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March 19, 2010

Why I'm Really Pessimistic Right Now

A Tweeter wrote to me that Fire Dog Lake only has the Democrats at 203 votes, and that out of all the "undecided" votes, Republicans only need 7 to block the bill, while the Democrats need a large fraction of what's left.

That doesn't comfort me in the least. That kind of thinking is a sort of probabilistic thing where someone's saying, "Gee, it would be hard to almost run the table on all these independent trials." Like flipping coins -- if you have to get 20 heads to come up on thirty filps, that seems less likely than failing to get all 20.

But that's the wrong way to look at it, because these are not independent trials. They're not independent flips of the coin. All of these votes are in fact interrelated, and will tend to break the same way because they're all animated by a similar set of circumstances and influences.

It's no less likely that the Democrats will get 20 of 30 undecided votes than, say, they'll get 217 of their 250 votes (or whatever) on a big bill. You can't just say "Gee, it seems unlikely they'd win such a large fraction of these votes." It's perfectly likely.

We know these votes are being arranged:

So why did he oppose it in the first place? It looks as though Boccieri got a pass from Nancy Pelosi the first time around to protect his election prospects this fall. The 16th CD in Ohio elected him in 2008 as its first Democratic Representative since 1951. In a year when Ohio went to Barack Obama, John McCain won this district, 50/48.

The Democrats game is to get to 216 while exposing as few as possible vulnerable Democrats to having to vote "Yes." Even some Democrats supposedly "against" the bill, like Boccieri used to be, are actually for it, in that they wish the caucus to prevail... they just don't want to cast a bill in favor of it. They want other Democrats to vote for the bill, so that they get the best of both worlds: The measure passes, and so they're not despised by the nutroots as having blocked the bill, and yet they can tell their constituents they voted Nay.

My fear is that all this "undecided" crap is really just an argument about Democrats about who is the most vulnerable -- that Democrats are largely agreed on the idea that the bill should pass, but are now arguing among themselves about which of them should take the hit and vote Yea, and which should be spared and allowed to vote Nay. So many of them are posturing as long as possible to convince Nancy Pelosi to allow them to vote Nay -- or even Present -- but if the word comes down from the top their votes are needed, they'll cast the Yea as instructed.

Of course, this is a bit like a platoon charging the beach at Normandy. The platoon may agree, as a group, that the beach may be taken. But they may disagree among themselves about who will be first out of the boat (and virtually guaranteed to be killed). And, since Democrats' courage doesn't quite equal that of the troops at Normandy, maybe those selected to charge first into the fire will wind up balking.

But it is my fear that this has all been settled, pretty much, behind the scenes, as far as vote number, and now the lobbying is just over who must be part of that 216 and who gets to hang in the back of the boat as one of the lucky 34.

Dina Titus (D-NV) Back to Yes After Pretending to be Undecided: Drew just wrote this in an email. That is congruent with my thinking -- she tried to hold out to win her Get Out of Voting Free card, but Granny Rictus McBotoxImplants rejected her plea, and so she dutifully becomes one of the Unlucky Vulnerable Democrats "Volunteered" By Nancy Pelosi for Her Suicide Squad.

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posted by Ace at 03:10 PM

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