November 13, 2012

How badly did Romney get ripped off by his consultants?

From the NYT:
Academic ‘Dream Team’ Helped Obama’s Effort
By Benedict Carey 
Late last year Matthew Barzun, an official with the Obama campaign, called Craig Fox, a psychologist in Los Angeles, and invited him to a political planning meeting in Chicago, according to two people who attended the session. 

Off topic, but in case you are wondering, from Wikipedia:

Matthew Barzun is a descendent of John Winthrop, the first governor of Massachusetts, and Lucretia Mott,[9] a proponent of women's rights. ... Matthew Barzun’s grandfather is the renowned French-born American cultural historian and former Columbia University professor, Jacques Martin Barzun [who recently died at 104].
“He said, ‘Bring the whole group; let’s hear what you have to say,’ ” recalled Dr. Fox, a behavioral economist at the University of California, Los Angeles. 
So began an effort by a team of social scientists to help their favored candidate in the 2012 presidential election. Some members of the team had consulted with the Obama campaign in the 2008 cycle, but the meeting in January signaled a different direction. 
“The culture of the campaign had changed,” Dr. Fox said. “Before then I felt like we had to sell ourselves; this time there was a real hunger for our ideas.” 
This election season the Obama campaign won a reputation for drawing on the tools of social science. The book “Victory Lab,” by Sasha Issenberg, and news reports have portrayed an operation that ran its own experiment and, among other efforts, consulted with the Analyst Institute, a Washington voter research group established in 2007 by union officials and their allies to help Democratic candidates. 
Less well known is that the Obama campaign also had a panel of unpaid academic advisers. The group — which calls itself the “consortium of behavioral scientists,” or COBS — provided ideas on how to counter false rumors, like one that President Obama is a Muslim. It suggested how to characterize the Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, in advertisements. It also delivered research-based advice on how to mobilize voters. 
“In the way it used research, this was a campaign like no other,” said Todd Rogers, a psychologist at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a former director of the Analyst Institute. “It’s a big change for a culture that historically has relied on consultants, experts and gurulike intuition.” ...
In addition to Dr. Fox, the consortium included Susan T. Fiske of Princeton University; Samuel L. Popkin of the University of California, San Diego; Robert Cialdini, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University; Richard H. Thaler, a professor of behavioral science and economics at the University of Chicago’s business school; and Michael Morris, a psychologist at Columbia. 

It's useful to have bright people in your campaign whose salaries are being paid for by the taxpayers or wealthy institutions.
“A kind of dream team, in my opinion,” Dr. Fox said. 
He said that the ideas the team proposed were “little things that can make a difference” in people’s behavior. 
For example, Dr. Fiske’s research has shown that when deciding on a candidate, people generally focus on two elements: competence and warmth. “A candidate wants to make sure to score high on both dimensions,” Dr. Fiske said in an interview. “You can’t just run on the idea that everyone wants to have a beer with you; some people care a whole lot about competence.”

Yup, you'd need some real geniuses to figure that out.

Most of the behavioral science breakthroughs in the article don't seem all that brilliant, but, one way or another, Team Obama outperformed Romney's hired guns. The daughters of the consultants Romney hired will no doubt have lovely weddings someday courtesy of the amount of cash that flowed in 2012.

There are a couple of issues for Republicans: one is that when you outsource everything, you often get taken to the cleaners. The other is the lack of institutional intellect. I often joke about the Republican Brain Trust, but, it's serious: the Republican strategists aren't that bright. You need academics, you need sabermetricians, you need guys who like numbers, not just the numbers in their bank accounts.

97 comments:

WMarkW said...

Whatever THIS brain trust did, the election turned on the fact that Obama won nine of the ten closest state races (as percents) for a 119-15 electoral advantage, which is most of his margin of victory. This was NOT a re-alignment or repudiation, particularly since the Republicans lost minimally in the House and picked up governorships.

The real test comes in the next four years, as budget issues that were pushed into the second term can't be delayed further. The choices necessary to avoid the fiscal cliff and fully implement Obamacare, can't avoid severely disappointing SOME Democratic constituencies, who thought they were part of the Diversity Coalition.

Anonymous said...

From Susan Fiske's biography on her own website:

"She grew up in Chicago's Hyde Park (Obama's neighborhood!), a stable, racially integrated community, and she still wonders why the rest of the world does not work that way. She now lives in Princeton and Vermont with her sociologist husband Doug Massey."

rightsaidfred said...

There has always been some reluctance to apply science to human behavior.

Those who dance over the line often have better outcomes, but then there is often blowback from those left behind.

One Republican strategy here could have been to highlight the Obama campaign's heavy use of academic social scientists to manipulate the electorate.

DCThrowback said...

On the topic of outsourcing, that is the one reason why the Republicans can't take their religious supporters for granted. Those are your foot soldiers; the ones who work the phone banks in OH and go door to door in PA. (A shame Romney never noticed the dedication and youth of Ron Paul supporters.) While I agree with the truce called for by Mitch Daniels to deal w/ the fiscal issues, those issues don't want to make people walk on glass to get you elected. The culture wars? That'll get 'em moving. Squaring that circle will continue to be a challenge for the Republicans - as McCain and Romney chose not to fight on those grounds and received lukewarm support from the ground troops. Bush clearly benefited from their turnout and hard work in '04, specifically in OH.

fnn said...

The greatest Republican brains trust in recent memory was the one that Pat Buchanan had in 1992: Murray Rothbard, Sam Francis, Paul Gottfried and Russell Kirk. Really needed some numbers guys though.

Cail Corishev said...

'He said that the ideas the team proposed were “little things that can make a difference” in people’s behavior.'

Sounds like things that can't be measured. Pretty much a scam; there's a lot of money being thrown around in elections, and these folks figured out a way to grab some by flattering the mark.

If "competence and warmth" were the keys, how did Obama win? He doesn't seem at all warm to me -- people who think themselves above everyone else rarely do -- but I suppose people enthralled by him could fell otherwise. But competent? Competence was probably Romney's #1 asset; he's shown it time after time throughout his life. Only the most die-hard Obama voter or someone completely snowed by the media could think that one was even close.

How smart do your consultants need to be when you have the mainstream media carrying your water, relentlessly defining you as the party of things like "women's rights"? An objective journalist would recognize that both sides care about women's rights -- one defines those as abortion, birth control, and affirmative action; and the other defines them as the right to defend yourself from crime, to have enough left after taxes to have a family and home, to be free to educate your children as you see fit. But no, "women's rights" are what the Democrats say they are, just like with hundreds of other terms.

bjdubbs said...

So who will be the first to come out with a book entitled Bureaugamy? It's such a perfect title for what happened in this election. Basically, the unmarried decided to vote for big daddy state. Bret Stephens and Lindsey Graham can blame the base for not warming up to gay marriage, but conservatism is moot when 40% of the next generation are bastards.

Bostonian said...

Obama's campaign may have been run in a scientific manner, but his policies are largely based on his philosophical beliefs and are immune to empirical rebuttal.

It is strange for campaign tactics to be taken more seriously than the policies the candidate will enact once elected.

Mr. Anon said...

@Cail Corishev

Well said.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

From Susan Fiske's biography on her own website:

"She grew up in Chicago's Hyde Park (Obama's neighborhood!), a stable, racially integrated community, and she still wonders why the rest of the world does not work that way. She now lives in Princeton and Vermont with her sociologist husband Doug Massey."

Thanks for posting.

I wonder how racially integrated Hyde Park was when she grew up there? Probably a lot less so than it is now. And, of course, Vermont and Princeton are quite white. Yeah, why doesn't the rest of the world "work that way"? It's because liberal hypocrite bitches like Susan Fiske don't want it to.

Bill said...


Steve said . . .

[Social scientist claims people vote for warm, competent candidate]

Yup, you'd need some real geniuses to figure that out.

Yes, that's a plausible story of what actually gets people to pull the lever for your guy. But, it's a plausible story among a million other plausible stories. For example, notice how often people casually assume that voting is done by comparing where candidates stand on the issues to where the voter stands---that's plausible, too. Figuring out which plausible story is right (and for which kind of voters) is kind of valuable.

There are a couple of issues for Republicans: one is that when you outsource everything, you often get taken to the cleaners. The other is the lack of institutional intellect. I often joke about the Republican Brain Trust, but, it's serious: the Republican strategists aren't that bright.

Conservatives were largely purged from academia, and this is one of the consequences. Another is the other point you make: that Ds get lots of free advice from smart, motivated guys in academia.

For various stupid, short-term reasons, Rs have never really declared war on academia: an institution which floats on a sea of gvt money and which is actively, virulently, endlessly hostile to them.

That also is part of a larger pattern, perhaps secondary to the fact that they are dumber: Rs are much worse at politics (as opposed to elections) than are Ds. It's too late to do anything now, though.

Chicago said...

It's always about how to manipulate public perceptions, how to fool, bamboozle and trick people. The entire process is inherently deceitful and dishonest, not that any of them seem to be troubled by that. A couple generations ago cigarettes were aggressively pushed with clever campaign ads; women were told smoking was a sign of being in charge of their own lives and a form of liberation. Millions of lung cancer operations later, along with very many larynx removals and emphysema cases, we can see how it wasn't so glamorous after all. All these nice, bright, hip, well-educated and high-status types sold sickness, death and misery to millions of gullible people. Nothing much has changed. Well dressed people with their pedigree papers in their hip pockets hire on to sell the latest poison.

Anonymous said...

You need academics, you need sabermetricians, you need guys who like numbers, not just the numbers in their bank accounts.

Uhh, you're describing the likes of Joseph Sobran and Charles Murray and John Derbyshire and, uh, gosh, what's his name, uh, oh, help me out here, ah, um, "Steve" Somebody-or-Other.

The very sorts of fellows that William French Buckley Jr and Christopher Taylor Buckley were all too eager to throw to the wolves in order to keep getting invited to all the very best cocktail parties and all the very best "12 nautical mile" sailing-yacht toke-fests with their Frankfurt School betters.

Don't fool yourself - this disaster was a good 20 or 25 years in the making.

We're on our own now.

[Which, all other things being equal, isn't really all that bad of a place to be - there's no enemy quite like an army of men with nothing left to lose...]

Anonymous said...

I can summarize the article:

"How to trick/deceive white people into voting for an incompetent black preacher"

Add a little bit of racism, tar and feather the opponent, spend alot of money on ads, etc.

This "brain trust" of so called experts, is vastly over rated.

The election was a referendum on white america. Blacks, hispanics, asians, and race traiting whites hate white ameriace. Simple as that, the rest is just a posteriori academics justifying their jobs.

Anonymous said...

There has always been some reluctance to apply science to human behavior. Those who dance over the line often have better outcomes, but then there is often blowback from those left behind. One Republican strategy here could have been to highlight the Obama campaign's heavy use of academic social scientists to manipulate the electorate.

This isn't rocket science.

EVERYONE knows what Romney needed to do: Cut a commercial as follows.

Slow fade into patriotic scene of American flag flying over some God-forsaken battlefield, late in the evening, or early at dawn, but there needs to be some mist swirling across the meadow [background music could include that little sound effect which Jerry Goldsmith wrote for Patton].

"I'm Mitt Romney, and I approved this ad..."

Sudden "Hip-Hop" SCREECH!!! of diamond stylus ripping across 45 RPM single - followed by THIS AND ONLY THIS for the remainder of the ad.

Played 24x7 in every single battleground state on every single possible outlet [TV, Radio, Websites, Previews in Movie Theaters, etc etc etc].

Fast forward to Tuesday evening, November 6th: Congratulations, President-Elect Romney.

The End.

Anonymous said...

the GOP has certainly become the party of stupid, but all the brains in the world cannot stop a party that is in long-term demographic decline but too blind to read the writing on the wall.

ben tillman said...

You need academics, you need sabermetricians, you need guys who like numbers, not just the numbers in their bank accounts.

And you need guys who are actually on your team.

Matthew said...

"If "competence and warmth" were the keys, how did Obama win?"

Obama would not have appeared warmer than Romney without the help of the media. That's one problem Republicans will always have: the media will always make the Dem candidate appear kindly and warm. Consider that the media did not spend nearly as much time talking about John Kerry's wealth, which he obtained by marrying a woman who got got it from her dead husband who got it from his dead ancestors; and the press talked endlessly about John McCain's multiple houses without ever much mentioning John Kerry's numerous abodes.

Come to thnk of it, Mitt Romney was the first rich presidential candidate in quite some time who actually earned his money himself, rathering than inheriting or marrying it.

Anonymous said...

Well Steve, you would obviously be an appropriate numbers guy, xcept for the PC bit.

Anonymous said...

OT, but I was looking up the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (the 1999 law that deregulated financial institutions) when I noticed one requirement inserted into the law, at Bill Clinton's veto threat insitence:

"Crucial to the passing of this Act was an amendment made to the GLB, stating that no merger may go ahead if any of the financial holding institutions, or affiliates thereof, received a 'less than satisfactory [sic] rating at its most recent CRA exam', essentially meaning that any merger may only go ahead with the strict approval of the regulatory bodies responsible for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). This was an issue of hot contention, and the Clinton Administration stressed that it 'would veto any legislation that would scale back minority-lending requirements.'"

Steve's probably noted that before, but I found it interesting nonetheless.

GLB strengthened the incentives for banks to be on the "right side" of CRA.

Dirty Harriet said...

I think everyone is ignoring the facts here: for a generation it was REPUBLICANS who presided over the importation of a cheap labor pool. The radical Republican ideology of free labor (free to move over borders, in this case), caused the disaster.

Karma is a bitch.

Anonymous said...

Republicans need another Lee Atwater

Anonymous said...

"Chicago's Hyde Park (Obama's neighborhood!), a stable, racially integrated community"

HP is an oasis of segregated whiteness/Jewishness/token blackness surrounded by a sea of blackness. Its core is U OF C which isn't very black professor- or student-wise.

el supremo said...

It is amazing the degree of hackery the Republican party is willing to pay for.

The bulk of business school professors, even at the top schools, are at least sympathetic to Republicans and right wing ideas, but the party ignores them and instead rely on good ol' boy party organizers and ex-newspaper columnists.

Obama's legion of sociolgist professors would be alot less impressive if Republicans were hiring the best applied math and operations research professors to support their campaigns.

As fewer acadmic, quantatative people get leadership positions in the party, they get less comfortable working with people with those skills, and prefer just to hire the Dinesh DeSouza's of the world.

Anonymous said...

"You need academics, you need sabermetricians, you need guys who like numbers, not just the numbers in their bank accounts."

And you need to take busloads of Somali immigrants and mentally impaired adults to the polls, to bank lots of early votes in swing states. Public school bus drivers (mostly blacks) on break were very handy for doing this; lot's of state and municipal owned vehicles were used by Obama's GOTV effort.

In my opinion, ethnocentric blacks turned the tide in this election, by widespread voter fraud and electioneering. And they are untouchable, since they are above any reproach or criticism which invites angry charges of racism and voter suppression. Blacks have been the tragic flaw in our society since 1776, their very existence sparking a fratricidal war causing the deaths on nearly a million Americans. And the Civil Rights Movement, which begat affirmative action and mass non-white immigration, were the result of their presence in our society.

Hacienda said...

"there's no enemy quite like an army of men with nothing left to lose..."

An army of men with nothing left to lose would be very weak actually.

According to Sun Tzu, the strongest army is the one which is in a life and death predicament. Is that what you meant?

The tardation of the far right never ceases to be funny as f+ck.

Hacienda said...

"She grew up in Chicago's Hyde Park (Obama's neighborhood!), a stable, racially integrated community, and she still wonders why the rest of the world does not work that way. She now lives in Princeton and Vermont with her sociologist husband Doug Massey."

Pure BS. Chicago double-talk. Hyde Park is typical rich enclave surrounded by black ghettos. Brilliant, though, because of its Univ. of Chicago residents.

DaveinHackensack said...

"You need academics"

I realize most academics are liberals, but one exception to that is in business schools. There were no smart marketing professors helping out the Romney team?

And if the main insight of Obama's psych professors was "competence and warmth", I can't imagine it moved the needle much.

Next time, the GOP ought to reach out to that Rutgers psychologist you've blogged about. He might come up with more useful insights than a gaggle of politically correct liberal psychologists.

fnn said...

I wonder how racially integrated Hyde Park was when she grew up there? Probably a lot less so than it is now. And, of course, Vermont and Princeton are quite white. Yeah, why doesn't the rest of the world "work that way"? It's because liberal hypocrite bitches like Susan Fiske don't want it to.

In the 1950s there were large black underclass populations both in Hyde Park-Kenwood and in neighboring Woodlawn. The University of Chicago had the clout to get FEDGOV to take care of that via "urban renewal."

Bill said...


DCThowback said . . .

While I agree with the truce called for by Mitch Daniels to deal w/ the fiscal issues, those issues don't want to make people walk on glass to get you elected. The culture wars? That'll get 'em moving. Squaring that circle will continue to be a challenge for the Republicans

The way elite Rs talk (and the above is a good example of how they talk) is pretty interesting.

It is taken entirely for granted that, of course, we are going to screw our white, socially conservative, Christian base as completely as we can. The only thing up for discussion is this technical question of just exactly how much we can screw them before they stop showing up to volunteer.

The Ds are not like this. They view it as entirely obvious that each of their base groups is going to get the things most valuable to that group should the Ds take power. Public employees, academics, blacks, the underclass, etc all get the thing they care about most.

Anonymous said...

Ummm ... yes, and what you also need is a party culture that is genuinely respectful of ideas and the potential contribution of intellectuals. If you base your strategy on sniggering at elites and smarty intellectuals then you're probably more likely to end up with dummies and crooks!

Anonymous said...

I doubt there is much he could have done, given the going assumption that he was picked to sell a particular brand of continued cheap labor to the American people. The message has to change, not the presentation of that message.

Anonymous said...

some people care a whole lot about competence.


None of those people voted for Obama though. He got the votes of the people who cared a whole lot about his skin color.

Anonymous said...

You need academics, you need sabermetricians, you need guys who like numbers, not just the numbers in their bank accounts.

What? WHAT? This is libertarian heresy in the first degree!

Paul Mendez said...

I'm wondering if Romney got more than "ripped off" by his consultants. After reading about the ORCA fiasco, I wonder if there weren't cyber-moles actively sabotaging the project.

How many young, talented, Republican techies are there? How hard would it be for a few liberal techies to infiltrate the project and make sure the whole thing crashes on November 6th?

I know Napoleon said never attribute to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence, but the stories about ORCA do make one think that nobody can honestly screw up that badly.

Severn said...

There are a couple of issues for Republicans: one is that when you outsource everything, you often get taken to the cleaners. The other is the lack of institutional intellect. I often joke about the Republican Brain Trust, but, it's serious: the Republican strategists aren't that bright. You need academics, you need sabermetricians, you need guys who like numbers, not just the numbers in their bank accounts.


I don't think a lack of "guys who like numbers" is the GOP's problem. It has plenty of guys who like numbers. I think Barone and Rove both like numbers. There is a lack of intellect in the GOP but it manifests itself at a higher level than mere number-crunching.

Most of the people in the Republican brain trust are liberals, and they operate from the liberal assumption that non-white people are morally good and white people are morally suspect. That advancing the interests of non-white people is a noble goal for government, and that advancing the interests of white people is inherently evil.

As long as they think like that they (and we) are screwed. Calling for more people who are experts in "sabermatrics" is like somebody in medieval times saying "we need people who can more accurately calculate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin".

You cannot compensate for having fundamentally flawed presuppositions by doubling down on the math.

Jim Bowery said...

At some point the stupidity of the stupid party becomes just a bit too much to be attributed to mere stupidity. For example, the Ginsberg fiasco at the RNC was entirely gratuitious and may have, on its own, cost Romney the election by alienating the true swing voters that the Republican party needs to be courting. In the meantime we have the spectacle of the Republican House leadership recognizing the consequence of the Reagan amnesty was the loss of California if not the entire left coast -- and responding to that realization with yet another amnesty.

Sorry, one needn't be a cynic to see that this is more than mere stupidity.

Anonymous said...

OT, but my local paper has new numbers out on the state's school population:

Students who identified as a minority group: 137,647 (23%)

Economically disadvantaged minority: 89,831 (15%)

Got that? Two-thirds of minority students in the state are poor.

That should work wonders for our state's budget.

Students who listed Spanish as native language: 49,668

Got that? Only a third of the minorities speak Spanish, yet they still remain poor after "assimilating."

Severn said...

Every election cycle the Republican party and affiliated PAC's gives immense amounts of money t the liberal media fr the privilege of running ads.

If they'd take a small portion of that money and use it to seed conservative media, they'd a get a much bigger bang for their buck. Imagine a conservative Yahoo.com. Yahoo is like Mother Jones and the New York Times, but for the online generation. There is no conservative equivalent. And there could be rather easily.

I'm sure the various businessmen behind the GOP are competent with numbers, but they lack imagination. They can't conceive of a world where campaigning does not consist of buying ad time on CBS.

Anonymous said...

Obama won because his "numbers experts" hacked voting machines and stole 3 million Republican votes. Unless you believe that 3 million fewer Republicans would show up in this election, after 2010, than did in 2008. An Obama victory was possible, but the way he won makes no sense, with 10 million fewer votes showing up for him. The software was rigged, this is becoming clear.

Snapperhead Soup said...

Conservatives of the heart...

But where are the conservatives of the smart?

Anonymoose said...



"For various stupid, short-term reasons, Rs have never really declared war on academia: an institution which floats on a sea of gvt money and which is actively, virulently, endlessly hostile to them."

Declaring war on academia won't help them in the long term either. If conservatives attacked it I'm sure that it would merely further solidify academics' leftist inclinations. The media would also have a field day if conservatives started attacking academia. What conservatives can do is make academia more friendly to them, starting in the redder states. They should demand ideological representation ala affirmative action.


Snapperhead Soup said...

Political correctness favors the liberals. A company can donate as much as it wants to radical brown, black, gay, feminist, socialist, and etc groups. If cons point this out, they are 'McCarthyite'.

But if rich cons donate to 'controversial' conservative groups, they will be tarred and feathered, disgraced, shamed, and economically shunned. It will be driven out of business. Look what happened to Chick Fil-A, and all because it donated to an anti-'gay marriage' Christian group. So, the left gets to play all the McCarthyite dirty tricks it wants.

It's like Israel and Iran. Israel gets away with everything(even 300 illegal bombs), Iran is economically strangled to death(though it has no bomb).

Though 2/3 of superrich are liberal, 1/3 of superrich are cons, and that means lots of potential cash. But no superrich con will donate a penny to organizations like Vdare while it's okay for even the man who became president to donate to Wright's hate church.

Now, WHO created and instituted this system of double standards?
I think maybe Eskimos or Guatemalan illegals in the US. I see them all over Harvard, Wall Street, and upper echelons of US government. And of course, Mormons control the law firms.

Anonymous said...

Having a braintrust making judgments to put the emphasis on a few key factors, obvious as they may be, out of a larger universe of factors is what differentiated google in the early days of the search business (the number of links to the site driving search result rankings and a clean orderly user interface--it's obvious!). You would think democrat politics wouldn't select for sabremetric-receptive people with nuanced views.

beowulf said...

"The choices necessary to avoid the fiscal cliff and fully implement Obamacare"

I get the impression a lot of people don't understand the fiscal cliff is the deficit hawk dream come true. Its the combination of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that will reduce the deficit by $750B next year alone. The trouble is, for a weak economy, that's too big a hit to aggregate demand (we are all Keynesians and all that).

So by winning the election, Obama has been handed a huge gift. He (and not Romney) gets to play Santa Claus by cutting taxes and increasing spending. I wouldn't be surprised if a big chunk of that additional spending is used to "fully implement Obamacare".
---
Rick Perry was the Republican with the sharpest campaign team, led by Dave Carney (who actually started the cycle working for Newt Gingrich but quit when it became evident Newt was half-assing it). Alas, Perry was was not the sharpest candidate.

Josh Yellowfever said...

Steve, if you look at the composition of GOP, it is almost 90% whites. The GOP strategists think that white male votes will win Romny an election. They make fools of themselves.

The problem for GOP is not necessarily ideology issues, but probably bigotry. Both John McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns refused to meet with Asian American organizations, including those right wing Asian groups, such as 80-20. They believe that white votes, and in this case, white male votes, are sufficient. All others are unimportant. When you have this level of arrogance, defeat is what you are going to get.

R Limbaugh claims that minority isn’t an issue for GOP since there are some prominent minority candidates in the GOP. He could not be more wrong. Those GOP minority candidates are mostly converted Christians. The Republican party gives us a feeling that you have to believe like whites to be in. Majority of the Asians in this country are in other religions or atheist. Even for those in the church, they are not true fundamentalist as those white guys. It is mostly for the social gathering purpose. Few Asians will identify with the like of Bobby Jindal. If Jindal runs for election tomorrow, he will be lucky if he can get 30% Asian votes given his extreme view.

a very knowing American said...

Robert Cialdini's (referenced in the article) book "Influence: The new psychology of modern persuasion," is an excellent and eye-opening piece of social psychology, of interest not only to psychologists, but to those who want to persuade others, and avoid being manipulated themselves. The bottom line is that we are more social animals than rational ones, and this makes a difference in how persuasion operates.

Obama's team probably did well getting this guy helping them.

Mike Steinberg said...

Who was responsible for Project ORCA?

http://www.blogworld.com/2012/11/13/what-businesses-need-to-learn-from-romneys-project-orca/

irishman said...

http://www.thebaffler.com/past/the_long_con/print

This article, though hardly fair and balanced, is I think accurate in describing the american conservative movement as a con.

josh said...

Anonymous refers to Susan Fiske thusly:"She grew up in...Hyde Park...wonders why the rest of the world does not work that way." People in Hyde Park are extremely cognizant of the negro threat.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, here in Minnesota the calls that I got from Republican fundraisers this year were surprisingly unprofessional. The callers clearly didn't believe a word they were saying. They were even borderline rude. Useless hired guns.

R. said...

The other is the lack of institutional intellect.

The Republicans aren't stupid, they're dishonest. No amount of "institutional intellect" (whatever that is) will overcome the reality that the Republicans have allowed America to become, in the words of Eugene McCarthy "a colony of the world" in which the Republicans only constituency has been replaced by a population that is intensely hostile to that constituency AND to the ideas of conservatism and the Republican party. Maybe a cleverer campaign might have increased turnout and that might have benefited Romney, but it would have been the last time.

fondatori said...

The Republicans get ripped off because the consultants seem to tailor their message to people that fund the party rather than the white middle class people who might consider voting for it. Going on and on about deregulation in the abstract, low taxes on upper incomes, Israel and free trade agreements appeals to a certain constituency and turns off others.

Simon in London said...

http://uk.imdb.com/title/tt0094012/quotes?qt=qt0466972

The Obama guys had my wife and her liberal friends frothing at the mouth about Romney's plan to ban abortion. When I suggested that that probably would not be newly elected President Romney's highest priority, she thought I was crazy. She would regale me with stories of how Romney tried to persuade Mormon women not to have abortions. This stuff seemed to be coming straight from the Obama campaign, and I think it must have had an effect on the white female vote; for many of them abortion seems to be a sacrament. Yet when Republicans are in power they have never made any effort to overturn the totally unConstitutional Roe vs Wade abortions-for-everyone* directive.

*http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5R7JmZ1q310

jody said...

i still don't see how these guys came up with anything important or made any difference. the 2 most important factors remain the same, and had nothing to do with any of these guys:

1) most of the television, newspaper, annd magazine news media have changed from primarily objective observers, investigators, and reporters, into outright democrat cheerleaders, republican bashers, and even more troubling, obama worshippers who now even allow the white house to control some of the news.

how do you counteract that? it's the same lock the sports media in the US has on sports news. blackout stories you don't like, promote endlessly stories you want to turn into "the narrative".

2) how do you counter free? the democrats straight up offer people free stuff. "Vote for me and I'll give you free stuff." that's not beatable. that always wins.

please don't tell me some detached, know nothing academics in fluff fields came in and cleaned romney's clock. that's absolutely not what happened here.

Truth said...



Booor-IIIINNNNG! How about
Amberlamps Gets Revenge!


snapperhead soup said...

It used to be that the ideal of social scientists was to discover the truth and factually & rationally impart them to us.
They saw themselves as the counter-balance to the big business advertising and political propaganda of the state.

Now, they are in the very business of manipulation and nudging and fudging.
Just as the fascists rationally manipulated the irrational, these liberal rationalists are pushing buttons on the irrational erogenous zones of the mind and heart to 'nudge' and manipulate people.
'We are all Joseph Goebbels now.'
Hollywood makes liberal fascist movies, and liberal intellectuals now employ liberal fascism to manipulate our irrational emotions.
It's almost as if they've given up on the notion that most people could be persuaded rationally or factually. They must be seen as rats, guinea pigs, or dogs, or at best, little children.

I guess fascism did win even if its methods were appropriated by the 'left'.

Anonymous said...

This is a great illustration of why voters rightly didn't buy the whole businessman-as-president thing. Modern American businessmen don't really create things or run organizations anymore. Hiring crappy consultants and committing industrial-scale tax fraud to turn big piles of money into bigger piles of money are simply not useful skills for a civil servant.

Paul Mendez said...

The problem for GOP is not necessarily ideology issues, but probably bigotry. Both John McCain and Mitt Romney campaigns refused to meet with Asian American organizations, including those right wing Asian groups, such as 80-20. They believe that white votes, and in this case, white male votes, are sufficient. All others are unimportant. When you have this level of arrogance, defeat is what you are going to get.

LOL!

If there's a demographic less important to winning the US presidency than Asians, I don't know what it is.

"A record number of Asian voters - three per cent of the electorate - also turned out, with nearly three-quarters backing Obama."

Wooooohooooo!!! Three whole percent.

A majority of whom live in Hawaii and the West Coast, which are in no stretch of the imagination battleground states.

Does anyone know how much of a try Romney made for Polish voters? Did he leverage his endorsement by Walesa?

Anonymous said...

"Those GOP minority candidates are mostly converted Christians. Majority of the Asians in this country are in other religions or atheist."

I realize its way too late but can you at least grasp why the native stock of a country that as recently as the end of WW2 was 90% white and likely 90%+ Christian would object to atheist Asians moving here and demanding stuff? The unmitigated gall of people like you is beyond belief.

Cail Corishev said...

I wonder how much it would take to buy campaign ads equivalent to the support the MSM gives the Democrats for free. Take the cost of a 30-second ad, and multiply that by all the slanted interviews, the softballs pitched to Obama, the debate with a moderator on his team. How many billions is it all worth? How much would the GOP have to spend to even things up?

I think Bill Buckley once suggested that political ads should be banned from TV, and he was right. If they were limited to radio and print (and now Internet, which wasn't around when he said it), the Dems would still have an advantage, but it wouldn't be nearly as dominant as TV makes it. TV influences people's thinking so much that nothing else compares. Take that away and the parties would focus far more on (and have more money for) local grass-roots efforts, approaching people one-on-one and through real town halls. It would be more important to have a lot of people out there making good arguments than to have one guy who looks good on camera reciting what other people wrote for him. I don't see a downside.

Anonymous said...

"Those GOP minority candidates are mostly converted Christians. Majority of the Asians in this country are in other religions or atheist."

I realize its way too late but can you at least grasp why the native stock of a country that as recently as the end of WW2 was 90% white and likely 90%+ Christian would object to atheist Asians moving here and demanding stuff? The unmitigated gall of people like you is beyond belief.

Most of those Asians were not atheists. Nearly all of them held beliefs such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Shintoism. Indeed, most of them were more religious and spiritual than youur average materialistic Christian, and a good many fled godless communism in Red China, North Korea, etc.

Get your facts straight. There is more to the world than Christians and atheists.

As to a largely Christian nation rejecting heathen Asians moving here and "demanding stuff" such as religious freedom ... well it's the choice of that nation. You don't see the Saudis accepting hordes of non-Muslim immigrants, or any immigrants for that matter.

Anonymous said...

"Those GOP minority candidates are mostly converted Christians. Majority of the Asians in this country are in other religions or atheist."


There's a large Korean population in the New York/ New Jersey area, and they're Protestant. I think they still vote Dem though. Race overrides religion.

Greg Pandatshang said...

It's basically a Mencius Moldbug type of situation: "you can't fight the best with the worst." The Fabian/Gramscian project in the United States is a bit like the Chinese Communist Party: you can afford to piss off a lot of average people if you can recruit 80% of the best and brightest to your side. You can even afford to piss off some of the high achiever if the bulk of them are on your side.

Rev. Right said...

Forget these high paid consultants who get their money no matter who wins, something along the lines of the excellent suggesiton posted by the Anon @ 11/13/12 7:02 AM is what is called for.

When you get called a murderer of working people, accused of wanting to re-enslave blacks (by the VP!), and implicated in waging a War on Women, and you respond by saying the President is a nice guy, but I can run the economy better, you LOSE.

Romney should have called the President a liar to his face, said he let an embassy staff die rather than risk criticism of his foreign policy and then blamed it on a You Tube video, blew billions on Green Energy boondoggles for his campaign donors, accused him of waging an unjust War on White Workers through the application of the abominable "disparate impact" concept, spelled out exactly what Obamacare would mean to the 93% of people that have better coverage now, and explained how going over the fiscal cliff is not just an abstraction, but is going to hurt, bad.

But he was afraid of being called "extreme" or, God forbid, "racist" by the media that was paid to paint him as an extreme racist.

Republicans will not win when they play like they are afraid to get their uniform dirty. Politics is a big boy game. As my son's (black) football coach used to say, "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'.

Anonymous said...

There's a large Korean population in the New York/ New Jersey area, and they're Protestant. I think they still vote Dem though. Race overrides religion.

Then they aren't really religious.

Anonymous said...

Romney lost because

1. Obama cheated
2. The media pulled out all the stops to protect Obama and attack Romney
3. Obama cheated
4. They failed to do anything to counter the democrat meme of "crazy religious whackjobs who will put you in chastity belts"

Anonymous said...

The Fabian/Gramscian project in the United States is a bit like the Chinese Communist Party: you can afford to piss off a lot of average people if you can recruit 80% of the best and brightest to your side. You can even afford to piss off some of the high achiever if the bulk of them are on your side.

Don't all successful political movements work like that?

M Steinberg said...

@ Simon in London,

That seems to be a dominant 'meme' in comments threads. The abortion issue was massively amplified in the minds of a number of female voters, when in reality it is difficult to see the Republicans or Supreme Court ever changing Roe.

Even in UK legal forums I noticed this was the first issue female posters would raise - I think the impact of Todd Akin and Mourlock was quite significant.

Also, wonder how many votes were lost via the Project ORCA issue.

Anonymous said...

If there is a show on TV that ridicules Republicans/whites/conservative values for 20 minutes followed by a Romney commercial followed by another 20 minutes of ridicule - which is more effective?

If anything in that environment the ad becomes counter-productive. Thus the Republicans can outspend the Dems, waste the money and be held up as the bad guys for spending all that cash. Its win/win for the liberal camp.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point 3:47 anon

irishfan87

Anonymous said...

"It's useful to have bright people in your campaign...

Not if they're psychologists or other kinds of snake-oil salesmen. The word mountebank fits here. It's useful to have HONEST bright people in a campaign. My guess is that Obama would have done even better without those guys.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Romney lost because

1. Obama cheated


Coming from South Africa I do not find that hard to beleive. THe ANC in South Africa has been cheating in every election, especially the first one where the were afraid of losing to the National Party and even had ballot boxes stuffed with grass. As they grow tired expect more of that, ending eventually in the type of violence we know from Zimbabwe.

Mugabe is renowned for his cheating. In fact it is mostly his fear of losing politically which caused him to so badly FU that country.

Obama is proud of his African heritage, so there goes...

Anonymous said...

What you race realist don't understand is that Christianity is a lot better recruiter of talent than hating on darkie even now. Robert George teaches at Princeton where's the best race realist teach? And he's a dye in the wool traditionalist catholic not some I go where the science takes me which is kind of hbd professor. Moldblog is a self hating pity party the right isn't nearly as dumb as people make out just not as slick. Scalia is by far the smartest guy on the SC.

Matthew said...

"Obama won because his "numbers experts" hacked voting machines and stole 3 million Republican votes. Unless you believe that 3 million fewer Republicans would show up in this election, after 2010, than did in 2008."

Did they hack the exit polls, or the pre-election polls, too?

We lost. The question is why. Everyone's presenting his hypothesis. Science is about rigourously testing each of them and seeing which is true. Just because you want it to be don't mean it is.

I for one would love for the GOP betrayal on immigration enforcement to be part of the explanation, but most of the data suggest it isn't. The problem with amnesty isn't with winning an election, it's what it does to conservatism's prospects for the long term.

In part, I suspect Romney could've taken either side of any number of issues. It's not necessarily what you claim to believe - it's how you sell it; it's the appearance of competence, warmth, compassion; it's creating a convincing, appealing image of what this country should be like. Further, when probably over a hundred million Americans feel like their hanging onto the edge with their fingernails, a GWB-style "tax cuts for the rich" platform plain damn doesn't cut it.

Anonymous said...

@a very knowing American said...
Robert Cialdini's (referenced in the article) book "Influence: The new psychology of modern persuasion," is an excellent and eye-opening piece of social psychology...

Obama's team probably did well getting this guy helping them"

No doubt. I think Steve was dismissive. Getting people to think you are both likeable and competant seems like an obvious strategy, but *how* you do that is both and art and a science.

Influence is a fascinating book. Romney should have read it.

Truth said...

"Coming from South Africa..."

Barry's from South Africa now? Somebody Alert The Donald!

Anonymous said...

I realize its way too late but can you at least grasp why the native stock of a country that as recently as the end of WW2 was 90% white and likely 90%+ Christian would object to atheist Asians moving here and demanding stuff? The unmitigated gall of people like you is beyond belief.
Why should belief in this, that, or the other god qualify one for citizenship? This is exactly the kind of idea that led to the current situation, because belief is cheap and profession of belief is even cheaper. The Scotch-Irish understand this. If I had some epiphany someday causing me to believe in Yahweh, that wouldn't entitle me to move to Scott-Ireland (you have to be born Scotts-Irish to do that).

There's a large Korean population in the New York/ New Jersey area, and they're Protestant. I think they still vote Dem though. Race overrides religion.
Exactly right. I wish the believing Christian types would stop trying to hijack conservatism and turn it needlessly into a religious/credal thing. Christianity doesn't help us one bit politically, be it the pro-Zionist fundy kind or that protestant Marxist kind. You are still entitled to believe that Christianity benefits you personally.

Anonymous said...

There's a large Korean population in the New York/ New Jersey area, and they're Protestant. I think they still vote Dem though. Race overrides religion.

Then they aren't really religious.

They are Protestant. That should answer your question.

self-esteem journalism said...

Obama would have croaked over the line with or without the help of "social scientists." Please. Drew Westen is not going to be the future Von Clausewitz of political campaigns, if we still have them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...""I realize its way too late but can you at least grasp why the native stock of a country that as recently as the end of WW2 was 90% white and likely 90%+ Christian would object to atheist Asians moving here and demanding stuff? The unmitigated gall of people like you is beyond belief.""

"Most of those Asians were not atheists."

I didn't say they were atheists. The first anon did. He was asserting why Asians should not support the GOP - its filled with Christians and Asians are atheists. I was objecting to the gall of an atheist to move to what, at least until quite recently, was a white Christian nation and then objecting to living in a white Christian nation.

"Get your facts straight. There is more to the world than Christians and atheists."

Learn to read. I was writing about America. A country that until quite recently was overwhelmingly white and Christian. I wasn't writing about "the world". If you disagree America as recently as the 1950's was about 90% white and Christian, provide some evidence.

"As to a largely Christian nation rejecting heathen Asians moving here and "demanding stuff" such as religious freedom ... well it's the choice of that nation. You don't see the Saudis accepting hordes of non-Muslim immigrants, or any immigrants for that matter."

I have to agree with you here. To the Saudi example I'd add Japan. There are countless others, including Mexico ( which accepts very few anyway). It IS the choice of the nation (unless the Caplan's of the world are to be believed). Our nation has made a terrible, terrible choice.

Anonymous said...

The GOP has got to stop letting White Christians vote for it. That way it won't get any votes and then it can start participating in those hilariously low budget 3rd party debates. Imagine how badly Romney would have kicked Jill Stein or whoever's ass at debating.

irishfan87

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Ummm ... yes, and what you also need is a party culture that is genuinely respectful of ideas and the potential contribution of intellectuals. If you base your strategy on sniggering at elites and smarty intellectuals then you're probably more likely to end up with dummies and crooks!"

Nancy Pelosi, Michael Moore, Jesse Jackson Jr., Barney Frank - The Democrats seem to have no shortage of dummies and crooks themselves.

Anonymous said...

Truth said...
"Coming from South Africa..."

Barry's from South Africa now? Somebody Alert The Donald!



Somebody teach truf some basic English.

Anonymous said...

I always thought Barry was an Armenian with a heavy suntan.

Anonymous said...

"Our nation made a terrible, terrible choice."

I don't remember voting for a massive influx of others, and neither do you. The vast majority of people in what is ostensibly "our nation" had nothing to do with the terrible choice.

Auntie Analogue said...

So, Romney's consultants turned out to be a Bain in the ass?


"I'll go no more a Roving...." (Thank you, Lord Byron!)

Anonymous said...

"You need academics, you need sabermetricians, you need guys who like numbers, not just the numbers in their bank accounts."

Having 90% of the media actively serving as propagandists for you doesn't hurt either...

Whiskey said...

If you believe Obama won, you believe that:

A. He won with 10 million FEWER votes than in 2008 while

B. He won with much higher TURNOUT IN URBAN AREAS than 2008

and ...

C. HE won with fewer White votes than in 2008. With McCain.

Given that Romney did BETTER among all White groups than McCain, that's hard to believe. Hard to believe that Romney, playing to full stadiums while Obama with Springsteen and Stevie Wonder played to quarter full stadiums, had the worse turnout.

Obama won Ohio according to Lowry with 100K votes. Which was 200K HIGHER than in 2008 among BLACKS, and 200K LOWER for Romney among WHITES.

Does that seem reasonable? Logical?

We have a mafia state. Mafia elections. The Chicago model writ upon the Nation. Which is going to be run as Chicago will be. And there will be blood. Lots of it. Its inevitable ... ALL Mafia states have bloody battles over the spoils, which grow ever smaller as people respond.

Those same Bush consultant idiots who won in 2004 with record turnout -- they got beat by a bunch of newbie SWPL? Sure.

Obama cheated. He cheated, cheated, cheated. He dumped Republican votes and had Black guys vote five times. That's basically it.

NOTA said...

Severn:

I would welcome more honest conservative media of any kind, but more propaganda organs for the Republican party don't seem too likely to help anything. The difference is simple: Are you willing to go against the party's positions or candidates? When the decision is between reporting the truth as you understand it, and helping your party in the next election, which way do you choose?

There are plenty of propaganda organs already. They are making the problem worse, by creating a kind of bubble in which BS and propaganda is taken as fact. (And that also describes much of the rest of the MSM, but it's different propaganda and BS. The key insight here is that the right and left sides of the MSM are fundamentally more alike than different--they're in the same business, but have slightly different spin and background assumptions. Fox and CNN and MSNBC are three members of the same species, and the fact that Fox is a little redder and MSNBC a little bluer doesn't change their underlying nature.)

As far as online stuff, I am not at all convinced that the problem is lack of seed capital. There don't seem to be huge barriers to entry. But let's suppose you start an overtly conservative news and discussion site online (there are already several). Here's the question: why will people like my neighbors (mostly moderate Democrats of the home-owning, married, child-raising, educated middle class) ever go there? The only good reason is because they do really good reporting or analysis--they have something interesting and worthwhile to say, or at least something entertaining to say (but the right already has plenty of political entertainment talk shows).

That could plausibly describe, say, the Wall Street Journal or the Economist. But I don't see how it describes Fox news, say, which seems to me to be no better than MSNBC or CNN as a general news source, and often somewhat worse thanks to their propaganda-for-the-party role.

NOTA said...

The claims that Obama won from vote fraud look like more BS to me. It costs nothing to claim that, just as with the claims from Democrats in 2004 that the election was stolen in Ohio. Produce some evidence.

The danger here is that convincing yourself that you lost only because the other guy cheated gives you no incentive to improve your game any. You can just keep doing what you were doing before, or can focus more on your own plans for cheating next time while not improving your game any. How is that likely to work out?

NOTA said...

My guess is that among academic social scientists, there is an even stronger ideological bubble that will make it very difficult for most of them to understand the mindset of non-Obama voters. There just aren't than many Romney voters in the sociology department.

Bill said...


Anonymous said . . .

. If conservatives attacked it I'm sure that it would merely further solidify academics' leftist inclinations. The media would also have a field day if conservatives started attacking academia.

That's exactly my point. Those are short-term reasons. Killing off your opponent's base is good long-term politics. Doubling the funding for NIH (which funds academia), not so much. As I said, though, there is no point now.

Anonymous said...

"Obama won Ohio according to Lowry with 100K votes. Which was 200K HIGHER than in 2008 among BLACKS, and 200K LOWER for Romney among WHITES.
Does that seem reasonable? Logical?"

Low white turn-out.

Truth said...

"The danger here is that convincing yourself that you lost only because the other guy cheated gives you no incentive to improve your game any."

Here, here. Get over it you whiney-azzed sore losers.

Anonymous said...

The claims that Obama won from vote fraud look like more BS to me.


They would look like BS to you, wouldn't they, Mr Impartial?

Andrew said...

Steve:

I am glad you posted this, and the conversation provoked is interesting and confirms what you are saying. Hopefully people will sit back and listen to what you are saying.

Republicans and the Republican base have been anti-numbers for a long time. I can still recall the screachy defensiveness when it was pointed out that Bush lost the popular vote in 2000. It manifested itself this year in the Unskewed Polls BS. Post election we are hearing the usual anti-numeric shrill cries of "voter fraud" (its not fraud for blacks to vote Democrat - its what they do), and "lost white votes" (the boards of election are still counting votes and have not yet canvassed the total so people are crying about unofficial tallies which will grow).

At the end of the day, its clear the smart-guy corporate CEO got out hustled and out strategized and out organized by the black community organizer. Perhaps this has to do with financiers aversion to building organizations and their proclivity to financially exploit them instead.

During the campaign you could see it in the improbable strategy Romney chose to pursue, where he accepted Obama laying out the battleground upon which the election would be fought instead of from the start challenging Obama in vulnerable Democratic states with a conservative ideological lean and largely white electorates (Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Minnesota, Michigan, Oregon, and Washington). Romney always had to pretty much run the table in the states he contested, and never had a better than 12% chance of victory, since he only had around 60 paths to victory out of 512 possible combinations of outcomes in the battlegrounds.

Continuing the alienation of Asians, who are rapidly intermarrying with whites, as mentioned by one commenter was a big mistake. They are 3% of the electorate in Florida, Colorado, Oregon, and Virginia, 5% in Nevada, and 6% in Washington. In the states where they are 3% of the electorate, losing them 75-25 instead of winning 60-40 is a 2% swing in the outcome of an election decided by 3%. Romney also lost the non-religious white vote by 70-30. As they made up 10-15% of swing state electorates, this was a very heavy blow.

A lot of this was probably not avoidable by running a candidate like Romney. Although Romney is highly articulate and intelligent, he scores very low on sympathy and likability, and this is compounded by his being an active member of the Mormon cult. Being a northeastern moderate from Massachusetts doesn't get any style points either among the electorate that needed to be swung (asians, SW Mexicans, white Catholics ion the midwest, non-religious whites in the north and west), and probably accounts for Obama winning around 20% of voters self-identifying as conservatives.

The type of candidate Republicans need to run to win is probably someone like Governor John Engler or Terry Branstad - a white, quietly religious Catholic or Lutheran from a marginal northern swing state (Michigan for Engler, but a similar figure from Wisconsin, Iowa, or Minnesota would also work) who won't scare or embarass non-religious whites.