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Tilting at Windmills

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November 5, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

HOOVERNOMICS RIDES AGAIN....Jon Rauch notes that Gallup has been asking "which political party do you think will do a better job of keeping the country prosperous?" for over half a century, and that the Republican Party has now thoroughly lost the lead it gained during the Reagan years:

Just why is hard to say. Worries about economic insecurity, and the failure of the median household income (adjusted for inflation) to rise during the Bush years, undoubtedly played a part. Bush's personal unpopularity and the public's displaced anger over the Iraq war may also figure.

OK, but take a look at the chart below. What it shows is that as recently as 2004 Republicans were only slightly behind Democrats. On a historical basis they were slumping a little bit, but not by enough to get anyone excited.

Then, in 2006 and 2007 — bam! Democrats opened up a huge lead and now poll 20 points better than Republicans. So the question is, what happened in 2006?

That turns out to be a pretty tricky question. Nothing comes immediately to mind. Income inequality and income insecurity have been growing for decades; they didn't suddenly take off in 2006. Recessions have caused most of the spikes in the graph, but there was no recession in 2005 or 2006. It could be, as Rauch suggests, George Bush's personal unpopularity and general anger over Iraq that's at fault, but if that's the case it makes the question nothing more than a proxy for the "right direction/wrong direction" question.

So what is it? General disgust with the Republican Party might be part of it, but if I had to toss out a wild guess I'd say a bigger reason is the bursting of the housing bubble, which started in 2006 and continued through 2007. It's also possible — though I wouldn't want to put money on this — that Bush's Social Security fiasco hurt him. It's not just that people didn't want Republicans taking risks with their Social Security checks, but that Republicans were doing it at the same time that they weren't doing anything about the housing meltdown.

Anyway, just a guess. Obviously lots of things happened in 2005 and 2006, but it's not clear which of them would suddenly cause a huge change in perceptions about which party can manage the economy better. Am I missing anything obvious?

Kevin Drum 7:49 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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I think it's Lou Dobbs. I think he gave voice to the economic insecurities of the bogus "ownership society". Without that voice, it would have taken more trauma to break through the denial.

The point is the Dems can't simply follow public opinion, they have to lead and shape. They certainly can't rely on the corporate media to give voice to any real discontent or insecurity. Dobbs was a one-shot deal.

Posted by: dissent on November 5, 2007 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Katrina? It's not directly related to the economy, but it really destroyed the Republicans reputation for competence.

Posted by: Lee on November 5, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

"General disgust" works for me.

Posted by: Colin on November 5, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

It's the trashing of the republican brand that Bush accomplished. Republicans now seem to by the party of cronies, plutocrats and losers. The third one has damaged them the most.

Posted by: pj on November 5, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe it took that long for the middle class to finally realize that the GOP hates them, and considers them just a cow to milk.

Posted by: craigie on November 5, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

I think you have something with the social security debacle but not for the reason you think. It seems to me that with wages stagnant for a decade, job security dead and job mobility shot straight to hell the groundwork was laid. Most people do not even expect to be able to retire as it is.

But when Social Security became threatened by the same overclass that gave us all this personal responsibility horse shit while they managed to always do well for themselves and their own, it became clear for the average person just how tenuous our hold is on anything like security is in this society is. And how much there is a reason why government isn't the problem.

I think at that moment the Republicans began talking to an empty house.

Posted by: paul on November 5, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Very obvious. It comes from a periodic shift in the minds of respondents of the definition of the word "prosperous." When people think it terms of large-scale business-level prosperity they want Republicans in power. When people think in smaller, more personal terms they turn to the Democrats. At different times different views will be more popular because they seem more appropriate given the perceived state of the economy.

Posted by: Mario on November 5, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Lee: Yeah, Katrina came to mind for me too. That seems like it's more a generic "incompetence" thing than something directly related to economic management, but maybe most people who answer this question don't dig quite that deep. Republicans fucked up, ergo Republicans can't manage the economy.

The good news for Dems, I think, is that this chart doesn't show that people are merely pissed off at Republicans. They aren't answering "don't know," as many did in the 60s and 70s. They're actively choosing Democrats as the party that can manage the economy. I'm not entirely sure why, but it's good news.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on November 5, 2007 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

The press started doing it's job more often, i.e. calling the administration on its acts of incompetence? Six years of borrow-and-spend Republicanism?

Posted by: Bill Arnold on November 5, 2007 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

Looks like it's very strongly correlated with the party ID question.

Note the "Contract With America" Republican spike before 1994, Nixon's 1972-1974 victory and ouster, and so on.

Even in the early 2000s, if I remember rightly 39% of Americans IDd as Democrats to 35% Republicans. I don't think the electorate is genuinely nuanced on the topic.

Posted by: Andrew on November 5, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Under Bush the Republican project of providing security to the rich while exposing the poor and middle class to more insecurity came to fruition. After the economic stagnation of the 1970's and the breakup of the liberal consensus the people were ready for the Republicans to sell them a lemon painted up to look like the road to prosperity. The political establishment and to some degree the people bought the lemon and now after all the good salesmanship they find out it really only works for the rich just like in 1860, and 1900, and 1925. The ownership society is the same old bamboozle for wealth transfer to those that have the most no matter if it sold as a libertarian utopia where we are all free to starve, or as the warm wholesome values of yesteryear, or as the abridged and generally misrepresented philosophies of Friedrich August von Hayek or Ayn Rand, or Herbert Spencer or John C. Calhoun.

Posted by: bellumregio on November 5, 2007 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

It's simple: in 2004 the American electorate gave Bush and the GOP one last chance to turn things around, both domestically and abroad. Instead what they got was continual souring of the economy, rampant corruption in Congress, and increased mayhem in Iraq. The shift in attitude was dramatic because it was the kind of thing you always see when someone is given a final chance - and that someone completely blows it.

Posted by: lampwick on November 5, 2007 at 8:23 PM | PERMALINK

Just looking at the graph, it seems to me like Democrats have been gaining steadily on Republicans ever since the late 1980s, with the exception of a small reversal of fortune around 2002 (right after 9/11).

To me, it looks like the Democrats have just taken quite some time to shake off the bear market/stagflation spiral of the Carter administration. Democrats did wonderfully until Carter. Then for a decade in the 80s, from the perspective of the average Joe, you saw the 80s economy do significantly better than Carter, and thought maybe there was something to this whole supply-side thing. Meanwhile in the aftermath, the Republicans haven't screwed things up SO much (you don't see 10% unemployment or 15% inflation, after all) to lead to a similar collapse of confidence in the party-- instead, there's just been a slow, steady reversion to the views of the 70s and earlier.

Posted by: David on November 5, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's BTD over at TL who is telegraphing that we may lose this PDQ in 08 as Joe Q. Citizen realizes what a sham our politicians have been. A bait and switch of stop the war and a switch of business as usual.

Is there anyway we can remove Harry Reid from his Leadershit position?

Posted by: jerry on November 5, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

It's the old cliche about "tipping points." The various bad trends reached critical mass, and much of the current "good economic times" have nothing to do with people's actual experience.

Bush having his thumb up his ass on Katrina, pressing to keep Iraq going, and doing his best to destroy Social Security were things which, on their own, would not have been world-changing. But together, and on top of people's previous few years' experience, was enough to lead to the collapse.

I don't think the Republicans have any idea, even now, how much they have been damaged by the past 7 years.

Posted by: jimBOB on November 5, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

It took some time to sink in: all the fuck-ups and fuck-offs And the GOP had some really rotten apples in the barrel that were enthusiastically trumpeted by the MSM. Add the reporting of bribery, closet gays, Katrina, etc. to the realization that Iraq is a disaster, and the base has just voted with their feet. They'll vote with their asses in '08, by not getting off of them. Bush's name will be to the next couple of generations what Hoover's was to mine. No wonder his daddy weeps.

Posted by: buddy66 on November 5, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

There was an event that took place in 2005-2006 that has yet to be quantified and analyzed properly by economists. The American dream and America's number one savings account, the single family unit, became unattainable to lower middle and middle class people and the equity of homes, for people lucky enough to have them and where most of American's life's savings reside, lost a great deal of value and became much less liquid. There are empty unsalable homes sitting in a lot of neighborhoods in America now.

Something else happened. Many people who went back to work after the 2000 recession, went back to the same or less wages.

Posted by: Brojo on November 5, 2007 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK

Look at that downward death spiral around Watergate time. Watergate wasn't an economic scandal, it was about loss of trust. There was also a war going on, and it wasn't going well. Americans like to win, and like to think of themselves as winners. So I would have to guess that people lost trust in Republicans in general, and it carried over to the economy. Same thing for 2005-2006: war going poorly, rampant incompetence (Katrina) leading to overall lack of trust.

Posted by: Mangy Polecat on November 5, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Why should it be one thing, like Social Security, or the housing bubble, why not the steady accumulation of unease over all those things? How did the straw break the camel's back?

Posted by: TJM on November 5, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

"Am I missing anything obvious?"

Whatever else Bush's Iraq policy might have failed to achieve, it has driven up the price of oil, and, consequently, the price of gas, and, not incidentally, the profits of major and minor oil companies, from Exxon-Mobil to Halliburton.

Dr. Pollkatz showed, some time ago how Bush's popularity has tracked gas prices.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on November 5, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

I second Katrina. Not only did Bush and his cronies fuck up, but Republican politicians, from Bush on down, didn't care. A showy speech, a lot of theoretical money that somehow never seemed to reach New Orleans, and that was it.

It was a real "GOP to America: Drop Dead" moment. Besides the reality that a lot of ordinary Americans did in fact drop dead, abandoned by the government run by the party that said it was uniquely qualified to protect them, it sent a strong message to Americans of all walks of life, other than the super-rich: if you're drowning, we won't throw you a life preserver. If you're on fire, we won't so much as cross the street to piss on you.

Katrina completely rewrote the script in most people's minds about who could and couldn't be trusted.

The only thing I don't get is why the Dems haven't run on Katrina continuously, ever since it became clear in early 2006 that the Bushies weren't gonna come through on their promises. Sure, Holy Joe shut the door on Senate hearings once re-elected, but how about the House?

If I were a Dem Congresscritter, I'd be hollering at least once a week for an investigation into where all the Katrina money went. I'd be saying I want to pass a bill to fix up NOLA for real, but that first we need to know what went wrong with the reconstruction we supposedly already bought. I'd be introducing a bill for memorials to the victims of Katrina in NOLA and Mississippi.

How do the Dems just let these things recede? Why do they not hold the GOP's feet to the fire? I don't get it.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on November 5, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

I would guess the marginal voter changing their answer to this question was a fiscally conservative Republican or Independent disgusted with the lack of fiscal discipline of an all Republican government.

Posted by: Stuart Staniford on November 5, 2007 at 8:59 PM | PERMALINK

This is an interesting chart overall. It shows that the stagflation of the Carter years hurt less than that of the Ford period. For some reason, Reagan gained bigtime after his horrific recession. Perhaps it was the contrast. During the Clinton term, the downturn for Republicans began with the government shutdown caused by dear ol' Newtie as people began to appreciate Clinton's excellent management of the economy. With every passing day, the contrast between Clinton competence and Bush bungling grows ever more stark.

I would expect that Hillary will benefit from this.

Posted by: Mike on November 5, 2007 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

I think people are under more financial stress than the economists realize, and have been for several years. I don't care how many times they tell me the economy is strong - it just doesn't match what I'm hearing from people and reading. There have to be things missing or inaccurate in the numbers.

Posted by: denise on November 5, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jesus Christ on a cracker,

Read your fucking history. The gop fucks up the economy every fucking time they are in power.




Posted by: angryspittle on November 5, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

I think it is cumulative exposure to so many different kinds of corruption, malfeasance, favoritism and ineptitude. The rich getting far richer while the party blocks stem cell research, children's insurance, and now even dredging out nation's waterways.

The housing debacle is certainly a factor. So is a multi-year war. You don't have to be Einstein to make a connection between the things the GOP won't support because they are too expensive and the obscene amounts of money they are demanding to fund a war two-thirds of the country is strongly opposed to.

People may not connect all the dots at once, but when there are so many dots and they all connect back to a party which is identified with incompetence, waste, fraud, favoritism, lying, corruption and profiteering....eventually you come to realize....you have been had.

Posted by: dweb on November 5, 2007 at 9:28 PM | PERMALINK

Would the deregulation of the energy markets that led to California being ripped off for billions have mattered? Tax cuts for the rich when shortly before we were hearing about how dire the deficits were? Military spending out the wazoo, with no visible means of paying for it?

That's just for starters. The most obvious reason is the sheer incompetence of the Republicans at managing anything besides a huge tantrum.

Posted by: jussumbody on November 5, 2007 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

I don't think it was one single thing, but I do think there was one event that overshadowed all others, and that's Katrina. Till then, Bush had a lingering benefit of the doubt in the post-9/11 world we were living in. Now we're living in a post-Katrina world, and everyone (except that lizard-brain 34%) knows Bush and the Republicans are full of shit. There is no doubt anymore. No benefit to be had. We're all just waiting for the end. We want Bush gone. We know nothing happens while he's still here. It not fatigue. It's depressing. Fifty-two weeks from tomorrow we get to vote for a new president. We're just hoping we make it. God help us.

Posted by: JJF on November 5, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

I second (or third) Katrina. Its the one thing I can never forgive him for. (Dont jump down my throat, I know about the war. But pols have started good and bad wars for eons and will for eons. You only get one chance to show that you can protect an entire American city). FEMA was so damn competent under Clinton and so ruined by Bush. And to think that 5 years after 9-11 no progress had been made in homeland security to prevent the total destruction of an American city, I think the public lost it for him then and nothing he can do will ever bring it back. Everything else played a role to be sure, but Katrina was Bush's defining moment. Negative press started intensely, pundits expressed outrage for the first time. It was a sea change. Makes me think thats one reason some people seem eager for a Clinton restoration. They yearn for the days when government, especially FEMA, seemed really well run.

Posted by: Jammer on November 5, 2007 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

Anything that tracks this closely with the public's support of the president in general and the war in Iraq particularly should probably be primarily considered a "right direction/wrong direction" type of question. To be sure the Iraq war generates great insecurities which always have a negative impact on questions like this.

I also think that folks should consider that the Democrat gains over the last two years could also be coming from moderate Republicans disgusted with Bush and the GOP's fiscal irresponsibilities. I think the impact of the housing slump was not being felt early enough in 2006 to affect the poll except in the sense that it fell into part of the broader negative coverage of the economy which would also feed people's insecurities.

Posted by: Hacksaw on November 5, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

The populace let the Reaganite supply-siders have their turn for the last 25 years and they got fooled and fucked by growth which was nothing but disguised credit-fueled military Keynesianism. Now the gig is up. People want REAL domestic investments in health care, energy independence and powerful re-regulation of the private sector.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 5, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Look at that downspike for the Dems around 1964. Jeez, wonder what that's all about?

Democrats stood up for black people, and it hurt them. Down from 55% to 35%. Then Watergate, and a quick reversal of fortune, but then the continual slow decline. Then 1989, dunno what happened then - Contra-Iran scandal, stock market meltdown?... then Bubba Clinton came along as a new Democrat, i.e., one who won't give all the white people's money to black people, and it's been a slow steady recovery since then. Barring the terrorist attacks.

Posted by: luci on November 5, 2007 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

Two trillion on Iraq and not much to show for it has got to hurt.

Posted by: Bob M on November 5, 2007 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

When America began to really see that this administration and its Republican foot soldiers were in fact 1)not listening to them 2)actually lying to them and 3) actively working to cheat them, I think a sense of hopelessness set in. A feeling of hopelessness to be able to actually change anything. That is, until that series of Republican scandals and general goof-ups, combined with electorate anger prior to the 2006 mid-terms gave the voters hope that maybe it was possible to make some change by voting for Democrats.
Now I see that same malaise setting in again as the voters see how spineless and ineffective the Democrats have been. I hope that the electorate will recover in time for 2008.

Posted by: Merg on November 5, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

my vote is for the housing bubble, and more specifically the bankruptcy bill in 2005, combined with the end of the availability of refi's in 2006. In 2004 people were afraid of a dramatic change, and wanted the status quo to continue, because they were scared that a dramatic change would mean an end to the availability of refi's.

In 2006, they realized that continuing with the status quo was not an option, that the refi's were going to end no matter what, so they became more open, perhaps desperate, for change.

In some sense, there's no great mystery to what's happened to the economy during the Bush era: since the bursting of the tech-bubble, managers and stewards of capital have been making their numbers by looking to cut costs (including the cost of taxation), instead of looking to expand revenue.

The cash-flow problems more and more Americans are facing perhaps will get better, if we adopt tax and regulatory policies that encourage businesses to look to make their profits more by expanding revenue, and not so much by cutting costs.

Posted by: roublen on November 5, 2007 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

Republican economic policies have always had an element of smoke and mirrors in them. With a lot of help from George W. Bush, people are finally wising up.

Posted by: Independent on November 5, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Not only are Republicans bad for the economy, human rights and U.S. foreign policy, they're also quite lousy in bed.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on November 5, 2007 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

The poll is reflection of people's view and not an economic performance model. The totality of inpetitude with a 9/11 grace period projects the effect of a snowball rolling downhill.

Posted by: Raoul on November 5, 2007 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Despite the fact that most of the news Americans get is now filtered through compromised multi-millionaires in the mainstream media, inklings about the Republican war on the American worker are getting through to many Americans.

Americans are seeing that, under Republican rule, the rich are getting taxed at lower rates than most workers.

Under Republican rule, working class men and women are being sent to fight while rich kids stay safe at home, and no one at home is asked to support the troops in the field with higher taxes.

Under Republican rule, a crucial element of most American's retirement security (Social Security) is put at risk, while other elements (pension plans) are also going extinct.

Under Republican rule, the same method of attack leveled against the Soviet government (burdening with massive debt) is being leveled against the government of the United States. The result (and the aim) is to subvert democratically-passed programs such as Medicare and Social Security which are important to the majority of Americans, but of no importances to the rich who make up the base of the Republican party. The end result is a more insecure work force that Republican employers can exploit more efficiently.

The Republicans control the most important media, so they have been largely successful in waging their war against Americans without being held to account. They still control the media, and so still stand a pretty good chance of deluding most Americans. But there have been a few failings in the media obfuscation about Republican goals in the last couple of years.

Posted by: McCord on November 5, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

Let's not kid ourselves. The Bush administration has been spectacularly successful. It has achieved its goal of transferring a significant part of the nation's wealth to its contributors. It has been spectacularly successful in securing media consolidation effectively destroying real competition and thereby converting the press to little more than house toadies. It has been spectacularly successful in helping oil companies and the House of Saud set oil prices higher than necessary. It has been spectacularly successful in spending vast sums on unnecessary weapons systems while going cheap when it comes to securing our ports. What foreign country or terrorist organization worries about penetrating our star wars defenses when a shipping container works just as well as a delivery system for a lot less money. When you realize that GWB doesn't give a fuck about the average citizen of this country, you realize that he has been extraordinarily successful. And all the while we think of him as just dumb. He isn't dumb, he just doesn't think much of average Americans.

Bush has done just what he set out to do. He has served his masters well. Sadly no President since Harding has been so devoted to advancing the rich to the exclusion of the middle class, and none has been so successful.

Posted by: corpus juris on November 5, 2007 at 10:29 PM | PERMALINK

they're also quite lousy in bed.

We are not impotent. Quite speedy actually. Though Jonah usually wins the circle jerks.

Posted by: Wingnuts on November 5, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

The odds catch up to all gamblers in the end. Reaganomics is borrowing, then gambling on a tax break, then borrowing more, and gambling on another tax break...until the boys with the gravelly voices start to worry you can't even pay the juice on the loans.

Posted by: Luther on November 5, 2007 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Some people are just slow learners. One day the magnitude of the corruption, deceit, incompetence and general meanness finally pierced their thick skulls, and they realized angrily that they had been conned.

Posted by: PTate in MN on November 5, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

I think this table helps demonstrate pretty squarely a good contender for one major factore in explaining things:


the price of oil has skyrocketed, with it the price in gas and the price of pretty much all other goods that require shipping.

and it happened on bush and the republican's watch. people noticed.

Posted by: The Critic on November 5, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Corruption in the news and the Katrina fiasco.

Posted by: TEBB on November 5, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

Some people are just slow learners.

Yes. It is like going to the eye doctor and getting dilation drops that blur your vision for a really, really long time and then the drops start to wear off. Meanwhile the Grinch™ has been tippy-toeing all around your house quietly lifting objects here and there... until a lot of Cindy Lou Who's catch on. The bad part may be a whiplash effect that might involve cash in mattresses.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on November 5, 2007 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

they're also quite lousy in bed.

But give them a couple of wet suits and a dildo, and they are on fire!

Posted by: craigie on November 5, 2007 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe everyone was looking forward to tax cuts, but eventually realized that they hadn't personally gotten much out of them.

Sure, there was also outsourcing, offshoring and deindustrialization, and in the excitement of the War on Terror they may have stopped thinking about the economy for a while, but I'd still bet it was the belated realization that whatever Santa had in his bag wasn't for them.

Posted by: bad Jim on November 5, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

The war in Iraq probably has more to do with this decline than anything else.

People take a radial basis function approach to life. They approximate. If something is bad, then every associated with it is diminished in proportion to the strength of that association.

Iraq is a disaster. Bush owns Iraq. And Bush is the Republician party in the eyes of America. So of course Republican economic policy can't be trusted. The war is a disaster, remember?

Posted by: Adam on November 5, 2007 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Gee, ya don't think it could have something to do with negative economic coverage by the liberal media, do ya?

Ya think?!

Posted by: egbert on November 5, 2007 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Not only are Republicans bad for the economy, human rights and U.S. foreign policy, they're also quite lousy in bed.

The HELL you say, sir.

Knowing how to tune into the needs of a woman is one of my specialties. I pretend to listen better than most, certainly more effectively than some, and I almost always find myself being contacted by the female or females that I have had companionship with. They generally want my name, address, my likes and dislikes, etc.

I don't fancy myself a Casanova, but as a Republican, you must include me in a list of top lovers who have spent quality time with some rather spectacular females. I like a handsome woman, not too much on the bottom, and she should certainly be a conservative at heart. I don't like the kinky stuff, no weird Mexican or European techniques, and I always make sure that my partner knows that I care.

This notion that conservatives don't make good lovers--that's a media myth designed to emasculate the Republican male. We were breeding good stock long before you liberals and your drugs and your contraception devices showed up and we'll continue to do so. How many of you self-centered freakshow chemical ingesters have actually HAD a child that didn't turn you in after his or her first DARE meeting?

No, I am the exception to what is not a rule. I am in bed now. There might be a woman here. Who knows? A gentleman never tells. But if there were, and if she was lucky, she'd get to know me in the Biblical and she would have a wonderful time. Bank on it.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on November 5, 2007 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

I don't like the kinky stuff, no weird Mexican or European techniques, and I always make sure that my partner knows that I care.

Ah, Norm, always ahead of the curve, ruling out French Kissing long before it became wingnut trendy to hate all things French....

Posted by: Disputo on November 6, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

There are lots of individual changes to be ascribed to the graph. But if you smooth out the jags, what you have is the Republicans ascending from the Vietnam debacle to G.H.W. Bush's '91 recession. Then more slowly back down. It could be that Reagan put paid to the notion that the Republicans would keep the country out of debt. Economists may disregard the effects of most deficits, but most people think debt is related to future prospects, and they don't like debt public or private.

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on November 6, 2007 at 12:07 AM | PERMALINK

I forgot about Foley. Republican deviant sex stories have been in the news a lot since 2006.

Katrina was no doubt huge in making it expressly evident the current Federal government was unable to help people.

I recall some 2004 pollsters saying a majority of the electorate would vote for W. Bush in order to see if his policies would succeed or fail. Soon thereafter they knew W. Bush and his Republicans were failures.

Posted by: Brojo on November 6, 2007 at 12:24 AM | PERMALINK

Its the incompetence and the contrast. Whether you are an unabashed Bill Clinton supporter or a tepid one, prosperity under President Clinton gives a stark contrast to Bush's incompetence.

Reagan did his best to Hooverize President Carter (and thus the Democratic party) which explains the graph in the 80's. Democrats and Progressives would be well advised to Hooverize Bush and the GOP. Regardless of which Democratic presidential candidate you prefer, this is the opportunity for realignment and we may not get another for awhile.

Posted by: molly bloom on November 6, 2007 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

Normie given republican proclivities there might be a man in bed with you too.

Posted by: Gandalf on November 6, 2007 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

One idea: Since 1999, SCHIP has been catching kids who lose private health insurance (when their parents lose a job, or the job stops offering it or jacks up the employee share). So, you had a relative decrease in the number of uninsured kids, even though they were losing employer-based insurance.

In 2004, public programs hit their max, and so from 2004-05 nearly a million kids lost their private health insurance and didn't have a safety net to fall into.

These were more likely to be kids of parents making non-poverty wages.

Might have something to do with it--seeing your neighbor's kid lose insurance is scary.

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

If those poll figures are right, then no way the recent election results (even 2006) can possibly reflect the actual vote. Get my drift?

Posted by: Neil Bee on November 6, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

>The ownership society is the same old bamboozle for wealth transfer to those that have the most no matter if it sold as a libertarian utopia where we are all free to starve, or as the warm wholesome values of yesteryear, or as the abridged and generally misrepresented philosophies of Friedrich August von Hayek or Ayn Rand, or Herbert Spencer or John C. Calhoun.
Posted by: bellumregio

Right on.

"The US is an oligarchy and it acts like one. Hourly wages for non supervisory employees haven't gone up in 30 years but the proportion of national income for the top 1% has soared. The majority of all gains from the last expansion went to the rich. Bonuses on Wall Street last year were equal to the raises of 80 million ordinary Americans. When the housing bubble started crashing last year there was no bailout, but when hedge fund millionaires started hurting the Fed rushed in (might not work, but they're at least trying)." - Sterling Newberry

Posted by: MsNThrope on November 6, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Well, one obvious thing you missed= It wasn't a presidential election. The M$M focused on more local campaigns, and we weren't totally immersed in the Presidential Election Company, so the framing was (less) compared with a persons character, and (moreso) linked to actual issues. Just a guess!

Posted by: dustinchicago on November 7, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK



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