Ta-Nehisi Coates: We Are All Welfare Queens Now
Liveblogging World War II: December 4, 1942

After a Month of Radio Silence, the Weekly Standard's "Numbers Guy" Reappears...

…to kick Mitt Romney up and down the field:

Jay Cost, December 3, 2012:

[D]ecline... a stark decline in public confidence that the nation’s leaders can fix its pressing problems.... Most of the decline came from white voters; in fact, between 6 and 9 million white voters went missing.... Romney... out-of-touch plutocrat... yawning empathy gap.... underperformance relative to Bush.... Voters did not trust.... Romney to represent them.... The country was not persuaded that the Republican nominee had their interests at heart. Part of the blame belongs to the Romney campaign... the failure of the Republican party during the Bush years.... In 2016 the Republican party must find a nominee who can relate to average Americans... deliver the kind of prosperity that has been sorely lacking for the past decade...

But only a month and a half ago, Jay Cost said that Mitt Romney was completely covered with awesome sauce:

[R]eal economic conservatism.... Ronald Reagan... William McKinley... Calvin Coolidge…. Mitt Romney... channeling McKinley, Silent Cal, and the Gipper all at once.... [W]hen it came to the kitchen table issues, Romney focused much more directly on them. And in fact, when it came to the number one issue of this campaign – jobs and unemployment – Romney mentioned them more than twice as often as Obama did. This kind of emphasis on growth, prosperity, income, and jobs... economic conservatism exemplified by McKinley-Coolidge-Reagan... Romney tied pro-business economic policies to mass prosperity... even Calvin Coolidge would be impressed.... Following the lead of the early modern Republicans, Romney even issued a stark warning to China.... China’s systematic cheating… requires a response from economic conservatives. And Romney delivers it... Romney connects this philosophy again and again to jobs. That is the core economic argument of conservative Republicanism, one that the left has never understood. It is not elitist; it is an inherently republican philosophy: the belief that smart pro-business policies generate growth, and therefore jobs, and therefore prosperity for Americans all across the country...


Mitt Romney is likely to win… for two reasons: (1) Romney leads among voters on trust to get the economy going again. (2) Romney leads among independents….

Romney has an edge on the economy…. [T]his election looks to hinge on the economy, and little else…. I do not know of an election where the electorate was so singularly focused on one set of issues, and the person trusted less on them nevertheless won….

Romney’s lead among independents…. [T]he New Deal coalition… broke into pieces in 1980…. This has led to the rising power of the independent vote…. I see Mitt Romney with a lead among independents in almost every poll…. [W]hite Democrats from the Ohio River Valley to the Gulf of Mexico will defect from their own party’s ticket in droves. These children and grand children of FDR’s core backers will support Mitt Romney overwhelmingly….

I am not willing to take polls at face value…. I am more interested in connecting the polls to history and the long-run structure of American politics, and when I do that I see a Romney victory.

The remarkable thing is that Jay Cost sees himself under no obligation to his readers to explain why he was so wrong a month ago--and his readers feel no need to inquire.

Jonathan Chait observes the same phenomenon in John Podhoretz.

National Review's numbers guy has apparently moved to Patagonia, and lacks all internet connectivity.

Michael Barone still insists that he got the analysis of the "fundamentals" of the election right, but that "fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics"; and still insists that his call of a substantial Romney victory was "reasonable, just as other predictions that either Obama or Romney would win... with more than 300 electoral votes, were reasonable; you could... come up with pretty different conclusions..."

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?