The increasingly antiscience Republican candidates

By Phil Plait | August 29, 2011 2:35 pm

A lot of folks on the web are buzzing about Paul Krugman’s NYT OpEd today about the antiscience convictions of the current cohort of Republican candidates running for President of these United States. I find little fault in what Krugman wrote. Each candidate on the right is simply scrambling to be even more antiscience than the next.

Of course, if that "next" is Rick Perry, then I doubt anyone could sprint away from reality more than he does. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool creationist who apparently has no problem narrowing or stepping well over the line with separation of Church and State, and when it comes to denying climate change he also apparently had no problem with simply making things up (Krugman calls his statements "vile", and the Washington Post blog The Fact Checker rated his claims as "whoppers"). Perry’s stance on other big issues is similar.

And he’s far and away the front runner, which leaves me shaking my head.

Where Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum stand is obvious. Newt Gingrich — who claims he’s a fan of science — equivocates when it comes to Intelligent Design and evolution as well as global warming, and was instrumental in defunding the House Office of Technology Assessment in 1995.

Even the candidates people are calling "moderate" are falling over themselves to appease the base when it comes to science and the lack thereof. Mitt Romney tried to eat his cake and have it too about accepting evolution, and even Ron Paul has now distanced himself from evolution.

Which brings up Jon Huntsman, which is where things get truly maddening. He recently said he thinks both evolution and global warming are real. This makes me sad, and scared. Why? Because this statement is considered bold.

How can it be bold to accept reality, to not deny the overwhelming evidence, and to agree with the vast, vast majority of scientists studying the very topics of discussion?

Huntsman wants his party not to be "the antiscience party". But that shouldn’t be bold. That should be common sense.

As it happens, Huntsman is trailing in the polls by a nearly insurmountable distance. That’s certainly not caused by his statement — he’s been behind for a long time — and may not even be correlated directly; as one Republican strategist commented, he may simply be saying things to try to stand out from the crowd.

But if true, think on that: he’s making clear, logical, rational statements in order to separate himself from the other candidates.

And that’s where we are.


Related posts:

Did Rick Perry just admit to violating the U.S. Constitution?
Update: Reality wins for sure in Texas
Case closed: “ClimateGate” was manufactured
Michele Bachmann needs to check her ID

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Piece of mind, Politics

Comments (169)

  1. FoxtrotCharlie

    Republican Party = EPIC FAIL

    Is this a case of the tail wagging the dog? I understand that the electorate shouldn’t be ignored but on the other hand, responsible leaders must also guide the masses.

  2. Carey

    Huntsman is too late. The Republican party is already the “anti-science party”.

    We have ignorant teabaggers to thank for this, once again. Even if a Republican doesn’t win the presidency in 2012 (which I don’t think is likely), the damage these scumbags have done will take decades to reverse.

  3. There is a theory that Huntsman is positioning himself for another run in 2016, hoping that the Republican Party has course corrected after the Tea Party takes them to a very extreme place (and defeat).

  4. Doug

    I’m not sure we can say what Romney’s position is yet. Those quotes are from 2007, and we already know how quickly and completely his position can change.

    From a political point of view, however, what he’s said so far is quite reasonable and appealing to various portions of the Republicans and moderates: religious, but willing and able to separate that from public policy. That’s about as good as you can get from a Republican politician.

  5. Aadam Aziz Ansari

    I am very worried about this country. Unless the economy recovers significantly prior to the next election, which is largely out of Obama and everyone else’s plans, then whoever is the Republican nominee will almost assuredly be elected president. The average voter doesn’t care or pay close attention to the details of a candidate’s platform, and in a crappy economy it will all boil down to anti-incumbency and ‘throw the bums out’.

    Obama would not survive such a political climate in light of his poor approval rating. While he is far from perfect, Obama is vastly superior to whatever dreck the Republicans end up nominating. The state of this country is too fragile, and would not be able to survive four years of Rick Perry. GWB pushed us to the brink of economic irrelevance with unfunded Medicare prescription drug benefits, unfunded wars, and unregulated sub-prime mortgage packaging, and our 45th president would finish the job.

    But at least we wouldn’t have a black Kenyan terrorist Muslim as president, but instead a Real American!

  6. Phil, thanks for this. I wish science was more widely accepted. Unfortunately, even Huntsman says that he won’t DO anything about the climate change he claims to believe in…

  7. Jason

    Huntsman was my governor for a while, which means I live in the reddest state in the nation. It’s kinda depressing knowing my vote doesn’t really count, because no matter who is running for President, everyone else in my state is gonna vote for whoever has the R next to their name. It’s pretty annoying, living in a place where 90% of the people I meet are out of touch with reality, which is why I’m getting the hell out of here as soon as I can. It’s amazing to me how people around here will pick and choose what science they want to believe and what they won’t. Even my father, who teaches high school biology, will praise the merits of evolution every day of his life, but thinks anthropogenic climate change is bumpkiss.

    So yeah, pretty much the only way I’d vote Republican is if Jon Hunstman was the candidate. But I know that’s not going to happen, and I know my vote isn’t going to count in any case. If the modern US voting system wanted a way to disenfranchise people and not have many complaints, I can’t think of a better system to do that than the electoral college.

    Sorry, comment is kinda all over the place, but I have a ton to say on this subject. And hardly any of it is nice.

  8. darjr
  9. JMS

    I need to quote part of a thought on the left’s familiar tale of a conservative war against science:

    “It’s all terribly interesting, but not so much for what it tells you about the right. There are some fascinating and important tensions between science and the right, but they have basically nothing to do with the left’s “war on science” fantasies—these critics have such a poor grasp of the reality of contemporary conservatism they seem genuinely to believe that Michelle Bachmann was serious when she joked to a crowd that last week’s earthquake and hurricane were messages from God about the deficit. It is interesting, rather, for what it tells you about the left and its self-understanding. The “war on science” stuff never moved many voters, but it was a powerful rallying cry for committed liberals, affirming their understanding of themselves as the party of science and of their opponents as an army of ignorance.”

    And really? Using Krugman as an your appeal to a higher authority (debate tactic)? That’s risible. This is a guy who could not be more biased even if he tried and has been so wrong so many times that I’ve lost track. Other people do follow and try to correct his non-sense though.

    You and Krugman may have on thing in common, he never ever mentions or refers back to his howlers of mistakes and contradictions. It’s almost Orwellian the way they never happened.

  10. Mike

    99% of domestic problems, including the budget and its huge deficit, are the product of congress and not the president, regardless of party affiliation. Until and unless congress decides to act rationally regarding:

    1. The budget
    2. The national debt
    3. Science stuff
    .. a. Global Warming
    .. b. Creationism done away with in public education
    .. c. Funding NASA (okay, at least the JWST)
    4. Illegal Aliens
    5. Foreign Aid
    6. United Nations
    7. Trade Policy

    The only place the president has real power is in foreign affairs, and even then he has congressional oversight to deal with.

    Bottom line is this. We need a president who, on average, has viewpoints that will get us over the huge economic mess we are in. And, quite frankly, whether the next president is Republican or Democrat, man or woman, black or white or green polka dots, this person has to be able to get us back on track so that business is willing and able to reinvest in the future.

    All else is chaff.

  11. JMS

    One other thought. The Republican personal religious beliefs doesn’t really affect me. The Democrats quasi-religious beliefs in failed economic and social policies, including Krugman’s, affects us all. A LOT!

  12. Radwaste

    Since when has this President uttered so much as a syllable about financial fundamentals?

    Oh, yeah:

    “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the US Government can not pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America ‘s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that, “the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” – Senator Barack H. Obama, March 2006

    So, did they get it? NO. What is it that you think is better? An honest anti-science nut, easily countered by people who point out it’s how things get built, or a liar pandering to the current audience?

    If you’re making noises about the personal history of Rick Perry, Sarah Palin, etc., HOW IS IT YOU NEVER PAID ANY ATTENTION TO SENATOR OBAMA’S?

  13. BJN

    Huntsman is reality-based. I didn’t vote for him as governor here in Utah, but he was a welcome offset to the off-the-map right-wing idiocy that is frequently the face of Utah’s legislature. Huntsman blocked expansion of nuclear waste dumping in this state and he signed onto the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative with other western governors.

    Frankly, I think he’s running for vice president. He’s setting himself up for the role of balancing an insane GOP candidate with a sane one – making a ticket that’s somewhat more attractive to whatever passes for the “middle” these days.

    Huntsman also has some integrity. Romney was brought in to “save” the Salt Lake City Olympics when we had the “shocking” bribery scandal. The games were a done deal and already coming together nicely when, to nobody’s surprise, the Utah Powers that Be found a white, male, corporate, Mormon to run the show and use to leverage his political career. Romney’s a pandering political slut.

  14. Ross Cunniff

    @JMS #9 – really? Krugman *never* analyzes his own mistakes? Sez who? I find that assertion remarkable. given that it is so easy to disprove. Have you even *read* Krugman?

    The thing I appreciate about Krugman is that he includes actual data to support his punditry, and gives testable predictions (rather like true science, in fact!)

  15. GsLady

    I know this is going to cause a stir, and that’s why up until know I have read, but never posted. I know I’m going to get jumped on so this will probably be my first and last post.

    First I just need to say, Thanks for a great blog Phil!!!

    I am a Christian and I do believe in God, but I’m open to the theory of evolution, call me crazy. I believe that science should be taught in school and religion should be taught in a place of worship. I believe that there should be a separation of church and state and that candidates shouldn’t pander to the “Christians” in order to get votes. What I find supremely hard to believe is that politician are still saying that global warming is a myth. I for one don’t think they really believe it, I think that they are afraid to speak their mind for fear of losing votes and/or campaign funding. It is a shame and they should be ashamed of themselves!!
    As a country we have landed ourselves in a situation that at least in my oppinion religion can’t fix. We can pray all day long to whatever deity we believe in and in the end we have to stand up and fix this problem ourselves. I don’t know how to do it, i’m a simple everyday person not a politician or an economist or scientist. I do know that replacing real science with creationism isn’t the answer. I also don’t believe, and correct me if i’m wrong (I know you all will), that any of the politicians that are running for election right no have a clue as to how to get are country out of the mess we are in. What are we as a nation supposed to do? How do we know who is the best choice when they all seem to be willing to stretch the truth or down-right lie to get our vote?

  16. Robin Byron

    An appropriate “Quote of the Day”, I believe:

    “At least two-thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity: idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religous or political ideas.” – Aldous Huxley

  17. andy

    It’s pretty sad to see America’s “democracy” degenerating further and further into monkey poo-flinging by the day. Maybe it would be a good idea if you people stopped trying to impose it on other countries (and dragging the rest of the Western world along in these futile endeavours) and took a break to try and re-learn what a functioning democracy looks like. Might help with the little debt problem to stop throwing all your money at these military campaigns as well.

  18. Dan

    Willful ignorance is a key requirement for Republican primary candidates. They need it to appeal to the yahoos who vote in their party’s primaries (only 35% of Iowa Republican primary voters believe in evolution).

    Once there’s a nominee and the party has to get votes from a wider electorate, not just a small circle of ignoramuses, the candidate typically veers toward the center (remember GW Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” and his father’s “thousand points of light.”) That doesn’t mean they’ll necessarily support real science once they’re in office (look at GW Bush’s banning of embryonic stem cell research), but it doesn’t mean they’ll always completely cave in to the religious right. Perry, for instance, decided as governor to mandate HPV vaccinations, which greatly angered the right-wing base that had elected him.

  19. It’s not a bad thing if Republicans are anti-science – it’s a good thing. The loonier they are, the less chance they have to challenge Obama.

    I would be worried if Huntsman got the nomination. I pray god that Bachmann gets it.

  20. Ian

    What’s ironic to me is that Perry, who was re-elected to office with 55% of the vote, thinks the supermajority of scientists that believe in manmade climate change are wrong.

    How is it that a tiny fraction of scientists have such an impact on his thinking, yet he can’t agree with the 45% of Texans who think he isn’t fit for office?

  21. JMS

    Whenever a class of intellectuals have taken it upon themselves to tell the unruly ignorant masses what to do, the result has been a soulless tyranny; the blood sisters of tyrannical theocracies. From Pythagoras to Plato/Socrates (intellectual underpinning of fascism) to Lenin and Mao. They all knew what was good for you and how to go about it. So what if a few liberties got trampled in the process?

    That’s the problem with people who are so sure of their superior intelligence and the deficiencies of “the other”.

  22. Doug Little

    JMS

    these critics have such a poor grasp of the reality of contemporary conservatism they seem genuinely to believe that Michelle Bachmann was serious when she joked to a crowd that last week’s earthquake and hurricane were messages from God about the deficit.

    That is the oldest excuse in the book, someone says something stupid, they are called on it and all of a sudden it was a joke. I don’t think that the people listing were in on that joke, or that the Republican’s understand humor at all. After all they have been caught quoting from the onion like it’s a legitimate new agency more than once.

  23. QuietDesperation

    Sweet Smoking Bouncing Jesus, we need a new Rational Party, one that’s “reality based” on *all* fronts, from religion to economics.

    Leave the Republican Party to the illiterates and the Democratic Party to the innumerates. Stick a fork in both of them. They are done.

    Krugman is often a fool (e.g. he’s a proud member of the broken window cult), but he is correct on this topic.

    @andy: Those words are better directed at the bureaucrats in Brussels.

  24. Bryan D

    It’s really just the sad state of modern politics that breed this type of thing. When only 10% of the frothing at the mouth wing of the party votes in the primary what can we expect?

  25. Mike

    I think the Republicans will only start listening when a few big American companies announce that the anti-science agenda of the right means that it is no longer appropriate for them to invest in basic R and D in the United States and that they will be switching their investment abroad.

    But even that won’t get through to the likes of Bachmann and her cronies.

    But whatever happens a lot of scientists and engineers are going to be out of work in the US and the American economy is going to suffer because of it.

  26. Myk

    Will all you science-loving, rational Americans get off your butts and join the Republican party? You don’t have to vote for them, but you can affect the nominations that way.

    Think about it for a moment. Do you really care that much about the Democrat nominee? You’ll vote for whoever gets up. Why not use your preselection vote for something good?

  27. Orlando

    @21. QuietDesperation:

    “@andy: Those words are better directed at the bureaucrats in Brussels.”

    I think diverting attention and tu quoque wouldn’t work to solve US (or EU) shortcomings in this case. Maybe both sides of The Pond should address similar problems. Excessive military spending is not an European one, by the way.

  28. reidh

    They aren’t Anti-science you idiot(s) (in the strictest original sense of the word), they just aren’t purblind-scientobsessive. Like You. Life is not all about science. But i will tell you, a man planning to marry another man, and expecting to raise a family, that is not only anti-science its anti-darwinian.

  29. JonMcP

    Ron Paul 2012!!!

    And… shocked at how many supposedly intelligent people turn their brains off when it comes to our current, failed, presidency.

  30. Tom

    What are the major “pro-science” accomplishments of President Obama? Ending the Constellation program? Failing to fund the Webb Space Telescope? Lending millions to Evergreen Solar? With a friend of science like him, who needs to be scared of Rick Perry?

    Bottom line: They ALL lie. At least the Republicans don’t get your hopes up before screwing you over.

  31. Nentuaby

    Reidh, “is vs. ought” is not even Philosophy 101. It is Grade School.

  32. Steve

    The biggest problem is that you’re quoting Paul Krugman, who not only contradicts all logic but also manages to contradict himself.

    Anyway none of it will matter what any candidate believes, because the US government is bloated and starting to eat itself alive. Thanks to everyone who voted for statism.

  33. Steve

    Something else to consider is that Obama also claims to believe in the myth of a god.

    So I guess Perry’s belief is bogus, but Obama’s is valid then? Riiiiight.

    A little more balance is needed here Dr. Plait.

  34. Gunnar Larsson

    @Steve: Because ..? Just saying so doesn’t make it true.

  35. Daffy

    JMS, you are a perfect example of why this country is going to the dogs—you find fault in the “other” party, while excusing the faults of your own. Things will get better when the voting population refuses to accept malfeasance from either party. They won’t get better one moment sooner. Why would they?

  36. Steve

    To many of you people need to quit sucking on the MSNBC teet. I am a tea party member, I own gun’s believe in God. I also love astronomy, I own 3 scopes reading “The 4% Universe” and “the Little Book of String Theory”, subscribe to “Sky and Telescope” and “Astronomy” magazine. Attending a local collage to learn more about the cosmos.
    Also very interested in astrophotography.
    I have also read the Constitution several times, I think their are some of you that should read it for yourselves and not have the “media”, including this website interpret it for you.

  37. Das Boese

    @Tom

    The Constellation program was a bad joke, the personal quest of former NASA administrator Griffin to write himself into the history books as Von Braun’s heir, and the quest of Congress to preserve the obsolete, insanely expensive Shuttle infrastructure. An attempt to redo “Apollo on steroids”(M. Griffin) in a day and age where NASA doesn’t have unlimited money and there is no compelling reason to land people on the moon. Meanwhile the things that would truly revolutionize spaceflight -reusable spacecraft, advanced propulsion and a commercial market for crew and cargo launch- were neglected.

    Your congress came up with the idea to cancel JWST to “set an example”, spearheaded by the tea party.

  38. David

    I don’t see how Romney is any different than Obama (and his NIH appointee, Francis Collins)

  39. PeteC

    @JMS:

    As an interested observer of US politics, I ahve to say Michelle Bachmann makes it very hard to understand exactly what she stands for. Seriously. If a lot of what she says is just a joke and she doesn’t mean it really, and some of the words she uses – like “submit” – have personal meanings to her that do not actually correspond with either common useage or the dictionary, then how on earth can you tell what her policies actually are? Does she want to immediately balance the budget, or is that a joke, because it would be economic suicide to try it in one year? Or does “balance”, in her vocabulary, actually mean “make one side much bigger than the other and push it away from the zero point”, just like “submit” means “mutual respect and equality”?

    @Steve: I think the problem with your current Republicans/Tea Party people is that you link all these issues. Since when was Christianity, Economic Conservatism and Gun Ownership all the same thing? Christ didn’t whip out a pair of Uzi’s when the soldiers came to arrest him. Homosexual marriage has little to do with fiscal responsibility. Since when did a person who believes in individual liberty, even when it comes to private matters and a sex life, who believes in liberty in belief (not just it’s OK, you can be Baptist *or* Evangelical!), fiscal responsibility and lack of paperwork loopholes to redistribute wealth from one class to another become a damn socialist commie traitor?

  40. bobthelonelycentrist

    Yeah, Romney doesn’t seem to be so off-base, and I’ll bet if you asked Obama that question he’d say almost exactly the same thing.

    My mom was a vocal and active opponent of creationists, and kept their dreck out of my little school district in south Louisiana…and her position is exactly Romney’s. I know a lot of you would call her names and evict her from the “skeptical movement” for not being an atheist, but my friends and I got taught the truth because of her.

    Romney doesn’t scare me like Perry does, and I don’t think Perry’s electable once his views are widely known (currently average people aren’t really paying much attention). He’s got to get all the Republicans and some independents, and moderate conservatives like me are not going to vote for him. I wish Huntsman had a chance. I’m 8 steps to the right of Obama and 7 steps to the left of Perry.

  41. bobthelonelycentrist

    @Steve: I think the problem with your current Republicans/Tea Party people is that you link all these issues. Since when was Christianity, Economic Conservatism and Gun Ownership all the same thing? Christ didn’t whip out a pair of Uzi’s when the soldiers came to arrest him. Homosexual marriage has little to do with fiscal responsibility. Since when did a person who believes in individual liberty, even when it comes to private matters and a sex life, who believes in liberty in belief (not just it’s OK, you can be Baptist *or* Evangelical!), fiscal responsibility and lack of paperwork loopholes to redistribute wealth from one class to another become a damn socialist commie traitor?

    Amen! My problem is that I don’t link them, so I don’t fit in either party. I’m a gay fiscal conservative gun-owning science geek who thinks the rich could pay more taxes, and the govt should stop regulating small businesses to death. Just who the hell am I supposed to vote for?

  42. Rich

    @ 29 Steve=

    I don’t remember seeing anything in Phil’s post or the Krugman column about their belief in god, but rather Perry’s willful ignorance of scientific principles, so do try to stay on point.

    As to passing judgement on this administration’s decisions regarding scientific programs, Phil has commented extensively on the programs mentioned.

    To Steve’s appeal to Dr. Plait for balance, I take the opportunity to remind Steve that this is Dr. Plait’s blog and, as he’s stated himself more time than I can count, he is entitled to say whatever the hell he wants. If you don’t like it, turn your dial to the right.

  43. Nobody

    It saddens me, as a distant neighbour across the Pacific, to see a nation born from the Enlightenment like the United States, that seems to either be led by ignoramuses and idiots, or led by people of intelligence who are then rejected, shunned and mistrusted by the people, and promptly thrown out of power.

    And it frightens (and sickens) me that this nation is still the most powerful in the world.

  44. QuietDesperation

    Maybe both sides of The Pond should address similar problems.

    That was sort of my point. Glass houses and all that. The hypocrisy from EU critics is more than a little old and rarely constructive.

    Excessive military spending is not an European one, by the way.

    Yeah, I know. Wonder why that is.

  45. QuietDesperation

    @reidh

    Although a big skeptic and very pro-science, I do agree with you on one level: there’s more issues at stake than just science. And I’ve said in the past that I work with people who have “Chief Scientist” and similar things as their titles. Brilliant folks… in science. Some of them start talking politics, and I realize I’d personally lead the rebel army against them should they ever get into power. ;-)

    But the GOP is so over the top anti-science it boggles the mind. The conservatives of the Goldwater and previous eras used to seek out academia to support their economic theories (and found it in many cases) and loved science and advocated the USA always take a lead position in the sciences. It’s the reason some use the term “neo-conservative” to differentiate old school from new school.

    This mixing of religion and politics has been absolutely toxic.

  46. Jess Tauber

    Glory, Glory Hallelujah

    It had to come one day. Time to have an all-science world government. Before ideologues kill us all. Dang- sometimes Democracy can be its own worst enemy. It needs a nap.

  47. riverlaw

    I lean conservative in many ways and absolutely hate the direction the party moved in.

    petec – i liked your comment.

    Steve what is this website interpreting for me? It does not seem to be jumping to any crazy conclusions based on the facts it presents.

  48. Tom

    Phil…………..it’s even worse than Krugman thinks. Have you heard of the New Apostolic Reformation: http://www.alternet.org/teaparty/152034/meet_the_christian_dominionist_%27prayer_warriors%27_who_have_chosen_rick_perry_as_their_vehicle_to_power/

    Both Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann have strong ties to the ‘Dominionist,’ ‘Christian Reconstructionist’ and “New Apostolic Reformation’ movements. It’s not just the US economy that will be destroyed, the Constitution is in danger!

  49. OtherRob

    @QD, Goldwater was just before my time (I’m 44) and I need to read more about him, but what little I do know of him makes me think that I would agree with a lot of what he stood for.

  50. Joe

    Republicans are the anti-science party and the Democrats are the anti-economics party. Since the science of economics is all but ignored in this blog (justifiably so) and everywhere else in academia, I feel it needs to be said that liberal fiscal policy is just as ignorant and denialist as right wing fundamentalism.

  51. bobthelonelycentrist

    “Time to have an all-science world government. ” Here you go:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technocracy_Incorporated

  52. Matt

    @Joe

    I thought liberal economic theory more closely follows the work of John Keynes, while conservative economic theory more closely follows the work of Adam Smith. I was under the impression that nobody except free-market purists in the academic world seriously believes Smith to be accurate any more. You may note the hundreds of years of advancement between Smith and Keynes, and also the fact that we live in a neo-Kenseyen economy complete with huge debts and government stimulus programs.

  53. Matt

    @ bobthelonelycentrist

    Fascinating. You might also recognize this economic system as “Communism.”

  54. Joe

    @Matt

    No actually among economists Keynes is generally regarded to be incorrect and outdated. If you regard the chairmen of the Federal Reserve as the authority and the majority on modern economic theory then… well.. just imagine if Jenny McCarthy became President of the FDA and you’ll get the picture.

  55. Jeffersonian

    It’s just smart for Hunstman not to spend money this early (when average Joe is paying no attention anyway). A year from now he’ll be a frontrunner. Right now he can sit back and watch the others loony-fy the atmosphere at a cost of millions.

    While I wouldn’t vote for him, I appreciate the fact that he is raising one kid Hindu, promoted same-sex legal unions (marriage) in one of the most socially backward states (UT), and is a huge backer of education and technology.

    If it ends up being Obama v. Huntman, it’ll be an entirely different race than was Obama vs. cantankerous-outdated-old-grump and token-woman-who-tuned-out-clieless

  56. Messier Tidy Upper

    For Whatever (little) It’s Worth, this Aussie observer of US politics thinks the topic does matter because the United States is indeed as (#37.) Nobody noted is still the most powerful and in some ways most important nation in the world.

    So what would a Presidency by candidate X mean?

    From all I’ve heard and read, my impression is that :

    An Obama presidency (term II) – which I still think is the most likely outcome for 2012 – would mean more of the same. Congress would still hate and oppose him at every term, he’d likely still struggle to get anything done. Would Obama in his second term reverse the cancellation of the JWST? Would he improve the state of science & science education in the USA? Would Obama introduce cap’n’trade or other strong action s against Human Caused Global Overheating? I doubt it – he’s already abandoned the idea from what I gather. Obama believes in Anthropogenic Global Warming and wants to act maybe but certainly seems unlikely to do so. Will the nation change its course much for the better? Not sure, frankly dubious – it would be a defeat for the far right uber-Christian agenda however and wouldn’t actively help the cuases of Creationism or Climatological Contararianism. It’d mean status quo or slight improvement at best.

    (BTW. I feel extremely let down and betrayed by Obama. I don’t think he’s done a good job and I don’t think he really deserves another go.)

    A Mitt Romney Presidency would be something I (& I suspect most of the world & US population) could happily live with I think He’s as I understand it a relatively moderate pragamatic Republican. A politician – aren’t they all & there’s our problem – but a not overly objectionable one. I’m not a fan and I don’t think he’s likely to go down as a great president but I don’t think his presidency would be a disaster either.

    Would Romney act to improve things for science, education and fighting Global Warming? Probably about as much as Obama would, maybe a smidgin less – or more. Don’t say this too loudly but I think in his core Mitt Romney largely accepts scientific reality and doesn’t view, say, AGW with mocking contempt like many other Republicans. What would be good would be the polarisation brought about by Obama’s 08 victory and by the (hopefully brief) rise of the Tea Party would probably diminish.

    Obama has become – right or wrong – a divisive hate figure. Barack Hussein** Obama doesn’t seem to represent but rather seems to antagonise a large section of the US populace. Losing Obama could be a good circuit breaker and a chance for the furious ones to calm down a little. the Tea party, I think is largelyunited by hatred of Obama above all else. Lose Obama and they lose their focus and may well fracture and fade away. Just as it took Nixon to go to China it could take a Republican to pull Congress and the further rightwards mobs back in line and unite the country a lot more than it has been. That’s what I hope for.

    Yeah, it’s not much I know. This is an election to keep your expectations low.

    My first preference would be for a Huntsman presidency – but, realistically, that ain’t going to happen. Mitt Romney would be my second preference – Obama my third.

    Worst concern – but also least likely by a long way would be a presidency by Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann or very much least plausible Sarah Palin. (Is she officially too late to join the running yet?) These Tea party candidates are scary, have said some bizarre things, seem to hold extreme beliefs and it would be exceedingly worrying for the future if they were to take control of the USA. But I really don’t think that will happen. I think the majority of the US population is a lot more reasonable and intelligent than their politicians make them look.

    I think the fringe candidates who say the most extreme things tend as a political rule to get the most attenetion – but the least votes. The reverse tends to happen for the boring compromised, mainstream pragmatic politicians.

    Last time around y’all were terrified by Huckabee and Sarah Palin – McCain -who I’ll never forget or forgive for his “Planetariums = overhead projectors” gaffe – won.

    Last time the US did elect a man with some extreme and dubious views* based only a shallow, meaningless slogans – Obama. This time I think you won’t repeat that mistake.

    I expect and will predict that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination and Obama will probably beat him to win a second term or perhaps Romney will win and things may get better for y’all from there.

    It’s no exactly an inspiring 2012 presidential field, its pretty miserable and depressing really but then that’s the swamp of politics ain’t it? :-(

    —–

    * Look up Pastor Jeremiah Wright & Obama’s leftwing terrorist connections plus his derisive comments of “bitter people clinging to God and their guns” that Obama said of a sizeable chunk of Americans. I’m stillamazed he won last time and Hilary Clinton isn’t president now.

    ** Why didn’t Obama do the wise thing and change that politically awful middle name of his? I don’tthink Obama is Muslim or foreign born – he’s clearly not. But I don’t understand why he didn’t do more to disassociate himself with and be a harsher critic of Islam given the current global war of Western civilisation against Jihadist barbarism.

  57. Bruce

    Perry doesn’t believe in global warming? He’s got my vote! We need someone in the White House who doesn’t believe in that politically motivated non-science.

  58. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ Bruce : Neither does Michelle Bachmann – or any of the Republican candidates except Huntsman. You have all of them to choose from if that’s your main criterion. But if that *is* your main criterion then I consider that pretty sad and think you’re totally wrong. :-(

    The science is clear – Anthropogenic Global Warming or as I call it Human Caused Global Overheating is real. That the politicians are still arguing over reality means that we have all lost the politico-cultural battle so far. :-(

    Mind you, I don’t think even the politicians like Obama who do say they believe in AGW are actually likely to act against it. :-(

    *****

    Another factor to keep in mind :

    Even if Bachman or Palin or Perry won they’d still be limited by the Constitition and by all the various checks and balances of the US political system wouldn’t they? How much harm could they really do?

    (BTW. I don’t know and am asking there – NOT a rhetorical question.)

    In a past discussion here a long time ago now some very articulate and intelligent commentors convinced me that the US President is actually a lot less powerful and less able to make whatever he (or she) wants happen than most folks think.

    That’s been true of Obama and will remain true for Perry, Bachmann or Palin. So if they do get in, it’ll probably just be their turn to disappoint and disillusion their supporters and political base.

    So while a dreadful outcome in some ways, an improbable victory to one of the Perry-Bachmann-Palin trio may not be as nightmarish as feared.

  59. tacitus

    My main problem with Huntsman is that when it comes to economic policy, his stated positions make him more right wing than any Republican president in the last 50 years, at least. He is not a moderate by any stretch of the imagination, and it’s only by virtue of the fact that almost the entire Republican field is even more insanely right wing that he is that he is able to appear to be at all reasonable. Along with the rest of the field, he says that the deficit needs to be solved by spending cuts alone — a position that’s almost as nutty as the anti-science positions his colleague take.

    My fear is that in 2016, he will be cast as the “reasonable” guy when he’s anything but, and that we will end up with someone who, in reality, will govern way to the right of Reagan, and even Bush II.

    But I doubt such a scenario will happen. There are other heavy hitters who are holding off on their presidential bids until 2016 — and I doubt that Huntsman will be in this long enough to become the heir apparent like Romney did last time. But then, I see no real chance of a moderate winning the Republican nomination either, since the Tea Party voters aren’t likely to give up that easily. They aren’t going home soon. It will all then depend on who the Democrats field — and who knows who that will entail — Hilary Clinton, perhaps?

  60. Messier Tidy Upper

    To clarify by :

    Last time the US did elect a man with some extreme and dubious views* based only a shallow, meaningless slogans – Obama. This time I think you won’t repeat that mistake.

    I meant the mistake of electing another unknown extremist in 2012 rather than the (different) mistake of re-electing Obama.

    I think Obama is likely to get re-elected in 2012 despite his sometimes extreme views and positions. This is because he’s now a known quantity and will benefit from the “stability in challenging times” factor. Plus again, the weakness, riskiness and lack of enthusiasm over the alternative candidates.

    I gather its a gloomy political truism that politicians generally lose elections rather than win them and incumbency is almost always a huge political advantage. For Obama to lose in 2012 either the Republicans will have to do something very extraordinary to win over the majority (can’t see it happening) – or Obama would have to do something exceptionally stupid to *really* alienate the majority. If I were a betting man (which I’m not) my money would be on Obama winning re-election and he’s probably a near unbackable favourite for that.

    I think the different mistake of electing someone new from the opposite end of the US political spectrum (Obama being far Left of the US majority, Perry-Bachmann-Palin to the far right of that majority) is far less likely to be made.

  61. Draa

    You only have to look at what Radwaste and JMS says in this thread to see how screwed we all are. These people live in their own little world where reality NEVER comes into play. We’ve watched Republicans destroy this country for nearly 5 deacades. Ever since Tricky Dick co-opted the religous right. We are doomed because of their incompetence and stupidity.

  62. Justin

    It’s a condemnation of our species that people who wish to run a country (and they’re always the people who shouldn’t be allowed to) cater to the lowest common denominators, the most stupid, the most hateful, the most reactionary, the most angry, the most loud. Being an Englander, and living in Merry Olde England, when it comes to politicians, and political parties (especially the Conservatives) we don’t have to suffer the same sort of nonsense as our American brethren, our political parties cater for the wealthiest people in our society and the stupid, mainly poor, masses vote for the political party endorsed by the, horrendous, tabloid, Rupert Murdoch rag, The Sun. Religion, Anti-Science, doesn’t play a part in English/British politics, if Prime Minister David Cameron, or any party leader running for election, started making grand statements about God/Jesus or the fact that evolutionary theory isn’t relevant and that Biblical/Babylonian Creation Myth is a better working framework to explain life on Earth, he’d be laughed at so much by our vicious media that he’d quickly be replaced as party leader. The only good thing about being an Englander, in England, compared to being an American, in America, is that belief in fictional characters, and adventures, in a work of fiction is considered at best eccentric and at its worst insane.

    It makes me angry as a slightly intelligent individual that the most influential and powerful nation on Earth can have as its leader a religious fanatic, and one who denies science. Having George W Bush as President was not only a terrible time for the U.S. of A but also for Iraq and Afghanistan, repercussions of the last governments foreign policy still causing unimaginable problems in both these nations that already enjoyed (sic) problems without the interference from wealthier, supposedly happier, Western nations. But, and this is the important thing in all this, if the voting public, of which I would assume once again will be a small number of the actual voting public, vote the Republicans back into government, and I’m guessing they will, after all if we Englanders have to enjoy (sic) an evil Tory government it’s only fair that America should suffer an evil Republican government, (and yes I truly do believe that the Conservative Party of the United Kingdom, which isn’t the least bit united at all, and the Republican Party of the United States of America really are evil, and I’m sure the track record of both parties speaks for itself) then like here in England, the problems America will face in the coming years will be the fault of the people who voted the people into power and not the fault of the people wishing to be in power.

    Unfortunately, for anyone, with the slightest bit of intelligence, living in the 21st Century is a constant embarrassment, we can see that the insane really are running the asylum. I’m sure President Obama would love to affect change in the U.S. of A, but unfortunately due to the current economic climate, and because of the appalling state the last government left the country/World in, the man, and his government have their hands firmly tied and are struggling to over turn the policies of a President, and government, who were mainly akin to white trash redneck scum. How can anyone expect President Obama to affect change, improve a nation, when a huge population of the nation are horrified that their President isn’t a poorly educated, dumb ass white man?

  63. OtherRob

    @MTU, one factor that I don’t think you’re considering is the state of the economy. If the U.S. economy is still as rough during the 2012 elections as it is now, rightly or wrongly, President Obama will get a lot of the blame. And in such circumstances it is quite conceivable that he could lose the election regardless of who the Republicans nominate.

  64. andy

    The hypocrisy from EU critics is more than a little old and rarely constructive.

    Sure the EU has its problems (and no-one will deny that), the degeneracy into a situation so polarised none of the political parties can do anything other than screaming at each other is not one of them. Nor is massively-disproportionate military spending. Just because there are problems elsewhere doesn’t mean that we can’t point out problems in America – after all this was a post about US politics not EU politics. Don’t know what planet you’re on if you expect that the world’s largest economic and military power (though for how much longer?) threatening to elect either end-times religious nutters or those who pander to the end-times religious nutters to the highest office every few years is not going to get comment from the rest of the world?

    Oh and just to point out, I’m not in the EU, thank heavens.

  65. Orozco

    @Messier Tidy Upper (#61)
    For your question about the powers and limits of the US president, here it is in a nutshell:

    Congress, made up of two parts (the House of Representatives and the Senate) have the power to write laws. One part writes a law, then the other part has to pass a version of the same law, then they have to merge the two versions together.

    The main power of the president is to approve or veto laws.

    The Supreme Court can remove laws that violate the Constitution. That’s it. Also, in order for them to act, they must be presented with a trial based on that law. In order for a trial to actually reach them, it has to have been tried in a U.S. Circuit court, then appealed to Federal Appeals court, then appealed again, at which point the Supreme Court can choose to hear it (or not). (somebody correct me if I got that chain of appeals wrong – it’s been a while since I looked it up last and it’s getting to late tonight :)

    So, I think this partly answers the question of why Obama’s been less effective than some of us would like – the Republicans have a strong majority in the House of Representatives and the Democrats have the Senate, so it’s essentially impossible for any major policy that requires new laws to happen. This has been the case since the elections last November.

    A second major factor, I think, is money. We had a budget surplus before Bush’s tax cuts, wars, and some monumentally stupid investment practices caught up with us. Obama came into office as right as the economy was tanking. I think a lot of his grand plans got sidelined by the fact that they would have been expensive, and we simply can’t afford them.

    Also, a minor point in your #59 comment: Sarah Palin wasn’t running for president. She was running as McCain’s vice president, so she didn’t “lose” to him. Last time around we were “terrified” because she’s a nutjob and McCain’s old – if for whatever reason he was unable to serve, she would have become the president.

  66. DrFlimmer

    “There are only two things that are infinite: The universe and human stupidity. But I am not so sure about the universe.” – Albert Einstein

    Oh yeah, and Hurricane Irene was a message of God. For sure!

  67. Lawrence

    I do sometimes consider myself a Republican, but the main party has gotten so off-base from its previous, more rational & moderate policies, to adopting nothing more than the most far right-wing ideology and contrarian viewpoints (regardless of whether or not they supported such positions in the past – quite a number of the Health Care initiatives were originally Republican ideas – but now that Democrats present them, they are suddenly horrible).

    Their tactics may win elections (from time to time), especially local ones, but as the demographics of the country change, it will become increasingly difficult for them to garner the votes of minorities and women, since they have to become so radical to appeal to their own diminished base, that they will be unelectable by the general public.

    I anticipate that Perry/Bachmann/Huntsman & even Romney, will have to stake out such extreme right wing positions to get through the primaries (where the Tea Party will dominate, due to their energy & relative numbers, given the small pool that usually turns out to vote in the primaries) that whomever gets the nomination will be completely unelectable.

    Of course, I think that’s good news for the rest of us, but horrible news for the state of politics in this country.

  68. PeteC

    I keep hearing that Obama is from the far left of the American political spectrum, that his policies have all been very far left, etc, etc, but I haven’t actually seen that many far left policies. Can someone from the US please give me a few examples of these extreme far left policies?

    I know “left” means something different in the US to the rest of the world – heck, it sometimes seems like “communist” in the US doesn’t mean “believes in the principles and theory laid out in Das Kapital by Karl Marx” but means “isn’t an Evangelical Christian” or even “believes that those who earn billions a year should pay some taxes, possibly even at the rate almost as high as those who earn tens of thousands”.

    To non-US eyes Obama has seemed quite center-right; he maintained and extended the wars in the Middle East, the health care plan written by congress that he signed seems to be a huge giveaway to the health care companies and is heavily modelled on existing health care systems in republican states and he continued the Bush economic policy of bailouts of large banking organisations and maintaining tax breaks for the top earners.

  69. tacitus

    @Messier Tidy Upper

    Obama being far Left of the US majority

    Obama? Far left? Totally and utterly absurd.

    Foreign policy-wise, he’s continued two Republican wars and gotten involved in a third. Security-wise, he’s the same, if not worse than Bush. Economically he’s cut taxes sharply, and in the debt negotiations offered up by far the largest spending cuts any President or Democratic leader has ever done even before negotiations began (it wasn’t his fault it was rejected).

    He pushed through a Republican-created healthcare plan when real liberal, and better and proven single payer alternatives were on offer. TARP was Bush, and the stimulus package was almost half tax-cuts which no left-wing politician thought was a good idea. The stimulus itself is a classic, standard Keynesian response to a severe recession — i.e. not very left wing either. Real liberals wanted a much bigger spending bill.

    Sure he ended DADT — big whoop, since a majority of Americans already support that. But in spite of all the dumb fearmongering he hasn’t even talked about gun control (hint: Republicans already won that battle years ago.)

    In fact, there isn’t a single “far left” policy that President Obama has done — nothing, even, that is to the left of what perhaps a third or more Americans would agree with, and given that there are not that many liberals in the US to start with, that make it hard to even consider him a classic liberal, let alone far left.

  70. What’s scary is that one of these days, an extremist like Rick Perry will get elected into the Oval Office.

  71. litg

    Hey guys and gals, everyone posting here should read this:

    http://youarenotsosmart.com/2011/06/10/the-backfire-effect/

    To summarize, anyone caring enough about the topic to post here likely also cares enough that arguing against them, whether backed up with facts and figures or not, will only serve to reinforce their existing belief further. It’s a self-preservation of ego thing. Humans can’t help it. It’s written in the biology.

    So all the back and forth bickering is just a colossal waste of time.

  72. The trouble is that Krugman is a fool in a far, far more dangerous way. He is the genius who gave us the housing bubble and is one of the Keynsian twerps behind this fiasco:

    http://blog.mises.org/10153/krugman-did-cause-the-housing-bubble/

    As regards the anti-science stance of some of these republican candidates – I do have to ask: “So what?” Eight years into the Bush presidency, Mario Cappechi got the Nobel Prize for his work on embryonic stem cells. Sarah Palin’s fantastic stupidity on fruit flies has just provided some comic relief for my colleagues in FlyBase. Nothing much to worry about.

    I simply cannot understand the way that Americans seem to think that their country is permanently one election away from civil war or tyranny.

  73. On the subject of anti-Science, here’s a golden oldie:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2203120/

  74. Just how are you defining “science”? And how are you defining “evolution”?

    Do you realize/ understand that science does NOT have a separation of church and state?

  75. Steve Metzler

    #70 tacitus:

    He pushed through a Republican-created healthcare plan when real liberal, and better and proven single payer alternatives were on offer.

    What a lot of people seem to forget is that the POTUS != government. The president can help to shape policy, and has veto power, but in the end is largely at the mercy of both houses regarding what new legislation can be enacted. I’m quite sure that Obama would have loved to push through a single payer health care system; the kind that has proven very successful for a large part of the world. But if you will recall, this intention was squashed by the Republicans, bowing to pressure from intense lobbying by the insurance companies.

    So, what we got in the end was no where near what was originally put on the table. It was extremely watered down by the Republicans. “Republican-created healthcare plan”?! How ironic that you would perceive it that way. More like Republican-decimated.

  76. Lawrence

    Many of the aspects of the new Health Care law were originally Republican ideas – but somehow they became “socialist” ideas when proposed by Democrats….go figure.

  77. Theron

    JMS/Steve — ah, the Krugman hate. Krugman has consistently demonstrated, quite correctly, the failures of the Washington consensus, particularly the Republican version of same (though he is hardly kind to its Democratic proponents). His predictive power is pretty good, actually, and that’s why the right hates him so. (Look up “Krugman most accurate.”) If he’s right, then absolutely everything the right believes about economics is wrong. And he’s right a whole lot more often than, say, Rick “there’s some gaps in that theory” Perry.

  78. Newt does not equivocate. However the theory of evolution is all about equivocation.

    As for health-care- WOW- we have something that does not deal with health nor care

  79. Chuuuk

    Why don’t you keep the politics OUT of an otherwise interesting website?!

  80. OtherRob

    @Chuuuk: It’s Phil’s blog and he can discuss whatever her wants. I don’t always agree with his politics, but I would never tell him what he can or cannot write here.

  81. mike burkhart

    Your concern is valid but your blameing the worng people.Obama is the one responable for this,whene he came into office the Gop was on the ropes and was dieing . But thanks to Obamas policys the Tea party formed and is growing stronger and has revived the Gop .Now for Obama suporters who will blast me let me say this :The S.S. Obama has hit the iceburg and is going down ,you can either get in the lifeboat or go down with the ship.

  82. Theron,

    You must be joking. Krugman is as solid a slice of that consensus as you might care to find.

  83. QuietDesperation

    Goldwater was just before my time (I’m 44) and I need to read more about him, but what little I do know of him makes me think that I would agree with a lot of what he stood for.

    Meh… Goldwater’s problems was he let his rhetoric fly off the handle too often, like talking about nuking Vietnam. Yeah, that’s what people want… fallout plumes.

  84. Messier Tidy Upper

    @66. OtherRob :

    @MTU, one factor that I don’t think you’re considering is the state of the economy. If the U.S. economy is still as rough during the 2012 elections as it is now, rightly or wrongly, President Obama will get a lot of the blame. And in such circumstances it is quite conceivable that he could lose the election regardless of who the Republicans nominate.

    Fair enough. That is a good point and rather scary. :-(

    Still, assuming the economy doesn’t quickly get much worse I still think Obama is the most likely 2012 winner.

    I stand by my prediction that it will be an Obama-Romney fight and Obama will probably win.

    Obama has the advantage of incumbency and I think when people are uncertain and times are troubled people are very reluctant to change leaders.

    I could be mistaken,naturally. I’d also like to point out that I’m no big fan of either Obama or Romney – this is what I think will happen rather than what I’d like to see happen.

    @72. tacitus :

    @Messier Tidy Upper :
    Obama being far Left of the US majority
    Obama? Far left? Totally and utterly absurd.

    I disagree.

    In world terms Obama might not be very far left – but in American political terms he is. Certainly the most far Left wing (& pro-Muslim & unpatriotic even anti-American) preisdent America has had since that old anti-Semite Jimmy Carter. Who also hates Israel and arguably his own nation. :-(

    Two words for you : Jeremiah Wright.

    Three more : The Weathermen connection.

    Obama’s 2008 election win, in retrospect I think, is the ultimate triumph of affirmative action.

    I very much doubt that a white-skinned politician could have got away with listening to a race hate preacher as Obama did. If Obama had been all white rather than half black would he have won? I very much doubt that.

    The 2008 election was a triumph of politically correct symbolism and charismatic but utterly meaningless sloganeering over good sense and teh best practical candidates.

    If reason and sanity had prevailed then Hilary Clinton would be the US president today, methinks.

    Having said that, if I had been a US citizen voting in 2008 I’d have voted Obama over McCain-Palin anyday.

  85. Elmar_M

    Mike, you cant even spell iceberg… Go get an education! I am not a native speaker, but my English is better than yours. Obama failed because he had very little support, even within his own party. Take the space policy debacle e.g.
    His original proposal for a new space policy was awesome and should have even been quite appealing to libertarian thinkers. However, both the republicans and quite a few democrats opposed it. The republicans opposed it because it would have stopped money from very profitable cost plus contracts flowing to “their” favorite defense contractors (and wasteful government spending on defense is not wasteful in the eyes of republicans). The democrats that opposed it also thought that it would harm business in their districts. Quite the opposite is true.
    Anyway, the situation was quite simillar for other aspects of Obamas politics.
    Also, it took G.W. Bush 8 years to ruin the economy and then people are disappointed that Obama was not able to fix it within 4…

  86. Trebuchet

    Obama’s big failing, to me, was not learning from the past. In 1993/1994, Bill Clinton overreached on health care, resulting in turning congress over to Newt Gingrich in the 2004 elections. Obama repeated that in 2009/2010, with pretty much the same result.

    The big mistake the Republicans are making, on the other hand, is believing their own rhetoric when they say the majority of Americans believe in these wingnut ideas. They don’t.

  87. Doug Little

    But thanks to Obamas policys the Tea party formed and is growing stronger and has revived the Gop

    Complete bollocks. Tea Party Losing Popularity Fast

  88. Doug Little

    Two words for you : Jeremiah Wright.
    Three more : The Weathermen connection.
    Obama’s 2008 election win, in retrospect I think, is the ultimate triumph of affirmative action.
    I very much doubt that a white-skinned politician could have got away with listening to a race hate preacher as Obama did. If Obama had been all white rather than half black would he have won? I very much doubt that.

    Wow really! Your racism is showing. Also do you really want to play the guilt by association game? Really? Obama’s policies speak for themselves, Reagan was more left than Obama is.

  89. ND

    Messier Tidy Upper,

    “Having said that, if I had been a US citizen voting in 2008 I’d have voted Obama over McCain-Palin anyday.”

    I think a lot of people did exactly that, and that would considerably weaken your previous sentence:

    “The 2008 election was a triumph of politically correct symbolism and charismatic but utterly meaningless sloganeering over good sense and teh best practical candidates.”

    Palin had the sloganeering down to a Jedi mindtrick with her voting base.

    And what does “& pro-Muslim” mean anyway? It’s a vague statement and hard to read into.

  90. @91. Doug Little :

    My racism? Really?!? Really? :roll: :-(

    I’m no racist. Pastor Jeremiah Wright, OTOH, is. Have you ever heard him?

    Do you honestly think racism is limited to those with low melanin content skins? I call racism right back at ya. Look in a mirror.

    I also repeat my question :

    Do you honestly think a white man whould have been elected had he been a fan of a race hate preacher?

    As Obama is, fact is that a black man won an election having nodded and clapped along to his race hate Black supremacist preacher.

    Obama’s election was supposed, I think, to symbolise that the USA was colour blind.

    Alas, what it showed instead – because of Obama’s personal failings – was that a man with a blacker skin has an unfair advantage over his non-melanin enriched skinned opponents and will get a pass on tough questioning because people are too scared of being accused of racism to speak the truth.

    “& pro-Muslim” mean anyway? It’s a vague statement and hard to read into

    You think so? Really? :roll:

    It means :

    Favouring & sympathising with Islam and Islamic nations and values over Western civilised ones.

    Which I would’ve thought that was pretty durn obvious. :roll:

    Barack Hussein Obama might not himself be Muslim – although he was apparently raised as such in Indonesia as a boy and was the son of a Muslim father – but he is, undoubtedly, the most anti-Israeli, most pro-Muslim POTUS in history. :-(

    Which when the USA is leading the fight of the Free Western world against Jihadist barbarism is NOT a good thing.

    Did you ever see how low he bowed to the Saudi Kingdom, how much undeserved, unearnt support he has given to the Arab tyrannies? How brutally unsympathetic and unsupportive he has been of the worlds one and only Jewish state and its right to defend itself against the hostile desert of Islamist Jihadistans surrounding it?

  91. tacitus

    And what does “& pro-Muslim” mean anyway? It’s a vague statement and hard to read into.

    I would ignore Messier Tidy Upper. With his latest post, he has clearly proved that he lives in a far off, imaginary land where wingnuts make up any nonsense they like and call it “the truth.”

    He claims he would have voted for Obama in the last election. I call BS. He’s no difference from the imbeciles who frequent the FreeRepublic message board who specialize in dog whistle, race baiting commentary.

  92. Roy Beasley

    This would be funny if it weren’t so serious. There is a significant risk that one of these idiots will end up as president. All of us live relatively good lives because of science and technology. It is still the main competitive advantage the USA has and these fools can throw it all away.

  93. eyelessgame

    Looking a the political science part of this… what we have here is a Republican Party that has peculiar strengths and peculiar weaknesses. Their strength is in money and media, but their demographics skew strongly against them. They are an alliance of, more or less, five disparate groups, each with deeply unpopular views outside their base (in many cases including one another!), but cobbled together into something that can win elections. But they face two problems: first, their views really are unpopular, and their policies produce undesirable results (and the two are connected); second, the base of each of their groups is shrinking.

    I have a mnemonic I like for the five groups comprising Republicans – use the fingers of your right hand. The thumb, clumsy in itself but allowing the whole thing to work together, is the big money backing the party, which wants a stable consumerist society, favorable (as opposed to nonexistent) business regulation, and light taxes on the rich. The index finger is the military and pro-military vote, who like wars and intervention (but not quite the people who like law and order/guns … I’m getting to them). The middle finger is the libertarians. The ring finger are the religious conservatives, who are generally good-hearted (if not generally highly educated) people legitimately worried about the direction of society in general, but who are told which particular groups and ideas to despise from their pulpits (abortion, gays, evolution, charity). The pinky finger are the racists, worried that the country is browning, and who are big fans of anti-immigration, law and order, guns, “states rights”, and all the other code words.

    A Republican has to appeal to all of them, or he doesn’t stand a chance of getting the party base to support him and he can’t win elections. This was Bush the Elder’s problem, it was Dole’s problem, it was McCain’s problem.

    How much you have to do to support each group depends on their relative strength and discontent. Antiscience today plays not only into religious conservative positions (evolution) but also big business and libertarian positions (big business doesn’t care much about the science because money is involved and regulation is bad, while a problem that the market cannot solve by itself is defined away as a non-problem, and therefore a statist conspiracy, by libertarians.)

    In the long term all five groups are a shrinking demographic (thankfully, because they all have some desperately bad ideas), and the doubling down we see from the candidates on the most extreme positions (Perry, leading in the polls, not only publicly despises science but attacks the most popular government program in history, because that is what his base needs to hear) is a result of a long-term demographic panic among the Republicans, who see that they might have trouble ever putting together a majority again, and the smart analysts among them think 2012 may be their only opportunity for a generation or more to control government – they imagine, however, that they will be able to govern during an economic recovery and thereby build a sustained popularity. They might conceivably be right.

  94. ND

    Messier Tidy Upper dude, you’re so off the middle that Obama is an extremist to you. Wow.

  95. MST,

    I have heard it argued that Obama’s ghastly involvement with Wright stems from his rather calculating bid for the “forty-seven weird black guys in bowties” vote. I happen to think that that’s pretty cheap and opportunistic of him, but –

    I strongly disagree with your comment that Obama was just elected on the grounds of affirmative action. There is certainly an element of that, but the main reason is the utter stupidity and irresponsibility of the ramshackle coalition that the Republican party put up against him. I do not believe that it was possible to cast a responsible vote for the McCain/Palin double act.

    I should say that I have very little time for Obama – I think he’s a reactionary crank and a fool on a lot of issues – and I have even less time for his swooning fangirls (Chris Matthews etc.). However, consider the following: you may disagree with Obama’s positions on, say, supporting Pakistan versus India, or the wretched stimulus package, or the expansion of spending, or the faffing around over Libya, or his willingness to indulge despots and crackpots – I could go along, and I do go along, with all of those. However, I guarantee you: if the McCain/Palin freakshow had been elected, not only would we be stuck with most or all of these problems, none of these issues would ever have been raised.

    The one great thing about the Obama presidency is that it has brought forth, as Israel Shahak would say, “some encouraging signs of polarization”.

  96. bigdaddyhen

    Interesting article on CNN today somewhat on topic, specifically about indicating Huntsman should run on a third party platform, much Perot did back in the day.

    http://www.cnn.com/2011/OPINION/08/30/granderson.huntsman/index.html

  97. @94. tacitus & ND :

    I would ignore Messier Tidy Upper. With his latest post, he has clearly proved that he lives in a far off, imaginary land where wingnuts make up any nonsense they like and call it “the truth.”

    You think so?

    Check out :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Wright_controversy

    &

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hPR5jnjtLo&feature=fvst

    &

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/obamas-anti-israeli-hysteria-dangerous-and-destructive/story-e6frg6zo-1225846153221

    Plus click on my name here for the wikipage on the Bill Ayers 2008 presidential election controversy over the ties between Obama and the Left wingnut terrorists Weather Underground group. It’s no big secret although it should perhaps have been made much more widely known and more of an issue.

    Or do your own basic research on the subject(s).

    Then think again about who is “living in a far off, imaginary land where wingnuts make up any nonsense they like and call it “the truth.”

    What precisely have I said in my earlier comment that is NOT factual or true?

    Find me one example of an error – of *fact* not opinion or typo – and I’ll reconsider.

    As for how I would have voted, I can only express my views as you do.

    At the time in 2008 if I was eligiable I would have voted Obama-Biden over the McCain-Palin ticket. I would have done so reluctantly because of the two evils on offer he was the lesser but, whether you believe me or not, that is how I would have voted. Even now I would vote the same way given those same choices – but with even less enthusiasm.

    I stand by what I said before. Obama owes his current position to his percieved skin colour and the symbolism thereof – and perhaps sexism against Ms Clinton too. That’s just the sad, stark truth whether you are willing to accept reality or not. :-(

  98. @97. ND : “Messier Tidy Upper dude, you’re so off the middle that Obama is an extremist to you. Wow.”

    ND, you’re so far to the Left that Obama isn’t an extremist to you!? Wow! ;-) :-P

  99. DrFlimmer

    @ Messier Tidy Upper

    I was about breaking my rule to not answer your rants about politics and Obama. I have this rule, because our views of the world concerning this topic annihilate into a great flash of gamma rays if they are brought together.

    I would have said something about that not all of 1 billion Muslims are bad guys. That, in fact, a lot of them are right now risking their lifes for freedom, democracy and civil rights (something we might call “western values”). Only few of them are bad (as usual).

    But for what? I won’z convince you, and I won’t stop your hate-mongering. Therefore, I stay silent.

  100. TerryEmberson

    Phil,

    Just wanted to clarify that that comment from Paul was made in 2007 and was followed up by explaining that the only reason its important whether the President believes in evolution or not is because the government has WAY too much power over what people are taught because we have turned a blind eye toward federal usurpation of education. When you let ONE group have a monopoly over anything, you lose a significant degree of control over that thing. Paul also says that he doesn’t believe his beliefs (or anyone else’s beliefs) should be forced on anyone.

    Not a fan of Paul, but just wanted to clarify that Paul isn’t really anti-science. I absolutely believes that the government should get out of regulating scientific learning.

  101. @ 101. DrFlimmer : I don’t think all Muslims are bad or terrorists – but there is a Jihadist group among them that are just pyschopathic murderous nuts and we shouldn’t forget that.

    Yes, I’m sure there are plenty of good Muslims who are on the Wests side too – &, even better, ex-Muslims as well. I could refer you to Ayaan Hirsi Ali for example.

    That’s all.

    Except “hate-mongering” really? Do you honestly think so? I don’t. I’m not preaching hate. I leave that to Obama’s Pastor Jeremiah Wright and his fans and apologists and also Hamas and theirs.

  102. Hugo Schmidt

    Look, MST, it’s certainly true that Obama runs away from any real confrontation with Islamic reaction – defending the “right of women to wear the veil” and mentioning nothing about the horrific misogyny in the Islamic world etc. However, that is not really any different from what Bush was churning out.

  103. Rick

    Saying that the state of affairs in the GOP is appalling is the understatement of the century. As Phil points out — these neadertals are racing to the bottom of the stupid well — willingly!

  104. Doug Little

    Do you honestly think a white man whould have been elected had he been a fan of a race hate preacher?

    Nixon and Billy Graham Feburary 1st 1972.

    Graham – “A lot of the Jews are great friends of mine. They swarm around me and are friendly to me… But they don’t know how I really feel about what they’re doing to this country”

    Alas, what it showed instead – because of Obama’s personal failings – was that a man with a blacker skin has an unfair advantage over his non-melanin enriched skinned opponents and will get a pass on tough questioning because people are too scared of being accused of racism to speak the truth.

    Yep, keep digging that hole, racist.

    I don’t think all Muslims are bad or terrorists – but there is a Jihadist group among them that are just pyschopathic murderous nuts and we shouldn’t forget that.

    The same could be said about your white Christian friends, what was your point again?

  105. Hugo Schmidt

    Since I’ve been criticising MST’s positions here, let me come to his aid on this point. I do think that Obama’s nutbag preacher has gotten far less criticism than would a paleface member of other Christian organizations like the KKK or the Aryan Nations. That’s a problem.

    Doug Little,

    It’s a good riposte about the disgusting likes of Nixon’s crew. However, I think you should be a bit more careful about throwing around the term “racist” like that. It cheapens it to the point where people don’t know how to react when they see the real, full blown thing.

    Given the way that the Obammybobbers have been accusing anyone who dislikes this presidency as a racist, you can’t complain when MST or others like him, point that out.

  106. TerryEmberson

    Terry Said:

    I absolutely believes that the government should get out of regulating scientific learning.

    I dropped out “think he” somewhere along the way. I blame DX:HR.

  107. tacitus

    You know, when all you can point to as an example of being an extreme leftist, after almost three years in the presidency and countless opportunities to engage in and enact “extreme” left wing policies, is the relationship with a man that ended four years ago, then most people would realize that they were losing the argument big time.

    President Obama might be the worst example of a Marxist in the history of the world. What with his slashing tax rates, offering billions in budget cuts to entitlement programs and privatizing banks and major corporations *after* they have been taken over by the government!! Karl Marx must be spinning in his grave.

    But life is no fun for wingnuts if they don’t have something to be scared of. It’s like they never grew out of being afraid of the monster that lives under their bed. I used to buy into this myth that conservatives were confident and brave people. But since coming to America all I ever hear them talk about is how afraid of their own shadow they are. They imagine enemies around every corner, and disasters lurking over every rise. No wonder they want to remain stuck in the past. It’s the only place they feel safe.

  108. tacitus

    nce I’ve been criticising MST’s positions here, let me come to his aid on this point. I do think that Obama’s nutbag preacher has gotten far less criticism than would a paleface member of other Christian organizations like the KKK or the Aryan Nations. That’s a problem.

    Then again, how much did we hear about Sarah Palin’s association with an extreme right-wing Dominionist pastor? Nothing in the mainstream press. How much scrutiny are Rick Perry’s conservative Christian buddies getting, one of whom believes that Hilary Clinton is a servant of the Antichrist? Michele Bachmann also has some dubious pastor friends.

    If it was a failing with Obama, then it’s just as much so today with the current crop of potential nominees.

  109. Bruce the Canuck

    Not to squelch the GOP bashing party here, but I think some of these trends run deep in modern conservatism, and transcend the hot-button issues of religion, evolution, or racial tensions, or even the radical polarization of recent US politics.

    In Canada the science-education issue, religion in politics, and open class-tinged racial tension barely exist. Yet our sweater-vest lead conservative government is clearly very threatened by science.

    They have put a petro-engineer in charge of NSERC, our major research grant body, who intends to steer spending away from such things as cancer research (doesn’t give a good economic return on the dollar, doncha know), or any other basic scientific research, towards “practical” applied research on things such as – drum roll – tar sands remediation.

    They killed the mandatory census, which disturbed not only city councils across canada, civic planners, social scientists and historians, but even the business community, all of whom relied on an objective, reality-based measure of trends. The head of stats can actually resigned. The business community was so aghast that I think this also shows how modern conservatism is not actually pro-business in general; they favour a particular small set of industries, and the remainder of the business community is simply held hostage.

    They de-funded drug harm-reduction programs (insite), despite a large amount of research and actual results backing it up, and wide public support. When pushed to explain the effort to cancel it, the minister involved attacked not only the one issue, he published a bizarre post-modernist/conservative rant attacking the scientific method in general as the right way to gather knowledge.

    They appointed a Chiropractor (!!!) as minister of science and technology, who oversaw $150m in cuts to science programs, including massive cuts to Genome Canada. When asked if he believed in evolution, he said “I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate.” I should say that creationism is considered a purely crackpot belief in Canada – this was a scandal, as it should be.

    They have silenced scientists throughout government – no scientist can speak to the media without all commentary being vetted directed by the prime minister’s office. This has particularly applied to fisheries and oceans scientists, with respect to fish stock health and climate. This is despite the fact that the exact same behavior led to an economic disaster 20 years ago, when the cod stocks collapsed.

    I don’t actually believe this ostrich behavior by conservatives is inherent in conservatism. It’s a big mistake for the scientific community and its supporters to believe that. I think it’s an unfortunate recent trend, one they can change. Nor do I think there are more people living in a fantasyworld on the right than the left. I think this is a result of the cult of bad post-modern philosophy that began in the 80’s, and it will take a while for the root of the infection to drain.

    The infection of the left’s thinking was direct and virulent, however those infected not only held false beliefs about the world and how to obtain knowledge of it, the brain rot of pomo also caused the worst-infected to entirely drop out of political activity. They disengaged; they do not vote, they are barely politically active. They became naval-gazers, self-focused. We only see them when they pop up as woo-pushers or anti-vaxers. Woo beliefs are fundamentally, philosophically, about narcissism. So the major political effect was to reduce the potential left-leaning vote.

    However on the right, they were hit with a weakened version of po-mo philosophy, mostly absorbed by canny political actors who knew exactly how to use it. They cynically took on the tools but not the roots of po-mo, and applied it to attack the legitimacy of any knowledge or knowledge-gathering system (science, stats) that threatened their parochial interests. The problem is they have created a monster. They encouraged the irrationality of their base, who were not in on the game, and I believe at least in the US where the trend has gone much farther, the core of the GOP and its business backers are now horrified at where the mob is taking them.

    However because their base is older, and did not actually absorb the root ideas of po-mo, they still vote. So politically, po-mo greatly aided the right, in the short term. However the overall threat to rational public policy and trends is equally as bad from the left and the right, whether or not they vote (via the woo factor and spread of anti-rationalism).

  110. OtherRob

    @QD:

    Meh… Goldwater’s problems was he let his rhetoric fly off the handle too often, like talking about nuking Vietnam. Yeah, that’s what people want… fallout plumes.

    Well, I didn’t say I expected to agree with everything he said. ;)

  111. Doug Little

    Hugo,

    Given the way that the Obammybobbers have been accusing anyone who dislikes this presidency as a racist, you can’t complain when MST or others like him, point that out.

    But MTU’s comments were specifically aimed at Obama’s race. He said that Obama was elected because he was the ultimate triumph of affirmative action, and if he was white and had an association with a racist preacher he would not have been elected.

    He then goes even further the suggest that Obama has an unfair advantage because he is black. That my friend is racism, pure and simple. Criticize Obama for his policies, hell there’s lots you could go after, but suggesting that somehow because he is black he had some form of unfair advantage in a predominantly white country in a democratic election is not only ridiculous it’s racist.

  112. Lawrence

    And wasn’t Palin’s husband a member of an Alaskan organization that actively supports seceding from the United States?

    Didn’t Rick Perry claim he supported having Texas secede from the United States as well?

    For a bunch of “patriotic” Americans, some of these guys don’t seem to care very much for the country.

    And how, after Republicans & Tea Partiers have openly claimed that Democrats & liberals (in general) are traitors to the country, do any of these candidates have the ability to claim that they are trying to be President of the United States (i.e. President for all of us) vs. President of Just the People who Support Me & My Crazy ideas?

    It is nuts.

  113. TerryEmberson

    Tacitus:

    I don’t care if Obama is left or right. In my opinion, the left and the right in this country has nothing to do with the parties anymore. The important thing is that Obama is taking away my freedom with his actions.

    Also, as a business owner, I will never hire a fiftieth employee as long as the Obamacare exists; I don’t want that legal burden. Also, I already provide matched fund insurance, but the legal requirements mean I would have to get my employees to disclose all personal financial information too me for their FAMILY, not just for my pay to them. Other business owners in my chamber of commerce are making the same decision. I don’t have to wonder how that’s going to help the economy if no small business wants to become a medium business.

  114. RobT

    Wow, I just love reading what many Americans consider “far left”. Obama is far left? In almost any other democratic country he would be a conservative. Hell, even in the US 60 years ago he would have been considered a conservative.

    As far as I can tell Obama is actually to the right of Eisenhower – now why can’t the Republicans read the history of their own party to see how lunatic fringe they have gotten.

    The Republican party is far away from its recent history it is very sad. All this recent hate for unions yet the Republican’s presidential idol, Reagan, believed in them:

    http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/02/25/146460/flashback-reagan-union-right/

  115. Yojimbo

    Joe @53

    I’m late to the party, but isn’t “the science of economics” an oxymoron?

    And, a general observation – when it comes to “left” and “right,” we Americans seem to take an inch out of the middle of a twelve foot tape measure and think we can measure the universe with it.

  116. Hugo Schmidt

    That my friend is racism, pure and simple.

    Actually, no, no it’s not. It is an analysis of how the stupid game of identity politics is played.

    @tacitus,

    Then again, how much did we hear about Sarah Palin’s association with an extreme right-wing Dominionist pastor?

    If it matters, I can remember plenty of stuff about her whackjob preachers and so on, and – Lawrence – I could add and expand to that list of Palin’s innumerable faults. However, that does not make Obama any less of a reactionary crank, or his policies any less problematic.

  117. Doug Little

    Hugo,

    Racism is the belief that there are inherent differences in people’s traits and capacities that are entirely due to their race, however defined, and that, as a consequence, racial discrimination (i.e. different treatment of those people, both socially and legally) is justified. In the modern English language, the term “racism” is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature (i.e. which harms particular groups of people), and which is often justified by recourse to racial stereotyping or pseudo-science. Modern usage, in fact, often equates “racism” and “racial discrimination” and defines the latter term only as applying to pernicious practices. Differential treatment of racial groups that is intended to ameliorate past discrimination, rather than to harm, goes by other names (e.g. affirmative action); the characterization of this practice as “racism”, “racial discrimination” or “reverse discrimination” is normally only done by its opponents, and typically implies a belief in the harmful nature of the practice with respect to the groups not receiving assistance.

  118. TerryEmberson

    but isn’t “the science of economics” an oxymoron

    No.

  119. Hugo Schmidt

    Doug,

    Sounds like we’re using different dictionaries. Here’s mine:

    rac·ism
       [rey-siz-uhm]
    noun
    1.
    a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2.
    a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    3.
    hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.

    My favorite video on the subject:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHq2F_QA6cc

    What racism is not, however, is observing how people may be treated differently by other people because of their racial background. If that were true, then it’d be racist to criticize or even notice real racism, an absurd state of affairs.

  120. PeteC

    But… I’m still waiting for someone to point out a left-wing policy of Obama’s. I keep seeing some hateful rhetoric, and some whinging about people he used to know some years ago, but nobody has actually mentioned a radical left-wing policy.

    Has he proposed nationalising any industries? How much has he increased state benefits by? Has he collectivised the farms? What about price controls? What about anything actually left-wing?

    He isn’t hostile to Muslims? Well, I remember George Bush *kissing* the Saudi King and *holding hands* with him (cultural, not sexual, before anybody misinterprets). He certainly didn’t go to the Saudi King and open up a can of verbal whoop-ass on the leader of the nation that supplied 19 of the Sept 11th terrorists. Was Bush from the far left of the political spectrum as well?

    If Obama’s association with Rev. Wright, often classified as a “black supremacist” by some people is leftist, does this mean that a proper right-winger should be a white supremacist? What kind of nonsense has that to do with left or right?

  121. Keith Bowden

    Obama has extended, upheld and followed so many (theoretically) Republican policies that it’s really hard sometimes to see why they’re so upset at him. ;)

  122. TerryEmberson @116

    “Also, as a business owner, I will never hire a fiftieth employee as long as the Obamacare exists; I don’t want that legal burden.”

    Really? Even if that 50th employee is a salesman who bring tens of millions in new contracts or a marketer who can increase you sales 500%. It sounds a bit like you are letting your political bias interfere with making sound business decisions.

  123. Yojimbo

    @121 TerryEmberson

    No? Please explain. I know economics uses math, but then so does music. How can a science process the same sets of data in multiple ways and come to totally conflicted conclusions? It sounds more like an art form. Maybe we can add another category to “hard” and “soft” sciences. How about “fuzzy science”?

  124. Bruce the Canuck

    90% of this thread is far too partisan, defensive and offensive. It would be better build cross-partisan support to help reform the right, such as by appealing to the 95% of the business community that is not petro-sector. It’s not really about Obama, or the tea party, or health care, or any social issue. Those values issues are not necessarily linked with support for reality-based decisions or science. It may even be better to cleave off the issue of public funding for science as an issue where people can agree to disagree. As seen with anti-vax and woo, the problem is bigger than that.

  125. Doug Little

    What racism is not, however, is observing how people may be treated differently by other people because of their racial background

    Sure, but that’s not what has been going on. In MTU’s comments there has been no observation or analysis of supporting data involved, just personal opinion from a racially biased position.

    His claims about Obama’s race as being advantageous in winning the presidency or being a due to affirmative action are patiently absurd.

  126. TerryEmberson

    PeteC:

    But… I’m still waiting for someone to point out a left-wing policy of Obama’s. I keep seeing some hateful rhetoric, and some whinging about people he used to know some years ago, but nobody has actually mentioned a radical left-wing policy.

    First understand the concept of an Overton Window. There are certain policies that are completely out of the level of acceptability to the U.S. people today and many of the ones you mention are outside of the acceptability to the U.S. people today. That can change and has shifted over time. Extreme far left in U.S. terms would probably be middle left in European terms.

    Second, he’s no more left wing than Perry is right wing. He’s ‘our team’ and Perry is ‘there team’. He could be called collectivist versus individualist, in which case, I’m not in his camp at all. He could be called egalitarian versus hierarchical, in which case, I am in his camp. What it really comes down to is that he favors using coercion to achieve results and values a less free society over a more free society. That makes him far rift of my leght wing views.

    I’m going to ignore the comment on Islam because that obviously isn’t a left or right wing thing, its a tolerant vs. non-tolerant thing. Since Republicans can be tolerant (George Bush made Eid Al-Fitr speeches every year of his presidency) and Democrats can be intolerant (Howard Dean against “Ground Zero” mosque).

  127. TerryEmberson

    @125. Daniel Says:

    Really? Even if that 50th employee is a salesman who bring tens of millions in new contracts or a marketer who can increase you sales 500%. It sounds a bit like you are letting your political bias interfere with making sound business decisions.

    Nope. Makes much more sense for me to fire someone to higher that salesman or marketer. Even better, I’ll probably just contract it out to a non-employee, thereby removing my overhead further. Its not ideological bias, it’s logical decision made by me and a large number of other business owners in my area. I’m not hiring cause the burden is onerous.

  128. TerryEmberson

    @126. Yojimbo Says:

    No? Please explain.

    Okay. Science is the studying of real world phenomenon using a systematic methodology to test and organize knowledge, ultimately to allow the ability to make limited predictions from the data. Economic theory allows the prediction of activity based upon data. Depending on the economic model, different inputs create different outputs. As these are ideologically based and often tied to political models people are trying to justify, the science often gets ignored, which serves to discredit the field all together, especially among the left, who ignore the fact that greater economic freedom has usually led to greater prosperity for a greater number of people.

    I know economics uses math, but then so does music. How can a science process the same sets of data in multiple ways and come to totally conflicted conclusions?

    I don’t know… ask weathermen. Is the study of weather dynamics scientific? Yes. Is it consistently accurate? No. Or, better, ask biologists why they still have different perspectives over the role of genetic mechanisms in sociological, psychological, and even morphological development.

    Complex systems make prediction more difficult and hence more subject to interpretation. We try to counter this by using ever-more-complex methodologies to test and predict results that adapt every time we come to a new confound. Additionally, the difficulty in economics is that the object being studied is ultimately all human interaction, so the necessary unit level of measure is a human choice. Human choice is fickle and hard to predict, which makes it hard to predict en masse.

    Add to this, economics has always been tied to politics, so failed economic theories (marxism, demand-side economics, etc.) continue to be lobbied about and taught in schools despite evidence disproving its predictive value.

    It sounds more like an art form. Maybe we can add another category to “hard” and “soft” sciences. How about “fuzzy science”?

    So… predicting anything complex is more like an art form than a science? How do you feel about anthropogenic climate change theories? Fuzzy science?

  129. Hugo Schmidt

    PeteC,

    I’d say that “right” and “left” are somewhat loose terms, in need to qualifications. Obama’s another, run-of-the-mill leftwing reactionary.

    Doug,

    In MTU’s comments there has been no observation or analysis of supporting data involved, just personal opinion

    Be that as it may, it is still personal opinion of how Obama is treated by others because he’s black (and white, if we have to use these categories), not an opinion of what Obama is because he’s black (and white).

  130. PeteC

    Ah, so Obama doesn’t actually *do* anything left-wing, he just has this “leftwing reactionary” aura thingy that makes him left-wing through generic left-wingyness.

    That makes things, so clear, thank you.

    Sometimes I wonder if being a centrist in the USA means that you believe that slaves should have *some* rights not to have their families split up and being a right-winger means that no commie “compassion” claptrap should get in the way of the right variant of the one true Christian god’s divine plan to introduce pure Adam Smith economics through all the world, unfettered by this “common good” nonsense that’s in the holy constitution but doesn’t actually mean “common good”, it means that people should be “common goods”. Heck, if massive bailouts for banking organisations, running multiple wars to seize oil resources and slashing taxes on the top 1% of earners while cutting benefits is “radical left-wing”….

    OK, I’m being sarcastic, but the number of times I’ve seen someone called a “Commie” for suggesting that people in low-paid jobs should get healthcare too and not be left to die, or that the top 1% of earners should actually pay taxes at a similar rate to the median earners, or that massive international corporations shouldn’t actually make a *profit* from the US tax payer…

  131. Hugo Schmidt

    PeteC,

    Well, let me put it this way. Obama’s turn against the Bush presidency’s ideas of exporting revolution to Kissengerian realpolitik counts as reactionary, most particularly in his turn against India (of course, his Republican opponents are too dumb to hammer him on that). Economically, he runs the same sort of crony-socialist, huge-sums-of-money-to-incompetent-businesses-that-are-politically-powerful that have troubled so much of the last century (you note this yourself0. He has abandoned speaking of human rights worldwide in favor of making nice with tyrants. He keeps pliable religious nutbags around, despite the fact that I’m certain he doesn’t really believe in that nonsense. Etc. etc. etc.

    Basically, he seems to have no idea of the way things are changing, and believes he can run things on the same pattern as always and that it will always stay the same. Left wing reactionary. In fact, most of the left is either highly reactionary these days, when they’re not pro-fascist. There are some real, oldschool radical lefties still around the place; I count some of my finest comrades amongst them. Obama is not one of them.

  132. TerryEmberson

    that the top 1% of earners should actually pay taxes at a similar rate to the median earners, or that massive international corporations shouldn’t actually make a *profit* from the US tax payer…

    So… are you a libertarian?

    The top 1% pay, per capita 5% more in taxes than the median wage earners. They would LOVE to pay at the same rate as the median wage earners.

    And paying U.S. tax money to support corporations is something both the Left and the Right do, which actual free-market hawks (who hate subsidies, bail-outs, and corporate/government cooperation and really oppose it rather than just pretending to like the Democrats and Republicans) do not support.

    This Left and Right dichotomy is artificial and used to make identity politics easier.

    Edit to add: That above, is the REAL tax rate, not the make believe rate that the IRS claims it should be. Its what is actually paid in total transfers of private monies to public funds.

  133. Doug Little

    Be that as it may, it is still personal opinion of how Obama is treated by others because he’s black (and white, if we have to use these categories), not an opinion of what Obama is because he’s black (and white).

    So by suggesting that Obama could not have gained the presidency if he was white is not an opinion based on what he is? That somehow because of what he is, he has an advantage is not an opinion on what he is? Yeah right.

  134. Hugo Schmidt

    Amen, Terry. It’s childish to fight over these tiny, tiny differences. You in America will need a radical and revolutionary government to sort this out, and we in the Old World will need lots and lots of governments like that.

  135. Hugo Schmidt

    Doug,

    So by suggesting that Obama could not have gained the presidency if he was white is not an opinion based on what he is?

    Correct. Because gaining the presidency is dependent on how other people treat him.

  136. Doug Little

    Edit to add: That above, is the REAL tax rate, not the make believe rate that the IRS claims it should be. Its what is actually paid in total transfers of private monies to public funds.

    So we have to take your word for it? Got a source.

    I’ve got one that has supporting documents that state the opposite

  137. don riggs

    You people better get rid of him he is a racist. He is deviding this country like no no other has done by class and taking from those who produce and giving to those who want to stay home and fornicate to steal from our society of those who work. bY EXTENDING unemployment he is giving a free pass to the lazy and his kind. Impeachment is in order!!!!!!!!!!!!

  138. Checkmate1

    edited out, never mind.

  139. PeteC

    I ought to make one thing clear – I’m not a supporter of the Democrats. I’m an observer for the UK who is interested in US politics because UK politics is boring. Sure, UK politics is a car wreck, but US politics is two trucks smashing together, one full of plutonium and fireworks and the other one laden with napalm and plastic explosives, while on fire, in a minefield. It’s a *lot* more entertaining to watch than ours.

    That said, I don’t have a horse in the race. Neither side is “mine”. I’m pretty sure that whoever wins, Britain won’t suddenly lose an ally, and other than my investments in US companies I don’t really think it’ll change my life much.

    However, I dislike irrationality and hypocricy. I dislike people using terms they know nothing about, or jumping into lunatic conspiracy theories about secret muslim plots fifty or sixty years ago to infiltrate one of their own super agents as a baby into the US because they knew that it was obvious in the 1960s that the US would be electing a black man as president, so they impregnated some American woman with muslim genes that made Hussein (remember to snarl that word with hate, after all it’s his middle name and there’s nothing racist about using it as if it were some kind of insult, anymore than calling Michael Chang Smith ‘Chang’ in a hateful tone would be racist) come to power 50 years later as their secret muslim supervillain agent. Except that he’s an illegal immigrant too. Or something.

    I dislike hearing any political group blindly assuming that god is on their side, of their nationality and economically agrees with them; that god would send floods and hurricanes and earthquakes to warn people to elect his chosen representative. Which reminds me, it’s been clearly established with uncontestable evidence that god has chosen Michele Bachmann to be your president – why are Rick Perry and Romney directly and deliberately opposing the will of god? (Damn I’d love to here one of your debate moderators ask that question! “Do you think Bachmann is nuts, or did she really hear the voice of god, and if so, why are you opposing her?”)

    I dislike the linking of Evangelical/Baptist Christianity with guns guns guns with fiscal conservatism with anti-evolutionism with the hypocracy of demanding that some amendments to the constition are sacred and right but others should be ignored because they are obviously not sacred and wrong with anti-evolution, anti-science, anti heliocentricism, with demanding certain types of human relationship be banned or discouraged with strong government intervention in your bedroom but no government intervention in toxic waste or in forcing you to accurately label your products… I’m a fiscal conservative. I see nothing wrong in allowing homosexuals to marry. This is, apparently, a nearly impossible position in today’s US politics. At best that would label me a ‘RINO’, at worst a commie. To be a modern day Republican you must be willing to sign lunatic pledges to do things like amend the constitution to make it impossible to borrow money or raise taxes; which means that either your sworn word of honour means nothing, or that you would have let the USA go crashing down in World War 2 rather than borrow to pay for its army.

    So yeah, I’m not a fan of your Republican party. I’m also not a particular fan of your Democrats, who have a stack of corruption and uselessness issues a mile tall, but at this current time they do seem, except for their fringes, to at least have some sort of idea what planet they’re standing on and whether or not it’s flat. Their crystal healing all-viewpoints-are-equally-valid never-punish-a-child-in-any-way-because-you’ll-hurt-it’s-self-esteem loonies tend to be on the fringes of the party, currently; their majority is spineless but mostly kind-of-sort-of reality based.

    Why the hell wouldn’t Americans vote for someone who stood up and said “I believe in balancing personal liberty with the common good; I believe in keeping government out of people’s private lives, including their bedrooms; I believe in a careful program to bring the enormously complex budget deficit issue slowly under control, and not a one-line magic wand solution. I believe that observed reality should trump doctrine, whether it be political doctrine or religious doctrine. I believe that those who, through no fault of their own, are unable to feed their families should not have to turn to crime or watch them die; I believe that those who attempt to grow fat on the back of the taxpayer, whether benefit cheat or companies charging $500 for a hammer, should be punished”?

  140. Hugo Schmidt

    PeteC, you’re pushing at an open door with me on… most of that stuff. But with whom are you arguing there?

  141. Yojimbo

    @131. TerryEmberson

    Explanation well taken. However, in each of the examples you gave, while there are differing opinions around the edges, and sometimes very divergent predictions about the fine details, there is also a large core body of knowledge that is generally accepted throughout the discipline. Certainly weather predictions are not 100% accurate – they are, however, surprisingly accurate for a chaotic system, and the vast majority of meteorological theory is generally accepted. Same in biology. It does not appear to me, though, that the same is true with economics. Rather there are a few generally accepted principles, many wildly divergent theories that are at odds with one another, and no essential core of agreement. It also happens that many of these divergent schools of thought lend themselves to being grabbed by political ideology.

    You are correct that the predictions from different economic models will yield differing results. I would, however, expect some agreement within the discipline as to how to decide which model is appropriate. I do not expect 100% accuracy from the predictions, but I would expect, as with weather forecasting, some pretty accurate short term predictions, and general agreement about how to make them.

    I don’t pretend to have any expertise in economics, but the field appears to me to be qualitatively different from every other “science” in the strength of its fundamentals. And as for anthropogenic climate change theories, no, those are not fuzzy. They are another area with a large body of knowledge, a large consensus as to the “big picture” and divergence when it comes to the details, because it is, as you said, a complex system. I can accept your definition of science as ” the studying of real world phenomenon using a systematic methodology to test and organize knowledge.” What I don’t see in economics is that systematic methodology – I see conflicting methodologies fighting for supremacy. I suspect that economics will someday be a science, but it isn’t there yet.

  142. mike burkhart

    Elmer m You want to go down with the ship as for me I’m in the life boat ,look out for sharks on the way down ,I have the divers tanks and M1 to take care of em.

  143. mike burkhart

    Smile you son of a !@$&*,boom

  144. Doug Little

    Smile you son of a !@$&*,boom

    Of course you realize that compressed air tanks don’t actually explode when shot, but why let reality get in the way.

  145. Chuuuk

    @OtherRob – I know Rob, It’s just that it’s all one sees lately is Political bashing of one side then the other … I suppose one could crawl under a rock and not participate in any Forums or Blogs … I’ll stick to the scientific stuff and lay low on those bashes :) Thanks for the eye opener, I’ll drink two cups of coffee tomorrow morning and lay low :)

  146. Wzrd1

    Chuuuk, pssience is ebil! EBIL! IT IS AGAINST JEEBUS! Or Volkswagonbus or something…
    Or it costs money AND science REALLY costs money when it comes to climate change, hence the ignorant masses being mobilized against the short term investors designs…
    SOME only prefer SHORT TERM knowledge and use long term planning to gain on a short term investment.
    Since it would obviously be age related in leadership, it’s a doomed movement.
    But then, I have no intelligence on that that I could speak on.
    Though I’ve personally looked upon imagery where a certain man’s watch showed the time legibly, from space. :)

  147. Wzrd1

    Doug #148, erm, a compressed tank CAN explode if shot at.
    Either at hitting certain critical areas near the “head” of the tank, the seam or manage to break the weld at the base, which would turn it into a REALLY interesting rocket, briefly.
    The primary seam tends to fail catastrophically. And is testified to as explosively.
    Typically either being a massive seam tear and ANOTHER interesting rocket OR a catastrophic failure. Random distribution on either chance.
    ANY way you slice it, I’d rather not wear a tank being shot at and prefer to return the favor at the earliest.

  148. Wzrd1

    @don #141, I’m a military retiree, rather fresh from getting shot at and shooting people. Not that I really LIKED it, but I DID give my word of honor.
    I am ALSO on extended unemployment. DO you honor a veteran trying to find a damned job in a DEPRESSION or not?
    I am a niggra, as you didn’t say, but blatantly implied in “his kind”? My father IS of Sicilian descent, so are WE valid citizens? Let us know, we DO have some options to enforce our citizenship, such as the Mothers And Fathers Italian Association. In an acronym for the dimwitted, the MAFIA, to support us.
    And nasty little motherlovers like me, retired SF.
    Do you REALLY want to play the sedition and treason game in the REAL world?
    I personally know of 7 agencies that would make your life a life of prison. If THEY are missed, I and quite a few other buddies get called back to treat YOU like the Taliban.
    So, do you REALLY want to play your illogic out into the REAL world?
    Or are you what everyone, including me, thinks you are?
    A miserable troll, whose life sucks so horribly, said person tries their level best to promote said suffering upon others?
    Upon my greatest, professional consideration, you are the latter. A coward, whose live sucks SO bad that you wish others to experience YOUR life, as their happiness is objectionable to you.

  149. Wzrd1

    @Doug #136, I don’t see president Obama is a commander in chief any longer, I’ve retired last year. He’s our president. I don’t see his skin, I see DEEDS AND INTENT.
    From BOTH of my last point, he is a thoroughly thwarted by intent president. One obstructed on ANYTHING AT ALL for the US.
    To the point of DELIBERATE sabotage of our nation and economy. In short, blatant treason against our nation.
    That said, it is STILL political, not physical, which is the ONLY actionable charge.
    So, he IS a good leader. No dog and pony shows, such as GWB flying over a disaster zone, interfering with rotary wing evacuation.
    He stayed put and let the leaders and mangers lead and manage, while he guided.
    He offered congress a suggested budget, when pressed, as he as NO requirement to do so, per some silly, “politically correct” constitution thingy.
    Now, don’t get me wrong, I can shoot holes through EVERY presidency in our living memory presidency, from the FIRST Roosevelt to Obama.
    With Obama, I have the LEAST holes to shoot through. A BIT of torture, as he learned what the hell was going on.
    A bit of OTHER anti-constitutional things going on. A few anti-constitutional things he permitted.
    Such as the STILL existing GITMO…
    BUT, overall, he has been QUITE a good president.
    His PRIMARY failure was permitting the bailouts of the banks. They COULD accept the losses, against their stupid profits. But, INFRASTRUCTURE development or repair is KING.
    PEOPLE AT WORK vs PEOPLE on the dole (to steal from UK terms).
    BUILD the nation vs feed matter into a black hole.
    HE chose Roosevelt’s failed choice first, a KNOWN FAILED PLAN. He fed money into a naked singularity!
    THEN sought to support infrastructure. In a half attempt.
    As in the article, “Where is OUR Hoover dam”?
    No, we only have a damn.
    Because congress INTENTIONALLY sought to undermine the ENTIRE NATION, for POLITICAL GAIN.
    IN short, high treason against this once great nation. One NOW earmarked to third world status and feudalism over three generations at the maximum.

  150. Stargazer

    So, science brings us all these things like lightning fast communication, giant flying machines, vaccines, transplants, the age of the universe, where we came from, and many other answers and products…

    …so why are people anti-science? And why do they use the Internet and TV media to express anti-science views? Why not go back to the caves entirely, and stay there.

  151. Messier Tidy Upper

    @122. Hugo Schmidt :

    Doug, Sounds like we’re using different dictionaries. Here’s mine:
    rac·ism  [rey-siz-uhm] noun
    1.a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.
    2.a policy, system of government, etc., based upon or fostering such a doctrine; discrimination.
    3. hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.
    *
    My favorite video on the subject: [Link snipped.]
    What racism is not, however, is observing how people may be treated differently by other people because of their racial background. If that were true, then it’d be racist to criticize or even notice real racism, an absurd state of affairs. [Emphasis added.]

    Thankyou. That is exactly right – & how I define it too. :-)

    I don’t give a toss about Obama’s skin colour.

    I would never treat people differently based on the colour of their skin but instead as Martin Luther King – one of the greatest of all Americans ever – said, would rather judge individuals by the content of their hearts.

    I do, however, think it is intellectually dishonest to pretend that Obama’s race wasn’t a factor that worked in his favour in the last election. He was sold as the first black President – as proof that the USA was colour blind. But let’s be honest, I don’t think it really is. :-(

    One of the most moving and brilliant movie scenes I’ve ever watched is this one :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7f-BgDgpmE

    from the movie ‘A Time to Kill.’ The final closing courtroom address. It says a lot about many things including race relations in the USA or so I gather. (I could, as always, be mistaken and if so please correct me on it.) I suggest we take the words that concluded that speech and apply them to Obama as well.

    I wonder if the people who seem to say I’m somehow being “racist” in my rational, dispassionate assessment of why Obama won in 2008 – a victory btw. that I think was right given the alternative – would have blamed racism for costing him the election if he’d lost.

    I don’t care about race. I don’t give a fig about skin colour. I care about the truth, about free speech and being rational and honest – and polite and considerate.

    I think Obama hasn’t turned out to be a great president, he hasn’t lived up to the hype – and in retrospect a man who listens happily to a race hate preacher like Jeremiah Wright wasn’t likely to be such. I don’t however think he’s the anti-Christ, a secret Muslim or foreign born and I don’t think he’s the very worst President the US has ever had. A long way from its best President sure, but not its worst either. I think Obama’s a reasonably good man as politicans go – and I think he will, most likely be relected. I think he is the best of all the candidates on offer this time barring Huntsman and Romney.

    One last thing I guess some folks here aren’t too observant or, maybe, I wasn’t too clear. Obama isn’t necessarily an “extremist” in terms other than where you position him on the US political spectrum which is redshifted ( ;-)) relative to most of the world. Obama’s views are further to the Left than the vast majority of US politicians – that’s all I meant by that.

    Okay? Peace?

  152. Messier Tidy Upper

    A circuit breaker here :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbq0WYnph0w

    too for y’all.

    I believe those words of Carl Sagan’s are some of the finest, truest and best ever spoken.

    I believe all people are created equal with inalienable human rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    I believe in Western civilisation and its values of tolerance, kindness, reason and seeking mutual respect and understanding.

    I believe human nature is mixed neither all bad nor all good. That we have the potential to create wonders and love well and make the world better – or choose to focus instead on selfishness and cruelty and brutality and make the world worse.

    I hope to do the former and not the latter with my life. Like everyone (?) I am a fallible human being with my own issues and contradictions and,yes, I sometimes fall short of my own ideals. But I try.

  153. DrFlimmer

    Okay? Peace?

    From my side: Agreed!

    I believe human nature is mixed neither all bad nor all good. That we have the potential to create wonders and love well and make the world better – or choose to focus instead on selfishness and cruelty and brutality and make the world worse.

    True words! But it should be the task of those, who try to make it better, to stop those, who try to make it worse.
    The question then is: How? And here people start to differ……….

    (btw: for whatever reason your video of Carl Sagen is blocked in Germany. Weird! But the “Pale Blue Dot” is equally appropriate, I guess.)

  154. Doug Little

    Wzrd1,

    You might want to inform the Myth Busters then, they busted the exploding air tank myth on their JAWS special. There is a difference between a fast decompression and an explosion as seen on JAWS. You said it yourself it would turn into a rocket, which last time I checked don’t explode (well most of the time, anyway).

  155. Doug Little

    I do, however, think it is intellectually dishonest to pretend that Obama’s race wasn’t a factor that worked in his favour in the last election

    Once again, how does being a minority work in your favor in a general election? If that were an advantage then we should see more presidents from minority groups, which we do not. As a mater of fact minority groups are vastly underrepresented in government in general.

  156. TerryEmberson

    @Yojimbo:

    Explanation well taken. However, in each of the examples you gave, while there are differing opinions around the edges, and sometimes very divergent predictions about the fine details, there is also a large core body of knowledge that is generally accepted throughout the discipline.

    That is also the case with economics among pure science economists. There is an extremely obvious body of knowledge to show that free market methods increase stability and provide for greater prosperity. One needs only look at the current Asian economic situation to see that shifts toward protecting private property and allowing freedom of economic activity increases personal prosperity and freedom.

    The processes of supply and demand, Ricardian and absolute advantage, and the fundamental requirements for economic development are known and agreed upon, even by the likes of Paul Krugman. Krugman is hilarious in his ability to argue economic principles in his scientific work and then following up with making suggestions that violate all of those principles. Fundamental disagreements remain, but most of them are fueled by political ideologies that ignore reality. As a note, the Washington Consensus failed for a number of reasons, but did not mark any proof that free markets don’t work. They proved that effective governance is more important than any of the liberal or libertarian economists wanted to believe, despite clear evidence going back to at least the 1960s.

    There is also a fundamental difference between economic researchers, economic forecasters, economic ideologues, and economic polemicists. In climate science, for instance, each of these individuals gets their own special name. Researchers are climatologists, forecasters are meteorologists, ideologues are environmentalists, and polemicists are science journalists. In economics, they are all called economists regardless of what they actually do.

    Certainly weather predictions are not 100% accurate – they are, however, surprisingly accurate for a chaotic system, and the vast majority of meteorological theory is generally accepted. Same in biology.

    How about for psychology? Are psychologists able to predict, with accuracy, behavior based upon inputs? Its still scientific. Economics is a sort of psychology en masse.

    You are correct that the predictions from different economic models will yield differing results. I would, however, expect some agreement within the discipline as to how to decide which model is appropriate.

    Economists generally don’t have a problem, if they don’t keep using outdated or discredited models in order to keep their politics happy. You want to look at motivated reasoning, look at modern Marxists.

    I do not expect 100% accuracy from the predictions, but I would expect, as with weather forecasting, some pretty accurate short term predictions, and general agreement about how to make them.

    It exists. Problem is that when the weatherman consistently predicts rain and doesn’t get it, he gets laughed out of the business. When the economic forecaster consistently predicts that the opening of a big box store like Walmart will hurt local economy and it doesn’t, he gets protected because his rhetoric is supported by politics. No political party supports rain more than the other parties.

    I don’t pretend to have any expertise in economics, but the field appears to me to be qualitatively different from every other “science” in the strength of its fundamentals.

    It isn’t. It’s just more politicized (it’s been politicized since Marx, Smith, and Ricardo). I’d also suggest that you study the topic. Knowing that evolution is real is a nifty thing to do. Knowing that free market economics actually works can help you make good decisions in the future.

    And as for anthropogenic climate change theories, no, those are not fuzzy. They are another area with a large body of knowledge, a large consensus as to the “big picture” and divergence when it comes to the details, because it is, as you said, a complex system.

    Consensus in science isn’t everything. In fact, it isn’t anything. AGW is a workable theory because no evidence has come along to disprove it while evidence has come along to confirm it. Individual models have been disproven, but not AGW. The evidence has shown that the world is warming. The most likely reason why is human induced increases in carbon, offbalancing the normal carbon cycle. It is, however, subject to SIGNIFICANT disagreement as to the effects of AGW, making the results of global warming less clear. Which is why those who question the severity of global warming are called denialists by the environmental movement and lumped with those who deny reality. Its a rhetorical game to end argument.

    I can accept your definition of science as ” the studying of real world phenomenon using a systematic methodology to test and organize knowledge.” What I don’t see in economics is that systematic methodology – I see conflicting methodologies fighting for supremacy. I suspect that economics will someday be a science, but it isn’t there yet.

    The systematic methodology is there. It is ignored. Personally, I disagree that they people will ever get passed that and stop ignoring the models because what the models say fundamentally disagrees with the notion that we can shape our shared destiny. There will always be people who want to change the way we exist and they will always ignore the evidence that social engineering which restricts freedom also restricts prosperity.

  157. Yojimbo

    @160. TerryEmberson

    Thanks for taking the time for this. You’ll have to color me unconvinced, though. I think the crux of the disagreement comes where you say “Economics is a sort of psychology en masse”. I agree – unfortunately, that’s because I think psychology is the second of the three disciplines with ‘delusions of science.” The third is Political Science.

    In any case, I don’t think we’re very far apart – you seem to be saying economics is a science but just doesn’t look like one because it is so misused. I say it is not a science, but might become one if it weren’t so misused. We at least agree on the misuse.

  158. TerryEmberson

    We at least agree on the misuse.

    lol. Yep.

    (And I’m typing more just so my html code is shorter than my comment)

  159. Hugo Schmidt

    Once again, how does being a minority work in your favor in a general election?

    Oh, come on, Doug, have you never heard the term “token representative”? Or “figurehead”?

    Now it is certainly arguable whether that is what happened, or how significant it was, but the point is that it is arguable. That’s the point. If we wanted to argue the first point, we might mention columns like this:

    http://prospect.org/csnc/blogs/ezraklein_archive?month=01&year=2008&base_name=obamas_gift

    If we wanted to argue the second point, we might mention that certain people have not been above playing the race card against Obammy:

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/01/29/christopher-hitchens-once-again-the-race-card.aspx

    Lest anyone think I’m letting the American right off the hook here:

    http://www.slate.com/id/2267975/

    The point is that it’s arguable, and taking this or that position is not, in itself, a racist one. Maybe an insensitive one, but I’m old an leathery enough for that.

    For my part, I am hoping for the day that someone decides to make it a central point of their campaign to “ask some serious questions” about whether Obama & Bush are secretly brothers and giant, shape shifting, blood drinking space lizards from the star Alpha Draconis, and that the whole explanation for the Bush presidency was that he was getting the people so frustrated that his little brother could take over with smooth, hypnotic rhetoric.

    I’d love this because it is a) more inventive, and b) less offensive than some of the stuff getting circulated about Obama. Take all that stuff about his middle name – how can these people miss the real point, which is that “Obama” sounds a lot like “Iguana”…?

  160. Phil Plait is right about how scary it is that common sense is so controversial to the Republicans.

    I noticed a lot of discussion about the Republican candidates and their views. Some on evolution, some on climate… never all of the candidates in one place.

    So I put together a list of all the candidates and their views on both evolution and climate in one place.

    http://www.lukesci.com/2011/09/06/all-of-the-2012-republican-candidates-on-climate-and-evolution/

  161. drake

    As a Christian who believes in science and evolution, I find this to be shameful and sad.

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