Archive for February, 2012

Beating a dead (dark) horse: Everyone on the bolt bus

February 28, 2012

In response to my post from yesterday about brokered conventions and dark horses, Jonathan Bernstein makes the case that I’m underestimating the possibility of a factional bolt if the (highly unlikely) deadlock came to pass: I’m going to stick up for my argument a bit. The thing is: Matt’s objections are also objections to...
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Of Deadlocks and Dark Horses

February 27, 2012

Greetings from Austin, TX! For those of you who missed it, last time I was here (September) I took a fabulous tour of the state capitol building, which inspired this post on legislative security, or the lack thereof. Austin is, of course, named for Stephen F. Austin, who managed to make it into one of my GOP Candidate...
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The Best Little Whorehouse

February 27, 2012

I’m headed down to Austin, TX on business this morning for the next bunch of days. That means blogging could be lighter. Or heavier. We’ll see.
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Reading Week

February 24, 2012

Some stuff I enjoyed reading from this week: 1. John Sides had a two-part series — here, and then responses to criticism here — on the obsession with negative political ads and the reality of their effectiveness. I suspect the Daisy ad from the ’64 election is one of the most overrated campaign messages...
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Legislative realities and Senators as presidential candidates

February 23, 2012

People always say that it’s tough for Senators to run for President because they have all these roll call votes lying around from the past that opponents can pick on. But the actual mechanism that makes all these votes problematic usually goes unexplained; it’s not clear, on the surface, why having taken a ton...
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Tonight: A Morman, a statesman, and a libertarian all slam Santorum!

February 22, 2012

So don’t worry ’bout tomorrow, take it today; Forget about the check, we’ll get hell to pay. —AC/DC, from Back in Black (1980) Once again, my wife is going out with some friends tonight, and assuming that the girls go to sleep fine, at home it’s just going to be me, the GOP debate,...
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DC statehood and political self-interest: Where are the flag makers?

February 22, 2012

Back when I was in graduate school, my (dorky) friends and I had an impromptu contest: everyone had to create an urban legend based on their dissertation research, and whoever could spread it the farthest on the Internet in 1 month won. Since my thesis was about statehood politics, I came up with the...
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Happy Centennial, Arizona!

February 21, 2012
Happy Centennial, Arizona!

Happy 100th Birthday Arizona! This is a few days late — Arizona the state turned 100 back on February 14 — but I happen to know a little Arizona territorial history, so I thought I’d pass it along. Better late than never. My dissertation looked at the political development of the American west —...
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Counterfactuals, Consequences, and Election Importance

February 20, 2012

My graduate school adviser, David Mayhew, had an article over the weekend in the Washington Post — entitled Which Was The Most Important U.S. Election? — that I’d recommend reading. The...
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Yeah Upstate!

February 18, 2012
Yeah Upstate!


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Not my favorite holiday

February 17, 2012
Not my favorite holiday

Back in October, as an anti-tribute to Columbus Day, I wrote a post on federal holiday legitimacy that included this chart: The chart plots all ten federal holiday on two dimensions: 1. First, to what degree would the event be celebrated/commemorated absent the federal holiday. Was the holiday significant prior to government recognition? Would...
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Thy Rod and Thy Staff

February 16, 2012
Thy Rod and Thy Staff

Well then, congressional staff. Someone asked me a few weeks ago to do a general post on the topic, but…where to begin? Let’s do this in three chunks: a legislative branch overview, a basic rundown of the staff in a Representative’s office, and a look at the most relevant recent trend: leadership staff growth....
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No Sense in Fighting This Meme…

February 16, 2012
No Sense in Fighting This Meme…


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Why I’m a libertarian, part two: the cost of good intentions

February 14, 2012

A few weeks ago, in response to this blog post, Jamelle Bouie asked me a question: why do I consider myself a libertarian, rather than a straightforward liberal? That’s a great question! And I’m spending some time answering it. Previous entries in the series: Part One: Consenting Adults (1/31/2012) Part Zero: Ground Level Decks...
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King’s pawn opening

February 13, 2012

Today, as required under law, the President submitted his FY2013 budget to Congress. Imagine that I sent an email to you and six of our friends suggesting that we plan a picnic for next weekend: Hey all, we were talking about getting together this weekend. It looks like the weather is going to be...
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Super Bowl Coda: Twelve Ideas Circulating in Manhattan

February 10, 2012

This post was authored by my brother-in-law, Dan Courtright, a writer who lives in New York and knows a hell of a lot about football. I’ve heard each of the following claims over the past few days, mostly on the Mike Francesa show and ESPN. Let me weigh in on their relative merits: 1....
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A common fallacy, circulating this week. Plus some polisci.

February 9, 2012

I’m seeing/hearing a lot of political analysis today that goes like this: Fact:  a majority of Catholics (58%) are in favor of the Obama administration’s recent birth control decision. Conclusion: therefore, the decision cannot possibly hurt Obama electorally among Catholic voters. This is bad logic: the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the fact....
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Hollow Victory

February 8, 2012

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Proposition 8, effectively legalizing gay marriage in California. For the libertarian reasons I’ve outlined in depth here and also defended here, I don’t think this is the optimal way to address the issue of marriage inequality; it takes a set of special government preferences (for...
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Turnover

February 7, 2012

The Sunlight Foundation has slogged through two quarterly House Statement of Disbursements reports to produce a nice piece on staff turnover in the House. Endlessly interesting to think about. Go read it. I don’t mean the following as a harsh critique — I really liked the study and, having done my share of research...
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Anecdotal Evidence

February 6, 2012

Quite unexpectedly, I found myself in a very interesting situation Sunday morning: listening to an overtly political sermon at church. Based on the reaction I saw in the congregation, I think it might be a very big deal. It was absolutely the talk of the congregation on the way out of the building when...
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