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Posts Tagged ‘conservatives’

American Journal of Political Science corrects a slight error

Posted by Richard on June 14, 2016

Last week, Steven Hayward drew attention to a correction in the American Journal of Political Science of a study they had published in 2012. Hayward’s post is entitled Epic Correction of the Decade. I’m thinking it may be the most epic correction of all time. I’ll paraphrase:

“Hey, remember how we said that conservatives are more prone to psychoticism and authoritarianism, while liberals are more prone to neuroticism and wanting to get along with others? It turns out we got that exactly backwards. Sorry, our bad.”

Well, at least they owned up to it. Years later. After a Ph.D. student pointed out the error.

But they’re also arguing (now) that the correlations are so small as to be meaningless, so which way those correlations go doesn’t really matter.

The same study by the same researchers was the basis for three other academic journal articles. According to Retraction Watch, two of those have also published corrections and the last will do so in July.

The trouble with peer review in the social sciences is that all the peers doing the reviewing share the same worldview and prejudices as the “researchers” being reviewed.

Oh, by the way: one of the authors said the surveys for this “research” were conducted in the 1980s and 1990s, and were combined and analyzed in the 2000s. So these “scientists” worked on this stuff for three decades. And your tax dollars paid for it.

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Sarah Palin at CPAC

Posted by Richard on March 9, 2014

Want to know why the left has tried so hard to diminish, disparage, and destroy Sarah Palin? Because she can deliver a speech like this. Wow. Just wow.

[YouTube link]

Best take-off on “Green Eggs and Ham” ever. And like Rand Paul, she goes after the GOP establishment as well as the Dems.



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Rand Paul at CPAC

Posted by Richard on March 9, 2014

On Friday, Sen. Rand Paul reminded the Conservative Political Action Congress that the 4th Amendment is just as important as the 2nd Amendment. And he took on the GOP establishment as well as the Dems. Well worth 19 minutes of your time.

[YouTube link]


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Not your father’s Republican Party

Posted by Richard on October 29, 2010

A month ago, Vice President Joe Biden, who always seems to know the wrong thing to say and then says it, uttered my favorite quote from this election season:

This is not your father’s Republican Party. This is the Republican Tea Party, no this is a different deal, guys. This is not Bob Dole. This is not Howard Baker.

No doubt the silver-tongued Biden intended that as a dire warning, a wake-up call to his troops. But I’ll bet that millions of Americans reacted with a grin and thought, “I sure hope he’s right!” I know I did.

Recently, Dick Morris affirmed Biden’s point and expanded on it (emphasis added):

A fundamental change is gripping the Republican grass roots as they animate the GOP surge to a major victory in the 2010 elections. No longer do evangelical or social issues dominate the Republican ground troops. Now economic and fiscal issues prevail. The Tea Party has made the Republican Party safe for libertarians.

There is still a litmus test for admission to the Republican Party. But no longer is it dominated by abortion, guns and gays. Now, keeping the economy free of government regulation, reducing taxation and curbing spending are the chemicals that turn the paper pink.

It is one of the fundamental planks in the Tea Party platform that the movement does not concern itself with social issues. At the Tea Parties, evangelical pro-lifers rub shoulders happily with gay libertarians. They are united by their anger at Obama’s economic policies, fear of his deficits and horror at his looming tax increases. Obama’s agenda has effectively removed the blocks that stopped tens of millions of social moderates from joining the GOP.

Read the whole thing. I sure hope he’s right!

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Prime Minister Cameron flew commercial

Posted by Richard on July 23, 2010

A couple of months ago, I had some kind words for Britain's new Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, the junior partner in the coalition government formed by the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Now it's time for some kind words for the senior partner, Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron. For his visit to Washington this week, the Prime Minister and his staff took a commercial British Airways flight, saving British taxpayers £200,000. Bravo!

Our president took Air Force One (and a backup 747) from Washington to New York for a "date night" with his wife. Countless Hollywood celebrities fly around the country constantly in their private jets and lecture us peasants about our carbon footprints. For last winter's "climate summit," so many world leaders and glitterati flew into Copenhagen in their private jets that there wasn't room for them all. They had to drop off their passengers and fly on to another airport to "park." 

Prime Minister Cameron, on the other hand, apparently told one of his staff something like, "Book ten seats on a flight to New York for Monday morning. And make them business class." Yes, that's right — Cameron didn't even fly first class

I'm really taking a shine to the leadership of this new British government — both the Conservative and the Liberal Democrat. 

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More conservatives ready to drop social issues

Posted by Richard on June 20, 2010

On Thursday, in an appearance on Fox News with Rep. Ron Paul, Sarah Palin described marijuana as a "minimal problem" that police shouldn't devote scarce resources to. Although opposing legalization because of "the kids," she said:

“If somebody's gonna smoke a joint in their house and not do anybody any harm, then perhaps there are other things our cops should be looking at to engage in and try to clean up some of the other problems we have in society.”

On Friday, Power Line's Paul Mirengoff reported on some Washington appearances by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who Mirengoff thinks is "well worth a look" for the 2012 presidential nomination: 

Daniels is pitching the notion that we may need a truce in divisive culture war controversies in order to deal with "survival issues" such as terrorism and debt. But Michael Gerson argues that Daniels is being naïve here. He asks: "Just how would avoiding fights on unrelated social issues make Democratic legislators more likely to vote for broad budget cuts and drastic entitlement reforms?"

Clearly, avoiding such fights would not produce that result. But it might well enable Republicans to become and remain more popular with moderate voters. And this, in turn, might give Republicans the majorities necessary to implement budget cuts and entitlement reforms.

Fellow Power Line blogger John Hinderaker (who, like Mirengoff, seems far from libertarian) added this (emphasis added):

Over the last couple of decades, countless media/political voices have urged Republicans to abandon social conservatism on political grounds, i.e., the need to appeal to upscale suburbanites. This has always struck me as odd, since the social issues have consistently represented a net gain for Republicans–which is why, I assume, liberal commentators are so anxious for Republicans to abandon them. So in the past, my view has always been that Republican and conservative politicians should keep the social issues as one leg of the proverbial three-legged stool.

The present moment, however, represents a departure. It may well be that a consensus exists in favor of reduced federal spending and economic power that dwarfs any plurality on the social issues. So should conservative candidates forget about abortion, gay marriage and so on? The answer depends, obviously, on the particular district in question.

In general, though, it strikes me as a matter of emphasis. I do think that we are in a moment where conservatives should emphasize constitutional government and reduced spending first, and national security second; social issues third, if at all.

As we stare into the economic abyss described by Arthur Laffer, more and more conservatives seem willing to at least declare a "truce" on social issues. The Tea Party movement has deliberately and explicitly elected to set aside divisive social issues like abortion and gay marriage, and focus instead on the economic and fiscal crises facing our country. That's a good thing, I think.

I bet November proves me right. 

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A bonfire of unnecessary laws

Posted by Richard on May 20, 2010

Radley Balko has begun to "warm up to this Nick Clegg chap," and I can see why. Clegg is Deputy Prime Minister in the coalition government that the Conservatives formed with Clegg's Liberal Democrats, and he's promising "ambitious and radical" political reforms that aim to empower individuals and reduce the power and scope of government. I like most of the bullet list, but like Balko, my favorite is "a bonfire of unnecessary laws." 

It's all just talk so far, but it's encouraging talk (emphasis added): 

In an attempt to reassure Liberal Democrat members and supporters who doubt the wisdom of joining forces with the Conservatives, he will promise: "This will be a government that is proud when British citizens stand up against illegitimate advances of the state. That values debate, that is unafraid of dissent."

He will announce plans to consult the public on which laws should be scrapped. Promising to "tear through the statute book", he will attack Labour for creating thousands of criminal offences which took away people's freedom without making the streets safe.

"Obsessive lawmaking simply makes criminals out of ordinary people. So we'll get rid of the unnecessary laws and once they're gone, they won't come back. We will introduce a mechanism to block pointless new criminal offences," he will say.

"This government is going to transform our politics so the state has far less control over you, and you have far more control over the state. This government is going to break up concentrations of power and hand power back to people, because that is how we build a society that is fair. This government is going to persuade you to put your faith in politics once again."

Mr Clegg endorsed David Cameron's flagship "big society" theme, which the Tory leader contrasts with the "big government" offered by Labour during its 13 years in power. In a U-turn, the Liberal Democrat leader told a Downing Street seminar for voluntary groups he hosted with the Prime Minister: "What I'm discovering is we've been using different words for a long time – it actually means the same thing. Liberalism, big society. Empowerment, responsibility. It means the same thing."

That sounds pretty good to my libertarian ears. It's just a hope at this point, but maybe — just maybe — Britain's messy election will lead to something really positive for that nation.

Maybe some British liberals are ready to re-embrace their roots as advocates of freedom, democracy, and civil liberties, instead of focusing on egalitarianism, regulation, and "positive rights." And maybe some British conservatives are returning to their traditional commitment to individual liberty and distrust of overarching government, instead of … well, whatever you call the inchoate policy porridge that's characterized them since the end of Thatcherism. 

Maybe this coalition government is an opportunity for a realignment in British politics, the creation of a real, lasting coalition of those across the political spectrum who've recognized the limits — and dangers — of government power. Something akin to a tea party movement. Wouldn't it be appropriate for the Brits to have something akin to a tea party? Eh, wot?

One can hope.

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Who cost McCain the election?

Posted by Richard on November 10, 2008

While catching up on Big Lizards, I learned some other interesting things about the election. The first post debunked the myth of a big surge in registrations and new voters. It seems that, for the umpteenth time, media pundits were wrong about this being the year when young people would finally flock to the polls.

According to Dafydd, most of the new registrations (8.7 million out of 10 million) are explained by the population increase since 2004. Of the 1.3 million "extra" registrations, only about 300,000 showed up to vote — 0.2% of the vote (emphasis in original):

Bottom line: New voters, felons, and bums did not impact the vote in any significant way. ACORN failed; Obama won the election not by bringing "new blood" to the voting booth but by doing a better job than McCain at wooing the traditional voter, the guys and gals who always vote.

So if McCain didn't lose because of a surge of new voters, which traditional voters cost him the election? According to Dafydd, it was conservatives. He quoted the Associated Press (which I won't do, since they don't recognize fair use and have threatened those who don't pay them for quotes): according to exit polls, they said, the percentage of voters calling themselves conservative was the same as four years ago.

Dafydd then argued (emphasis in original): 

Let's hop aboard my Syllogismobile and go for a ride…

  1. 34% of voters called themselves "conservatives."

  2. Of that 34%, 20% voted for Barack H. Obama; that means 6.8% of the electorate both called themselves conservatives and also voted for Obama. (Would that include Christopher Buckley and his ilk?)

  3. Contrariwise, only 10% of self-dubbed liberals voted for John S. McCain. Conservatives defected at twice the rate of liberals.

  4. Suppose, just for a giggle, conservatives had only voted for Obama at the same percentage that liberals voted for McCain… in other words, that conservatives were no more likely to defect than liberals. In that case, half of the conservative defectors would have remained loyal, and 3.4% of votes would shift from Obama to McCain.

  5. According to the most recent quasi-official unofficial tally, the popular tallies for the two nominees were 52.6% for Obama and 46.1% for McCain.

  6. Switching 3.4% from left to right yields 49.2% for Obama and 49.5% for McCain. (Note McCain number higher than Obama number.)

  7. Conclusion: Had conservatives defected at the same rate as liberals, instead of twice the rate, then John McCain would have won this election.

Thanks, guys!

That's a bit of over-simplification. It looks only at the popular vote, not the Electoral College — which would make the analysis much more complicated. But as a rough approximation, it sounds about right. It's very likely that Christopher Buckley and those like him elected Obama. 

Bill Buckley is spinning so fast in his grave that it may warp the space-time continuum.

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