Mitt Romney

Where did Romney go wrong?

Mitt Romney has lost.  In a purely academic fashion, I can’t help but think about what the Republican Party will get out of last night’s results.  After all, there is bound to be some kind of “after action” examination of the Romney campaign, at least by pundits.

Much of the results of those examinations will be that Romney wasn’t “conservative enough.”  They figure that the problem wasn’t that he was a horrible candidate, but that he wasn’t far enough to the right.

This ignores the fact that more and more people are supporting issues like gay marriage and ending the War on Drugs.  This isn’t indicative of an evangelical conservative stance as many Republicans tend to think most Americans really have.  Instead, it seems to indicate a more libertarian stance on social issues.  Will the conservative pundits understand that?  It’s doubtful, but we will see.

Economics are another issue that played a major role in the election.  It’s also one that some conservatives think they should modify their position on if they want to win in 2016.  Romney talked a sort-of free market game, and it looks like it cost him because free markets scare a lot of people.  Now, he wasn’t as free market as he liked to think he was, but what he put out seemed to scare enough voters in battle ground states that those people opted not to vote for him.

Personally, I can’t help but believe that foreign policy cost him. Obama’s supporters weren’t likely to change their vote on that issue apparently, but the undecided voters may have swung his way had there been more difference than “drone strikes and kill ‘em all” that we’ve seen for the last four years.

The Election, Mitt Romney, and the Future of the Republican Party

It’s election day. We’re finally here. This grueling, seemingly non-stop campaign ends today. President Barack Obama made his last campaign stops yesterday. Mitt Romney hopes to pickup what undecided voters remain during visits to Ohio and Pennsylvania today.

Despite public polls showing a close race in swing states, though Obama has a slight advantage, Romney’s campaign says that their internal polls show him leading in Ohio and tied in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Writing at National Review yesterday, Jim Geraghty saw reason to hope that Romney will pull off a win tonight. And Aaron Blake surmised that the early voting numbers suggest that the race will be tight. However, Blake points out that “[i]n basically every state, Democrats’ early vote edge is between four and eight points less than it was in 2008.” That could mean trouble for Obama, especially in Colorado, Iowa, and Pennsylvania.

Election Eve Meditation

Cross-posted from The Dangerous Servant.

RomneyObamaCaricatures

I don’t like to make political endorsements and, on principle, I certainly don’t discuss my vote before an election (the protection a secret ballot offers me from harassment and intimidation only works if I keep my preference a secret). I was stunned to read in an email yesterday, “I had no idea high-information, intelligent undecided voters even existed!” You know, as if the choice between an underwhelming incumbent president, an underwhelming challenger, a list of names with no mathematical chance to win, and not voting at all is an easy one to make. If your only goal is to beat the incumbent, then your decision is easier than mine. I, however, don’t only want to beat the incumbent; I want to elect a president worthy of the exercise of one of my most sacred rights, the right to vote.

Electoral Vote: Romney still trailing Obama in campaign’s final hours

Obama and Romney debate

We’re coming down to the final hours of this electoral cycle. By late Tuesday night or perhaps even Wednesday morning, we’ll know whether voters will trust President Barack Obama with another term in office or if they’ll elect a different direction with Mitt Romney.

National polls are showing an incredibly close race, but those polls mean little when it comes down it. And though there are are many states considered to be part of the electoral battleground, those that will determine the election — Colorado, Florida, Ohio, and Virginia — were made clear weeks ago. Early voting is considered to be a key part of success either candidate hopes to have in these states. And while it appears that Obama has a lead over Romney in early voting, Molly Ball reports that Republicans are performing better at this aspect of the election than they did four years ago.

Why I voted for Gary Johnson

Over the last few months I’ve read many posts and arguments about why libertarians should vote for Mitt Romney. None of them really spoke to the core libertarian beliefs of libertarians, which is the advancement of individual sovereignty and free markets. Of course, my conservative friends making these arguments never really spoke to how a Romney/Ryan ticket would advance those beliefs. The argument was almost exclusively along the lines of how badly Barack Obama has been as president.

Based on the numbers from David Kirby at the Cato Institute, Romney will take some 70% of libertarian-minded voters. Many of my libertarian friends are casting their ballots for Romney. Though I may disagree with them, I understand why and respect them.

Look, I don’t disagree that President Obama has been bad for the country. The national debt has skyrockted by more than $5.5 trillion, passed a terrible health care law, and he has expanded executive power. Nearly every step Obama has taken to “help” the economy and create jobs has hampered businesses. Moreover, the tax hikes that he wants to pass, which would marginally lower the deficit over the long-term, are among the things keeping employers from investing or hiring. Passing these tax hikes in the phony notion of “fairness” would almost certainly lead to another economic downturn.

The damage to the economy during Obama’s presidency are points that we’ve been over countless times. But there are other parts of his first-term agenda that need to attention.

Romney’s Economic Advisers Pretend to Support Free Trade

Written by Simon Lester, Trade Policy Analyst for the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Governor Romney’s economic advisers (Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw, John Taylor, Kevin Hassett) have a short post about his economic plan.  In it, they sort of talk about trade issues:

Advancing international trade is another part of the plan. A recent study by the International Trade Commission concluded that reducing intellectual property violations [in] China could produce about 2 million jobs in the United States.  While that is, of course, an estimate, Governor Romney has made reducing barriers to trade with China []  a primary focus of his trade opening policy, and this advancement of trade clearly would be a large net positive for the successful idea-intensive firms that drive economic growth.

What’s important to note here is that these prominent, well-respected economists are not talking about free trade, despite their best efforts to make it seem like they are.  Free trade means reducing protectionism, both at home and abroad.  That means removing protectionist barriers to imports and exports, resulting in specialization of production and greater efficiency, among other things.  But that’s not what they are saying here.  Instead, they want to “advance” international trade by increasing exports to China, mainly through forcing China to strengthen intellectual property laws and enforcement.

Why the new CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac polls are meaningless

I am not a poll truther, indeed when Romney was trailing in the polls and the trendline for him was bad in September, I warned conservatives to take those polls seriously and stop trying to claim that every poll was part of some secret plot to undermine Romney. That having been said, someone needs to explain to me how — according to the new NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac poll — Romney leads among independents in Virginia by 21 points but is somehow losing the state to Obama by 1 point. Is there a single sober person who has a turnout model for Virginia that would allow Obama to overcome a 21-point deficit among independents? I don’t think so. If Romney wins indies by 21 points on election night, he carries VA by 5 points.

In 2008, independents made up 27% of the Virginia electorate and Obama won them by 1 point en route to a 6 point win. NYT/CBS/Quinnipiac says Romney leads by 21 points among independents in Virginia today. Yet, somehow their poll shows Obama actually ahead in Virginia by 1 point. For the sake of argument, lets just pretend 2008 turnout turnout model, a model most analysts believe overstates Obama’s numbers, is the turnout model for Virginia in 2012. Even by the 2008 turnout model Obama simply can not lose independents by 21 points and win the state.

Its not just Virginia, in Ohio the Quinnipiac poll shows Romney ahead among indies by 6 but losing the state by 5 points. Again, if you assume the 2008 turnout model - the most advantageous to Obama as humanly possible - this simply defies logic. Obama won independents in Ohio in 2008 by 8 points, independents made up 30% of the Ohio electorate in 2008. If Romney leads independents in Ohio by 6 points, and even assuming the 2008 Obama super turnout model, how in God’s name is Romney losing by 5 points? Simply put, it is not possible.

What the Candidates Won’t Explain about Outsourcing

Written by Daniel Ikenson, director of the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

Like almost everything about the 2012 presidential campaigns, the bickering between the major party candidates over who is most responsible for shipping jobs overseas has been banal and utterly uninformative. While politicians have scared many Americans with hyperbolized sales pitches about the costs of foreign outsourcing, most people remain in the dark about the causes and benefits of outsourcing. What is foreign outsourcing anyway? Why do some businesses invest in sales operations, research and development, production and assembly operations, or the provision of services abroad? Are low wages and lax environmental and safety standards in poor countries really the magnets attracting U.S. investment? If so, why is 75% of U.S. direct investment abroad in rich countries? What explains the fact that the United States (high-standard, rich country that it is) is the number one destination in the world for foreign direct investment? Doesn’t the fact that businesses have options in our globalized economy serve to discipline some of the worst government policies?

As I suggested in this recent post:

In a globalized economy, outsourcing is a natural consequence of competition. And policy competition is the natural consequence of outsourcing. Let’s encourage this process.

Ohio still showing support for Obama

Mitt Romney campaigns in Ohio

There hasn’t been any movement in the Electoral College since our last update on Tuesday. However, there is new polling out of Ohio showing that Mitt Romney has his work cut out for him in this must-win state.

While Romney’s campaign has touted his momentum in the race, largely spurred by the debates, new polls that have come out of the Buckeye State in the last couple are ominous for Republicans with only 12 days left before the election.

Here is a brief look at the three polls that have come out of Ohio since the beginning of the week. This obviously excludes anything that may hit later today. Since people often wonder about poll demographics, I’ve included the D/R/I split from each poll. For reference purposes, 2008 exit polls showed 39/31/30 split in Ohio (it was 36/40/24 in 2004, when Bush won the state). Take whatever you see below and draw your own opinion:

Obama, Romney discuss foreign policy, military spending in final debate

Obama and Romney debate

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney met for the third and final debate last night at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida to discuss foreign policy, though economic policy came up at times.

The candidates went back and forth on policy in the Middle East and toward China. Romney was given a chance during the first question to discuss Libya and the attack on the consulate that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, but he punted, letting Obama control the narrative on that particular issue.

Obama tried to paint Romney as someone who frequently changes positions when it’s convenient. Obama also explained several times that he didn’t believe in “nation-building,” saying that it was time for “nation-building at home.”

Romney turned the debate toward economic issues during a question about whether or not he would have stuck with Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. While he answered the question, Romney segwayed, explaining, “[W]hen the president of Iran, Ahmadinejad, says that our debt makes us not a great country, that’s a frightening thing.” Romney noted the words of Admiral Mike Mullen, who explained that the national debt is a security threat to the United States.

While noting this threat, Romney disappointed anyone who was hoping that he would put forward a viable solution to fix it. Romney explained, “I’m going through, from the very beginning, we’re going to cut about 5 percent of the discretionary budget excluding military.” As explained last week, that’s not at all a significant part of the budget, coming it at around $42 billion or so. So Romney’s great budget plan effectively does nothing.


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