William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

John McCain will win

I am wrong about a lot of things (see my essay “Let them Fail”), and it is a truism to say that I might be wrong about this, but I still think McCain will win.

Naturally, I am aware of wishcasting, and that I might be misleading myself. But I do not think so.

For example, today at the office (in Park Slope, Brooklyn, a very, very solid Democrat stronghold) the subject of race and the election came up. Obviously, some wanted to enjoy carping about how people would not vote for Obama because he is black, a favorite topic. But before anybody could start, I offered, “Yes, I think it is true that many people will vote for Obama because he is black.”

“Well,” it was finally countered, “Black people will certainly…” I said, “Yes, and many whites will vote for him because he is black, too.”

“Enough to counter the people who will note vote for him?” I was asked.

“I have no idea,” I said. “Maybe about the same.”

The point of this story is to show that the support from the far left is as always. Nothing much has changed from that quarter. The same reflexive, non-reflective support given to any Democrat candidate is there, as it always has been. There is nothing unusual or unexpected.

So what is new that has changed, what might be different? Why are people who had been until recently predicting an Obama defeat, are now starting to whimper?

I have been hearing fearful concerns from some McCain supporters lately. They site two sources of evidence for their despair: (1) reports in the media, and (2) the polls.

To listen to any opinion from the New York Times-esque. media is foolish, and these same people who are now wringing their hands because of reports from that quarter will often, and loudly, tell you not to pay them any mind. So it is surprising that they are now giving in to its sway.

So I need to remind them that the media is informed by the polls. Now, before the economic meltdown and government power grab, the polls had McCain ahead. Then…it hit! (Cue Burl Ives). It was that speech by McCain saying that it is morning in America—no, that the economic fundamentals that make America the best country on Earth are sound, that caused the current difficulties.

This insouciance angered a lot of people. “But look at my 401(k)!” they said, and “He better think about what he is saying!”

When next the pollsters came calling, the callees showed their anger—their temporary disfavor—by saying, “Hell, no. I’m not voting for McCain.” Which I need hardly point out is not the same as saying, “I’m for Obama!”

In short, voters are angry (as I was) and are punishing McCain in the only way they can. But when it comes time to draw a veil and punch a chad, they will calm down and and come back to the fold.

Plus, this Tenured (!) Terrorist Bill Ayers flap has not finalized. The only counter arguments I have seen have been of the type, “But Obama was yet a mere child when Ayers was attempting to murder his fellow citizens.” Very true. Which means Obama should have certainly known that this is a man who long ago should have been strung up by the neck. And not a man in whose apartment you hang out.

Incidentally, my dear readers, do not fall into the trap of repeating the phraseology heard on TV. “The unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers…” is a sentence heard and seen everywhere. The word unrepentant is superfluous as its opposite would only mean that Ayers should get a better gravestone.

65 Comments

  1. I often caution people who read polls that there is a huge difference between a poll and an election.

    Just as a map may be a respresentation of how to get to a certain place, being there is entirely different than reading a map.

    Elections don’t infer a result. They are a result.
    .

  2. Briggs

    Are you offerring odds?

  3. I took part in a poll about a month ago. There were political issues, but it was not a political poll – if you can accept that. The questions were very clean. I just received the results. I will say that from the other results, I think the questioned based was more center-left than center-right.

    The political questions and results are below. It suggests to me more comfort with McCain than the MSM wants to allow through its filters.

    John McCain has enough experience to be President.

    69% of respondents agreed with this statement
    Males agreed more than females
    The 35-49 age group agrees more that McCain has enough experience to be President
    The higher education and income segments tended to agree with this statement

    Barack Obama has enough experience to be President.

    39% of respondents agreed with this statement
    The 17-34 age group agrees significantly more than the 35-49 and 50 -99 age groups with this statement
    The higher education segment tended to agree with this statement

    I plan to vote for McCain/Palin.

    33% of respondents agreed with this statement
    The 35-49 age group agrees the most; then 50-99; and last 17-34
    The higher income segment tended to vote for McCain/Palin

    I plan to vote for Obama/Biden.

    30% of respondents agreed with this statement
    The 17-34 age group by a wide margin agrees with this statement; then the 50-99 age group; and last the 35-49 age group
    The higher educated segment tended to vote for Obama/Biden

  4. Mr Briggs, I don’t think you are wishcasting. I think you are wishcasting a lot. To blame MSM on the polls is also wishful thinking – I remember watching the same blame been pointed out by the left 4 years ago. Hmmm.

    Anyways, good luck. I think both of them will have hell when they reach the House, dealing with this financial mess.

  5. Briggs

    October 7, 2008 at 4:27 am

    Luis,

    No, I don’t blame the polls on the media — it’s the other way around. The media are informed by the polls. Of course, occasionally the media commissions these polls, too.

    I think it is well accepted that most in the media desire Obama to win, and that they will help bring this about if they can. My only point about this is that it has always been this way (favoring Democrats), at least since Reagan. So there is no new information that can be used to infer what will happen in the upcoming election.

    The polls, however, are different and at the moment favor Obama. But something similar happened to Bush both times he was elected. And the structure of the polls was not the same as it is now for Clinton’s second election (his first was an anomaly). People lie to pollsters, they say other than what they want, since people know how easy it is to manipulate a survey many will try to figure out the underlying text and shift their answers in response to that, and so on.

    You must understand that pollsters do not call people up and just ask “Who will you vote for for president?” That would probably be the fairest question. But they load in a bunch of stuff that invariably, I think, hinders more than helps.

    Like I said, I might be wrong. Harry, I’d put the chance McCain wins at 85%.

  6. Thanks Briggs – I will check with Centrebet down here and probably place a bet on our joint behalf.

  7. OK Briggs I have checked

    $10 on Obama will give a payout of $11.90
    $10 on McCain will give a payout of $44.00

    All $ in AUD$

    I think a nominal $10 bet is in order don’t you?

  8. Briggs

    October 7, 2008 at 6:38 am

    Harry,

    Put me down for $20 and let me know how to get you the money.

  9. Well at least you put your money where your mouth is :p

  10. You didn’t say why you wish that happens. Do you fancy the idea of bombing Iran? Or do you just prefer huge deficits to surpluses? Or is it just the old reflex action of the poor voting for higher social security while the rich vote for lower taxes?

  11. Briggs

    October 7, 2008 at 10:39 am

    JamesG,

    I don’t think I’d be the one doing the actual bombing. My guess is that Israel will do that first.

    I also do not like the idea of deficits nor surpluses. If the government has a surplus, it means they took too much of my money.

    I also know that if I could have got to keep the money taken from me so that the government could care for me when I am aged, then I could have bought a nice two bedroom apartment in Manhattan and taken care of myself.

    What I wish would happen is that I were to be put in charge.

  12. I also do not like the idea of deficits nor surpluses. If the government has a surplus, it means they took too much of my money.

    Well, even still I preferred Gore’s vision about that. He envisioned that the surplus would pay the debt. Hmmm. I think that’s responsible. At least, it’s way more responsible than making tax cuts for the wealthy while waging a war. Don’t you think?

    What I wish would happen is that I were to be put in charge.

    Oh my, you’re one of those! A human! Gowd! 🙂

  13. Looked at broadly, Obama’s percent of the vote has been within a very narrow range of 48% to 50% over the last ten days, and McCain’s has been within an equally narrow range of 42% of 44% over the same time period. These results suggest that aside from normal sampling error, the underlying dynamics of the race have become quite stable, and underscore the degree to which there has been little meaningful change in the race in well over a week.

    Gallup

    Hahum. Boy if I lived in the US would I bet against you mr Briggs!

  14. For goodness sake, someone please just put Briggs in charge! He can’t be Emperor though, there could be consequences! And a farmer from Oregon could look silly in silk and turned up shoes.
    Luis you don’t mean that! I know you don’t really mean that about Al, you’re just being beastly!
    The BBC who is out of favour with many at the moment has been doing their best to support Obama’s campaign. Palin’s recent speech was reported by the BBC, the one in which she referred to Obama’s terrorist association. This was described as:
    “a viciously sharp attack there from Palin”; “an issue that is now 41 years old” and “We’re going to leave that speech right there and go to…”
    Never mind, we’ll have the Conservatives back in England in 09 and hopefully we’ll see some real change here.
    When they make me Queen They won’t know what hit them. Yep, It could happen.

  15. Luis you don’t mean that!

    Well, Joy, I have to admit, his plan did sound better to me than Bush’s. It’s nothing personal though 🙂

  16. Thank you for the historic reminder, professor B. You once again have hit the nail on the head.

    Cheers

  17. Well now, was that a Bayesian analysis? 85% but no confidence intervals?

    Let us define the conjecture a little bit better. Pr(McCain wins) = 85%

    But that probability depends (is conditioned on) the repetition of prior electorate behavior, wherein the elecorate has been marginally conservative en masse. In recent decades no one (to my knowledge) has won the Presidency with more than 55% of the popular vote, and sometimes the winner has received less than 50% (Clinton ’92). So the Pr(conservative majority) is much closer to 50-50 than 85%. And it also depends on whether conservatives see McCain as one of them, which is also less than 100%.

    So we have Pr(McCain wins) = Pr(repetition of past electorate behavior|new circumstances) x Pr(conservative majority|past electorate behavior) x Pr(McCain seen as a conservative).

    You can plug in whatever numbers you want (that’s the Bayesian way) but I’m pretty sure the product will be less than 85%.

    That being said, I wishcast that your prediction turns out to be correct.

  18. i always find it humorous when people point to the clinton “surpluses” without reviewing the data. clinton pushed expenses into subsequent fiscal years to such an extent that he generated surpluses for his term, and set up the next president for failure. gore would not have any surpluses to pay down debt. further, from a macroeconomic view, consumer spending is more efficient that government spending. yes, our marginal propensity to consume is less than 1.00 – but the expenditures multiply more readily throughout the economy, and our savings create jobs through investments. even the democrat icon jfk so the wisdom in tax cuts.

    further, the executive branch does not hold the purse strings in america. while it can exercise much influence, the responsibility lies wholly within the legislative branch. so deficits originate in the congress.

    for evidence of executive influence, review government revenue under reagan – and how it increased significantly due to his tax cuts. compare it to the bloating of expenditures from the congress.

    y’all need to stop believing everything you read from the MSM. independent research is a wonderful thing.

  19. James,

    What is it you wish for? Perhaps a better question to ponder is: what will happen to this country and the world if Obama wins? For instance, will Iran perfect a nuclear-tipped missle and use it? Is that your wish? Domestic oil production is not expanded, oil prices continue to climb, energy use declines, taking gross domestic production down with it. Economic collapse ensues. Is that your wish? Taxes are ratcheted up on everyone, further contracting the economy, and the Treasury is drained in failed bailout attempts. Is that your wish?

    What will happen if the socialists rise to power in this country? Will that benefit Europe? Asia? Anywhere?

    The Left is excited about the prospect of one party rule of, by, and for their own most extreme elements. What will transpire if that happens? Predictions anyone?

  20. Matt:
    After McCain’s relative lame performance last night, would you like to reconsider your 85% assessment? McCain’s folks have to come up with a strong counter to Obama’s “promise them everything” strategy.
    The most outlandish thing I heard was that rebuilding our energy infrastructure would generate a net 5 million jobs. I guess if they handed out treadmills that generated electricity you might get there!!

  21. Briggs

    October 8, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Bernie,

    Initial reaction, I’m down to 80%. Give me a day or so and see.

  22. Hi Briggs,

    85%? Mike D. beats me to it. It seems to me that you’ve overestimated it. Oh well, this probably means that I would chuckle over another episode of “I am not too wrong”… my bad.

    So, 85% is your assessment or judgment or belief based on whatever information you have gathered (maybe you have a ouija board). How one interprets the probability of 85% is another story. Would you like to update the chance as Bernie has pointed out? Yes(?!), it is the Bayesian way.

    Let me attempt to apply the probability logic in your previous post.

    Premise: I support McCain. I want, I want and I want McCain to win.
    Conclusion: MaCain wins.

    Darn, looks like a logical fallacy, therefore you couldn’t have wishcasted…hmmm (add the music for Jeopardy here). Anyway, I applaud you for the positive thinking or optimism. Maybe I should bet against you.

    -JH

  23. JH, come on be easy on Briggs. This is a very important election, and thus it’s quite natural for people to wishcast. Of course, even taken for granted that he himself is aware of the problem, but given the very exact nature of wishcasting, he cannot escape it. In a sense, it could be said that Mr Briggs is wishcasting that he’s not wishcasting, if you get my grip.

    For me this election is like a bad rated B movie. But I have fetiches for these kinds of movies. Don’t ask me why…

  24. The bad movie will happen if Obama wins. Look for worldwide economic collapse and the rise of fascism (again). One party socialist rule will be terrible for America, horrific elsewhere. If you crave freedom, be prepared to be rudely disappointed.

  25. Briggs

    October 8, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    JH, Luis,

    As a matter of statistics, you guys bring up an excellent question.

    I would not say that my prob is exactly 85%: instead, normally, I would say “Given what I have seen from previous elections, and what has transpired in this one, plus knowing that I might be wishcasting, it’s likely McCain will win.”

    Now, since I was willing, and did, put up 20 bucks, I can, and did, exactly quantify what “likely” means to me. Today, I might only bet, say, 15 bucks (I’d only ever bet in 5-dollar to 10-dollar increments). This is why I say 85%, but of course that number of meaningless to anybody else. It is only useful if you were going to act on the information, say in the form of a bet (not necessarily with money).

    So, no, no logical fallacy (you forgot my comments about previous elections etc.). But, yes, I might be wrong; however, my being wrong doesn’t make my estimate a fallacious one.

    JH, I might say, along this same line, that there might be the element of wish-reasoning in some of your counter-arguments…

  26. A better prediction question is what happens to this country and to the world if we adopt one party socialism in the USA. My predictions include world economic catastrophe and the reemergence of fascism.

  27. Francois Ouellette

    October 8, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    William,

    Being Canadian, I won’t interfere with your elections, though I’m always amazed at how polarized American politics can be, given that there is effectively so little difference between the two major parties, and that the system of checks and balances ensures that these differences are smoothed even more…

    But since you’re a statistician…. what are the probabilities that McCain, if he wins, will not terminate his mandate, and that you’ll end up with Sarah Palin as president!…

    And… what country would she see from her White House window that add to her extensive experience in foreign policy?… Ah but that’s geography!…

  28. The Iowa Political Exchange (never missed an election), which trades “shares” of candidates, now has Obama at almost 80% to win. See here:

    http://iemweb.biz.uiowa.edu/graphs/graph_Pres08_WTA.cfm

    Wisdom of the crowds approach.

  29. Briggs

    October 9, 2008 at 4:51 am

    Francois,

    You ask the best questions. In this election, I am with you in I do not see, for most topics, a huge gap between the two candidates.

    Both, for example, are calling for increases in government control of this and that. Taxes and regulation will grow under both.

    See Mike D’s comment below.

    About the VPs…But wait…are you now saying Canada is a foreign country?

    ALL — MIKE D had a difficulty posting this comment.

    A better prediction question is: what will happen to this country and to the world if we adopt one party socialism in the USA? My predictions include global economic catastrophe and the resurgence of fascism.

    This country was at one time the beacon and defender of freedom. Now that light is dimming, to the detriment of humanity everywhere.

  30. Briggs and all

    The bet is now on. Placing bets on the Presidential outcome down here is bit harder than just dropping in to the local TAB. I had to open an account with that nefarious outfit called Centrebet. It took 48 hours for my money to go electronically from my account to theirs. In the meantime the odds lengthened, so the outcome is that Briggs and I now share a $50 (Aussie) betting ticket from which we will share winnings of $240 (Aussie) if McCain wins and lasts until his swearing in (condition of the bet – payout on swearing in). With Aussie dollar in freefall Briggs’ $US20 is probably worth more than my $AUD30 that makes up the bet.

    Happy watching all.

    PS you would all be really suprised to find out how Briggs wants his winnings repatriated to Manhattan.

  31. Harry:
    twenty australian dollars worth of black swan feathers!
    Francois:
    It depends on the length of her telescope and which window she looks out of. (I have an O-Level in Geography.)

    Mike D:
    I am angry too.
    “A, beacon” not ”the, beacon” A common and typical US error. This is how such statements makefor bad feeling amongst your so called allies, a title that is wearing thin:
    Where was America’s outrage when the IRA was bombing civilians in London, Northern Ireland and our soldiers? Ah yes, they were sending money over to fund the process. Forgive me for disbelieving that “war on terror” means “War on terror”. It means war on “Al Qaeda and anyone who impinges on the US”, where a good proportion think they are Irish .
    Incidentally some of the clever but cowardly organised IRA criminals and terrorists were instrumental in training some of Al Qaeda. I happen to have this on good authority. Couple this with the fact that Bin Laden is dead.
    I will be interested to see who will fight the brave fight when Israel are under attack and America have energy independence. Yep, it’ll be the English, Scots, Welsh, Northern Irish, Australian, Canadian, and no doubt western Europe with America supplying the guns….at a knock down price…with American flags strewn across every item.

    Don’t assume I don’t know, Mike, I know and have treated two soldiers professionally who died last year in your country’s “war on terror” and had the pleasure of treating one brave medic who had his leg shattered in Afghanistan and is soon to lose it. Need they not have bothered?

    When your beacon of light goes out because the wrong politician gets into office and ruins your day maybe you could be thankful that yours is not the only “beacon” and yours is not the only “free” country.
    So whose war is it, Whose beacon, Which politician, and whose army?

  32. I am English and agree with most US conservative positions, but I could never vote to put Sarah Palin just the heartbeat of a 72 year old, four time cancer survivor, away from the presidency.

    I agree with Palin on many issues such as climate change and abortion, but the idea that she could have her finger on the nuclear button would give me nightmares. Iimagine if Palin had been president in 1962 during the Cuban Missiles Crisis. A nuclear war would have been inevitable.

    I know that presidents rely a lot on their advisers and a good team can help a people like Reagan and Bush to muddle along without doing too much harm. However Palin does not like to have people around her who are smarter than her. I dread to think who her close confidants would be. She is totally convinced that she understands enough already about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

    I would have had no problem supporting John McCain if it were not for his terrible decision to pick Palin without him getting to know her properly. If he had done so he would have found out how dumb she is. There are so many brilliant conservatives in the USA, why do republicans keep on nominating simpletons?

  33. Briggs

    October 9, 2008 at 8:53 am

    Patrick,

    Your Cuban-missile crisis argument is an excellent example of a counterfactual one. See today’s post.

  34. Patrick,

    Where in the world are you getting your facts about Sarah Palin? Saturday Night Live? MoveOn.org?

    80% or so of Alaskans approve of her performance as governor, so I presume you think they are equally dumb. Are you one of those who thinks a cultured accent and a degree from a snobbish private institution is a sign of intelligence and ability to be a successful leader. Such criteria would have eliminated many of our best presidents.

  35. You could always retire to Mexico (Baja or Cancun). A lot of Americans have been doing that. Your pension will be worth diddly by now and medicare will soon be broke and buried. Manhattan? Is it the bookshops or the bagels?

  36. Mr Briggs would you vote for Sarah Palin for president? Doesn’t the idea just fill you with dread?

    D. Johnson: I could not care less about a person’s accent or background. All that matters is their calibre. Does Sarah Palin have any real understanding in depth of the important issues facing the world? Having seen her performance in the only two proper interviews she has given it is clear that not only is she profoundly ignorant, but she does not realise this.

    I expected that in interviews she would be like a student taking an exam who has not followed the course, or been to any lectures, but had spent hours cramming at the last minute. What we saw was that in fact she had not even bothered cramming, but simply presented the same lamentable ignorance she had when selected by McCain.

    Ignorance itself is not necessarily a problem. No president can know everything about every issue. What is most troubling about Palin is that she simply does not know how fundamentally ignorant she is; she thinks that she understands enough already to decide on everything, and that anyone who challenges this is just an elitist snob.

    How I wish that the Republicans could have picked one of the many brilliant people in their ranks.

  37. Patrick:
    “the idea that she could have her finger on the nuclear button would give me nightmares”
    Well you can sleep easy Patrick, she won’t have her finger on the button, It’ll be a technician of whatever rank. Probably someone who knows a lot about maths and electronics and no doubt will have done a crash course in the temper and whims of the female president with a few computer skills thrown in. Palin will have her work cut out choosing which suit to wear, she’ll be too busy.

    “Iimagine if Palin had been president in 1962 during the Cuban Missiles Crisis. A nuclear war would have been inevitable.” Well working on the premise that she is as you suggest, stupid, ignorant and foolhardy then no doubt you can convince yourself of the above statement.

    “I know that presidents rely a lot on their advisers and a good team can help a people like Reagan and Bush to muddle along without doing too much harm.” However you assume that this will not be the case with Palin? Will she use her feminine whiles to get around this problem of needing to take advice? Or will she just take advice like a sensible person?

    “However Palin does not like to have people around her who are smarter than her.” Do you have any evidence to support this assertion? I mean peer reviewed evidence?

    “I dread to think who her close confidants would be. She is totally convinced that she understands enough already about who are the good guys and who are the bad guys.” Well who hasn’t worked this out yet? Did you think there was some element of confusion over this issue? What does one’s IQ have to measure in order to be adequately qualified to make such a character judgement about terrorists over democratic leaders?
    “I would have had no problem supporting John McCain if it were not for his terrible decision to pick Palin without him getting to know her properly. If he had done so he would have found out how dumb she is.” And if you followed common sense instead of listening to the MSM you might have come to a different assumption.

    “There are so many brilliant conservatives in the USA, why do republicans keep on nominating simpletons?” Here’s my guess:
    1. Americans love a pretty face. Hers was better than the others.
    2. She’s not a simpleton, she’s simply adequate intellectually.
    Are you confusing her affable demeanour and kindness of spirit with intellect? I think so.
    If she behaved like a dragon woman would you have more confidence in her ability? Someone a little more like Boxer, Nancy Pillow C’, or our very own Maggie Thatcher.

  38. Patrick Hadley,

    As an Alaskan I can vouch for the competence and intelligence of the Palin administration cabinet. I am curious as to how you reach your conclusion that “However Palin does not like to have people around her who are smarter than her.”

    I am not saying you’re wrong, just that I see no evidence based on her selection of department heads.

  39. Briggs

    October 9, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    Patty Boy,

    “Would I vote for Palin” is an unconditional question. It would depend on whom she were running against. Asked your way, it’s impossible to answer.

    How about against Obama, you might ask?

    I might. I do not subscribe to the theory, popular among many of my friends, that “Palin is an idiot.” My evidence for this is that it is extraordinarily difficult to become a governor, and while it’s possible for somebody to be an idiot and be so elected, it is nearly impossible. And I say the same thing for the office of president. She is governor, therefore it is extremely likely she is as dumb as some would like her to be.

    The argument of “idiocy”, you will recall, is ever popular among the enlightened when talking about conservatives. We heard it used against Reagan, against Bush Sr., now against his son, and virtually every other high-ranking conservative. Note that I use the term “idiot” in the sense that it is offered by the enlightened, as “one who is fundamentally stupid” and not “one who makes occasional incorrect decisions.” Thus, because the enlightened are saying Palin is an idiot says more about those who utter such phrases than it does about Palin.

    Now, it is probably true that Obama is more intelligent than Palin. However, Obama frequently makes bad decisions. Palin, so far as we have seen, does not. It is because of this that I think she would be a better leader.

    Take the Ayers controversy. I do not think it is possible, in any way, that Obama actually shares with Ayers, say, the belief about what is the best way to bomb a police station. Ayers is scum, and I was not joking when I say that his reward should have been a rope and not tenure. But, as I say, Obama is not like Ayers.

    However, Obama was comfortable using Ayers and his contacts to further his own career, which tells me that Obama puts himself before all else, before honor.

    Of course, I also have the simple argument that Obama, long and loudly, calls for increasing government control over many areas. Palin argues the opposite.

    These are just some reasons off the top of my head. But again, it is a counterfactual, and so just for fun.

    As to why the republican party did not nominate one of the “brilliant people in their ranks” I can only tell you that nobody called me.

  40. If Palin were to go through a primary election to be the VP nominee, I wonder what the competing Republicans would say about her. Let’s see… smart, intelligent, experienced and qualified. Yeah!?

    Well, if people want to reach a conclusion, they can usually find a way to do so.

  41. I am a Westerner. My profession is natural resource management and
    environmental science. Long before she was nominated for VP, Sarah
    Palin was considered one of the brightest political minds and best
    hopes for sanity in resource management in the West.

    By and large, Easterners don’t have a clue about what is going on in
    the rural West vis a vis forest fires, wildlife management, or
    resource stewardship. They substitute snobbery and envy for
    intelligence and experience.

    Conversely, we Westerners look at the urban East as the nadir of
    civilization and are appalled that a Chicago fixer and Marxist
    insurgent could possibly become President.

    Tell you what Pat. Let’s split the country in two. You can have
    everything east of the Mississippi for your socialist experiment, and
    leave us Westerners out of it. We won’t interfere in your societal
    descent into Hades, if you will kindly refrain from from interfering
    in our management of our own landscapes.

    Note to Joy: my humble apologies. Europe has experienced your own
    catastrophic social experiments, with great suffering and equal
    bravery. If freedom has a birthplace, it is in the green and
    gladdening fields of England, where a stalwart people crafted the root
    philosophies of individual independence. From Robin Hood to Maggie
    Thatcher, you have proved your mettle. Hope our current madness
    doesn’t fatally infect you…

  42. > I am a Westerner. My profession is natural resource management and
    > environmental science. Long before she was nominated for VP, Sarah
    > Palin was considered one of the brightest political minds and best
    > hopes for sanity in resource management in the West.
    >
    > By and large, Easterners don’t have a clue about what is going on in
    > the rural West vis a vis forest fires, wildlife management, or
    > resource stewardship. They substitute snobbery and envy for
    > intelligence and experience.
    >
    > Conversely, we Westerners look at the urban East as the nadir of
    > civilization and are appalled that a Chicago fixer and Marxist
    > insurgent could possibly become President.
    >
    > Tell you what Pat. Let’s split the country in two. You can have
    > everything east of the Mississippi for your socialist experiment, and
    > leave us Westerners out of it. We won’t interfere in your societal
    > descent into Hades, if you will kindly refrain from from interfering
    > in our management of our own landscapes.
    >
    > Note to Joy: my humble apologies. Europe has experienced your own
    > catastrophic social experiments, with great suffering and equal
    > bravery. If freedom has a birthplace, it is in the green and
    > gladdening fields of England, where a stalwart people crafted the root
    > philosophies of individual independence. From Robin Hood to Maggie
    > Thatcher, you have proved your mettle. Hope our current madness
    > doesn’t fatally infect you.
    >

  43. > I am a Westerner. My profession is natural resource management and
    > environmental science. Long before she was nominated for VP, Sarah
    > Palin was considered one of the brightest political minds and best
    > hopes for sanity in resource management in the West.

    > By and large, Easterners don’t have a clue about what is going on in
    > the rural West vis a vis forest fires, wildlife management, or
    > resource stewardship. They substitute snobbery and envy for
    > intelligence and experience.

    > Conversely, we Westerners look at the urban East as the nadir of
    > civilization and are appalled that a Chicago fixer and Marxist
    > insurgent could possibly become President

    > Tell you what Pat. Let’s split the country in two. You can have
    > everything east of the Mississippi for your socialist experiment, and
    > leave us Westerners out of it. We won’t interfere in your societal
    > descent into Hades, if you will kindly refrain from from interfering
    > in our management of our own landscapes.

    > Note to Joy: my humble apologies. Europe has experienced your own
    > catastrophic social experiments, with great suffering and equal
    > bravery. If freedom has a birthplace, it is in the green and
    > gladdening fields of England, where a stalwart people crafted the root
    > philosophies of individual independence. From Robin Hood to Maggie
    > Thatcher, you have proved your mettle. Hope our current madness
    > doesn’t fatally infect you.

  44. JHon 09 Oct 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Apparently, Alaska went through such a process, and Palin defeated the Republican incumbent for Governor, as well as the Democratic candidate. That, plus her performance as governor, speaks well for her abilities. But I do agree, if people want to reach a conclusion, they can find a way to do it. It applies to Palin skeptics as well.

    # Mike Don 09 Oct 2008 at 7:05 pm

    “Tell you what Pat. Let’s split the country in two. You can have
    everything east of the Mississippi for your socialist experiment, and
    leave us Westerners out of it.”

    Are you sure about the Pacific coastal states?

  45. Briggs

    October 10, 2008 at 4:16 am

    Including you, JH?

  46. Bill,

    You seem to be assuming one man/one vote, and aren’t taking into consideration the imaginary Democrats whom Acorn has registered a dozen or so times.

  47. Briggs

    October 10, 2008 at 7:37 am

    Patrick,

    You’re right that I didn’t consider machine politics.

    For instance, in Brooklyn, Democrat machine politics has a firm grip on elections. Same as in Chicago. What makes this dull fact shiny is that the people continuously electing Democrats still blame conservatives for their ills.

  48. Patrick Hadley,

    During the debate, Biden stated that the “US and France had driven Hezbollah out of Lebanon. ” Two weeks ago he told Katie Couric that after the 1929 stock market crash, president Roosevelt went on TV to discuss it with the American people. Last week in the debate, he talked about his regular rendezvous with ordinary people in Wilmington at Katie’s Cafe – a restaurant which the Washington Post reports has been out of business for 20 years. Also in the debate he said that climate change is 100% due to man’s activities.

    Do you feel comfortable with having Joe Biden as VP? Can you imagine what the media would of done to Sarah Palin had she said anything as remotely stupid or dishonest as what Biden says on a daily basis?

    BTW – here are the details of the Obama middle class tax cut.

    “Obama to push for higher Social Security tax….Democrat Barack Obama said Sunday that if elected he will push to increase the amount of income that is taxed to provide monthly Social Security benefits.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21739271/

  49. Briggs,

    Including me? You mean that I am smart and intelligent? I would like to think so. I am definitely not experienced and qualified (I am a naturalized US citizen) to be the President… ha. Evidently, I can see the moon, but not the White House or Russia form my house.

    Yes, including me. What can I say here? I am a statistician… see Chapter 14 in your book!

  50. Mike:
    You are a gentleman, thank you for being patient with me, I feel bad for giving you personally a hard time.

  51. Patrick Henry, if you have ever marked exams you will know that it is very easy to distinguish between the papers of a student who has attended the lectures, read the set books, understood the main principles, but makes some bad errors in the exam; and one who has not been at any of the classes, never opened the set books and has absolutely no understanding of the issues. Palin could not answer the easiest questions, and wrote at the top of her exam paper that she was not going to bother trying to answer any difficult ones, but would instead write down some random remarks that she had learned by heart.

    In England for ten years we had as Tony Blair’s Deputy Prime Minister a guy called John Prescott. He was in his own way every bit as bad as Palin. However nobody bothered about him because, if anything had happened to Blair, Prescott would have only taken over for a short time before Gordon Brown, a proper replacement, would be elected leader. Nobody in Blair’s party had to pretend that Prescott would make a good Prime Minister, everyone knew that he was only their to shore up Blair’s position with the trade unions and the working class wing of the Labour party.

    I cannot believe that any intelligent Republicans really think that Palin would be a good president.

  52. Patrick:
    Gordon Brown a proper replacement? You’re having a giraffe! The public did not vote for him and it seems they wouldn’t have even if they’d had the option.
    So, any intelligent Republican that supports Palin are either really in fact stupid or they’re lying. That’s what you seem to be saying but don’t want to say..
    The example you give about John Prescott does not give your argument any leverage. The two systems function differently they are not comparable and even if they were, Palin and Prescot are different people so there is still no comparison that can shed any sensible light on your Palin problem.
    “Palin could not answer the easiest questions, and wrote at the top of her exam paper that she was not going to bother trying to answer any difficult ones, but would instead write down some random remarks that she had learned by heart.” You’re making things up. You cannot create an elaborate metaphor about someone you don’t like, then invent an imaginary story about them in order to give credibility to your case. It’s still a made-up story!
    You have to realise Patrick that there are intelligent people who support Palin just as there are intelligent people that support Biden. We are all entitled to our own opinion.
    Mine is that you are sexist, the worst sort, that believe that brains and beauty don’t go together. Let’s hope Palin doesn’t dye her hair blonde, your nightmares could get worse.

  53. Sadly, there is a big difference between the interviews done with Sarah Palin and the things that were shown on television. Take her now famous statement about Alaska’s proximity to Russia. What she actually said was that the governor of Alaska had to take a greater interest in foreign relations than most governors in the U.S. because Alaska borders two nations, Russia and Canada, with whom the state must carry on regular activities. She further indicated that a renewal of the cold war with Russia is something no Alaskan could support because of the importance of the relationship Russia has with the state of Alaska.

    That, of course, was left on the cutting room floor. What was shown made her look foolish and resulted in people like Patrick concluding that she is a dangerous fool. You’d think it wouldn’t be necessary to tell people in this day and age not to believe everything they see on television, but apparently it is.

  54. LOOK AT THE TRADESPORTS, YOU BAYESIAN!

    I sent $250 to McCain after he selected Sarah Palin. Love her conservative positions.

    But after the bailout (which McCain endorsed), I tried to get my money back.

    Now I am voting for Barr. And I send him $250. I don’t think he will win, but I think bumping his number up and helping McCain lose is my best option to send a message to the Repukes. Also, that irl, Obamah will not be much different from McCain as Clinton was not from Bush. Heck, I might do better with a constrained Democrat, than a Republican who will do any liberal program to stay in power, because of the stated fear that a Democrat would be worse (when really he just wants to hold the job, not push policies).

    Had McCain gone against the bailout…he could have likely halted miserable economic policy from the Bushies….and he would be riding a wave of populism into office.

  55. Briggs: You’ve created an arbitrage opportunity. You see an 85% chance of McCain winning…so will be willing to take my money at 80%. Put me down for $100,000 that Obama will win. You payout $400,000 if Obama wins. Otherwise, you keep the $100,000.

    Best part is that I can actually hedge the bet on Tradesports which has Obama at 85% to win.

    Riskless! I’m loving it!!!!

  56. Briggs

    October 19, 2008 at 4:50 am

    Many of you won’t see this, but we have Irish Bookmaker who is paying off on all the bets that picked Obama.

    He is paying them now, more than two weeks before the election.

  57. How strange. I hear that £10 on McCain pays £50 if he wins.
    So what happens to those who bet on McCain if he’s already paid out early on Obama winning? Can people sue the book maker or is their some small print that means they have no come back if he pays out early, who knows.
    He’s surely done this for some sort of advantage but I can’t work it out.
    I believe that this news will help the McCain campaign as complacency in the democrat voters may reduce his lead and yet motivate the McCain supporters to vote.

  58. “Long before she was nominated for VP, Sarah Palin was considered one of the brightest political minds and best hopes for sanity in resource management in the West.

    I wish some of the professionals like you would step forward to make those statements to the public. She has been defined by the antics of an actress on a late night comedy show. It’s a shame.

  59. John McCain you will win . You was great hero . You can you helicopter to fight my teacher she say with me about your history . Hope so you will win

  60. I really hope John McCain wins. I hope and pray that when
    people go to the polls on Tuesday and take their hand to OBAMA their heart races, and they start to feel panic and they vote for McCain. I believe that the people who really feel insecure about their vote dont want their decision of OBAMA on their hands…BTW I guess we have to remember how truley stupid most americans are. People don’t use the internet for the free information it provides you, they listen to dumb asses like who are on CNN, and MSNBC… Michelle Obama says she now feels proud to be an American, well if he gets in I will still be thankful I live here, but just a little scared of whats around me!!!

  61. Briggs

    October 28, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Jckcav,

    Still not too late to put down a bet.

  62. Which website are you going to? I have never done that, so I am curious about it and would be willing to do it for fun. Are you going for Obama or McCain?

    I would like to say one more thing about my last entry.
    I think that any JEWISH person that is voting for Obama is
    1. a idiot 2. hypocrite to their own faith and 3. an embarrassment to any other Jewish person and those Jews should take offense to any Jewish person voting for “that man”.
    and count them out of their lives forever.!!!!!!!! I am not Jewish, but I have some friends who are and they are very worried.

  63. Briggs

    October 28, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    jckcav,

    No website. Had my friend Harry put down 20 bucks for me (see above).

  64. Well, that was amusing.

  65. wishcasting zoomie {CUT}. Must do silly things like go to Heartland conference. Learn to look for truth instead of confirmation.

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