42 thoughts on “Branding the Mind of the “Independent” Voter.

  1. 108 says:

    What are you trying to accomplish when you use ‘uh,…’ as a rhetorical device? Now I know you didn’t invent this. Did you buy the unlimited license on it or what?

    I liked your Zhukov reference the other day. That was literately played.

    Whatevs. He was made President, he won the election handily. He had a lot of good will to work with among Independants.

    HCR was botched, and we don’t even need to argue about the mechanics of the bill, although that is undeniably a pile.

    I don’t know what lingering animosity there is over TARP. Rather I suspect it’s the foreclosures. The administration is getting completely played by the banks. Although underreported, it’s a big F’n deal.

      1. 108 says:

        Ha – I get that. My question is more, why have you been using it twice a column for say the last 10 weeks.

        It’s supposed to reflect what…slyness, sardonicism, wit?

      2. I have this picture in my mind of you, 108. It’s of mean Sister Madard back in second grade cursive penmanship class, docking points for crossing my “t’s” too high and dotting my “i’s” too far to the left or right.

  2. Newt says:

    As a Tea Bagger, I was appalled to hear Congressman-elect Chip Cravaack, the day after the election, say he wanted to stop impending cuts to Medicare payments to doctors,

    That moron got elected on downsizing government, yet less than 24 hours after winning, he was lying.

    1. PM says:

      how do you feel about Mitch McConnell saying that he isn’t going to get rid of earmarks? Or Rand paul saying that he is willing to fight to ensure that kentucky will get it’s share of pork?

      all seems sort of business as usual, doesn’t it?

      1. Newt says:

        Cut 10% across the board – I have no sacred cows.

        We need to migrate this discussion from how government is suffering to how America can remain viable.

        Mitch McConnell needs to go. He’s a chameleon like McCain.

        I hadn’t heard about Paul being on the Pork Wagon.

  3. PM says:

    So your point is that independents aren’t really independent?

    Well, maybe.

    but that doesn’t change the fact that obama got a lot more votes in 2008 that dems did in 2010. Something changed–turnout, certainly–but there are likely (almost certainly) people who switched their loyalty/votes. probably a number of them are republicans who were indeed disgusted with the legacy of BushII, and turned off by McCain/palin. I see no reason not to call these people Independents. They are voters who will not vote in lock step no matter what.

    And you are right–they need to be informed. Whatever lessons we might draw from this election, I think that it would be difficult to make the case that the voters are very well informed, discriminating individuals who elected a bunch of Republicans to thwart anything at all from happening (“no compromise”). Frankly, more than anything, i think they want things to happen–NOW. And they are angry that things didn’t happen sooner. Of course, the real world doesn’t work that way, but Obama will have 2 more years to make that case, and 2 more years of time for his agenda to work.

    An interesting 2 more years they will be! lots of screaming, ranting heads on TV is my prediction…..

    1. The research i quoted and my unscientific opinion is that Obama grabbed a lot of socially-liberal, fiscally conservative moderate Republicans embarrassed to be associated with the Bush Republican party. That group needs constant education and assurance to keep it on board.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        I’m one of the socially liberal, fiscally conservatives you describe. Most of us don’t take kindly to the assertion that we “don’t get it” when it comes to Obama’s performance.

        He probably was the better option and choice over a flawed candidacy on the Republican side. However, that might not be true in 2012, unless Palin gets the nod — then he wins in a walk, regardless of the economy.

  4. PM says:

    Best election analysis I have seen yet:


    Basically, Silver says this was no watershed election–what happened is that democrats in republican districts lost. national trends (a few point shift to the Republican side) dominated local trends.

    His point is that a few point shift towards Democrats in 2010 will result in a similar “landslide” for the democrats. Another way of putting it–in 2010, democrats will have very few marginal districts to defend, while republicans will have lots of them.

    Bottom line–he expects that future elections will have far more dramatic results–major power shifts–because national trends are swamping local trends.

    1. Mike Kennedy says:

      NBCs Chuck Todd was saying for days before the election that the Republicans were playing a “home field game,” essentially that they had the advantage in many districts.

      Seems to be about right to me.

      Strip the political ideology out of all the analysis, and the outcome of future elections, including 2012 is going to depend, as always, on how well off people think they are.

      The economic reports I read (and I read quite a few of them) all predict a slow growing economy with marginal improvement in unemployment by 2012.

      If we are in the same situation or worse, I’m predicting Mr. Obama is shown the door. Running on “it could have been worse” will not be convincing — true or not after four years.

      The Democrats still have the balance of power by controlling the Senate and executive branch. Yes, it will be an interesting two years indeed.

  5. Hey, Brian…can’t find a way to reach you off-line (you are very smart!).

    I’d like to print part of this post on our blog, with attribution and link to the full post.

    Is that do-able?

    Uh, it’s a great piece.

  6. Mike Pennington says:

    Brian, this piece is right on the money. I’ve been arguing several of your points for months and I couldn’t have said it better. Uh…..really!

    To Mr. Kennedy: sorry if you’re offended, but you either still don’t get it or your “fiscally conservative” side refuses to allow you to vote for a Democrat under any circumstance. (By the way, that would make you a Republican and not an Independent). Please be reminded that one of Obama’s key platform issues in 2008 was healthcare reform, so no one should be surprised that he went after healthcare reform. And to his credit, he nearly pulled it ALL off despite unanimous opposition from his detractors.

    Everything else – the stimulus plan, auto mfrs. bailout, financial reform, etc. – absolutely HAD to be done and would have been done by ANY President, Democrat or Republican! (remember who signed TARP into law.) He and his economic team may have over promised on how quickly they could turn the economy around, and they paid a price for it last week, but it wasn’t for lack of effort.

    I agree with you that the state of the economy in 2012 will be key to an Obama second term, but to bring back the party that created this morass in 2010 clearly suggests that “someone doesn’t get it.”

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Obama pulled off the equivalent of “Sully” Sullenberger’s water landing. But, unlike Sullenberger’s scenario, it’s harder for people to picture what sort of landing it could have been.

      Nobody resented Sullenberger not getting them to the destination on their tickets. They were grateful not to have augured into Manhattan. But the angry “independents,” well, they wanted to land in the 1990s. And when Obama kept ’em from cratering into the 1930s, they chose to be disappointed and angry and put the geese in the pilot’s seat.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Nice analogy, Jim.

        The only flaw is that there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever what would have happened to Sullenberger’s aircraft. Science, namely physics, proves it. An airplane has a set gliding distance with no power. It won’t glide any farther. Period.

        That is not so clear cut in the case of the housing/derivative blowup. First, there is no way to prove that utter catastrophe was just around the corner. Did it help soften the blow — likely but not provable.

        Mr. Obama and his team created their own mess by overstating the impact from the start.

        Far better to under promise and over deliver than the other way around.

        The jobs rate prediction was foolish, as was the concept of “shovel ready.”

        I never served in government but any journalist worth his salt in being a minor observer knows that no government moves faster than a circus elephant when it comes to putting out bids and RFPs and then doing environmental impact studies…………..blah……..blah……..blah.

        Bottom line: Sully didn’t promise he’d land the aircraft safely, much less on a runway. He just did his job, kept his thoughts to himself and prepared his passengers for the worst.

        There is a lesson there.

        By the way, the book on Sully is terrific. I’ve been interviewed by the co-author, former WSJ reporter Jeff Zaslow (also co-author of the Last Lecture). That boy can write.

    2. Mike Kennedy says:

      Well, Mr. Pennington, for your information, I have voted for Democrats before.

      What is that that line about remaining silent and be thought as foolish than to speak up and remove all doubt?

      And thanks, but I am capable of defining my own political beliefs without your help.

      BTW, keep telling people they don’t get it. It lost you one election and is likely to lose you another. Good one about “the party” that created this morass. Who defended Fannie and Freddie, which could cost us three times the S&L crisis or more? Who ran Congress from 06 until now?

      1. Mike Pennington says:

        Mike K. – I wouldn’t presume to know your voting history, but from your postings I can surmise that Republicans have garnered the majority of your support over the years, which hardly qualifies you as an independent. But that’s not the point.

        My very simplistic point was this. If you voted for Obama (did you?) in 2008, there’s very little he’s done between then and now that anyone should be surprised or disappointed about. If you are, then either you didn’t vote for him anyway, or “you don’t get it.” Yeah, many Progressives are upset that he didn’t go far enough with healthcare and financial reform. And many economists don’t think he went far enough with the stimulus plan. But he shouldn’t have to apologize for (I love Jim’s ‘Sully’ analogy) not making it all the way to “the airport” when the alternative may have been catastrophe. He didn’t build the plane or maintain it. He was the pilot doing the best he could under the circumstances, assuring his “passengers” that he would get them to their destination safely.

        To your other comments – If you believe that the mortgage crisis began in 2006, caused by Freddie & Fannie, then you really don’t get it. And by the way, the Dems didn’t regain control of the house until 2007 at which time they held 49 Senate seats with two independents (these are “real” independents!) caucusing with them. In case you haven’t noticed, that usually spells gridlock, especially with a Republican President holding the veto pen.

        I do agree with you though that it would not be a winning campaign strategy to insult the intelligence of the electorate by telling them that “they don’t get it.” But some subtle reminders, such as those suggested by Brian, might have an effect on the outcome. Couldn’t hurt!

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        You’re right. You don’t know my voting history.

        And who endowed you with the title of “decider” when it comes to who is independent or not?

        Like a true lefty, you presume you have it all figured out. It seems to be increasingly true that those who are the most clueless are often the most certain — Lambo being among them.

        Again, thanks for your “opinon” on what I am, but I hardly need your validation.

        Second, I didn’t vote for Obama, but shock of shocks, I’m not surprised one bit at what he has done. He said what he was going to do and did it. Those who have buyer’s remorse have not excuse.

        Third, he wasn’t hired to clean up half the mess — he was hired to clean it all up. I don’t care if the plumber before did a poor job fixing my pipes. It’s the next one I hire that ought to have his shit together (so to speak) and get errrrrrrrrrrrr done.

        Finally, okay, Dems have had four years of control and another two ahead of them. If the economy is still slow or worse, they will deserve and get most of the blame — Mr. Obama bearing the brunt of it.

        No, the housing crisis was in the making for at least 15 to 20 years. If you think it started with Bush, then you are the one who hopelessly “doesn’t get it.”

  7. Jim Leinfelder says:

    Really, Mike? Do I need to check with my pilots on every flight? I’ve been operating under an implied agreement that the goal is to achieve, at minimum, a landing we can all walk away from. After all, there’s no ejection seat up there. So I would think self interest ought to take care of incentive to achieve that minimal outcome.

    Perhaps, in light of this revelation from you, an announcement from the flight deck is in order.

    Actually, first Sully thought he could bring ‘er back to La Guardia, then maybe Jersey, and then, finally, “we’ll be in the river.” Job well done, no one would disagree.

    But, yes, Mike, it’s an analogy. And like most of them, less than perfect. But then, like Sully, I didn’t promise perfection. The point is that doing what the GOP pushed for, nada, would have likely yielded something worse than where we are now.

    1. Did Kennedy just say, ” … there is no way to prove that utter catastrophe was just around the corner. Did it help soften the blow — likely but not provable.”

      I rest my case about not paying much attention.

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Well professor Lambert, offer up the evidence. I wait with Guinness breath.

        And don’t copy anyone’s work. I want your original research and proof since you apparently have it.

  8. Mike Kennedy says:

    No. Don’t check with the pilots. You don’t have to. Planes have glide ratios. I know my best glide speed to keep my airplane airborne as long as possible if I lose my engine.

    The goal is a safe flight. But I ain’t promising anything.

    BTW, your facts on Sully are wrong. He considered La Guardia for less than a second and Teterboro for less than 20 seconds according to the tapes.

    My whole point is that Obama raised expectations at a time when he should have promised just to do his best.

    Finally, where do you get off saying the GOP did nada? The titular head of the GOP who proposed the first stimulus and got it passed was Bush. So, he did do something right, eh?

    1. Jim Leinfelder says:

      Thanks, Mike. I’m aware of what a glide ratio is (God, deliver me from guys with their private pilots licenses). Yes, good thing it wasn’t an F-22 with a glide ratio akin to, what did Tom Wolfe write in The Right Stuff, a refrigerator?

      My obvious point is that when people get on commercial jets, they harbor a reasonable expectation that they’ll safely get to their intended destination. And when they’re so much as delayed, or have to land at a different airport, they tend to become irate. They bitch about bumpy landings.

      And yet, when Sully deftly landed these passengers in the middle of the Hudson River, they weren’t at all pissed off, certainly not at Capt. Sullenberger. In fact they were quite grateful.

      Huh, how come? Because they liked the outcome? Well, comparatively speaking, yeah. Because they knew it could have been vastly worse if not for Sullenberger’s efforts to do the best he could with a very bad situation.

      And, yes, Mike, I’m aware that he ticked off and rejected those two early alternatives in short order. I didn’t lay out the compressed time line. We all heard the tape, man. Why be so small?

      And lastly, Mike, I’m talking about the Republicans in the Congress during Obama’s term, not Bush’s. But you know that.

  9. Mike Kennedy says:

    Well, even though you have no idea what license or licenses I may hold, you are delivered.

    Actually, you stumped me on what GOP you were referring to because the MO of most liberals is just to summarily dismiss all GOP politicians.

    So thanks for the clarification.

    But telling GOP leaders that “elections have consequences and I won” is not a good start to end bipartisanship.

    The reason people aren’t grateful, Jim, is because most don’t believe that what was done was better than other choices. A Pew poll earlier this year even showed a slight majority of Dems had trouble believing the stimulus helped.

    But I’m sure they, like a majority of Republicans and Independents don’t get it.

  10. Jim Leinfelder says:

    Mike, you write, apropos of nothing I’ll grant you, about flying your airplane. I am going to assumed you’re licensed to do that.

  11. Mike Kennedy says:

    Sorry on the Pew poll. A slight majority of Dems thought the simulus helped, not the other way around.

  12. Here is the #1 reason why I call myself an Independent–because I will never answer any poll with the truth.

    Why would I do that (it is rude, no?)–because what happens is that both parties have stopped discussing issues to try to RESOLVE them, and instead have devolved into this game where they focus on polling to allow them to spin and AVOID issues.

    They are weathervanes to their own hot air…no, let me take that back, they no longer say much of anything on the record and instead they speak through surrogates and pundits spin, then let the pollsters measure the wind velocity and direction…modify the message again via their protective layer of bullshitters and repeat the process until people get weary or go insane.

    Then the pundits spin the problem as being people’s apathy in not voting or being more engaged in the process of running the country; or we all are labeled as …insert your favorites…liberals, wingnuts, teabaggers, commies, libtards, et al.

    So, as to the mind of an Independent…what they don’t realize is ALL those polls the think tanks used to decide the mind of the Independent (upon which you have based your posting)…are wrong.

  13. Newt says:


    “Point being that (independents) are leery of “new” liberal ideas and therefore Republicans will get the benefit of their doubt…

    Newsflash: Not only are they leery of ‘new’ liberal ideas, but liberal tactics that fail spectacularly.

    If only Obama could spend more money, then everything in America would be fine. That’s the thinking everyone’s leery of.

    1. Newt: I’m going to have to ask you to do a little better than that. Urping up the usual talking points is beneath our game here on TSRC. Even Kennedy, like a dead clock, is right at least a couple times a day. Please try harder.

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