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President Obama speaking to Congress yesterday: "Does anybody think that the teabag, anti-government people are going to support them if they bring down health care?"
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Isn't that a pretty good and commonsensical point by President Obama? I would submit that it is the main reason moderate republicans and moderate democrats take so much heat. Moderate Democrats don't really get much support from the typical republican for being moderate, and they certainly would not get the support of the tea party folks. Moderate Republicans also probably don't get much support from the teaparty folks. Moderate hawkish democrats like Leiberman certainly don't get support from Moveon.org. Ron Paul might have received some support accross the spectrum from anti-war liberals, and he probably did receive the support of a great segment of tea partiers. Certainly even these opposed McCain on principle. McCain probably didn't earn much support for his support of global warming, most of those who viewed the issue in a positive light, probably voted for Obama. In essence Obama is making the pragmatic point that pragmatism on health care won't earn brownie points or shinny stars, not scoreing against the home team won't help you get a date with their chearleaders. Of course if you make this point often enough you should loose some credibility as a bi-partisan figure...but again...Obama isn't dumb enough to think he will be getting a non-anthrax laced christmas card from tea partiers.

This seems to be the crux of the issue on both the right and left concerning being moderate, often times being moderate gets you fewer votes than sticking to a strong base.

I have came around to the thinking that the end of liberalism or the death of conservatism are really somewhat silly things. Focus is better placed on the ambiguous center. Let's grant that the teapartiers will not support democrats that go against Pelosi on healthcare. The question is if the increase in outliers represent a shift of the bell curve. Assuming human beings are more or less reasonable these outliers should not increase unless the position as a whole becomes more tenable, because non-astroturf folk don't just drop everything to protest a war, or abortion the G-8 or excessive taxation and wastefull spending without some sort of convinction. Even assuming the ideologically opposite outliers will never vote for you an increase in these might be the best signal that the bell curve itself is shifting. With higher unemployment this is probably a weaker assumption since the time/cost of protest is decreased. If you could deflate for unemployment, you might find that the number of protestors on abortion is a constant fraction of those who are pro-life. Of the course the game is certainly to argue that those protesting represent a very small fraction of those whose agreement with them is more moderate. The big tent spreads to the bell curve, and those who might not protest might also not not vote for you. Democrats and Republicans aren't worried about the group that will not vote for them... but no small amount of headaches are caused by the bigger tent ambiguous center.

Obama is simply saying, don't piss off the base by giving astroturf a small fraction and imaginning a large multiplier. The astroturf teapartiers represent a large fraction (which means they don't spread thin or across the bell-curve) which also means they maintain purity and don't vote democrat. The teapartiers aren't exactly astroturf, but I think Obama is right in his analysis that they don't vote democrat....

In any case it is fun to think of the outliers as potential iceburgs...where the numbers protesting represent the small fraction visible above the water...The fear: That Iceburg barely breaks the surface but extends to cover the pacific. Of course because chemistry is a science and the properties of water are well known the amount of ice that is visible above the surface is proportional to the amount underwater...(the problem is still with shape) If the number of protestors(or maybe congressional letters and phone calls) for a given issue represents a roughly constant multiple, then the iceburg can be determined.

The bad thing for republicans and democrats in contested centrist districts is that iceburgs are always lurking such that full steam ahead conservatism or liberalism requires a sort of foolhardiness last seen on board the Titanic. With some courage perhaps democrats in this case might be able to argue that events and unemployment have increased the fraction of the iceburg above water without growing it proportionately under water...perhaps news cycles and talk radio are to blame. And moderate republicans hate Rush for disturbances in the ratio of letters and calls(is the iceburg bigger or just more visible? do you take a chance that the proportions are different this time around?)

There really isn't a split among conservatives and moderates, or liberals and moderate democrats who might oppose Pelosi. Republicans and Democrats alike are rather uncomfortable measuring iceburgs or making calculations about astroturf in 2010. The visible landscape is full of ice-cubes bluffing iceburgs.

Pelosi says the water is warm, but falling brown leaves bare the trees as a cold chill fills the morning breeze, winter is approaching and the bears are happy to hybernate for now.

Rep. Blumenhauer ought to be grilled, grilled, grilled by every member of the media he comes within 50 feet of on this. Did the president really say the extra-filthy and extra-contemptuous word "teabagger?" Or is he shamefully putting such shameful words into the president's mouth? This is a macaca moment for one of these two men, as every political junkie, our president and this representative included, by now knows what that bizzarre word means. It isn't like Nixon saying G-damn or what have you behind closed doors, not by a long shot.

This "teabag" business is patently offensive. Why do they let him get away with it?

Obama uses Tea Bagger to describe American people who are practicing their right to protest, but yet gives a break to the Mulsim shooter at Fort Hood.

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