Potpourri of Political Stuff

Perhaps the most frequent question I get is how do I come up with all this political stuff? Well the answer is sort of two-fold: heavy caffeine consumption and a desk the size of a rowboat. The caffeine gets the synapses firing in all the wrong directions thus facilitating the lost art of truly weird juxtaposition and the giant desktop is the repository of scrofulous paper fragments that remind me of this and that.

Sometimes I get tired of the same old political stuff on the desk and I have to get rid of it to make way for more political stuff. This usually results from a synapse failure, as I have been unable to combine this with that in sufficiently unusual ways.

But when the accumulated political stuff seems kind of interesting, sometimes I try the potpourri approach.

Cost of Campaigns

I have a torn out page from a glossy pamphlet that shows AIPAC President Robert Cohen and AIPAC National Political Chair, Michael Tuchin on one side. Apparently both have gotten behind on their Dollar Shave Club bills because they are sporting varying degrees of trendy stubble, but I am happy to report they are up to date on their eyewear and dental bills. Thank you Obamacare but even “Feel the Bern” seems unlikely to get others to pay for the heartbreak of trendy stubble. I don’t think that is the reason the glossy page is still on my desk.

The other side of the page includes both good news and bad depending on who you are. It tells us in both charts and figures that the cost of a successful Congressional campaign has increased from $864,880 to $1,689,580 in the 20 years from 1992 to 2012. For a Senate race, the equivalents are $5,211,453 and $10,476,451. These doublings are called “political inflation” and AIPAC donors are told they must “keep up.”

Political inflation is bad news for donors because trendy stubble-istas will become even more demanding in their shakedowns. Of course it is excellent news for the consultants, pollsters, data analysts and campaign hangers-on who will still elect precisely the same number of Senators and Congress people albeit at twice the price. And these are not even new and improved Senators and Congress people. They are, if anything, worse than before but more expensive.

Depending on the details of the AIPAC comp plan, President Cohen and Political Chair Tuchin might not be displeased by this outcome either.


First, get it right; you’ll be the only one who does. The G is hard like God not soft like Jesus. Hearing someone say Jerrymander is like fingernails on a blackboard even if nobody knows what a blackboard is anymore.

Here is an article on the practice and its history, and it is now much in the news because President One-Year-to-Go brought it up in the State of the Union Address: “we have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around.”

Republicans might be better at this than Democrats but neither side is lacking in skills. All you have to do is control the state legislature and perhaps the governor’s mansion to make things much better for your side.

Of course, there is also the possibility of choosing campaign promises that would be more attractive to a diverse group of voters than to a homogenous one. Like clearing off my rowboat sized desk, at least we’d be told new lies rather than the boring old ones we have heard for years.

There would be no impact on actual legislating, as elected officials do not do that. Their proper role is limited to fund raising.

The Trump Voter

Well, now we know that Sarah Palin likes The Donald or is being paid to like The Donald, but who else does? According to the polls, lots of people, but who are they?

This article says that Trump’s voters are those who have fallen out of the middle class thanks to globalization. They are the ones whose incomes are at the top of the bottom quarter of all Americans and they have been left behind by everyone around them including those at the bottom of their quartile who have been looked after by the government.

They don’t like China because that is where their jobs have gone and they don’t like immigrants because they are thought to drive down the value of the jobs that are left. “Now, when you add it all up, it turns out that nobody has done worse the past 30 years than the working-class in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and France. Their inflation-adjusted incomes actually fell over this period.”

Now ask yourself a question: if Donald Trump has figured this out, how did the expensive political strategists not figure it out? According to the article, “Liberal parties can’t connect with these voters because they speak to them economically but not culturally, while conservative parties can’t connect with them because they speak to them culturally but not economically.”

Sounds like somebody should try both.


I thought a potpourri was supposed to smell good.

13 Responses to “Potpourri of Political Stuff”

Ashley Higgins, January 20, 2016 at 7:38 pm said:

Still too much money, but over 20 years, maybe?


Haven Pell, January 25, 2016 at 10:03 am said:

after a reread, I am still not understanding this. My head presents a low bar for things going over it.


ashley higgins, January 25, 2016 at 5:04 pm said:

It is 20 years from 1992 to 2012, not 10. You probably had Sleznick (sp?) for math.


Haven Pell, January 25, 2016 at 5:30 pm said:

Not only are you correct on your figures, you are correct on my math teacher. Two years. He used his experimental text book that was mimeographed prior to publication. There were drawings of tiny Martians who had only three fingers on each hand and we were taught to count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 (one double handful plus none left over). We then had to convert these back and forth between earthlings and residents of still other planets. This makes it a dodgy proposition to subtract 1992 from 2012 and achieve the desired 20. Stupidity is sometimes a factor. Future readers take note. I edited the error after reading this comment. And even that took two tries.


Ashley Higgins, January 20, 2016 at 7:44 pm said:

During my years as an election lawyer, the political process of herding voters was perfected by Democrats interested in maximizing the election of black Democrats. Republicans are slowly catching up. Interestingly, the most recent U.S. congressional gerrymandering in my state was done by Democrats, who promptly lost every representative race.


Haven Pell, January 25, 2016 at 10:05 am said:

It is wonderful to see failure among cheaters.


Ashley Higgins, January 20, 2016 at 8:39 pm said:

Instapundit, law Professor Glenn Reynolds, has a meme to the effect that we have the worst political class in history. Neither side of this punk political class is speaking to, or caring about, the voters attracted to Trump. He has the field to himself because he articulates things his voters think: Kill ISIS. Get immigration right. His supporters despise athe GOP leadership as much as the Democrat leadership as much as the mainstream media.
By the way, there is some guy named Wilson. who pops up every now and then in the media, purportedly as a GOP consultant. Someone needs to tell him to shave (because he looks testosterone deficient) and shut up. He is becoming the face of the stupid party.


Haven Pell, January 25, 2016 at 10:09 am said:

I suspect we do have the worst political class in our history. I wonder if any of them have read Coming Apart by Charles Murray. Of course they would not admit it because it is not mentioned in the polite society of Davos. Part way through it and interested in what he has to say.


Corbin Miller, January 20, 2016 at 11:00 pm said:

Well said, Ashley! Especially with respect to Rick Wilson, part-time vulgarian, full-time loser, and the guy who really puts the stupid in the stupid party. Why does he pop up? Because the media loves low-IQ “GOP consultants” whose stock-in-trade is trashing Republicans. Putting them on air is almost as good as having Lindsey Grahamnesty or Juan McCain come on to…….of course, trash Republicans!


bill gordon, January 21, 2016 at 9:39 pm said:

A potpourri of Higgins! Wonderful.

We need to hear more from this guy!


Haven Pell, January 25, 2016 at 10:10 am said:

shall we create a cult?


Haven Pell, January 25, 2016 at 5:32 pm said:

no Kool Aid, but Jello shots are fine.


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