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Recommended Reading – Election Edition

The Election Aftermath…..

Outside the Beltway (Mataconis) -Republicans Need To Understand What Went Wrong If They Want To Win Again
 
Needing and wanting are two different things.

Juan Cole -Why Bill O’Reilly is Wrong about Minorities ‘Wanting Things” & the Election 

This is an amazing post. After (accurately) skewering Bill O’Reilly for getting basic facts and historical terminology horribly wrong,  Juan then draws an equally  fact-free conclusion that suits his political worldview out of thin air. If  Cole thinks the country has become less oligarchic and more egalitarian since 1996, he’s high.
 
Pundit Press -Fraud in PA: Obama Got Over 99% of Vote at Polls Where GOP Inspectors were Removed; Turnout Somehow “30%” Above Gov’t Numbers

Remember the Democratic/liberal pre-election meme on twitter that “voter fraud almost never happens”?  Turns out it does happen …..in heavily Democratic urban areas.

Kevin Drum -We Should Probably All Calm Down a Bit

Yes.

How do our foreign friends and foes see the 2012 election for President?

The London TimesGoverning the new America 

Puffery.

Der Spiegel – In US Election, He Who Lies Wins 

Left-wing Krauts at their most obnoxious.

The Economist – Which one? 

The Economist endorses “the changeling”.

Xinhua -U.S. election day voting in full swing 

Surprising straightforward.

FARS News Agency -Obama Re-Elected as US President 

Even more surprisingly straightforward, but the senior Foreign ministry spokesman who looks like an Iranian Rod Blagojevich, makes up for it in an outburst of bloviation about which no American could possibly care.

Non-election items (probably more interesting):

SWJ Blog – Largo Man’s Labors of Love: Good Food and Warfare

A Florida media profile of long time friend of ZP and SWJ Editor-in-Chief Dave Dilegge 

Steven Pressfield -Narcissism and Resistance

 

I’m aware that there’s an official definition of narcissism in the Psychiatric Handbook. The following is my unofficial definition—and a theory of how narcissism comes about in the first place.

NarcissusIt’s not incurable

Narcissism is self-iconization. To control our internal terror, insecurity, etc., one mode of coping is to erect an icon in our minds. This icon might be a mentor, a role model, a guru. It might be a lover or a parent, a teacher, a coach. I’ve done it. We’ve all done it. Sometimes it’s healthy. It’s a stage in the progression toward independence and self-command.

When we set someone up as an icon, we say to ourselves, “Well, I might not be able to handle my life by myself, but X is really strong and smart and brave. X can guide me.” That’s the iconization of others.

Narcissism is when we iconize ourselves.

We decide (unconsciously) that we are the center of the universe. In our minds–and in our closets, our garages, and our bank accounts–we begin erecting an edifice of adoration for this new god, ourselves.

We convince ourselves that we are smarter, prettier, meaner, cooler, hipper, etc. than anyone else (or at least that we’re smart enough, pretty enough, and mean enough to handle any problem.)

In a way, this mechanism is healthy. In its benign form it’s simply self-confidence. And it’s often true that the narcissist’s beliefs about herself are valid, within reason. Often the narcissist is indeed brave, smart, strong, savvy, and so forth.

What is really happening inside the narcissist? [….]

Abu Muqawama (Trombly) -(Un)limiting War: “Perpetual War” in Historical Perspective 

Fighting the Forever Small War

Pundita -Britain seeks to pull USA more deeply into Syrian rebellion 

….As near as I can figure from the following report the plan is to go around the EU by pressuring the Obama administration to arm the Syrian ‘rebels’ — or, if the administration has been shipping arms in clandestine fashion to the ‘rebels’ via Libya, to ship weapons aboveboard. Oh and the rebels want money in addition to more weapons.  Lots of money.  

No worries; the British will supervise!  But after what they did to us in Basra, in Helmand and in post-Gaddafi Libya, one would think the closet monarchists in Washington had learned their lesson. Somehow I don’t think they did. 

Pundita. Come for the sarcasm….stay for the insights.

USNI Blog – Guest Post by CAPT David Tyler: On Warfighting: The Warrior Spirit 

Self-evident topic.

Wings Over Iraq -Thursday Defense Briefing 

Courtney Messerschmidt or one of the peeps who are “her” is maintaining the fort for the Iron Major with defense news links. When we all found out Courtney wasn’t real it was like that ugly Santa Claus incident all over again ;)

FINALLY…..

I would like to depart from my normal protocol and feature a comment on a post here, regarding the election and the GOP, by Dr. David Ronfeldt because it is spot on. For those unfamiliar with Ronfeldt, a co-author of Networks and Netwars, “TIMN” refers to his analytic model of ” Tribes, Institutions, Markets, Networks”.

I am Zen and I approve of this message:

From a TIMN perspective, the Republicans lost because they’ve become excessively tribal, and much less institutional and market-oriented.  More to the point, the Republicans lost because of the media:  not the mainstream media or the liberal media, but their very own right-wing conservative media — particularly Fox News, along with right-wing radio talk shows, and all their well-known opinionators.  These media have become so dominated by tribalists who aim to tribalize that they’ve become counter-productive, even destructive for the Republican party.

The usual frames for discussing what I’m trying to get at are “partisanship” and “polarization”.  But those frames have become too dryly analytical and easy to treat as isolatable criticisms.  At this point, when matters have become so excessive, tribalism is a more accurate, dynamic frame.

How do extreme tribalists think and act?  They demonize opponents.  They believe it’s okay to lie to outsiders. They require unity, even a kind of purity for their side.  They stress identity and loyalty.  They turn combative and uncompromising.  They shun moderates once on their side.  They engage in magical thinking about their prospects.  Et ceteraa.  And of course they accuse the other side of terrible tribalism.

There is nothing basically wrong — and much can still be righted — about key Republican principles: e.g., limited government, free enterprise, fiscal and social responsibility, and family.  But recovery from the current debacle calls for more than the kinds of detailed dissections, self-reassurances, and tinkering adjustments that are now being talked about in election post-mortems.  From a TIMN perspective, the party will have to de-tribalize and re-institutionalize, as well as become more market-oriented about ideas, in order to correct its approaches to those principles and restore itself to playing a nationally constructive, attractive role.  And if it’s leaders really do want to temper the roles of tribalism, they are going to have to rethink their relations with those associated media, which gain huge benefits and tout great success from being excessively tribal (while deny being too tribal?).

 
Tribalism warps your OODA Loop.

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20 Responses to “Recommended Reading – Election Edition”

  1. Mithras Says:

    “Remember the Democratic/liberal pre-election meme on twitter that “voter fraud almost never happens”?  Turns out it does happen …..in heavily Democratic urban areas.”

    Uh … no. Reality is far more banal. I spent all Tuesday running around Philadelphia with other lawyers from both the Obama campaign and from the local good-government group, Committee of Seventy. And virtually every incident I encountered was the result of misunderstandings, incompetence, or the inevitable chaos that ensues when most of the freakin’ electorate gets in line at 6:30 in the morning because no one know what effect the state GOP’s effort to suppress voting through the new voter-ID law will have.

    In the divisions (our word for precincts) I visited, on average 5% of votes were cast on provisional ballots rather than in the booth. Because of the voter ID law? No! Because the local board responsible for updating the voter roll book is run by 3 people who can hardly stand to be in the same room together, so they failed to do their, you know, job. The only instances I encountered of people not being permitted to vote because of lack of ID were a couple of young people who had moved to the city but failed to update their ID, and didn’t have basic things like bank statements or utility bills in their name at their current addresses.

    Next, Ward 4? Romney’s lucky he got 55 votes there. It’s all African-American. For some reason, black people don’t like Republicans very much. Check the comments to the post you linked to for some possible reasons why.

    Also, PA House Speaker Sam Smith is just factually wrong about turnout. No divisions in Philly even approached 90% turnout. Smith is a rural Republican who “heard” that turnout was 90%. In fact, it was high – around 60% on average – but again that was the result of a good Obama ground game and voters fired up at the perception that someone was trying to stop them from voting. Ironically, the wards where the real turnout percentage probably approached 80%? Wealthy white wards. (“Real” because turnout percentage is based on registered voters, and the transient nature of urban areas means that some unknown percentage of your list has moved away. This percentage varies with the number of college students living in the ward. I can tell you that really makes GOTV an adventure when you are out knocking doors, looking for someone who has actually moved home to Jersey.) 

    Finally, GOP “inspectors” were not expelled for being GOP; some GOP poll watchers were expelled (as were Democrats) because they failed to get their poll watcher certificate from their party. The same thing happened to the liberal lawyers from the Obama campaign – some of them tried to enter polling places and were thrown out. (I had my poll watcher cert – elections are a lot more fun that way.)

    There was also a separate issue involving poll workers called “inspectors” that got conflated in these stories. There are three elected poll-worker positions for each division: the judge of elections, the majority inspector, and the minority inspector. (“Majority” and “minority” have nothing to do with partisan affiliation, it just means the people who came in first and second in running for the inspector position, but as a practical matter in Philly the majority inspector is a Dem and the minority inspector is a Rep. They both do the same thing, though: Sit at the table and look up voters in the book.) So, recently, there has been this civil war going on in the Philly Republican party between actual Republicans (they call themselves “Loyal Opposition”) and the people who run the city Republican party (and who in fact have no interest in running competitive candidates and just get paid off by the city Democratic party in exchange for taking a dive). Really contentious, with the results of ward committee elections being thrown out by the city GOP committee and committee people being hauled out of ward meetings by the cops. So, this election both of those factions tried to seat minority inspectors, with predictable results: screaming matches.

    Also, some divisions have practically no Republican voters at all, and no one qualifies for the position of minority inspector. So what happens then? The judge of elections gets to appoint one. This year the Republicans were more motivated to appoint inspectors. Even when there wasn’t a competing Loyal Opposition person, the judge of elections might still get bent out of shape, especially in poor wards. Why? Not because the inspectors were GOP, but because the position of minority inspector is paid – a whopping $90 for working 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., which is real money in those neighborhoods – and there were people who had filled the role of minority inspector in their divisions for years and counted on that money to make ends meet. 

    So, there you go: incompetence, confusion, intra-party factionalism, squabbling over a few bucks, and some people just plain getting their facts wrong. A more complicated story than “fraud at the polls!”, but that’s the way of the world.

     

  2. Derek Robinson Says:

    re: tribalism warps your OODA loop – it’s the difference between ‘positive’ self-amplifying vs. ‘negative’ self-correcting feedback .. Hegelian contraries, Yeats’s gyres yin-yanging through history .. what’s interesting is to see how the echo-chamber of mutually reinforcing chest-thumping pulpit-pounding self-justification amplifies, distorts, exaggerates, and drives to extreme positions that require cathartic release like war or revolution, as a collective analog of the physiological sensation to causal explanation feedback loop (James-Lange theory of emotions) in the individual .. cf. Antonio Damasio for details.

  3. Pundita Says:

    Zen – Re “Pundita. Come for the sarcasm….stay for the insights.”  Heh.  Thanks.  This reminds me to thank Charles for his ‘wide angle’ compliment.  Poor pundita has been nursing a sore neck from rubbernecking benghazi and US election wrecks. Now dealing with a migraine from trying to think up ways to shame Bill and Melinda Gates into throwing a billion USD at Sandy superstorm disaster.     

  4. Mr. X Says:

    Mithras with all due respect, your account sounds reasonable about Philadelphia, but it doesn’t explain why 8 million white voters who turned out for McCain in 2008 just vaporized. I can allow that two or three million Evangelicals may have refused to have voted for a Mormon cultist in their view, and another million who may have passed away or become to ill or infirm to register and vote. But the rest? You don’t think any Romney votes got tossed in urban areas of Ohio, Florida (primarily Palm Beach County/Broward County as polls were conducted in those areas not just statewide), Colorado and probably Michigan too? It’ll be interesting to see how many more people voted in Detroit than still live in most of those precincts.

    Or maybe there is simply a large mass of well to do Obama voters. If so they’re going to get what they voted for good and hard with tax hikes, large scale undeniable inflation and more. 

  5. Mr. X Says:

    And as for voter ID as voter suppression, if the GOP were not the stupid party it could easily tear down that Dem straw man by budgeting tens of millions in every state to have teams go out and take photos of people at T-Mobiles, elderly folks homes, poor rural towns where the nearest DPS office is 100 miles away in Texas, etc. It would eliminate the sheer excuses and astonishingly naive insistence that we all vote solely on the honor system. But the GOP never bothered to FUND voter ID efforts in poor communities which left them open to the charge of voter suppression.

  6. Mr. X Says:

    Spengler has a good piece on how the GOP’s failure is manifest when you see how many pro-business, entreprenurial Asian American voters it lost. Some of it may be due to Asians wanting to vote like their neighbors along the coasts where they’re concentrated, but that doesn’t explain all of it.

    http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/11/09/what-about-asian-americans/2/

    A Canadian style points system is the only sane immigration policy going forward, even if we have to tacitly admit it’s NAFTA nationalities first, as no politician (even the ‘Dream ACT’ proponents) dares admit now. 

  7. Mr. X Says:

    Spengler has a good piece on how the GOP’s failure is manifest when you see how many pro-business, entreprenurial Asian American voters it lost. Some of it may be due to Asians wanting to vote like their neighbors along the coasts where they’re concentrated, but that doesn’t explain all of it.

    http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/11/09/what-about-asian-americans/2/

    A Canadian style points system is the only sane immigration policy going forward, even if we have to tacitly admit it’s NAFTA nationalities first, as no politician (even the ‘Dream ACT’ proponents) dares admit now. 

  8. Mr. X Says:

    Spengler has a good piece on how the GOP’s failure is manifest when you see how many pro-business, entreprenurial Asian American voters it lost. Some of it may be due to Asians wanting to vote like their neighbors along the coasts where they’re concentrated, but that doesn’t explain all of it.

    http://pjmedia.com/spengler/2012/11/09/what-about-asian-americans/2/

    A Canadian style points system is the only sane immigration policy going forward, even if we have to tacitly admit it’s NAFTA nationalities first, as no politician (even the ‘Dream ACT’ proponents) dares to admit.

  9. Mr. X Says:

    Sorry for the duplicate comments Zen/Charles pls delete all but the bottom.

  10. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    I approve of David Ronfeldt‘s message too.
    .
    The problem however is the fact that the tribalists don’t see themselves as tribalists.  Waiting for them to see the light is a recipe for disaster, because they’ll keep doing what they have been doing, all the while claiming that any other recipe is traitorous (within the party) and that calls for other recipes are probably somehow a plot of the Left to ruin the Right, and so forth.
    .
    Incidentally, on that last point:  The outspoken liberal pundits — ahem, MSNBC, ahem, cough —are already acting like they themselves are the ones who know how to “fix” the GOP.  The crazy tribalists are not insensitive to this fact, and it may prevent them from ever becoming sensible to whatever the lib pundits might happen to say —even when members of the GOP say some of the same things.
    .
    Anyone else feel like COIN ought to be applied to this particular problem?  …but, problematically, re-institutionalization is tricky.  Rather than expecting or wanting the old-guard Republicans to step in and do that — i.e., those establishment members whose words are likely to be entirely ignored by the crazy TP, who formed to fight that establishment in the first place — perhaps some innovation needs to be “inspired” from within the TP.
    .
    I can tell you though, from much of the commentary it would seem that this is unlikely.   The crazies are doubling down.

  11. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Incidentally, for your consideration:  At the time of ACA’s passing (and added stimulus too), I thought, “Damn, Obama’s clever.”  Neither he nor his party did much to defend it, explain it, etc.; and I thought the purpose of that was to let the foaming mouths foam more on the Right.   Let the Right snap as many of their own synapses as they could, in other words.
    .
    Now of course I just think that O inherently has a problem when it comes to explaining his actions.  (Some might say it is arrogance —he doesn’t think he should need to explain himself with clarity — but I won’t go so far.)
    .
    However, there does seem to be a fortuitous jujitsu.  To put it into other terms:  hoist + petard.
    .
    I mention this in light of what I said above in my last comment wrt liberal pundits trying to “fix” the GOP. 

  12. Mr. X Says:

    “Incidentally, for your consideration:  At the time of ACA’s passing (and added stimulus too), I thought, “Damn, Obama’s clever.”  Neither he nor his party did much to defend it, explain it, etc.; and I thought the purpose of that was to let the foaming mouths foam more on the Right.” Or maybe if they’d explained it more carefully instead of saying you have to vote for it to see what’s in it even some Democrats would’ve not been able to be herded into line.

    Re-read the eight million figure again. Not even nominating a rich Mormon after dumping on the libertarians in the primaries plus apathy and attrition can explain that. In your gut you know something’s wrong but have to put  up a good trendy face.

  13. zen Says:

    Hi Mithras,
    .
    Thank you for the granular detail on Philly that we would not have heard otherwise and the reminder that much of what passes for conspiracy is also explicable as stupidity. I’m sure disorganization and incompetence/infighting was a large factor in creating chaos.
    .
    Mr. X – no worries on the duplicate comments. The system hiccups from time to time. 

  14. Mithras Says:

    Mr. X-
    I can’t testify to Ohio or Florida votes. If an intrepid researcher wanted to look into it, it wouldn’t be too hard. Here in PA at least, the names of people who voted are published after the election. Identify the individuals who voted in 2008 and not in 2012, select a statistically valid sample, and try to contact them. Websites like intelius even publish unlisted numbers. The sample size required is often surprisingly small.

    To explain why some whites may have stayed home, my observation is that the Romney campaign was mostly about un-electing Obama than electing Romney. Here in PA, “Fire Obama!” was a pretty common sign. I think that was an indicator that Romney didn’t inspire people much, for various reasons, but people need something to vote for, not just vote against.  

    I like your idea of the GOP funding voter ID efforts. If that had happened starting 2 years before the election, there couldn’t have been any valid objections. But what would happen if everyone got IDs and then there was no material effect on Democratic turnout? It would risk showing that there hadn’t been a problem in the first place. I think it was just an article of faith among conservatives that liberals cheat in elections, just as it was an article of faith that Obama is extremely unpopular. Testing such hypotheses can lead to rude awakenings.

  15. Curtis Gale Weeks Says:

    Sure, Mr. X, as my guru often says, Vagueness is important!
    .
    However, I think that the Right might be leading themselves astray every time they assume a Vast Majority in agreement with them consistently losing out because a portion of them are so stupid they can’t see what’s in front of their faces.
    .
    Seems a recurrent theme:  The Right “natural majority” keeps losing out because the Left cheats, commits fraud, and otherwise succeeds in using parlor magic to trick portions of that “natural majority.”
    .
    Consider for a moment another possibility:  The Right may be a minority. 

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  17. Mr. X Says:

    Fair enough Curtis — the Right is DEFINITELY in the minority, and Constitutionalists are a minority of the minority!

    And per the comment above re: GOP legislatures funding IDs for the indigent — again a great idea, but it may very well prove that the olden days of driving Dem voters around major urban areas in buses to vote in multiple places are as dead as the LBJ Administration, which is to say any fraud would’ve long shifted from the polls to the machines. 

  18. Mr. X Says:

    I should also add as a final caveat that there are a few leftist Constitutionalists/civil libertarians — Glenn Greenwald seems to be one.

  19. carl Says:

    Regarding voter fraud in big cities.  I checked the Cuyahoga County Election Commision website.  They had precinct by precinct vote tallies  up.  Cleveland, OH is in Cuyahoga County.
    There were 21 precincts in Cleveland where nobody, zero people, voted for Romney.  In those same precincts, almost 5500 people voted for Obama.  That is almost 5500 to 0.  That is not possible.
    Those are only the Cleveland precincts where nobody at all voted for Romney.  In many many other the counts were in the 3, 4 and 500s to tens. 
    Those results strain credulity.

  20. david ronfeldt Says:

    thanks again for including my “rant” about excessive tribalism in the main text above.  fwiw, i’ve now posted an expanded extension at:
    .
    http://twotheories.blogspot.com/2012/11/why-republicans-lost-excessive.html
    .
    onward.


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