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January 15, 2016


Wayne Borean

I didn't see the debate, so I don't have my own grades for the candidates. I do however think you are awarding the debates too much relevance at this point in the race.

Early on, debates can have a large impact, because most voters are undecided. By this point in the campaign, far more people are decided, which means that far fewer people can be affected by debate performances.

I'm going to assume your grades are accurate. If so, Trump should see no detectable drop in support. His decideds are solid, and not prone to switching. He could even see a slight rise, since his opponents support is far softer.

Cruz is in a far tougher situation. Trump is currently seen as the winner of the campaign to date. That means that Cruz isn't likely to gain much support from Bush, Kasich, or Carson.

I can't see Rubio making gains. He isn't a natural home for supporters of any of the remaining candidates.

Christie should in theory be the one who is likeliest to make gains. He is the natural home for Bush and Kasich supporters. He might also be the home for Rubio supporters, it depends on whose support is softest (Rubio or Christie).

Carson might surprise us. But I don't think so. I think he's sinking fast. So is Fiorina.

Santorum and Huckabee are dead in the water, racing boats which have blown their engines.

I'm pretty certain that Trump will win the nomination. Cruz has no chance. Rubio has no chance. Christie has a marginal chance, assuming everyone else drops out and throws their support behind him. Which doesn't seem likely.


These are the going betting odds for the 2016 presidential elections. I do not know whether the debate has already been factored in.

It is clear that Hillary is expected to win hands down. Trump is second. Even Bernie Sanders is considered to be more likely to win than Ted Cruz.

I do not give links as they tend to be blocked.

Hillary Clinton -110
Donald Trump +260
Bernie Sanders +500
Marco Rubio +1000
Ted Cruz +1400
Jeb Bush +3300
Chris Christie +3300

William Hill:
Hillary Clinton 5/6
Donald Trump 4/1
Bernie Sanders 5/1
Marco Rubio 6/1
Ted Cruz 11/1
Jeb Bush 22/1
Chris Christie 33/1

Hillary Clinton 1.91
Donald Trump 6.00
Marco Rubio 6.50
Bernie Sanders 7.50
Ted Cruz 10.00
Carly Fiorina 21.00
Jeb Bush 21.00
Chris Christie 34.00

Hillary Clinton 10/11
Donald Trump 9/2
Marco Rubio 11/2
Bernie Sanders 13/2
Ted Cruz 9/1
Jeb Bush 20/1
Chris Christie 33/1


And here is an explanation for the betting results:

But if you have read Tomi's blogs, there is nothing new in this analysis.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Wayne and Winter

Wayne - good points. Trump is at the level where he could win it all and his support needs only to rise a little bit, that if those specific 3 rivals continue against him (Cruz, Rubio & Christie), Trump could win the nomination or at least most delegates, because the 3 split the votes almost optimally for Trump. The moderate wing of the party is the largest, Rubio and Christie splitting it, limits either from getting past about 25% and actually averaging about 20%. Cruz is in the smaller conservative wing alone and nearing its size, could get to 30% but mostly run in the 20s. That means 35% could get nationally the most voter support which would then mean Trump just having enough to win most states, not all, but enough delegates in the early states (and 'state wins') plus then win a series of the later winner-take-all states. But if say after March 1, one of Rubio or Christie drops out and the other consolidates the moderate support to something like 40%, then it would become a photo-finish to June and in any case, a deadlocked convention scenario looms large.

Separate from this is the winner bandwagon effect. Cruz winning Iowa will not deliver him a subsequent victory in NH. But Trump winning in NH would help him build the winner bandwagon into SC and Nevada (and beyond).

That being said... the above is based on how accurately polls measure voter actual performance. Apart from what we've debated before on the increasing inaccuracy & unreliability of polling, not that they are never accurate, but that there are increasing amounts of surprise results, is a questionmark above Trump's actual Iowa & NH performance. Trump is vulnerable on three reasons above that 'generic' inaccuracy of polling. 1), he is trying to get a 'silent majority' to turn out and vote for him. Its likely his actual voter turnout will be less than polling suggests, people who honestly would like to see Trump as President, but are simply not that bothered about (primary) elections to care to go and vote. 2), he is pushing the image of being the winner, if he doesn't win everything, the more he doesn't win the latest state just to have voted, the media narrative turns to how much he is bluster and bragging but how that doesn't match reality, turning him into a carricature of a winner. And 3), his level of support is at least partially supported by exceptional level of media attention. That 'benefit' will shrink (while unlikely to disappear completely) as the field narrows, so the remaining rivals naturally get more media attention each, and Trump's novelty runs out, and he won't get automatically so much airtime. It may even shift, if the press figure out what 'buttons to press' to bait Trump into an epic click-bait video tirade, which would be good for that media outlet but bad for Trump support (apart from his solid base) and its possible Trump starts to sulk and fear going in front of the media, which would further erode this advantage.

So, on the one hand, its possible that rather consistent 35% support is now at a true hard ceiling and that some of that honest polling support doesn't show up at the elecitons, and that it will erode somewhat in time. If it falls to under 30% nationally in actual votes at the polls, then Cruz becomes the actual front-runner as long as Christie rises to prevent Rubio from consolidating all of the moderate support.

On the OTHER hand, much of Trump's support is racist and of the kind that people can be ashamed about. So, its likely that some of those who end up voting for Trump, have told pollsters they don't support Trump. So he can have several points of actually higher level of support than polls suggest, which means Trump is a candidate exceptionally well poised to have a stunning voter support level and blow-away some close races. Its most a threat in the first state to vote, Iowa, where he is conveniently tied for the lead. As Trump is also far ahead in NH, if Trump 'loses' and comes in second in Iowa, that is not a major hassle for his campaign, especially as NH votes only days later. But if Trump turns a polling level of being even, to a blow-out and Cruz loses badly in Iowa, then Cruz could be damaged almost irreparably.

Exceptionally unpredictable results, gosh it makes this exciting doesn't it.

Winter - haha, thanks, excellent views and totally consistent with how I see it, haha. And honestly, I never once went to those betting websites to see how they had the horserace judged. But its a valid alternative measurement of the race, because most who vote, would have studied the race (early) very deeply, before committing their money so those are far more 'knowledgable' people than those who actually vote. And note, its not betting about winning the nomination. I totally agree Ted Cruz has an incredibly bad chance of winning the Presidency (would require Hillary dropping out for being hospitablized for heart attack) but Cruz has about as good a chance as Trump for winning the GOP nomination and a year is a very long time in politics, one political event (like the Iranian boat capture) could swing the election dramatically from one side to the other.

On the Democratic side its nearly certain Hillary will win the nomination and that the nomination fights is over relatively early. The race is not particularly nasty either, nothing like that on the Republican side. So Hillary will also have a lot of time to repair her party out of truly minor rifts at best. Then she brings all the advantages she has and the party has to the general election. Meanwhile the Republican race is not clear on who will win, and may be long and bloody and could go to a contested convention and a dramatically split party, where the threat of a third party run looms large. So the smart betting has to discount the chances of a 'stronger candidate' against Hillary now, say Marco Rubio, against his chances to win the nomination, vs a candidate more likely to win the nomination like Cruz who would then be crushed in the general election. Thus at this point, the betting odds are perhaps overly preferring Hillary because her nomination race is not a real challenge. I think the betting analysis will be VERY interesting after the two nomination conventions are over, we know who are the final 2 nominees (and is there a 3rd party run) and who are their VP picks. THEN the betting analysis will be only of one factor, not kind of two related but separate races that they are now based on.

Obviously its also 'relevant' haha, Bernie Sanders in almost all head-to-head polling beats all of the GOP field by big margins, but Bernie isn't going to be the nominee. etc.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi all

Two interesting findings both relating to Trump. 538 blog has a great explanation about how 'misinformed' is different from 'uninformed' and why misinformed is a more determined, less possible to change, type of mindset. Misinformed people will retreat into their delusions rather than accept truths, where uninformed people can be taught the truth. And whose supporters are particularly misinformed? Fox viewers more than other TV news, Fox has most lies in its news and is the only US news channel who doesn't have a policy of correcting its errors on the air. Republicans more than Democrats, believing such nonsense as Obama is a secret Kenyan and Muslim. And of Fox viewers and Republicans, who are most delusional among supporters of candidates? Those supporting.. Trump. Now what is the defense to this for the candidate, to suggest anyone attempting to correct the falsehoods is of course lying - the lying bastards of mainstream media or the fact-checkers or .. that its 'political correctness' which is producing lies.

There has formed a brainwashed section of the US electorate, fuelled by the hysteria of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter and those. They have been happily fuelled by Fox and its friends. Now the candidate who panders to that extreme - and has hijacked it - is Trump. And for Trump to stay its darling, he has to keep feeding the delusions, denying any sensible views, and insist he is correct and refusing to accept any evidence that he has lied. A sensible normal person sees this as crazy and indeed delusional. But Trump's supporters are delusional too. They won't care and cannot be cured of the brainwashing, certainly not in one year's election cycle. The good news is, the part of the electorate that is thus brainwashed is not enough to give Trump a victory and once a rival faces him one-on-one (Hillary) and points out every single silly thing he says, say in a TV debate, Trump will be destroyed. Not in the minds of the delusional 30% but for the undecided 30% in the middle, who will break decidedly for the sensible one, even many who otherwise are Republicans or hate Clintons. But this is delusion. A willful replacement of reality by a fantasy. There is a delusional voter segment, there is a massive difference in how a 'misinformed' voter thinks and behaves compared to 'uninformed' voter. And on how they can be persuaded. Trump cannot win over the undecideds in the middle by being the nutty guy. If he abandons being the nutty guy, he both is a flipflopper and he loses the grassroots support he has on the fringe. His is a strategy that can win the nomination (only in a splintered field) but cannot win the general election. Here is the link to the excellent and short article at 538 blog

Then there is another interesting article about Trump supporters at Politico. There a pollster and election analysts has done correlation analysis of voter profiles to identify what characterizes a Trump voter. The current voting support for Trump does not neatly fit into any commonly-measured variable but there is one, where Trump's support is significantly above others. Its 'authoritarianism'. Do you want a strong parent, do you want obedient children. That kind of thinking. And that fits perfectly with the narrative and what kind of people love his rhetoric. Often older people, wishing the world was like it was in the .. 1950s .. when kids still respected their parents. And that squares perfectly with Trump's push for law and order, how Mexicans are criminals and rapists, how Muslims must be stopped 'only temporarily' until 'we figure out what the hell is going on' haha... An authoritarian is what Mussolini offered to Italy, what Franco offered to Spain, what Hitler offered to Germany and what Putin offered to Russia. Its also a significant part of what was the appeal of Thatcher in Britain and Reagan in the USA (both to far lesser degree than Mussolini-Hitler-Putin-Franco). Its a very dangerous pitch, that lets put away the democratic bullshit, lets put a strongman in power, Trump, give him dictatorial powers like say taxing the Chinese with 45% tariffs or insisting the Mexicans build the wall - and all our problems will be solved.

Its a sweet siren's song for the old and gullible. It won't play well, when its analyzed and various recent historical lessons are applied, and in particular, it won't play well if the rival is another older and experienced politician (Hillary) whose solutions are all consistent with American values but also proven to work.

So interesting times yes. Trump can definitely win the nomination but he hasn't received one vote yet. He is now having some troubling times, like he was boo'ed at a conservative event over this weekend. Cruz is likely to win in Iowa, Trump's support might be partly a mirage. But if the field remains fractured and say its a 4-way race still in late March with Cruz, Rubio and Christie splitting the rest of the vote, we can well see a 40-30-20-10 split of delegates with Trump becoming the nominee. But if its down to two rivals Trump vs Cruz or Trump vs Rubio then Trump loses the nomination 40-60. In any case, if Trump were to become the nominee, Hillary wins by historic landslide and flips the Senate and takes also the House. Hillary vs Trump would see the several Republican incumbent members of Congress and Senators (and some Governors too) endorsing Hillary rather than the lunatic positions of Trump.

But very interesting analysis as the world gets serious about Trump and studies him more. That delusional part of appealing to the brainwashed, we've covered here on the blog before, in my themes of what makes him tick. This authoritarianism preference in voters who support Trump was a bit of a surprise, not that it exists, but a 'dimension' that isn't obviously usually polled or reported. Here is the link:

The appeal of authoritarian rule fits perfectly in that Fascist tendency in Trump rallies and among his supporters where just about every neo-Fascist, Nazi and white supremacists (Ku Klux Klan etc) leader has endorsed Trump. Its the 'you deserve to be spanked' voter haha.. And note - the more Trump plays to this part of his base, the more he will totally alienate most youth voters (who currently like Bernie Sanders). Trump is not being currently called out on his authoritarianism - because its a strongly Republican 'value' of respecting the elders, respecting family, law and order etc. But in the general election, when those issues come out - and boy will they when its Hillary on the other side - there will be a shift in some who find parts of Trump's message appealing but who will be utterly disgusted when his bossy authoritarian dictatorial philosphy is taken onto the table and discussed. I would say this will be a major theme of the Democratic Convention, locking many voter segments solidly to the Democrats, among all those areas where voters feel they are being bossed around - like say labor !!! (or women, or minorities, or youth)

Interesting times. Oh, and I didn't notice, yes, we're getting one more Republican debate before the voting starts. I thought this was the last debate on the GOP side.

Tomi Ahonen :-)



The Authoritarians
by Bob Altemeyer

The book itself


@Tomi, "authoritarian" is not being used in the political sense in that article that Politico is trumpeting. Anyway, I thought Cruz's "New York Values" line backfired since he played it wrong. He could have focused on the values themselves (the Democratic governor said that there is "no place" in the state for social conservatives - apparently forgetting that upstate New York even exists). Anyway, the "authoritarian" article notes that 39% of independents and 17% of Democrats identify as "authoritarian." So Trump's support in the general could be understated.

Anyway, what's important to note is that many Trump supporters were Democrats until Reagan. Many also voted for Bill Clinton and Al Gore (though the latter lost enough to not win the election - perhaps because he didn't court them enough). They like the social welfare programs Democrats started but no longer share their cultural values. That's why they are a conundrum. The moderate Republicans share neither their economic nor social values. Conservatives share their social values, but not their economic values. Democrats share their economic values, but are shunning them and calling them stupid and backward because of their social values. Savvy evangelicals reached out to them in 2010, and now Trump has done so in 2016. I almost wonder if Trump would have been better off running in 2012 (he thought about it). Because of Trump, this is probably the peak of their influence on the electorate (though it could happen in 2018 or 2020 if Hillary or Sanders wins this year and gets blamed for the upcoming recession).

On a side note, I found it very interesting that Hillary Clinton accused Governor Snyder of being racist, while she has been radio silent about her friend and fellow progressive Democrat Rahm Emanuel. The Democrats are in real trouble once African Americans figure out that they have been played for fools for the past 50 years. Rahm snuck his way to re-election by suppressing a video showing the brutal killing of a defenseless African American by a white police officer. That culture has pervaded Chicago for years. It's no accident that the most racially segregated cities are Democratic strongholds (Milwaukee, New York, Chicago, LA, in order). Birmingham, by contrast, in "racist, backwater, hillybilly, evangelical" Alabama is one of the most integrated.


Sanders did well last night, and got the better of Hillary with her unforced error of having Chelsea criticize his health care plans. For someone trying to run to the left, it was a dumb move. On the Sunday morning shows, she first criticized Sanders' single-payer system for being state-driven rather than federally driven. Of course, that would make it just like Canada's system, which progressives often hold up as a system we should emulate here. Then she tried to say it was too expensive (which is more of an argument that Republicans would make).

Hillary's banking on African American voters in Southern states in order to score an early knockout blow. Hence the race baiting yesterday. Her objective would be to say that Sanders can't win outside the liberal and heavily white Northeast and Northwest, using big wins in Bible-Belt South Carolina (where the Confederate flag flew over the state capitol until last year) and Nevada (another "red" state come November) to prove her point. Those states are even holding their primaries on Saturday to drive up turnout. But a number of northern states quickly follow the first week of March. As we saw in 2008, Superdelegates can change their minds. It's still a long shot, but Sanders is a legitimate candidate now.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Winter and Catriona

Winter - thanks, excellent links

Catriona - first on authoritarianism and the Politico article. You're totally correct, I was making the political dimension based on that article, it was not implicit in it. A voter in a democracy, who would prefer a 'strong ruler' authoritarian figure like Hitler in open and fairly democratic Germany before dictatorship of the 1920s, or Putin in openly and fairly democratic Russia of the 1990s, would tend to be also individually authoritarian. Not a perfect correlation but one of strongest to explain Trump now.

On the Independent and Democratic vote - thats where Trump gets crushed. If 39% of Independents prefer his way, and thus 61% are against that type of bossy behavior, he is doomed come what may. Then on the Democratic 17% - note that most of those are HILLARY supporters, not Bernie supporters (she's much more the tough 'Iron Lady' vs Bernie the soft goofy uncle who wants to give everybody freebie Christmas presents all day). So Trump would not take that 17% but he could take a slice of it. We already saw that what was it, a sixth of Republican voters would defect to Hillary if Trump was on the ticket, all again supporting the view that Trump would cruize to a 10 point drubbing even before the mechanics of the final general-election race are factored in, like the moderate Republicans abandoning Trump and some actually endorsing Hillary. No incumbent Democrat up for re-election would dare to cross the obvious next President Hillary - with the reputation Clintons have for revenge - so they will close ranks totally and happily around their woman. Its White House, Senate and House: game, set and match.

But further, consider how much of Trump's support is dependent on him being able to turn out non-traditional voters (very tough task) with a trivial investment in field operations so far. Compared to what Obama had achieved by this point in time in 2008, with a massive grass-roots mobilization effort. And then consider how much Hillary's two waves will be further energized by fear of Trump - women and Hispanics, so the 'base' of Democrats is further energized while Trump would have to invent new voters that according to Republican pollsters - do not exist (Romney managed to activate more conservatives than McCain had, there isn't an enthusiasm gap on the right wing). And lastly, the disgruntled Ted Cruz supporters - if Ted is not the VP (and the smart move by Trump would be to pick Ted, but Cruz might have more delegates in a deadlocked convention and Trump could go pick Rubio instead to leapfrog Cruz) - his supporters would feel betrayed and the base support for Trump would be weak, especially ever more that Trump would inevitably have to pivot towards the center as any candidate always has to. The core base of Republicans will have heard warnings about Trump being a closet Liberal for a year, the moment he starts his pivot, the anger will swell. Few could stomach voting for Hillary instead, but many will stay home, or not support the campaign - and yes, many registered moderate Republicans will then be defecting to Hillary and actually endorsing her, giving the right wing conservatives cover to abandon Trump.

It would be an epic spectacle to see, whether its Trump or Cruz, going against Hillary. For the Republican party the best would be that the failure was by Ted Cruz in 2016, so that they can get rid of the Tea Party disease the soonest. If its Trump on top of the ticket, too many Tea Party types can hold onto their delusions for yet another election cycle and Cruz would be crushed in 2020, only after that could the Republican party start its path to recovery and sensibility, to once again challenge for a national party status and eventually win the Presidency again (earliest 2024 but more likely 2028).

Now on 'many Trump supporters are Democrats' there is some truth in that but a far greater part of Republicans won't support Trump. He is a weird political animal in that sense - haha, not unlike me - who doesn't fit perfectly into the black-and-white dichotomous only two party system of the USA. Like he's said in the past, he identifies more with Democrats than Republicans. Or like how I've said, the USA 2 party system is obsolete and a (real, national) third party (and in future more than 3) needs to emerge.

Haha of 2012, yes Trump would have done well in 2012 and could have denied Romney the nomination. But consider the real loser of 2012 - Chris Christie. He absolutely should have run in 2012 and he would have beaten both of these uber-rich spoiled brats. Look at how well Christie is still doing, inspite of Bridgegate and all the baggage he now brings to the table (hugging Obama etc). If Christie had run in 2012 he would have been the nominee - and - he could have well even defeated Obama, Romney was a flawed candidate and Romney ran a very bad campaign. In 2012 Christie was a highly beloved Republican Governor of a Blue State who would have carried his home state of NJ in the general election, significantly altering the electoral college math. Christie would not have been poisonous in Ohio (Romney wanting to let Detroit go bankrupt) and would have played very well in moderate New Hamspshire. Now there is a real race if you flip OH, NH and NJ out of Obama's wins then I think the math means Christie would only need to win one more state, and as we saw, Florida was still counted four days after the election... And Christie is a very strong campaigner, in town halls and in debates (again something, especially debates, where Romney was weak). Obama was quite vulnerable in 2012, Christie would have won more states than Romney, he could have defeated Obama. Not now. Now he is fighting for a new political life and the VP slot, so he could become the nominee in 2020.

On Rahm Emanuel and Chicago, gosh what a mess, totally agree. Thats Chicago and Illinois. I don't see Rahm surviving his next election. And I doubt his successor will be able to fix that mess either. As to him being a factor in the election, no, not at all. But did you see what is happening with the ole Prez? Obama's favorability is rising, now nearly 50/50 (a few polls have him even or above water). Obama is the type of basketball player who raises his game at the end, he is clearly playing for the win now. He has stopped trying to govern, he is now working on his legacy - and for most moderate Americans, when they're reminded of what he promised and what he's delivered - this is a very good Presidency indeed. There was a news story of a gasoline station in Michigan selling gas for 77 cents haha. The national average price is under 2 dollars. The longest streak of job creation in US history. The deficit is down by two thirds. The economy continues to grow (at modest speed, I grant you that, but it IS growth, not catastrophic decline we associate the same end-of-Presidency period with W Bush). The wars were mostly ended. New wars were not needed. A peaceful end was to nuke threat from Iran. Cuba has re-opened diplomatic relations. The car industry is setting record sales. And there have been zero scandals of any note, not even Hurricane Catrina level scandals, far less Iran Contra or Watergate level scandals. Democrats are rallying around their President and he is enjoying now his time to sell his legacy. The Republicans HAVE to focus their attacks on Hillary, not on Obama which means the attacks will be less, this gives Obama's reputation more room to grow. And when was the last Presidential candidate tying his/her positions as strongly to the current outgoing President as Hillary has done? I can't recall that far. All recent candidates who succeeded their outgoing President as nominee, have run away from the President (McCain, Gore, Bush 1, you could add Mondale and Ford). Hillary is embracing Obama dearly - helping again reinforce his reputation and legacy. And this signals that Obama will be the most active sitting President to ever support his successor (as far as we can recall). Not to mention, at a VERY young age and vigorous health haha.

PS which reminds me, what on earth possesses Jeb to keep bring his moron brother into the picture? Isn't Jeb losing badly enough as it is. Gosh, keep your moron brother in the closet please! Your mom and dad are ok. Don't bring that idiot W into the picture, even if he is your brother. He can only hurt you.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Catriona

Haha on the debate, fine. I take it you noticed the analysis that its the Republican analysts who gave it to Bernie and the Democratic analysts who gave the debate to Hillary. Even you admit its a long shot. I say its a foregone conclusion, Hillary will win the nomination and it will not be close. But the early states, Iowa and NH will be close and Bernie could steal Iowa and he'll probably win NH. Also the opposite is possible, Hillary is ahead in Iowa, that winner's bump could be enough to steal NH in which case Bernie is toast already by mid February.

If you want to hold onto an illusion that Bernie can become the nominee, I won't take that away, feel free. Like you admit, its a long-shot. I say its impossible unless Hillary has a health episode. There is no race on the Democratic side, its a pretend-fight where Hillary isn't even being pushed. She's sleepwalking with one hand tied behind her back. But the Republican nomination, that is increasingly looking like a total apocalyptic mess that could go to a deadlocked convention..

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Seriously, Tomi, stop playing cheerleader for Obama. He has no business taking credit for gas being under $2/gal. That's DESPITE his active opposition to new drilling. Thank fracking, which he's tried to fight. It's the Saudi's overreaction to new US drilling that's led to gas prices falling. And Obama is the king at capitulation. The recent Iran deal is just another sign of that. Who knew all it took to release 4 hostages was turning over $100 billion ($1.6 billion in direct aid from the US) and 7 convicts of our own? Who knew that all it took to re-establish ties with Cuba was for us to stop making any demands?

And ISIS is contained, isn't it? All it took was Europe letting in hundreds of thousands of "migrants." Hey, did you notice that they are now talking about building walls and fences? Who else is talking about that? Did you notice that China has basically taken over the South China Sea on dubious claims and is building artificial islands with air and naval bases? What are we doing about it except some meaningless buzzing. The deficit is down 2/3 only because Obama was able to cram his first "stimulus" plan into Bush's last budget, and because the GOP pushed through the supposedly economically disastrous budget sequester in 2012 (which they then gave away last month - they are just Democrat-lite).

Obama has been an unmitigated disaster. Obamacare is more expensive than expected and covering fewer than promised. Even with fines enrollment is falling below projections. No surprise given that most of the "newly covered" have expensive plans with $6000 per person deductibles, or are on Medicaid (which a large study in Oregon concluded resulted in no net benefit over being uninsured.

He's "encouraging" the mortgage lenders to lower their standards by ignoring FICO scores and allowing people to pool their income to meet a 45% debt-to-income ratio. What could possibly go wrong?

At least he hasn't been able to change the Supreme Court, though he changed the lower courts. Hillary would be even worse since she'd install a court that would allow the government to ban books and movies 60 days from an election if they contain political content (an actual position taken by Obama's solicitor general in a court decision thankfully decided against the Administration in a 5-4 vote upholding the First Amendment).

Bernie can't be the nominee, but hopefully he can push Hillary so far to the left, and hopefully he can tie Hillary to Rahm. The rot within the Democratic party isn't limited to Rahm. The whole establishment views African Americans and their votes just as cynically has he does. After 7 years of the Obama economic miracle, the African American unemployment rate is worse compared to whites than it was before. Race relations are at a 5-decade low, and after a downturn that started during Clinton and continued during Bush, violent crime rates have been rising.

Oh, and gun ownership has increased 50% over the past decade, with no change in gun crimes. So much for gun control logic. The gun industry has loved Obama, though. He's been the best thing ever for their sales.


"On Rahm Emanuel and Chicago, gosh what a mess, totally agree. That's Chicago and Illinois."

No, it's just about every major city, and almost every major city is run by Democrats. It's Baltimore. It's Ferguson. It's New York City. It's Flint (also with a Democrat as mayor). The Democrats have left state and local governments in a massive mess since they never stood up to the public sector unions, and kept making unsustainable finances.


As for Obama's approval rating, it's bouncing around the mean, as it has been for the past 4 years.

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Catriona

First off, oil. SERIOUSLY. You don't get to play stats games with me you should know better. The only two huge spikes in the history of the oil price were.. the Israeli-Arab Yom Kippur war of 1973 and .. the Bush-Cheney (ie Second) Iraq war of 2003. Those are the only global spikes that took a steady 30 dollar oil price to 100 dollars. The Bush-Cheney war did help Cheney's pals over at Halliburton and the Bush family oil baron friends in Texas no doubt tons, but the price also fell dramatically when Obama was elected, and then as the wars were wound down, the price then also fell, as before. No, you don't get to play that game here on this blog, we deal with FACTS not bullshit propaganda. The two massive oil spikes were due to WARS in the Middle East, as obviously also makes 100% sense. And as McCain didn't want to end the Iraq war, but Obama did, that decline in oil price due to the ending of the Iraq 2 war, is also particularly DUE TO OBAMA where the Republicans, who are in big oil's pocket, would have rather wanted all sorts of trouble in the middle east to continue. Like preventing Iran from selling its oil. Again, thanks to Obama, more oil on the market, the price keeps coming down.

Yes, fracking has also helped. But the spike in global oil price is thanks to Idiot Bush and his puppet-master Cheney and their lunatic war in Iraq. The end to that spike - was driven by Obama's deep desire to end that war. You Catriona do not get to invent alternate realities here on this blog. We go by the facts and numbers. Only two global oil price spikes from historical 30 dollar level to 100 dollar level - 1973 war and 2003 war. The only two spikes. Thanks to Obama, that second one is now over. And BTW thanks even more in terms of global oil glut, that Iran now gets to flood its oil to the market, helping keep the prices low.

On the 100 Billion, Catriona !!!! You do not get to invent facts. The facts are that it is Iran's money. Its THEIR money. They own that money. That was withheld as sanctions. When they complied with the sanctions (in this case, nuclear weapon sanctions) of course the sanctions are lifted. Like with Russia, if it decides to comply with the sanctions against it, Russia would get some of its money back. It is not American money. Its IRAN'S money. That was unfrozen when Iran complied with the new agreement. You Catriona do not get to invent new realities. Its Iran's money. Nobody is paying them. They were DENIED that money until they conformed to the international rules. Its THEIR money.

Now, capitulation. Haha, well, here we differ dramatically. Bush-Cheney, McCain, Romney, and just about the whole Republican field now except for Rand Paul, wants to go fight the next war. In the case of Lindsay Graham, he'd want several wars at once. The instinct to go to war FIRST is the bully's response. The instinct to EXHAUST ALL OTHER options first, is the SMART MATURE INTELLIGENT and CIVILIZED way to conduct foreign policy and diplomacy. Its not easy, it takes forever in time, its not glamorous with parades atop aircraft carriers with 'mission accomplished' banners, but it is infinitely better when it works. It was infinitely better when diplomacy prevented nuclear war with Kennedy and Khrushchev in 1962 with the Cuban Missile Crisis. It was infinitely better for Nixon to end the Vietnam war with peace negotiations with Ho Chi Minh than continue that unwinnable quagmire. It was infinitely better for Reagan to negotiate an end to the Cold War with Gorbachev etc. But the neocons now want wars everywhere and refuse to see the merit in negotiations. The Iran deal is INFINITELY better than attacking its nuclear reactors by a US (or Israeli) strike which Iran would then retaliate by sinking say one of the US aircraft carriers and bringing that nation with a population as big as Iraq, plus Afghanistan, plus Syria - combined - but one where the nation is not a tribal collection of warring tribes but one Persian nation who are also the same sect of religion. Iran would be a far worse nightmare for the USA than Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria. The nuke deal is by far the BEST option for the USA - as well as for Israel's security too. But are the Republicans honest enough to admit this? No they were rushing to condemn Obama's release of the prisoners in the prisoner-swap. He truly cannot win whether he does or he doesn't. Whatever Obama does, is inherently bad to Republicans. Thats dogma, thats not dealing with facts. Any other politician who secured the release of Americans held in foreign prisons would be celebrated universally. When daddy Bush was President and Iraq-held hostages were freed, or when Reagan was President and US hostages in Lebanon were freed, the Democrats all cheered patriotically just like Republicans. Similarly to when the Iran hostages were freed under Carter's last days. Its always an American patriotic celebration - except not if that President is Obama. Then its somehow a crime. The Republicans have gone over the edge into loonie-ville. And if you Catriona cannot accept reality, you may be there too. I am honest with you here, I just admitted for example in the above, that yes, Rahm Emmanuel is a disaster in Chicago. I don't hide from reality and facts. You seem prone to do that. Obama is not perfect as a President, nobody is. He made big blunders and I've said many times the Syrian red line is his biggest. But the Iran deal is one masterpiece in international politics and if you can't see that, you are in denial. All of America's allies have already celebrated that deal, now that Iran is clearly complying with its obligations - and destroyed its centrifuges and shipped its Plutonium to Russia. What is wrong with you? You WANT that to continue in Iran? You want Iran to get a nuke weapon? Come on, it would force Saudi Arabia to recipricate and then we're in a real real REAL mess. Look at their spat right now with the embassies. The Iran deal goes down as one of the best diplomatic achievements under any US President, up there with Nixon going to China and Reagan abolishing a whole class of nuke weapons.

As to 'ISIS contained' ???? Where did that come from? Did I mention ISIS anywhere? Did I suggest Obama had destroyed ISIS like he killed Obama Bin Laden where W Bush said he didn't really care if Bin Laden was alive or dead. So ISIS? Was CREATED by W Bush. But the ANSWER that neocons wanted was to send American soldiers by the tens of thousands (listen to Lindsay Graham and John McCain) to die in that mess. What did Obama do? The SMART way to collect a COALITIION like daddy Bush. Its not as glamorous, its not quick, you don't get nice victory celebrations aboard aircraft carriers but the only way ISIS will be defeated is by.. ARABS who fight on the ground. If Americans go there in mass, they will turn the whole war upside down into a far bigger mess. Americans cannot win that war. But the USA can help, and it has. And what is the reality in that war? IHS has reported in December 2015 that ISIS has been pushed back from 14% of the peak of the territory they once held. Not an end to ISIS but the coalition is winning in that war. Its not time for a victory lap, but this is the ONLY way that war CAN be won, and it won't be over in a year or two. The Chechen war lasted 9 years. The Tamil war lasted 26 years. The Afghan war against the Soviets lasted 10 years. Etc.

So you bring ISIS into the picture, I did not. But if you want to argue ISIS, the international consensus is that Obama's way is the best way to fight ISIS, not the Bush-Cheney or McCain-Graham (nor Cruz nor Rubio nor Trump nor Carson way). The only ones who think Obama's way is the wrong way - are Republicans. For them even the most sensible policy that America's LOCAL MUSLIM ALLIES WHO ARE VICTIMS of the attacks daily - think is best, is instantly 'wrong' if Obama does it.

So Catriona. What do you think the USA 'should be' doing with ISIS that it is not doing now? Incidentially, why is the Republican Congress refusing to appoint the ISIS FINANCING undersecretary whose only job is to PREVENT the terrorists of ISIS of using their financial assets. He - Adam Szubin - has bypartisan support, there is nothing wrong with his nomination but Republicans are denying this nomination ??? SRSLY ?? Because Obama. So they would rather let ISIS keep getting its money than help the President win the war against ISIS. Don't talk to me about Obama playing this wrong. Republicans are shooting dirty pool.

So you say Obama is an unmitigated disaster. That is one viewpoint. It would be strongly accepted by most Republicans and conservatives. Democrats will hold an opposite view. But those in the middle - and independents - and independent-minded fair-minded people like me - have to honestly admit, Obama is one of the best Presidents the USA has ever had. He has fulfilled most of his promises (not all). He has achieved enormous domestic policy feats including Obamacare. He led the nation from economic ruin and he remained calm and cool and level-headed with the rough and tumble that the world threw at him. And most of all, he's had no scandals at all. In foreign policy he was the reaction the USA desperately needed after the warmongering Bush-Cheney years and the incredible damage done to the US reputation. He is not perfect but 20 years from now, Obama will be considered one of the best post-WW2 Presidents up there with Reagan, Eisenhower and Kennedy. You are blinded by your dislike of his policies. But thats not fair, Catriona, the nation gave him a clear mandate. They wanted Obamacare. They wanted Dodd Frank. They wanted Detroit saved. They wanted don't ask-don't tell to be repealed. Just like when Reagan came to office, he promised a 600 ship navy (idiotic idea but he did it anyway) and to cut taxes with trickle-down lunacy but he had a mandate, and then he did it.

I hear your pain Catriona, you must dislike Obama very deeply. Thats ok. Here's the good news. Your feelings will change, I promise you. It is inevitable after Hillary has been President for a few years. You will be here, Catriona, I PROMISE you, you will return to this blog, and say, Tomi you were right, I kind of miss Obama. At least he was honest, fair, cool, always straight and Obama never went for the pure-partisan angle (the way Hillary will).

BTW on the Supreme Court, mark my words, Hillary will put Obama on the bench, so you'll get to cry over that and his rest-of-life influence for a long time to come. He's very young and healthy.

But you ignored my main point - that Obama is now focusing on his legacy and he has a record few have ever had. As many already are writing, Obama's second term is even more productive than his first. And Obama is clearly intending to finish strong. But his approval is now up, the Democrats are embracing him, and for an outgoing President Hillary has embraced Obama like no recent candidate has their predecessor. These all will help bring Obama not to his 'usual' election year bump - look at the pattern, its obvious - but perhaps he may leave office as the most popular President in recent memory. All the signs suggest his popularity is rising, none suggest that the points you talked about can lower his popularity - those are mostly tired Republican talking points that work with their base but not with the Independents. I've told you before, that the national economic mood lags the reality by 6-9 months, the current realization that gosh, Obama's economy is quite good indeed - and wages are just about starting to rise now as the slack in unemployment has been removed - that will only help.

On gun control, that is an interesting angle, not on Obama but on Hillary, how much she is embracing it. Its a gamble, in the past the NRA has been able to bully elections but recently they have lost their clout. If Hillary is correct (and this is obviously poll-tested positioning as anything in Hillaryworld) and this is a vote-winner - it will not deliver her election victory - that is baked in - but it can be a VERY potent weapon to unseat some Republicans in what seem like safe seats, as the majority of Democrats, and the majority of Independents, and the majority of Republicans and the majority of NRA members all support modest gun control legislation. Now incumbent Republicans are tied to the NRA. Hillary will bring a wave (because of women and Hispanics). With gun laws, some Republican-leaning voters who are tired of the gun lobby nonsense, can make the exceptional vote to go for the Democrat in House, Senate and Governor elections - with Hillary's coat-tails. That helps her flip the Senate and possibly the House. Its going to be an interesting race. I do want to monitor it more and see more polling, to see how well it plays but she's clearly picking this fight very deliberately. So is, obviously, Obama. Any foreigner like me, looking at it, finds it ludicrous that the NRA can hijack the political process and the tiny minority that they are, to insist their ridiculous views must prevail over other rights. The Constitution and Bill of Rights is a compromise, not a dictate that Gun Rights prevail over all other rights. Its truly ludicrous to any foreigners looking at that issue but that too, will pass, with time. The majorities are too strong on the other side. The question only is, is this year that time. And Hillary seems to be betting it is. Could spell nasty surprises for some Republicans who thought they had safe seats.

Gun industry, I love guns, I'm all happy for their sales. As to the outrageous laws passed by the Republicans in pocket of the NRA, that gun manufacturers have immunity, that has to end and it will soon, under Hillary's 2 terms definitely.

FLINT ? Catriona !!!! Are you suggesting Flint's Democratic Mayor poisoned the children? Are you suggesting Flint's Mayor wanted the water switched? Are you suggesting Flint's Mayor wanted the polluted water not to be treated properly? The GOVERNOR has ADMITTED his fault and apologized !!!!!!! Don't pull that bullshit here. Chicago has a corrupt system, it has for decades, probably a century or more. Its not every city. Some are better some are worse but Flint is totally the Governor's fault (and he should be imprisoned for killing and cripling his citizens especially children. A totally man-made disaster where his government was then trying to hide from the facts and knowingly told Flint citizens to continue to drink the water knowing its poisoned. He's a criminal.)

Obama's approval just hit 6% on Gallup's tracker. Its the highest Gallup has measured Obama since his re-election bounce aftermath in April of 2013. Obama is now above where Reagan was at the start of his last full year 1988. If you want to think it stays in the band where his popularity has been the past year, feel free. I will be here. One of us will be right and the other will be wrong. I go by patterns. Obama's pattern is 'strong finisher' and his popularity will be well positive by the time he leaves office and that means all Democrats will want to be seen with him and he will be (yet another) net positive for Hillary.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


Another reason oil is currently down is the economic "slump" in China. But that is only last year or so.

You have two "believes", Obama is a bad, unloved president and Hillary is is a bad, unloved presidential candidate. You evidence is from right wing media.

I have counter "evidence":
1) The unwillingness of the GOP to work together with Obama on ANYthing is prove that he is a good president. They would have loved to help a bad president dig his own grave.

2) The way the likes of Fox News are denying Obama every positive human feeling (c.f., the tears during his recent gun speech) shows they know he is loved and dehumanizing him is the only weapon left to them.

3) The shrill tone in which GOP candidates yell at Hillary shows they know they have no rational arguments against her. The tone and volume are proportional to her superiority as a candidate.

4) The right wing media are grasping at straws to show us every shred of a sign that there might be democrats, Hispanics, or other minorities who do not like her. This is because they do know that a vast majority of them prefers Hillary a dozen times over any GOP candidate.

In short, all the yelling and name calling are just as many signs for the quality and popularities of Obama and Hillary.


Trump want to model Apple to the Real Estate industry: US real estate is made in the USA.

Trump's new thought bubble: Make Apple manufacture in the USA

Protectionism is the bread and butter of populists everywhere.


Another episode that will come back to haunt the five hopefulls, Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee, if they ever were to get the nomination and try to convince voters they are not religious extremists:

Five GOP Candidates To Join Pastor Who Says AIDS Is God's Punishment For Gay People

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Winter

Great comments and links thanks. I was thinking about your first point in response to Catriona. I agree clearly Catriona holds beliefs that are at least simultaneously promoted by right-wing media (we can't know if Catriona was actually persuaded by those positions or held them independently). But that first point about the right-wing media narrative that Obama is a bad President and the behavior of the GOP actually shows how good he has been (and arguably, how great he could have been) is a compelling one. I'll expand on that.

Normally in almost all periods of divided government (President from different party as at least one chamber of Congress) there is compromise on issues where both sides agree. Sometimes its big compromises (Clinton and Gingrich most famously) at other times its smaller things. But never (or at least, as far as I can remember) has the Congress just decided to refuse any cooperation at all. The classic case of 'cutting off your own nose, to spite your face'. The Republicans under Mitch McConnell and then joined with John Boehner decided to block every single proposal coming from Obama. They ended up breaking with the absolute rule in a few rare cases but almost universally, an unprecedented refusal to do anything in unison. No compromise.

Here is the truly bizarre side of it. In time, conservative historians will remark on this as being sublime stupidity, in context of Bill Clinton the last Democratic President before Obama and Hillary the one succeeding Obama, they will note that Obama was the only one of the three EAGER to work compromises and get Republicans onboard with any legislation. Its clear first off, that Hillary is more liberal by her positions (except foreign policy where she is more a hawk), that was the case already back in 2008 and she's evolved further to the Left even before Bernie came onto the scene. So there is 'more distance' from a Hillary Clinton personal preference political view, to the 'center' to meet up with Republicans, who themselves have moved FAR more to the right with the Tea Party disease.

But then there is EXPERIENCE. Hillary was in the White House when Bill fought with Congress. Her own original Hillarycare was defeated. Then with that 'baggage' and knowledge, she became a Senator and learned that side of the pie well enough to really 'get it'. After that she was just outside the mess of domestic policy - as Secretary of State - but critically INSIDE the Obama administration, seeing how a Democratic President had to fight with his own caucus when trying to do compromises with 'the enemy' Republicans, and then - saw how much worse it got when Boehner became Speaker of the House and the Republicans took that majority.

Obama wanted genuinely to change Congress and Washington, to be known as the first post-partisan President, to end gridlock. He tried but failed. He truly tried for six years, and failed repeatedly and massively. Now Hillary comes in. She goes back to the old ways, to use her power - which will be about as strong as Obama had in 2009 - Hillary will be sworn in having won a landslide and major national 'mandate' for her policies and will have flipped the Senate and won back many House seats, she may even have flipped the House. Then she will be dealing from a position of strength - a position Obama once had but didn't know how to use (or was unwilling to use). Hillary will be merciless in pursuit of her power and implementing her populist policies powered by her electoral mandate. Where Obama always sounded conciliatory and like a law professor, seeing all sides to the most mundane question, Hillary will be fire and brimstone, its her way, the correct way (she will insist), or no way.

The contrast will be far more glaring when Obama is compared to his successor Hillary in her first year, than now trying to compare Obama remembering 16 years back before Idiot Bush to Bill Clinton's time. And Hillary will be arriving at the Presidency with more urgency and more actual inside knowledge both from inside the White House and inside Congress, than any US President since former Congressman and sitting Vice President Daddy Bush elected to one term in 1988. Obama came in with naive belief in being able to change Washington and wasted much of his political capital fighting a battle he could not win. Inspite of that, he has a legacy of incredible achievement. Now, consider tenacious Hillary, feeling burned that Obama got there first, with her agenda of the first woman US President she has been building since she was a teenager, and how she will ignore any post-partisanship sillyness, and going straight to business. Screw the enemy, show strength, they will only respond to strength. And onwards!

Then back to Obama. Now how about Paul Ryan? Ryan has already shown that he is far more intelligent in dealing with how Congress actually works, and that if the President is not from your party, you HAVE to compromise else nothing of your agenda gets ever accomplished. The smart move by Ryan is to get Obama's signature on as many laws as possible because - duh - Hillary's version will invariably be worse for Republicans. Invariably worse. And she'll have at least the Senate to push her side of that game. Ryan's life will be far far FAR worse with Hillary and a far smaller House majority (if he remains the Speaker, if they lose the House, he may be sacrificed too).

The Republicans had a rare 'golden' chance to advance any number of their fave laws and changes and policies. Obama would have done a Keystone Pipeline deal if the Republicans had agreed to pair it with the Immigration deal. Hillary is going to ram that law threw in her first months in office but now it has no gains to Republicans. Obama would have tossed in more money at Pentagon if the Republicans had given in on closing Guantanamo. Hillary will close Guantanamo and there will be no quid-pro-quo. Same thing about anything, minimum wage? Make the deal with Obama, get the issue off the 2016 election cycle, get the raise to be lower and with more exceptions than what Hillary - very close with unions, much more so than Obama - would do. And on, and on, and on. Partly Obama was more moderate (he's no socialist no matter how much shrills on Fox scream he is) and much because Obama was hungry to do partisan deals. Hillary will be opposite to Obama in this way and ironically, her way will now work better. It would have been probably better for US politics if their election had been in reverse order. If Hillary was elected first, and ran strongly liberal positions and quite partisan, then by 2016, a still youngish Obama would have been warmly welcomed by Republicans as the 'better kind of Democrat' who is willing to compromise... Now they will be learning that lesson the hard way, that essentially anything that was dangled on the table by Obama's administration will be off the table by Hillary's team. But also, Ryan is a pragmatist, and once Hillary Chuck Schumer start to run the world without Ryan, Ryan will adjust and bring practical reasonable compromises, to do what compromise is supposed to do in government, sensible solutions where both sides give into something while getting something. Ryan would have been the far better Speaker for Obama earlier on, but again, Obama is a fourth-quarter basketball player - he will pull several more 'rabbits out of the hat' in his last year, of surprise successes. He doesn't signal them in advance - just look at the Iran prisoners. They were negotiated on for years. But Obama never made temporary political issues out of their genuine plight, but rather, pursued very patiently their release.

I would think that Guantanamo will be closed this year, that there is a plan to get all those prisoners moved out and it will be yet another campaign promise that Obama would end up having delivered. And the big, indeed huge issue could be immigration. In a modest compromise solution, one that many moderate Republicans in closely contested districts will strongly welcome, as they do not want a Trump-led Hispanic wave to overturn their political futures. I don't think Obama can pull this off, but he and Ryan are working exactly how split government SHOULD work and both are pragmatists and both see the the big strategic picture, and both can find common cause here. But it could be other things too, expect Obama still to pad his resume in the last months in office.

Very good point Winter, totally agree and this will be seen, with the hindsight of history, as a massive missed opportunity by the Republicans. How massive, will become evident in 2017 when Hillary rolls out her legislative agenda.

Tomi Ahonen :-)

Tomi T Ahonen

To all


Trump has held a very consistent 35% polling position by RCP average for several months now. Very steady as others went up or down (Carson, Cruz). There has not been a national poll released after the debate. But we have now 5 state polls. And three of those are in states that had at least one poll recently to compare a January poll to recent December or so poll. South Carolina, Florida and New Hampshire. All have Trump down 5 points vs previous poll in that state (6 points down in SC). This to me, sounds like an early warning sign.. the NATIONAL polling for Trump may be now down about 5 points, and we may see the next 3 or 3 polls out, on RCP average if they come in the next few days, to be averaging only 30% support for him, not 35%. That would make this VERY interesting, a tantalizing moment of a change in the narrative, if Cruz takes Iowa (if Trump now is losing support at the level of 5 points, then Cruz should win rather easily in Iowa) then that cloak of invincibility will be shattered around Trump. If that was preceeded by declining poll numbers, and then Cruz sees a gain in a post-Iowa polling bump, Trump could still, possibly, go the way of famed front-runners two weeks before Iowa votes, Gingrich who had 32% support in 2012 (Romney won nomination who was in second place with 22%) or Giuliani who had 23% support in 2008 (McCain won nomination who was mired in fourth place with 13%). Both front-runners were moderates, populists who had been leading the race for weeks (months for Giuliani) who were particularly not suited to win in Iowa.

I am not suggesting Trump will collapse, there is no sign honestly of that. BUT the three polls are VERY interesting, is there perhaps an 'adjustment' coming to Trump, where his very steady 35% support is suddenly readjusting to 30% level instead. That would be great news for Cruz. Finally, check out the NH poll - who is in second place? Gosh, did not see this coming - Kasich at 20%. If Kasich comes out second in NH, this will be seen as a 'victory' and he'll be the front-runner in the 'establishment' bracket ahead of Christie, Bush and haha, Rubio.

Lets see what the next national polling brings. I am expecting it to be down if 3 state-wide polls out in past few days all have same direction and none go in opposite direction.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


"Very good point Winter, totally agree and this will be seen, with the hindsight of history, as a massive missed opportunity by the Republicans."

I must admit that you read more sense in my comments than I originally did myself.

But, thinking about it, missed opportunities seems to have become the GOP's middle name.

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