One quick political and prediction post
When I first started blogging nearly a decade ago, I wrote heavily about politics. I've pretty much stopped writing about politics, even though I'm at least as interested as I used to be. I figured that there are a lot of people who do this for a living and can write about it better than me, and I also figured that most of my readers are people I know who are unlikely to be swayed - those who agree with me will nod in agreement, those who don't will still be convinced that I'm dumb/racist/whatever, and those who don't really care still won't care.
But with the polls for the presidential election opening in 10 hours, I figured I'd put up one post, with my predictions and thoughts.
Right now, I'd say there is probably a slightly higher chance Obama will win rather - probably 60/40. The polls, especially in the swing states, are certainly leaning Obama. At the same time, I think there are legitimate questions about the polls - many seem to oversample Democrats, they assume turnout will be the same as '08, which was unusually high for D's and low for R's. Keep in mind that in '04, the exit polls were way off, and exit polls are considered more reliable than pre-election phone polls since they sample people who actually voted, not people who may not vote or may change their mind.
I think it's going to be close - I would not be surprised if I go to sleep tomorrow night not knowing who won. It also wouldn't surprise me if Obama wins but loses the popular vote.
I'd love to see Romney lose Ohio and still win, because it would get the focus off Ohio, which I'm tired of hearing about, and which I think has too much political weight. I know every Republican in decades hasn't won without winning Ohio, but until this year's primary no Republican had won the primary after losing New Hampshire and Iowa.
As most people know, I'm a faithful Republican, so it's no secret I'm hoping Romney wins, for a lot of reasons. But there are two main reasons for it. The first is the economy, and specifically the current administration's attitude towards business. I know it's trendy to hate business, but the reality is they create jobs and provide employment - and pay the taxes and donations that pay the salaries of those who work for government or non-profits. I think Obama believes that you can continue to increase taxes and regulations on business with no negative effects, and I disagree. When you create regulations like Obamacare that impose high costs for businesses that employ over 50 people, you provide a pretty strong incentive for businesses to stay at 49 employees. I can't imagine a President Romney feeling the need to make a speech (to use the most charitable interpretation) declaring that businesses that are successful got that way not through intelligence or hard work, but rather because the government provides roads and bridges and teachers - all of which are funded by taxes paid for by those businesses and their employees.
The second reason is entitlement reform. Sure, it would be great if we could leave Medicare and Social Security the way they are, but the reality is that the math doesn't work - you can't keep a system that mostly keeps the same assumptions of lifespan and health care cost from the 30's and 60's when you have fewer people to pay for it and longer lifespans and higher medical care costs to pay for in 2012. I'm not sure the Romney/Ryan plan goes far enough, but at least it's a start, and at least it puts on the table a problem that's been going on for decades but that nobody has had the nerve to address. For a party that considers themselves progressive, the left sure seems reluctant to make any changes to entitlements despite the fact that the world and numbers around them have changed.
If Obama wins, I'll be disappointed, and I think our economy in the short term and long term will be worse off than under a Romney win. But life will go on, the sun will continue to rise, and we'll still live in the best country in the world, with a standard of living that the richest person couldn't imagine a few decades ago.