My Photo

« Hiatus | Main | The Party Of Moral Values Strikes Again »

September 29, 2006

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515c2369e200d834ecbaf269e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Worth Bearing In Mind:

Comments

We need the Senate, yes, but I'm doubtful of your presupposition: that the Democrats = "we" anymore. Because of what we have seen recently, the last few days especially.

hilzoy, who is we? I mean, I know you mean you and me, but what about all the rest of us Americans? Other than most readers of ObWi, that is. What if another unitary executive supreme court justice is exactly what they want? Are they wrong? Or are we?

Jake

Forgive me for posting this twice...

*********
While severely disgruntled and recovering from surgery I heard this great news tonight worth sharing.

Excerpts from The Keystone Poll:

Joe Sestak leads 44-percent to 43-percent among registered voters. The race remains about the same when one considers likely voters: Sestak 45-percent to Weldon’s 44-percent.

In the US Senate race, Democrat Bob Casey leads incumbent Republican US Senator Rick Santorum, 49-percent to 32-percent.

Keystone Poll info available ">http://www.fandm.edu/keystonepoll.xml"> Here and PA 7th District Poll Summary http://edisk.fandm.edu/FLI/keystone/pdf/Key7CD06summary.pdf> Here.

Hilzoy, Jake makes the same point I was going to make.

Many people, in a moment of perceived crisis, want a strong leader. They don't want that person to be handcuffed by a petty Congress.

I am very afraid that is where we are at right now. And Bush is working very hard to make sure that the populace in general perceives this country to be in an existential crisis.

In fact, the language used in Congress this week points that out. Terms like "handcuffed", "limited", "handicapped", etc were used quite freely.

I actually think that if the Republicans were to push for the idea of the Democrats preventing Bush from appointing someone who would not limit his power, they would stand a better chance this fall.

Are they wrong? Or are we?

I would hope that 90%+ of just about any "us" would agree with the old saying that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. If there's any one principle that has been constant throughout history, this is it. I have to wonder if people haven't forgotten this. Maybe they think it's true only when it applies to others.

So IMO any concentration of power, unless it really is needed, is a bad thing. Does anyone think the current concentration is needed? Perhaps so, people have been conditioned to be scared all the time, it seems.

Bush et al have made statements that our greatness is due to our freedoms. IMO that's a small part of it; what really makes us great is the separation of powers - we have tended to not make the big mistakes that have damaged so many other countries. A long-winded way of saying I think (of course) that we are right. Only history will tell, of course, and it would be quite sad if we in fact turned out to be so.

By 'we', I meant the citizens of this country. The rest of the world probably won't appreciate us having a Supreme Court that lets the executive run riot either.

I believe that people who think that we do need such a Supreme Court are wrong. That's why I plan to make my case as well as I can, to as many people as I can, in the runup to the election. Then we'll see.

IntricateH: thanks for posting that; I hope you're OK.

While I agree with hilzoy and Greenwald that picking up Senate seats is important, I think they overrate what will be accomplished, and I think that is the source of much of the despair.

Suppose the Democrats attain a 51-49 majority. Then what? Bush still gets to pick Supreme Court nominees. Will the Democrats fight a bad nominee? We've just seen an inability on the part of Reid to challenge Bush on the detainee bill. Why would a SC nomination fight be different?

In short, I think hilzoy and Greenwald are addressing the wrong problem. Yes, getting a majority in the Senate would be lovely, but if that majority is unable, or unwilling, to stand its ground it's not going to accomplish much.

BY: Controlling the judiciary committee would mean that the Democrats can refuse even to consider the names of unacceptable nominees. Consider it a kind of pocket veto.

Francis,

Yes. But will they?

"but if that majority is unable, or unwilling, to stand its ground it's not going to accomplish much."

In the short run, I don't see what reasonable choice we have. It isn't as if we are going to generate a new slate of Democrats in thirty days. So we do as much as possible to give Reid as much power as we can. Then we watch for a while, and adjust.

Or at least some of us. But I will hold back for a while. There will be much more possible in two years than thirty days.

"if the Republicans were to push for the idea"

That last anti-Roe Justice has to be a subtext,unless the Republicans are totally confidant. SCOTUS always been a major component of Republican campaigns, and I would be shocked if this isn't discussed in churches in close states.

They might not want to nationalize this push for the 5th vote, but I guarantee the hard base is aware.

And finally, an interesting "October Surprise" would be a Stevens retirement, with a nomination in the lame duck. Along with the nuclear option.

Hilzoy, I honestly think that these people have less integrity than you think. I really think that if a Democrat were in office, we would see an end to the ultimate powered Executive. But, yes, we do have to win the presidency.

Bernard,

Granting that electing a Democratic Senate may not change much, our options are somewhat limited. Assuming we're not going to take up Gary Farber's call for overthrowing the government, all we've got left is the ballot box. So we at least try to get some Democrats into power in the hope that, if nothing else, pure partisanship will drive them to fight this administration at every turn...or even at some turns. At this point, I'll take whatever brakes on the Bush administration I can get.

OT: Baghdad locked down. Rumours of planned coup by Iraq military (click video link)

Ara: I don't mean to be making any really major claims about the Democrats' integrity. I think some have it, and some don't. But I do, really, think that winning over one house of COngress will prevent a lot of bad things from happening, and will also cause some good ones.

Consider hearings and subpoena power: the Democrats will probably go after the low-hanging fruit, whether because of a sense that they ought to really nail things down or because of timidity. But there's enough truly outrageous stuff going on that that will, I think, have an impact.

Consider the simple fact that if Democrats win one house, then the people with subpoena power in that house are not subject to Republicans telling them: if you go after X, we will cut off your campaign funds. That in itself would be a welcome change. (Note: I'm not arguing that the Democrats are marvels of integrity here. But assume the worst: if you have two bodies, each of which have been corrupted by different people, then it's a lot less likely that a given corrupter will be able to wander around unexamined and unchecked.

And then, of course, there's the Court. Here there are pocket vetoes, the possibility of peeling off moderate Republicans if need be (their own leadership would have lost a lot of its power to threaten); but there's also the possibility that the nominees themselves would have to be somewhat more moderate, in order to get through. This would also be valuable.

In all this, I am in no way trying to argue that this should be all we try to do; just (partly in response to some stuff I read last night) to say: this would be a bad, bad time to get demoralized, or to decide not to support anyone.

(In other news, Thomas at RedState thinks he can infer that God has nothing to do with anything I write simply from the fact of His perfect goodness. Also, that I have no acquaintance with orthodox theology. And me a kid who spent a large chunk of my adolescence reading Aquinas. Sheesh.)

"Many people, in a moment of perceived crisis, want a strong leader. They don't want that person to be handcuffed by a petty Congress."

Good thing the crisis is only perceived. With almost 3,000 dead at the WTC, I thought there might actually be some kind of real threat for Americans going about their day. I'll sleep much better knowing it was only my perception.

Afghanistan was the good war the everyone at Obisidian Wings really supports Bush on, right?

http://aljazeero.net

Al-Zawahiri also urged Muslims to launch a holy war against proposed UN peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region.

Just curious, but is the genocide that AQ supports a matter of perception too?

http://aljazeera.net

Al-Qaeda is to shift its operations to the Gulf and Israel, says Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama Bin Laden's deputy, in a new tape aired on the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Al-Zawahiri, viewed as the leading strategist in the al-Qaeda network, said that Western powers should not be concerned with their troops in Iraq and Afghanistan as they are "already doomed".

Hmmm... sort of makes one wonder where they would focus their efforts if it wasn't for our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Obviously not on American soil since its just a perceived crisis.

Osama Bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network have recently taken credit for the attacks, in which almost 3,000 people died.


In his internet message last month, al-Zawahiri called for attacks on the West, urging strikes similar to those against New York, London and Madrid.

Obviously, they didn't get the memo that it was all Bush's fault.

For some crazy reason, I actually perceive their threats of wanting to kill Americans where and when they can as somewhat of a crisis.

It's nice to know that its all my perception.

To the extent that Bush makes this crisis to be, yes it is just perceived.

BTW, at no time will you find anyone here who views terrorism and the AQ types as of no concern.

A threat to the continued existence of this country? Not really.

And yes, I know, DNFTT.

bril--- Everyone here is concerned with terrorism and AQ.

Last time I checked Ayman al-Zawahiri was still in AFGHANISTAN where we have practically no troops because of the war in Iraq.

Did Bush miss that memo too?

Bril, what in your comment is supposed to make us believe that Bush is making us safer?

No one here has said that terrorism is not a problem. In fact some of us have said that it's a bigger problem than it used to be, thanks to Bush's decision to invade Iraq and his role as the world's biggest PR agent for Al Qaeda. All people have said is that, unlike the Soviet Union during the Cold War or perhaps the Nazis and Japanese in WW2, terrorism is not a threat to the existence of the United States.

The fact that you ignore what people say and instead persist in treating people here as parody liberals of the sort that apparently live in your imagination explains why people treat you as a troll.

Hilzoy,

Can you link to the thread where Thomas determines this? I went hunting, but I got so mad and so sick to my stomach at the unbridled idiocy that I wasn't able to look for long lest I smash my monitor.

-"all we've got left is the ballot box"

No, no. There are so many more stronger options. Remember the Danish!!! :)

Andrew: Assuming we're not going to take up Gary Farber's call for overthrowing the government, all we've got left is the ballot box.

Actually, what you have left is the Diebold machine. I'm aware that you're not prepared to recognise the fact that the 2000 and 2004 elections were rigged: what will convince you that the 2006 elections are rigged - in time, that is, to protest the fraudulent results?

You can support Black Box Voting, the official consumer protection group for elections, though.

Whether you live in Ohio or not, this site is worth looking at.

Gore won in 2000. Nobody knows who really won in 2004, but the ordinary election check of exit polls says it was Kerry. The US doesn't have the ballot box any more - not unless enough people are willing to actively defend it and actively challenge fraudulent electoral results.

In other news, Thomas at RedState thinks he can infer that God has nothing to do with anything I write simply from the fact of His perfect goodness.

So he's retarded and a crappy Christian to boot. What else is new?

simply from the fact of His perfect goodness.

Thomas' or God's?

I am more than willing to protest election fraud I can prove. But exit polls are not proof, at best they're indicators.

Which is not to say I'm overly confident in any electoral process that doesn't use paper ballots. Far from it. But what I think too many people fail to realize is that failed attempts come at a cost. Because there are so many people like Jes who are already claiming that the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen without proof, it raises the threshold of proof for real fraud. It's the boy who cried wolf all over again; so many people on the left have been screaming about election fraud without sufficient proof over the past six years that all they've succeeded in doing is ensuring that claims of electoral fraud will be ignored by a growing fraction of the electorate because they'll assume that it's just more talk.

If there's fraud going on, I want to end it. I want to make sure that our system, as terribly flawed as it is, has a chance to work. But we're not going to fix the problem without a smoking gun, and shooting in the dark based on vague suspicions only raises the burden of proof for convincing people.

Apparently someone is under the misimpression that every voting precinct in the United States uses the same voting apparatus. Someone might be advised to learn a little bit more about the United States, since she gets stuff like this wrong on a nearly daily basis, but alas.

Andrew,

When was the last presidential election prior to 2004 in which the outcome of the exit polling differed from the outcome of the election?

Steward,

Since I'm sure you wouldn't ask the question if you didn't know the answer, why don't you spare me the silly games and simply make your point.

Andrew: But exit polls are not proof, at best they're indicators.

Quite. Then the strong indicator is: there was electoral fraud benefiting George W. Bush in the 2004 election, and since no formal investigation into that electoral fraud was run, it can be assumed that the people who very likely got away with it last time will do the same thing this time. The stakes are high, and they can have confidence that most people will shrug it off, as they shrugged off the electoral fraud of 2000 and 2004.

Lurking: Someone might be advised to learn a little bit more about the United States, since she gets stuff like this wrong on a nearly daily basis, but alas.

Ah, Lurking. Well, actually, I am aware that the Republican party has used multiple means of rigging elections - I spent quite some time looking at the rigged election in Florida in 2000, which was not rigged by Diebold machines, after all. But Diebold machines unquestionably provide an easy, convenient, and untraceable method of rigging elections: they were built with fewer safeguards against fraud than a one-armed bandit in Vegas. To me, "They have Diebold" is a convenient, three word summary of the fact that the Republicans presently in power will certainly not permit the US electorate to remove their control of the country. And since they got away with it for three elections*, why in the world would anyone imagine they won't do it a fourth time?

*2002 election, with less publicity than 2000 or 2004, also had some damned odd election results.

Jesurgislac,

You're going further than the available evidence can prove there. At best one can throw out that hypothesis, but it's going to take a little more than some exit polls to convince anyone that an investigation is even warranted. As Mark Blumenthal pointed out (starting here), the discrepancy in the exit polling can be explained without having to rely on election fraud.

I realize that it is an article of faith for you that fraud has already occurred, but if you really believe that, you should at least consider the possibility that screaming those conclusions to the heavens in the absence of proof harms, rather than helps, your case.

Consider: if you are correct, than you are talking about a huge problem, the theft of consecutive presidential elections. If that is in fact what occurred, then it is extremely important to expose the problem to prevent the problems from continuing. But the average American assumes that the election was generally on the up-and-up, understanding that there will always be issues on the margin. As Blumenthal points out, we start from the null hypothesis that the election was not rigged, and proving otherwise must meet an extremely high standard. When you run about claiming that you 'know' that the Republicans did thus-and-such, but are unable to substantiate those claims, you undermine the very case you are making, because people then will dismiss your claims in the future because you have demonstrated that your prior claims were, at the least, unproven, even if your new claims are impeccably sourced.

I understand that you believe that the last three elections have been rigged. But if you're actually interested in fixing the problem, making the claim without the accompanying proof will only make it harder to fix it.

Remember the Danish!!!

I'm back on Atkins, and so this strategy won't work for me. I am a little unclear on how it would work for anyone, to be honest, although I am certainly in favor of danish, bismarcks, and, especially, chocolate dipped crullers.

Sounds like they still have French crullers, which seem to be what I thought crullers were (light (relatively), eggy-tasting, sort of ridged donuts). I've never been aware of a stick-like thing called a cruller, but I'm not a donut connoisseur.

CharleyCarp,

Hahahahaha! Especially your second post. If I'd said "Shipley's Do-Nuts" only Texans might have known what I was talking about.

"I am a jelly doughnut!"

I've never had a cruller, but someday I want to. It sounds filling, stodgy, greasy, and unhealthy. Perfect.

However, this morning I had a pain au raisin with my cappuccino. It was also good.

Don't you mean Freedom crullers?

"making the claim without the accompanying proof will only make it harder to fix it."

Andrew, there is certainly a lot of argument out there, including a Chris Hitchens column about Ohio and several statistical studies. Now at what point the arguments become proof (or proof that the shenanigans were enough to determine the result), or interesting, or suspicious enough
to warrant further investigation or even discussion is a matter of tactics and taste.

But Jes is not making her claim in a vacumn or totally without support.
...
But that is not what I am here for. Even even further OT, and since hilzoy is the closest thing to a doctor I know on the web, or has access etc...

I swear "etiosis" is a real word.

And I am probably going back on Atkins tomorrow.

bob,

I am not arguing that Jes' claims are wholly without merit. Only that the available data is insufficient to support her claims to the level required to generate belief in the general population. And until we can provide that level of proof, claims that go beyond the available evidence tend to undermine rather than support movement to reform the process.

A Google image search for "cruller" yields more "French" crullers than the other kind, and the only photo in the Wikipedia article is of the French variety, so I guess I'm not so horribly out of touch with the donutosphere.

Andrew, I realise it's an article of faith with you that US elections are honest and that no evidence exists to prove otherwise. I further realise, that being so, there is no real point right now in repeatedly pointing out that the 2006 election is as unlikely to be honest as Dunkin' Donuts is to resurrect the cruller. Come November 2006, when the Republicans once more take both Houses, I do have some hopes that people will begin to think about their track record of malfeasance.

FWIW, I agree with pretty much everything Andrew's written in this thread. I'd also ask that this thread be kept as free as possible of suggestions that these midterm elections will be stolen. One thing at a time, folks.

I realise it's an article of faith with you that US elections are honest and that no evidence exists to prove otherwise.

That's an unbelievably stupid statement. I had thought better of you than that. But you demonstrate why the Republicans win: because they try to convince the otherside to vote for them, rather than insulting them. Well done. I'm sure Karl Rove is proud of you.

Andrew: Don't you mean Freedom crullers?

It looked like this (before I ate it) but the available data is insufficient to support my claims that such pastries exist to the level required to generate belief in pain aux raisin in the general population of the United States. And until I can provide that level of proof, a claim that I had one with my cappuccino tends to undermine rather than support movement to reform US pastries.

Or so I understand from your comments upthread.

Andrew: That's an unbelievably stupid statement. I had thought better of you than that.

At least you recognize it's unbelievably stupid when it's said back to you, even if not when you say that kind of thing yourself.

Very cool about Katherine. They even said "Obsidian Wings" on the air ;)

"...level required to generate belief in the general population"

My guess is that the general population is even more cynical about the political process than most participants in the blogosphere, and if you were to poll about "elections being rigged" ... :)

Never mind. I don't disagree. To go kinda Yglesian (I claim coinage) arguments about election reform should be based on the concept that election reform, easy clean verifiable voting, is a good thing in itself and need no historical support other than non-partisan inefficiencies and failures.

Looks like a cinnamon bun, Jes, or possibly a sticky bun, but I'm not sure what I'd call it if it didn't have cinnamon and wasn't sticky. Definitely not "pain aux raisin" (and shouldn't that be "pain aux raisins"?). Princess Leia hair?

bob,

I concur (both about the cynicism of the electorate and the Yglesian strategy). And I think that's where money could be made in trying to at least improve the current system.

OK, I confess: I've always preferred the French cruller.

I've no doubt that there was cheating in Ohio in '04, especially in setting up the infrastructure, and there's no way to fix those things without getting control of the relevant state agencies. One can't count on the likes of Blackwell or Harris (to look back a little further) to police themselves. Bigger culprits played a more important role in both presidential elections, though: Nader in 2000 and Jesus (because, famously, He Hates F*gs) in many states, including Ohio, in 2004. It'd be nice to keep both of them off the ballot, but it's not to be: JC is pushing his hate agenda in several states again this fall.

Andrew,

I don't know the answer, but then again I am not a lawyer. But according to Dick Morris, these things are rarely if ever wrong and I'll quote:


Exit polls are almost never wrong. They eliminate the two major potential fallacies in survey research by correctly separating actual voters from those who pretend they will cast ballots but never do and by substituting actual observation for guesswork in judging the relative turnout of different parts of the state.

So reliable are the surveys that actually tap voters as they leave the polling places that they are used as guides to the relative honesty of elections in Third World countries. When I worked on Vicente Fox’s campaign in Mexico, for example, I was so fearful that the governing PRI would steal the election that I had the campaign commission two U.S. firms to conduct exit polls to be released immediately after the polls closed to foreclose the possibility of finagling with the returns. When the polls announced a seven-point Fox victory, mobs thronged the streets in a joyous celebration within minutes that made fraud in the actual counting impossible.

But this Tuesday, the networks did get the exit polls wrong. Not just some of them. They got all of the Bush states wrong. So, according to ABC-TV’s exit polls, for example, Kerry was slated to carry Florida, Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa, all of which Bush carried. The only swing state the network had going to Bush was West Virginia, which the president won by 10 points.

To screw up one exit poll is unheard of. To miss six of them is incredible. It boggles the imagination how pollsters could be that incompetent and invites speculation that more than honest error was at play here.

I am not arguing that Jes' claims are wholly without merit. Only that the available data is insufficient to support her claims to the level required to generate belief in the general population.

Reminds me of the tobbaco companies arguments

Correlation is not proof of causation, and tobacco is not addictive...

And fourty years later the tobbaco are still marketing & selling their poison.

Amazing what can be done with a smart team of lawyers and lobbyist.

When you see that kind of correlation, you quit smoking...


But If you are right and there was no fraud, then my opinion of the American Public will have to be revised downward.

But you demonstrate why the Republicans win: because they try to convince the otherside to vote for them, rather than insulting them.

That was the old way, before polling showed that the swing vote wasn't really a swing, and that appeal to the base, with strong GOTV, was a better way. And what better way to appeal to the base than to argue that the other side is Satan? (Or Hitler, as the case may be.)

Princess Leia hair?

Hm. Come to that, they are shaped rather like Princess Leia hair. They are also shaped rather like cinnabons, only generally about half the height and not nearly as sticky. It's a light sweet bread dough mix enriched with butter, like a croissant dough, but rolled into a snail shape with raisins and some kind of sweet glaze between the loops of dough. It is particularly excellent for eating with coffee, because one can (if one is that kind of person) easily twist off dunkable-sized bits and dunk them.

After ten years on and off Atkins, I hardly even glance at pastries. Meat/Fish, Salads, and fresh fruit has become a habit. My biggest problem is sugar in my coffee, and I drink a lot of coffee.

And crunches. I hate crunches.

Steward,

I'd suggest that you read Mark Blumenthal's rather exhaustive piece on exit polling. While Morris certainly is an experienced spin doctor, I think I'll take the word of a guy who actually understands polling and statistics to a guy who knows which way the wind is blowing.

Charley,

Yet when I have political arguments with Republicans, they are far more likely to engage my arguments than to distort what I've said and engage in mindless garbage, which is what I see all too often from those on the other side. It's one of the reasons that, despite my distaste for all that the Bush administration has done over the past six years, there's no way I could ever be a Democrat.

I'm mostly with Andrew on this. It seems to me the argument for paper ballots (or at least against unauditable voting machines) can be made on the basis of transparency, reliability, and in some cases expense. The voting process needs to be something anyone can understand without having a computer science degree (and it seems most people with CS degrees are opposed to e-voting anyway). There must be something for poll watchers to watch, which there's isn't if everything happens in the machines. The added complication of electronic voting makes it more likely that glitches will occur that cause the entire system to break down (as we saw in Maryland this month). We will never have people with enough training at all the polls to handle problems with the machines. There have been plenty of examples of incorrect results coming out of the machines, but we can really only notice the ones where the results are so far off that they're impossible. With no paper trail, there's no way to recover from such problems, or even know when they occur.

These and other points can be made without raising the issue of fraud, and mentioning fraud (at least fraud that has already occurred, rather than the possibility) may cause people to ignore the rest of what you're saying.

Andrew, I'm not asking you to vote for me. Or Jes. Or even Hil (although if she runs for something for which you may vote, I'd recommend doing so). Or to judge your candidates by how I act, Jes acts, etc. I don't think that's unreasonable.

Yet when I have political arguments with Republicans, they are far more likely to engage my arguments than to distort what I've said and engage in mindless garbage, which is what I see all too often from those on the other side.

I've no doubt that that is your experience, but two points: first, that's a far far from universal experience; and second, I suspect there's a fair amount of selection bias in that observation.

Andrew, are you saying you could never be a Democrat based on arguments you've had with Democrats? "Despite" your distate for everything Bush has done?

With all respect (and I do respect you), wouldn't it be better to base your vote on actual policies, and actions, rather than on you most enjoy debating with?

Oy.

That should read "rather than on whom you most enjoy debating with."

Yet when I have political arguments with Republicans, they are far more likely to engage my arguments than to distort what I've said and engage in mindless garbage, which is what I see all too often from those on the other side.
All I can say is the Republicans you've been arguing with must be really different from a lot of the ones I've encountered, and a lot of the ones in Congress, and a lot of the ones commenting and posting on blogs.

Have you not noticed what even the elected ones are saying about the detainee or eavesdropping legislation, or anything else related to the War on Terror? Surely that's the most prominent current example of the sort of distortion and mindless garbage you're talking about.

But no, those nasty Democrats are worse (and Michael Moore is fat).

"Congress" should really have been "Congress and the administration".

bob: After ten years on and off Atkins, I hardly even glance at pastries.

Atkins is evil. It must be stopped.

(Fortunately for all Atkins lovers, it's a long way down my list of Evil Things That Must Be Stopped, and I'm unlikely to get to it any time in the next ten years. When I do, however, the wretched hive of scum and villainy will, will, will be ranted about. A lot.)

Charley,

I will vote based on my own impression of what I think is best. In November, I'll be casting my ballot for the Democratic representative (and that might actually matter, as despite the heavy gerrymandering, apparently the Republican running in my district has managed to make it a competive race).

Anarch,

I have no doubt of that. I'm an unrepresentative sample of one. But then, aren't we all? I suspect that my experience, while far from universal, is also not wholly unique.

Casey,

Grant me a bit of hyperbole. Actually, I could never be a Democrat because they have too many positions I can't agree with. People like Jes just give it a little frisson of pleasure. Further, I simply stated that I couldn't be a Democrat. I can still vote for them.

All,

The larger point here is pretty simple: man is an emotional being. As nice as it would be if we could simply lay out the facts and wait for people to do the right thing, that's never going to happen. People will vote based on the interaction of their thoughts, their emotions, and the facts. (Ethos, pathos, logos, if you will.) I am here posting a Obsidian Wings because the site's purpose is to provide a cross-section of beliefs, and we're light on the conservative side. So here I am as a representative of that side, in part, and yet I am highly amenable to the arguments that are being laid out here against the Bush administration and the Republican party. And yet even when I try to engage, I get people like Jes who misrepresent me at every turn, to the point where if the Republicans do hold the Congress in November, while I'll be very unhappy, I'll probably also consider the silver lining that at least it will make Jes unhappy. Wholly illogical, but that's emotion for you.

As I've said, I won't let that emotion change my vote in this case. But I'll wager everyone isn't that way, and I will guarantee that some people of the right who are uncomfortable with what's happening will find themselves driven back into the arms of the right by Jes and people like her who seek to berate and belittle rather than debate. (Not her intent? Perhaps, but that is certainly how it looks from this side.)

Elections are won on the margin. Get one person in 500 to change their vote and you can flip an election (setting aside issues of fraud for the moment). My goal is, and will continue to be if I choose to stay here, to point out to those on the left side of the fence how their arguments may be perceived by those on the right, and just maybe to convince a few people to change the thrust of the argument to make it a little more effective.

I'm extremely unhappy with the direction my country is going. I want to see it change. So when I see people doing things that are counterproductive, I'm going to draw attention to it. And Jes' tactics fit the bill perfectly.

KC,

Thank you for an excellent example of what I'm talking about.

KCinDC: These and other points can be made without raising the issue of fraud, and mentioning fraud (at least fraud that has already occurred, rather than the possibility) may cause people to ignore the rest of what you're saying.

I dunno. The problem with that strategy has been that it means every election is approached as if all previous elections were honest. There can be no discussion of previous fraudulent strategies to rig the vote if, well, we are not allowed to refer to previous fraudulent strategies.

It hardly seems impossible to point out that, regardless of whether or not Diebold machines have been used to perpetrate election fraud, they could be and therefore we should act to ensure that they are not. Whether you believe you're acting to prevent election fraud from occurring, or acting to prevent election fraud from occurring again, seems to me you're both looking to make a lot of the same changes.

Andrew: I'm extremely unhappy with the direction my country is going. I want to see it change.

I'm extremely unhappy with the direction your country has gone. I want to see it change. A basic minimum requirement for change is honest elections, where people actually get the candidate they voted for: a basic basic minimum requirement for honest elections is that people recognise fraud when it happens, and try to stop it happening again. So far (judging by a small sample) it appears that most Americans are not willing to acknowledge that fraudulent elections have happened... which means that fraudulent elections will happen again.

Andrew: Whether you believe you're acting to prevent election fraud from occurring, or acting to prevent election fraud from occurring again, seems to me you're both looking to make a lot of the same changes.

True. But you would need massive changes to the electoral system in the US to prevent the kind of fraud that occurred in Florida in 2000 - the institution of an independent federal body with authority over all elections, and the authority to order a complete hand recount of all votes cast in the case of a narrow or suspicious election result, for one. If people in the US are convinced that their electoral system is honest, and naturally enough the ruling party is eager to create an institution which would allow elections to remove them from power, where is the impetus to reform elections coming from? Not from above, nor from below.

You are making the perfect the enemy of the good. As bob noted upthread, there are plenty of people who may not believe that prior elections have been rigged who still think it's a good idea to make structural changes to reduce the possibility of future elections being rigged. Even if we can only induce some incremental change, that makes it more difficult for people to rig future elections and increases the chances of them being caught in the act.

Andrew,


Analysis of the 2004 Presidential Election Exit Poll Discrepancies

What is the Main Cause of the Discrepancies between the Official Election Results and the Exit Polls? The exit pollster of record for the 2004 election was the Edison/Mitofsky1 consortium. Their national poll results projected a Kerry victory by 3.0%, whereas the official count had Bush winning by 2.5%.2 Several methods have been used to estimate the probability that the national exit poll results would be as different as they were from the national popular vote by random chance. These estimates range from 1 in 16.5 million to 1 in 1,2403. No matter how one calculates it, the discrepancy cannot be attributed to chance. Edison/Mitofsky disavowed the results of their own poll, saying that the data cannot be construed as evidence that the official vote count was corrupted, and hypothesized that Kerry voters were more amenable to completing the poll questionnaire than Bush voters. However, Edison/Mitofsky's own exit poll data does not support their theory that a higher exit poll response rate by Kerry voters accounted for the discrepancies between the exit polls and the presidential election results. Using Edison/Mitofsky’s data tables we demonstrate that the “reluctant Bush responder” hypothesis is implausible because it is inconsistent with the combination of high response rates and high discrepancy rates among the precincts with the highest percentage for Bush. There are Three Primary Explanations for the Discrepancies: 1. Statistical Sampling Error – or Chance We agree with Edison/Mitofsky that the first possible cause, random statistical sampling error, can be ruled out. 2. Inaccurate Exit Polls This is the theory that Edison/Mitofsky put forth. They hypothesize that the reason the exit polls were so biased towards Kerry was because Bush voters were more reluctant to respond to exit polls than Kerry voters. Edison/Mitofsky did not come close to justifying this position, however, even though they have access to the raw, unadjusted, precinct-specific data set. The data that Edison/Mitofsky did offer in their report show how implausible this theory is. 3. Inaccurate Election Results Edison/Mitofsky did not even consider this hypothesis, and thus made no effort to contradict it. Some of Edison/Mitofsky's exit poll data may be construed as affirmative evidence for inaccurate election results. We conclude that the hypothesis that the voters’ intent was not accurately recorded or counted cannot be ruled out and needs further investigation.


The Gun is Smoking: 2004 Ohio Precinct-level Exit Poll Data Show ...

Ohio's exit poll discrepancy pattern is consistent with a hypothesis of outcome-altering vote miscounts primarily favoring Bush.44 In other words, Ohio's exit poll discrepancies are consistent with the hypothesis that Kerry would have won Ohio's electoral votes if Ohio's official vote counts had accurately reflected voter intent. The patterns of Ohio's exit poll discrepancies are similar to the patterns in the national exit poll sample shown in the January 19, 2005 Edison/Mitofsky (E/M) report and discussed in earlier USCV reports.45


Amazing the number of people with PHD's behind their names who are willing to come out and say that the 2004 election was stolen.

Steward,

And yet both of those are addressed in the Blumenthal study I referenced. Amazing your ability to elide that little detail.

Andrew, I can't argue your point. People do make decisions based on emotions, their likes and dislikes.

Nor can I argue your point about the effects of hectoring people. "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" is an enduring truth. Or, as a character in one of my favorite novels said, '"Do you think you can 'Go F*ck Yourself!' people into enlightenment?"

Thing is, you'll generally have more pleasant conversations with people who share your party affiliation. Arguing with other Republicans stays civil because, after all, you're starting from a shared affinity, with a whole raft of assumed points in common.

You've probably heard about, and even read, John Cole's cri de coeur post about how he's given up on the GOP as it currently exists. I don't think he's changing his party affiliation, but he sure as hell isn't going to vote for any Republicans anytime soon.

At this point, I really don't care what you think about monetary policy, or welfare, or environmental issues, or regulation of commerce, or job safety, or food safety, or discrimination issues, or whatever it is that you find so distasteful about the Democratic Party.

At this point, all I care about is getting rid of the GOP majority in Congress and making sure a Republican is not in the WH after January 2009. Halting and reversing the effects of 6 years of GOP malfeasance and ruin is the only priority at this point.

You want to be a Republican, fine. Just don't vote for any of 'em.

Andrew -- People will vote based on the interaction of their thoughts, their emotions, and the facts. (Ethos, pathos, logos, if you will.)

Sounds like what I tell my kids in Composition. One note here -- the question of ethos is not just internal to the listener/reader. The person making the argument also creates an ethos for himself out of his words. It's not just your ethos that you are responding with, but your reception of the speaker/writer's persona as well. As I've pointed out here before, studies show that we are wired to be more critical of Them than of Us. Our biological tendency to uncritically accept a writer's ethos when it coincides with our own and react strongly against it when it does not severely skews our reception of both pathos and logos.

As bob noted upthread, there are plenty of people who may not believe that prior elections have been rigged who still think it's a good idea to make structural changes to reduce the possibility of future elections being rigged.

Those will not include the people who are in power as a result of the elections being rigged, and who - so long as they can continue rigging elections without being caught - will remain in power. If the presumption is that elections are not rigged, where - again - is the impetus to come from to institute electoral reform against the will of what is therefore presumed to be the lawfully-elected government? It's a truism: you can't fix a problem until you first acknowledge there is a problem.

Actually, I haven't been a Republican in over a decade. There are other options in this country, you know. ;)

Andrew: to the point where if the Republicans do hold the Congress in November, while I'll be very unhappy, I'll probably also consider the silver lining that at least it will make Jes unhappy. Wholly illogical, but that's emotion for you.

Well, yeah. I have to admit that being realistic now about the Republicans retaking both Houses in November at least - wholly illogically - means that when they do, I can at least have the sorry pleasure of saying "I Told You So".

Except I'll likely be too depressed to enjoy it, and won't bother. By the time I recover from depression, everyone will once more have pretended that the election wasn't fraudulent, and argue that all evidence that it was rigged should just be ignored for the sake of peace.

nous,

An excellent point. It's an issue I run into constantly here, where something I say that I consider wholly innocuous is seen in a wholly different light by those who politics skew differently from mine. And doubtless I interpret many things people offer incorrectly because of my perception of those people.

Jes,

My point is that you can point out that there is a problem (flaws in the electoral system) without having to demonstrate to everyone's satisfaction that the problem has led to the consequences we're trying to avoid (rigged elections). It's a lot easier to show that the flaws could cause problems than to show that they have caused problems, plus there's a lot less emotional import to trying to convince someone that a Diebold voting machine might be used to alter the results of an election than trying to get someone to concede that it has been so used.

And, in retrospect, I doubt I'll feel the slightest bit of schadenfreude if the Republicans prevail in November, even if you do annoy me tremendously. (And, I should note, you should take that as a compliment; if I didn't respect you, you wouldn't annoy me.) Because, and this is more annoying, believe me, I'm stuck with the knowledge that the annoying people are right. Try living with that sometime. ;)

Jes, please, for the love of God: stop. We get it. At this point you're not convincing anyone and, frankly, you're pissing off people like me who largely agree with you. Just let this one go for now, ok?

Andrew, I apologize for the "Michael Moore" bit, which was rude, especially if you're not familiar with the shorthand. But I'm afraid I don't see the distortion or mindless garbage in my comment. I think that what you call distortion is often simply misunderstanding, and I don't see any way of interpreting what you said as meaning something other than that Democrats are worse (in that one respect), and that comments by Jes, and me, and whoever else are more important in shaping your views of a party that some of those people don't even belong to than distortion and mindless garbage (that link is of course only the tip of the iceberg) by people who are actually elected members of another party are in shaping your views of it.

In re: -"But you demonstrate why the Republicans win: because they try to convince the otherside to vote for them, rather than insulting them."

In a system with two political parties that are almost indistinguishable from each other (in practice if not in rhetoric), one party can win by promoting fear and loathing and appealing to their base. Hasn’t this been the tactic? I think Gore is trying it out now with environmental issues.

Andrew,

I was going to ask you some questions to explain the quote above, but I see that you have. Thanks.

Jes,

Up until 2:16 I was siding with you on the “article of faith” issue (“faith”, of course, being the operative word, and I didn’t think your argument was based on such). But your conclusion that because fraud has happened means that it will happen again is not logical, or, along the lines of what Andrew was trying to point out earlier, not supported by data.

Otto: But your conclusion that because fraud has happened means that it will happen again is not logical

If we consider each incident as unrelated to each previous incident, that's true. If you throw dice, each time, each throw is unrelated to the previous throws. You may have thrown a double-six three times in a row, but that doesn't mean the next throw is any more or less likely to be two sixes or snake-eyes.

But, when tracking a pattern of criminal behavior, the fact that someone got away unpunished and enjoyed the rewards of a crime makes it more likely that they will commit that crime again. And when there is a general pattern of people behaving criminally and getting away with it, even people who would ordinarily be honest may commit crimes because they see other people doing it and enjoying the rewards.

It's not logic, otto, but it's human nature.

KC,

I shall try to be more precise: I am not going to allow the perceived insults I suffer from Democrats to change how I vote. And as I noted in responding to nous, I'm sure that the misinterpretations inherent in conversing with people whose outlooks on life are markedly different to my own probably sometimes creates the impression of deliberate distortions where, in fact, only misunderstanding exists.

As I also noted above, I'm already not a Republican, and I have no intention of returning to that fold. Still, when I deal with Republicans, I am able to converse with them in ways that are impossible with a disturbingly large number of Democrats. One can be told that one is in favor of killing thousands of people, etc., only so many times before you get the message: you're not welcome here. I have no doubt that many former Democrats would have similar feelings about the Republican party, were the situation reversed. My point is not that I'm going to stay in the Republican party despite its evident flaws; as I've noted on numerous occasions, I'm not a Republican and haven't been one for more than a decade. But it seems clear I'll never be a Democrat, either.

The reason I brought the issue up, however, was to point out that such things tend to drive me away from a place that clearly needs my help as dearly as I need its. Whatever I think of the Democratic Party, it's the only game available to derail what's happening in Washington at the moment, so I have a rather strong reason to want to see them do well at the polls in November. And the Democrats need to gather votes to themselves if they're to pull that off. Yet I often get the impression that some Democrats would rather lose and stay pure than to reach out to people like me. I find that utterly human, but quite frustrating, as it reduces the odds of the Democrats emerging from the current electoral cycle with a victory in their pocket.

The WWDTM audio is up now in case Hilzoy or someone wants to make a post about it. It's the "Who's Carl This Time?" segment, about 45 seconds in.

Yet I often get the impression that some Democrats would rather lose and stay pure than to reach out to people like me.

Ain’t that the truth. My experience is that there is little interest in aligning only on specific issues. To be welcome with open arms you pretty much need to:
-Renounce the Republican party and everyone even slightly right of center.
-Admit your personal responsibility for the Iraq war and perform appropriate public flagellation.
-Accept the entire platform. You can’t just take a plank or two – it has to be lock, stock, and barrel.

In general I will never be in agreement with Democrats on domestic policies. I could be in agreement and would even consider voting for a Dem based on foreign policy – but there is no there there.

It really is a shame that there is pretty much no chance for a third party in this country…

I heard that in the car a couple of hours ago and nearly ran off the road. Has that quote gotten a lot of play in the blogosphere or does someone on the staff read this blog?

What's really depressing is that the woman being asked what the quote refers to has absolutely no idea.

OCS, what exactly are you proposing that gets turned down? Are you saying you're prepared to vote for a Democrat whose domestic policies you don't agree with? Or only a Democrat who renounces the domestic policies of his/her party?

OCSteve,

I should note that a sizable part of the problem is the atmosphere of extreme partisanship that we have in this country today. And while I'd be remiss in my duties as gadfly not to note that the Democrats' hands are not clean in this area, I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that the Republicans' tactics over the past six years have played no small part in poisoning the atmosphere for people looking to reach across the aisle in either direction.

OCSteve: It really is a shame that there is pretty much no chance for a third party in this country…

I totally agree with you. And with that agreement, can we have an open thread to discuss breakfast pastries?

-Admit your personal responsibility for the Iraq war and perform appropriate public flagellation.

Since the people who voted for Gore & Kerry were not responsible for putting Bush in the White House, who is responsible for the war?

OCSteve: Admit your personal responsibility for the Iraq war and perform appropriate public flagellation.

If public flagellation turns you on. Okay, how about a thread on kinky sex? (Or something?

Are you saying you're prepared to vote for a Democrat whose domestic policies you don't agree with?

Yes. If they were right, IMO, on foreign policy. Right now, foreign policy trumps domestic. I can live with tax increases if it goes to supporting the troops and winning this thing. Something needs to be done about Iran and “head in sand” as a foreign policy won’t do. If you get the WoT thing right, I will suspend any domestic disagreements for the duration.

Frankly on abortion etc. given my choice it is a state’s rights issue. But I can put all that on the back-burner for a few years. Give me a Dem candidate I can vote for…

And while I'd be remiss in my duties as gadfly not to note that the Democrats' hands are not clean in this area, I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that the Republicans' tactics over the past six years have played no small part in poisoning the atmosphere for people looking to reach across the aisle in either direction.

No argument.

Since the people who voted for Gore & Kerry were not responsible for putting Bush in the White House, who is responsible for the war?

Me. Personally. Apparently.

Got to go - don't mean to do a drive-by but I am taking my lovely wife out for dinner. That ranks a little higher than hanging around to respond. Tomorrow...

-Renounce the Republican party and everyone even slightly right of center.

Right now, I'd agree on the renouncing of the Republican Party although in a pinch just renouncing the leadership would do. And given who they are right now, I'd be right. As for everyone "even slightly right of center" that'll depend heavily on where you regard the center as lying. If you go by the "center" of the public discourse, damn right -- because the center has shifted so far to the right of what I'd call the true center of American politics (or at least its erstwhile center).

-Admit your personal responsibility for the Iraq war and perform appropriate public flagellation.

Many liberals don't require this; I do, but simply because I believe in atonement for one's sins. The measure of "flagellation" I'd require on this issue depends on how much one abetted the Bush Administration in their depravities. Andrew, for example, was a war supporter but a) has publically declared the error of his ways, b) has clearly thought about what he got wrong, c) is clearly intending to change his actions, and d) AFAIK never tried to shut down the earlier debate with cries of moonbattery, BDS, etc. For my money, he's acquitted himself honorably -- even if I do tend to disagree with most things he says ;)

And you obviously don't need to meet my requirements. God knows I'm no gatekeeper to Liberal Approval. But yeah, I do believe in admissions of personal culpability if for no other reason than to prevent it from happening again.

-Accept the entire platform. You can’t just take a plank or two – it has to be lock, stock, and barrel.

I'm not sure exactly what you mean here, but it's probably false. There are pro-life Democrats; there are pro-gun Democrats; there are small(er)-government Democrats; there are, or were, libertarian Democrats; and there are myriad others. You're not going to be welcomed with open arms by all Democrats, true, but jeez, you think the Republicans are any more welcoming of pro-choicers, anti-war types, atheists, etc?

[They're only more welcoming of the anti-war types nowadays because it's the overwhelmingly mainstream position. Back in the halcyon days of 2003? Fuhgeddaboutit.]

There is the figleaf of Republican libertarianism, I agree, but it's purely a figleaf. Hell, most of the glibertarians probably want a bigger government than I do, what with all the secret detention centers they're now advocating. One of the things I'm interested in is trying to return the civil-libertarians to the Democratic fold, since the Dems are the clearly superior party on that front. The question of what compromises can be made, and can't, is going to be central to the future of the party, and it'd be nice to have you along for the ride. If not, though, well, that's how the cookie crumbles.

I'm sure some Democrats require public flagellation and membership in a recovering-from-Republicanism self-help group before one is considered pure enough to be a real Democrat. But you can find someone some where who will say anything. The real test is this:do Democrats let former Republicans represent them in office? If there is agreement on the most critical issues, yes. Hence Jim Webb. The Dem who is going to get Foley's seat is a former Republican. Moderate Republicans are fleeing to the Kansas Democrats where they are welcome. In fact NPR had an interview with a former Rep who was one of six, if I remember right, running for their state legislature. He said he switched parties because the Republicans were too intolerant and were always trying to push their religion on everyone.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


  • visitors since 3/2/2004

September 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        
Blog powered by Typepad

QuantCast