What to Read Before the Iowa Caucuses

For our Republican readers who live in Iowa, and for any non-Iowans who wants to know which candidate to root for, here’s a handy compilation of past Trading 8s posts:

What to Read on Jon Huntsman

What to Read on Michele Bachmann

What to Read on Mitt Romney

What to Read on Newt Gingrich

What to Read on Perry vs. Romney

What to Read on Rick Perry

What to Read on Rick Perry and the “Texas Miracle”

What to Read on Ron Paul

Don’t Blame the Fed for Holding Back the Recovery

Social Security Isn’t Lying to You. But Rick Perry Is.

Sigh. Yet Another Trojan Horse.

Why Jon Huntsman Is More Dangerous Than You Think

Courtesy of statistician Nate Silver, here’s a prediction that aggregates all the major polls:

And since the results of Iowa set up the next stage of the primary season in New Hampshire, here’s how that January 10 election is shaping up so far:

What to Read on Jon Huntsman

Jon Huntsman on the Issues — Ezra Klein

So he doesn’t oppose cap-and-trade because global warming is a hoax, or the science is unsettled. He opposes it because a) any solution will have to be international and b) we need to be worried about the economy right now. He’s not against stimulus in theory, but he thought the specific stimulus Obama passed was poorly designed. He doesn’t defend the specifics of Ryan’s changes to Medicare, but supports them because the mounting national debt has forced us to consider “proposals that would’ve been laughed out of the room” at another time.

Romney Doesn’t Scare Obama. This Guy Does. — Chris Jones

He was hugely popular in his home state, pursuing an agenda of fiscal conservatism and social semimoderation — he supports civil unions for gay couples and believes climate change is an urgent issue but remains staunchly pro-gun and antiabortion.

He says that from China, he gained a different perspective on America and its place in the world. He saw two countries, one on the rise, ascendant, and the other on the brink of economic collapse, crushed by debt and overregulation and taxes. He talks about sparking a new “industrial revolution,” mostly through energy technology, reducing our reliance on oil.
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He said he believed the United States should start a significant withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan immediately. He also would not have intervened in Libya — “We just can’t afford it.” And he would seek to make serious cuts to the military’s budget. “If you can’t find anything there to cut, you’re not looking hard enough.”

Polls Find Huntsman Unacceptable to Many in Republican Base — Nate Silver

About half of the views Republicans expressed about Mr. Huntsman were negative…

…they almost certainly reflect the fact that Mr. Huntsman has taken a number of positions that are bound to be unacceptable to large swaths of the Republican electorate. Among them are expressing support for Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package, endorsing an individual mandate for health insurance, and securing Utah’s participation in a regional cap-and-trade program. Mr. Huntsman also holds a moderate position on gay marriage, having endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples. And he served as President Obama’s ambassador to China.

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What to Read on Osama bin Laden’s Death

Yes, Bin Laden’s Death Will Help Obama, but for How Long? — Nate Silver

In 1991, the top 8 or 10 Democratic candidates skipped the presidential race because George H.W. Bush seemed unbeatable in the wake of the popular Gulf War. But by November 1992, Mr. Bush’s approval ratings were in the 30s, and Bill Clinton defeated him easily — as most any Democratic candidate would have.

Qaddafi Is Not Osama bin Laden — Robert Dreyfuss
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In the case of Libya, it’s an illegal assassination effort, not sanctioned by any UN resolution, to force regime change in a state that has never attacked the United States and poses no national security threat.

Taliban Commander Vows to Avenge Bin Laden’s Death — Ghaith Abdul-Ahad

Local jihadi wars will continue, al-Qaida in Yemen will continue to attempt to bomb targets in the west, and the Taliban will not stop fighting in Afghanistan.

US Strategy Misconceived, Says Hamid Karzai — Jon Boone

“Year after year, day after day, we have said the fighting against terrorism is not in the villages of Afghanistan, not among the poor people of Afghanistan,” he said. “The fight against terrorism is in safe havens…”

The Rewards of Revenge — Jonah Lehrer

[It] turns out that the most effective basic strategy is an approach known as “tit for tat.” The rules of tit for tat are incredibly simple: Unless provoked, the prisoners will cooperate (and not confess). However, one they are provoked, they will seek out revenge, Old Testament style. This help ensures that defection is discouraged, that people know their cheating has consequences. And this is why the brain, at least in young men, takes so much delight in the pain of bad people. An eye for an eye feels great.

As Gandhi famously said, “An eye for eye, and soon the whole world is blind.”

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