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Mickey Kaus
Contributor

Kausfiles Midterm Rooting Scorecard

The Bias Matrix: What does kausfiles want? It's complicated! Before a modern political writer can slant his coverage practice explanatory journalism determine what readers need to know, he first has to figure out whom he wants to win. That's not always as easy as it sounds, especially if you are a blogger whose major issue** (control of our borders to help create a tight labor market) does not break down cleanly along party lines. Confronting the array of possible outcomes from the 2014 midterms, I can see two semi-contradictory imperatives:

Do We Need an Ebola Luxury Resort?

6:30 PM 10/26/2014

The Prisoner and the Dilemma: We'd like to quarantine care workers who return from caring for Ebola patients in West Africa -- we're not 100% sure that symptomless people aren't contagious ("unlikely"), and symptoms seem to come on relatively quickly in any case. Voluntary quarantining has proven incompletely effective. At the same time, we don't want to discourage volunteer health care workers from traveling to West Africa, where the main fight against the disease is being waged. They're not exactly encouraged to make the trip if they know they'll have to spend 21 days in a tent with a portable toilet on their return.

Ebola Fade?

8:23 AM 10/20/2014

Faster Ebola: Ebola -- and the administration's non-reassuring response to the threat -- seems to be the hot issue now in the midterms. There's even talk that the Republicans, previously (and perhaps intentionally) themeless, will be able to nationalize the election around the issue. The trouble is that the election is 15 days away. Will the Ebola meme last until then? The Feiler Faster Thesis says no! The ability of voters to process information with increasing speed means they will have grokked Obama's epidemiological performance in fighting the disease and be ready for a new issue long before November 4 -- at least unless new cases of infected Americans emerge.

New York Times Cocoon, Verified!

9:41 PM 10/16/2014

677 Caterpillars: A man named Tyler Pearson had posted a list of the 1000 Twittter accounts most commonly followed by the 677 New York Times staffers on the paper's public list. It is, as you would expect, embarrassingly cocooned: Times staffers follow people who share the liberalish/leftish viewpoint of the Times itself, meaning these staffers are less likely to even find out discordant information.  Which may be why they are so often surprised, or late to a story. ...

That’s the Power of P.C.!

2:55 AM 10/08/2014

Can't see the elephants for the regattas: You would think someone writing 800 words  (with three charts) about the relationship between SAT scores and wealth -- the rich on average score higher -- would at least consider the possibility that (while expensive tutoring or something else might be a factor) rich people on average are a bit smarter, and they pass some of this on to their kids.  You would be wrong. Not even in the Wall Street Journal! The P.C. consensus is powerful. ...

Paul Krugman is Right

1:25 AM 10/06/2014

Solidarity: Paul Krugman addresses the question of whether there's "slack" in the labor market -- e.g. people still looking for work -- or whether the Fed should worry more about wage inflation (if employers bid to hire scarce workers) and less about unemployment. Do you feel any wage inflation? Krugman doesn't either. He seems to suspect the market still has slack, and if it doesn't we should maybe let wages rise first before we decide to call off the party:

Can Paul Ryan Devote Full-Time to Milking Lobbyists?

7:28 AM 09/28/2014

Undercovered: Rep.  Kevin Brady has decided to run against Rep. Paul Ryan in the latter's bid for chairmanship of the Ways & Means Committee. (Ryan currently chairs the Budget Committee but is about to be termed out of that position.) The complaint against Ryan? As WaPo's Robert Costa reported, in a tweet more informative than his actual piece:

Obama’s A.G. Excuse

10:29 PM 09/26/2014
Holder that amnesty: Don’t the coming Attorney General confirmation hearings offer Obama another convenient excuse to put off his unpopular (and arguably unlawful) executive amnesty plans? True, Latino interest groups are expecting something big from the White House, amnesty-wise, before the end of the year. But what if Obama and Biden– “The president’s going to do […]

A Referendum on Amnesty?

7:27 PM 09/18/2014

Should Republicans make the 2014 midterms a Referendum on Amnesty? Short answer: Yes! Karl Rove would never be so impolite as to mention immigration amnesty in a Wall Street Journal op ed advising Republicans what to do. Rove, like the WSJ ed board, is a long-time amnesty booster, after all. But when it comes time to actually elect a Republican in Kentucky, this is the ad a Rove-affiliated group runs, attacking the "Obama-Grimes amnesty plan."

Rooting for Dems, Part II

7:33 PM 09/10/2014

More on whether a GOP Senate will give us immigration amnesty: Fawn Johnson of National Journal contributes to the near-dominant school of MSM reporting on immigration, a sort of locker-room pep talk in which a journalist calls activist Frank Sharry and then sketches a fanciful optimistic scenario on how amnesty could well happen. Soon! Just around the corner, really! Greg Sargent of Washington Post also specializes in this genre, which provides useful information while simultaneously rallying and deluding the MSM's pro-amnesty base. Johnson speculates about a negotiation in which Democrats would settle for any-kind-of-legalization (e.g. without a "path to citizenship"), and then sounds an ominious note:

Secret of the Non-Secret Troll

6:46 AM 09/02/2014

The Mystery of the Shutdown Scenario has seemingly been solved. For a week or so, Dem-sourced commentators (e.g. Ambinder, WaPo's Plum Line, the NYT) have been seriously promoting the idea that Republicans would force a government shutdown in response to a pre-election de facto Obama executive amnesty of illegal immigrants--a shutdown that would prove politically toxic to Republicans, given their poll ratings after the last shutdown. The scenario never made much sense: It would not only require Republicans to be suicidally stupid, it would require them to be suicidally stupid after 15 columns from left-leaning pundits telegraphing a Dem strategy of goading them into doing something suicidally stupid. Various key GOPs quickly denied any shutdown plans.

Is Executive Amnesty A Briar Patch?

12:18 AM 08/26/2014

Amne-geddon? Just between us, I've always had a  briar-patchy attitude ** toward the prospect of a major Obama unilateral illegal-immigrant amnesty. My thinking was this:

Nice Try, New Republic

6:29 PM 08/18/2014

TNR vs. NYT: New Republic's Danny Vinik takes issue with the New York Times' "prosecutorial discretion" defense of President Obama's rumored/threatened extension of executive protection (e.g., "deferred action") to millions of illegal immigrants. It's one thing to drop prosecutions on case by case basis, Vinik notes. It's another to exempt a whole category of people from any possibility that prosecutors may decide to come down on them -- that undermines the deterrent effect Congress presumably intended when it made some types of immigration unlawful. If a local county executive says "don't focus precious resources on drivers who aren't egregious speeders," you might drive a bit faster.  But you still don't know for sure that you won't get a ticket for going 66 in a 65 zone. But if the executive says "nobody under 70 will get a ticket" -- well, then real speed limit will become 70, when the lawmakers intended it to be 65.