We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Thompsonís campaign is widely seen as ineffectual ó it allowed a candidate who polled in second place nationally a couple of months ago slip to fifth place. Then he tied in Iowa with a candidate who hardly campaigned there.
Count on voters to decide with their hearts, not with their heads. 2004 was all about momentum vs. organization. 2008 was about candidates of the heart vs. the head. Clinton and Romney had well-reasoned closing arguments centering around their fitness for the office, which should be the bottom line in any normal election. But in Iowa, the pull of identity, of gut decisions, and of emotion, won the day.
Every 16 years--in 1976, 1992 and now in 2008--American voters have seemed less interested in experience and credentials and more interested in a new face unconnected to the current political establishment.
no doubt huckabee running a great campaign and now has ed rollins on board.
I think Fred definitely needs a better publicist because you have to play the game no matter how distasteful. On the Democratic side, Obama will win in New Hamphire as he is a freight train.
Gateway Pundit gives us clear examples of how reporters spin the meaning of data, although it would have better made his point if he could have found the difference in spin coming from a single source -- an example, say, of two AP articles handling comparable data in starkly different ways or two Dan Rather quotes showing different treatment of comparable data.
When it comes to spinning, though, GP's accompanying graphic is a case of the pot meeting the kettle. Graphics are supposed to bring clarity. This one does just the opposite. Never has a difference of 0.0088 per cent looked so disproportionately large. The selected value limits on the Y axis bias the reader toward an impression that the unemployment rate during the Bush years has been markedly lower than it was during the Clinton years.
More problematic is GP's reliance on aggregate figures for the Bush and Clinton presidencies revealing that a blogger accusing the media of bias can be just as guilty of muddying the meaning of data.
Take a look at the yearly unemployment figures since 1992. Look at the rate Clinton inherited (7.49%) and the rate he left to Bush (3.97%). Then look at the rate when Bush arrived (3.97%) and the rate as of December 2007 (5.0%).
You know, the old expression, "there are lies, there are damned lies and there are statistics." GP didn't actually make any dishonest claims in this post, but by collapsing annual data into averages for each president's term, he leaves himself wide open to a charge of hypocrisy on the issue of bias.
Oh, sure. They put the bottom of the left axis at 5.192 to exaggerate the difference. It's one of my pet peeves, although an excellent introduction to how to lie with statistics. It's marketing, not research.
Chuck, I also dislike that type of manipulative exaggeration via the left axis. Everyone else - always watch for it, always, always.
However, Dr. X manipulates his data as well (perhaps unintentionally). Using inauguration dates is a way of manipulating the lower axis of economic graphs. On the day after Clinton's inauguration date, he did not have more influence than Bush 41 on the unemployment rate. The previous president always has an ongoing influence for months afterward. I calculate the crossover point to be a full two years out from election day. http://assistantvillageidiot.blogspot.com/2006/11/two-year-delay.html
Thus, the 2000 3.97 unemployment number is not what Clinton bequeathed to Bush, the 2002 5.78 unemployment is. Bush 41 did not bequeath the 1992 7.49 unemployment, but the 1994 6.10. Momentum applies in economics as well as physics. (Actually, inertia would be a better descriptor, but its use in everyday speech has some opposite meanings to its scientific definition).
Prediction. We are already in a slight downturn, which should bottom out about election time, to the marketing disadvantage of Republicans. But we will already be on the upswing by the time the next president is sworn in. Two years later, that person, Republican or Democrat, will take credit for the "recovery." The economy is on GWB's account until the end of 2010, good or bad.
This two-year delay is exactly a congressional election cycle, which is why it is hard to educate folks about who is doing what to the economy.
Assistant Village Idiot