The Don Draper Approach To Sequester

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A reporter once informed Cary Grant, the legendary leading man, that a Time Magazine poll found him the man most American men wanted to be. Was Grant surprised?

“No,” he said. “Everybody wants to be Cary Grant. I want to be Cary Grant.”

Don Draper is the new Cary Grant

Who doesn’t want to be like Don Draper? Great looking. Smart. Rich. Beautiful women. Good dad.

But there’s something else that makes Don Draper’s character fantastic. It makes him the quintessential American Man of post-war America.

It’s not his looks or his money.

It’s not his great suits and beautiful women.

It’s a quality that a lot of us need right now, and it’s lacking–big time.

What makes Draper admirable is his unflappable confidence in life.

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

He says it all the time when others around him fall to pieces.

“It’s going to be okay, Bets,” to Betsy.

“Everything’s going to okay,” he tells the kids when Kennedy was assassinated.

Even when Betsy told him she wanted a divorce, he called her and calmly told her, “I hope you get everything you ever wanted.”

And he meant it.

Don Draper wasn’t vindictive or hysterical. He wasn’t happy that his family fell apart, but he wasn’t going to let it ruin his life. Or theirs.

“Everything’s going to be ok.”

Yes, Don gets divorced. Yes, Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Price loses Lucky Strike. Yes, many bad things happen to Don, and most of them he brings upon himself.

But his attitude gets him through. And he always comes out all the better.

“How can you possibly know that?”

Betsy, on the other hand, doesn’t expect things to be ok. She expects everything to fall apart. And, for her, it always does.

Bobby’s birthday party is a disaster. So is her second marriage. And she gets fat. And her kids don’t like her (for good reason). And Don marries a beautiful young woman who’s a better mother than Betsy.

If only Betsy had taken Don’s advice.

“Everything’s going to be okay.”

The President and the press are playing Betsy Francis. They’re telling us that everything’s about to go to hell in a handbasket because of the sequester Obama invented. And it’s all the Republicans’ fault. And the Tea Party’s.

Don’t listen to them. Listen to Don Draper.

Better yet, do as Don would do. Tell yourself and everyone around you, “Everything is going to be ok.”

It will. Nothing’s ever as bad as you think it will be when you think about it.

BONUS: Zen Conservatism: Reclaim your liberty without losing your soul will help. Buy it today.

Why The Sequester Is Worse Now Than It Will Be After It Happens

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Welcome Dr. Gina Show Listeners!

Republicans should announce “the sequester won’t be so bad” and shut up, and science tells us why.

Obama, the Dems, liberal pundits, the press, and even John Boehner are running around yelling about how horrible the sequester will be.

In some deep recesses of our minds, we agree.  “Oh, my God! We’re all going to do die!”

Fear-mongering only works in the future because, in short, nothing is as bad (or as good) as we think it will be when we think about it.

Meet Affective Forecasting and Your Impact Bias

That’s a shorthand explanation of affective forecasting—or predicting how happy or sad something will make us. Marketers and politicians want us to predict our future feelings Dan-Gilbertabout some event and to apply impact bias to that prediction.

Impact bias is the tendency to overestimate how good we’ll feel if we get what we hope for or how bad we’ll feel if we don’t. Here’s a great, short video by Dan Gilbert explaining the importance of affective forecasting.

Obama uses the science of psychology better than anyone, and the Republicans refuse to even consider it a science. This is one of the reasons why Obama beats the GOP at almost every turn.

The Sequester Won’t Be As Bad As Any Alternative

If the Republicans try to strike a deal with Obama, they will do so under the duress of extreme impact bias. In other words, their imaginations will make monsters of the sequester, and their minds will agree to a deal that mostly benefits Obama.

Obama and his advisers study the science of human behavior. Republicans don’t. In every negotiation, Obama has knowledge that Republicans lack – knowledge he uses to take advantage of the GOP.

The losers in these negotiations are the public in general and the young in particular as the GOP trades their future wealth and choices to the President.

So think about something else and let the sequester happen. It won’t be nearly as bad as you think it will when you think about it.

Don’t Expect Boehner To Play The Black Knight

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The GOP didn’t really have a plan in place in case it lost. It certainly didn’t have a plan for getting snotclobbered. And if you try to spin Tuesday’s results as anything less than a good old-fashioned ass-kicking, you’re deluding yourself.

Black-Knight

Republicans Got Creamed

I know Michelle Malkin found 20 things that went right on election night, but there about 60 million things that went wrong. Let’s take a look:

  • Obama was re-elected handily in a terrible economy with American prestige at its lowest level since Carter’s administration
  • Republicans lost ground in the Senate despite a huge number of open seats and unpopular Democrats (McCaskill)
  • Stupid comments by Senate candidates set back the pro-life movement 20 years
  • In Missouri, Republicans lost every statewide race except Lieutenant Governor
  • Liberal ballot initiatives dominated
  • Conservative turnout was low except for Evangelicals
  • Conservative mega-donors broke the bank on this election and came up less than empty

Boehner Told House Republicans There Will Be No Fiscal Cliff Fight

Considering all this, it comes as no surprise that John Boehner told House Republicans that there will be no death match over the Fiscal Cliff.

Their party lost, badly, Mr. Boehner said, and while Republicans would still control the House and would continue to staunchly oppose tax rate increases as Congress grapples with the impending fiscal battle, they had to avoid the nasty showdowns that marked so much of the last two years. (source: NYTimes)

That’s a bitter pill for Tea Partiers and conservatives, but it’s probably unavoidable.

Mitt Romney and many other Republican candidates for federal offices campaigned without any big ideas for people to champion. They made the election about policy differences, and the status quo won.

You can say that bitter fights over debt and budgets are part of that status quo. You’d be missing the point, which is this:

The only card in Boehner’s hand is shutting down the government. Voters—even some who voted for Romney—would see that as a repudiation of the election and the people, not of Obama. Boehner would look like the Black Knight in Monty Python And The Holy Grail.

There’s a chance, of course, that Obama would cave and hand the Republicans a victory. But there’ a good chance the subsequent unemployment, the stock plunge, the recession, and the starvation horror stories would land squarely on Republican shoulders. (Do you think media would see an Obama capitulation as anything but statesmanlike sacrifice to help the most vulnerable?)

Republicans simply won’t take the chance that 2014 will be a referendum on government shutdowns by a party that just got its ass handed to it on Nate Silver platter.

Game Theory and History Help Explain

Here’s a SlideShare I’ve put together to explain the Republican position. I looked back at Reagan’s 1981 budget battle with Congressional Democrats.

Pay attention to how that battle turned out. (Best viewed full screen)

Bottom Line: The Republicans cannot choose a strategy first. They must force Democrats to make the first move.