Top 5 problems with "Oprah Winfrey for president"

By Dean L

Oprah Winfrey is no Hillary Clinton - she's personable (at least she seems to be), her personal favorability ratings would be much higher than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Like president Trump she's run a business successfully. She's got Trump-level name recognition which is a huge political asset. Unlike Hillary Clinton she connects with women. Unlike Hillary Clinton she connects with African Americans (at least females), and unlike Hillary Clinton she's relatively wholesome and unsullied by years of scandal. Unlike Hillary Clinton she'd have the full force backing of former president Obama.   She's also liberal, having refused to allow equal access to Sarah Palin to her audience after having allowed Obama unfettered access.

Now, Hollywood and others seems to have anointed her as the one to unseat president Trump in 2020.  Seriously:

[UPDATE: NBC has since removed the tweet, blaming it on a 3rd party. Right. Here's the tweet captured below by The Daily Caller]

Are we doomed to a return to socialist policies because a one term president Trump will be unceremoniously and soundly defeated by Oprah Winfrey?  Not so fast. There are a lot of problems with Oprah Winfrey as a presidential candidate.  Here are the Top 5.

5 She's just a happy version of president Trump.

The Democrats have hammered the voters with the message that president Trump was an unqualified candidate and is an unfit president.  The unfitness included the fact that he was an outsider who had no government experience.  While voters on the right saw that fact as a positive because they recognize that government is if not broken, functioning poorly.  Many liberal voters have been pre-conditioned for the past two plus years to expect failure from outsiders.  Oprah Winfrey is as much an outsider as president Trump was.  So are Democrat voters now expected to pivot hard to the idea that outsiders are no longer ineffectual idiots but visionary masterminds ready to solve all of our problems?  That's not just a simple pivot and it will take a lot of work that may, as a side effect let president Trump off the hook to some degree. The outcome for Oprah even if successful, would be that she's a happy, smart version of president Trump. I'm not sure that plays well with the base left.

4. She is actually part of the establishment.

The establishment is not just Washington D.C. and party insiders - it includes the media and most certainly Hollywood. Oprah Winfrey is well connected politically, and clearly politically she has an established set of ideas that well, align with former president Obama's ideas.   That's establishment. Ringing Hollywood endorsements after the Golden Globe Awards speech she made, further indicates she's an insider.  I doubt anyone seriously thinks she couldn't get Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Eric Holder, Hillary or Bill Clinton on the phone as easily as if she were ordering Domino's pizza. The same is true for Meryl Streep or Wolf Blitzer.

Being part of the establishment is in many eyes considered being part of the problem not part of the solution.  Painting Oprah as an insider would not be a hard job for team Trump. That will rev up the base on the right and also annoy a significant portion of voters on the left, namely...

3. Bernie Sanders voters won't just warm up to her

The left split among progressives and establishment liberals wasn't entirely exploited by president Trump's election team, perhaps deliberately. Bernie Sanders was clearly cheated during the Democratic primaries and his followers have probably not forgotten that.  Proclamations that the process and Super Delegate issue have all been fixed (so far they haven't) alongside an anointing of Oprah as the savior of the party and of America at large isn't going to be uncontested. Furthering the split, millennials are not as up to speed on who Oprah is as are their Gen X and older counterparts.

The split of the base into camps on the left is as real as it is on the right. Except the left has a more problematic situation because of Hillary's cheating.  The establishment has been tarnished and is viewed suspiciously.  Millennials are already less inclined to vote and the coronation of another candidate might not just turn them off in 2020, it could have the potential to be a generational shift.

2. Does Oprah really need the hassle?

Oprah Winfrey is almost 64 years old.  On election day she would be 66.  That's younger than president Trump. But Oprah Winfrey is worth nearly $3 billion. Her image is pretty good.  What benefit does it do her to slog through a brutal campaign season - primary plus general election, getting muck thrown at her, and possibly financing her campaign with her own money, but having to schmooze for more, and do appearances all over the country at a hectic pace?  It takes a particular constitution to be able to do that and a particular drive to want to do that.  It's not clear (yet) that she has either of those qualities, and if she doesn't have the desire in particular, she won't run.


1.  The Trump record versus the Obama record.

If the economy performs in president Trump's first term as expected, the contrast with the Obama record will be truly stark. Who will march to the polls determined to re-institute policies that clearly hobbled the prosperity and well-being of Americans? 

Of course that last item has yet to be proven (consistently, despite the strong start).  And  Oprah Winfrey would be a formidable candidate.  She has the basic appeal necessary from a Democratic optics perspective - gender, heritage, photogenic, etc. But she is every bit as beatable as was Hillary Clinton and arguably also former president Obama.

I Fought the Law (of Gravity) and the Law Won

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist."
-Stephen Hawking

Believe me when I tell you that there are few greater pleasures in this world than waking up and realizing you are smarter than Stephen Hawking!

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing." For a supposedly smart man, he sure can say stupid things! Sorry, Stephen, but your thinking has jumped either a few steps or the shark here!

Let us consider for the moment, the "law" of gravity. According to Wiki:

Every point mass attracts every single other point mass by a force pointing along the line intersecting both points. The force is proportional to the product of the two masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

The force of gravity is a form of energy, which my old astronomy prof used to call "The Glue of the U". The law is not an edict such as "Let there be light", but describes the immutable relationship of mass to this force. With me so far? Good. We'll go over some of the math, but if your eyes start to glaze over, please feel free to jump ahead. Hawking did.

The Tax Cut is a Trick

By Grant Davies

The tax debate is back. Well, I guess it never left and it never will. But we can't let that stop us from talking it to death. After all, that's what blogs are for.

Meanwhile, let's make a few points about the recent tax legislation, as long as everyone else is talking it to death.

Obviously those who passed it (Republicans) are saying it's the best thing ever, as usual.

Those who oppose it (Democrats) are claiming the end of the world, as usual. 

Democrats say the stuff they always say. Basically they say that because of it we may be looking at starving babies, starving seniors, no health care, school closings, no fire department, no police, faster global warming, increased alien abductions, more Russian meddling, increased free speech, more student debt, more guns, more deportations, more walls, and general chaos. Did I miss anything?

Okay, I made some of that stuff up. They only hinted at those things this time out. But what they are actually saying again is even more inane. Oh, the old canard of "tax cuts for the rich" is still being used but the most preposterous worry of all is that this will "blow a hole in the deficit." (I've never been sure what the hell that meant since I always thought if you didn't like something and you had a bomb, you should blow a hole in it.)

The complaint might have more credibility if it wasn't being complained about by the very party that advocates more spending in perpetuity with no concern whatsoever for the inevitable consequences.

But let's get to my point/opinion about this new tax law. It sucks. Surprised? Only if you don't know me very well.

It sucks because it is merely toying with the code again and adjusting the numbers. What we really need, and what I have repeatedly asked that fictional old fat man for each Christmas, is a new tax system. Getting rid of the entire tax code, all 73,954 pages. (2014, it's more now) Just like the pony I asked him for as a kid, he never brings it. But, I digress. 

Let's contemplate the worst case scenario. What is better, the same old system, or the same old system with lower tax rates? Yep, the old system with rates not being reduced is the worst case. So should we make the perfect the enemy of the not quite as bad? Not in my mind.

And since I'm an old stock trader, I love graphs. Let's look at this simple one and see if we can figure anything out.

Other than making a good point, there is something wrong with this illustration. It's wrong because perfection would be a new system, and that would be more than barely noticeable. But we all get the idea, I think.

To wrap things up, I would like to make a much bigger point. It has to do with the level of taxation. 

When someone is asked what the level of taxation is, they usually go looking for statistics about how many taxpayers there are and dividing it by the total amount paid. I'm sure there are many more calculations that could be done, but it's something like that.

But as any old economist can tell you, (I'm only one of those things) there is a much simpler way to find the level. However, politicians never bring it up because it lays the whole stinking deception bare.

Simply add up all the government spending and the total amount is the level of taxation. Since the government isn't Santa Claus and there is no Easter bunny either, and since government has no funds of its own, every thing they spend money on must be taxed from the citizens.

Wait, you say....what about what they borrow or print? And what about those pesky subsidies and trade barriers and other gifts to favored businesses or unions?  The answer is, some of the people being taxed haven't even been born yet. And when the FED inflates the money supply by printing dollars, the amount of the decline in your purchasing power is tax as well. Also, any law or regulation that cause you to pay more for a good or service than you otherwise would have is also a tax. A tricky one, but a tax none-the-less.

If you guessed that answer correctly, you get to tell it to a liberal or other pinhead in a smug voice or a snarky meme.

So, the tax cut sucks, but not as much as if they didn't do it. The real answer to lowering taxes is to cut spending.  That would be a perfect way to deal with it. And it would be more than barely noticeable.

So screw this tax cut. It sucks because it's a trick. 

Control the assumptions, control the outcome

By Dean L

Whether it relates to weather prediction models, polling questions or  even (perhaps especially) "non-partisan" assessments of government budgets, if you control the assumptions, you control the outcome.  Liberals get it, we don't.

I work extensively with statistical models in my day job.  Models can have very strong predictive power if they are created with proper diligence. That means that you must control the assumptions that go into them to avoid creating your own confirmation bias.  If you skew the input variables you skew the outcome accordingly.  For example if you treat a missing value in a row of data as a zero as opposed to ignoring the missing value, you are lowering your overall average and therefore skewing your outcome towards a lower value for that particular income.

Democrats have understood this for decades - controlling "non-partisan" groups in order to control the message that comes out of them to condemn every Republican bill (e.g. the recent tax cuts) and heap praise on every Democrat bill (e.g. Obamacare's fictitious budgetary cost reductions).  They have granted money extensively to scientists to predict weather calamity as a result of global warming, thus incenting them to find problems in order to secure more funding.  Intentionally done or not (it really is intentional), the results are skewed towards the desired outcome.

Democrats have stacked everything in their favor over decades of working their way into positions to do so - not just entertainment, journalism, government bureaucracy but also polling firms, lobbyists and even statistical modelling and supposedly non-partisan  organizations.  The trick in the latter is to find a gullible but well-intentioned Republican to co-found an organization or co-sponsor a bill in congress so the claim of non-partisan can be applied. Afterwards they ensure that they stack the top positions and teams involved with those who will find, or skew their findings to their own liberal liking.

This is an important lesson for conservatives.  It will take decades but we should be working towards undoing those decades of entrenching bias and deliberately skewed findings just as we should be working towards re-balancing journalism and entertainment and all the way down to the assumptions that go into models and forecasts.  It's not just a matter of voting for the right people and hoping for the best, or leaving it to them to do all the work. Progressives understand this and are fighting this way on all fronts, if conservatives do not fight with the same level of intensity, we are destined to lose despite being on the right side of the truth.