Monday, October 29, 2007

Less than zero would be more accurate

"The Public is an old woman. Let her maunder and mumble." - Thomas Carlyle

"Democracy is, by the nature of it, a self-canceling business; and it gives in the long run a net result of zero." - Thomas Carlyle

Appoint don't elect

In the Sunday Seattle Times a fascinating editorial from former school board president Donald P. Neilson. Neilson, surely a liberal, concedes school boards should be appointed, not elected:
Moreover, the people who choose to run for office in our cities, particularly for school board, are often unqualified for the position. Running for public office has become so unattractive that qualified people tend not to run. This is particularly true of school boards where there is little or no status, no compensation and where board members are regularly assailed by irate citizens.
Neilson explains:
Today, there is hardly a single urban system, with an elected school board, that has put together a sustained, multiyear program of improvement in its schools. Going to an appointed school board — with prominent civic leaders providing competence and stability — gives us some chance that we can change that statistic.
Of course the same voters who can’t pick a school board are not only allowed, but encouraged to vote in Congressional and Presidential elections, and even though the democratic process fails at selecting the right people for something as mundane as a school board, it’s somehow beyond the pale to suggest the democratic process fails at selecting the right people for more important and more complex positions. And to think there those that still complain voter turnout is too low.

Needs a new name

Looking for a new name for Political Sketchbook, leave suggestions in comments. If your name wins, I will link to your blog, or write a hateful attack on the public figure of your choosing, or maybe both.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The best and the brightest

Odds are one of the following candidates will be our next President...

Hillary Clinton

A former lawyer, Sen. Clinton is a ruthless, corrupt, crypto-Marxist with no real qualifications. Unattractive, legitimate criticisms of her will be deflected by accusations of sexism. She’s demonstrated she will endure any humiliation in exchange for access to power. Her longest held private sector job was given to her because of who her husband was, and her chief responsibility was to act as a conduit for husband’s influence peddling. The highlight of her government work experience was an unconstitutional attempt to seize control of a large portion of the economy that she knows nothing about. Electing the wife of a former President is something done in second and third-world countries.

Barack Obama

A former lawyer and activist, Sen. Hussein-Obama is a neophyte with no real qualifications or accomplishments. Excessively and morbidly conflicted about his racial background, Obama used ‘affirmative action’ to coast to a position of privilege, but instead of considering himself lucky, he felt compelled to get himself down with the street. Legitimate criticisms of him will be deflected by accusations of racism. Electing a black man head of state is something done in third world countries.

John Edwards

A former trial lawyer (which is even more repulsive than being a former lawyer), Sen. Edwards is overly preoccupied with own hair. He’s such a non-entity John Kerry was comfortable choosing him as Vice President, because John Kerry recognized Edwards could not even outshine someone as pretentiously dull as John Kerry. May have done something in the Senate, but know one knows what is. Edwards is greatly concerned about the poor, but not so concerned that it prevents him from living in an enormous multi-million dollar home.

Mitt Romney

A member of a cult that’s not Scientology whose favorite novel is L. Ron Hubbard’s execrable Battlefield Earth, Gov. Romney enacted socialized medicine at the state level yet claims to be a conservative. He supported homosexualist ‘rights’ at the state level yet claims to be a conservative. In fact only a short time ago Gov. Romney held many liberal positions opposite to the conservative ones he claims he holds now. He has expressed a desire to bomb people. Romney bears an inexplicable and groundless grudge toward France, but at least for now does not want to bomb France.

Fred Thompson

A former lawyer, the cancerous Sen. Thompson’s main qualification is he played small parts in various movies and TV shows. Thompson can’t seem to be bothered to put any effort into his vanity campaign, but if elected, he promises to put some effort into bombing people. Legitimate criticisms of him will be deflected by well practiced cornpone anecdotes.

John McCain

Old, feeble, and cancerous (cancer is to Republican candidates what lawyering is to Democrats) McCain has spent most of his adult life hanging out with creeps (i.e. in the Senate). His infatuation with media approval and his sense of entitlement cause him to frequently take positions popular with the media that offend the ordinary people he needs to vote for him. He’s then surprised when ordinary people don’t vote for him. At the least this habit suggests he’s a terrible strategic thinker. Legitimate criticisms of him will be deflected by invoking his personal patriotism and the horrors he endured while captive of the Vietcong. Is mentally unbalanced from the horrors he endured while captive of the Vietcong. At times he spontaneously breaks into songs about bombing people.

Rudy Guliani

Not bright, Mayor Guliani is a cancerous former lawyer who frequently expresses a desire to bomb people. It’s obvious from his record he’s a liberal who thinks his desire to bomb people makes him a conservative (i.e. he’s a neocon). During his most recent divorce he publicly humiliated his wife and children, demonstrating how he feels completely unconstrained by public opinion, the concerns of family, the doctrines of his church, and common moral decency. No man unconstrained in such a manner is fit or deserving to wield power, let alone vast the vast power of the Presidency. A frequent cross dresser, Guliani seems to enjoy having his crazy wife boss him around. Legitimate criticisms of him will be deflected by invoking the 911 attacks.

Political science

Democracy: rule by incompetents chosen by imbeciles.

Wisdom of crowds

Excting new research on how the average citizen decides whom to vote for:
Princeton psychologist Alexander Todorov has demonstrated that quick facial judgments can accurately predict real-world election returns. Todorov has taken some of his previous research that showed that people unconsciously judge the competence of an unfamiliar face within a tenth of a second, and he has moved it to the political arena. His lab tests show that a rapid appraisal of the relative competence of two candidates' faces was sufficient to predict the winner in about 70 percent of the races for U.S. senator and state governor in the 2006 elections.

"Political scientists have spent 50 years documenting only modest effects of the media on voting behavior, but Todorov's research suggests we may have been looking in the wrong place," said Chappell Lawson, an associate professor of political science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. "Most of these previous studies have relied on transcripts or printed records of what the media say, with much less attention to visual images."
This means Hillary Clinton is vulnerable not because she’s a corrupt, crypto-Marxist shrew, but because she’s dumpy looking. And while a few people will vote against Mitt Romney because he’s a Mormon, far more will vote for him because he looks a little bit like a cross between Bruce Wayne and Ward Cleaver. Interestingly:
Lawson, who called Todorov's work "pioneering," added that some of his own work corroborates the new findings, indicating that competence appears to be a universal quality, recognizable across cultures. His research shows that American observers could predict the outcome of elections in Mexico based on the same gut reactions.

"Both of these papers speak to the seminal quality of appearance in candidate success," Lawson said. "Our findings surprised us, because Mexican politicians often emphasize very different aspects of their appearance, such as facial hair, which American political figures avoid. But Americans could still pick out the Mexican winners. Our data show effects at least as strong as those Todorov found."

Democratic sentiments

Compressing the idea into one syllable, Hamilton at a New York dinner replied to some democratic sentiment by striking his hand sharply on the table and saying: “Your people, sir—your people is a great beast.”
– Henry Adams, History of the United States of America During the First Administration of Thomas Jefferson.