Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Arguments for your obstinate uncle...

I’m putting off my own next political/social sally, in order to present (with some gloss commentary) the latest highly entertaining and devastating riff from Russ Daggatt:

========

Sayeth Russ: ... I'm picking up on a sort of anti-Clinton nostalgia among the wingnuts these days. Ah, for those innocent times! ("He is shameless about taking mulligans when golfing!") Peace and prosperity. It was too horrible to even describe. Imagine, a president actually impeached over... whatever.

The point is, I'm picking up on this resurgence of anti-Clinton rage among Republicans. You can't really blame them. It's all they have left. It's what holds them together during these times when right-wing ideologues controlling the executive branch and both Houses of Congress have made a God-awful mess of pretty much everything.

(Brin note: Alas, even Russ doesn't use the weapon that I've pushed -- pointing out the embarassing dearth of indictments and convictions (zero) to arise out of all those years and close to a billion dollars of Clinton-bashing. Zero? Really? Could the "most corrupt" administration have actually been... the least?)

So, as a public service, if you are subjected to an anti-Clinton rant (and you will -- believe me), just cut and paste the following:


Sigh. My dear tenacious GOP-supporting and Clinton-bashing (relative/co-worker/pal) You are a great (brother-in-law or....) and I love you, but you've got to move on with this Clinton thing.
Putting aside the emotion, let's look at some metrics. Let's start with the economy since it lends itself easily to objective analysis of quantitative data.
Annual GDP growth has averaged 2.6% a year under Bush. It averaged 3.6% under Clinton .

Under Clinton , the US economy expanded non-farm employment by 22.7 million jobs (237,000/month). Under Bush, the economy has added only 3 million jobs (45,000/month – the worst record of any US president in 70 years). Clinton inherited an unemployment rate of 7.3% from Bush’s dad. It was 4.2% when Clinton left office. Under Bush, it is now 4.7%.

Real median household income has fallen by $1,273 during the Bush Administration, whereas it grew by $5,825 under President Clinton. The poverty rate fell by 3.5 percentage points under President Clinton and the number of people in poverty declined by 6.4 million. Under President Bush, the poverty rate has risen by 1.3 percentage points and 5.4 million more people are poor.

Under Clinton , the S&P 500 went up 308% (from 435.49 to 1342.54). Under Bush, it has gone down 2.1% (to 1314.78 on 9/22/06). The contrast with the NASDAQ is even greater: Under Clinton, up 395% (from 700.77 to 2770.38). Under Bush, down 20% (to 2218.93 on 9/22/06).

On the assumption we are all "small government" types, let's compare the presidents on that basis.

Under Clinton , federal spending went down as a percentage of GDP from 22.1% in fiscal 1992 to 18.4% in 2000. Under Bush, it has gone back UP to 20.8% in fiscal 2006.

Under Clinton , total executive branch employment went down by almost 450,000 (from 2.225 million to 1.778 million). Under Bush it has gone UP by almost 100,000 (to 1.872 million). (These comparisons certainly understate the growth of government under Bush because the federal employment statistics don't include classified numbers for the CIA, DIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies. It also doesn't include all the "outsourcing" of government functions to favored Republican cronies.)

Under Bush, the federal debt has increased by almost $3 trillion (in only six years) despite inheriting a budget surplus from Clinton . Public debt as a percentage of GDP has increased by 4.4 percentage points under President Bush, compared with a reduction of 16.4 percentage points under President Clinton.
Clinton inherited large budget deficits from Bush's dad, but still increased the federal debt by only about $1.6 billion (over eight years). Under Clinton the budget, went from a deficit of $290 billion in fiscal 1992 to a SURPLUS of $236 billion in fiscal 2000.

Under Bush, we're back up to deficits over $300 billion annually. (Bush had the highest deficit in history at $423 billion. In fact, including this year, he will have had 4 of the 5 largest deficits in US history -- his dad also snuck in there with one year in the top five.)

Yet, despite greatly increasing the size of the federal government, Bush has managed to make it less effective (as the response to Katrina demonstrated). As I've said before, you don't want to hire someone who hates ice cream to run Ben & Jerry's (or someone who hates kids as a babysitter, etc.).

Foreign policy is more subjective, but there are a few things we can look at in forming rational judgments about these things.

Pretty clearly Bush squandered the unity and goodwill enjoyed by this country in the immediate aftermath of 9-11. Never in our lives was this country more unified than it was on September 12, 2001. Instead of building on that unity. Bush decided to turn national security into a partisan wedge issue for the 2002 and 2004 (and now 2006) elections.

Same thing overseas... even the Muslim World! The US enjoyed tremendous support from the rest of the world (e.g., Le Monde ran the famous headline “We Are All Americans Now”; NATO for the first time in its history declared an attack on a member state prompting collective action; etc.). Countless surveys of public opinion worldwide attest to the fact that the US is now MUCH less respected and liked than it was when Bush took office.

(Brin note: Indeed, ask your GOP-lover friend how he feels about the blatantly obvious unpopularity of America, today. Watch for the shrug... the snarl of “Who cares!” A reflexive disdain for foreign opinion. Now, mind you, I even share a little of that attitude, believing that some of that unpopularity arises (especially from the French) out of a petty jealousy that disqualifies good judgement. Still, I reserve that reflex for normal times. Not an era when America has actively earned world disgust.

(Ask your brother-in-law if this is how to stay “leader of the world”? Under Clinton, whenever Russia and France held conferences about "What to do about Pax Americana"... nobody came. Today, those conferences are packed. And busy plans are being made. Anyone who reacts to that with a shrug is simply stupid.)


Whereas Clinton used traditional law enforcement methods to capture and punish the perpetrators of the Oklahoma City bombing and the first World Trade Center bombing, Bush instead used 9-11 as a pretext to launch a pre-9-11 war plan against a country that had nothing to do with 9-11, making the country less safe in the process. (The torture, secret prisons and warrantless surveillance didn't help our imagine either.) Meanwhile, the actual guy behind 9-11, Osama bin Laden is still out there dictating our foreign policy. ("Osama says if we don't stay bogged down in Iraq we are wusses!

How can we "cut and run" from that quagmire if Osama is just gonna gloat about it?")
Just this weekend it was reported that a National Intelligence Estimate (the consensus of all 16 intelligence agencies) completed in April (but kept secret by the Bush administration, of course) concluded that the Iraq war has actually increased the terrorist threat.

Counter-terrorism was the #1 priority of the Clinton justice department. Under Ashcroft, before 9-11 it was among the department’s priorities.

(Brin note: I am still pushing for some news group to investigate how many FBI and other agents were diverted from counter-terror tasks by the early GWB administration, as part of the frenetic 9/11 witch hunt, seeking that elusive “smoking gun” to prove that at least ONE Clintonian could be indicted for actual malfeasance in office. Their failure to ever indict even one was a huge embarassment that 9/11 distracted from. But a worse scandal tould be to see the actual number of FBI agents who were not doing counter-terror work, because they were busy seeking political vendetta.)

Bush is also destroying our military. The Army's top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.

(Brin note: I think I put this better. Try asking about America’s “state of readiness” to face some surprise crisis. Under Clinton, critics doubted that we were really ready to face two major surprise wars at the same time (his stated goal). Today, nobody in the (horribly abused) US officer Corps will say that we can face even one surprise situation, even on a medium or small scale.)

The Army, with an active-duty force of 504,000, has been stretched by the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. About 400,000 have done at least one tour of combat duty, and more than a third of those have been deployed twice. Commanders have increasingly complained of the strain, saying last week that sustaining current levels will require more help from the National Guard and Reserve or an increase in the active-duty force.

(Brin note: Let's reprise an earlier note, relevant to the preceding facts. Can you guess what crazy, America-hating "Defeatocrat" made the following statement?

"When presidents fail to make hard choices, those who serve must make them instead. Soldiers must choose whether to stay with their families or to stay in the armed forces at all. Sending our military on vague, aimless, and endless missions rapidly saps morale. Even the highest morale is eventually undermined by back-to-back deployments, poor pay, shortages of spare parts and equipment, inadequate training, and rapidly declining readiness."

If you guessed The Republican National Platform you get an extra beer tonight.)


Daggatt concludes, speaking to his hypothetical tenacious GOP supporter:

But I can see why you would like to retreat to a time of anti-Clinton nostalgia. Everything just made sense then. Republicans were for fiscal responsibility and were against "nation-building." Rush Limbaugh wanted to lock up drug abusers and throw away the key. Dennis Miller was funny. But those days are gone. A company named "Google" is worth more than six times as much as General Motors. Get used to it.

p.s., Oh, how the right wing cried foul when Clinton attacked bin Laden! Calling it just a distraction from the Republican partisan witchhunt.

----

(Brin final note: Oh, there are tons of other points one could add. Comparing the (competent) Balkans Intervention (in which not a single US soldier died and all objectives were achieved in months) to the bleeding attrition of a Vietnam-style land war in Asia... seehttp://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html) for example. In fact, I believe this whole campaign should be waged on “conservative” issues like these! After all, we are fighting for civilization now. Let the liberals pose their arguments once democracy is restored.)

52 comments:

monkyboy said...

I disagree there is a resurgence of Clinton hate, it's always been there.

Hell, these guys still hate Jane Fonda.

Woozle said...

This seems relevant:

Bill Clinton vs. George Bush

This arose from discussions related to an Issuepedia page about Bush neocons, my term-of-convenience for the latter-day neocons you have often discussed. My one regular contributor (apparently an actual live conservative, in captivity!) suddenly went off into a riff about how terrible Clinton was, and how that apparently excused (or at least overshadowed) anything Bush has done... (The discussion is still on the Bush vs. Clinton talk page, for reference.)

Big C said...

David,

Have you seen the Fox News Clinton interview (full transcript here)? Clinton vigorously defended his handling of terrorism while in office, and charged his right-wing critics with hypocrisy. They blame him for not doing enough now, but criticized him for doing too much to fight terrorism then (he was "obsessed" with bin Laden). Clinton's firm, irate, and factual rebuttal seems to have become a galvanizing rallying cry for Democrats.

I was a little put off by his direct accusations towards the interviewer Chris Wallace about the interview being a "conservative hit job" simply because it could detract a bit from the direct points he made about how he handled terrorism. But other than that, the facts were clearly on his side. I can forgive and understand his anger and frustration, in light of recent media complicity towards Republican talking points. And it's nice to see someone forcefully and directly refute the truthiness of talking points blithely regurgitated by the media.

More commentary from David Neiwert and Glenn Greenwald (on Salon and his blog). Also, see Keith Olbermann's comments.

This Clinton interview, combined with the National Intelligence Report on how the Iraq War has increased the terrorism threat released this weekend, can be a direct challenge to the assertion that Republicans are "better" on terrorism and national security.

rjh said...

A nit, but since you have made this mistake twice, there were 15 people convicted (not indicted, that's convicted) as a result of the investigations. The smallest player rate was one person who just got a misdemeanor conviction for attempted bribery. The largest was Clinton's business partner, who got 18 felony convictions for bank fraud.

There were other related criminal probes that netted another 18 people, again these are convictions. This included the governor of Arkansas.

Criminal behavior in Arkansas is independent of the other issues that you raise, but it hurts your argument some when there is a regular leadin with a mistake like this.

Clinton was not indicted, but his business partners were convicted of bank fraud. It would be irresponsible for a prosecutor to fail to investigate all of the business partners involved in a bank fraud. Nor was this a unique event. That era had very extensive bank fraud. There were thousands of convictions across the US, and Clinton was not the only politician whose involvment resulted in extensive investigation. It was a fertile field for both parties to go after opponents who were associated with the widespread banking fraud of that period.

A President will get special attention in an investigation like this, but in this case it is unclear whether it helped or hurt in the end. Lesser politicians fell victim to the argument: "He was a partner. He had full access to the books. He cosigned the documents. He must have known."

Anonymous said...

One thing, don't compare the stock market performance, everyone will think imediatelly about "dotcom crash" and blame Clinton for the "bubble" (although even if you take the prices after the bubble burst the market perfomance in Clinton time was probably still better, but people will not get that far to that point)

Pat Mathews said...

"But I can see why you would like to retreat to a time of anti-Clinton nostalgia. Everything just made sense then. Republicans were for fiscal responsibility and were against "nation-building." Rush Limbaugh wanted to lock up drug abusers and throw away the key. Dennis Miller was funny."

Yes. "Everything was newer then. Girls were girls and men were men. Mister, we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again...."

David Brin said...

Yup, it took Clinton. Not one other democrat has had the guts to step up and attack the utter lying hypocrisy.

Not effectively.

rjh sorry, you are dead wrong about the indictments and convictions. Because I have repeatedly made a sly provisional exclusion most of the times that I mentioned this inconvenient truth.

There have been zero convictions... or even indictments... of Clinton era high officials FOR MALFEASANCE IN THE ACTUAL PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES AS MEMBERS OF HIS ADMINISTRATION.

Look down your list. It is all, all, all ancillary stuff having to do with either non-federal, or pre- or post administration stuff, or private business deals. The sort of backwash and cloud that surrounds all of us, in a "six degrees of separation" sort of way.

In fact, I'll bet YOU are surrounded, just two or three degrees away, by a cloud of people indicted and convicted for this or that!

I dare a comparison between those 18 people and the cloud... nay, shitstorm... of indictments and convictions surrounding the Bush Administration, despite their tight control over the courts, the media, the investigative services, the near total lack of special prosecutors...

... plus the lack of anything comparable to the half a BILLION dollars of private money that the right spent chasing Clinton...

...in order to come up with EIGHTEEN ANCILLARY AND REMOTELY CONNECTED MINOR CRIMES?

Dig it, even under the most profound shroud of secrecy and protection, vastly more Bushites have been convicted of direct malfeasance than Clintonites ever were and ever will be. Moreover, the only way to prevent that number from skyrocketing into hundreds, soon, will be either (10 a total clamp-down, or (2) the greatest tsunami of PRESIDENTIAL PRE-PARDONS in US history.

I am willing to accept wagers on this. I have kids to put through college. Easy, easy money

Warren said...

My own take on this was Frist: Congress to File for Moral Bankruptcy Protection, posted yesterday before I got a chance to see the Clinton interview with that troll from Fox.

What I'd like to know is why the hell it took the Dems so long to say what has needed to be said since 2003 or so. (That's why I suggested all of Congress, not just Repubs, in the satire news piece.)

Lenny Zimmermann said...

As a comment on Big C's post, I was listening to Air America the other day (I know, I may be a Libertarian, but I sometimes listen to Rush, until I can't stand to hear is nonsenical drivel anymore, that is, which is all of about 5 minutes at a maximum, and Air America because I may not agree with "progressives" on everything, but at least they sound a whole lot more sane then so many of those whining Repugnicans) and there were some call-ins about this very story.

One caller in particular said that Clinton was actually pretty effective against Republicans in general because he campaigned in much the way he responed in that interview. Meaning that when Republicans would attack him he would attack right back, tenaciously and all in the same news cycle. It got me thinking that even though some of that may have made you a bit uncomfortable, that maybe there really is a point there. That may very well be the best way to respond to the all-too-typical Republican attack methods.

Rob Perkins said...

"That troll from Fox" is the son of Mike Wallace of CBS fame. The one who interviewed the Ayatollah. And what he did was ask a question he knew Clinton wouldn't like. That's the legacy of his father.

Clinton answered it marvelously. "We tried and failed." Well, that's true. And because it's true, I don't really fault him for failing, because he *did* try in all sincerity.

But because he failed, Wallace did a service to us all by asking the question. You got to see the passion Clinton has on the subject. And the kool-aid he's drinking about "all right-wingers" and the ol' "vast conspiracy".

It was a bit... thin skinned. The interview questions were just not that bad, and Clinton was all over the "you're the mindless drones of Rupert Murdoch" schtick.

Anyone who has watched Fox News for nine hours will see that that is not true.

As for the obstinate uncle arguments, most of them appear to have something to do with economic fortunes, over which the President has little more than tangential control. Bush gets no more credit or blame than Clinton, that is to say, very little either way.

Lenny, I know what you mean about Rush; I can't stand more than about two segments of his show anymore. And I don't listen regularly.

David Brin said...

Robert, I agree Clinton could have softpedaled the "Fox News Goonery" thing... though it's 100% true.

Look, when a BILLION dollars is spent hounding you, distracting you from your duties, over garbage that results in ZERO indictments, and you were pilloried for every act against terror by dingbats who called your efforts "attempts to distract from Monica"...

... and when you know damned well the "journalist" isn't asking similar questions of Cheney or Rummy...

I think a little testiness is understandable.

Back to the topic at hand...


HOW BUSH WRECKED THE ARMY: Another General (The top one) Revolts http://www.slate.com/id/2150337/nav/tap1/

Alas, everybody is pointing NEAR but not AT the crucial issue, which is ”How ready are our armed forces to deal with some sudden or unexpected surprise emergency?”

The READINESS ISSUE is the beat -- and in fact only -- way to maximize impact. The question has to be put: can the US Army respond adequately to even one medium-scale urgent war-crisis beyond its present activities?

During the Clinton Administration, strenuous efforts were made to ensure that we could respond to one major and one medium scale sudden crisis, at the same time. Republicans criticized that it should have been two major surprises that we were ready for...

...only now they have supervised the worst plummet in readiness in any of our lifetimes. Ask any member of the beleaguered US Officer Corps. Except at sea (the Navy is ready) we could not even deal with one medium-scale surprise engagement without straining the service to the brink of collapse or exposing the nation unnecessarily to further threats.

GOP leaders would call the Iraq Intervention a major emergency war and Afghanistan an urgent medium scale struggle. But even if this were true, our military’s chief job is not foreign adventures. It is to be ready to defend us.

In fact, though, as I have repeatedly made plain elsewhere -- with the evaporation of the “WMD Rationale” and any link to terror threats -- the BEST justification for Iraq amounts to this: an assertive national policy endeavor to spread democracy as an act of nation building.

Let us be plain: that is the justification. A noble-sounding (if ignobly executed) utopian campaign. We can argue over the blithering corruption and incompetence of execution. But the justification is unambiguous.

http://www.davidbrin.com/neocons.html And it is clearly a case of “elective surgery”... not a crisis war at all! Hence there is no excuse whatsoever for the relentless demolition of US military readiness. Our jugular stands exposed. And not one of the Republicans who used to decry this sort of thing has raised a finger to denounce it today.

Rob Perkins said...

David,

Before November 2000, I don't think Fox was even on the map. I was certainly not at all aware of them, and I was aware of MSNBC. O'Reilly and Hannity saying things half the country thought about what was going on in Florida is what put them over the top.

In any case, I've watched Fox News for the six years since then with varying degrees of interest (it's at its lowest these days), and find that while the *commentary* is absolutely center-right-ish, by the old French spectrum, the newsgiving is not. Since most of the hours in prime time are given over to commentary, and because I don't watch the commentary shows, perhaps it could be I who is the one with the skewed view.

I dunno. What I *do* know for sure is that Fox News annoys me with the whooshing sound effects, the music theme for every different major ongoing story, and the constant Fox News Alerts over minutiae such as whether a truck is overturned on I-40 somewhere in Arkansas. Their sin is far more sensationalism-over-substance than it is right-over-center.

So, "goonery"? Yes, but not of a political nature. I was there the Limbaugh drug addiction story broke, and they reported *it* with consummate glee. And the whooshing. I don't remember if there was a music theme.

Tony Fisk said...

I gather, from what I've read, that Clinton agreed to appear on Fox to talk about global warming.

It would explain why he reacted so vigorously to the trolling and the resulting whimper of 'what did I do?' (although he should have expected it... maybe he did, and pitched his response a little too 'enthusuastically'?)

Admitting to failure is a very effective tactic, sometimes. If 'thinskinned' is the worst Fox can portray Clinton as being, I'd say he came out of it a winner.

'Sticks and stones...'

Well, I've seen 'Bush Neocons', 'repugnicons', and 'shrub'. My preferred putdown tag is 'nerocon' (sic) because it covers the main poles in the big tent:
- neocons: well, they've always kind of admired the glories and trappings of old Rome, and their place in the scheme of things according to Strauss.
- kleptocrats: I mean, Nero!
- apocophiliac scudderites: probably admire a guy who had a 'get out of hades free' card and automatic admission into the pantheon on his demise.

Koolaid and tinfoil
People like Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld were saying, "Well, it's all fine to go into Afghanistan but," quote, "there's not enough to bomb in Afghanistan." - Richard Clarke

That remark, from the Four Corners transcript I pointed to earlier, has got me worried. Richard Clarke speculates that it was part of a panicky attempt to tackle terrorism via regime change. I've been exposed to more paranoid scenarios and am speculating thought processes like: *'Afghanistan won't do: it'll work, dammit!'*.

*If* going into Iraq was a deliberate attempt to bugger the US military, then the current backlash to the Iraq situation would be very predictable. So what's the contingency?

(It's possible 'they' misjudged their capacity to keep the populace cowed and clinging, but it's safer to suspect 'they' may have anticipated this. Staying paranoid until November!)

Don Quijote said...

Before November 2000, I don't think Fox was even on the map. I was certainly not at all aware of them, and I was aware of MSNBC. O'Reilly and Hannity saying things half the country thought about what was going on in Florida is what put them over the top.

They have been ruining the American Media since 1996.

In any case, I've watched Fox News for the six years since then with varying degrees of interest (it's at its lowest these days), and find that while the *commentary* is absolutely center-right-ish, by the old French spectrum, the newsgiving is not.

center-right-ish, you must be pulling my leg, just one degree short of being Fascist would be a more accurate accessment.

Since most of the hours in prime time are given over to commentary, and because I don't watch the commentary shows, perhaps it could be I who is the one with the skewed view.

Commentary can take many shape, as can be seen in the following image FOX News Saying “Clinton Gets Crazed”

as for the quality of their propaganda, the results can be seen in the following study/poll
Misperceptions, the Media and the Iraq War


An in-depth analysis of a series of polls conducted June through September found 48% incorrectly believed that evidence of links between Iraq and al Qaeda have been found, 22% that weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and 25% that world public opinion favored the US going to war with Iraq. Overall 60% had at least one of these three misperceptions.

Such misperceptions are highly related to support for the war. Among those with none of the misperceptions listed above, only 23% support the war. Among those with one of these misperceptions, 53% support the war, rising to 78% for those who have two of the misperceptions, and to 86% for those with all 3 misperceptions. Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, “While we cannot assert that these misperceptions created the support for going to war with Iraq, it does appear likely that support for the war would be substantially lower if fewer members of the public had these misperceptions.”

The frequency of Americans’ misperceptions varies significantly depending on their source of news. The percentage of respondents who had one or more of the three misperceptions listed above is shown below.

(network, none of the three, one of the three)
(FOX, 20, 80)
(CBS, 30, 71)
(ABC, 39, 61)
(NBC, 45, 55)
(CNN, 45, 55)
(print, 53, 47)
(PBS/NPR, 77, 23)

David Brin said...

Someone feel free to post /quote my most recent comment (above) as a response to the Slate article. (If you have a hotmail or MSN account you are already a member.)

Don, while I agree that your stats show a powerful correlation between these errors and both their major news source and their support for the war, you face a chicken-egg problem attributing cause and effect. Those already inclined to support the war will be inclined to seek rationalized reasons, for example.

Still, that's potent stuff. Ouch.

Tony Fisk said...

One thing missing from that survey: percentage of the population who are regular viewers of each.

(Although I have a horrible feeling Fox and CBS will have a large share)

Don Quijote said...

David,

More on the effects of Fox on the American political System.


The Fox News Effect: Media Bias and Voting


7 Conclusion
This paper studies the impact of media bias upon voting. We consider one of the most dramatic
changes in the US media in recent years, the sudden expansion of the Fox News cable channel
from 1996 to 2000. We exploit the natural experiment induced by the timing of the entry of
the Fox News channel in local cable markets. We estimate the impact of the availability of
Fox News in 2000 on the Republican vote share and on voter turnout. This provides a test of
whether exposure to media bias affects political beliefs and voting.
We find a significant effect of exposure to Fox News on voting. Towns with Fox News have
a 0.4 to 0.7 percentage point higher Republican vote share in the 2000 Presidential elections,
compared to the 1996 elections. A vote shift of this magnitude is likely to have been decisive in
the 2000 elections. We also find an effect on vote share in Senate elections which Fox News does
not cover, suggesting that the Fox News impact extends to general political beliefs. Finally,
we find evidence that Fox News increased turnout to the polls.
Based on this evidence and on micro-level audience data, we estimate that exposure to Fox
News induced 3 to 8 percent of the non-Republican viewers to vote for the Republican party.
This estimate is consistent with field and laboratory evidence of media effects on political beliefs
and voting. This suggests that the media can have a sizeable political impact, especially when
a politician controls a substantial share of the media, as Berlusconi does in Italy.
We interpret the results in light of a simple model of voter learning about media bias and
about politician quality. The Fox News effect could be a temporary learning effect for rational
voters, or a permanent effect for voters subject to non-rational persuasion.
This paper leaves a number of open questions on the impact of media bias. First, while we
analyze the extensive margin of voting, we do not consider the effect on the intensity of political
convictions of Republican voters. In ongoing research, we study the impact on the intensive
margin of campaign contributions. Second, we have not directly examined the impact of the
media on policy-making. While a vote shift toward Republicans is likely to induce a change
in policy (Lee, Moretti, and Butler, 2004), direct evidence documenting this effect would be
interesting. Finally, we hope that more evidence on the effect of other sources of media bias,
such as local papers and radio talk shows, will complement the evidence in this paper.


IOW, Propaganda works...

Rob Perkins said...

It's a simple matter of audience ratings. Fox found a niche in 2000 and rigged its commentary to chase that niche. And shot to the top of cable news because of it.

Don, if I chose to be annoyed at the lack of rigor behind the two studies you've cited, my head would probably bust open.

But yeah, propoganda sure does work. Look at what you believe about Fox News!

(Oh no, because *my* side is the *truth*, while it's the otherguys who are deluded...)

David, has Don taken your survey? Does he even need to?

monkyboy said...

And shot to the top of cable news because of it.

Not much of a flight, rob.

Fox News averages less than a million viewers:

http://tinyurl.com/z5nrr

Their top program, The O'Reilly Factor, doesn't even beat cable shows like Spongebob:

http://tinyurl.com/9epvd

David Brin said...

What's amazing is how disturbed troglodyte monsters like Geraldo and Novak are, about Jon Stewart!

Oh, and last night he had Pat Buchanan on. Another night a senior White House political guy. Stewart has more republican and conservative guests than Limbaugh does!.

Yes, he and Colbert also have more than 50% guys opposing the prexy. That's fair as long as at least the whole thing is thrown open. The most shameful thing about Limbaughs dittoheads is that they don't even ask themselves "Why doesn't Rush have on his show guests who challenge him?"

Hypocrites and morons, all.

Rob Perkins said...

It's disingenuous to compare a cartoon targeted at children with cable news for ratings.

Trouble is, a real analysis would have to involve where people get their news, not just how the three cable news networks are doing. We'd have to bring in something like a survey with "have you heard of this?" questions attached to it, and then ask where they learned it.

And now I'm left wondering how a cable news program like "The Fox Report", which is allegedly five hard news blocks, one human interest block, and a "weird stuff" block, compares with broadcast network hard news...

Rob Perkins said...

And, come to think of it...

If the network is only reaching a million people a day (out of 300 million or so)... why is it even so important that the likes of Bill Clinton has to concern himself?

David Brin said...

Because most people in the US get their news the old-fashioned way, digested as rants from the few neighbors who DO watch or read or listen to an outlet.

Moreover, that's an average. Do you doubt many tune in, say, once or twice a week?

I guarantee the ripple-influence surrounding FOX News is vastly more than a million.

Oh, how CBS hath fallen! Go rent GOODNIGHT AND GOOD LUCK. Just as Arizona draws power from the spinning in Barry Golwater's grave, New York should run lines to magnets around Edward R Murrow.

Oh! Tomorrow I SHALL HAVE NEWS FOR YOU ALL!

Set aside October 11th at 11pm for Tivo time.

Better yet, start preparing your OWN ripples to go outward from here! (I want/need ratings! I count on you guys to go get em! ;-)

Rob Perkins said...

I rented GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK months ago on someone's recommendation.... might have been Orson Scott Card's, I can't remember.

In any case, if Fox News reaches 1 million, and you apply the 8-person rule that gets applied for word of mouth opinions about businesses, what you get is 9 million people. 3% of the population.

I have absolutely no reason to apply that rule, of course, that contains any more rigor than either of the "studies" DQ referenced, but there you are, one WAG ballpark for the blog.

Rob Perkins said...

CITOKATE:

The most shameful thing about Limbaughs dittoheads is that they don't even ask themselves "Why doesn't Rush have on his show guests who challenge him?"

Rush's format is not to have guests at all. Only callers who choose to call. He never books anyone, last I heard. The calls from Administration officials are opportunistic in that context; either he knows Cheney will be calling and tells the screener to put it through, in advance, or he just takes the call.

In that sense he's a grand shill for whatever the VP wants to say. Or Condi Rice, who has also called in. Presumably if Hillary Clinton *did* call in, he'd also put her on the air, but the conversation would likely not be fruitful.

So the question is a bit misleading. Now, on that front, Rush *claims* to tell his screeners to favor people who disagree with him, likely because that will make for a more interesting call. And I've heard him discuss issues thoughtfully with people who begin by saying they don't agree.

(Yeah, I used to listen more frequently...)

monkyboy said...

I don't think the neocons came to power solely with something so crude as talk radio. It's easy to for them to come up with a distracting issue every couple weeks, then throw it into the streets and watch the Democrats attack it like a pack of wild dogs.

I've read you can name any county in America to Rove and he can tell you the Republican - Democrat vote split from the last election and what the key issues are there.

These guys work hard and they've "earned" their power.

I don't see their opponents working anywhere near as hard as they do.

We're just hoping for some luck in November...

Big C said...

Rob said:
"Now, on that front, Rush *claims* to tell his screeners to favor people who disagree with him, likely because that will make for a more interesting call. And I've heard him discuss issues thoughtfully with people who begin by saying they don't agree."

Apparently Rush has since abandoned this philosophy. According to a recent survey of talk radio accessibility from Research 2000:

"Only two callers of fifteen dissenting view points was successful in getting on the Rush Limbaugh show. Both callers went through three screeners on the show before getting on the air with the host. However, the other thirteen callers with dissenting view points were told politely that the host would not be taking calls on either the subject matter or a dissenting point of view."

Don Quijote said...

Rod,

Don, if I chose to be annoyed at the lack of rigor behind the two studies you've cited, my head would probably bust open.

That would be really messy, particularly when the doctors notice all the empty space...:)

I am not in the least qualified to judge the quality of the studies discussed, but on the other hand when a professor of economics at a prestigious American University looking forward to tenure gets a study published in a scholarly journal, I generally assume that it's reasonably decent.



MISPERCEPTIONS, THE MEDIA AND THE IRAQ WAR - report
MISPERCEPTIONS, THE MEDIA AND THE IRAQ WAR - Questionnaire

I am sure that they do crappy work, cause we known that the buyers will not notice that their reputation sucks.

Warren said...

Rob:

That troll from Fox" is the son of Mike Wallace of CBS fame.

That doesn't make him less of a troll. Class doesn't necessarily breed true, as Morton Downey Jr. tends to suggest.

Chris Wallace got that fatuous, smarmy smirk cleaned off his face, and he damned well deserved it.

Rob Perkins said...

You shouldn't. What you should do if the thing is so important to your opinions is study the paper yourself to decide whether or not the methodologies are sound.

Of couse, since you're not above petty insults (and don't believe for a second you can get away with their effects by attaching two non alphanumeric characters) I doubt that your own mind is subject to much of the necessary rigor required to get past academic folderol; academic journals exist so that other academicians can apply rigor to what is asserted.

It's a pity I don't have time to take them apart fully, but I'll offer that the first one you cited was not well written in the first place, to the point where I couldn't tell at a glance how the survey questions were posed, who was called, the reliability or margin of errors in the sample sizes, and so forth.

The second one was simply methodologically laughable. The shift of voting patterns they documented is within the margin of error for any machine counted election. The fact that it got into a journal is surprising on that count, not to mention the post hoc assumptions present in both the abstract and the introduction. Those people went into the study assuming that Fox News skews the population toward the GOP, and tailored it to show how much.

Not that bouncing any of that off you will change any of *your* opinions, DQ, but there you are. You're here mostly as a caracatured mascot anyway. I'll be entertained by your rejoinder. If you can come up with one that uses more than "Bite Me" or some variant.

Go ahead! I'm looking forward to it... (and, by the way, "tenure" is not a metric of rigor. And there are plenty of bonehead professors in the universities, so this is also not a metric of rigor.)

C, the results of the study *you've* quoted may be skewed simply by whether or not someone calls the Limbaugh show on Friday, or any other day. Friday is the only day he lets listeners pick the topics.

Nate said...

Rob Perkins said:
In any case, I've watched Fox News for the six years since then with varying degrees of interest (it's at its lowest these days), and find that while the *commentary* is absolutely center-right-ish, by the old French spectrum, the newsgiving is not.

Are you just using the left-right spectrum, or did you actually intend to compare Fox News to European standards? Because by European standards, the Democrats are center-right, and Fox News and the Republicans are off...somewhere.

And so Clinton stands up to Chris Wallace and he's "thin-skinned", while the President and Vice President get up on TV and call half of America traitors. And after hearing that crap for years and years, I'm more than a little "thin skinned".

The greatest irony of the attempts to pin 9/11 on Clinton, though? The Republican's (and Disney/ABC's) reasoning? That Clinton failed to act because he was distracted by the Lewinski mess. Even if that WERE true, that puts more blame on the Republicans than on Clinton, because they're the ones who started the investigations and sicced Ken Starr and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars prying into everything they could about Clinton, to try and find something they could beat him with. So if he was distracted, they're the ones who distracted him, and none of them seemed worried about terrorism then, either.

Don Quijote said...

to the point where I couldn't tell at a glance how the survey questions were posed, who was called,


Last page in the report...

The poll was fielded by Knowledge Networks, a polling, social science, and market research firm in Menlo Park, California, with a randomly selected sample of its large- scale nationwide research panel. This panel is itself randomly selected from the national population of households having telephones and subsequently provided internet access for the completion of surveys (and thus is not limited to those who already have internet access). The distribution of the sample in the web-enabled panel closely tracks the distribution of United States Census counts for the US population on age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, geographical region, employment status, income, education, etc.
The panel is recruited using stratified random-digit-dial (RDD) telephone sampling. RDD provides a non-zero probability of selection for
every US household having a telephone. Households that agree to participate in the panel are provided with free Web access and an Internet appliance, which uses a telephone line to connect to the Internet and uses the television as a monitor. In return, panel members participate in surveys three to four times a month. Survey responses are confidential, with identifying information never revealed without respondent approval. When a survey is fielded to a panel member, he or she receives an e-mail indicating that the survey is available for completion. Surveys are self-administered.


the reliability or margin of errors in the sample sizes, and so forth.

Dates of Survey: Margin of Error: +/- 2-3.5 %
Sample Size:
June through September: 3334
Jun: 1051
Jul: 1066
Aug/Sep: 1217
May: 1256
Mar: 795
Feb: 2186 + (997) over-sample in 5 major states
Jan: 1063
Total Sample: 8634 + (997) over-sample


First page in the questionnaire...

Amazing what you can find when you actually bother to read the document.

Not that bouncing any of that off you will change any of *your* opinions, DQ, but there you are.

Now that's truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Rob Perkins said...

I was using the left-right rubric inherited from the French, not the perception of Europe about the United States. That context is well-established here.

(And, honestly, they have smaller and more dense populations in each of the Euro nations. They'll come up with more socialistic solutions quite naturally, which will work, because the dynamics there are different than in the U.S.)

Yeah, thin-skinned. He went on a tear, he leaned right in, and started jabbing Chris Wallace with his finger.

I mean c'mon! He was sitting down to a *Fox News* interview, the very network his faction has been vilifying as hostile to Democrats for years now.

He should have been prepared for a hard question or three from the son of Mike Wallace, for crying out loud.

Rob Perkins said...

Warren,

'Course he deserved it. Then again, with a pedrigree like the Wallace family, smarm just comes with the territory.

(I have a tremendous amount of respect for Mike Wallace and the work he's done, by the way.)

DQ,

I said, "At a glance", not "read through the whole dang paper". Worth a second look, though, in the face of the data you offer. I assume you're quoting from the "misconceptions" survey and not the "Fox News bias" once, because the former is easier to support. (The Fox News one cherry picked its data sources.)

Even so, as soon as a sample from a population is used a second time for a new survey, I'll contend that it ceases to be random. Also, the span of time used to gather the data is a concern. Only a study of that paper could settle those questions. I didn't study it, and remain skeptical. And, sadly, I'm out of time for the day on this topic.

Now that's truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Sticks and stones, buddy. Plus, it's established on the record *here* that I'm willing to change my opinion in the face of new data. You have not been even close to that forthcoming.

David Brin said...

Rob, you miss the point entirely!

Of COURSE Clinton knew exactly what to expect. Please don’t forget he’s the most impressive politician since Ronald Reagan. For all of their bilious bile and raging-lying utter-slander toward him, his enemies never, ever, ever defeated him. In the end, they were reduced to crawling through garbage, and dragging the nation through petty stories about consensually stained blue dresses...

... distracting our government and all of us when attention might have been better paid to important things. Damaging us all in an insane, hysterical need to keep attacking.

No, we’re talking about a certified American genius, who went to FOX news knowing full well that a vicious, stupid little ferret would try to attack a lion...

... and happily had the ferret for lunch.

Then we were treated to the sight of Fox commentators (sock puppets) reciting a mantra about “thin skinned hysterics) that was so obviously scripted that they took a second hit.

Look, I don’t idolize the man. We deserved better from an alpha of his magnitude. e.g. Allowing his wife to so desperately misjudge and boot the Health Care thing (when they could trivially/incrementally have said “insure all the kids first.”) That let Newt’s (semi-human) neocon first wave in the door... followed by the second wave of utter monsters...

...who, though they were never able to touch Clinton, sure have put the hurt on our civilization.

No, a Teddy Roosevelt level genius could and should have done a lot more than... what was his greatest accomplishment?

Turns out it was ADMINISTRATIVE! Eight years of the cleanest, most efficient, most honest and grownup government America has ever seen. Eight years of peace and prosperity and progress and science and openness and ever-increasing transparency. That’s quite an accomplishment...

...not!!!

We deserved so much more than that. We deserved better.

Big C said...

Rob said:
"C, the results of the study *you've* quoted may be skewed simply by whether or not someone calls the Limbaugh show on Friday, or any other day. Friday is the only day he lets listeners pick the topics."

Maybe, but from another page discussing an earlier talk radio study from that site:

"Only one caller of five dissenting view points was successful in getting on the Rush Limbaugh show. That caller went through three screeners on the show before getting on the air with the host. However, the other four callers with dissenting view points were told politely that the host would not be taking calls on either the subject matter or a dissenting point of view. One of the rejections included “open-line Friday” in which the host states that “open-line Friday” is open to all subject matters, not necessarily different views."

So that seems to contradict even Rush's stated policy.

Rob Perkins said...

David, I have a pile of respect for Clinton on the same grounds as your respect for him.

I've said elsewhere he should never have had to stand for that civil action while President, but man, he made his own bed and paid for it in a stain on his own legacy.

Stop equivocating, though: HE LIED TO A JUDGE. I cannot and will not respect that, or excuse it, or qualify it. I don't freaking *care* what it was about: You just. don't. do. that. No matter who you are. If you say you're gonna tell the truth, if you say "yes" to "do you swear to tell the truth?" then you better mean it.

Ahem.

Anyway, I disagree. I watched it; he lost his temper, and his control, and scolded Wallace like a bad parent scolds a child, poking him in the knee, leaning in, etc. He recovered, and he gave an acceptable answer, mostly, but that's the second time I've seen him do that to a journalist. (I can't remember the name of last journalist, but the question was about his impeachment.)

That's not "having the ferret for lunch," and it certainly didn't look gleeful to me.

Rob Perkins said...

C, my point is that the Limbaugh format is not the same as the other five formats. Hannity's is unabashedy GOP-cheerleading, and brooks no opposition. We'll give him that and let him obsolete himself.

Limbaugh doesn't permit calls off his topics, ever, and apparantly doesn't permit dissenting views on Open Line Friday, according to your source. But the constraints of format, not bias, skew the results of the study, which probably ought to have included 50 to 100 attempts per host, instead of just five, and 10 to twenty hosts, instead of just six, in order to be *rigorous*. In order to actually say something.

Nate said...

Okay, hang on. Let me see if I have this clear. Clinton lied to a judge, which is unforgivable, while Bush tells Congress, the country, and the world things that are patently false. But if I remember right, the last time this came up, you still said he wasn't lying, Rob. I don't get that. How does that work? Especially since Clinton's time with the judge was about something unrelated to the case, after he'd been hounded for years by the Republicans trying to find any dirt at all on him, while Bush and co's lies led us directly into an unnecessary and incompetently managed war that's benefited no one except Iran.

And Clinton's "scolding" Wallace still doesn't compare to Bush and Cheney's manifest disrespect for the press and the country, or for a more concrete example, when they were calling a journalist an asshole into an open mic.

Sidereus said...

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/09/27/iraq.poll/index.html

Seventy-one percent of Iraqis responding to a new survey favor a commitment by U.S.-led forces in Iraq to withdraw in a year.

The majority of respondents to the University of Maryland poll said that "they would like the Iraqi government to ask for U.S.-led forces to be withdrawn from Iraq within a year or less," according to the survey's summary.

"Given four options, 37 percent take the position that they would like U.S.-led forces withdrawn 'within six months,' while another 34 percent opt for 'gradually withdraw(ing) U.S.-led forces according to a one-year timeline.'

That's not all:

"Support for attacks on U.S.-led forces has grown to a majority position -- now 6 in 10. Support appears to be related to a widespread perception, held by all ethnic groups, that the U.S. government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq."

Yesterday, the NIE report has shown what most of us (on here) have known: Bush is lying. Incidentally, today they refused to release the full report. Keep in mind that this report was completed in April. Imagine what the report would look like in September!

Retired generals, most of the American public, most leaders of other countries, our OWN intelligence agencies . . . what does W know that we do not?

David Brin said...

Guys! Don't over-react! Rob is citokating Clinton, not claiming that Bush is better. In fact, I've seen Rob shift and adapt and grow on this list more than anybody else here has!

Remember, he had a long journey to make... a journey that right now we are all praying that millions of our conservative countrymen and women will also make, very soon. Let's see how well any of YOU do when confronted by horrid betrayals, committed by the annointed leaders of YOUR side.

I know several of you who will not, cannot, do so if and when that time comes. When it does, you'll be as obstinate as Falwell. So ease off, eh?


Rob, in fact, appeals courts ruled that the very question that Clinton had been asked... to which he gave that fib - of the kind that a helluva lot of hound-dogging husbands give reflexively, in the same spot -- THE VERY QUESTION WAS RULED OUT OF ORDER. Illegal. Improper. (Indeed that may be why it took him by surprise.)

In other words, in a very real legal sense - though not (I admit) moral sense - the slate was wiped clean. In point of fact, Clinton did not, legally, commit an act of perjury.

Yes, they finally cornered him into doing something stupid. I mean, if you spend a billion dollars and every second of the congressional majority's time and energy, and sic a relentlessly vicious special prosecutor on a guy, with absolutely no limitations or sense of propriety or restraint, sooner or later you'll get SOMETHING.

Net result? A presidency that the GOP ITSELF now says was "too distracted" to pay full attention to addressing crucial national concerns.

Feh!

Note that nearly all of those who pursued BC were males. Mostly, the women of America shrugged, said "all men are weasels". They saw the pargmatic fact that he was still close to his wife & kid...

... and noticed the hypocrisy that MOST of the House Prosecutors for the impeachment had themselves been through messy (in some cases brutal) divorces...

...and decided to take Hillary's word for it that she would "handle Bill's punishment privately."

Let me tell you the Limbaughism that I despise most... above all the other horrifically nasty shit that that schoolyard bully and tormentor of small animals has spewed across our fair land. The thing I hate most was all those relentless nasty-ratty sneers about the Clintons' so-called "failed marriage".

I saw the two of them once IN PERSON, at an event, during a private moment that I am pretty sure ONLY I SAW... through a crack in the bleachers, as they were getting ready to come onstage. (He wore his saxophone...)

It wasn't much. Just a moment. I saw her squeeze his arm, pull him down, and give his ear a nuzzle and nip. He started to respond... and they were called onstage. I knew in an instant that they were a life-couple. Some people are lucky that way.

(And -- according to my wife -- "anybody like Hillary, who married a guy like that, would have to know in advance that there'd be roller-coaster ups and downs.")

For nasty, lying, drug-drenched, bitter-divorced, adulterating, klepto, whoremongering jerks to spread filthy and utterly unattributed slander about a couple who raised a dynamite child and stayed together through thick and (yes) thin... well, it's just... plain... evil. And there's years of pennance waiting, if this cosmos has any justice.

Anonymous said...

Slightly (okay, more than slightly) off-topic here, but one thing that has been obvious of late is that the Representative-style government has failed in America. Through gerrymandering of districts and the like, it is almost impossible for many House Seats to change hands except within the party itself. Fixing this is problematic as well.

Even before gerrymandering became such a thriving political business, many politicians did not effectively represent their constituents. They'd vote on what they wanted, rather than what the majority of their voters were interested in. The very nature of congressional pay raises alone shows this: how many taxpayers would actually agree to all of the pay raises that politicians have received, especially in fiscally tight times or during recessions?

This harkens back to the 1700s, when the Constitution was written. A true Democratic form of government was unfeasable due to the size of the American nation and the lack of communication (and education).

That has changed. Technology is such now that people can research topics and learn for themselves the truth of a matter. People are taught often how to think (though many choose not to). What's more, it's even possible for people to go online and let their views and opinions be known. ;)

Perhaps it is time to scrap the House of Representatives. Instead, create areas where people can go and vote on issues they are interested in. There can be time limits on each topic (say a week or two, to allow everyone to have a say who is interested). There can also be time limits on how often a topic can be discussed (perhaps every few years, barring Judicial declarations of a law being Unconstitutional) so that if a strongly controversial topic passes, the other side can't immediately try to counter it with their own law.

What I'm talking about is a creation of a true democratic society in America.

We would keep the Senate as an elected body which would likewise have to vote on laws (and perhaps change the Senate's function so they can't alter a law that passes the People's Democratic Platform, but can only vote Yay/Nay on the law being sent to the Executive Branch). Likewise the Senate would be used to try and override Executive Vetos.

People are intelligent enough to decide for themselves. We now have the technology to allow this country to truly become a Democracy. Perhaps what we need to do is pursue this path.

Robert A. Howard, Tangents
http://www.tangents.us

David Brin said...

Robert Howard you are welcome here.

Though alas, it's just not practical to focus to hard on changes in the Constitution. They don't happen easily without really dire emergencies.

No, we must make the present system work. It can be done if gerrymandering becomes a major scandal and we move past the political caste's trick... of pretending to try to deal with it one state at a time.

It is a pretense because the voters who support majority party of a state will not vote for a referendum that reduces the representation of that party.

What surely terrifies the political caste is if:

1) Some brave federal judge took a case that was PROPERLY presented (unlike the incompetent recent Texas challenge) and crafted a ruling in terms the GOP-controlled Supremes could not evade. (It is almost pathetically easy, I bet; though I'm an amateur.)

2) Create a groundswell that forces half a dozen states to do a COMPACT. "I'll stop if you will." California ends gerrymandering in exchange for guaranteed end to such hanky panky in say Texas, Florida and Ohio... amounting to equal numbers of seats.

This "no losers" approach would satisfy most voters, since total party seating would (at first) be relatively unaffected. But it would terrify the pols, of course, who would have to go back to working for a living.

Rob Perkins said...

Rob, in fact, appeals courts ruled that the very question that Clinton had been asked... to which he gave that fib - of the kind that a helluva lot of hound-dogging husbands give reflexively, in the same spot -- THE VERY QUESTION WAS RULED OUT OF ORDER. Illegal. Improper. (Indeed that may be why it took him by surprise.)

Back that up please. I swear to you I've never heard it before from any source.

But even so, correct behavior when trapped by a question before a judge is still to answer it correctly, and then get the answer removed from the record on appeal. Not to lie. Not to fib, even under conditions where no oath was made.

Not to fib at all is correct behavior.

And honestly, to the factions chasing him, lying about adultery is still prettydangbad, because adultery itself is prettydangbad. But you touched on that.

And not to put too very fine a point on it, but the Congress doesn't have to accept an appeals court ruling, which they obviously didn't.

I confess, I favored conviction on impeachment! It would have given us PRESIDENT AL GORE.

Come out of your fog, y'all, and think about that for a minute or two. Gore would have had a chance to completely disown Clinton and two years of being President to show a record. Hillary might or might not have taken New York's senate seat.

Remember, he had a long journey to make... a journey that right now we are all praying that millions of our conservative countrymen and women will also make, very soon.

I've been a devoted ticket-splitter my entire adult life, and I came to this place already deeply uncomfortable about Bush.

But if I remember right, the last time this came up, you still said he wasn't lying, Rob. I don't get that. How does that work?

Do I really have to remind you that what I think he was (wilfully blind believer instead of liar) is actually *worse*?

Don Quijote said...


I confess, I favored conviction on impeachment! It would have given us PRESIDENT AL GORE.


Who in turn would have been hounded out of office, there is no way that the Mellon-Scaife of this world would have accepted a Democratic President.

jomama said...

Annual GDP growth has averaged 2.6% a year under Bush. It averaged 3.6% under Clinton.

I also confess a certain nostalgia for Billy C. He was fun.

But to attribute the movement of a multi-trillion dollar economy and the product of millions of people to one man (no matter the man) is some kind of hero worship. Time to move on and get back to some semblance of reason.

Correlation is not causation, the First Rule of Statistics 101.

Rob Perkins said...

Jomama I've been saying exactly that for over a decade now, but noone who wants power to change factions ever dares agree.

Big C said...

Rob said (responding to David Brin's assertion that the Clinton question for which he is said to have commited perjury was ruled "out of order," "illiegal," and "improper"):
"Back that up please. I swear to you I've never heard it before from any source."

Well, maybe David's characterization is a bit of hyperbole, but the question was ruled immaterial. From a report that is part of the text of the House Bill impeaching Clinton:

"[Footnote] 40A lie under oath becomes a criminal offense only when it is `material' to the proceeding in which it is given. Courts have held a statement to be material if it `has a natural tendency to influence, or was capable of influencing, the decision of the tribunal in making a [particular] determination. Proof of actual reliance on the statement is not required; the Government need only make a reasonable showing of its potential effects.' United States v. Barrett, 111 F.3d 947, 953 (D.C. Cir. 1997) (internal quotation omitted) (brackets in original); see also United States v. Moore, 613 F.2d 1029, 1037-38 (D.C. Cir. 1979) (same); United States v. Icardi, 140 F. Supp. 383, 388 (D.D.C. 1956) (same).

...

"In evaluating the Majority's charge, the rulings made by Judge Wright in the Jones case must be considered. These are directly relevant to the question whether the President's allegedly false statements could possibly be characterized as violations of the federal law cited by the Referral and relied upon by the Majority. Judge Wright's order excluding evidence concerning Ms. Lewinsky, and her order granting the President's summary judgment motion, clearly establish that any alleged misleading statements by the President concerning his indisputably consensual and non-harassing relationship with Ms. Lewinsky were simply not material matters."


Well, I'm no lawyer, but it seems that David's characterization is a bit of an overstatement. The question wasn't "illegal," "improper," or "out of order," but it wasn't relevant to the Paula Jones case, and it was ruled immaterial. Accordingly, the perjury charge would be moot.

Of course, this doesn't make Clinton's behavior any less dishonest or reprehensible, but it does appear to support the core of David's assertion, just not the hyperbole.

Rob Perkins said...

OK, that's a bit more consistent with what I'd learned about the case. And it's an example of the independence of the Congress, actually, a feature worth a barely-justifiable impeachment proceeding in order to keep.

Woozle said...

Having done a little research on the Clinton thing, I discovered a couple of important reply-points for the "Clinton is a Big Fat Perjurous Liar" meme:

- he was never convicted of perjury (congress impeached him for it, but the senate voted against with a clear majority, including 10 Republicans)

- due to the wording of the definition of "sexual relation" which he was ordered to use, he may have believed he was replying honestly to the grand jury

Ironically, I never would have researched and hence found out much of this if that poster on Issuepedia hadn't started attacking Clinton in response to my page on "Bush neocons". CITOKATE Irony?

Nate said...

Rob Perkins:
Do I really have to remind you that what I think he was (wilfully blind believer instead of liar) is actually *worse*?

Maybe. I don't see why he can't be both. But on the tactical hand, for some reason calling somebody a liar instead of a willfully ignorant believer of stupid things is a lot more politically damaging. Even if the nutso believer is more dangerous to the country.

That, and I've never ever found anything George Bush said to be sincere. But that could just be because the whole "stealing the election" thing in 2000 made me utterly detest the man and his entire administration, even before they revealed they were trying to destroy the world.


And I see Congress passed the torture bill. Well, that's it, time to pack up and go home. The War on Terror's over, and freedom lost.

Vernon said...

David,

I posted this on a previous thread but (as now), several days late. Still. When trying out the point about the lack of convictions on some very republican family, I discovered that Rush has already prepared them with an answer. The instant rejoinder was that Clinton would have had to pardon most of his admin if anyone who threatened to turn him in hadn't disappeared or died in a mysterious suicide. They pointed out 'all the people' who were declared suicides with bullets to the back of the head.

Knowing only one case where this had even been an accusation (Vince Foster) I pointed out that these accusations had been thoroughly debunked. However, at this point it was my word against Rush's. Obviously the other cases had been covered up and I was just too naive to believe the media (and republican investigative results).