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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Best People, Continued Again

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's approach to governing The update  -- just published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.
The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.
-- Machiavelli
Catherine Rampell at WP:
Moore is a career political operative whose singular motivation is helping Republicans cut taxes. In service of that goal, he sometimes fabricates economic factoids entirely, including during a Thursday radio interview in which he falsely claimed that wages just began to grow for the first time in 20 years. Usually though, he either cherry-picks or misrepresents (real) government data — e.g., by not adjusting figures for inflation, or claiming that a decline in soybean prices driven by China’s decision to stop buying from American farmers means that prices across the U.S. economy overall are falling. (They are not.)
Cain, on the other hand, does not appear to have sufficient facility with economic statistics to know which cherries to pick. During a recent episode of his Web show, he appeared genuinely confused by the differences between, say, jobs vacant and jobs filled. (This is arguably an important thing to know if you’re on the Federal Reserve Board, where half the legal mandate concerns maximizing the number of jobs filled.)
But when all else fails — that is, when they run out of real numbers to spin or mischaracterize — both Moore and Cain have a tendency to invoke Trump-style data trutherism: that is, to simply claim the official government data are phony.

Jon Swaine and David Smith at The Guardian:
A court official accompanied by four police officers had to break into the home of Stephen Moore, Donald Trump’s pick for the Federal Reserve board, after he repeatedly failed to pay debts to his ex-wife.
The group used a locksmith to force their way into Moore’s house in Virginia in May 2013, according to court filings. They were there to prepare the property for a court-ordered sale in order to raise $330,000 that Moore owed his ex-wife after their divorce.
When the court official telephoned Moore on her way out to ask where she should leave the new key to his home, Moore “was very argumentative” and “denied that we were in his house”, the official, Kyle Skopic, said in a June 2013 motion.
The court records were reopened to the public by a judge on Friday, in response to legal action by the Guardian and other media. They had been temporarily sealed this week following the publication of reports about Moore’s past financial and legal problems.
The Week:
Meet Herman Cain: Federal Reserve Board of Governors nominee. Former Republican presidential candidate. CEO. And professional grifter?
Cain, whom President Trump recently tapped as a nominee for a spot on the Fed's Board, has reportedly turned his sponsored mailing list — which he has been profiting off since his failed presidential bid in 2012 — into a "haven for scammy emails," promoting worthless penny stocks and dubious "moneymaking strategies," according to Media Matters: