February 29, 2012
Romney, Santorum, and the Numbers
As I mentioned in my last post, I think Rick Santorum's presidential bid is toast. OK, I've said that before only to see Santorum's candidacy arise from the symbolic graveyard, which I've also said about Newt Gingrich. But I think Republican voters are getting a little antsy and would like to have this thing settled.
Consider this exit poll analysis from Hot Air:
Santorum crushed Romney among Democrats and fought him to a draw among independents — yet somehow, the “conservative” candidate lost Republicans by 10 full points. If RS ends up losing tonight, that’ll be the headscratcher tomorrow. How did he fail so badly against Romney within the party itself that he let the state slip away?
Crushing Romney among Democrats isn't something Santorum ought to brag about. They supported him because he's less likely to win against Obama in the fall. Michigan turned out to be as close race as it was, only because Santorum resorted to the Democrat Strategy. Republicans clearly want somebody to beat Barack Obama in the general election, and Romney is still heavily favored in that category.
Power Line piles on:
In an echo of Rush Limbaugh’s 2008 “Operation Chaos,” Democrats and union officials have urged their followers to vote for Santorum so as to promote a weak Republican nominee. Michael Moore advised his fans to vote for Santorum, which probably produced six or seven ballots. Still, if 10% of the voters in the primary were Democrats, and if 80% of them voted for Santorum–a conservative estimate–it added 6% to his total. If my arithmetic is correct, that means that if Romney wins by, say, five points, he actually won by 11 points among Republicans.
The Washington Times reports that Romney exceeded his 2008 Michigan primary vote total by a pretty wide margin.
In both the Arizona and Michigan Republican primaries, the former Massachusetts governor improved not just his share of the vote, but the total number of votes he won — reversing a trend that had seen him actually shed votes from 2008 in Iowa, Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, Missouri and Maine.
With the exception of Missouri, whose primary wasn't binding, all of those states were caucuses, where very conservative voters dominate. But in the other primaries, Mr. Romney has done well, improving his vote tally in each of them.
In Arizona, he won more than 215,000 votes, which was about 30,000 more than he won in 2008. And in Michigan, he won about 410,000 votes, or more than 70,000 better than he did the last time through.
Super Tuesday may represent the last significant challenge on the primary schedule for Mitt Romney's bid. In Georgia Newt Gingrich defends his home turf. He's been campaigning hard there and in Tennessee as well, so there is a good chance that he'll pick up at least one more primary win. But Massachusetts where Romney served as governor is also part of the Super Tuesday mix as is Virginia where neither Gingrich nor Santorum are on the ballot. Chalk up, at the very least, two more wins for Romney. Meanwhile Santorum's home state of Pennsylvania doesn't come into play until April 24th. I wonder if he can hang on that long.
The Democrat Strategy
Mitt Romeny won the Michigan Republican primary despite a desperate last minute bid by Rick Santorum who urged Democrats to turn out and vote against Romney. I'm not sure that was such a smart move.
Elisabeth Steegman, 44, of Sterling Heights also voted for Santorum to help Obama.
“My father is probably rolling over in his grave,” Steegman said. Her father, she said, was a union steward at the General Motors Tech Center who made sure his children voted Democratic.
“It’s one way to get a vote for the person you want to win. It’s a little stinky,” she admitted, but worth it.
Several solidly Democratic cities, which gave President Barack Obama big margins of victory in 2008, such as Ferndale, Melvindale and Belleville, gave Santorum noticeable margins of victory over Romney.
If Rick Santorum can win the Republican presidential nomination he will give Democrats their best shot at getting Barack Obama re-elected. Michigan Democrats voting in the Republican primary said so yesterday with their votes. I tend to agree.
Pundits have been billing the Michigan primary as the make or break race for Mitt Romney, it being one of his home states and all. In reality it just broke Rick Santorum. As Republicans ponder their choices in the upcoming primary battles it will be difficult to overlook Santorum's last minute Democrat strategy. It depended so heavily on a perception that Santorum is the weaker candidate. Why else would a Democrat vote for him?
There is now a second-place aura about Santorum that will badly hurt his chances in the upcoming Republican primaries, and it might even have been much worse had Michigan Democrats given him the victory. The number one goal for so many Republican voters is defeating Barack Obama in November. Michigan Democrats have just told us who they think is best equipped to do it, and it's not Santorum.
February 28, 2012
Juan Williams and the Fox Effect
Perhaps those years of association with Fox News have finally driven Juan Williams to the political dark side. But what, you may ask, makes me think that Mr. Williams has gone irrevocably around the political bend? In his Wall Street Journal column today, he commits the unthinkable. He takes it to the education unions. Mr. Williams writes,
Gov. Jindal is part of a surprising development in American politics this past year: Elected officials from both parties are so fed up with the status quo of failing schools that they're abandoning the politics of left-right polarization and challenging the entrenched power of teachers unions. Republicans like Mr. Jindal and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie are fighting for school reform on parallel lines with Democrats like New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
As a side note, I would just say that the most surprising thing about these developments is learning that there are actual living, breathing Democrats who are taking on the unions. Who would ever have imagined? But I digress.
On the other side are the teachers unions, which have proven to be formidable opponents willing to fight even modest efforts to alter the status quo. With one hand, they dangle a carrot before politicians in the form of campaign money from union dues, which are mandatory in many states. With the other, they threaten them with strikes, protests, negative ads and litigation that will make them—especially Republicans—look like enemies of public schools.
As a result, politicians from both parties are too often cowed into accepting a status quo that produces one million high-school dropouts a year and a graduation rate of less than 50% for black and Hispanic students.
Not only is Mr. Williams applauding the political leaders who are willing to go up against the teachers unions, he appeals to the business community to step up their commitment to the fight.
Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of Washington, D.C., public schools, frequently reminds people that "charter schools are public schools." Ms. Rhee is now CEO of Students First, a nonprofit working to improve education by helping politicians across the nation increase teacher accountability and school choice. Her group gets major funding from business leaders.
This investment signals that some members of the business community are willing to wade into the political arena and support challenges to the power of teachers unions. But more needs to be done at the local and state level. It's time for the business community to shake its fear of being branded anti-union and get into this fight.
In his column Juan Williams introduces “A Tale of Two Missions” — a film that tells examines Chicago schools to tell a story of the competing cultures in American education. The film was created by Mr. Williams and Kyle Olson who is the Founder and CEO of Education Action Group Foundation.
I haven't seen the film yet, but I will.
February 27, 2012
Science in The Service of Politics
Simon Carr of the Independent recently reported on a presentation by climate scientist Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT to the House of Commons. (My emphasis below.)
Over the last 150 years CO2 (or its equivalents) has doubled. This has been accompanied by a rise in temperature of seven or eight tenths of a degree centigrade.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change attributes half this increase to human activity.
Lindzen says: “Claims that the earth has been warming, that there is a Greenhouse Effect, and that man’s activity have contributed to warming are trivially true but essentially meaningless.”
He said our natural body temperature varies by eight tenths of a degree.
He showed a Boston newspaper weather graphic for a day – it had the actual temperature against a background of the highest and lowest recorded temperature for that day. The difference was as much as 60 degrees F.
When you double CO2 there’s a two per cent change in the “radiation budget”. Yet two billion years ago, the sun was 20 to 30 per cent dimmer – and the planet’s temperature was about the same.
The Al Gore graph showing CO2 and temperature rising and falling in tandem showed that the release of CO2 from the oceans was prompted by warming, not vice versa.
He gave us a slide with a series of familiar alarms – melting ice caps, disappearing icebergs, receding glaciers, rising sea levels. It was published by the US Weather Bureau in 1922.
How to explain the procession of eminent opinion leaders – some even in our own Royal Society – who advance the tenets of catastrophic global warming? “It is science in the service of politics,” he said.
And the money spent on the advice of “scientists in the service of politics” can be measured in trillions.
Update: Here is Professor Lindzen's full presentation. An excerpt:
Our present approach of dealing with climate as completely specified by a single number, globally averaged surface temperature anomaly, that is forced by another single number, atmospheric CO2 levels, for example, clearly limits real understanding; so does the replacement of theory by model simulation. In point of fact, there has been progress along these lines and none of it demonstrates a prominent role for CO2.
Professor Lindzen concludes:
Perhaps we should stop accepting the term, ‘skeptic.’ Skepticism implies doubts about a plausible proposition. Current global warming alarm hardly represents a plausible proposition. Twenty years of repetition and escalation of claims does not make it more plausible. Quite the contrary, the failure to improve the case over 20 years makes the case even less plausible as does the evidence from climategate and other instances of overt cheating.
In the meantime, while I avoid making forecasts for tenths of a degree change in globally averaged temperature anomaly, I am quite willing to state that unprecedented climate catastrophes are not on the horizon though in several thousand years we may return to an ice age.
Global warming alarm. Hardly a plausible proposition.
February 24, 2012
Google Bets Republican
Google has picked a well-connected Republican to run its public policy team. Former GOP Congresswoman Susan Molinari will replace Alan Davidson to lead Google's policy team for North and South America.
By picking a well-connected Republican to run its public policy team, Google is taking another step towards shedding its image as a company aligned with Democrats.
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt is a top supporter of Obama and advised him during his 2008 campaign. But with so much at stake in legislation and policy, Google needs to be able to work both sides of the aisle, especially now that Republicans control the House.
The Gusher of Green Jobs
According to the President's Council of Economic Advisers federal stimulus spending has so far created between 2.2 million and 4.2 million jobs. But where do they get those numbers?
Jobs have been an important measure influencing distribution of more than $800 billion in stimulus money, which also has included tax breaks and spending on roads, sewers, schools, health and public assistance. Yet the number of jobs created or saved is largely based on formulas, mathematical models and reports by recipients, rather than actual tallies.
Apparently there's a problem with the modeling.
Alfredo Garcia was among the residents of Webb County, Texas, banking on a windfall from federal stimulus money.
Mr. Garcia expanded his Mexican restaurant from 80 to 120 seats, anticipating a rush of new patrons springing from the nearby Cedro Hill wind farm, a project built with the help of $108 million from U.S. taxpayers.
When construction ended, Cedro Hill had just three employees and Mr. Garcia's restaurant, Aimee's, filed for bankruptcy protection. "Nobody came," said Mr. Garcia, a county judge who closed Aimee's last year, putting 18 people out of work.
The program that was supposed to create all the green jobs is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Under section 1603 of the act companies were given upwards of $10 billion for wind, solar, and other renewable energy projects.
On the basis of computer modeling, we're spending money like it's water in an effort to mitigate the damage that the models say we are wreaking on our climate. How fitting that we would mathematically model the number jobs created in the mitigation effort. Too bad we couldn't have modeled some customers for Alfredo Garcia's restaurant. It's time to model a new president.
Why Not Santorum
Mona Charen explains:
Because he has phrased his socially conservative views in vivid terms, he is precisely the sort of candidate who will evoke a Pavlovian response from the press. Just as Sarah Palin drove them mad, Rick Santorum will outrage them. The campaign will be cluttered by the continual discovery of "controversial" Santorum quotes from the past three decades, and precious time will be lost as he explains, justifies or withdraws his comments on women in the workforce, contraception, gay unions, Obama's "theology" (by which he did not mean to question the president's faith, something he'll have to explain over and over) and so forth.
February 23, 2012
Robert Tracinski offers thoughts on the bungled, and pathetically stupid, smear that Peter Gleick aimed at the Heartland Institute.
Fakegate shows us, with the precision of a scientific experiment, several key truths about the global warming movement. It shows that most warmists, both the scientists and the journalists, will embrace any claim that seems to bolster their cause, without bothering to check the facts or subject them to rigorous investigation. (Anthony Watts notes how few journalists bothered to contact him before reporting the claims about him that are made in the fake memo.) And it shows us that warmists like Gleick have no compunction about falsifying information to promote their agenda, and that many other warmists are willing to serve as accomplices after the fact, excusing Gleick's fraud on the grounds that he was acting in a "noble cause." It shows us that "hide the decline" dishonesty is a deeply ingrained part of the corporate culture of the global warming movement.
Gleick wasn't just an obscure, rogue operator in the climate debate. Before his exposure, his stock in trade was lecturing on "scientific integrity," and until a few days ago he was the chairman of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics.
Gleick's frame up failed spectacularly when he apparently threw in the faked Heartland Institute internal memo. The document, supposedly a confidential strategy memo, was ludicrously error laden.
Isn't this the frosting on the cake? Gleick routinely lectured everybody else about ethics. But it's not just the global warming crowd that suffers from these ethical lapses. It's a progressive trait. Progressives invariably argue that their crisis du jour is so severe and their cause is such a moral imperative that anything they do, anything at all, that advances their cause is justified. There might even be some of them who believe it. At least for a while. But mostly they're lying about it, even if it's only to themselves.
Global warming, health care reform, income inequality; these are all contrived crises whose solutions are invariably designed to entrench progressives and enhance their power. Global warming in particular was intended to be the motherlode. A Carbon Market was supposed to provide an exchange for the trading of Carbon Credits. Companies and individuals could purchase indulgences to offset their contributions to the level of CO2 in the atmosphere. The money would fund research and green projects. Global Climate Change treaties would impose all manner of taxes and fines and of course wealth transfers from richer nations to poorer nations. Naturally there would be legions of progressives doing the research, running the projects, and overseeing the whole thing. Naturally they would be compensated for it.
Richly compensated. Climate study grants already run in the millions. When you get to the bottom of these ethical lapses it's about the money. It's about progressive job security and the preferred progressive strategy of leveraging coercive government power as the way to get rich. It turns out we're all capitalists at heart. Even if you business is the destruction of capitalism.
Shortly after the Arizona debate Rick Santorum wondered aloud if Mitt Romney and Ron Paul made a deal.
"You have to ask Congressman Paul and Governor Romney what they've got going together," Santorum told reporters in the spin room in Mesa, Arizona. "Their commercials look a lot alike and so do their attacks."
Santorum's top strategist John Brabender went even further, charging that the two men had "joined forces" and were coordinating attacks against his man
"Clearly there's a tag team strategy between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. For all I know, Mitt Romney might be considering Ron Paul as his running mate. Clearly there is now an alliance between those two and you saw that certainly in the debate."
I can't say the same thought never crossed my mind. In one sense it seems odd that Santorum gets the brunt of Paul's attacks, since he maintains an aura of being the more conservative when compared to Romney. But because he is the more socially conservative that makes him the less libertarian. That suggests he would be less likely to have Ron Paul's support, but whether or not Romney and Paul have a deal going is anybody's guess.
Personally, I doubt it. Santorum happens to be the front runner and that's what you get when you're the front runner.
But wouldn't it be great if all four Republican contenders would make a deal. The "dream team" I have in mind looks like this:
- President Mitt Romney — He's the proven executive and turnaround artist who has the experience necessary to get the country headed back in the right direction.
- Vice President Newt Gingrich — His legislative experience makes him my top choice to preside over the Senate. Ideally he would be a strong Vice President in the mold of Dick Cheney and in that position he could bring his imaginative solutions to the problems we face.
- Secretary of Defense Rick Santorum — I take him at the single word description he gave of himself in the debate: courage. He would be the courageous Secretary of Defense who would not allow our national security to be compromised.
- Secretary of Health and Human Services Ron Paul — He would bring a libertarian free market approach to solving our government contrived health care crisis. Our health care industry needs more exposure to market forces not less. We need more health care practitioners not fewer. We need more patient control not less. Dr. Ron Paul would be just the guy to make it happen.
I deliberately left out the Secretary of State. I like John Bolton for that slot. Beyond that I suppose I could let President Romney pick the rest of his cabinet.
February 21, 2012
In Other Climate Change News
By way of Da Tech Guy, it turns out there is another ClimateGate in the offing. This one is called FakeGate, perpetrated by one Peter H. Gleick, who heads an organization known as the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security.
Gleick claimed that he received an anonymous tip, a strategy email from the Heartland Institute that reveals its diabolical conspiracy to undermine the good science of Global Warming. But then he went on to describe how he misrepresented himself to a Heartland Institute staffer in order to steal some internal documents that he expected would corroborate the anonymous memo.
At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute's apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.
Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else's name.
The repercussions of Gleick's confession appear to be huge. All the more so because former Heartland board member Ross Kaminsky published an article in the American Spectator identifying Gleick as the likely thief, even before he made his confession.
One obvious suspect in the Heartland document theft -- and this is just my speculation -- is Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security and a true enemy of the Heartland Institute. Gleick is a committed alarmist rent-seeker who seems quite bitter that he shares Forbes magazine’s pages with Heartland’s James Taylor.
Mr. Kaminsky didn't leave it at that. He went on the describe the original anonymous memo comparing to Dan Rather's broadcast of the phony Texas Air National Guard memos that on the eve of the 2004 election falsely accused then President George W. Bush of being AWOL and insubordinate during his Air National Guard career.
The document which the alarmists have been trying to make the most of is called “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy.” It appears to be of a similar nature to the forged “Rathergate” documents which ended Dan Rather’s long career promoting leftist views disguised as news.
First, the Heartland document is written in a way which makes it appear unlikely to be genuine. As a commenter on a Forbes.com article about this mini-scandal notes, “It uses the term ‘anti-climate’ to refer to Heartland’s own position — a derogatory term which climate skeptic outfits never use to describe their positions (and…) it is written in the first person, yet there’s no indication of who wrote it. (Have you ever seen a memo like that?)”
Downloading the document, I find that the document properties list no author and say it was created on Monday by a scanner.
Furthermore, as others have noted on the web, the data shows that the file was created on a computer set to the Pacific time zone (signified by the -08:00 in the timestamps), where Gleick is based but where Heartland does not have an office. The stolen documents show their creation in the Central time zone.
In other words, all evidence so far supports Heartland’s emphatic assertion that the document is a forgery.
Interestingly, Gleick, who would normally be preening and prancing in glee at this sort of attention to the Heartland Institute has so far been utterly silent at his Forbes blog and on his Twitter feed.
It boggles the mind. Here is the "anti-climate" wording that Mr. Kaminsky mentioned in the excerpt above. My emphasis below.
Heartland plays an important role in climate communications, especially through our in-house experts (e.g., Taylor) through his Forbes blog and related high profile outlets, our conferences, and through coordination with external networks (such as WUWT and other groups capable of rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts). Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.
It's an odd phrase, "reliably anti-climate," for a think tank to use in describing an audience receptive to its ideas. And the part about how important it is to "keep opposing voices out." How characteristic of the Global Warmist crowd.
With the Gleicks of the world there is a higher truth, one not constrained by mundane facts. If they indulge in a bit of literary license to save the world, won't we all be the better for it? They'd like you to think so.