Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Santorum is Done

If he wanted to have any chance at all, he needed to win Michigan. If he had surprised Romney - and he did do OK in the Mitten's home state - he could have seen a nice injection of cash come in. Now he is out. The whole "college-snob" comment probably killed him.

Super Tuesday is going to end any hope for Santorum and then Mitten will be the Republican candidate.

I think Mitten has a chance of becoming President if he can better portray himself as a regular guy. The problem is that he constantly sounds like Thurston Howell III.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Santorum Blasted by Republicans

Santorum is clearly an idiot if he actually believes that it is snobbish to want people to go to college. The front page of the Washington Post has a story about Republicans criticizing Santorum for his nonsensical view.

What is really weird is the guy doesn't seem to believe college or contraception are good ideas and he is a GOP leader. Those aren't really the kind of policies that I imagine most Americans actually believe in.

In the end, it doesn't really matter because Romney will be the nominee. However, Santorum is forcing Romney to spend money that may be better spent attacking the President.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Santorum Thinks Obama is a Secular Snob

Over the weekend and, frankly over the last few weeks, Rick "the Sweater Vest" Santorum has been arguing that Obama is a secular leader and what this country needs is a culture warrior like Rick to lead. Then yesteday he argued that the President is a snob for actually believing that all Americans should go to college. I guess most of America is made up of snobs.

Now, which is it - is Obama secular or is he a radical closet Muslim? Rick and many Republicans cannot seem to make up their minds. There has always been inconsistency on the Right about Obama's faith. However, the whole "snob" thing is just perplexing. Santorum seems to believe that going to college is a good idea, but he objects to the President's desires to see everyone who wants to go to college have a chance to go. I'll just chalk it up to hypocritical inconsistency that seems to be par for the course with Santorum.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Boys B-Ball

The playoffs started for my son's youth team. We finished the season 3-6 but were competitive in all but one game. The league is made up of 18 teams and 4 teams ended up undefeated. We were the only team that ended up playing the 4 undefeated teams. We lost to one of the teams by 1 point and another one of them by 2 points. I know we are a good team. One thing that I do is that I play all of my players an equal amount of time and I alternate my starters from game to game so that everyone is equal.

However, in the playoffs it is win and continue or lose and go home. In preparation, I decided to have more of a fixed lineup and play our two top players 3 quarters and everyone else 2 quarters.

We ended up winning our first game 30-13 and then played our second game to a 19-17 nailbiter. The second game was great because 6 of my 8 players scored (one could not make the second game), but everyone had a good moment. With a minute to go the game was tied at 17 and we called timeout. I called a play in which we set up in 4 corners and our primary ball-handler dribbled to the top of the key, turned and passed the ball to a player crossing behind him. The "runner" would use the passer to screen off his defender and with the guys in the corners there should be an open lane. After I explained the play in the huddle I turned to my "runner" and told him he was going to make the shot and win the game for the team. He smiled and said, "Yeah." Then, the play worked and we ended up holding on defense and winning. It was great.

Now we go on to next weekend.

Republican Leadership

The upcoming election is going to be very interesting for the simple fact that the choice of nominee will go a long way to "brand" the Republican Party. Three years ago McCain probably would have won had he not chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate. She did not deliver a single state that wouldn't have already gone to a Republican nominee for President - she lost a number of key states like Virginia, Florida, and Ohio.

Romney is going to be the nominee - there is little chance it will be Santorum (forget about Newt and Ron Paul). The fact that Santorum is actually doing well enough to put a scare in Romney and forcing him to spend heavily illustrates how out of touch the right wing primary voters are with the general population.

The Republican standard bearer needs to show more leadership ability than Romney and needs to cultivate a broader unified group of Republicans and moderate independents. Watching what is happening in Virginia would be useful for national Republicans. Bob McDonnell is the very conservative Republican governor of the state, but he is a pragmatic politician who knows that getting into culture war battles in the state legislature is the quickest way to alienate large swaths of the state and put the longer term prospects of the GOP in jeopardy in a state that has moved to the left over the last 20 years. McDonnell can see what is happening and does not want to see the GOP lose Virginia for decades. Unless the top national Republicans see what is happening and take a more pragmatic approach the Party will doom itself to long-term failures in national elections.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Romney Will Be the Nominee

There are some who are saying that Santorum is going to make this a race - it isn't a race. Romney will win hands down. The money and organization advantages that Romney has will ensure victory. There isn't going to be a brokered convention or any such nonsense.

All one has to do is look at how the delegates are divided, and in particular look a the the "winner-take-all" states. Romney has a decided advantage in those states. For example, in Arizona and California he is going to get all 200+ of those delegates. If you take Puerto Rico, Utah, Maryland, and Delaware, and New Jersey - where he is easily going to win you get almost 200 more delegates. He has 99 in the bank right now.

Sure he is going to lose some states, but he won't be trounced and they mostly divide their delegates proportional to the primary results. So he will get 25-40 percent of the delegates in most of those states. In the end, he is EASILY going to be the nominee.

Friday, February 17, 2012

President Obama's Fundraising

The President is on a West Coast swing which includes some fundraising events. However, the latest report for January fundraising showed the President hauling in over $29 million with 98% of donations being less than $250. That shows you both the power and breadth of support for the President.

The Republicans are relying on big donors who fund Super-PACs. They may be following the rules, but it is basically an effort for a few super-rich folks to buy elections.

Romney and his friends are going to be pumping in a ton of money into his Super-PAC so that he can carpet bomb Santorum in Michigan and Ohio. In the end, he will only be even more unpopular with his base. Romney just does not have very wide support.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I gotta feeeellllling . . .

Anaheim is going to make the playoffs and make some noise. Good for Bruce Boudreau.

He got his groove back and look at the Caps as they consider to flounder. It certainly looks like the problem in DC is the mix of players - not the coach.

Early Electoral College Prediction

As we all know the national polls and popular vote don't make any difference to electing the President (although naturally there is a high correlation). The Presidential election is decided by the Electoral College. Yahoo! has done an early analysis and has the President winning 303-235.

I don't see any reason to doubt those numbers at this point. Obviously there is a long way to go and a lot can happen. Given the very weak Republican field, the only major (realistic) thing that I can see that could trip up the President is if gas hits $6.00/gallon and people are really fed up. With the federal requirements for re-formulated gas, we may very well get $5.00-$6.00/gallon, but by the end of summer it will dip back down. So it should fall before the election. We'll see.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

President Obama's Rising Poll Numbers

I think the economic tide is turning - the last three months have seen a steady stream of good numbers. Over the last 3 months the President's poll numbers have shifted from 43% approval and 50% disapproval to just the opposite 50%-43% approval to disapproval.

The Republicans seem to be floundering and I don't see much passion for either Romney or Santorum - Romney is going to win because of his money advantage and the fact that he is not as dumb (sorry any Santorum fans, but he just says too many dumb things for me to think otherwise).

However, there has been a significant shift in recent months with the President stopping his efforts to work with Republicans. He has finally recognized that the Republicans have not been dealing in good faith and have no intention of working with him. So he has staked out his positions and let the Republicans fight against him. The payroll tax cut extension, unemployment benefits, Medicare have been protected. The whole contraception argument last week was favorable to the President - it was a foolish position for the Republicans to take to fight against contraception. Silly, silly, silly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Coaching Youth Sports

So I coach youth soccer and youth basketball. I have been pretty lucky with my teams in that I personally haven't had to deal with any knucklehead parents. I lay out my expectations early and really focus on trying to improve my kids' skills and tactics. Frankly, I think most of the kids enjoy playing for me and the parents enjoy seeing their kids improve. We don't win all our games, but we play the right way and kids have fun. That is the way it should be for 8 year old kids.

That said, I am amazed/disappointed by the behavior I sometimes see from other coaches and parents during games. There are too many parents who are yelling all kinds of crazy stuff during games. You have coaches who coach like it is the NCAA finals and you can see the kids are scared.

My basketball team is 3-5 on the year. There are 18 teams in the youth league I coach in, and somehow we ended up playing all 4 of the undefeated teams. All five of our loses came against teams that were undefeated and the other one was against a team that is 5-2. We lost to one undefeated team by 1, another by 2, and this weekend we were leading against another undefeated team at halftime before slipping away and losing by 10 in the second half. We were competitive in all of our games except one, so I am proud of our boys.

However, that one game where we got crushed, the opposing coach really poured it on. First he had his guys playing an illegal 2-3 zone D with his best players playing up top. The league requires man-to-man D. Then, he has one player who is just far and away the best player in the league. We ended up losing that game by 35 points, but the irritating thing was that he was still pushing his boys to pour it on late in the game and he continued to use his top player to do it. When you are up by 15 and your top scorer has 90 percent of your points, it is time to get other guys involved. Quite an odd experience, because I have been up in games this year by 10-12 points and then I ask my guys to try to get everyone to score. All my players have scored this year - which I would venture to say has not been the case for a lot of teams - and all of them have improved. I am not sure I can say the same for some of the "top" teams.

The good thing is that we play some of the weaker teams in the next 3 weeks and probably will end up strong and with a winning record for the season. I hope that happens, because it will give my guys some reward for working so hard and playing through a tough, tough scedule.

Politics Thoughts

Mitt Romney is going to be the Republican presidential nominee. People can talk all they want about how it is not over and that he hasn't won many races, but he is the only one who has enough cash to run a national campaign and isn't totally looney. Newt has his personal foibles, Santorum is quite frankly an idiot and a complete gaffe machine, and Ron Paul is too liberatarian to have any chance of winning the Republican nomination.

So what does it mean for President Obama? Basically, I think he will cruise to victory. I expect the economy and the unemployment rate to improve over the course of the year. Assuming we don't see a crazy attack on Iran, or some other major event that shocks the world's oil markets President Obama will get 4 more years. If we have $6/gallon gas for some reason then all bets are off.

The problem for Republicans is that there just isn't enough energy for Mitt from the base. Even if he chooses a hard right Republican like Sarah Palin to run with him - which would be almost impossible because hard right Republicans hate him - the enthusiasm is just not there for him from his own party. He doesn't really offer anything other than he is "not Obama", but that isn't enough. I see him much as I saw John Kerry in 2004. There was very little enthusiasm for Kerry.

I'm Back

After a nice long break, I'm back and should be posting regularly again. I have been super busy with a couple of research projects, teaching assignments, mentoring doctoral students, a cruise vacation, and coaching my son's basketball team.