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Tilting at Windmills

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March 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

HOW LOW CAN HE GO?....Via Laura Rozen, I see that Pew now has Bush's approval rating at a cellar-dwelling 33%. And that decline is across the board: he's lost about 20 points of support from every single demographic group that Pew samples.

But here's my favorite part:

President Bush's declining image also is reflected in the single-word descriptions people use to describe their impression of the president....The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.

Now that's a poll!

Kevin Drum 9:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (222)

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Comments

Al, tbrosz, am, Mca etc: Can you please spin these poll numbers for me, please?

I'm obviously confused because they seem to be telling me that 2 thirds of Americans don't like the President.

And I know that can't be true.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 15, 2006 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Funny poll with 73% support among republicans and yet a 33% approval.

If republicans were 40% of the sample and dems 40% of the sample and independents the rest
-you'd think he'd be 37% or so.............

73% support among 40% of the population is already 30% support.

And the next word after 'incompetant' is 'good'.

Posted by: McA on March 15, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

Words still to come :

Treason, convicted, doing time, disgraced

and so on

"Every once in a while, you've got to do something hard, do something you're not comfortable with. A person needs a gut check." - Corporal Chad Ritchie, U.S.M.C.

Posted by: daCascadian on March 15, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

I guess chortling about low poll numbers is all poor Kevin Drum has left. The public still supports the NSA surveillance programs, the Plame/Rove affair seems to have fizzled, the Feingold resolution seems all but dead. In fact, Feingold's resolution has served to split the Democratic party, not unite it. Fewer elected Democrats are in office than 5 years ago. The public's view of Democrats has dropped.

Do you Moonbats even realize Bush is not running for re-election??

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 15, 2006 at 9:45 PM | PERMALINK

The Democrats suffer from a terminal case of BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome).

GW Bush has driven the Democrats insane. Instead of laying out an agenda to help them win elections, they spend all their time bashing Bush and shouting about low polls numbers or some new gaffe. The worst cases of BDS seem to enjoy bad economic news or bad news from Iraq.

Most sufferers of BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) assume that if Bush's poll numbers go down, that guarantees the public will elect Dems in the next election.

All the lefties who think the Dems will benefit from Bush's low poll numbers may be in store for a reality check this November.

Posted by: MountainDan on March 15, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Paddy Whack: do you not realise who much real power and influence the US has lost in the last few years?

Bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq; with a world record deficit and up to your eyeballs in debt to China; Iran is giving you the finger and the US is powerless to do anything about it.

But hell, as long as you can make childish slurs at Democrats, who gives a fuck.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 15, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

Do you Moonbats even realize Bush is not running for re-election??

Sure, but I don't think he knows that?

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on March 15, 2006 at 9:52 PM | PERMALINK

MCA-

Yep. "Good" is sandwiched right between "incompetent" and "idiot."

So the poll is clearly biased.


Posted by: HeavyJ on March 15, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

If you analyze the results of the poll in any manner other than the superficial way characteristic of the bush haters, you will find that the strength with which the people support the president can be used to generate temperatures approaching a billion degrees, enough to cause fusion of deuterium molecules.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 15, 2006 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Wow - and here come the dead-enders - the 'Fighting 33%'.

BTW, MountainDan, I don't vote Democrat.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 15, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, MCA, did you enjoy making that argument?
If Repubs, Dems and Independents were 33/33/33, his approval rating would be 36%. So this poll might, one some tenuous theory, be understating GWB's performance by three percentage points, eh?

That'll get you out of the cellar.

McA is still smarter than the other guy up there attempting to pretend this somehow doesn't matter. Dude, when the average american thinks republican, he thinks george bush, and when he thinks george bush, he thinks republican. So, good work, guys, you're really on the top of your game, I can definitely see nothing but GOP dominance on the horizon. wooo.

What I'm interested in hearing is a poll from the trolls about who thinks bombing Iran will bring the president's poll numbers up. I think you're too far gone even for that.

Enjoy congress for the next seven months.

Posted by: glasnost on March 15, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

The single word most frequently associated with George W. Bush today is "incompetent,"and close behind are two other increasingly mentioned descriptors: "idiot" and "liar." All three are mentioned far more often today than a year ago.

Any word on how many times the phrases "fucking scumbag," "reckless lunatic," "criminal," "shameless goof-off," "mean-tempered dry drunk," "miserable fucking excuse for a human being," "corrupt asshole," "thieving little sociopath," "un-American," "dumb as dirt", "squinty-eyed fuckup," and "pillow-toting mama's boy" were mentioned in conjunction with Bush?

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

After years of constant hammering by the Democrats and the media, I'm surprised Bush is doing this well.

I know here in the Echo Chamber, any reporter who doesn't actually leap at the podium and try to rip Bush's throat out with his teeth is defined as a "Republican shill," but out in the real world the pattern of attacks is pretty obvious.

The port deal in particular was a creature of mass media (including a number of talk show hosts). I suspect further questioning of most of those who expressed an opinion would reveal a huge amount of ignorance on the subject.

As far as the "word association" bit, it's likely that those words connected with often-heard talking points would show up more often than original ideas, and end up on top of the list. If you tally up all the responses, there are only three more negative ones than positive ones.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 15, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Bush can't go much lower, but he's already quite low. Thing is, though, it may not help the Dems that much. If the election were held today, the Dems would almost certainly gain ground in both houses, but it's a leap of faith to claim they'd win back control of either. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but most prognosticators would predict narrow GOP control.

The problem is our non-parliamentary system. Americans don't go to the mid-term polls and think "hmmm, this administration has fucked up the country, so, I think I want to kick out the Republicans and vote Democrat."

Au contraire. Many of them will say "yeah, I've been hearing a lot of bad things about Bush, but, why should I punish that nice congressman so-and-so, the guy who straightened out Aunt Edna's Social Security snafu. He may belong to the same party as that incompetent Bush, but he's he's our guy, he's been in Washington for 14 terms, and he's one of us."

Americans don't often have national elections. Rather, they have 435 (469 if you count the Senate) local ones.

Posted by: willie on March 15, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

w/ numbers like that, I would bet a majority of Mericans would support a censure resolution at a minimum

Posted by: moe99 on March 15, 2006 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is our non-parliamentary system.

Bingo. It's also why you have the least number of political parties of any democracy - it's almost impossible to cast a protest vote that does anything other than shoot yourself in the foot (Nader, anyone?).

Unfortunately, I have no idea what you should do about it...

Posted by: floopmeister on March 15, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

I'm actually much more interested in how many respondents self-identify as Republicans compared to, say, a year ago.

Posted by: ogmb on March 15, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

After years of constant hammering by the Democrats and the media, I'm surprised Bush is doing this well.

Lost you after this line, I'm afraid!

Posted by: floopmeister on March 15, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

The port deal in particular was a creature of mass media (including a number of talk show hosts). I suspect further questioning of most of those who expressed an opinion would reveal a huge amount of ignorance on the subject.

Funny, I was just about to write the exact same sentence, only instead of "the port deal" I was going to write "Bush's fiasco of a war in Iraq."

But go ahead, keep whining about how the poor misunderstood Taliban-loving United Arab Emirates was mistreated, and how we really should have given our ports over to them if only we'd known better. I'm sure that'll be a winner at the polls!

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, once again fake tbrosz was more sane, truthful, and interesting than tbrosz himself.

Posted by: trex on March 15, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

willie:

Actually, Democrats could make some progress in the elections by "nationalizing" some issues like the Contract With America did. Kevin and others have suggested health care as one option.

Unfortunately, at least for the Democrats, they seem to be relatively single-minded lately. If they can win the House and Senate back on "Bush Sucks," they might have a chance.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 15, 2006 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

Sweet, sweet music frm the troll choir.

"Bad polling!"
"You'll be sorry in November! You 16 point generic ballot favored Democrats, you!"
"Feingold! Pinko!"
"Bush who?"

More of this please. It soothes the soul.

Posted by: HeavyJ on March 15, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz, et alii,

Can you name a single thing that mr. Bush told us would happen that actually did? Why have my own predictions about the results of his actions been so much more accurate than his? I said before the invasion that Bush was lying about the WMD, a fact that he seemed to be unaware of. I said before the invasion that it was a bad strategic decision, not to mention a moral desgrace upon our country.

Probably because I assume lies, corruption and incompetence as part of the calculation. Maybe because I actually served my entire military term instead of deserting.

Posted by: Repack Rider on March 15, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what the poll would have said about censure?

Posted by: koreyel on March 15, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK
After years of constant hammering by the Democrats and the media, I'm surprised Bush is doing this well....Posted by: tbrosz
Yup, that danged liberal media on Fox, Talk radio, cable, newspapers are so loud they're inaudible to any but the most sensitive RepubliConTarian ear. I can't say that I have ever heard or read the words like incompetent, liar, or idiot in the main stream media. In fact, the exact opposite. The extent of the verbal contortions that reporters and columnists commit in order not to use the most appropriate word "liar" is amusing. The DPWorld, like the Harriet Maier fiasco, was a revolt of Bush's base. The most ignorant are the Bush bitter-enders who are still fluffing your Dear Leader. Posted by: Mike on March 15, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

Look at 2002 and 2004. Dems thought if they bashed Bush and talked about how awful everything was, the voters would elect Democrats. The result? Dems LOST seats.

Democrats are repeating the same self-destructive behavior that cost them the 2002 and 2004 elections.

Posted by: Paddy Whack on March 15, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

"After years of constant hammering by the Democrats and the media, I'm surprised Bush is doing this well"

Funny, remember when Clinton was getting pounded by the Repulicans and the press - where were his support numbers? Weren't they in the 60's? So all the hounding must account for - what? - .02% of the variance. I think that proves the null hypothesis. What's the next lame explanation we can test?

Posted by: Scott Herbst on March 15, 2006 at 10:16 PM | PERMALINK

i like


提取罐
低温试验箱

Posted by: 木地板 on March 15, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

Questions:

1) How can Bush be getting even 9% from Democrats?

2) Can we start humming the limbo song whenever we see Bush - how low can he go?

Posted by: pebird on March 15, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Paddy Whacked can't keep his spin unspun..

"I guess chortling about low poll numbers is all poor Kevin Drum has left."

Then he lists the things Kevin actually does have left:

"The public still supports the NSA surveillance programs,"

except that they don't,

" the Plame/Rove affair seems to have fizzled,"

except that it hasn't ( even if Bush pulls the famiiy trick of 'pardon the traitor' )

" the Feingold resolution seems all but dead."

no, the Congress may be dead, but the resolution is still correct.

The Democratic party need not be angels for us to see that Bush is a demon.

It may have taken 5 years for America to get a clue, but you can't fool most of the people forever.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on March 15, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

This just in...

Refusing to bow to the inevitable, Republican Congresswoman and 2000 GOP recount heroine Katherine Harris is staying in the 2006 Florida Senate race. Sidestepping a major address planned for this evening, Harris instead used the friendly confines of the Fox Hannity and Colmes program to declare her intent to continue her quixotic campaign the Democratic incumbent, Bill Nelson:

"I'm staying. I'm in this race. I'm going to win. I'm going to put everything on the line."

For the details, see:
"Harris Stays In."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on March 15, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

He was just as incompetent 5 years ago and as demonstrably incompetent 1 year ago. Why did people vote for him? The man can barely speak coherently, why did anyone ever think this is a man who should be president?

Posted by: patrick on March 15, 2006 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

After years of constant hammering by the Democrats and the media, I'm surprised Bush is doing this well.

Dolchstosslegende as exit strategy? As pathetic as it is laughable.

Posted by: ogmb on March 15, 2006 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

11 percent say hes dealing with no setback at all

Denial is strong in conservative lemmings, but this is truly an incredible result.

They are not only smokin' something stronger than tobacco, their eatin' hallucinogenic mushies also!

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: After years of constant hammering by the Democrats and the media, I'm surprised Bush is doing this well.

Hmmmmm.

Clinton got hammered mercilessly by both the press and the GOP which had a lot more money than Bush's enemies, yet he managed no lower than 53%.

As I said, denial is strong in conservative lemmings.

Thanks for proving my point, tbrosz!

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

GW Bush has driven the Democrats insane. Instead of laying out an agenda to help them win elections, they spend all their time bashing Bush and shouting about low polls numbers or some new gaffe. The worst cases of BDS seem to enjoy bad economic news or bad news from Iraq.

Actually No. This isn' the case at all. Business Republican BUSINESS has started to turn on Bush.

Now this "wording" of yours.
How so can you prove this?
I see no links or studies?
I see a Rush Parrot.
Please issue something that resembles that not opinion. The Polls show a 90% christian society 70% against Bush and his War.
How so , SIR, can you claim that Democrats are insane? 70% of the People, magically, because you OPINED it, became immoral democrats?

Why Sir, I must Ask, how so do you come to these false fact that Democrats are driven insane?
You sir are frothing on the keyboard. No Doubt this post will cause you great emnity. And for that I apologize if I have made you Insane..As foolish as that may sound.

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on March 15, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: . . . but out in the real world the pattern of attacks is pretty obvious.

There's that dictionary of conservative-convenient misdefinitions at work again, you know, the one in which "real world" means "the world inhabited by the little voices in my head".

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

one eye: Why Sir, I must Ask, how so do you come to these false fact that Democrats are driven insane?

Conservative lemmings suffer from BIS.

Bush Infatuation Syndrome.

A key symptom is persistent delusion.

And a key diagnostic is the presence in their medicine cabinets of massive stockpiles (actual stockpiles, mind you, not imaginary ones!) of chapstick necessary to keep their lips moist for kissing Bush's behind.

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 10:47 PM | PERMALINK

I like these figures from the table: since stupid is a mild form of idiot, I combine the two. Also look how Christian has grown.

idiot     11 11 21
stupid    ~7 12  7
s or i   ~18 23 28
christian  7  9 14
Posted by: MonkeyBoy on March 15, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: I suspect further questioning of most of those who expressed an opinion would reveal a huge amount of ignorance on the subject.

I suspect that further comments by tbrosz would reveal a huge amount of ignorance . . .

. . . and I'm right!

Posted by: Advocate for God on March 15, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

It is definitely heartening to the point of deep sighs of wonder and relief to see that this country is finally waking up to reality that we have an incompetent stupid idiot as our president, but the spinelessness of the Dems keeps my full-out gloating in check.

Feingold for president.

Posted by: Jones on March 15, 2006 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Years of constant hammering by the media

That's funny.

Posted by: The Media on March 15, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Now I see you're touting another liberal media poll, this one laughably skewed toward the Democrats.

Oh, by the way, Bush isn't running in '08. Sorry.

Posted by: egbert on March 15, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Floopmeister,

Are you still in Australia? What the hell is this?,

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/01/25/flying_car_launch_site/

Posted by: cld on March 15, 2006 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Well, this is all fine and dandy. But, will it result in reality-based adults eventually coming to power in '06 and '08? At this point, I'd even settle for one of the "adults" in the Republican party. Do they have any?

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on March 15, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

a sad set of bush-enabling comments tonight, even by the low standards of the cohort.

so let's instead turn to the question of whether we should desire a dem majority in either house next year (put aside whether they can achieve one).

i say no.

i'd prefer a 218-217 R house and a 50-50 senate as the ideal.

There are many chickens still coming home to roost over the 2007-08. The GOP would like nothing more than to pin some of the blame for those chickens on the dems, and a majority in either house, even a majority that included a set of DINOs, provides them that option. Then (for the sake of discussion) VP McCain runs as a "reformer with results," and the right-wing chorus tells us how here's a guy who can enact Bush's great visions.

What, exactly, is the gain in a dem majority in either house? some would say the power of subpoena, and i don't mean to ignore that, but i don't think that's worth the tradeoff. I want the messes that bush/delay governance all squarely pinned on the gop.

now, are the dems capable of winning a majority? that's a much trickier question....

Posted by: howard on March 15, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

oh, btw, Soviet, no, there are no adults left in the republican party. they all sold out to bush-ism....

Posted by: howard on March 15, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

It appears on the graph that there was a sharp (though I suppose not all that significant in raw numbers) uptick in Democratic support for Bush in November 2005--which apparently coincided with a comparably sized drop in Republican support.

Did Bush do something liberal last November that I don't remember? (Could it have been the Miers nomination? I forget exactly when that was.)

Posted by: Rieux on March 15, 2006 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, be easy on tbrosz. He ate a hamburger, and is suffering from the early stages of vCJD. I'm wondering if, at the end, he'll realize that his support of Bush's lax food safety testing is what enabled the beef industry to sell the tainted product that ate holes into his brain. Or maybe he'll just realize that the flowers on his hospital bedsheets are pretty.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on March 15, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

rieux, the shape of the lines is misleading you a little: the absolute jump looks like about 2 or 3 points, which could simply be margin of error.

alternately, there were some changes in self-identification by party that made a difference.

Posted by: howard on March 15, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Surprising how many right wingers are tuned in here.

Why? Progressives are not flocking to conservative blogs.

It must be you Kevin.

Posted by: C. Wilson on March 15, 2006 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Yup, they were right. Karl Rove is a genius
(sarcasm)

Posted by: Boorring on March 15, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Howard, I sympathize with your desire to smear the GOP. They richly deserve to be mortally wounded for a generation, or two.

But, from a reality-based point of view, how much more can we take? The fiscal insanity and hypocrisy on trade policy... the cruel and pre-emptive wars and sabre-rattling... the coddling (perhaps exploitation) of the Christian Taliban. It's all too much for this Canuckastani.

Posted by: Soviet Canuckastani on March 15, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

floopmeister:

> "The problem is our non-parliamentary system."

> Bingo. It's also why you have the least number of
> political parties of any democracy - it's almost
> impossible to cast a protest vote that does anything
> other than shoot yourself in the foot (Nader, anyone?).

> Unfortunately, I have no idea what you should do about it...

I do.

IRV (Instant Runoff Voting).

Problem solved, next case.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 12:01 AM | PERMALINK

Soviet Canuckastani, the problem is, in the very best case scenario i can imagine, a 219-216 dem edge in the house and a 50-49-1 edge in the senate (effectively, 51-49), there are enough DINOs that it won't curb bush-ism's excesses (or won't curb them any more than the disposition of parties i'm hoping for).

to really change things around, we need change in the oval office, so my focus is on what best positions the dems for 2008. i realize that's rather callous, but that's what bush-ism has done to me.

Posted by: howard on March 16, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

If these were Neilsen's, his show would be cancelled.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 16, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

Are you still in Australia? What the hell is this? cld

Beats the hell out of me... Still, they're a pretty wierd and isolated lot, those guys in Perth ;)

Nice pic, though...

Bob, what is Instant Runoff Voting - and is it copyright of Diebold?

Posted by: floopmeister on March 16, 2006 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

floopmeister,

Similar to what you call Preferential Voting - which as been used in Queensland since 1919 - Must learn to use HTML - or I would put up a site.

Posted by: stupid git on March 16, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

floopmeister:

No, IRV is not copyright Diebold -- although it make take some technology to implement efficently.

IRV is rank-order pereference voting, with the vote going to one's second choice if their first choice fails to gain a majority. They already use it in San Francisco. Most useful for multi-candidate and/or multi-party races, where you want the winner to come up with a majority, not merely a plurality.

Say you support Nader or a Greenie as your first choice -- but would slit your wrists if another Republican got elected. So you vote for Nader (or Greenie) as Choice One, the regular ticket Dem (say, Gore) Choice Two, etc.

When the votes are tabulated, the Nader/Greenie support (assuming it's small) will flip over to those voters' second choices (mostly for Gore) -- and the spoiler syndrome is averted.

That's it in a nutshell.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

floopmeister,

It's what you call PV for electing House members.

Posted by: Mornington Crescent on March 16, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

oh, OK. It's a Preferential Voting system - thanks.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 16, 2006 at 12:33 AM | PERMALINK

floop:

I had no idea you have it in Oz (or at least Queensland).

How's that working out for you guys?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

I would love to have IRV, but what's the likelihood we'll see it in our life times on a larger level than SF? I get the feeling the two majority parties like the spoiler system. Or perhaps that the frustration talking...

Posted by: lauren on March 16, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

Lauren:

It's the frustration talking ...

Journeys of a thousand miles and single steps and all.

I think it should be included in the Democratic Party platform, and I have every intention of agitating for it.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 12:38 AM | PERMALINK

howard's point is well taken, and something I have thought about a lot. Under the most optimistic scenario, the Dems don't really end up controlling much of anything anyway, so better to have enough votes to just stop the egregious bullshit (which will be much easier with Bush so wounded and the Repubs running away from him), than to actually be seen to have power, and thus get blamed for things they had nothing to do with.

Because, despite tbrosz's paranoid fantasies, the media will hang any and all fuckups on the "new" Congress, despite said fuckups all being simmered along nicely for 6 years by BushCo.

And really Tom, you're like a parody of yourself sometimes - it's the media that makes people think Bush is a moron. It's not - couldn't possibly be - anything that the man himself has actually done (or not done, to be more accurate). That's not possible. Especially in a world where he's had a virtual rubber stamp the whole way along, where media coverage of the "war" was nothing short of adulatory for at least 2 years. Nope, it's not Bush. It's everyone else.

How pathetic. How thoroughly modern Republican, to just blame everyone but the people in charge.

Posted by: craigie on March 16, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Triumphant already!

Nice to see you libs are feeling good.

Posted by: McA on March 16, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

The frustration does seem to do most of the talking these days... :-)

I'm not familiar with the political history of IRV, but hasn't it been around for a while (conceptually speaking)? Why hasn't it gotten any more traction? One would think that the republicans would have done something about the spoiler system after the '92 presidential race when they took the congress in '94.

It would be nice to have the opportunity to vote for third parties, but I do feel my hands tied with the current system. Sigh...

Posted by: lauren on March 16, 2006 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

(AfG wrote) Hmmmmm. Clinton got hammered mercilessly by both the press and the GOP which had a lot more money than Bush's enemies, yet he managed no lower than 53%.

Hmmmmm... yet Clinton didn't get reelected to a third term [heh-heh] and in spite of the 53% rating, the Party could not maintain the presidency or congress.

So, of what value is the >50% rating? Seems more in line with the trend if Bush would rate > 50% then the Dems would win the next presidency and congress.

So shouldn't the Party be rooting for Bush to poll greater than 50%???

Posted by: pencarrow on March 16, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Well, you can see from all this poll strength why it would be a really bad idea to censure this popular president.

Fucking goddamn fucking wimpy fucking Democrats. And you Kevin - I bet your butt still hurts from Glenn and Digby both taking you out behind the woodshed and telling you how it is.

Posted by: craigie on March 16, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Works out great. Generally it means that minor parties like the Democrats and the Greens, and Independents, get elected to the Senate and the House of Reps.

In fact, the Greens became the first minor party in Australian history to get a seat in the House of Reps (generally they get elected to the Senate) at the last election.

In a safe Labour seat like mine, we can vote Greens, knowing that our preferences will go to Labour ahead of Liberal or National. On the other hand, my friend (in a marginal seat) voted Labour first and then put his (largely symbolic) second preference as Greens.

The only time it stuffs up in when party hacks decide to play sneaky cynical games with preferences, as happened in a couple of states in the last electyion. Labour is pretty hopeless at the moment (like the US dems) and they have been losing votes to the Greens (but still picking up prefs). A group of smart arse Labour party hacks decided to stiff the Greens by giving their preferences to 'Family First' (without telling voters!) over the Greens, even though the Greens are their closest philosophical cousins.

Family First got a couple of seats because of it, and they're Moral Majority types in the US model.

Idiots.

That raised the ire of plenty of people here, and furthered the image of Labour as cynical and out of touch.

In short, it works well, although the system is open to manipulation, of course. The best thing about it is that it allows minor parties to get seats. Once they have seats in Parliament they can start to drive agendas and influence public debate. The role of the Greens in the Iraq War debate is the classic case - they have been the true opposition party. It allows for more political views to have representation, rather than the cliched centre left and centre right dichotomy.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 16, 2006 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Lauren:

Check out Wikipedia on voting systems. IRV is only one form of preferential systems other than the straight one-vote-one-candidate method. You are correct -- it's been around at least as long as 18th century French political scientist Condorcet.

Don't want to give you the idea that there are no problems with it. Check Wiki on that; there are still ways to game the system by strategic voting (the problem we want to eliminate) and/or getting perverse outcomes. None of the other preferential voting systems are flawless, either; each has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

I think you're correct to intuit a certain amount of baseline resistance to any new voting system because no matter what it is, it will challenge the stranglehold of the two-party duopoly. Beyond that, people have argued that IRV is unconstitutional, because it implictly violates one-person-one-vote.

Anything would be an improvement, however -- and it strikes me that IRV's strengths far outweigh its weaknesses.

As for frustration -- hell, we're all frustrated. The trick is to channel it. I surely plan to bust my ass this spring, fall and summer for close Democratic races in my state.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

The other point about the Australian voting system is that we get nearly 100% turnout in elections - voting is compulsory.

You don't vote, you get fined.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 16, 2006 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

floop:

Woah, I'd love to know the history of *that* li'l facet of the Australian system :)

My impressions of Oz have always been that it's a rather America-like place culturally, for a Commonwealth country. The Outback and all.

I'd never imagine that Oz would have such a Soviet-style voting requirement -- not to say at all that I disagree with it, though.

Question: What happens if you just can't make up your mind on any of the choices? Can you vote "voted" but just not register preferences?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 1:06 AM | PERMALINK

Hahahaha

Even a two-bit singer doesn't like him.

Posted by: lib on March 16, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Add up the Positive Words and the Negative Words to describe Bush, and the latter win by 114-76. Looks pretty grim to me. (The ability of the Bush family to transmute political gold into lead will never cease to amaze me.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 16, 2006 at 1:18 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz: "Actually, Democrats could make some progress in the elections by "nationalizing" some issues like the Contract With America did. Kevin and others have suggested health care as one option.

"Unfortunately, at least for the Democrats, they seem to be relatively single-minded lately. If they can win the House and Senate back on 'Bush Sucks,' they might have a chance."

Actually, Gallup's poll a few days ago -- which also gave Bush a net 24-point negative rating -- showed that the Dems are doing quite well on that slogan, thank you. They have a 16-point lead over the GOP among registered voters in the House races.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 16, 2006 at 1:21 AM | PERMALINK

The keys to Bush bouncing back before the mid-term election of November are rather straightforward:
1) The economy stays healthy. A big element of that will be energy prices, particularly gasolene, not skyrocketing.
2) Casualties actually decline in Iraq, even if they climb in Afghanistan.
3) The federal government responds appropriately and with great fanfare to all natural disasters in the next six months.
4) The MSM pays a lot more attention to Democrats and their critical comments about each other as they scramble for position
5) Certified isolationist Republicans regain heart and come to understand that the President really is right in principle about issues like the Dubai port deal and about immigration policy.
6) Dubya and Laura lean on their religious values and do not get discouraged. Their legacy is going to be just fine because virtually nothing out there in the reality of the public policy debate is nearly as bad as the Democrats say it is. The main possible exception to this may be avian bird flu which could break into human to human infection any day and raise holy hell with everything. But the Bush administration is unassailable on this issue. It came up early on their radar and what reasonably can be done is being done.

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 16, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

You can always 'donkey vote' (well, that's got a different meaning in an American context!). Once in my younger and dumber days I voted for AC/DC singer Bon Scott (just scrawled his name across the ballot paper).

Actually, I look at compulsory voting as being the only membership fee for being part of the club called Australia. Most people here grumble about it - but we all turn up and vote.

Generally its accepted as being something you have to do - which it's about right, I'd say ;)

Posted by: floopmeister on March 16, 2006 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

Even a two-bit singer doesn't like him.

It says:
"Forti said the Republican group had even arranged for Simpson to dine at one of the head tables with U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican."

Wow! And she turned that down! Golly, what could she have been thinking. I suddenly have new respect for the girl...

Posted by: craigie on March 16, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

The keys to Bush bouncing back before the mid-term election of November are rather straightforward:

Yep, they're as likely as a snowball in hell, but they are certainly straightforward.

Posted by: floopmeister on March 16, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

craigie:

I know that I enjoyed Kevin being taken out behind the woodshed by Glenn and Digby - could not have happened to a nicer guy - except maybe cmdicely.

Posted by: Don P. on March 16, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

You don't vote, you get fined.

That is such a fabulous system. The argument against it, of course, is quite persuasive: most people who don't vote in the US are poor, and if they voted it might be harder for those of us with gold-plated faucets to award ourselves another trillion-dollar tax cut.

Persuasive to the people that make the rules, that is.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 16, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

The federal government responds appropriately and with great fanfare to all natural disasters in the next six months.

Does Rove have some earthquakes planned that we should know about?

Oh, and by the way: "appropriately" and "with great fanfare" are mutually exclusive.

I smell panic...

Posted by: craigie on March 16, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

floop:

"Dirty deeds, and they're done dirt cheap"

So "donkey voting" is just scribbling Fred Flinstone, Homer Simpson or whoever as a write-in candidate in lieu of a serious vote?

Don't get me wrong, when I called compulsory voting "Soviet-style," I'm just viewing what it would seem like from the standard American perspective. Although why the US doesn't make Election Day a national holiday or have it on a weekend has always baffled me, as this is the land of Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death :)

As long as you could legitimately vote for "no preference" for any particular measure, I'd certainly have no problem with compulsory voting in America, either. It's a way to inculcate the idea of civic responsibility.

And sure, Americans would grumble (loudly) about it. But we'd do it -- especially if measures were also taken to make voting easier.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 1:34 AM | PERMALINK

Enjoyed the chat - gotta run (home time!)

Posted by: floopmeister on March 16, 2006 at 1:36 AM | PERMALINK

Throw another shrimp on the barbie, floop!

Posted by: Don P. on March 16, 2006 at 1:40 AM | PERMALINK

To get back his approval ratings, all that GWB has to do is to go give a speech at the Bob Jones University or some other college that does not allow black men to screw white chicks.

To add a few points more, Rove can start a push poll asking people of Oshkosh if they know that Feingold is gay and he has fathered a black child.

Posted by: lib on March 16, 2006 at 2:02 AM | PERMALINK

floop: You don't vote, you get fined.

brooksfoe: That is such a fabulous system.

Yes, and isn't it a shame that compulsory voting isn't possible in America because of the persuasion of plutocrats.

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy rings so true.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on March 16, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Bulletin! While Survey USA's poll tonight, like Gallup's and Pew's, gives Bush a 24-point net negative rating, the Wall Street Journal's new poll looks better for him. It only gives him a 22-point negative rating!

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on March 16, 2006 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

what's up with this poll? where do they say how many respondents identified as Rep Dem or Ind?
To be comparable we would have to know how many Rs changed to Is and Ds over the last few months.
Or is this one of those polls that assumes set percentages of the population belong to each category? In which case defections from one camp to the other will skew the results.

Posted by: jussumbody on March 16, 2006 at 2:58 AM | PERMALINK

Let's repeal that constitutional amendment that prohibits GWB from running again. Bush-Cheney '08!

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 16, 2006 at 3:05 AM | PERMALINK

I dont know how anyone can be happy about all these polls

the dems ratings are as low as repubs--that amounts to the country--the people have a damn lousy opinion of how our gov't is performing--both sides

the american people think our leaders suck

they need to step back and look at what all this bipartisanship crap is doing to this country

i know its not that simple

but i dont see anything possitive in all this

Posted by: charlie w on March 16, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

Or, according to cmdicely, no need to repeal the 22nd Amendment: Cheney-Bush '08.

Posted by: Don P. on March 16, 2006 at 3:35 AM | PERMALINK

i meant partisan crap

Posted by: charlie w on March 16, 2006 at 3:45 AM | PERMALINK

Floopmeister,

The problem with the Preferential voting System you lay out is that it would not work in the U.S. Preferential voting would only work in a proportional representation system, because a person would vote for the party. In the U.S., we don't vote for the party, but for the person. Thus I don't see how this system could work in the U.S.

Howard,

I understand exactly where you are coming from on the wish to stay in a narrow minority until 2008. I, too, have considered the benefits of that situation. The reason this would not be a great outcome is that the Democrats are a horrible minority. We don't stay on message, we don't have a passion for the same subjects. Our party has for a very long time been organized around personalities and not policies. Many people come to the Democratic party for different reasons, though in a broad ideological sense there are things that tie us together.

For this reason, I think the Dems need the majority. The majority will allow for the policies that we place on the agenda to actually be covered, which will help unite us behind a positive policy agenda. The majority will change the media script, which has consistently be about the internal conflicts of the Democratic party. Finally, the majority will ensure that we can coordinate with our eventual nominee to place certain items on Congress' plate which will benefit that person.

Posted by: Noah on March 16, 2006 at 4:14 AM | PERMALINK

Preferential voting would only work in a proportional representation system, because a person would vote for the party. In the U.S., we don't vote for the party, but for the person. Thus I don't see how this system could work in the U.S.

Not so - preferential voting works in a FPTP system. I think you may be a little confused.
Read the example above. Or try this one:
Running for Governor of New York are three candidates: Oswald Cobblepot (R); James Gordon (D) and Bruce Wayne (I). Now, let's hypothesise that the polls look like this:
Cobblepot - 45%
Gordon - 35%
Wayne - 20%.
Under the present system, Cobblepot wins.
But let's suppose that all the Democratic voters would still rather see Wayne than Cobblepot, and all the Independents would still rather see Gordon than Cobblepot. Under the present system, they'll all be disappointed -much as a lot of people were disappointed by, say, Ralph Nader.
But under IRV, all the Democrats mark their ballots for Gordon first and Wayne second, and all the Independents mark theirs for Wayne first and Gordon second.
The first preferences are counted, and the candidate (Wayne) with the least number of votes is knocked out.
Then all his votes are redistributed according to the second preference. Gordon picks up all Wayne's second preferences and gets 55% - and wins.

Posted by: ajay on March 16, 2006 at 4:59 AM | PERMALINK

"The port deal in particular was a creature of mass media..."

That damn media, always throwing away U.S. security for a quick buck and a handout to their friends, stifling all dissent whenever possible and then blaming others when that doesn't work. Thank God Bush is here to save us from those criminals!

Posted by: Kenji on March 16, 2006 at 5:59 AM | PERMALINK


The only time it stuffs up in when party hacks decide to play sneaky cynical games with preferences, as happened in a couple of states in the last electyion. Labour is pretty hopeless at the moment (like the US dems) and they have been losing votes to the Greens (but still picking up prefs). A group of smart arse Labour party hacks decided to stiff the Greens by giving their preferences to 'Family First' (without telling voters!) over the Greens, even though the Greens are their closest philosophical cousins.

This needs explanation. Both the Senate and House of Reps have "Instant Runoff Voting" in American parlance, but using different methods. The Senate vote is a quota based proportional representation system in which 6 statewide seats are on offer in each election. The House vote is an electorate based system with one candidate per seat.

The problem with the Senate ballot is that there's usually a large number of candidates, and voters apparently don't like to number all the boxes. So some bright spark invented "above the line" voting. If you vote "above the line", you put a one in the box representing your favored party. "Your" preferences are then determined by the party you've just voted for based on pre-registered preferences that get decided based on back-alley deals and, on at least one alleged occasion, literal yellow envelopes stuffed with cash.

Since about 90 percent of voters vote above the line, this gives enormous power to the parties over "your" vote and makes party-based preference allocation deals crucial. Of course you can always determine your own preferences by voting below the line, but since this is more complicated and time consuming and people are lazy, uninformed and stupid, only a minority do it. Every election I go to the polling place with my custom list of preferences carefully written down, and carefully record them in the ballot, while knowing full well that it doesn't make a lick of difference since, in the first place, I'm in the dismal minority, and secondly, I live in the ACT which is allocated only 2 seats in the Senate, and hence, with the 2 party system and support split roughly evenly, the seats always go to one Labor and on Liberal party candidate.

Needless to say preallocated preferences are a (mis)feature only of one particular system, and one that nobody should or would want to emulate.

Posted by: Jason Stokes on March 16, 2006 at 7:49 AM | PERMALINK

The House vote is an electorate based system with one candidate per seat

I mean, of course, one representative per seat. Sorry about that.

Posted by: Jason Stokes on March 16, 2006 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Question: What happens if you just can't make up your mind on any of the choices? Can you vote "voted" but just not register preferences?

Nobody monitors your vote, and it's all anonymous, so you don't even have to fill out your ballot. Or, you can vote informal (scrawl something that spoils your ballot.)

Australia's "compulsory" voting requirement is little more than a requirement to show up to get your name marked off, or pay a minor fine. This is enough to get most people to vote.

Australia is similar to the US culturally, but Australians are more likely to accept the concept of citizenship responsibilities as well as rights. The standard argument for compulsory voting is that it voting is both a right and a responsibility of citizenship.

Certain members of the coalition, which is philosophically opposed to the idea of responsibility in anything except the responsibility of women to get pregnant, stay pregnant and keep pumping out little Australians (hello, baby bonus!), has been talking up non-compulsory voting of late. They've apparently done the sums and decided that they can gain an advantage by doing so.

Posted by: Jason Stokes on March 16, 2006 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

What I again find most amazing about this poll is the 47 perecentage point divergence between the views of Republicans (73% approval) and Independents (26% approval) about Bush. There has never ever been a divergence of even close to this magnitude between the views of Independents and members of the President's paty and this divergence has existed for most of the past year.

It really does suggest that many Republicans are living solely within their own media bubble courtesy of Fox News, talk radio and many regional newspapers.

Posted by: Ben Brackley on March 16, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Bush isn't worrying about his poll numbers because he doesn't want them to be high. :)

This way the party can make a decision in the primary on what direction it wants to go without worrying about what the current president's position is. And the next president will be Republican, so that's important for the country to make a decision on what direction we want to go.

Posted by: Chad on March 16, 2006 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

Bush's number around bound to bounce back. Just watch, he is in campaigning mode again. And that's good for America.

If I were faced with a choice of a president who stands for something and another party who stands for pretty much nothing, no agenda, no spine, and whose last presidential nominee is a flip-flopper, I'd rather choose the president who at least stands for something, thank you very much.

And I know what he stands for. He is God's messiah on earth, doing his very best to kill all terrorists worldwide, whereever they are.

Posted by: Mini Al on March 16, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

It really does suggest that many Republicans are living solely within their own media bubble courtesy of Fox News, talk radio and many regional newspapers.

Posted by: Ben Brackley

Astually most of us don't give a rat's ass about Bush's poll numbers. He is not working for re-election. He is working at being president. As a republican my primary concern during the last two election cycles was SCOTUS and we got that. Also maintaining majorities in congress and that appears to be staying republican for a long time with the current strenght of incumbancy.

You Dumbercrats are the ones obsessed with Bush and his poll numbers to the point that you have lost sight of the prize and another republican will probably get elected president in 2008. I love it!

Posted by: Fat White Guy on March 16, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

If you read the polls carefully you find that Bush has not only lost the Democrats and the Independents, he is losing Republicans rapidly. He is not only losing "liberal' and "moderate" Republicans, his popularity with "conservative" Republicans is declining as well. Fewer and fewer conservatives think of Bush as being one of their own. The "no markup too large" presidency isn't playing very well in conservative land.

The big issue is "incompetence." I have heard hard rock conservatives talking about the Bush administration and its profound incompetence. The problem isn't just limited to Bush. Everywhere you turn more and more examples of bonechilling incompetence pop-up. Cheney, Rumsfelt, Rice, Bolton and the rest of the "neo-con" foreign policy team are widely considered less than adept, but the examples of incompetence on the domestic side of the government keep on mounting. Brownie, Chertoff, Miers, Secretary Snow (or his designate) have all demonstrated a stunning lack of basic competence. Down below the press aid trying to stiffle NASA scientists, and now the young lawyer Carla Martin who may have singlehandedly torpedoed the Zacarias Moussaoui criminal prosecution are newsworthy examples of plain old incompetence among the Bush rank and file. From what I have read and been told just below the surface there are many, many others who are similarly incompetent .

What's that I hear, Bush isn't running again.

The good thing for Democrats is that the Republicans in Congress have the same problem. The public perceives them as being incompetent or corrupt or both. The various money scandals are prime examples of the incompetence of Republican congressional leadership. Real leaders would not have allowed K-Street to gain so much open control. They would have nipped Duke Cunningham and Katherine Harris' problems in the bud.

The idea of not having a functioning ethics committee in the house demonstrats a stunning lack of competence. The ethics committee exists to protect the institution. A functioning ethics committee also protects the image of the party in power. Denny Hastart might not be a crook, but he sure is incompetent for allowing DeLay to talk him into gutting the ethics committee.

In the Senate who can forget Dr. Frist's long distance diagnosis in the Schiavo case. World famous heart surgeon. Would anybody want him working on your heart after Schaivo.

More importantly the Republicans have passed two major initiatives in the last few years --the Drug Benefit and bankruptcy reform. Both are prime examples of rank incompetence. The Drug Benefit will, no doubt, translate directly into votes for Democrats.

Incompetence. The word that best describes the current crop of Republicans in leadership positions in both the administration and the congress.

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 16, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

During the impeachment spring and summer of 1974, Nixon's support leveled off at about 26%.

Bush is only 7 points above Nixon's floor level of support.

Wow.

Posted by: RT on March 16, 2006 at 9:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'm a political Independent myself and I agree, the one adjective that first enters my mind in respect to George W. Bush is INCOMPETENT. Thoroughly, utterly, absolutely incompetent, however much you may agree with his views. I'm embarrassed to admit that I voted for Bush in 2004 (although I supported and voted for Gore in 2000-- oh, how I wish Gore had won that election 6 years ago, how much stronger our country would be). Kerry just rubbed me the wrong way in 2004, but I now have to shake my head in the mirror for that vote in 2004, the way a Yuppie with a hangover on Saturday morning does after recalling his idiotic drunken behavior in front of his colleagues at Happy Hour the evening before.

Iraq is possibly the most incompetently-run war in US history. At least in Vietnam, we were up against a tough and organized regular North Vietnamese army, heavily armed and supported by the Soviets. In Iraq, we're up against some tough yet relatively poorly armed and insurgents, who are humiliating the world's only superpower with a $500 billion annual defense budget. More to the point, we never should have been in Iraq in the first place-- Colin Powell and Condi Rice snowed me, I admit, as all that supposed WMD intelligence was bulls**t.

Then came the Katrina fiasco. Fiasco is an understatement. The ex-convict guy who delivers my pizza could have done a better job in NOLA than Bush.

Now comes Bush's latest exemplar of utter idiocy, this incredibly stupid nuclear deal that he's trying to push with India. Yeah, that's real smart. We're desperately trying to stop Iran from developing nukes, trying to rein in Pakistan too, invoking international law to get other countries on our side against North Korea, essentially trying desperately to get the world to move away from nukes, before they start appearing at bake sales for the latest terrorist to snatch up and deliver right to our doorstep. So Bush's solution to this crisis is-- essentially trash the nuclear non-proliferation treaty by breaking it for India, while supplying India with tons of high-grade plutonium for direct conversion into nuclear missiles, thus provoking Pakistan to respond in kind, thus provoking a nuclear arms race in South Asia with rapid movement toward a nuclear war and loose nukes all over South and Central Asia, while also wrecking the international statutes in place to rein in Iran and North Korea. HOW IDIOTIC CAN BUSH GET? Congress had better reject this deal, or they'll be out on their asses begging for petty cash once November rolls along.

I have to hand it to George W. Bush. No President in our history has so thoroughly, so commonly, and so systematically screwed up in so many areas. It would be really funny, except that Bush may have done permanent and unsustainable damage to our country and world. Our national debt is soon gonna hit over $9 trillion-- in short, we're fscked, and the crap's gonna hit the fan in a few years (unfortunately, probably during the first term of Bush's successor).

Posted by: Fazio on March 16, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

"Kerry just rubbed me the wrong way in 2004."

Why?

Posted by: Lucy on March 16, 2006 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

If you look and the full list of one-word descriptors, it's striking thet "honest" - which topped the list five times running - has dropped to sixth place, and is now behind "liar" for the first time. Al Franken - Kansas is getting it at last!

Posted by: James Wimberley on March 16, 2006 at 9:39 AM | PERMALINK

For some perspective on whether it's credible to have a 33% approval rating for Bush if 73% of Republicans

"Estimates of partisanship vary widely. Using a 90% confidence interval, you could say that Republicans are between 26% and 39% of the public, Democrats are between 29.4% and 40.6% and Independents between 17.4% and 36.6%. Those are widely varying estimates. They get pushed around by question wording, sampling frame, house effects and plain random sampling error. To pick any single value for the party distribution and claim it is "right" in some absolute sense is fantasy."

from . . .
http://politicalarithmetik.blogspot.com/2006/03/partisanship-across-polls.html

If you read the whole piece, you'll see that most surveys find substantial percentages who identify with neither party, and a small advantage in identification in favor of the Democrats. Seems there are fewer self-identified Republicans than many of us would have thought, so it's not very surprising that Bush's support levels are so low. I don't know how identification has shifted over the past year, and would welcome tips on where to find out.

Posted by: Barry on March 16, 2006 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

No, the constitution will not be modified to allow the president three or more terms. I wouldn't rule out an exception for those citizens born in Austria. I wonder if that could happen by a court ruling to the effect that "naturalized" shouldn't mean second-class citizen in any respect?

Posted by: Michael L. Cook on March 16, 2006 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

Look at 2002 and 2004

OK, I'm looking. I see a then-popular wartime President in 2002 and a Presidential election with a marginally popular incumbent in 2004. What am I supposed to be looking for again?

You Dumbercrats are the ones obsessed with Bush and his poll numbers to the point that you have lost sight of the prize and another republican will probably get elected president in 2008.

Losing sight of what? Let's recite the facts, Fascist White Asshole:

Your President is unpopular.
Your party is unpopular.
Outside of the party bunker, Americans - both Democrat and Independent - approve of your President as much as they approved of Dick Nixon.

And as for "he's not running" again, can we say coattails, boys and girls? Or let me try it in a term that might work in the fantasyland that has become the Republican mindset: Al Gore.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on March 16, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

What I would like to have a disscussion about are policy effects. We all know GWB and company are screw ups. I would like to pick things apart like globalization and foreign policy and try and figure out why this stuff is not working.
From my point of view the only trickle down I'm getting is colored yellow. I am tired of pursuing plans that only benifit those with direct acess to government.

Posted by: Neo on March 16, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Well let's see. We know from Carter that 28% won't get you re-elected. But you lefties keep working toward making sure Bush doesn't get re-elected. It'll give you something to do.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, it's you. Go to hell.

Posted by: Lucy on March 16, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

I think Americans should take a look at what's happening in Thailand right now. A wealthy CEO president who's responded to Muslim terrorists with massive violent repression while steering billions towards his corporate allies, buying out the media, and sweeping aside constitutional safeguards, is about to be forced to resign by massive demonstrations by a professional middle class that's finally gotten completely sick of his shenanigans.

We could never do this in the US. It's not entirely clear that it's good that they can do this in Thailand. But it's worth thinking about the parallels, and looking at what IS working for them.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 16, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

After spending years trying to bring down Bush with "he lied", Rathergate, Plamegate, NG, NSA, etc., the left has nothing to show for it except low poll numbers and this they boast about, well done! You really have accomplished a lot, but I guess you have to hang your hat on something as not too appear as complete losers.

Let's do look at policies, both foreign and domestic. Iraq has had three successful elections, a representative government, Saddam on trial and a military/security force improving everyday and our troops will be heading home this year. Afghanistan is a democratic country, India has become an ally as has the freindships strengthened with Germany, Jordan, Egypt and Pakistan. The US is putting pressure on the ever-weak security council to do something with Iran and Darfur and Bolton is the right person at the right time. Domestically, unemployment is at an historic low, GDP is growing briskly and the DOW and Nasdaq are performing well.

So I am curious to hear how much better the intellectually superior democrats will do. Exactly what is that platform? If there is one and if they can mention anything about their strategy without muttering the words "evil Bush", should be interesting to see. Don't forget the part about Bush listening in on phone calls, yikes!

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Massive violent repression towards Muslim terrorists? Please say it's not true. I mean what have those Muslim terrorists done to deserve any repercussions? Oh wait........

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, it's you. Go to hell.
Come on, Lucy, where's the love?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 10:25 AM | PERMALINK

Dusty, coat tails have nothing to do with '08, Cheney is not running and the other candidates are not exactly in lockstep with GW. The main reason the poll numbers are down is because GW is not conservative enough. The liberals have yet to get that through their thick wooden heads. McCain could beat anyone on the left, but my choice would be:
Say hello to President Gingrich.

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

After years of constant hammering by the Democrats and the media, I'm surprised Bush is doing this well.

Of course, Bush's years of mendacity, incompetence and corruption have nothing to do with it, eh, tbrosz?

What's interesting to me is that all your pathetic water carrying for Bush seems to have only deluded yourself. Bush's approval, and that of the Republicans, is going down, down, down, and all you have is to harrumph about your "liberal media" and "echo chamber" straw men and sneer at the concept of an opposition party. Well done, tbrosz. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

After spending years trying to bring down Bush with "he lied", Rathergate, Plamegate, NG, NSA, etc., the left has nothing to show for it except low poll numbers

Yeah. Bush's low poll numbers.

Dolt.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 16, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

The former left messiah Terry McAuliffe was saying just yesterday that the Democrats needed to have a bigger tent and welcome independents and moderate republicans. So, where is the love for cn, rde, mca, cheney and myself. We want to feel welcome in the tent. Can we be in the tent?

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

I thought liberals cheered on people that went down, down, down?

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Jason Stokes:

Thanks for the info on the Oz system. If you check Wiki on voting
systems, you'll see that preferential voting would never be a panacea.
There'll always be ways to game the system like the way Labour tried
to wreak revenge on the ascendent Greens by voting for Family First
-- and then Family First won a few seats, much to their chagrin.

Noah:

> The problem with the Preferential voting System you lay
> out is that it would not work in the U.S. Preferential
> voting would only work in a proportional representation
> system, because a person would vote for the party. In the
> U.S., we don't vote for the party, but for the person.
> Thus I don't see how this system could work in the U.S.

Well, some states (red ones especially) already have runoff elections
in primaries, so nothing about IRV inherently contradicts the American
system. IRV only compresses the time frame and reflects the kind
of voting that a person would do if their first choice didn't get a
majority and they hold a runoff. Because you do it in one shot, it
saves a great deal of money and time vs holding a runoff election.

As someone pointed out, IRV would work in our winner-take-all (first
past the post) system, with two major parties. What IRV has the
signal advantage of doing, though, is increasing the vibrancy of
political debate by de-marginalizing the minority parties. If people
who are really closer to Greens or Libertarians could vote for these
parties without throwing their votes away, the support for them would
increase from below 5% to something approaching 15 or 20%. These
parties wouldn't *get* those votes, which would devolve to their
second-order major-party choices in most elections. But it would
demonstrate to all and sundry that Greens, Libs, Reforms and others
had a slice of the discourse that needs to be recokoned with.

Now, some would argue that any first choices which don't go to a
candidate simply do not count (save symbolically), because to count
them for the minority parties would violate one-person-one-vote.

I would respond that symbolically may well be enough to put the
Fear o' Gawd into the two-party system. It would also allow the
minority wing parties to carry stronger ideological messages and
let the centrist mainstream parties express centrist views without
the need to pander to their bases (which would get added together
in the final tally anyway). In other words, it would move our
system to something closer to a parliamentary system where winners
are coalitions of parties with otherwise consistent ideologies.

The main benefit would be more consistent and clear messages. The
Greens could carry a strong antiwar message, and the Democrats
wouldn't feel the need to hem and haw about supporting the war.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

Jay you can go down on me any day. Sorry couldn't resist.

Posted by: Neo on March 16, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

What, exactly, is the gain in a dem majority in either house? some would say the power of subpoena, and i don't mean to ignore that, but i don't think that's worth the tradeoff. I want the messes that bush/delay governance all squarely pinned on the gop.

With all due respect, howard, I think recent actions (such as the pathetic caving of Senate Republicans on the Intelligence Committee) show that the power of the subpoena is important to have the messes of bush/delay governance all squarely pinned on the gop.

I'd rather see the Senate back in Democratic hands. Given how dissatisfied with Bush's agenda the American people are, I don't think the "obstructionist" charge will have the resonance the GOP might hope.

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

"After spending years trying to bring down Bush . . . the left has nothing to show for it except low poll numbers . . . "

While you have lies about WMDs and links to al Qaeda, Plamegate, NSA, failed social security privatization, Iraq quagmire, OBL still on the loose, Iran enriching uranium, NK a nuclear power, Hamas in charge in Palestine, Katrina, Terry Schaivo, failed Dubai Ports deal, etc.

Must make you proud.

Smarter trolls, please.

Posted by: Joel on March 16, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Neo, advertising your homosexual tendencies. Nicely done, I can't help you out but maybe Gregory could, he seems to be sensitive.

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

...but your point at 12:13 AM is well taken.

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

Joel, see my 10:22am post.

More gay liberals please.

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK
Preferential voting would only work in a proportional representation system, because a person would vote for the party.

This is false in a whole host of ways; the first is that there are places in the US that already have single-member preferential voting (usually IRV), and it functions, therefore the conclusion is simply factually incorrect.

The premise that proportional representation is tied to "voting for the party" is also false; you can acheive PR using a candidate-centered preference voting system without party lists as well; indeed, with party-list PR, you really don't much need preference voting, though its a way to not exclude people whose parties are likely to fall below the election threshold. But preference voting is really more key in candidate-centered election systems, whether single-winner or multiple-winner systems designed to acheive some degree of proportional representation.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, see my 10:40 am post.

Posted by: Joel on March 16, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/

Way too many interesting things in here to touch on point by point. Alot of cause and effect stuff. Check it out if you have time.

Posted by: Neo on March 16, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Re Compulsory Aussie voting:

Half of the American people have never read a newspaper. Half never voted for President. One hopes it is the same half. - Gore Vidal

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Aren't you confusing proportional representation with preferential voting?

Preferential voting (IRV) would work in FPTP systems as easily as it could work in multi-candidate races, e.g., for city council.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

As someone pointed out, IRV would work in our winner-take-all (first past the post) system, with two major parties. What IRV has the signal advantage of doing, though, is increasing the vibrancy of political debate by de-marginalizing the minority parties.

I'm not sure that's really true; IRV makes it less of a waste to vote for anyone but the major two parties at the top of the ballot, but because of its elimination system does only slightly less than either plurality or majority/runoff to exclude minor party candidates -- OTOH, it doesn't completely make their supporters irrelevant or render voting for them completely perverse, so its an improvement.

You could simplify IRV by removing the elimination steps and just walking down the preferences to find the first majority of ballots (breaking ties with the biggest majority), and have a system that did a lot more to open up the debate and which.

The elimination step is an unnecessary feature to simulate a variant of majority/runoff which serves to preserve some of the problems IRV is designed to address.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Gore Vidal--now there's a candidate. Too bad he's 100 years old.

Posted by: Lucy on March 16, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK
Aren't you confusing proportional representation with preferential voting?

I don't think so.

Preferential voting (IRV) would work in FPTP systems as easily as it could work in multi-candidate races, e.g., for city council.

That's why I said it was false that it would only work in PR systems, and said that it could (and does) work in single-winner and multi-winner systems. It is most useful in candidate-centered rather than party-list systems, though it can have some utility in the latter. Did you confuse the bit I responded to with my position?

(Incidentally, you shouldn't really equate preference voting with IRV. IRV is one -- particularly bad, IMO, but structurally similar to majority/runoff and thus undeservedly popular as a replacement for it -- method of tallying preference votes, it is not the same as preference voting, and, arguably, among the major ways of using preference ballots does the least to eliminate the problems of majority/runoff or plurality that preference voting is seen as a means of correcting.)

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

While you have lies about WMDs and links to al Qaeda, Plamegate, NSA, failed social security privatization, Iraq quagmire, OBL still on the loose, Iran enriching uranium, NK a nuclear power, Hamas in charge in Palestine, Katrina, Terry Schaivo, failed Dubai Ports deal, etc.

Must make you proud.

Smarter trolls, please.
Posted by: Joel

Joel, you forgot the wonderful budget deficits. Can't leave those out of any list of GOP Congressional/GWB accomplishments. A national debt ballooning up towards $9 Trillion. Record Current Account deficits. Record trade deficits.

I think historians might go for 'The Era of Deficiencies' when they search for a suitable summation of this nadir of the American Republic.

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

After years of constant hammering by the Democrats and the media, I'm surprised Bush is doing this well.

The media has spent most of the Bush Presidency outright fellating the administration (which, given the outright payoffs to people in the media that have come to light, is hardly surprising); certainly its been no harsher to Bush than it was to Clinton, and yet Clinton's approval never got as low in his second term as Bush's second-term high.

Neither were the Republicans any kinder to Clinton than the Democrats have been to Bush, so that's clearly not the difference, either.

Maybe you need to look at the real problem, like the war that people in the administration were portraying as a cakewalk that would be followed by a brief and self-financing occupation, which has turned out rather differently.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Neo,

I would like the same discussion of the impact of Bush's policies on America. Like you trickle down I am seeing is colored yellow.

Could somebody tell me again just how our policies on globalization benefit regular middle class Americans? How do the Bush policies provide real Americans with expanded opportunity. Why has the middle class been shrinking? Why haven't we seen real wage growth for the average member of the middle class? Why have the rich gotten richer while the ranks of the poor have been expanding?

Is it possible that the Republicans don't give a flying f*ck about most Americans?

Posted by: Ron Byers on March 16, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

lies about WMDs
Damn that Clinton guy for starting those lies. And Gore, and Kerry, and Albright, and Kennedy, and Berger, and Chirac. You know how simple minded GW is, he was just going to be picking up on what everyone else said.

links to al Qaeda
Got those, you meant to say "links to 9/11".

Plamegate
Yep, indicted ol' Scooter for perjury. But keep heart, they may yet find a crime to have lied about.

NSA
Oh ya, I can't wait for your next round of candidates to be arguing that we shouldn't be spying on terrorists. That'll go over good.

failed social security privatization
What was up with that, anyway? The left worked for years to convince everyone that SS was in dire trouble, and then refused to fix it.

Iraq quagmire
Yep, according to the left that quagmire was in full swing before we ever reached Baghdad. Since your definition of quagmire is obviously hosed, I think we can just ignore this.

OBL still on the loose
Ya, the only terrorist in the world. The deserts will bloom and global warming will cease if we could just catch that guy...

Iran enriching uranium
I forget, is this one of the things we're supposed be doing multilaterally, letting the UN do it's job, or are we supposed to be forging ahead by ourselves for world peace here? You lefties keep jumping around on that one and I'm never sure where you're going to come down.

I'd finish, but I'm bored with your delusions.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Mr.Byers wins the prize. Seems like were not allowed in this current good ole boys club.
Bush reminds me of boss hogg on The Dukes of Hazzard.

Posted by: Neo on March 16, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

IRV is a form of rank-order preference voting. As I noted in several messages, there are other forms (Condorcet voting among them), and of course there are ways to tweak and optimize any kind of system that allows voters to express a series of ordered preferences.

The ordered preferences are the generic similarity of all these systems. Cutoff points lend it a similarity to the viability threshhold in the Iowa caucuses.

I'm not sure which rank-order preference system is the best. According to Wiki, all have their advantages and disadvantages.

But San Francisco has used IRV for a number of years, and they seem to be having a positive experience with it.

It's no panacea -- but it does seem like a step in the right direction.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Gore Vidal is a national treasure - several have already posted that statement at Truthdig.com - Highly recommend his interview which is up presently at Truthdig.

Vidal was the first to mention the venom and revenge lurking in "GrandMother" Bush. Like mother, like son.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on March 16, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

How many spots do you get on your preferences with IRV? Can you start off with Gore Vidal, if you're Lucy, and then run through, say, John Anderson, Gary Hart, Al Gore, EL Doctorow, the girl from the Dixie Chicks, Paul Hackett, George Clooney, and finally get to 19. Jon Stewart and 20. Hillary Clinton?

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 16, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Au contraire Neo, it seems as though Mr. Byers lost the prize, hence the whining. Just. Can't. Compete.

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

My point about rank-order preference voting (which would generally apply to any system) is that it has the potential to strengthen political discourse by allowing minority parties to carry a clear message and allowing centrist parties to avoid blatantly pandering to their bases.

You can look upthread again at the message you responded to if you'd like to see this fleshed out.

I see that as a more critical issue than avoiding pluralities in multi-candidate elections.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

"Kerry just rubbed me the wrong way in 2004."

Hell, he rubbed everybody the wrong way. That is certainly no justification for a Bush vote.

Apparently, Bush's low numbers have energized Jay. Even the wingers are secretly delighted that the nation has finally caught on to the guy's nefariousness. We are, after all, (with a couple of notable exceptions) Americans here.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 16, 2006 at 11:15 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

Americans would no doubt immediately find a way to totally fuck up a perfectly logical system by behaving like consumerist cretins.

The Britney Spears vote would doubtless quintuple :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Abstract

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

R. Jason Faberman (2006) "Job Flows and the Recent Business Cycle: Not All 'Recoveries' Are Created Equal."

The last two economic downturns are notable for their slow labor market recoveries. Yet, the behavior of their underlying gross job flows is quite different. The 1990-92 period had a relatively slow decline in job destruction, while the 2001-03 period had a large, persistent decline in job creation that occurs across most industries. The dynamics of the latter period run counter to the conventional wisdom that large movements in job destruction drive business cycles. Evidence spanning the entire postwar period suggests that job creation is at a historic low, and that its recent patterns are part of decades-long decline in the magnitude and volatility of job reallocation.

from bls.gov

Posted by: Neo on March 16, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

Less facetiously, they already have the option to do that in Australia, with their compulsory voting system (and they have preferential voting).

It's called "donkey voting" -- deliberately spoiling one's ballot by writing any old thing in.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Is it possible that the Republicans don't give a flying f*ck about most Americans?
Posted by: Ron Byers

Umm....on mature consideration, I think they care more for free rides on corporate jets and international golf junkets.
....

"Under accelerating incompetence in America, this may change. Social systems can survive a good deal of folly when circumstances are historically favorable, or when bungling is cushioned by large resources or absorbed by sheer size as in the United States during its period of expansion. Today, when there are no more cushions, folly is less affordable." Barbara Tuchman "The March of Folly"

Posted by: CFShep on March 16, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, I see Otto's back! For those of you who missed it last night, I'll repost:

Solar: Nutless claims to have studied something. Priceless.

Ya, he's also studied that "the Serbs and the Bosnians are currently killing each other as fast as they can," which he typed here a few days ago.

Come to think of it, conspiracy nut really reminds me of the paranoid, incompetent Kevin Kline character Otto from "A Fish Called Wanda":

Wanda: To call you stupid would be an insult to stupid people. I've known sheep who could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs, but you think you're an intellectual, don't you, ape?

Otto: Apes don't read philosophy.

Wanda: Yes they do, Otto, they just don't understand it.

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK


You know, the conspiracy nut as Otto comparison makes even more sense when I remember his blathering yesterday that "from a combat standpoint we won Vietnam." Given that, does this exchange between Otto (Kevin Kline) and Archie (John Cleese) remind you of anyone?

Otto: You know your problem? You don't like winners.

Archie: Winners?

Otto: Yeah. Winners.

Archie: Winners, like North Vietnam?

Otto: Shut up. We didn't lose Vietnam. It was a tie.

Archie: [going into a cowboy-like drawl] I'm tellin' ya baby, they kicked your little ass there. Boy, they whooped yer hide REAL GOOD.

Posted by: Stefan on March 15, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Stefan on March 16, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

We're all very impressed Stefan of your command for irrelevant movies. Of course command for the irrelevance is a liberal virtue.

Posted by: Jay on March 16, 2006 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Trolls amaze me. You can always tell who they are. They support dear leader no matter what and agree with everything he does. Any policy, any decision, no problem.

Even my very conservative father-in-law doesn't like Bush. Real people don't agree with other people 100% on everything. Mindless trolls do obviously.

Posted by: tripoley on March 16, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Show some respect Jay. Stefan is the leader of the ILK.

ILK party 08

Posted by: Neo on March 16, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

But the Underground in London is a political movement.

Posted by: Otto on March 16, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut at 11:01 AM treats us to a nice summary of his/her/its usual dishonesty. The part I find interesting -- well, not interesting, but less uninteresting than the rest of his/her/its pack of lies -- is this typically dishonest frame:

NSA
Oh ya, I can't wait for your next round of candidates to be arguing that we shouldn't be spying on terrorists. That'll go over good.

Now, c.n. is well aware of the dishonesty of this frame -- that no one is arguing that we shouldn't be spying on terrorists; everyone agrees we should, just that Democrats and some honest conservatives are arguing the President should follow the law and checks and balances, while the President, his Administration and his lickspittles in Congress are arguing he shouldn't.

Of course, c.n. has tried to burnish his/her/its credentials by claiming that he/she/it is concerned with abuse of government power and advocating a return to "enumerated powers." Under such a philosophy, the President has no power whatsoever to violate the Fourth Amendment with no judicial oversight. It's fascinating to see how fast c.n. drops his/her/its pose when there's a dishonest frame to be pushed on behalf of the Republicans.

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Hey Kevin ... it's been over 24 hours.

WHERE'S MY GODDAMNED RELIGION THREAD ????

:)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

Pay no attention to Jay.

After he has to sell his computer, he'll have to work scrubbing toilets to pay off his Adjustable Rate Mortgage, even though he'll be evicted from his dream McMansion.

My constituents are like deer trapped in headlights. They just don't see what they've reaped coming. hehehe.

Bush Boom. Coming soon to a town near you.

Sorry, gotta cut it short, they found another autistic kid for me to give noogies on TV.

Posted by: Jay's pimp GW on March 16, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Don't worry, I've never expected you shallow thinkers to be anything but.

Gregory
no one is arguing that we shouldn't be spying on terrorists
Let's see, the left wants to stop spying on terrorists, but isn't arguing that we shouldn't be spying on terrorists... Well, I suppose that's technical correct, the left doesn't want to argue about they it, they just want to stop spying on terrorists. So, OK.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut is a stupid, ignorant liar, a bootlicking mental slave who is incapable of doing anything but regurgitating right-wing drivel, usually the most idiotic and stupid talking points every invented by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and other RNC propgaganda outlets for consumption by people so gullible that they qualify as mentally defective. His fake, phony posturing as a "libertarian" is pathetic and clownish.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 16, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, gotta cut it short, they found another autistic kid for me to give noogies on TV.
Posted by: Jay's pimp GW

just don't give him Communion.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 16, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Secular
Still haven't visited that thesaurus, I see.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

My point about rank-order preference voting (which would generally apply to any system) is that it has the potential to strengthen political discourse by allowing minority parties to carry a clear message and allowing centrist parties to avoid blatantly pandering to their bases.

Those two concepts are diametrically opposed; there is no real distinction between carrying a clear message and pandering to your base.

What you really seem to be saying is that it would "allow" the major, allegedly "centrist" parties, to saw off their current left- or right-wing activist base and become purely centrist parties pandering to their new base in the "center".

I kind of doubt that's a viable strategy for more than one of the two current major parties, probably the one least in touch with its activist base. The other, of course, will just align to its base.


Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

After spending years trying to bring down Bush with "he lied", Rathergate, Plamegate, NG, NSA, etc., the left has nothing to show for it except low poll numbers

Hey, we'll take it!

Any more where that came from?

Posted by: frankly0 on March 16, 2006 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

33%

Can we officially declare that Bush's Teflon has worn off?

Posted by: frankly0 on March 16, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

After spending years trying to bring down Bush with "he lied", Rathergate, Plamegate, NG, NSA, etc., the left has nothing to show for it except low poll numbers

Bush is continuing in his well-trod path of trying to emulate his father but failing spectacularly at it. Bush senior was a war hero and the youngest naval aviator in WWII, Bush junior went AWOL from the TANG. Bush senior was a varsity athlete, Bush junior was a cheerleader. Bush senior made millions as a Texas oilman, Bush junior failed at that. Bush senior is a respected international statesman, Bush junior is a universally despised fuck-up.

Finally, Bush senior had some of the highest poll ratings in history right after the Gulf War, while Bush junior now has among the lowest.

Posted by: Stefan on March 16, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, the left wants to stop spying on terrorists

Wrong again, nut, but thanks for playing.

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK
The ordered preferences are the generic similarity of all these systems. Cutoff points lend it a similarity to the viability threshhold in the Iowa caucuses.

I'm not sure what you mean by "cutoff points" here.

I'm not sure which rank-order preference system is the best.

"Best" is subjective, and depends on what criteria you think are important. Its not something that is objectively determinable;

But San Francisco has used IRV for a number of years, and they seem to be having a positive experience with it.

Certainly; as I say, its clear that IRV is better -- from the perspective of inclusiveness -- than either majority/runoff or plurality, which is what it generally replaces in the US.

Then again, from that perspective, so is random ballot; about the only thing worse is simply chosing the winner randomly without looking at the ballots.


Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Irrelevant Movie -

A Fish Called Wanda - Oscar for Best Supporting Actor - Kevin Kline

Voted the 21st funniest movie out of 100 by the American Film Industry.

Major critical and commercial success.

Relevant Movie to CN

The Green Berets - 3rd and 4th place winner in the mighty Golden Laurel awards.

User comments from IMDb - "Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad"

Buddy of mine who was in Nam talked with several Green Beenie enlisted guys in Nam who said the movie hurt their units because young officers from stateside came in with the wrong attitude of trying to OutWayne Wayne.

Posted by: Ilk Memberl on March 16, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut:

Secular
Still haven't visited that thesaurus, I see.

Oh, I don't know. I kind of liked "propgaganda," although it only works in writing.

You usually know you've make a point when the eyes roll back into their heads and the foam starts coming.

For a political group that seems to think it's in the catbird seat right now, leftists and liberals sure seem to get hysterical on these boards.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 16, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see, the left wants to stop spying on terrorists

Let's see, the right wants to continue knocking down strawmen.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 16, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

So much for nut's "strict costructuonism" and "fear of government power."

Now, nut, back to the question you dodged with your usual dishonesty: Do you agree that the President should obey the law, or do you disagree?

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton's poll numbers didn't help the Dems, why would Bush's help? Problem with Dems is that they traded away the entire South, which was solidly blue for the black, feminist, gay and union vote.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 16, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

You usually know you've make a point when the eyes roll back into their heads and the foam starts coming.

No, you just know you've regurgitated more dishonesty, tbrosz. Or in your case, just applauded it. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Clinton's poll numbers didn't help the Dems, why would Bush's help?

Oh, my, that's funny! Here's a clue, FF: Since Bush's poll numbers are miserably less than Clinton's ever were, "help" isn't the operative word.

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Can we officially declare that Bush's Teflon has worn off?"

So is this finally the watershed tipping point? I had always thought Cindy Sheehan, Katrina, Iraq civil war, NSA, Abramoff, Diebolt, Fitzmas, Murtha, Cheney, etc... were the tipping points...

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 16, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I had always thought Cindy Sheehan, Katrina, Iraq civil war, NSA, Abramoff, Diebolt, Fitzmas, Murtha, Cheney, etc... were the tipping points...

Well, FF, Bush's approval rating has certainly tipped right over a cliff...

Posted by: Gregory on March 16, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK
Clinton's poll numbers didn't help the Dems, why would Bush's help?

Clinton's poll numbers did help the Dems; the gains in the 1998 midterms, while not enough to secure a majority, were atypical for the party of the President, and certainly were aided by the general job approval of the President.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

FF, your little problem is that it's NOT just Bush's poll numbers. It's the ~15% advantage Congressional Dems have over Congressional Republicanism.

You see, it's Republicanism itself that stinks in the noses of the American people.

And why would it be otherwise? Republicans have made a huge stupendous deal out of their allegiance to Bush and to each other for the past 5 years. They control every last aspect of government. If the American people think that our government is fucking up big time, why shouldn't they blame the Republicans as Republicans?

You guys can run, but you can't hide from your record or from your solidarity.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 16, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Let's see, the right wants to continue knocking down strawmen."

To say the liberals want to stop spying on the terrorists is probably the understatement of the year. Whenever you get an Al Qaeda communique, it hits the same liberal talking points; release Gitmo prisoners, send Bush to prison, do not upset the Moslems...

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 16, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Some interesting comments on elections.

I wouldn't mind going back five or six presidential elections in the U.S. and speculating on how they would have turned out under Preferential Voting. Like those that had Perot in them.

Bob:

It's already too damn easy to vote in this country. With all the things provided, including mail-in ballots, anyone who still can't get off their ass to vote is probably someone I don't want picking our leaders anyway.

Compulsory voting is ridiculous for the same reasons. I don't want anyone voting who has to be dragged to the polls.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 16, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Do you agree that the President should obey the law, or do you disagree?
Oh, certainly he should. I'm not sure what that has to do with the NSA question, however. Want a list of court decisions that the President has the power to monitor communications in and out of the US for purposes of national defense? Want to know how often it happened in the past? Want to read about the FISA court agreeing that the President has this power?

I know the answer to those questions is no, because I've linked to all of that in the past. And we haven't even gotten into the data mining issue yet; data mining being legal, I've never seen any positive information whether the NSA program is or is not data mining.

All that is discussion that never occurs in the moonbat world, because you just want to stop the spying on terrorists. You're clearly not interested in the arguments.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely, if the model of European parties or other parliamentary systems is applicable (that is, if systems based on coalition governments are analogous to what happens with rank-order preference), things will be a lot more complicated than that. For one thing, more diverse preferences tend to unstick the unipolar left-to-right ideological continuum. You end up with Christian Democrats who are to the left of Liberals on safety nets for the poor, but sometimes to the right of them on "vice" issues like drugs and gay rights, and Labor parties which sometimes ally with Christian Dems on safety-net issues, but may ally with Liberals on values issues - and, in the "third way" era, even on macroeconomic issues. And there's room for outlier parties on issues that none of the parties pay enough attention to - Christian Dems can often enough be the most serious environmental parties of the Big 3, so you end up with Green parties to take up the slack. And then there are the new anti-immigrant parties - there's certainly room for that in the US political sphere.

And that's what it might become, in a rank-order preference: a political sphere, rather than a single axis. I think that would be a good thing.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 16, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Clinton's poll numbers did help the Dems"

If they did, how come the Dems lost every single branch of the government?

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 16, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

So is this finally the watershed tipping point? I had always thought Cindy Sheehan, Katrina, Iraq civil war, NSA, Abramoff, Diebolt, Fitzmas, Murtha, Cheney, etc... were the tipping points...

Well, I meant my comment as a joke, FF.

Look, we don't care whether there was one tipping point, or a million of them, or none at all. We care that Bush's poll numbers are 33%.

And who knows where Bush Limbo ends. A year ago, I had thought 40% might be his floor. But, prodigy of incompetence that he is, he continues to astonish.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 16, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, my latest Al Qaeda communique says,

"Please, do all you can to keep your troops in Iraq - It helps our recruiting immensely"

Posted by: stupid git on March 16, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Geez, my latest Al Qaeda communique says,

"Please, do all you can to keep your troops in Iraq - It helps our recruiting immensely""

Oh yeah, I forgot that one. Al Qaeda says leave Iraq, liberals say leave Iraq. The similarities are uncanny. Kinda makes you wonder if liberals and Jihadis were separated at birth or something.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 16, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Look, we don't care whether there was one tipping point, or a million of them, or none at all. We care that Bush's poll numbers are 33%."

I can't think of a better demonstration for Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Posted by: Freedom Fighter on March 16, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Kinda makes you wonder if liberals and Jihadis were separated at birth or something.
They may have been separated, but they've sure maintained close contact.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK
If they did, how come the Dems lost every single branch of the government?

They didn't have any branch of government at the time of the 1998 midterms except the Presidency; and they gained seats in the Congress. They didn't lose any branch of government in that election. As the 1998 midterm -- the second-term midterm -- is the most relevant election to the most immediate upcoming election -- the 2006 midterm -- I would think that would be the most relevant comparison.

They lost the House in 1994, when Clinton did not have strong approval (though still better than Bush has now.) Another indication of the effect of Presidential approval on midterm election results.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

I can't think of a better demonstration for Bush Derangement Syndrome.

And I can't think of a better demonstration that BDS has infected the vast majority of the population than Bush's 33% poll numbers.

Really, don't you get it? EVERYBODY hates Bush like mad nowadays. We're ALL sputtering with rage at him.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 16, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I don't want anyone voting who has to be dragged to the polls.
Posted by: tbrosz

Shorter tbrosz: If you're poor, homeless, or really old, Fuck you! we don't want your stinking vote.

Posted by: Sunshine on March 16, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

The facts are that ~70% of the U.S. population thinks the Iraq war was a mistake and ~50% of the populace believe Bush should be impeached for spying on U.S. citizens WITHOUT acquiring warrants, (which he admitted to doing on t.v.)

according to the trolls, this must mean that a majority of the country of the country doesn't want to protect America.

Posted by: D. on March 16, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK
cmdicely, if the model of European parties or other parliamentary systems is applicable (that is, if systems based on coalition governments are analogous to what happens with rank-order preference), things will be a lot more complicated than that. For one thing, more diverse preferences tend to unstick the unipolar left-to-right ideological continuum.

Certainly, either "unidimensional" or "bipolar", but true; the existence of a meaningful "center" is in large part an illusion of the same system which gives us a two-party system; further, that really has nothing to do with parliamentary systems, or Europe, but is generally true based on the number of competitive parties regardless of whether the system is parliamentary or not.

And that's what it might become, in a rank-order preference: a political sphere, rather than a single axis. I think that would be a good thing.

You probably need more than rank-order preference to get there; you need not just to make votes for minor parties non-perverse (which is the main thing preference voting in single-member districts gets you), you need to make the government, particularly the legislatures at the state and federal level, far more representative, which probably requires some kind of multimember district system.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, speaking of Repubs crashing in the polls, Katherine Harris is still at 23% against Nelson's 45% and - here's the good news - she's going to kick in the $10 million she just inherited from Daddy to try to even up her $8 million to $1 million deficit against Nelson in campaign funds.

So now we get to bankrupt her as well as beat her. This is gonna be fun.

Posted by: brooksfoe on March 16, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Really, almost the entirity of the American people, when they think of Bush, are going to their windows screaming, "I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

Yeah, there's some serious Bush Derangement Syndrome out there alright.

Posted by: frankly0 on March 16, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

> My point about rank-order preference voting (which would generally
> apply to any system) is that it has the potential to strengthen
> political discourse by allowing minority parties to carry a clear
> message and allowing centrist parties to avoid blatantly pandering
> to their bases.

> Those two concepts are diametrically opposed; there is no real
> distinction between carrying a clear message and pandering to your
> base.

Well, you contradicted yourself; I think you meant that those
two concepts are *not* diametrically opposed if indeed there's no
distinction between them. I would say that there is a distinction
if you define "pandering" (and I think it's the common definition)
as supporting something insincerely. Cf. John Kerry's tortuous
attempt to appeal to the antiwar left by finessing his IWR vote.

> What you really seem to be saying is that it would
> "allow" the major, allegedly "centrist" parties,
> to *saw off* their current left- or right-wing
> activist base and become purely centrist parties

Yes, that is precisely what I'm advocating. It would be somewhat
risky and it seems more than a bit counterintuitive for a person
like myself who would support a non-mainstream party -- but I think
it would pay a huge dividend by making the discourse more honest.

> pandering to their new base in the "center".

Except it wouldn't be pandering anymore. We'd immediately lose the
DLC / issue activist circular firing squad, as the issue activists
would feel empowered to leave the Democratic Party and form third
parties without fear of enfranchising the right wing. The Democrats
could be as bland as they want (because that more reflects their
true weltanshaaung than a tactical decision) and come across as
sincere. The flip-flop charges would wither. And the activist
base could build strong organizations that have the potential in
the long term to finally challenge the Democrats for leadership.

We wouldn't feel the real benefits for a couple of cycles, though.
As I say it's risky. But it beats trying to work with these assholes
and getting kicked in the teeth every time we turn around -- witness
the "realist, mature" reaction to Feingold's censure measure.

> I kind of doubt that's a viable strategy for more than one of the
> two current major parties, probably the one least in touch with its
> activist base. The other, of course, will just align to its base.

No, I think the risks here are actually greater for the Republicans
at this moment. The Wall Street / trailer park coalition is built
on even more expediency and cynicism than the Democrats' intellectual
/ minority coalition. Imagine Republicans attempting to run on their
economic platform without being able to hide behind hot-button social
issues. It will move both parties to the center. And if leftist
issue advocates are left in the cold by the Democrats -- well, so is
the entire hard right wing abandoned by the Main Street GOP. The
abortion zealots could take their marbles and go home for real. Both
wings would still influence elections by effectively coalescing with
the mainstream parties, but the discourse would be much more honest.
And if the Republicans win, they win without having to pander to their
hard right while in power. If that's also true for us leftists -- I'd
take that disadvantage for the sake of disempowering the neofascists.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, but I'll wait until the "impending mushroom cloud from Iran" or "terrorist from Iran on the loose in USA" or "Iran active nuclear sites, complete with pictures" or "proof that Al-Qaeda has infiltrated Iran government" talking points saturate the air and media, and I'll bet 100-1 odds that public opinion will swing Bush's way. Any takers?

Posted by: eo on March 16, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, I forgot that one. Al Qaeda says leave Iraq, liberals say leave Iraq. The similarities are uncanny. Kinda makes you wonder if liberals and Jihadis were separated at birth or something.

Actually, Osama bin Laden said "leave Saudi Arabia now" and what did Bush do? He withdrew US forces from Saudi Arabia. Kinda makes you wonder whether bin Laden and Bush are really in cahoots -- after all, the Bush family has been getting payoffs from the bin Laden family for years.

Posted by: Stefan on March 16, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK
Well, you contradicted yourself; I think you meant that those two concepts are *not* diametrically opposed if indeed there's no distinction between them.

I think you need to reread -- I said there is no distinction between the one effect you proposed and the negation of the other. No distinction between having a clear message and pandering to the base (except that the one is the languaged used by those who agree with the policy, the other by those who disagree and prefer a different stand), where you said it would lead to minor parties having clear messages while "centrist" parties would stop pandering to their base (incidentally, if a party's base isn't in the center, is the party really "centrist"?)

Except it wouldn't be pandering anymore.

I don't think there is a meaningful distinction here.

We'd immediately lose the DLC / issue activist circular firing squad, as the issue activists would feel empowered to leave the Democratic Party and form third parties without fear of enfranchising the right wing.

Well, you wouldn't lose it, you'd just move it into interparty fighting.

The Democrats could be as bland as they want (because that more reflects their true weltanshaaung than a tactical decision) and come across as sincere.

I think that this is mistaken on a number of levels; I don't think it accurately portrays where the majority of Democrats are coming from -- I think the blandness is simply a balancing of different strong factions in the coalition, not a real place with its own base to rest on. And secondly, I don't think blandness comes across as sincere in any case -- a "strong centrist" party might be possible, but that's very different from blandness.

We wouldn't feel the real benefits for a couple of cycles, though. As I say it's risky. But it beats trying to work with these assholes and getting kicked in the teeth every time we turn around -- witness the "realist, mature" reaction to Feingold's censure measure.

Its still going to take the same minimum winning coalition to win, to so it won't obviate the need to try to work with the "assholes". It'll just change where that interaction (interparty vs. intraparty) is happening.

No, I think the risks here are actually greater for the Republicans at this moment.

I don't understand the use of the word "no" here, as I didn't comment on relative risks at all.

The Wall Street / trailer park coalition is built on even more expediency and cynicism than the Democrats' intellectual / minority coalition.

Sure, but its also been more successful at getting one group in the coalition to conflate its interests with those of the other, rather than making conscious compromise.


Imagine Republicans attempting to run on their economic platform without being able to hide behind hot-button social issues.

I think the Republicans have been successful enough at turning major parts of the economic agenda into perceived moral/social issues that they could continue for quite some time as they are, though they'd be forced to act more on some of the hot-button social issues.

Perhaps after they'd acheived a lot of them, their base would cool, but I think there'd be enough opposition to acheiving them they'd be able to milk them for quite some time.

The abortion zealots could take their marbles and go home for real.

Go home and do what? In the end, the Republican Party will do just what it does now, even if it loses them as formal members -- appeal as the better of the centrist parties to them at the general election, so it can use their support to pass its economic agenda. The anti-abortion zealots won't win national elections, and the effort to gain their support down-ballot will be hard to distinguish from the present effort to keep them energized for the party. Indeed, the kind of efforts made to court religious leaders now will be reflected in efforts to court anti-abortion party leaders to get them to advocate the Republicans as a down-ballot choice to their supporters.

The dynamic doesn't change much until you have multimember districts and the minor parties become far more substantive players, and even then the unitary nature of Presidential and other executive elections will keep much of the same dynamic in play.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

"Good" is sandwiched right between "incompetent" and "idiot."

He's good at being an incompetant idiot, that's fur sure.

"Under the most optimistic scenario, the Dems don't really end up controlling much of anything anyway, so better to have enough votes to just stop the egregious bullshit (which will be much easier with Bush so wounded and the Repubs running away from him), than to actually be seen to have power, and thus get blamed for things they had nothing to do with."

I think Charlie Cook made this point in the last couple of weeks. An interesting point, but on the other hand, can our country afford to wait another two years?

Posted by: Cal Gal on March 16, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I see the Bush Fedayeen (otherwise known as the Crack Suicide Squad) is out in force today.

Posted by: Red on March 16, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

Our thread seems to have gotten a little muddled (I'm unsure of
some of your syntax in the early points) and so for the sake of
reducing the quibble factor (because I'd rather try to build
points of agreement than take apart an argument with many good
points), let me try to make my points about IRV in a clean post:

You're absolutely correct. The difference is where the struggles
occur: interparty (as it is now) vs intraparty (as it would be
with functional multiparty elections), and I think it would be
a substantial improvement to offload some of these struggles
from the two major parties so that issues can become clarified.

You're also correct about using "bland" to describe a centrist
Democratic Party. Poor choice of words; it merely looks bland to
us as activists. A functional centrist party (as opposed to one
which looks "centrist" because it splits the middle on issues that
appeal to its diverse constituencies) would take strong stands on
core issues (like entitlements) which appeal to most likely voters
as well as moderate, thought-through positions on strongly-felt
issues like abortion and foreign policy. Those kinds of positions
would inevitably look "bland" to activists on either side of them.

This doesn't sound all that different than the position of many
elected national Democrats, I realize. The way I see IRV working
is as an evolutionary process; introducing it's not going to
produce instantaneous change. What's going to happen is that it's
going to allow expression of hardcore positions on deeply felt
issues (like abortion and foreign policy) without enacting any
penalties for it. It doesn't absolve the Dems and GOP from
articulating positions on them, only relieves them of the necessity
to "fire the base" by speaking in code language (as Bush does
to his evangelical base) or in risking turning off leftist
issue advocates with positions that appeal to suburban voters.

These folks will take their energies and build strong alternative
parties while casting their second-order preferences for the
major parties. As you say, things will carry on as usual for a
while because the major parties will still depend on these groups
to carry them over the top. But two other things will happen:

First, these "third" parties will build to much larger sizes
that they are now. Greens will feel free to vote Green without
spoiling it for the Democrats. Even if the one-person-one-vote
rule prevents these invigorated parties from receiving matching
funds (an open question), It will be a tremendous psychological
and PR boost for political discourse currently at the margins.
If a party represents 20% of first-order choices, its spokespeople
are going to get airtime on Russert, Tweety, Fox and talk radio.

Secondly (and more importantly), it will allow a set of choices
that will empower voters and increase turnout. Let's take one
of those archetypical Kansas working-class voters, who's with the
Democrats on all economic issues but not abortion. She's empowered
now to vote for a pro-family or evangelical party as her first choice
(to do her conscience justice) while voting for the Democrats as her
second. She might have to fudge her conscience a little -- but a lot
less if she wanted to vote for the Democrats otherwise. She at least
has an outlet to express her convictions. Or take a freedom-inclined
Republican. He could vote for the GOP 1st and the Libertarian Party
2nd -- knowing that the GOP would be less hardcore on moral issues.

You say that the GOP has gotten very good at framing economic issues
in moral terms -- well, it has. This won't go away entirely, but it
will start to diminish as 1) the Libertarian Party grows and 2) the
social issue parties also grow and carry that weight. The GOP will
start slowly reverting to the Main Street Republicans they used to be.

Mainly, this will allow positions to be strongly articulated by party
representatives without the need to fudge or talk out of both sides of
their mouths. The Republicans can focus on issues the core of their
party feel strongly about -- the moralists can do the same. Libs can
spout off about free trade. Greens and Socialist/Labor parties can
talk protectionism, environmental policy or reducing the speed limit.

They'll be debate between these factions -- of course! But they'll be
clearly articulated policies. If the mainstream parties eventually
win time after time holding moderate positions -- well, the wings are
in the papers and on TV talking up their proposals, getting more and
more votes each cycle. It's a recipe for long-term political reform.

Finally, multiparty proportional representation would be wonderful --
but America is not going to adopt a parliamentary system and forsake
FPTP anytime soon. IRV is already in effect in some cities. It's
doable -- even if it might take years. I think it's time for it.

If the middle-term result is to promote moderation in government as
opposed to placating leftist or rightist interests -- it's still a
step in the right direction, if we also get our issues broadly aired.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

I cannot let this offensive statement by tbrosz stand:
"The port deal in particular was a creature of mass media (including a number of talk show hosts). I suspect further questioning of most of those who expressed an opinion would reveal a huge amount of ignorance on the subject."

Dude, congress voted overwhelmingly for a resolution to stop the Dubya Dubai deal. Only 30 repblicans voted against. Are you accusing the republicans in congress of being paret of the liberal media echo chamber?

Only a wingnut would think that. The reality is that the only 2 persons in DC supporting Bush these days are Mc Caine, who's trying to bond with the republican wild-eyed base, in stark contrast to his moderate principles, and Senator Lieberman, who for some reason is in bed with Sean Hannity. Literally. These are crazy times.

The reality is that most republicans running for office are trying to distance themselves from the "child emperor" president. They are running away from Bush, as fast as they were running away from Jack Abramoff. They say: "Bush is NUKULAR". I aint getting anywhere close to that wreck. Democrats are wisely following the old adage of not trying to get in the way of a train wreck.

We must thank the lord that the wingnuts are so incompetent. Imagine what kind of damage they COULD have done if they knew what the heck they were doing. 8 trillion dollar national debt, around 30 big ones per capita, or more than 60 big ones per wage earner is enough damage.

When John Doe finds out that Dubya have racked up that kind of debt which Joe Doe will have to pay off, in order to finance a war he lied about, and to give huge tax breaks to tycoons and large corporations, Joe Doe is gonna have a real fit.

Republicans will have a hard time getting arouind without being umbrella ambushed by little old ladies angry about the prescription benefit train wreck.


Stick that in your pipe, and smoke it, dear wingnutz.

Posted by: bugritpundit on March 16, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK
Finally, multiparty proportional representation would be wonderful -- but America is not going to adopt a parliamentary system and forsake FPTP anytime soon.

Its very important to note that the terms you are using here are not opposed in the way you seem to think they are.

FPTP is a particular single-member district voting system (also known as "plurality"), commonly used in the US. It is a non-ranked-preference system, and going to IRV would involve abandoning it.

"Multiparty proportional representation" is a description of a result of voting structure, in which there are more than two competitive parties, and their representation in some important part of the government (usually, the national legislature) is roughly proportional to their support in the population.

A "parliamentary system" is a system in which the national legislature is the preeminent branch of government, with the executive and judiciary clearly subordinated to the legislature.

You can have a parliamentary system with FPTP or majority/runoff single-member elections (example: the British Parliament.) You can have a multiparty proportional representation system with a separation-of-powers or Presidential system of government instead of a parliamentary system (I'm not sure of any good examples, here, without some references I don't have handy).

It would take a major Constitutional change to establish a parliamentary system in the US.

It would take changes to a single statutory provision prohibiting multimember Congressional districts -- plus some state-level action -- to move the US to a muliparty PR system.

The two should not be confused.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

bugritpundit
Thanks for sharing.

Debt as percentage of GDP is about where it was in 1996.
All kinds of foreign countries/goverments manage US port operations.

But here's my favorite
We must thank the lord that the wingnuts are so incompetent.
What's that say for Democrats? AWOL fails, twice. Bush re-elected. Iraq war approved. Rove not frogmarched from WH. Looking like you can the NSA hand-wringing to that list. It appears the moonbats have had their ass repeatedly handed to them by incompetents.

Gosh, what a claim to fame for moonbats: We're worse than incompetent!

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

nutcake, thanks for leaving a hole wide enough for me to drive a hummer thorugh. I will leave you to ponder the graphs: http://www.brillig.com/debt_clock/faq.html
ALso, GNP is not a valid measurement, because it contains a large component of consumption. Economy experts agree that consumption financed by debt equals a net loss in capital value. This is good old horse sense that even wingnuts would understand if it wasn't for the fact that they had their heads stuck up the hindparts of the aforementioned animal.

"What's that say for Democrats? AWOL fails, twice. Bush re-elected. Iraq war approved. Rove not frogmarched from WH. Looking like you can the NSA hand-wringing to that list. It appears the moonbats have had their ass repeatedly handed to them by incompetents."

Oh, lordy. You think it is a republican success that high crimes and misdemeanoers have so far gone unpunished? Let us continue with finance: After the 2004 election, "Dubai Dubya" said th eelectorate had given him a mandate, and that he was going to spend that political capital. Bzzt. It was the narrowest of wins. And the capital had already been overspent. Only now is the dirt starting to trickle to the surface. What we are talking about is not one, but about a dozen scandals, that rated in severity belong somewhere between Iran Contras gate and Watergate.

No honest man can stand up today and be counted as a republican. The democrats are wisely stepping back, and let the republican suicide sqauds blow themselves up.

Good luck, and good night. And watch out for little old ladies. They're mighty pissed, and might whack you a good one if they find out your'e another crooked repuiblican.

Posted by: bugritpundit on March 16, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

a large component of consumption
No, really! You cretin, of course there's a large component of consumption. Let me ask you, do you personally have a large component of consumption; or does your whole paycheck go into the bank? The question is what do you consume the money on, debt reduction is one possibility.

Lord, I swear you moonbats get dumber by the day.

You think it is a republican success that high crimes and misdemeanoers have so far gone unpunished?
Since you are fully unable to support the contention that crimes have taken place, I don't know what this has to do with anything.

The fact is, the left has been beaten like a rented mule by the Republicans. You managed to prevent SS reform (after spending years trying to convince people it needed reformed, good job there). I probably forgot something, but you can remind me if there was anything else.

And here's how I look at it: Bush is no prize. This was known before he was elected the first time, and well known when he was re-elected. He proves it nearly every day. And you can't beat Bush!

Think about that.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

I'm waiting for W to fall into the 20s.

It will happen.

Perhaps into the teens before 08.

He's competant in politics. In civics he has no idea of what he's doing - so the collapse will continue.

You can't continue to soak the poor, the elderly and the needy to the point where society becomes so onesided it just doesn't tip over on its side. Or wage war of no strategic value on a credit card.

There's a billion scandals that have to be played out. There's a billion chickens that have yet to come home to roost. The man has been held up by water vapor and hot air, and he's become way to heavy.

Posted by: Bubbles on March 16, 2006 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely:

> "Finally, multiparty proportional representation would
> be wonderful -- but America is not going to adopt a
> parliamentary system and forsake FPTP anytime soon.

> Its very important to note that the terms you are using here
> are not opposed in the way you seem to think they are.

Yes, you're right. I brainfarted on the teminology. However, you
could replace the "and" with an "or" and that statement stands.

> FPTP is a particular single-member district voting system
> (also known as "plurality"), commonly used in the US. It is a
> non-ranked-preference system,

The voting system per se has nothing to do with whether the
election is single-member FPTP or multiparty proportional --
although preferential voting is a natural fit for the latter.

> and going to IRV would involve abandoning it.

Not at all. The Iowa caucus is an example of ranked-order voting,
a kind of real-time, public-ballot, single-session, multiple runoff
election (crossed with a game of musical chairs :). People line up
behind their candidates in a large field of them. The candidates
who don't reach a threshhold of viability (I think 15%, although it
can vary depending on how many candidates are running) are released
from that candidate and go wandering around the hall, where they
can be buttonholed and cajoled by supporters of other candidates
until they line up again. They continue this process, winnowing
out candidates until one candidate at last gets over 50%.

Primaries are FPTP. There is only one winner. And no states
with runoff elections use them for multi-seat races AFAIK.

IRV is just a runoff election expressed in one voting session.

> "Multiparty proportional representation" is a description
> of a result of voting structure, in which there are more than
> two competitive parties, and their representation in some
> important part of the government (usually, the national legislature)
> is roughly proportional to their support in the population.

Yes. I often use "parliamentary system" when I mean "multiparty
proportional representation" because most parliamentary systems
(save notably for GB) use MPPR. This is a mistake on my part.

> A "parliamentary system" is a system in which the national
> legislature is the preeminent branch of government, with the
> executive and judiciary clearly subordinated to the legislature.

Thanks for the technical definition.

> You can have a parliamentary system with FPTP or majority/runoff
> single-member elections (example: the British Parliament.) You
> can have a multiparty proportional representation system with a
> separation-of-powers or Presidential system of government instead
> of a parliamentary system (I'm not sure of any good examples,
> here, without some references I don't have handy).

I can't think of a US-style Presidential system with MPPR.

> It would take a major Constitutional change to
> establish a parliamentary system in the US.

More than a simple Amendment, because you'd have
to rearrange the separation of powers, effectively
rewriting the body of the Constitution.

> It would take changes to a single statutory provision
> prohibiting multimember Congressional districts -- plus some
> state-level action -- to move the US to a muliparty PR system.

I think in practical terms it might be more difficult
than that, although I take your point that there wouldn't
be the immense constitutional obstacle. There would,
however, be a mountain of American tradition to overcome.

I was thinking about this while brainstorming on the effect of
implementing IRV in our system. IRV may well prove to be a
stepping stone to MPPR, as the minority parties both build
support in numbers and see themselves as mere tools of the
mainstream parties -- effectively shut out of government when
the mainstream parties win. This might ultimately provide the
organizational momentum and common cause for these parties to
begin strenuously advocating for an MPPR system, where their voices
could become part of a true coalition government once in power.

The parties would also, then, have the option of walking out of
a ruling coalition, which might necessitate no-confidence votes
and other proceedures more typical in a parliamentary system ...

> The two should not be confused.

Point taken. What did you think of my prognostications otherwise?

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on March 16, 2006 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

"And here's how I look at it: Bush is no prize. This was known before he was elected the first time, and well known when he was re-elected. He proves it nearly every day. And you can't beat Bush!

Think about that."

I have thought about it, and as usual, you reveal a spectacular lack of intellect, and desperation have overtaken all your bodily functions.

Popularity only runs skin deep. Government is about getting the job done. Last time government was run by democrats they got the job done. Bush's only accomplishment, was that 9/11 happened. That's been the extent of republicans party's political capital. Democrats have been in minority in all branches of government, and are constantly being blamed for either "bush bashing" when they oppose retarded policies or propose their own, or weakness when they cooperate with their republican counterparts in house or senate. Thus it is proven that no matter what democrats do, subhuman wingnuts like yourself will find a way to put the blame for republican wrongdoing on democrats, and when that fails you try to blame the press.

The american people is realizing that they are going to need someone in government that will get the job done. They are tired of dishonest rhetoric served by corrupt and incompetent clowns posing as "conservatives".

Posted by: bugritpundit on March 16, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK


Didn't Kerry say that? How'd that work out?

Democrats have been utterly ineffective as an opposition party, and you think that means they need to be placed in charge? Peter Principle, huh?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 16, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut wrote: The fact is, the left has been beaten like a rented mule by the Republicans.

Republicans win elections by lying, cheating and stealing. It's the only way they can win. You help them with the lying, by regurgitating their lies in your comments here, and you gloat over the success of their cheating and stealing. You are scum.

Posted by: Scum Scrubber on March 16, 2006 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK
The voting system per se has nothing to do with whether the election is single-member FPTP or multiparty proportional -- although preferential voting is a natural fit for the latter.

Only if you are narrowly defining "voting system" to mean "what information is on the ballot" and excluding how the votes are counted; usually "voting system" includes both.

Not at all. The Iowa caucus is an example of ranked-order voting, a kind of real-time, public-ballot, single-session, multiple runoff election (crossed with a game of musical chairs :).

Er, no, its not. Its a multiround election in which only certain voters are allowed to switch their votes between rounds (at least, as I understand and you describe it, I'm not all that deeply familiar with it.) This is considerably different than a ranked-order election, in which a preference ranking is selected all at once.

It is somewhat like a ranked-preference system; it is slightly more like one than majority/runoff is, just as majority/runoff is slightly more like one that straight plurality is.

Primaries are FPTP.

Primaries are generally FPTP, that is true.

There is only one winner.

This is also true, but not equivalent to the preceding. FPTP is a synonym for "plurality"; there are (many) single-winner systems that are not FPTP, some of which use, and some of which do not use, preference ballots including Majority/runoff, IRV, Approval, etc.

IRV is just a runoff election expressed in one voting session.

Well, no, its not a usual US-style runoff election expressed in one voting session; it would be if it used one elimination step and eliminated all but the top two vote getters; instead it eliminates the single lowest first place-vote getter first, etc.

Now, its structurally similar to a runoff election, hence the name (Instant Runoff Voting) applied to the single-member version of the more general Single Transferrable Vote system.


The parties would also, then, have the option of walking out of
a ruling coalition, which might necessitate no-confidence votes and other proceedures more typical in a parliamentary system

I don't see it; as long as you have a presidential system, a "ruling coalition" is a lot less important.

In a sense, the equivalent of no-confidence votes would just be the ability of each house to hold leadership elections at will; losing a coalition would result in a scramble to assemble a new legislative leadership coalition, but wouldn't need to affect the Administration at all. (Indeed, I think the lower stakes, and less disincentive, for parties bolting legislative coalitions are a major plus for Presidential MPPR systems over parliamentary MPPR systems, though whether it is offset by a comparative lack of responsiveness in the former over the latter is probably an open question.)

Point taken. What did you think of my prognostications otherwise?

I think its a reasonable speculation of the course under IRV or a similar system.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes, can always trust the resident cargo cultists to shake a wild fist from out of the bunker. Amusing, really.

The fact is, the left has been beaten like a rented mule by the Republicans.

Yep, that's all that matters, doesn't it. Governing, responsibility, the future of our nation... doesn't matter. It's all about winning inside the bunker.

At least Saint Ronald felt we all should get aboard his dream for national greatness. He must be swearing up a storm and spilling jellybeans all over Lee Marvin and Barry Goldwater up in the Great Beyond right now.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on March 16, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Yep, that's all that matters, doesn't it
No, what matters is the Democrats getting their act in gear so we have a 2 party system again.

This one party shit ain't working out.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on March 17, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: music downloads on March 17, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

And as for "he's not running" again, can we say coattails, boys and girls? Or let me try it in a term that might work in the fantasyland that has become the Republican mindset: Al Gore.

Posted by: Cocksucker Of History

Sorry shit for brains but with the current strength of incumbancy that we now have it pretty much negates the need for coattails. The next republican candidate will probably be more positioned as a moderate running opposed to some of Bush's conservative positions. So try pulling your head out of you ass and pay a little pay attention for a change. You might learn something about election dynamics and why you Dumbercrats keep missing the boat.

Posted by: Fat White Guy on March 17, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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