# liberals, kerry, and Hypocrisy

Also, as to the chances of the eventual Democratic nominee – he’d better pray for a recession or some heavy inflation. Also, as to the jobs situation, it seems that if one follows the overall logic, Bush will be fine as long as employment is trending upward, which it seems to be doing:

The Macro Investor
by Steve Liesman

No Matter the Nominee, One Model
Says the Democrats Just Can’t Win

Economically speaking, the Democrats don’t have a chance in the November presidential elections.

So says the formula of Yale economics professor Ray Fair, who uses a variety of economic and historical data to predict presidential votes.

Mr. Fair has been tweaking his formula since about 1972 and it doesn’t do a bad job of predicting the vote percentage of the incumbent. In fact, the standard error is a pretty decent: 2.4 percentage points. That is, if he predicts the incumbent will get 50% of the vote, the actual percentage is usually between 47.6% and 52.4%.

Obviously, that’s a big enough range in a close election to get it wrong. (He used the formula on elections back to 1916; it would have predicted Hubert Humphrey beating Richard Nixon in 1968 with 50.2% of the vote, an error of just 0.6%.) But this time around, the landslide predicted for President Bush swamps the margin of error and then some.

I’m going to use columnist’s prerogative for a few paragraphs here and leave you hanging as to Mr. Fair’s precise prediction and how you can use the formula to make your own forecast, using your own assumptions.

Seriously, it’s worth it to spend a minute discussing how the formula is produced and what Mr. Fair is trying to achieve. To start with, Mr. Fair doesn’t appear to be on the GOP payroll; he told me recently that the latest results aren’t to his personal political tastes. So he seems, pardon the pun, fair and balanced (I’m trying to be sued by Fox News).

Mr. Fair wants to know, if it is “the economy, stupid” when it comes to elections, then how much does the stupid economy matter? And, what economic factors really play a role? And if these factors can be figured out, can outcomes be predicted?
The conclusion from Mr. Fair’s research is that economics can tell us a whole lot about behavior at the polls, as long as you take prior voting history into account and don’t rely too much on any one economic factor. That brings us nicely to what is known as the Fair Model. There are four essential elements.

By tinkering and tweaking with a variety of economic data, Mr. Fair has settled on three economic variables. The first is the economic growth rate in the three quarters immediately prior to the election (voters have short memories). The second is the inflation rate during the entire presidential term (they don’t forget inflation). The third is what Mr. Fair calls Good News, which is the number of quarters during a presidential term that growth exceeds 3.2% (they have some memory for headlines).

Each of those three variables is then multiplied by its own individual constant and they are all added together (except, of course, the inflation rate is subtracted because it’s a negative.) Then, a presidential constant is added that is specific to the president’s party, whether he is an incumbent running for re-election and whether his party has previously been in power.

OK, you’ve all waited long enough. So here’s what you get when you plug in, roughly, the consensus economic forecast: President Bush runs away with it, in a laugher, with 58% of the vote.
Feel free to visit Mr. Fair’s Web site http://fairmodel.econ.yale.edu/vote2004/computev.htm and plug in your own forecasts. His book “Predicting Presidential Elections and Other Things” lays all of this out in detail.
But you angry Democrats can save yourselves the trouble. I’ve tried to create a Democratic victory with the formula and it’s nearly impossible. Only a complete collapse of the economy even gets you within the 2.4 percentage point margin of error. You’d have to have -2% growth over the next three quarters and a 4% inflation rate to get there.

The reason for this has much to do with the specific presidential constant for George W. Bush. While I can’t argue with the statistical reasons for it, this is my biggest gripe with the formula. President Bush is handed 55.57% of the vote before the economy is even factored in.

Looking back at past elections, Mr. Fair has found that incumbency is a very lofty perch. He’s also found a slight edge for Republicans. And, it’s significant that President Bush is running for re-election after the opposition party (the Democrats) had most recently occupied the White House. You old timers and presidential history buffs are now nodding.

The formula draws on similar situations – since 1916 – when an elected Republican president ran for a second term after he took the White House away from the Democrats. Those analogs include Ronald Reagan’s manhandling of Walter Mondale, Mr. Nixon’s mauling of George McGovern and Dwight Eisenhower’s savaging of Adlai Stevenson. Those three Republicans walked away with an average of 59% of the vote. (Calvin Coolidge, as the incumbent, did win a second term in 1924 after replacing Warren Harding, but Mr. Coolidge was running for president for the first time.)

So, if anything, Mr. Bush’s constant is, historically, understated. Ten points to the history buff who can find the fourth example.) Even giving Mr. Bush half the vote from the outset, which clearly understates incumbent power, produces a Republican victory using reasonable assumptions of growth.
Is there any hope for the Democrats (or, rather, the news media’s hopes for a close election)?

I’d say a complete collapse of the economy looks unlikely. At least two quarters of strong growth seems like a good bet from here. But what if Mr. Fair’s formula suffers from the same economic problem that plagues Mr. Bush? Namely, we’ve had strong GDP growth with lousy job creation. Mr. Fair uses GDP as a proxy for jobs because usually the two are closely correlated, but this time around, there’s been a unique divergence. In the post-war era, you cannot find a time when GDP has been so strong and payroll growth so weak. Mr. Fair might learn, along with an unhappy Mr. Bush, that the two aren’t interchangeable and growth that doesn’t produce jobs isn’t good economics or politics.

Whatever the results of today’s jobs report, there’s no changing the weak jobs numbers under the Bush presidency. But Mr. Fair notes that voters won’t remember the total. They’ll look at the current momentum, so job creation from now through November will weigh heavily in Mr. Bush’s favor.

The war in Iraq could also hurt. This, of course, would undermine Mr. Fair’s entire theory that it’s the economy, stupid. But, at the very least, the Iraqi war seems to be motivating Democrats and it remains to be seen if that opposition has any wider electoral appeal. (I have my doubts, given the Nixon landslide amid the much more unpopular Vietnam War.)

Finally, the formula has been badly wrong only once: that was in 1992, when it predicted the incumbent would win with 51.7% of the vote. It was off by 5.1 percentage points. That, of course, was the last time a man named Bush ran for re-election.

stupidcrats are doomed…and I am laughing all the way!!!

Lumpy, I thought I was being clear. Here are my answers

“I don’t exactly know what you are trying to claim… that John Kerry LIED to Congress during his testimony? Is that your claim?”

Yes. He knew testimony was fictitious and cited it anyway, as far as we can tell from him not repenting.

“Kerry said other soldiers reported atrocities to him.”

Kerry referred to specific written accounts that were proven false.

“Also, you say Kerry “marched under a VC flag”. Your accusations are pretty vague. Are you saying Kerry carried a VC flag? Or that he was at a march where someone else carried a VC flag?”

I don’t think that was vague. Obviously, I did not say that he carried a VC flag. And “marched under a flag” is different than being “at a march where someone else carried a VC flag.” Can you put it together now? I’m sorry, but it has nothing to do with a million-man-march-type crowd with a few members carrying flags.

I was a kid during the VietNam war, but I am sure that if I had been older, I would have been against the war. So the fact that Kerry stood up against the war does not bother me. In fact I think it took balls. The whole “Domino Theory” rationale for getting involved turned out to be bogus. America’s involvement has done more harm than good. If anybody here is FOR that, then go for it.

Bush’s military records remain sealed. If he wanted to put the questions to rest, all he has to do is open his records. An Honorable Discharge is no proof of his fulfilling his duties, any more than a high school diploma is proof that someone is a good student. All it means is that somebody higher up gave him a FREE PASS out of the Guard, the same way they gave him a pass INTO the Guard. I don’t suppose the fact that his dad was a wealthy Congressman had anything to do with it?

The fact that the GOP needs to go back 30 years to try to dig up some dirt says a lot. They can’t run on their record! They can’t run on what is happening right now.

When Bush tells real people the economy has recovered, they will laugh in his face. Wall Street is doing fine. Rich people have it fine. Regular people still need jobs.

Bush can’t run on the Iraq war, and he can’t run on his domestic policy. Bush increased domestic discretionary spending by a record 8.2 percent, compared to 2.5 percent for Bill Clinton, 2 percent for Jimmy Carter and 4.3 percent for Lyndon Johnson.

Bush is a bigger spender than ANY Democrat in history!!!

Kerry served his time and he’s clearly a good soldier and someone who would do their duty for their country. USGG is clearly someone who is attempting to pick a fight since it takes about 10 minutes of research to see that Bush was in the Air National Guard which is analagous to the Boy Scouts. A friend and I when we were teenagers raided a UA Air Guard camp for fun and there wasn’t much resistance from the weekend warriors there. USGG: you are about to lose, how does that feel? Stop whining where whining isn’t due. If Bush’s record on Iraq at this point isn’t enough for your stupid ass, nothing is. Have a nice day.

Paranoia has obviously set in deep with our dear US=GG. But witnessing Dubya flubbin n blathering on Meet the Press finally sent him over the edge.

But a playa hater? Tell us it ain’t so G! Because you know tha illest playa come outta Crawford witdat serious pimp stroll.

nice suit.

Lumpy, you write:

“I was a kid during the VietNam war, but I am sure that if I had been older, I would have been against the war. So the fact that Kerry stood up against the war does not bother me. In fact I think it took balls. The whole “Domino Theory” rationale for getting involved turned out to be bogus. America’s involvement has done more harm than good. If anybody here is FOR that, then go for it.”

This shows that you either have not read my posts on this thread, or that you have entirely disregarded my points. As you may have read, I would also say that in most cases standing up against Vietnam took balls (see Walter Cronkite), that our involvement did more harm than good, and that the Domino Theory did not apply. The issue is not whether Vietnam equals bad, and whether supporting it or protesting it represents good moral, political or military judgement.

I hate politics.

Brian Smith: True, I guess I don’t know what your point is.

Anyway, if military record becomes a campaign issue that is fine with me. If protesting against the war in VietNam is an issue, that is fine with me.

"By comparison, John Kerry is is all there. He’s unusual among politicians because he actually asked to go to Vietnam. In fact, he hadn’t even graduated from Yale before signing up for the Navy in February 1966.

He served two tours in Southeast Asia, one aboard a missile ship and then on a 50ft gunboat in the Mekong Delta, where he came under regular sniper fire.

Kerry was awarded the Silver Star in February 1969, after leaping ashore, chasing and shooting a Viet Cong soldier who had fired a rocket at his boat.

During his four months, Kerry also took a bullet in the leg and suffered two arm wounds, earning three Purple Hearts.

He was also awarded the Bronze Star and the Navy’s Silver Star for gallantry in action. And in a country that appreciates old-fashioned heroism, few recommendations come louder Jim Rassman’s.

The ex-Green Beret was pulled to safety amid sniper fire by a wounded Kerry in 1969.

Rassman, who embraced Kerry at a recent rally, declared: “I probably owe this man my life.”

JOHN F KERRY
RECORD: Naval officer in Vietnam. Wounded in action
MEDALS: 3 Purple Hearts, Silver Star, Bronze Star

GEORGE W BUSH
RECORD: Didn’t go to Vietnam. May have gone AWOL from Alabama National Guard(?)
MEDALS: None

Lumpy, it’s clear that you’d rather disregard my point in favor of a selective comparison of military service, like the stats on the back of two baseball cards issued in 1973. If you don’t feel my angle on Kerry’s conduct in protesting Vietnam should sway you from fully endorsing him against GWB, that’s fine. But it’s a matter of your priorities.

BTW, the reason John Kerry still is in possession of those medals you list (on display at his Senate office) is because when he threw out “his war medals” in poignant protest they actually belonged to another Veteran, which Kerry never revealed whenever reporters discussed with him this act of humility and bravery he showed the world.

BTW, did you read the link ScottL posted, about Kerry’s accessions to VERY special interests [non-rhetorical question]? Perhaps you already know about how much Kerry knew about charity before he ran afoul of Boston journalists and met Teresa Heinz’s bank account? There’s more here than meets the eye than Kerry’s Mt.-Rushmore face. Actually, there’s less.

Thanks for the injection of rationality Mr. Cut and Dry, aka US=GG. We are surely a bunch of GI Joes…freedom fighters with the good of the many in our sights.

Who knows what you are arguing about. Veteranship is a legitimate political issue–Kerry served, Bush swerved–that’s the point of the Kerry campaign.

I’m willing to accept that by the very nature of our democratic system, candidates do what’s necessary to be elected. They are salesman. Fine, so be it. I just need a president with a spine and a brain. I like knowing that my president has a general understanding of the world he’s helping to run and that he can understand and maybe even respond to difficult questions with original thoughts. Did you watch Meet the Press? The most powerful man in the world is quite certainly stupid. He ought to be cleaning the White House. He’s a political Frankenstein–democracy gone horribly wrong.

I do, however, like my hypocricy to be unadulterated…???

“He’s a political Frankenstein–democracy gone horribly wrong.”

Are you a professional writer or something?

Brian Smith: Are you saying John Kerry threw SOMEBODY ELSE’S medals over the fence???

Big f-cking deal!!! I couldn’t care less.

I hope my position is clear on that issue.

Lumpy, I think you misunderstand me again. We agree that throwing out somebody else’s medals in protest is not a big deal. What’s ignoble is not clarifying the facts when somebody discusses in front of you that throwing out YOUR OWN MEDALS was an example of your character, conviction and political self-sacrifice.

Great piece by Christopher Hitchens on picking a Democratic candidate in Slate, http://slate.msn.com//id/2095158/. Hitchens writes:

“John Kerry should decide whether he’s a moral hero for fighting in a futile and filthy war against the Vietnamese revolution, or for protesting against that war. Can I guess from his demeanor which of the two was his “noble cause”? No. Shouldn’t I know by now? Yes, I should, since it’s not evident at this relatively late date whether or not he’s proud of voting to remove Saddam Hussein.”
Which relates to when Hitchens says, “I’m a single-issue person at present, and the single issue in case you are wondering is the tenacious and unapologetic defense of civilized societies against the intensifying menace of clerical barbarism. If in the smallest doubt about this, I would suggest a vote for the re-election of George Bush, precisely because he himself isn’t prey to any doubt on the point. There are worse things than simple mindedness—pseudo-intellectuality, for example. Civil unions for homosexuals, or prescription-drug programs, are not even going to be in second or third place if we get this wrong.”

Re: Bush’s service –

With all the questions in the press and the accusations of “AWOL,” I thought this letter to the editor by a former squadron mate of Bush’s might be interesting:

‘Bush and I were lieutenants’
George Bush and I were lieutenants and pilots in the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), Texas Air National Guard (ANG) from 1970 to 1971. We had the same flight and squadron commanders (Maj. William Harris and Lt. Col. Jerry Killian, both now deceased). While we were not part of the same social circle outside the base, we were in the same fraternity of fighter pilots, and proudly wore the same squadron patch.
It is quite frustrating to hear the daily cacophony from the left and Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, et al., about Lt. Bush escaping his military responsibilities by hiding in the Texas ANG. In the Air Guard during the Vietnam War, you were always subject to call-up, as many Air National Guardsmen are finding out today. If the 111th FIS and Lt. Bush did not go to Vietnam, blame President Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, not lowly Lt. Bush. They deliberately avoided use of the Guard and Reserves for domestic political calculations, knowing that a draftee only stirred up the concerns of one family, while a call-up got a whole community’s attention.
The mission of the 147th Fighter Group and its subordinate 111th FIS, Texas ANG, and the airplane it possessed, the F-102, was air defense. It was focused on defending the continental United States from Soviet nuclear bombers. The F-102 could not drop bombs and would have been useless in Vietnam. A pilot program using ANG volunteer pilots in F-102s (called Palace Alert) was scrapped quickly after the airplane proved to be unsuitable to the war effort. Ironically, Lt. Bush did inquire about this program but was advised by an ANG supervisor (Maj. Maurice Udell, retired) that he did not have the desired experience (500 hours) at the time and that the program was winding down and not accepting more volunteers.
If you check the 111th FIS records of 1970-72 and any other ANG squadron, you will find other pilots excused for career obligations and conflicts. The Bush excusal in 1972 was further facilitated by a change in the unit’s mission, from an operational fighter squadron to a training squadron with a new airplane, the F-101, which required that more pilots be available for full-time instructor duty rather than part-time traditional reservists with outside employment.
The winding down of the Vietnam War in 1971 provided a flood of exiting active-duty pilots for these instructor jobs, making part-timers like Lt. Bush and me somewhat superfluous. There was a huge glut of pilots in the Air Force in 1972, and with no cockpits available to put them in, many were shoved into nonflying desk jobs. Any pilot could have left the Air Force or the Air Guard with ease after 1972 before his commitment was up because there just wasn’t room for all of them anymore.
Sadly, few of today’s partisan pundits know anything about the environment of service in the Reserves in the 1970s. The image of a reservist at that time is of one who joined, went off for six months’ basic training, then came back and drilled weekly or monthly at home, with two weeks of “summer camp.” With the knowledge that Mr. Johnson and Mr. McNamara were not going to call out the Reserves, it did become a place of refuge for many wanting to avoid Vietnam.
There was one big exception to this abusive use of the Guard to avoid the draft, and that was for those who wanted to fly, as pilots or crew members. Because of the training required, signing up for this duty meant up to 2? years of active duty for training alone, plus a high probability of mobilization. A fighter-pilot candidate selected by the Guard (such as Lt. Bush and me) would be spending the next two years on active duty going through basic training (six weeks), flight training (one year), survival training (two weeks) and combat crew training for his aircraft (six to nine months), followed by local checkout (up to three more months) before he was even deemed combat-ready. Because the draft was just two years, you sure weren’t getting out of duty being an Air Guard pilot. If the unit to which you were going back was an F-100, you were mobilized for Vietnam. Avoiding service? Yeah, tell that to those guys.
The Bush critics do not comprehend the dangers of fighter aviation at any time or place, in Vietnam or at home, when they say other such pilots were risking their lives or even dying while Lt. Bush was in Texas. Our Texas ANG unit lost several planes right there in Houston during Lt. Bush’s tenure, with fatalities. Just strapping on one of those obsolescing F-102s was risking one’s life.
Critics such as Mr. Kerry (who served in Vietnam, you know), Terry McAuliffe and Michael Moore (neither of whom served anywhere) say Lt. Bush abandoned his assignment as a jet fighter pilot without explanation or authorization and was AWOL from the Alabama Air Guard.
Well, as for abandoning his assignment, this is untrue. Lt. Bush was excused for a period to take employment in Florida for a congressman and later in Alabama for a Senate campaign.
Excusals for employment were common then and are now in the Air Guard, as pilots frequently are in career transitions, and most commanders (as I later was) are flexible in letting their charges take care of career affairs until they return or transfer to another unit near their new employment. Sometimes they will transfer temporarily to another unit to keep them on the active list until they can return home. The receiving unit often has little use for a transitory member, especially in a high-skills category like a pilot, because those slots usually are filled and, if not filled, would require extensive conversion training of up to six months, an unlikely option for a temporary hire.
As a commander, I would put such “visitors” in some minor administrative post until they went back home. There even were a few instances when I was unaware that they were on my roster because the paperwork often lagged. Today, I can’t even recall their names. If a Lt. Bush came into my unit to “pull drills” for a couple of months, I wouldn’t be too involved with him because I would have a lot more important things on my table keeping the unit combat ready.
Another frequent charge is that, as a member of the Texas ANG, Lt. Bush twice ignored or disobeyed lawful orders, first by refusing to report for a required physical in the year when drug testing first became part of the exam, and second by failing to report for duty at the disciplinary unit in Colorado to which he had been ordered. Well, here are the facts:
First, there is no instance of Lt. Bush disobeying lawful orders in reporting for a physical, as none would be given. Pilots are scheduled for their annual flight physicals in their birth month during that month’s weekend drill assembly ? the only time the clinic is open. In the Reserves, it is not uncommon to miss this deadline by a month or so for a variety of reasons: The clinic is closed that month for special training; the individual is out of town on civilian business; etc.
If so, the pilot is grounded temporarily until he completes the physical. Also, the formal drug testing program was not instituted by the Air Force until the 1980s and is done randomly by lot, not as a special part of a flight physical, when one easily could abstain from drug use because of its date certain. Blood work is done, but to ensure a healthy pilot, not confront a drug user.
Second, there was no such thing as a “disciplinary unit in Colorado” to which Lt. Bush had been ordered. The Air Reserve Personnel Center in Denver is a repository of the paperwork for those no longer assigned to a specific unit, such as retirees and transferees. Mine is there now, so I guess I’m “being disciplined.” These “disciplinary units” just don’t exist. Any discipline, if required, is handled within the local squadron, group or wing, administratively or judicially. Had there been such an infraction or court-martial action, there would be a record and a reflection in Lt. Bush’s performance review and personnel folder. None exists, as was confirmed in The Washington Post in 2000.
Finally, the Kerrys, Moores and McAuliffes are casting a terrible slander on those who served in the Guard, then and now. My Guard career parallels Lt. Bush’s, except that I stayed on for 33 years. As a guardsman, I even got to serve in two campaigns. In the Cold War, the air defense of the United States was borne primarily by the Air National Guard, by such people as Lt. Bush and me and a lot of others. Six of those with whom I served in those years never made their 30th birthdays because they died in crashes flying air-defense missions.
While most of America was sleeping and Mr. Kerry was playing antiwar games with Hanoi Jane Fonda, we were answering 3 a.m. scrambles for who knows what inbound threat over the Canadian subarctic, the cold North Atlantic and the shark-filled Gulf of Mexico. We were the pathfinders in showing that the Guard and Reserves could become reliable members of the first team in the total force, so proudly evidenced today in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It didn’t happen by accident. It happened because back at the nadir of Guard fortunes in the early '70s, a lot of volunteer guardsman showed they were ready and able to accept the responsibilities of soldier and citizen ? then and now. Lt. Bush was a kid whose congressman father encouraged him to serve in the Air National Guard. We served proudly in the Guard. Would that Mr. Kerry encourage his children and the children of his colleague senators and congressmen to serve now in the Guard.
In the fighter-pilot world, we have a phrase we use when things are starting to get out of hand and it’s time to stop and reset before disaster strikes. We say, “Knock it off.” So, Mr. Kerry and your friends who want to slander the Guard: Knock it off.

``````COL. WILLIAM CAMPENNI (retired)
U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard
Herndon, Va.5
``````

Good letter, thanks BB.

Bush was placed in the “Champagne Unit”.

I would be curious to see if a single Chapagne Unit member was sent to Viet Nam.

Somehow, I doubt it.

By the way, I don’t think this issue of military service is a big deal or a core issue. The Republicans are actually the ones driving the issue, because they took offense at Michael Moore’s comments etc.

It is interesting to note how quickly Bush and Cheney sent soldiers to warm, when both of them has never fought themselves. Did you see the president SMILE when he said “Im a war president” on Meet the Press???

I am much more interested in issues like runaway spending by the GOP, the huge deficit they are running up, special interest groups like energy companies and pharmaceutical companies actually writing our legislation, tax cuts for rich people in a time of war, the gutting of clean air and clean water protection, the skewing and cherry picking of intelligence to justify a preemptive strike, the vice president’s Halliburton connection and their bribing of foreign officials as well as overcharging the US taxpayers by millions of dollars, the president’s refusal to hand over 9-11 documents and stonewalling the 9-11 investigation.

Those are a few of the issues that I find more important than military service.

Lumpy,

Rosevelt,Truman, Johnson and Clinton all sent men to war and none of them ever served in the military.

You have some good points regarding the deficit, but you always lose me when you go over board with all the Bush bashing, it’s getting old!