump still has the magic, shall we? 

I heard Mike Pence make a thinly veiled presidential pitch in an interview with Bret Baier this evening, while plugging his new book. Obviously, Pence has to explain why he supported Trump in 2016 but no longer does so. 

He has worked out an explanation which he rattles off in glib fashion; it is well rehearsed but ultimately not convincing. While Pence would probably be an adequate president, I don't think he has the charisma to get elected. He is sort of the anti-Trump.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Shedding Baggage

The other DrC has long thought of Donald Trump as “my bully.” If I understand her, she means something like “Yes, he’s a bully but he’s hassling my enemies, people who richly deserve punishing so he’s okay.” And I’ve largely agreed with her.

He was even okay when he was picking on RINOs like Jeb Bush, and Jeb’s brother George. During the 2016 primary it became clear he was an equal-opportunity bully, Republicans were great targets too. But then he won the nomination and turned his invective on Democrats, who were the enemy, and that was him just doing the job we picked him for, him being our attack dog.

Now he’s turning his ire on Republicans who, unlike himself, have had recent electoral success. That is not okay. 

Here we come to a parting of the ways. What is important to us isn’t what is important to him. We want the populist/nationalist program to move forward, he wants Donald Trump to move forward. 

What Trump wants isn’t automatically the key to what we want, although in 2016 it was. We have goals, he has ambitions. He expects our loyalty is to him, when our loyalty is to the goals which he once espoused but which now some other champion may be able to actualize better, with less baggage.

Monday, November 14, 2022


If the best Republicans can hope for out of the 2022 midterm election is congressional gridlock, it does look tonight like we may salvage at least that. See what Politico, which leans left but tries for a modicum of accuracy reports.

Democrats’ slim hopes to retain the House majority were just about extinguished Monday, with five races called for Republicans on Monday night.

As of late Monday evening, just 14 House seats remain uncalled, with 217 seats projected for Republicans and 204 for Democrats so far. Democrats would have to capture all of them to retain the chamber — a near-impossible task.

On the other hand, Kari Lake lost her bid for the governorship in AZ, which is too bad as her skills in tying the press in knots were unmatched. Tomorrow's news should bring word of House seat number 218 falling into GOP hands. 

It's fingers crossed time, folks. I am not going to miss Nancy P. showing up on the nightly news multiple times a week, that's for sure.

The Trump Problem

Kurt Schlichter obviously enjoys writing scathingly nasty things about Democrats, because he has talent in that direction. And I enjoy reading him, though I don't often quote him. I figure you know he's there and you read him if he floats your boat.

Today he writes seriously about the "Trump Problem" our GOP faces, and about why we have to get serious about dealing with it sooner rather than later. This isn't' his usual line of creatively nasty invective, rather he is serious because the problem is serious.

Trump presents problems and we need to face them. Before we go further, we need to be clear because some folks are a bit sensitive when the subject of the ex-president comes up. Get over it. He works for us. We owe Trump nothing. He’s a politician. He owes us. I don’t care if he resents his unfair 2020 defeat any more than I care when a teenager whines that something is unfair. Life is unfair.

The only question that matters to us conservatives is whether we are better off with Donald Trump as a candidate or whether we are not.(snip) We need to decide whether we think the people threatening to take their ball and go home outnumber the people who might be gettable by a different Republican nominee.

I agree.

VDH: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes at American Greatnessbalanced summary of the Trump phenomenon. He notes the undoubted political accomplishments, the enemies vanquished, and the feeling now that Trump has somewhat overstayed his welcome. 

See the VDH conclusion which lets you know where he believes it all comes out.

So, will Trump rest on his considerable laurels and ride out gracefully to Mar-a-Lago? And there, as a kingmaker/elder statesman, will he work to institutionalize his MAGA agendas while raising money for any presidential candidate who embraces it?

Or will a subdued candidate Trump now pivot, grow quieter, and let the people vote in the primaries to decide whether they want him anymore—and whether Ron DeSantis sinks as a 2016 Scott Walker on the national stage (a similarly talented and successful governor), or assumes the mythical status of Ronald Reagan?

Or will an unapologetic Trump instead now escalate his slurs, bray at the moon, play out his current angry Ajax role to the bitter end, and thus himself end up a tragic hero—appreciated for past service but deemed too toxic for present company?

It is relatively clear most of the party’s bigwigs believe Trump’s demons will demand he go through door number three. Whereas a lot of us GOP sympathizing Trump appreciators hope he can take one of the other two helpful paths.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Saturday Snark

For Lord of the Rings fans.

For Mel Brooks fans.

Images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures
and the comments section.

College Major Matters

CNBC reports the findings of a recent study done by ZipRecruiter which surveyed 1500 job seekers. The study looked at college majors and identified the ten most regretted majors and the ten least regretted majors.

I'm a retired Business School prof so I was interested to see if any of our specialties were included on either list. In the years I taught our majors tended to get jobs without much difficulty, recruiters came to campus looking for Bus. majors.

I expected to find Bus. specialties on the least regretted list, I was surprised to find certain of our specialties on both lists. On the most-regretted list I found "Marketing management + research" listed as one of the ten.

"Business administration + management," "Finance," and "Human resources management" were three of the ten least regretted. The least regretted major was "Computer + information science."

Of graduates who regretted their major, most said that, if they could go back, they would now choose computer science or business administration instead.

The firm's chief economist said the following of current job seekers.

Pay is still most important, but job security is now becoming more important. That happens whenever we have the fear of a recession.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Friday Snark

Both images courtesy of Politico's The Week in Politics, # 8, 9.

Veterans' Day

On this date in 1918, the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an armistice ended the Great War. We now call that war World War One because the next war - World War Two - was even bigger. 

Since then we have celebrated the day as Veterans' Day, when we honor those who served our country in uniform. We owe those men and women more than we know.

I had family in the military. My dad's brother was a West Pointer who retired an Army Colonel. My father enlisted in the field artillery, and mustered out as a First Lieutenant. Two of my mother's brothers served in the Army Air Corps. Her sister was a WAC who married a former sailor after both demobbed. 

As a young person, one of my hobbies was World War Two history. A bookish kid, I read lots of memoirs of the war, written by generals, and war correspondents. 

A blown rotator cuff kept me out of the service. I begrudge our veterans none of the perks we provide them, their service was and is essential and much appreciated.

DeSantis' Rules

Writing at City Journal, recent Florida immigrant Dave Seminara identifies the eight rules Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared to follow to achieve a true "red wave" reelection victory. Here they are in bullet-point format:

  • Stay on offense.
  • You can create your own majority with the right approach.
  • Competence matters.
  • You don’t necessarily have to move to the center to win over independents.
  • You can redraw the political map without pandering.
  • Create a culture where wokeness cannot thrive.
  • Deliver a policy-driven approach that works.
  • Court the moms.
Allowing for some rhetorical overlap, that isn't a bad agenda albeit one that is easier to appreciate in the abstract than to deliver on the ground while coping with hurricanes.

Drama Queen Don

You may have read somewhere that former President Trump issued an extremely ungracious email basically dumping on Gov. Ron DeSantis. I just read it and the reality is worse than the descriptions, you can read it here.

At the moment, Ron DeSantis is the only clear (no asterisks required) super-winner of the 2022 midterms. How big a winner? See these numbers to understand how much DeSantis kicked butt, his victory is impressive as heck.

So what does an orange guy who couldn’t engineer a similar outcome two years ago do? He rains on DeSantis’ parade, calls him “average.” I call “sour grapes” on Trump.

Damn, don’t I wish the average GOP governor candidate had done as well as DeSantis did? No such luck, in spite of the fact that several did very decent jobs and were clear winners.

In elections, there are always losers as well as winners. Unfortunately, since Trump lost he has been acting like a drama queen on steroids, and it is totally past time he put a cork in it. Histrionics “worked” in the WWE, but doesn’t work in politics.

Trump took the Republican Party in a new direction and we owe him thanks for doing so. Furthermore, it’s not going back and that’s even better. But if Trump can’t get over losing in 2020 he needs to get off the stage and let people who know how the game is won, starting with DeSantis, have the spotlight.

Later ... Now Trump is dissing VA Gov. Youngkin, another winner against the odds. Trump can really show crapola judgment. There's a world of lowlife Democrats out there and he's picking on winning Republicans? 

In the last two years, Trump has "transformed" from a cartoonish "my bully" into a "loose deck gun" who needs to careen over the side and sink from view.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Further Ruminations

Columnist Don Surber writes from the right, and today he writes a rueful political epitaph for Donald Trump. I won’t excerpt it at any length here, you need to go read what he wrote. Here is his conclusion.

Trump failed. He cost America the red tsunami we need to rein in Democrats. Harris Rigby at Not the Bee wrote, "A red wave turned into a purple puddle, thanks to an orange man." 

I really wanted Trump to come back but I just don't see it. He's damaged goods, done in by Barack Obama and the FBI and the Washington media.

To which I’d add two things, first to Trump, with a hat tip to Douglas Adams, so long and thanks for all the judges. Second, to Republicans, be careful what you wish for. The SCOTUS Dobbs decision was a drag on our Nov. 8 outcome.

Afterthoughts: Would Trump run as an independent merely to ensure DeSantis as the GOP nominee would lose? I worry that he might; Trump tends to take perceived rejections personally. 

What a mess if in 2024 the nominees are Biden and Trump. Neither is the actual preference of his party but both could end up getting the nod.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

The Continetti Op

The Washington Free Beacon's Matthew Continetti writes the best analysis I've seen so far of how the GOP blew the advantage of a favorable set of circumstances. How they barely managed to eke out a tiny win, if that is what it turns out to be. Some key quotes:

Donald Trump was an unpopular president who polarized the national electorate. Joe Biden is an unpopular president who makes the electorate yawn. Four years ago, the electorate was obsessed with Trump. In 2022 the electorate is thinking about other things.

The Republicans should have done much better on inflation and the economy. They lacked an effective and transparent message on how they planned to fix things.

Since 2016 the GOP has been estranged from the middle of the country. I don’t mean the Midwest—I’m talking about independents, moderates, and suburban voters.

This year, independents went for Democrats narrowly. Moderates broke for Democrats by 15 points. And the suburbs narrowly went for Republicans in the national exit poll, while narrowly going for Democrats in the Fox voter analysis. Our national stalemate continued.

The national GOP needs to recognize Biden’s irrelevance, settle on an economic message and agenda that wins public support, take lessons in how to talk about the right to life, and reconnect with independents, suburban voters, and moderates. Maybe the governor of Florida, who just won reelection by 20 points without Trump’s "help," can teach them how to do it.

You might want to read his whole column - there's no paywall. Hat tip to Dashiell Hammett for my title.

Post-Election Ruminations

In no particular order as they occur to me, my thoughts about the election yesterday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis looks like a winner, and his Florida like a model. The “red wave” began and unfortunately ended in Florida.

What strengthens DeSantis, weakens Donald Trump, while the endorsements of both had very uneven impacts at best. 

Californians who moved to Texas left California politics behind, probably a key motive in their move. TX is, if anything, more “red” than formerly, CA more “blue” and more “screwed.” Ditto those who moved to FL from the Northeast.

I hope we’ve seen the last of Beto O’Rourke, Charlie Crist, and Stacy Abrams, all lost again decisively, and quixotically.

Both parties ran weird candidates in the PA and GA senate races. They were races where you almost wished both parties could lose.

Kari Lake’s supposed ninja-like skills were overrated in AZ, ditto for Tudor Dixon in MI. Drazan in weird OR was always going to be a long shot.

I believe game theory is the best explanation for how evenly balanced the two parties are. More and more energy is put into gaining that 50% + 1 edge, crucial in the zero-sum game that our de facto two party system produces. 

Maybe the most striking thing about the night was how few seats changed parties, most places seem locked in for one party or the other. My mental image is two elk stags with their antlers so tangled that they struggle and die locked together, though I hope that isn’t prophesy.

It appears the best outcome the GOP can hope for is a deadlocked, do-nothing Congress. Compared to the last two years of D domination, it is a real improvement. 

Maybe gridlock was also the best we could hope for while a D sits in the White House? We were never going to have a veto-proof majority in the Senate. 

The polls were no more accurate than formerly, but they were inaccurate in the opposite direction! If this means an overcorrection was in place, fine. If it means something else, we may have to rethink the entire enterprise. 

The pundit class won't like rethinking polling. We've relied on polls to give us an augury of future election results - basically something to write about.

We tend to believe ticket splitting doesn't happen much. This election proved that tendency wrong. We saw significant ticket splitting in PA where the D won the governorship easily and the senate race was very close. 

Something similar happened in reverse in AZ where the governor race is close and the senate race not so much. Conclusion: candidate quality does truly matter after all.

Later ... A gradual consensus seems to be emerging, and it isn't good news for Donald Trump. People voted D when most indicators seemed to suggest they'd vote R; the last time this happened people were bummed about Richard Nixon. 

This time? Maybe it is Trump? We need some precinct-level analysis to suss out the relative impacts of abortion, Trump, and fight-to-the-death party loyalty on the disappointing outcome we got.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Wave, Shmave

Wave? What wave? Where? I don’t see no stinkin’ red wave. It appears the pollsters decided they’d been undercounting Republicans so they overcompensated this time and overcounted us. 

We Republicans had the midterm advantage, a opposition party president with crapola approval ratings, a miserable economy. We were even talking about the issues voters said they cared about, when the opposition wasn’t, even that seemed not to matter. 

We spent tens of millions, they spent tens of millions, and all we got was this miserable draw. It is entirely possible we won’t know for sure until Georgia holds a runoff election next month, because it appears neither Warnock nor Walker broke 50%.

At 11 p.m local time Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy predicted the GOP will eke out a bare majority in the House. I guess he experiences that as a victory, if so it is a very mild, muted one. 

If McCarthy can hold his gang together they will be able to stymie Biden’s agenda. That truly is worth doing, but as ‘meals’ go, it is pretty thin gruel, a very watery soup. I’ll have further reaction after I’ve had a chance to sleep on it.

Guam Has Politics?

You are going to see stories like this and this reporting that Guam has elected its first Republican non-voting representative to Congress since 1993. Journalists desperate for something to write about while we await returns have landed on this factoid.

The DrsC spent a year as visiting faculty at the University of Guam in the mid-1980s. While that hardly qualifies us as experts, we at least called Guam home for a year.

At that time, Guam had Republicans and Democrats but the so-called "parties" had little to do with the groups with those names in the States. Basically, they were coalitions of ruling families in opposition to each other who contested for control of the island's government structure and handed out patronage when successful.

Guam natives, who call themselves the Chamorros, tended to be allied with one coalition or the other, most often by either blood or marriage. Guam politics are dynastic, "Republican" James Moylan just defeated "Democrat" Judith Won Pat who has the same family name as Guam's first representative in DC had several decades ago. 

"Liberal" and "conservative" tend not to mean much on an island whose economy is largely dependent on the U.S. military which maintains large bases there. The other main source of revenue is tourists from Japan who treat Guam as a cheaper-to-reach sub-tropical substitute for Hawaii. 

Bottom line: That Guam elected a "Republican" may not mean what us mainlanders would tend to conclude.

Waiting ....

In about an hour, the polls will begin to close on the East Coast. TV's talking heads will engage in palaver, filling time until meaningful results begin to trickle in, which will take another couple of hours. 

This is when residing in the Pacific time zone is an advantage. It is like having a time machine and being able to look three hours into the future. The local polls probably won't close for another 4-5 hours. 

The DrsC long since voted by mail. It is what Wyoming snowbirds normally do in the November general election. We voted in person in the August primary, it now seems long ago. 

Election Day

Today is Election Day across our great land. It is the day when our elected officials get their performance appraisals. 

If you've not already done so, please go vote. it is your opportunity to either give the incumbents another term, or to throw the rascals out.

Even if the people you vote for don't win, voting is still important. Those who make party policy look at vote totals as a reflection of the directions to take in the next election. 

Our ancestors fought and died to earn us the right to elect our government. Honor their memory by exercising that right.

The Forgotten

If journalism has produced an authentic American voice in the last decade, it is Salena Zito who writes for the Washington Examiner. She wanders the two lane highways and small towns, mostly in the Rust Belt, listens to the people others don’t notice, and tells their stories.

On this Election Day she writes an elegy for the Democratic Party, which for decades represented the people about whom she writes. She identifies four milestones in that party’s decline. 

Zito begins with the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline, which hurt so many working people directly and indirectly. Her second is the godawful mess that leaving Afghanistan became. 

The third was Biden’s Leni Riefenstahl speech in Philly where he said half the country were racist extremists, echoing Hillary’s “deplorables.” And the fourth was a photo of a soot-covered coal miner watching a basketball game with his spotless young son, an image that captures for Zito the America that bicoastals have no concept of, one that works hard and enjoys small pleasures. See her conclusion.

The Democratic Party and the cultural curators in this country that run our institutions, academia, national media, corporations, Hollywood , and our sports entities have forgotten that these people vote — no matter how much pressure you place on them, no matter how much you look down on them or call them names or believe you know better than them or think they should just deal with high prices or accept dangerous crime in their communities.

The Democrats need a much better message to appeal to voters the next time a big election is held — one that is aspirational, nondivisive, and truly inclusive.

That wasn't their message this year.

’Nuff said. 

Monday, November 7, 2022

Henry Olsen Predicts

The Washington Post's Henry Olsen is known for his election predictions. While his WaPo column is behind a paywall, his basic conclusion has been reprinted at the Ethics & Public Policy Center's website and I cite it here for your information.

Inflation, crime, progressive attempts at overreach and a general sense that President Biden is not up to the job will likely deliver a surprisingly large victory to Republicans. I predict the GOP will win the national popular vote by about 5.5 points, likely gaining between 31 and 40 House seats in the process. I also expect it will retake control of the Senate, gaining two to four seats.

That outcome, if accurate, will certainly find me smiling. Olsen doesn't talk about governors, but CNN misleadingly reports a majority of Americans will have a Democratic governor. It is likely this is true since CA alone has 1/8 of the U.S. population. When the votes are counted however, expect a majority of states to have Republican governors.

Now we wait....

Sunday, November 6, 2022

More from Teixeira

Some years ago political scientist Ruy Teixeira predicted a demographic surge for Democrats which did not materialize. I respect the fact he admitted he was wrong and has moved on. We don't often agree about policy choices but I find much of his analysis first rate. 

A Teixeira article in The Atlantic reprinted by documents the steps by which the Democrats ceded their long-time position as defender of the working class to Republicans. It's a story semi-familiar to those of us who follow politics, but Teixeira lays it out succinctly.

In a de facto two party political system, assembling a potentially majority coalition is the only meaningful goal. Teixeira doesn't make his own views explicit but I infer he believes ceding the working class vote to the GOP was a Dem mistake, perhaps a grievous one. 

Saturday Snark

And I love it.

All images courtesy of Power Line's The Week in Pictures, or its comments section.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Unhappy Women

The 2022 American Family Survey found interesting differences in happiness and mental comfort levels for liberals and conservatives, and these differences were particularly acute for women.

Only 15% of liberal women in the age group surveyed said they were “completely satisfied” with their lives, compared to 31% of conservative women.

In the same vein, only 15% of liberal women reported being “completely satisfied” with their mental health, compared to 36% of conservative women.

Commenting on these findings, sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox is quoted as having made the following observations.

Two family factors have a lot to do with this ideological gap: marital status and family satisfaction. Given that conservatives aged 18-55 are about 20 percentage points more likely to be married, as well as 18 percentage points more likely to be satisfied with their families, the lesson here is obvious. Marriage and family are strongly linked to happiness and to personal mental health in particular.

While I doubt many readers of this site find the above either surprising or strange, it is always good to have confirmation of what was already believed to be true.

Whither Democrats?

Writing for Politico, David Freedlander looks at the schism within the Democratic Party. He describes the ideological purists versus the practical realists by putting names on leading people in each group. 

Freedlander does a reasonable job of being fair to both sides, it seems to me as an outsider. I’m not certain the partisans would agree. We have the same sort of division among Republicans, except our old-style “purists” are very much on the defensive and in the minority these days, thanks to Trump and populism.

I don’t expect regular COTTonLINE readers to particularly empathize with either Democratic faction. However, their intra-party conflict will be a part of the national political dialog going forward. If we care about politics writ large, we need to know what the “other side” wrestles with when we’re not in the room. Check out this bit:

The Democratic Party started to go awry during the Obama years. His was a style and a rhetoric that let all Americans see themselves in the story he would tell about the country.

All of which left room open for someone who could put together a coherent story for people looking for someone to explain why, if all that inspiring stuff was true, everything seemed to be falling apart in the country.

Inconveniently for every Democrat in America right now, the person who did figure it out wasn’t a populist like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. It was Donald Trump.

Good luck, guys … you’ll need it. The faculty lounge bushwhah you’re peddling isn’t finding many heartland buyers.

We Are Rudderless

David Strom writes at the Hot Air site about the current political milieu and, stated baldly, this is quite an indictment. Hat tip to Instapundit for the link.

We are at a moment in time rarely seen in politics, where the President of the United States can give a Prime Time address claiming that the very future of the Republic is at risk and the reaction is a complete shrug. Nobody cares. Nobody is listening. Biden owns the “bully pulpit,” but it is made of balsa wood and was nailed together by a 3 year old with a Playskool hammer.

Thank heavens the ship of state plows ahead on momentum and inertia, because there is no discernible presence at the helm.

The Hollywood Dilemma

I write “Hollywood” as a shorthand way to indicate the entertainment industry wherever it’s located. In the wake of the generally bad year they’ve had contrasted with the big success of the film Top Gun Maverick, a dilemma is becoming clear for the industry.

Television viewing and movie theater receipts are both down. Woke doesn’t sell, not-woke does sell. Things that don’t sell don’t make money, things that sell make money. The entertainment industry writ large likes woke, but also likes money. 

For years they made money on the “big” films and made cheap little “art films” that lost money to scratch their ideological itch. More recently, their ideology has gotten in the way of money-making. But their preferred Malibu-Beverly Hills-St. Tropez lifestyle demands plenty of money.

The entertainment industry is discovering they aren’t very successful in selling us their ideology. Attempts to force feed us their woke obsessions aren’t working. The moguls who survive will be those who understand the imperatives of the marketplace.

A personal note: My parents lived in Hollywood between the World Wars and my dad had some interaction with movie colony folk. His view of them, seen up close, was that way too many film folk were what we’d today call Harvey Weinsteins, though he was probably thinking of Fatty Arbuckle & Co. He said their politics were Marxist and their morals were debauched. 

He was correct then and I’ve seen little to indicate positive change. In a rare moment of self-awareness, Cher’s lyric describes her industry colleagues as, “Gypsies, tramps, and thieves.”

Friday, November 4, 2022

Marking Time

Between now and Tuesday night those of us who follow politics are likely to be marking time, or maybe killing time. It is unlikely that anything critical to the outcome will happen between now and then. So we wait. What does happen tomorrow night is the switch back to standard time, aka the "fall back."

The omens are looking good for Republicans, most prognosticators call GOP control of the House a given. Some are still fence-sitting about the Senate, although the braver souls will allow it's likely the GOP will prevail there too.

Assuming Joe Biden will wield his veto pen with considerable abandon, the Congress will tend to put emphasis on those things which do not require presidential approval. These mostly involve oversight or investigations into executive branch malfeasance, but also include confirming presidential appointments to certain offices. 

Without a majority in both houses of Congress, it is likely the President will emphasize foreign policy, which our system makes mostly a presidential function. Expect the Vice Presidency to go back to being a sinecure, assuming we will no longer have a 50-50 Senate whose ties the VP breaks.

A Shadow President?

Glenn Reynolds writes a column for the New York Post, as well as his posts at Instapundit. Today Reynolds writes that Gov. Ron DeSantis is sorta-kinda filling the role of "shadow president." 

If that title doesn't make sense to you, it's because it comes from British politics where the opposition party forms a "shadow cabinet." Its members are MPs who understudy and criticize the actual cabinet ministers from the party in power. Cabinet ministers being the equivalent of our cabinet secretaries.

Being governor of Florida isn’t the same as being president of the United States. But DeSantis has been able to show the spirit, and sometimes the substance, of actions that a Republican president might take.

In his role as governor, DeSantis has been making a lot of good choices, demonstrating the executive skills which a president needs. It's likely I will vote for whoever the GOP nominates in 2024, but if I had my druthers, the candidate would be DeSantis. Reynolds implies DeSantis would be his choice too.

Only Capital D Democracy Is Endangered

When Joe Biden and his allies talk about a Republican wave in the election next week being a threat to democracy, it is important to understand what they do and do not mean. In their minds “democracy” is simply a synonym for Democratic Party rule, full stop. 

If the polls are to be believed, it appears that Democratic Party rule is endangered. In two short years the Democrats have damaged a healthy economy, a functioning criminal justice and immigration system, and a substantial international position, we hope not irreparably.

Be clear, small d democracy is in no particular danger. Next Tuesday the electorate will do what electorates are supposed to do, which is punish political actors who turn in lousy performances. That is small d democracy in action. 

You screw up, you lose your mandate, and retire to the opposition. Like a losing sports team, political losers go through a “rebuilding” process aimed at winning at some point in the future, perhaps aided by the incumbents screwing up their mandate.

Expect the Democrats, in spite of their protestations to the contrary, to behave a month from now exactly as though small d democracy is alive and well. They will strive to make it work for them, "next time."


Sir Winston Churchill in 1947, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that have been tried."

Thursday, November 3, 2022

The Last Minute Polls

The Ace of Spades blog writes something interesting about last minute polling which is showing Republicans "suddenly" ahead. I'd guess he is correct in his suspicions.

There is a very strong suspicion among poll analysts and critics. 

They talk about major pollsters deliberately publishing polls they know for a fact oversample Democrats and are therefore just wrong, in order to please their clients.

But then, right before the election, in the last poll before voting starts, they suddenly publish a poll showing the GOP in a much better position.

Suddenly, the Democrat oversampling they've been doing for months just poof! vanishes.

And why do they do this? Because, when people rank pollster's accuracy, they usually only look at the last poll conducted before the election.

Ace goes on to cite several examples of this, if you're interested. Another explanation is that late in the game many pollsters switch from polling "registered voters" to polling "likely voters." Pay more attention to polls which only survey "likely" voters.

All things being equal, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to vote. A fact about which my father - a lifelong Southern Democrat who died before they all became Republicans - never tired of complaining. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2022

A Malign Collaboration

Wisdom occurs in odd places. The particular example I bring to your attention comes from the website FDD (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies). Hat tip to Power Line for the link.

The article in question deals with the letter of opposition to continued funding of the Ukraine war and a demand for negotiations with Russia to end that conflict. The letter, signed by 30 progressive Congressfolk, was almost immediately withdrawn.

I call your attention to the following concerning who was pushing the views espoused by the letter. FDD writes: 

The Quincy Institute is funded both by George Soros, a well-known leftist billionaire and Charles Koch, a prominent billionaire on the right.

What they appear to have in common is isolationism. It’s likely they come to that standpoint for different reasons. Simply put: Left isolationists see America as unworthy to be a world leader. Right isolationists see the world as unworthy of American leadership.

COTTonLINE cautions that collaborations like this one between left and right have, in the past, had ugly long-term consequences. 

A DeSantis Ad

If you don't live in the state of Florida, and most COTTonLINE readers don't, you won't have seen this TV ad for FL Gov. Ron DeSantis. It is amazingly powerful and not even a little bit negative, you'll enjoy it. 

DeSantis is running for reelection and, not incidentally, for the presidential nomination in 2024. He keeps doing the smart thing, and those who follow politics are noticing. 

There's more than a little libertarianism in his policies. His slogan for Florida is particularly good: "Keeping the Free State of Florida Free."

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Supreme Snark

In arguments before the Supreme Court, in the case brought by Asian students who believe they were unlawfully discriminated against in university admissions, the following interaction happened between lawyer for Harvard Seth Waxman and Chief Justice John Roberts.

MR. WAXMAN: Race in some – for some highly qualified applicants can be the determinative factor, just as being the – you know, an oboe player in a year in which the Harvard-Radcliffe orchestra needs an oboe player will be the tip.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Yeah. We did not fight a Civil War about oboe players.

That riposte calls for a rimshot, Mr. Drummer Man. Steven Hayward at Power Line has the quote.

Thinking About Plastics

It is widely reported that recycling of plastics isn’t working. The creation of new plastic from petroleum is much cheaper and more sanitary than sorting, breaking down and reusing old plastics. 

The logical response is to replace plastic in single-use-followed-by-disposal settings with other products which are more biodegradable. At least at present those replacements are substantially less satisfactory than plastic.

Glass was once how beverages - beer and soft drinks - were packaged. Bottles were used, emptied, returned, sanitized, and refilled. But glass is heavy and fragile, and the replacement aluminum cans actually do get recycled. Unlike plastic, aluminum is cheaper to recycle than to produce new from ore.

The solution to the plastics problem is more technology, not less. Chemists need to develop satisfactory plant-based replacements for plastic which are stable in the medium run, but biodegradable in the long run.