This is something that’s been floating around in my head for the past few days… I’ll express it in SAT-style analogy form…
John Kerry’s recent conversion to one of the most extreme anti-war politicians in mainstream Democratic politics : offensively blatant pandering to the Antiwar Left ::
George W. Bush’s biennial pre-election promotion of an anti-gay-marriage constitutional amendment : offensively blatant pandering to the Religious Right
Seriously, as much as I disagree with both positions — Kerry’s anti-war position and Bush’s anti-gay-marriage position — I’m pretty sure I would be even more offended by these guys’ transparent political posturing if I agreed with them. Both of them clearly must believe that their own base is incredibly stupid, if they think anyone will take this crap seriously. (And, alas, they’re probably both right to a large extent.)
At least when Al Gore goes on his unhinged anti-war, anti-Bush tirades, I can sort of halfway moderately almost kinda sorta respect what he’s saying, because it seems like he genuinely believes it. I may not agree with a single word that’s coming out of his mouth, indeed I may think it’s entirely foolish, but at least he’s an honest, consistent fool. He was giving unhinged speeches about Iraq back in 2002 and 2003, long before it was the hip thing to do. That gives him some street cred, if nothing else.
Kerry, on the other hand, is just a deceitful, dreadful dumbass — he “voted for it before he voted against it,” and now he’s gone from moderately anti-war to radically so, just because he thinks that’s what he needs to do to win the nomination in 2008. (Don’t even get me started on how absurd and pathetic it is that he thinks he should be nominee again in 2008, given what a miserable failure he was in 2004, losing to an unpopular incumbent who any competent candidate would have wiped the floor with.)
Bill Clinton did the same thing, I suppose — going wherever the political winds blew — but at least he was good at it: he was such a great speaker and politician, he made you believe (or almost believe) that his lies were true, his panders were positions and his flip-flops were genuine changes of heart. Kerry has no such political skill, and thus he comes across like an unprincipled hypocrite… which is precisely what he is.
I’ve honestly gotten to the point where I’m ashamed that I voted for Kerry in 2004. I wish I had voted for the Libertarian candidate, Michael Badnarik, or perhaps cast a write-in vote for Joe Lieberman. Given that I lived in a noncompetitive red state (Indiana), I could have cast such a “protest vote” without any worries about “throwing the election to Bush.” Instead, I held my nose and gave a meaningless vote to a worthless candidate who was and is totally unworthy of my support, and it burns me now to have that blot on my voting record. (Not that it’s actually recorded anywhere, except on this blog, but… you know what I mean.) I don’t feel the same way about supporting Gore in 2000; I wouldn’t vote for him again today, but back then, I think he was a decent choice. But Kerry? Kerry hasn’t changed. He was like this all along, and now it’s just becoming even more painfully obvious. What a freakin’ tool he is. Seriously.
Last summer, Howell Raines said the following:
Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I’m sure the candidates’ SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead.
Some on this blog still probably subscribe to this meme.
During last year’s presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences.
But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.
In 1999, The New Yorker published a transcript indicating that Bush had received a cumulative score of 77 for his first three years at Yale and a roughly similar average under a non-numerical rating system during his senior year.
Kerry, who graduated two years before Bush, got a cumulative 76 for his four years, according to a transcript that Kerry sent to the Navy when he was applying for officer training school. He received four D’s in his freshman year out of 10 courses, but improved his average in later years.
This, on the heels of an argument from last October that Bush has a higher IQ than Kerry, should help Democrats come to terms with what some of us have been saying for a very long time now: The Left has so intensely deluded itself that its distorted views of Bush and this administration have caused them to lose touch with the vast majority of American voters–and reality.
Seven months after the voters went to the polls, the Washington gubernatorial election is finally over.
After losing in court today, Republican candidate Dino Rossi — who lost by 129 votes out of 2,810,058 cast (0.0046%, twice as close as Florida 2000) — has, in a surprise development, conceded. But not without a parting shot:
Rossi said because the “political makeup of the Washington Supreme Court” makes it “almost impossible to overturn this ruling, I am ending this election contest.”
Al Gore’s concession was both more timely and more gracious. And that really is the ultimate insult. :)
In his ruling today Judge John Bridges of Chelan County Superior Court upheld the election of Governor Christine Gregoire saying that Republican lawyers had failed to provide evidence of fraud or that a number of illegal votes had directly benefited Gov. Gregoire. He threw out the GOP’s proportional distribution argument, saying that the method was not statistically sound. Republican’s have said they will appeal to the State Supreme Court.
Things aren’t looking promising for Dino Rossi and his party’s attempts to overturn last year’s election for Governor in Washington. The focus of the Republicans’ court contention has been that a number of felons voted in the last election. They argue that if you throw out those votes, their candidate would be the winner in this election with its razor-thin margin. Since it is difficult if not impossible for the GOP to get these voters to admit who they voted for in the election, they are relying on proportional analysis. In other words, the votes of felons would be attributed proportionally based on the precinct they voted in.
The WA State Democrats aren’t sitting on their hands in this effort. After seeing the Republicans’ list, which included a list of felons from only 13 counties, all of them strongly Democratic, the Democrats compiled thier own list to counter that of the Republicans.
The Seattle Times took both lists and used the proportional method to calculate the likely votes. Their analysis concluded that unless the Democrats’ list was over 75% inaccurate, Christine Gregoire would still be the winner. (The Republicans’ list has been out longer and has been analyzed for errors. The Times calculated that about 11% of the list is wrong. They have not had time to do a full analysis of the Democrats’ list.)
They’re still wrangling over last November’s gubernatorial election up in Washington state.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is why a national popular-vote election of the president is a terrible idea. Up in the Evergreen State, there’s a lawsuit scheduled for May, with the prospect of a new election in November if the judge sides with the Republicans. Imagine the governor trying to run her state under a cloud of illegitimacy and uncertainty like that. Now imagine a president in the same circumstances! He’d be veritably crippled in his ability to run the country.
The Electoral College system is imperfect, to be sure; there are steps that we could take to make it more representative. But its “safe harbor” deadline provides a built-in mechanism to end all Florida- and Washington-style lawsuits in mid-December, and the ease of counting 538 votes with perfect accuracy (as opposed to the impossibility of counting 100 million votes with perfect accuracy) virtually guarantees that we’ll have a president by Jan. 20.
Most importantly, the Electoral College and the Congress have the final word. Once a president is picked and sworn in, no judge has the power to overturn the result and order a new election. That’s as it should be — as it must be. Ultimately, finality becomes a greater virtue than accuracy; it’s not worth paralyzing the government in a fight over a handful of uncounted ballots in an election that’s really a tie. Washington state might be able to handle such uncertainty, but the equivalent national scenario would be a disaster for America.
And so I say, loudly and proudly: God bless the Electoral College. :)
14.5% is the confirmed percent of voters on the Washington State Republicans Parties recently released list of supposed felons who voted in last Novembers contested governor’s race. Turns out at least 165 (and quite possibly more) of these “felons” were found guilty in juvenile court, convictions which do not carry with them the penalty of losing the right to vote.
The fact that the Washington GOP are contesting the accuracy of an election with error under 0.05% with a list that is so far over 14% inaccurate reeks with irony.
When Republican’s presented the list over 3 weeks ago, Republican Gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi’s attorney Harry Korell had this to say:
“We are 99.999 percent confident that we have this exactly right. But is it possible there’s a single mistake on the list of 1,108? Yes, it is.”
If this is what happens when they are 99.999% accurate I must say I’m glad that they aren’t in power in this state.
“We are 99.999 percent confident that we have this exactly right. But is it possible there’s a single mistake on the list of 1,108? Yes, it is.”
Republican Attorney Harry Korell, explaining why they don’t want to release the list of alleged felon voters. This from the same group of people who have been complaining about the innacuracy of the statewide election, which given their own statement was MORE accurate (of 2.8 Million votes less than 1500 have been challanged. 1 wrong name out of 1100 is 99.91% accuracy, 1500 bad votes out of 2.8 million is 99.95% accurate.
The Republicans claim is that their list of felon votes is larger than the margin of victory and the election should be thrown out. The Democrats have countered that the Republicans must prove that the actually vote difference would have changed the election. For more on the lawsuit check out the latest Seattle Times story here.
Mystery Pollster’s analysis of the offical Mitofsky exit poll screw-up report confirms that, as suspected, the problem was not bloggers, and not some esoteric technical bias it takes an advanced degree to figure out. The problem is that Mitofsky [the exit polling organization] had built a cheesy, dime-store organization that relied crucially on poorly-trained young people at the bottom. … [T]here was a lot less going on behind the curtain than Mitofsky’s arrogant professionalism would lead you to expect.
And yes, I’m quoting a summary of the analysis of the report because I’m far too lazy to read the primary or even the secondary source material. :)
UPDATE: Okay, okay, I’m reading Mystery Pollster’s actual post now. This is particularly interesting:
The problem was not in the selection of the sample precincts — it was that the data in the chosen precincts was not representative of the actual voting at those precincts. … The authors…found higher rates of “within precinct error” favoring Kerry in precincts with the following characteristics:
* An interviewer age 35 or lower
* An interviewer with a graduate degree
* A larger number of voters, where a smaller proportion were selected
* An interviewer with less experience
* An interviewer who had been hired a week or less prior to the election
* An interviewer who said they had been trained “somewhat or not very well.”
* In cities and suburbs
* In swing states
* Where Bush ran stronger
* Interviewers had to stand far from the exits
* Interviewers could not approach every voter
* Polling place officials were not cooperative
* Voters were not cooperative
* Poll-watchers or lawyers interfered with interviewing
* Weather affected interviewing
…Unfortunately, none of the characteristics above, by itself, “proves” the Kerry supporters were more likely than Bush supporters to participate in the poll. However, it is not hard to see the underlying attitudes and behaviors at work might create and exacerbate the within-precinct bias.
Consider age, for example. What assumptions might a voter make about a college student approaching with a clipboard? Would it be crazy to assume that student was a Kerry supporter? If you were a Bush voter already suspicious of the media, might the appearance of such an interviewer make you just a bit more likely to say no, or to walk briskly in the other direction? Would it be easier to avoid that interviewer if they were standing farther away? What if the interviewer were forced to stand 100 feet away, among a group of electioneering Democrats - would the Bush voter be more likely to avoid the whole group?
Sounds pretty damn plausible to me.
P.S. More here, including a mention of similar problems in past elections, and a quote that could be applied to many, many things in life:
So many who are considering the exit poll problem yearn for simple, tidy answers that can be easily proved or dismissed: It was fraud! It was incompetence! Someone is lying! Unfortunately, this is one of those problems for which simple answers are elusive.
The inaguration today reminded me of another inaguration that happened recently, Washingtons Governor Christine Gregoire. Thats right the election mess in Washington is over! We have an elected Governor and Dino Rossi, who said he would have conceded if their positions were reversed bowed out gracefully. Well, the part about having an elected Governor is right, but my prediction that Dino Rossi was full of crap when he said he would concede in a close election was spot on.
President Bush was just sworn in.
I think something was wrong with Rehnquist’s microphone. It sounded that way on NBC, anyway.
On a side note, how did Trent Lott get to be the Master of Ceremonies? You know he wishes he was swearing in Strom Thurmond… :)
UPDATE: Nice speech! Money quote: “Our country has accepted obligations that are difficult to fulfill, and would be dishonorable to abandon. Yet because we have acted in the great liberating tradition of this nation, tens of millions have achieved their freedom. And as hope kindles hope, millions more will find it.”
P.S. “We cannot carry the message of freedom and the baggage of bigotry at the same time.” Well said! Too bad he thinks bigotry against the gays doesn’t count…
HEH: There are some protesters yelling, in response to which the rest of the crowd is now cheering wildly for Bush. The end of his speech ended up being quite raucous as a result.
If I’m not mistaken, Dennis Hastert, who administered the oath of office, flubbed several lines of the oath, but Cheney ignored the errors and said it right. Ha!
In honor of Bush’s inauguration tomorrow, the fine folks at JibJab (of “This Land” and “It’s Good to be in D.C.” fame) have released a new video, called “Second Term.” Not their best work, but still: Heh. (The Chirac scene is my favorite.)
Be warned, the download may be quite slow (it was for me, anyway) because their servers are apparently pretty busy.
John Kerry keeps sending me emails. I don’t think he realizes that, like, he lost.