New cars, overconfidence, and open threads

I bought a car yesterday to replace the 2010 Ford Focus that was wrecked last week.  The new car is a 2011 Ford Fusion.  This car has buttons on the visor.  I still haven’t figured out what that’s about.

A commenter in the last thread stated that she was concerned that there is too much overconfidence on this site with regards to the election.  I’ll say that I’m very confident.  It feels like last time when there was a feeling of inevitability to Obama winning.  As a matter of fact, I’ve pretty much felt every election was going to be inevitable one way or another (and I was correct in the general outcome) with the exception of 2000.  We’re going to win.  Whether we win big or not is another question entirely.  That part is up to us.  We can’t stop donating, phone banking, going door to door, and whatever else is needful until AFTER the polls close in Hawaii on election day.

If a sense that we’re losing is what you need to motivate you, the get up off your ass and get to work because WE’RE FUCKING LOSING TO A DEFECTIVE ROBOT AND A ZOMBIE!

You know what to do.  Run the score up on the bastards.  You guys blew through my goal of $53K by midnight last night by hitting that number around 10 AM CST yesterday.  So.  As of this writing, the thermometer sits at $53,302 at 8:40 AM CST.  Let’s get it up to $54,500 by midnight tonight.

Goal Thermometer

Oh, yeah.  Open Thread.

60 replies
  1. 1
    Joey Maloney says:

    Could the buttons be programmable for garage door openers/electric gates/etc.? My ex’s Passat had those.

  2. 2
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Joey Maloney: I was thinking it might be that, but since I bought it used, there’s no manuals with it. I’m trying to find them on the Ford site.

  3. 3
    Highway Rob says:

    Soonergrunt, I share your confidence (if not your football allegiance–I’m a two-time Longhorn). Part of that comes from my belief that Obama’s ground game investment will have a real effect on the final score. However, does Romney’s Mormonism have a chance of offsetting Obama’s advantage there? Seems like the other side has a ready-made army with tons of experience going door-to-door, without spending dime-one on it.

    I’m not concern trolling, I promise, I just got paranoid about this yesterday and I trust in the commentariat here to bring me to my senses. Thanks, all.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    red dog says:

    I live in CA so we have the down ticket elections to work on. My area is very blue and confidant except for a few rednecks worried about their guns…

  6. 6
    Linda Featheringill says:

    @Highway Rob:

    Romney door-to-door:

    Maybe. But are they out yet? I haven’t seen them. Has anyone else?

    We haven’t won the House yet. It might be good to frantically work like hell in that area.

  7. 7
    stranger says:

    I’ve got a 2000 Mountaineer with a set of buttons on the visor, and it turns out they’re for a small digital recorder. It doesn’t have much capacity, about 30 seconds, but I’ve used it to record reminders to myself. Most of the time I forget it’s there, though.

  8. 8
    raven says:

    Here’s an online Focus group. I go to these for all my vehicles and get really good info.

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    Brought up from a previous thread (mainly because no sooner was it posted than an Open Thread began).

    Say good-bye to spontaneity, say hello to the swan song of being beholden to the principle of a free press as Fourth Estate.

    Wednesday afternoon, the Commission on Presidential Debates quietly posted a press release announcing the topics for the first presidential debate in Denver on October 3. What the commission didn’t say is that this may be the first time in history presidential candidates have been given the topics of a debate ahead of time.  Source

    The League of Women Voters’ plain spoken candor was refreshing and notable when they stepped away from running the debates in the late 80s, and their statement of rationale at the time is, if anything, even more relevant today (from the same article):

    “It has become clear to us that the candidates’ organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.”

  10. 10
    balconesfault says:

    I’m all for confidence – because the more confidence our side shows … the more their side is going to start doing some really stupid things.

  11. 11
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Regnad Kcin: You’re the man! It seems I was bouncing all around it.

  12. 12
    danielx says:


    Have those on the visor of my ten year old Maxima – on mine they’re to replace garage door opener controls and I never did figure out how to program the damn things, and it wasn’t for lack of trying. If you have a garage door opener or openers, use the controls – those visor buttons are more trouble than they’re worth.

  13. 13
    El Tiburon says:

    I may contribute to celebrate K-State.

  14. 14
    Libby's person says:

    I agree – enjoy, but work hard to make it happen. I’m increasingly confident for Obama nationally, but not about the down-ticket races in NC. So I’m spending this afternoon at an OFA GOTV training, and I’m scheduled to do voter registration in a couple of days.

    About cars – I have a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid, and I love it. It’s a pleasure to drive, plenty of power, I average 40 MPG, and there’s plenty of room for both of us, our big dog, and luggage. It’s at just over 40,000 miles so far, and totally trouble-free. The fuel economy dashboard display for the hybrid is fun, too, kind of like having a little video game to play – how many leaves can I keep visible?

    It doesn’t have buttons on the visor, other than the one for the little mirror light, so I can’t help you with that.

  15. 15
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Seems like the other side has a ready-made army with tons of experience going door-to-door,

    If you’re talking about all the mormon dudes in their white shirts and ties, most people I know hate it when those people come by. And I’d suspect they’d be equally creeped out if older mormons started showing up at their door to talk about Romney.

    That said, I don’t know if the Romney campaign knows what a ground game is.

    ETA: As a former member of a fundamentalist strain of protestant christianity, the thing that always gave me hives was the “visitation night” stuff, knocking on people’s doors to tell them about teh lawd. But I’m not a salesman. I had the same feeling when I was selling cheap candles and greeting cards for junior high school band.

  16. 16
    Betty Cracker says:

    It ain’t over til it’s over, but I like our chances. Good luck with that new car!

  17. 17
    bcinaz says:

    You were right about 2000 too. I worry that this election will end up in the Roberts Court, with 4 or 5 states attempting to steal the election through voter suppression. Obama’s GOTV will have to beat the poll averages a lot to overcome all the noise pollution on Voting Rights.

  18. 18
    Regnad Kcin says:

    @Soonergrunt: the great gizoogle knows all, sees all

  19. 19
    Jennifer says:

    I’m holding out until I can see how the new Fusion hybrid performs (not an option for you, I know). I’m liking what I see so far – 47 mpg both city and highway in a mid-sized car big enough to provide comfort for my aging bones. Plus, it’s not butt-ugly like the Prius. I’m still driving my last Ford (a 98 Mustang purchased new at the end of 1997 – coming up on our 15-year anniversary here) and it’s been an excellent car – the AC still blows cold, and I’ve not had to do anything other than routine maintenance and replacing parts as they wear out to keep it running, which again, I can’t complain about – you have to figure that over the course of 15 years, some stuff is going to wear out. I’ve had to replace the clutch, shocks & struts, the gasket around where you fill the gas tank, an alternator, a fan motor, brakes, an O2 sensor…but that’s pretty much it. Not bad for a car I’ve not made a payment on for over a decade.

  20. 20
    Soonergrunt says:

    @raven: Thanks! I don’t own a Focus anymore, sadly, but that led me to

  21. 21
    Soonergrunt says:

    @El Tiburon: Good for you!

  22. 22
    amk says:

    Obama is gonna win. About down tickets, you can never underestimate american voter stupidity.

  23. 23
    double nickel says:

    I’m very confident that there will be an election. I’m not as confident that it matters.

  24. 24
    Ash Can says:

    You know what to do. Run the score up on the bastards Hang onto the Senate and get the damned House back.

    Nothing against running up the score, but Obama could carry all 50 states and still get jack shit accomplished if either chamber is in GOP hands.

  25. 25
    gbear says:


    If you’re talking about all the mormon dudes in their white shirts and ties, most people I know hate it when those people come by. And I’d suspect they’d be equally creeped out if older mormons started showing up at their door to talk about Romney.

    Agreed. I wonder if they could make it through a the pitch for Romney without also making a pitch for the church while they’re there.

    But then again, can an Obama supporter make a pitch for Obama without trying to recruit for team GLBT. Both sides do it…

  26. 26
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Jennifer: I would love to get the Fusion Hybrid, but it’s just too much money. Ford also makes an electric Focus, but that’s too much money as well.

  27. 27
    Highway Rob says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Hell, I’m not sure *I* know what a ground game is. I’ve lived in a solid red state and a solid blue congressional district most of my life. It just occurred to me that it would be easy to ditch the white shirts and switch from evangelism to GOTV.

    On the House front, I checked the DCCC site and there wasn’t an obvious “how to help if you’re in a safe district” primer. Thought I saw a link here recently, but my search abilities appear to suck today. Any help?

  28. 28
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Ash Can: I would include downticket races as running up the score as a matter of course.

  29. 29
    Schlemizel says:

    any time I am in danger of relaxing this fall Rmoney/rAyn provide me a reminder of how awful they are and that solves any issues with complacency.

    Has there ever been a worse campaign? I have followed politics for 50+ years and there has never been one this bad in my life time. I have read enough history to know we have had some bad Presidents (the little 5 that proceeded Lincoln, the 3 empty suits proceeding FDR) but none that have presented themselves as totally incompetent and incapable as this crew has during their run.

  30. 30
    Daulnay says:

    It’d be good to know which down-ticket races are close enough that we’d be able to make a difference, especially in the House. Or which races are hard to predict – with the redistricting from the Census, there’s more uncertainty this year, from what I’ve heard.

    I’m not sure how to get this info, anyone have ideas? (or willing to do the work and post it?)

  31. 31
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    Romney door-to-door:

    Maybe. But are they out yet? I haven’t seen them. Has anyone else?

    I saw something odd last weekend. Two young men going door-to-door, looking for all the world like a pair of Mormon missionaries, except they were out of uniform. They were wearing blue checked shirts instead of white shirts.

    I pointed out to my husband that they reminded me of the first pic of Romney/Ryan after Ryan’s selection and their matching blue checked shirts. I’ve wondered if that was the beginnings of the Mormons-for-Mitt ground game.

  32. 32
    Highway Rob says:


    But then again, can an Obama supporter make a pitch for Obama without trying to recruit for team GLBT. Both sides do it…

    And some do it from both sides.

    Anyway, I think you win at least .5 internet for that one. My paranoia is overcome by your comedy. Gracias.

  33. 33
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Schlemizel: I can’t think of a worse general campaign, but I can think of few that were as obviously pure grift as Newt Gingrich’s book tour this primary season.

    And that’s obviously just presidential campaigns. I’d think the Demon Sheep campaign in california or the I’m Not A Witch campaign in delaware (?) would be right up there.

  34. 34
    Highway Rob says:

    @Daulnay: The DCCC site had this. Don’t know if it answers your question.

  35. 35
    Schlemizel says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
    Thats the Rmoney ground game. Expect to see a bunch of guys, working in pairs going door-to-door. The difference will be they will ditch the white shirt dark tie BS of something along the lines of a “I’m just a good ol guy plaid” shirt.

  36. 36
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:

    I pointed out to my husband that they reminded me of the first pic of Romney/Ryan after Ryan’s selection and their matching blue checked shirts. I’ve wondered if that was the beginnings of the Mormons-for-Mitt ground game.

    Why am I getting an image of a Kids in the Hall skit here?

  37. 37
    Three-nineteen says:

    Tammy Baldwin just pulled even with Tommy Thompson in the WI senate race, and might even be leading. That’s where my money’s going now.

  38. 38
    Schlemizel says:

    Agreed, the also rans often are ego trips and increasingly for the GOP a grift. But for an actual nominee? Never.

    Local races are full of dingbats, losers, wankers and insert Blazing saddles rant here you can see several of them in Congress because they are in safe districts. but, with the exception of Jerry Ford none will ever get to the WH without having a dinner invite from the President

  39. 39
    var says:

    Can we get a Balloon Juice downticket ActBlue page? I’m now subscribing to the Honey Pot theory and would prefer to put money elsewhere.

  40. 40
    gbear says:

    @Highway Rob:

    I’m nervous about the vote in MN. There is an anti-same-sex constitutional ammendment on the ballot (along with a voter-ID ammendment) and I’m afraid the churches are going to bring people in to vote by the busload. There isn’t a block in the Twin Cities area that doesn’t have at least one ‘Vote No’ sign in their yard, but those signs are few and far between outside of the cities. I’ve been volunteering to do data entry work for MN United For All Families every monday and the attitude is positive, but we realize it’s still a long shot to get the ammendment voted down.

    We really need to win the house and senate back in MN or it’s going to look like Wisconsin for the state employees’ new contract next year.

    Oh, and NO WAY will Romney take MN. Even with this other stuff going on.

  41. 41
    Jennifer says:

    @Soonergrunt: Yeah, it definitely depends on your driving habits/needs. A hybrid wouldn’t make sense for me at the higher price except for the fact that I’ve done a lot of driving all over the state for work and have been for the past 20 years. The new 2013 model is priced at $8,000 more than the gas-only model, but when you do a lot of driving and can write off mileage on your taxes and gas is running between $3.50 and $4.00 a gallon…well, that extra cost can be defrayed in 2 or 3 years. So it makes sense for someone like me who drives a car for at least 10 years to spend the extra on the front end to get a hybrid. Plus, I’m hoping to buy one used a year or so from now, so hopefully I’ll get it at least 3 or 4K cheaper than the new price.

  42. 42
    Frank says:

    I actually am holding off on buying a new car.Just donated to Elizabeth Warren yesterday. Give! Give! Give!

  43. 43
    var says:

    Further to my last point, here’s RCP’s list of tossup House races:

    CA24 – Lois Capps is D (blue seat)
    CA26 – Julie Brownley is D (red seat)
    CA52 – Scott Peters is D (red seat – Billbray)
    CA7 – Ami Bera is D (red seat – Lundgren)
    CA9 – Jerry McEnerny is D (blue seat)
    CO6 – Joe Miklowski is D (red seat – winger Coffman)
    FL18 – Patrick Murphy is D (red seat – winger Allan West)
    IA3 – Leonard Boswell is D (red/blue seat – two incumbents – Latham is R)
    IA4 – Christie Vilsack is D (red seat – ultrawinger King)
    IL10 – Brad Schneider is D (red seat – Dold)
    IL11 – Bill Foster is D (red seat – Biggert)
    IL12 – Bill Enyart is D (blue seat – retirement)
    MI11- Syed Taj is D (red seat)
    MN8 – Rick Nolan is D (red seat – Cravaack)
    NH1 – Carol Shea Porter is D (red seat)
    NV3 – John Oceguera is D (red seat – Heck)
    NY1 – Tim Bishop is D (blue seat)
    NY21 – Bill Owens is D (blue seat)
    NY27 – Kathy Hochul is D (blue seat)
    OH16 – Betty Sutton is D (red/blue seat from redistricting)
    OK2 – Rob Wallace is D (blue seat – there’s a blue seat in OK??)
    PA12 – Mark Critz is D (blue seat)
    TX23 – Pete Gallego is D (red seat)

  44. 44
    HRA says:

    It’s very strange to not see one sign or one car bumper sticker with either Obama or Romney as I travel each day through two other towns and almost 40 miles on the thruway to work and back. In 2008 there were quite a few of Obama and McCain signs and stickers.

    I can’t get to saying we have won yet. The voter registration fiasco and other barriers have made me a tad jittery.

    BTW anyone else seen Mittsters 2011 tax return having the USA as a foreign nation? It’s true and it should be asked if he is a USA citizen.

  45. 45
    Schlemizel says:

    There is good news in St. CLoud in that batshit bachman is in a very tight race. Her opponent (Jim Graves:,25,50,100,250,1000&amount=25 )

    may not be all you want in a Dem but that would be a huge upgrade still.
    Have not seen how our Congressman from New Hampshire is doing in MN8 but I have hope there too although the shit patrol has been throwing every turd they have at Rick Nolan ( )

    I believe the No votes will carry the day on the Marriage issue if we do our GOtV but am very worried about the voter ID con. Paper reports we are behind but the trend is in our favor. Gotta keep working everywhere

  46. 46
    JoyfulA says:

    @bcinaz: Pennsylvania counties, via their county nursing homes and community colleges, are setting up to provide valid Voter IDs to all county residents. (The law allows nursing homes and colleges to issue dated picture IDs that qualify.) Montgomery and Allegheny county commissioners have announced plans, and even some Republican-controlled counties are expressing interest.

    Obama’s far enough ahead in the polls to win regardless of voter suppression, but this new spate of IDs should shut down post-Election Day nonsense.

  47. 47
    Steeplejack says:


    Did you get your car at CarMax, by any chance? If you did, they will reimburse you for the cost of an owner’s manual. Just order it from a dealer and take the receipt to CarMax. I did that for my Kia last December. Little-known cool thing.

  48. 48
    Soonergrunt says:

    @var: OK-2 is not blue. The incumbent, Dan Boren, actively campaigned for John McCain in 2008. He’s retiring from the House now because he knows he’s held out long enough, and will be defeated by whichever Republican were to run against him.
    The current candidate, Rob Wallace, is not expected to win, and wouldn’t be anymore a reliable supporter of a Democratic President than Boren.

  49. 49
    Dr. Loveless says:

    The enemy isn’t overconfidence, it’s complacency.

    Personally, I find confidence much more energizing than the lack of it. Maybe it’s because I grew up a Republican and am a convert to the liberal cause like Cole, but I really have no use for all the fretting and Debbie Downerism that Dems are prone to. That stuff just saps me of all motivation to do anything.

    Republicans act like they’re winning even when they aren’t. Democrats act like they’re losing even when they aren’t. Both are just as delusional.

  50. 50
    Amir Khalid says:

    It was recently explained to me — by Mnemosyne, if memory serves — that as a foreigner I cannot donate, or even buy a campaign souvenir because the proceeds are still considered a campaign contribution. (And here I was, hoping for a birth cert mug. Sigh.) But because I do not want to see that arrogant, entitled jerk Mitt become POTUS and screw up my planet, I send my best hopes instead.

    I know this has been mentioned in the threads before, but is it worth a front-page post? It seems like really really poor judgement by the police officer involved, and there’s reason to fear that his Houston PD superiors might just shrug and look away.

  51. 51
    MikeJ says:

    @Dr. Loveless:

    I really have no use for all the fretting and Debbie Downerism that Dems are prone to. That stuff just saps me of all motivation to do anything.


  52. 52
    ruemara says:

    I don’t understand these warnings about overconfidence and concern trollery. Look, America loves a winner. They all want to be on the winning side. The more confident and energized we look, the better. The issue is complacent and stupid. If you have the option to vote absentee, you should do so. You should not be stupid and either; fail to vote while you’re so busy fighting fools on the internet or sending off an incomplete ballot because you only care about the President race. Vote the minute you can and then help others register to vote. While looking fucking happy and confident.

  53. 53
    Eric U. says:

    if you have the patience to program the visor to open your garage door, it is pretty awesome. They seem to open the door from a longer distance. Toyotas have three buttons, the others are for home control using the same protocol. Never looked into that because I’m not sure what else I would control. Maybe the porch light?

  54. 54

    @var: IL-13 should absolutely be included on that list. Gill has a real chance of taking this seat; the district has been redrawn to be far less rural, and the incumbent retired so we’re running against a relative unknown. Gill was up by 6 in the last poll that I know of from August, but of course there were still a lot of undecideds.

  55. 55
    RinaX says:

    I don’t understand these warnings about overconfidence and concern trollery.

    Thank you. If I could I would reach through the screen and slap every single person making a mewling post in this vein. Sack up, ovary up, do whatever you have to do to stop being so goddamn SCARED all the time.

  56. 56
    NCSteve says:

    The dynamic of this race is a familiar one for Obama. His numbers have a floor, Romney’s have a ceiling. His floor is just a tad below Romney’s ceiling. The same dynamic took hold in the 2008 primary and general elections.

    And the thing about this race is that the candidate with a ceiling has lost the ability to win the race out of her or her own efforts. He/she can only win the race if the other guys screws up in a monumental way or if some external force radically transforms the dynamic. A truly horrific gaffe, a really easy-to-understand and extra-stinky scandal, an economic or environmental disaster that occurs at just the right time and whose response the public perceives as having been botched. Something like that.

    Obama can’t coast to victory and neither he nor his supporters can relax, but at this point, he only loses if he fucks up by the numbers.

    By September, McCain knew that’s where he was. Hillary knew the same thing after Pennsylvania. And while that’s a major buzzkill for the team, they both correctly deduced that the only remaining viable strategy was to just to hang on, stay on the air and in the news and position themselves as a viable alternative if lightning struck and a breakout opportunity presented itself.

    In Romneyland, however, this thing is still teetering on the edge of a razor, and if he can just shake this thing and show everybody how good he is and how bad the other guy is, victory is attainable. Which is why he’s ditched campaigning in favor of over-preparing for the debates. He really does think that if he can just turn in a really first rate debate performance that shows his supremacy over that totally incompetent halfwit teleprompter addict who somehow lucked his way into the White House, everyone will flock to him.

    This is where the Romney campaign’s whole “It’s 1980 Again!” mindset is causing them fuck up by the numbers. A debate performance can only turn the tide if people are ready to leave the party with someone other than the one that brung them, and only want some modicum of assurance that they’re not being foolish.

    Contrary to mythology, Reagan did not really clean Carter’s clock at the 1980 debates. All he did was come across as not totally raving insane and that was enough. John Kerry did, in fact, kick George W. Bush’s sorry ass bloody in their debates and it didn’t make a lick of difference to the outcome.

  57. 57
    Tractarian says:

    The two major tracking polls show the race dead even. Nate Silver gives BHO a 77.5% chance of winning. So flip a coin twice. If it comes up tails both times, then practice saying President Romney.

    The point is, if you think Obama’s victory is “inevitable”, then yes, you are overconfident.

    That said, it doesn’t matter if you’re overconfident if you still work, act, and give as if BHO is 5 points behind. Which it appears that you are doing!

  58. 58
    Joel says:

    @Tractarian: Nate’s regressed model has Obama at 77.5%. And that’s figuring in a convention bounce that doesn’t get filtered out for another week (and Nate is walking back the significance of that effect). The now-cast has Obama at >95% which is reflected in the state polls and most national polls. For what it’s worth, the two national polls that show a tie are ones that do not poll cell-phones.

    But I agree – keep working at this! I think the confidence helps, though. People like to back a winning effort.

  59. 59
    pluege says:

    don’t get caught fighting the last war.

    Things are DRASTICALLY different this time. republican efforts to disenfranchise democratic voters are WAY beyond what they’ve been – its a game changer (which is exactly the point). Look for:
    a) confusion at the polls because of republican voter ID laws,
    b) insufficient and failed voting machines at democratic districts
    c) mobs of tea baggers at democratic poling places (bused in by koch’s their ilk) to intimidate voters.

    And the most insidious part of this year’s republican election scammery is that you won’t be able to do anything about it until its too late. republican dishonesty is always one step.

    romney/ryan is a distraction. The outcome of the election will be determined by the success of republicans to disrupt democratic polling locations

  60. 60
    Grover Gardner says:

    The buttons on the visor are called Homelink:

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