My Sole Remark on the Ames Straw Poll

Michele Bachmann has won the Ames Straw Poll:

AMES, Iowa — On the day that Texas Gov. Rick Perry formally joined the Republican presidential race, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) narrowly won the Iowa straw poll in a contest that dealt a major setback to third-place finisher Tim Pawlenty.

The events of Saturday marked the opening of an accelerating chapter in a 2012 GOP campaign that has been slow to take shape. With Mitt Romney established as the frontrunner for the nomination, the entry of Perry and the victory here by Bachmann are likely to reorder the field and intensify the competition to emerge as the former Massachusetts governor’s principal challenger.

I have no use whatever for Michele Bachmann. I voted for Obama in 2008; if the Republicans were to nominate either Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry, in all likelihood I would vote for him again as the lesser evil. I strongly suspect that quite a few independents and moderates feel exactly the same way.

The reality of national politics today is that you can’t get nominated for the presidency without the support of the party base and you can’t secure election just by winning the base. That’s true for both parties. The implication of this is that as despised as they are by the bases of both parties independents and moderates decide presidential elections.

I also feel that I should mention that I am unimpressed with Rick Perry’s running on Texas’s strong economy during the ongoing economic downturn for three reasons. First, Texas’s is a weak governor system—Perry didn’t have much to do with whatever successes Texas is having. Second, for decades Texas was a net beneficiary of federal largesse paying in taxes significantly less than it received in federal spending, Texas pays only a little more in taxes than it receives in federal spending. By contrast Illinois, for example, has been ripped off by the federal government for decades, generations pays 25% more relative to spending. It’s a lot easier to build an economy when money stays at home than it is when it’s being shipped elsewhere and, specifically, to Texas.

Third, Texas leads in job creation but it leads in the creation of jobs with low wages and many of those jobs don’t carry healthcare benefits. Texas leads the nation in the percentage of unemployed persons and Texas is the major contributor to the number of persons without healthcare in the U. S. IMO Texas is the pathology, not the cure.

12 comments… add one
  • cfpete

    “for decades Texas was a net beneficiary of federal largesse paying in taxes significantly less than it received in federal spending.”

    You need to check your data.

  • You’re right; I misread the table and will correct my post accordingly.

  • Icepick

    By contrast Illinois has been ripped off by the federal government for decades, generations.

    Destruction of the social contract? Check!

    Seriously, a chunk of that is military spending. Do you want some massive military base in Illinois?

    Some of that has to do with Texas having such a long border. More federal spending there.

    No doubt some of that is due to highway spending.

    Some of that is do to population density, and the nature of the businesses in the different states.

    A good chunk of FLorida’s advantage in this game (and I imagine Texas’s too) is that so damned many people from Illionis (and Michigan, and Ohio, and New York, etc, etc) have retired to Florida, bringing their SS and MC payments with them.

    But really it all comes down to this: Do you want a United States which is united, or do you want 50 separate states each going their own way? If you want the latter, Texas will probably be willing to oblige. (They’re idiots if they want to go it alone, but what the Hell.) If not, quit bitching about how poor Illinois is getting screwed all the time.

  • Icepick

    Do you want some massive military base in Illinois?

    Do you NEED a massive military base in Illinois?

  • cfpete

    I don’t know about the 60s and 70s but the data from your own link shows that Texas was not a net beneficiary for a single year in the 80s.
    It was a net beneficiary in: 91, 92, 93, 03, 04, and 05.

    I am not denying your point that Illinois pays much more than it receives.
    Here is a question: will Dick Durbin’s favored tax policy reduce or increase the difference between what Illinois pays and receives?

  • Matt Yglesias posted a while back a chart that seemed to indicate that most of Texas’ growth was due to immigration. That would also explain the lower wages and lack of health care.

  • BTW, I can’t conceive of a likely circumstance that would have me cast a vote for Rep. Bachmann. I’m one of those independent voters. Fortunately, I feel pretty confident she won’t get the nomination. Unfortunately, the others in the race for the GoP nomination aren’t anything to write home about.

  • steve

    If you follow employment data, Texas runs fairly parallel with New York and California until recently. The recent split probably has more to do with the Texas real estate market holding up better since they strictly regulated, big government, second mortgages. One could also point out that Texas comes in at 47th among the states on education test scores. Being governor for 10 years, I think Perry gets some credit. Having oil refineries has got to help also. Also, it never makes the national press, but Texas has significant debt (liberal press at work again).


  • steve

    The inflow of money in the 90s was maybe from the S&L crisis, which was mostly based in Texas. Deregulation, real estate speculation, bad loans and lack of bank examinations. In ’88 and ’89 Texas banks accounted for 85% of FDIC resolution funds.


  • cfpete

    I believe you to be a rational person.
    Based entirely upon the criteria that citizens of Illinois pay more than their fair share, a rational Illinois voter would vote for Bachmann, Perry or really any Republican.
    The current tax policy of the Democratic party (Obama) places a disproportionate burden on states with a higher than average median income.

    “Texas leads the nation in the percentage of unemployed (uninsured) persons”
    Obamacare (ACA) places the costs of subsidizing the exchanges disproportionately on those individuals in the top tax brackets.

    To simplify:
    A rational Texas voter would choose Obama.
    A rational Illinois voter would choose any Republican.

  • I take that as a compliment, cfpete.

    In general I vote for president based on defense and foreign policy, regarding domestic policy as primarily the bailiwick of the Congress. I didn’t have much of a choice in that regard in 2008. McCain ran on a “national greatness” platform of which I’m very suspicious–he was too bellicose for my tastes. Obama ran on expanding the war in Afghanistan, of which I disapproved.

    I voted for Obama on the grounds that I thought it was at least possible that he could be persuaded against expanding the war in Afghanistan and might have a less military approach to foreign policy. So far I have been disappointed.

    I’ve written about the peculiarities of Illinois politics here before. As I see it the problem that Illinoisans have is that our Congressional delegation is overwhelmingly either regular Republicans or regular Democrats. They’ll vote the party line.

    If Illinois representatives were voting for the interests of Illinois they’d either be voting for lower federal spending overall while maintaining spending in Illinois (if they were Republicans) or increasing spending in Illinois (if they were Democrats). Neither of these is the case. They vote the party line rather than the interests of their constitutents and the party line is national electoral politics which leaves Illinois, a “safe” state, high and dry.

  • I am so reminded of Douche and Turd…its perfect for both the Republicans, and the general election.

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