Spread the Wealth

Leaving aside the odious attack on progressive taxation that is the basis for the right’s fetishization of “spreading the wealth” as “socialism,” I’ve always felt that nobody has pointed out that Obama wasn’t talking about redistributing wealth through progressive taxation, but about the way that providing tax relief to the middle class injects money into the economy that comes into the pockets of small businessmen. The final paragraph of Obama’s conversation with Wurzelbacher:

My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.

You can read the full exchange on Jake Tapper’s blog, and my comments here are based on a re-reading of the full interchange there.

It seems to me quite clear that Obama is talking about trying to make the middle class the engine of the economy. He’s saying that a plumber’s business will be better when the middle class is doing better, that the small business owners will gain wealth when the middle class has money to spend.

Now, clearly, part of that is reducing the tax burden on the middle class, and the way Obama’s tax plan does that responsibly is by taxing the wealthy at a higher rate than at present (but no higher than they were taxed during the boom years of the Clinton administration). McCain didn’t try to be responsible in handing out tax cuts, and he was proposing giving tax cuts to the middle class, too — just not as large as Obama’s (and also giving even larger tax cuts to the very rich). So it seems to me that McCain was ineffectually trying to provide middle-class tax relief as a way of giving them more money, too, and that money would be spent on things that would cause wealth to be spread into the pockets of small business owners.

In other words, McCain’s tax plan for the middle class is based on the same principle of “spreading the wealth” in the sense that Obama actually used the phrase.

Yet, the media, left and right, has completely accepted the McCain campaign’s reframing of Obama’s comment as referring to progressive taxation. Leaving aside the fact that the Bush tax policies (which McCain now supports, after having first opposed them) have redistributed massive amounts of wealth upward such that McCain’s criticism of redistributive tax policy (while not advocating a flat tax) is hypcritical, nobody seemed interested in pointing out that in principle Obama and McCain are proposing the same thing — the only difference is the details of how they move the tax dollars around.

Flat taxation is one of those Republican shibboleths that lurks in the background most of the time, but McCain’s campaign has brought it to the fore, while polluting the whole discussion with a deceitful redefinition of the term “socialism,” something that has distracted from the basic argument about progressive taxation. Yet, in Obama’s original interchange with Wurzelbacher, he addressed the whole set of issues, completely shooting down the flat tax argument.

Why didn’t the media talk about that? I don’t know. It apparently wasn’t on the Drudge Report talking points.

My Predictions for the Election

I have two scenarios in my head, the “Obama wins by not much” and the “Obama by a landslide.”

In the first scenario, I’d see Kerry states (252) plus Iowa (7), New Mexico (5), Colorado (9), Nevada (5) and Virginia (13), for a total of 291. Likely he’ll get one or more of Missouri, North Carolina and Florida, which could add 11, 15 or 27, respectively (for a total of 302, 306 or 318. Ohio I also see as a tossup, which would add 20 or not (322, 326 or 338). So, most likely I think the results will be about 330 electoral votes in this scenario. Popular vote would be 52/46/2. In this scenario, Senate would get the three safe takeovers (Virginia, Colorado, New Mexico) plus Alaska, Oregon and New Hampshire. North Carolina is a toss-up, so it’s either 6 or 7 pickups. In regard to house seats, I see pickups in this scenario of 20-25.

For the landslide scenario, I see popular vote of 58/40/2, and the electoral map giving every state mentioned above (364) to Obama, plus Indiana (11), North Dakota (3) and Montana (3) for a total of 381. If it’s a really big landslide, I’d say Alaska (3) will go (the latest poll puts it a few points difference between Obama/McCain), along with Arizona (5), South Dakota (3), Mississippi (6) and West Virginia (5) for 408. For the Senate, I then see all the Dem pickups winning, which would mean that Dole and Coleman both lose, plus McConnell in KY, Chambliss in GA and Wicker in MS, which gives you 10 pickups in the Senate. In that scenario, I’d see 40-50 pickups in the House (just a wild guess, as I don’t even know if that’s possible).

So, my two scenarios:

  Pessimistic Landslide
Pop. Vote 52/46/2 58/40/2
EV 322-38 408
Senate 6-7 10
House 25-30 49-50

I would be surprised to see more than one aspect of the optimistic scenario come true, but not surprised it one of them comes close, though the higher the popular vote total, the more likely it becomes. I expect something in between the two scenarios, but probably closer to the pessimistic than the optimistic.

David Brooks Almost Fooled Me

I usually can’t abide David Brooks’s columns, but on the train home tonight, I got around to reading yesterday’s column. I was thinking “Wow! This is one of the best columns of his I’ve ever read! I haven’t gotten pissed off at his stupidity even once!”

Right up until the last paragraph:

Until these and other issues are addressed, the global markets will lack confidence in asset values. Bankers will cower, afraid to lend. America’s role as the global hub will be threatened. Europeans will drift toward nationalization. Neomercantilists will fill the vacuum.

This is the test. This is the problem that will consume the next president. Meanwhile, the two candidates for that office are talking about Bill Ayers and Charles Keating.

Indeed, he had me with him right up through his last sentence, and then he has to go and ruin it. The fact is, comparing Bill Ayres and Charles Keating as Brooks does is a false equivalency. One is a casual acquaintance of the candidate, while the other was the prime mover behind pushing the other candidate onto the national stage.

Worse still, if McCain weren’t talking about Ayers, Obama wouldn’t need to be pointing out McCain’s association with Keating as a way of showing how hypocritcal and dishonest McCain is.

This is what happens all the time among the elite punditocracy — they can’t seem to bring themselves to come out and state the obvious:

One candidate is a disaster, a dishonest and dishonorable man who has taken his campaign into the gutter. And that candidate is John McCain.

Second Presidential Debate

I saw the debate last night but haven’t read any blogosphere reaction. I did watch the PBS and MSNBC post mortems, and talked a bit about it with my roommate (who hasn’t watched the campaign terribly closely, though he’s pretty well-informed as a regular Daily Show/Colbert Report watcher).

  • What was with McCain standing up and wandering around all the time while Obama spoke? There was an enormous contrast between the demeanor of the two while the other party was speaking — Obama was completely relaxed and attentive to what McCain had to say. But while Obama spoke, McCain wandered around, and hardly ever sat down and just listened. I couldn’t help but think that McCain looked like one of the crazy old men you might see wandering about aimlessly in the background at a nursing home. I’m pretty sure I know why he didn’t sit down — he didn’t want to look shorter than Obama — but the end result was that he looked kinda crazy.
  • Obama didn’t take notes even once, so far as I noticed, yet he was completely in command of what he wanted to say and never missed an opportunity to respond to what McCain had said. Obama didn’t *need* notes, yet McCain appeared to.
  • I’m not sure if McCain lied less often or if I’m just getting used to, but I didn’t shout at the TV as often as I have in the first two debates.
  • Could Brokaw’s plan for 1-minute discussion have been any worse? He was asking substantive followups that required more than 1 minute between the candidates (or even 1 minute each), and if they went over, it was Brokaw’s own damned fault for asking what amounted to followup questions that simply required more time than he allowed them. It seemed rather churlish of him to ask such questions and then refuse them the time it took to answer — very seldom did either candidate filibuster in response to Brokaw’s followup questions.
  • Why in the hell would anyone think that Warren Buffet would want to be Secretary of the Treasury?

Otherwise, an uneventful debate. Obama looked more and more presidential and McCain looked more and more out of touch, just repeating the same old stuff.

Obama Deploys the Shiv When He Needs To

Details of the summit at the White House on Thursday with Bush, McCain, Obama and Senate and House leaders continue to trickle out. For me, a key point from the Washington Post’s illuminating article on the topic is this:

Pelosi said Obama would speak for the Democrats. Though later he would pepper Paulson with questions, according to a Republican in the room, his initial point was brief: “We’ve got to get something done.”

Bush turned to McCain, who joked, “The longer I am around here, the more I respect seniority.” McCain then turned to Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to speak first.

Boehner was blunt. The plan Paulson laid out would not win the support of the vast majority of House Republicans. It had been improved on the edges, with an oversight board and caps on the compensation of participating executives. But it had to be changed at the core. He did not mention the insurance alternative, but Democrats did. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, pressed Boehner hard, asking him if he really intended to scrap the deal and start again.

No, Boehner replied, he just wanted his members to have a voice. Obama then jumped in to turn the question on his rival: “What do you think of the [insurance] plan, John?” he asked repeatedly. McCain did not answer.

One Republican in the room said it was clear that the Democrats came into the meeting with a “game plan” aimed at forcing McCain to choose between the administration and House Republicans. “They had taken McCain’s request for a meeting and trumped it,” said this source.

This sounds to me as though Obama is a political genius, either because he was well-advised by Pelosi and Reid, or because he knew the right thing to do, but either way, he stuck to McCain and showed him up. That’s impolite, but it’s hard-ball politics, and I’m glad to see that behind closed doors, Obama is not averse to being impolite.

And there was no way he believed it wouldn’t get out, so he’s also sending a message to potential political opponents: you’re not dealing with a timid novice here, but with someone who knows how to capitalize on a political opportunity to skewer his political opponents.

Kudos to Obama!

Worst Fact Check Ever

FactCheck.org fancies itself the authoritative, objective, non-partisan fact-checking site on the web, but, in fact, it needs to be fact checked itself in many cases. The worst example is its fact-checking of the first Obama-McCain debate.

Example 1: Diplomatic talks with adversaries of the US

Obama said McCain adviser Henry Kissinger backs talks with Iran “without preconditions,” but McCain disputed that. In fact, Kissinger did recently call for “high level” talks with Iran starting at the secretary of state level and said, “I do not believe that we can make conditions.” After the debate the McCain campaign issued a statement quoting Kissinger as saying he didn’t favor presidential talks with Iran.

This is a very mealy-mouthed fact check (and the later detailed analysis doesn’t get any closer to the truth). In fact, there are at least two other very good fact checks of the debate, ThinkProgress’s real-time fact check, and the Washington Post’s next-day effort. The continuing “disagreement” between McCain and Obama over this issue stems from McCain’s change of the terms of the debate. He is mischaracterizing Obama’s original statement, concentrating on the *level* of the talks, whereas Obama is concentrating on whether or not there are preconditions. It is the latter that Obama has consistently criticized the Bush adminstration for using as a way to prevent any diplomatic contact with the US’s foreign adversaries. Kissinger is on record as favoring talks without preconditions at the level of Secretary of State. Obama’s position is clearly that high-level talks are needed without precondition, not that they must be engaged in by the President. In short, none of the three fact checks quite gets this one right, seems to me.

Example 2: The legendary $42K tax increase

Obama denied voting for a bill that called for increased taxes on “people” making as little as $42,000 a year, as McCain accused him of doing. McCain was right, though only for single taxpayers. A married couple would have had to make $83,000 to be affected by the vote, and anyway no such increase is in Obama’s tax plan.

This is so incredibly bad as to be laughable — even the WaPo gets this one right:

John McCain claimed that Obama voted in the Senate to raise taxes on anyone making more than $42,000 a year. This is misleading on several levels. The vote that McCain is talking about was a non-binding resolution on the budget that envisioned letting the Bush tax cuts to expire, as scheduled, in 2011. But these budget resolutions come up every year, and do not represent a vote for higher taxes in future years. In fact, Obama has said that he will continue the Bush tax cuts for middle and low-income taxpayers. He says that he will cut taxes for all but the wealthiest tax-payers.

The detailed analysis is a great example of “burying the lede:”

The resolution actually would not have altered taxes without additional legislation. It called generally for allowing most of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts to expire. McCain is referring to the provision that would have allowed the 25 percent tax bracket to return to 28 percent. The tax plan Obama now proposes, however, would not raise the rate on that tax bracket.

In other words, the legislation that Obama voted for wouldn’t have raised anyone’s taxes, because only *other* legislation could have done that, and secondly, this is not a part of Obama’s tax plan. *That* should have been the fact check conclusion at the top of the article, not buried here in the “analysis” section, where it is not even clearly drawn out to show that McCain’s use of this old canard is simply another example of McCain’s profound dishonesty.

Example 3: McCain’s $700 billion in “foreign aid”

McCain repeated his overstated claim that the U.S. pays $700 billion a year for oil to hostile nations. Imports are running at about $536 billion this year, and a third of it comes from Canada, Mexico and the U.K.

This is a truly egregious example, in that the “fact check” accepts the McCain campaign’s spin, allowing them to compare apples to oranges, and then does nothing but quibble over whether it’s a McIntosh or a Red Delicious being compared to the orange. A real fact check from the WaPo:

When discussuing what ways he would save money in the federal budget, McCain said, “Look, we’re sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don’t like us very much.” This is a line he used in his campaign acceptance speech, but as a matter of context he was not talking about foreign aid. That only amounts to $39 bllion a year, most of which is economic aid. McCain instead is talking about the amount of money that Americans spend on foreign oil, though some experts think that figure is a bit high. It certainly is not part of the federal budget.

And ThinkProgress’s version of the same fact check:

Discussing ways he would save money in the federal budget, McCain said, “Look, we’re sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don’t like us very much.” But as the Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler points out, McCain is confusing foreign aid with the amount of money that Americans spend on foreign oil. The U.S. spends only $39 bllion a year in foreign aid.

The only justification for FactCheck’org’s acceptance of McCain’s framing of the issue as oil money is to ignore the context within the debate. From the transcript:

OBAMA: The problem with a spending freeze is you’re using a hatchet where you need a scalpel. There are some programs that are very important that are under funded. I went to increase early childhood education and the notion that we should freeze that when there may be, for example, this Medicare subsidy doesn’t make sense.

Let me tell you another place to look for some savings. We are currently spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when they have a $79 billion surplus. It seems to me that if we’re going to be strong at home as well as strong abroad, that we have to look at bringing that war to a close./p>

MCCAIN: Look, we are sending $700 billion a year overseas to countries that don’t like us very much. Some of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations.

The issue is clearly *government* expenditures, but McCain is talking about the total that the US economy spends on foreign oil. This is a completely non sequiture, and rather Palin-like in its ADD switch from the topic of discussion to one of his debate-prepped talking points. FactCheck.org accepts McCain’s context switch (and, not suprisingly, McCain uses inaccurate numbers even in his own private context), and ignores the fact that he’s making a really stupid claim that sounds to the casual listener as though the US spends $700 billion in governmental expenditures for foreign aid. This is either profoundly dishonest on McCain’s part, or just sloppy debating. Either way, no fact checker should be led by the nose this easily.

Amusingly enough, the editors of the article seem surprised at the idea that the context was actually different from what they “fact checked,” since they add this parenthetical comment:

(Note: A few of our readers messaged us, after we first noted McCain’s mistake, with the thought that he was referring to foreign aid and not to oil. If so he’s even farther off than we supposed: The entire budget for the State Department and International Programs works out to just $51.3 million.)

Ya think? Geez. There is no question that in the actual context of the debate (i.e., following Obama’s remarks on Federal spending) McCain’s switch of subject away from government spending to the whole country’s expenditures on foreign oil leads to the implication (intended by McCain or not), that he’s talking about government spending on foreign aid.


Example 4: Percentage who get Obama’s tax cuts

Obama said 95 percent of “the American people” would see a tax cut under his proposal. The actual figure is 81 percent of households.

This is a case of cherry picking Obama’s words. At one point in the debate, what Obama said. From the transcript:

…Now, $18 billion is important; $300 billion is really important.

And in his [McCain's] tax plan, you would have CEOs of Fortune 500 companies getting an average of $700,000 in reduced taxes, while leaving 100 million Americans out.

So my attitude is, we’ve got to grow the economy from the bottom up. What I’ve called for is a tax cut for 95 percent of working families, 95 percent.

And that means that the ordinary American out there who’s collecting a paycheck every day, they’ve got a little extra money to be able to buy a computer for their kid, to fill up on this gas that is killing them.

Obama was *very* clear here on who it applied to, not 95% of taxpayers, but 95% of “working families.” It’s no surprise that this “fact check” is not included in the others, since this is just a made-up error in the FactCheck.org version, which bases its “fact check” on another context, in which Obama said this:

My definition — here’s what I can tell the American people: 95 percent of you will get a tax cut. And if you make less than $250,000, less than a quarter-million dollars a year, then you will not see one dime’s worth of tax increase.

Now, to me, the second sentence makes precisely clear what he means, by virtue of citing the cutoff for his tax cuts (i.e., $250K). In the context of the debate, it’s even clearer, since it was the question of “who is rich.” The “fact check” is only true if you ignore the relationship between the two sentences uttered back-to-back by Obama.

Example 5: McCain’s health care “plan”

Obama mischaracterized an aspect of McCain’s health care plan, saying “employers” would be taxed on the value of health benefits provided to workers. Employers wouldn’t, but the workers would. McCain also would grant workers up to a $5,000 tax credit per family to cover health insurance.

This one is close, in that Obama was a bit elliptical in how he worded it (from the transcript):

Just one last point I want to make, since Senator McCain talked about providing a $5,000 health credit. Now, what he doesn’t tell you is that he intends to, for the first time in history, tax health benefits.

So you may end up getting a $5,000 tax credit. Here’s the only problem: Your employer now has to pay taxes on the health care that you’re getting from your employer. And if you end up losing your health care from your employer, you’ve got to go out on the open market and try to buy it.

The fact is, employee withholding will have to go up, which means that an employer’s payments in taxes to the Federal government will go up. But those taxes will be taken out of the employee’s paycheck. The principle behind employee-provided healthcare was that the cost was tax-free, and it allowed the employer to provide non-taxed benefits. If those benefits are taxable, it becomes a good question why the employer should provide them at all, and the assumption among many experts is that employers will simply drop their health plans entirely, leaving the employees to find their own health insurance. So, while it’s technically true that the taxes will be paid with a check from your employer, the employer is just passing through money taken out of the employees’ paychecks.

I’d score this as another of those fact checks that gets the detail right (McIntosh vs. Red Delicious) and misses the main point. You’ll also note that it’s not an issue mentioned on either of the other fact checkers, which tells you something about whether or not it was in need of any comment.

The last really annoying thing about this article is that the summary omits a boatload of the detailed fact checks in the analysis section. Why would that be? Well, perhaps it’s because in the details, it becomes quite clear that most of the factual errors were by McCain — by cherry picking which fact checks to put at the head of the article in summary format, they make it look like there was some kind of parity between the two candidates, with both Obama and McCain saying a few things that were inaccurate. But, once again, here we have the media coddling a Republican for lying by putting the truth beneath the fold: McCain lies a lot and Obama only occasionally shades the truth (and usually because he’s being elliptical, not because he’s misrepresenting basic facts).

Debate Reaction

The pundits I saw last night on the TV machine (as our beloved Rachel Maddow calls it) all seemed to see the thing as a tie. I didn’t. I thought McCain clearly won.


In my mind, McCain went into the debate as a crazily unreliable batshit insane guy who is all over the map on everything. But he was completely coherent in all of his foreign policy-related comments, and not just coherent in a Republican sense, but coherent in a reality-based community sense. I disagree with him, but he was clear and was not struggling at all to make his points. He may very well have been heavily prepped, but the prep just made his answers deeper, rather than bubbling to the surface, Palin-like, in a tumble of non sequiturs.

Yes, he told a string of lies about Obama’s record, but that’s what Republicans do these days.

But for me, he regained a level of respectability that he had lost in the past two weeks of flailing over the economic crisis. Whether or not the undecided voters see it that way, I can’t say.

Obama, on the other hand, seemed to me a lot like Kerry. He had the facts and he had coherent answers, but he just wasn’t direct enough in his answers.

And $deity spare us the awful “talk to each other” format. It may have looked really great on The West Wing, but when your debators are not actors delivering pre-scripted lines, it maybe doesn’t work so well.

What I’d like to see is a debate that is fact checked in real time, maybe with a single moderator and a panel of bloggers with computers researching every claim, so they could provide documentation on the lies to the moderator so he/she could call the candidates on them. In this debate, Obama might have been called on 2 or 3 misrepresentations at most, while McCain would have been called on at least a dozen outright lies and myriad other misrepresentations.

Of course, it will never happen.

Scott Adams — Still Dumb as a Post

Scott Adams paid out of his own pocket to do a survey of economists on Obama’s and McCain’s economic policies. While the survey decisively picks Obama’s policies over McCain’s on 9 out of 13 of the issues (6 by >50%, 3 by plurality). McCain is chosen as superior on only one issue (international trade), and beats Obama on only one other issue (waste in government), but even on that issue gets less support than “neither will make a difference.”

So, the poll is pretty darned clear in picking Obama’s policies as vastly superior to McCain’s in almost every respect — it really isn’t even close.

What is Adams’ take-away? That 48% of the respondents were Democrats. His conclusion? They are partisans, so their answers have no merit at all. This is despite the fact that independents (27%) plus Republicans (17%) plus Libertarians (3%) add up to 47% of the survey respondents, which, statistically speaking, exactly balances the Dems in the sample. If the survey numbers entirely stem from party ID, then it must show that the group of non-Democrats agree with Obama’s positions a significant portion of the time. And on 4 issues, McCain can’t even retain the 20% of his own partisans (presumably, Republicans + Libertarians) and on 1 other, can’t exceed his partisans (i.e., reaching only 20% support).

There are statistical tests that can be done to see if partisanship skews the survey results, and Adams himself is forced to admit (in a followup post) that there was a rather large degree of party-line crossing on several of the issues considered.

Adams seems completely unable to conceive of the idea that economists might support the Democrats more than Republicans because the Democrats over the past 25 years have not pushed a whole succession of batshit-crazy economic ideas as the basis for their governing philosophy. Republicans TELL LIES about the economy (for example “reductions in capital gains taxes always increase revenues”). They still subscribe to the completely discredited supply-side economics. They still think there’s no such thing as a bad tax cut (or a good tax increase). They have shown themselves irresponsible in governing, racking up record deficits and mis-spending what funds are available inefficiently.

In other words, if you look at the way Republicans act once they are in power, they implement economic policies that no economist but a partisan hack would consider good. Is it, then, surprising that most economists would not rationally pick the party that has been promoting economically sensible policies over the one that talks economic nonsense?

This is not something Adams seems able to imagine, since he lives in that disconnected fantasy world where, Nader-like, there is no difference between the two parties. In fact, there are long-term massive objective differences between the two parties on facts and on support of widely-accepted best practices in the field of economics.

But Adams got an answer he didn’t like (he wanted a tie or a McCain win) and must explain it away with accusations of bias. In doing so he plugs into all the right-wing memes about academic political bias, as well as subscribing to a strong current of anti-intellectualism, this latter despite the fact that he paid a lot of money to consult with experts.

Scott Adams is simply a moron.

If you’ve been paying attention, though, you already knew that.

Addendum: Adams has the honesty to post a comment by an economist that explains the party ID differences thus:

In general, I suspect the economists who favor Obama tend to have a greater relative weight on equity vs. efficiency compared to economists who favor McCain. Both groups might agree that both efficiency and equity are important, but they disagree PHILOSOPHICALLY (outside of their training as economists) on the relative importance of these two social values.

A preference for equity over efficiency would likely make these economists vote Democratic, since the history of the Democratic party’s economic policies has been almost entirely a succession of efforts to improve economic equity.

Experience Math IV

Well, we now have a definitive solution to my speculations on how many years of legislative experience are equivalent to a year of executive experience. It was provided by the delegates at the RNC last night, chanting “Zero! Zero! Zero!”

Thus, in my equation representing Palin’s experience vs. Obama’s:

10X > 11Y

The ratio here has to be less than 1.1, and, certainly, 0 is less than 1.1.

Thus, when you apply that across the board to the candidates of both parties, you get this:

McCain : 0
Palin (leg) : 0
Palin (exec) : 10
Total : 10
Obama : 0
Biden : 0
Total : 0

This causes a bit of a problem for the Republicans, though, as they’ve made the argument that the Democratic ticket has the less-experienced man at the top of the ticket. But given the fact of Zero! Zero! Zero! it’s pretty clear that by the Republicans’ own logic, their ticket is upside-down, too — Sarah Palin should be the nominee and John McCain should be the VP.

Or course, an argument like this has no legs at all — as one blogger put it today, the Republicans have a form of ADD that means that whatever they said 60 seconds ago, no matter how vehemently they argued it, is now inoperative. All that matters is what they are saying now, and suggesting they are inconsistent is just nitpicking.

Or so the argument that the traditional media will dutifully lap up from the Republican operatives will run.

Experience Math III

Turns out I wasn’t using the right numbers for Palin’s term as mayor of Wasilla, nor was I accounting for her 4 years on the Wasilla city council. This post reflects the new numbers, 10 years of executive experience and 4 years of legislative experience.

10X > 11Y

That reduces to:

X > 1.1

Let’s be generous and just round that up to 1.5. The results for both tickets would be:

McCain : 17.333
Palin (leg) : 2.67
Palin (exec) : 10
Total : 30
Obama : 7.33
Biden : 23.33
Total : 30.67

If I’ve done the math right, using the Republicans’ own screwily absurd logic about executive experience, it looks like in total the two tickets are balanced in regard to “executive experience equivalence.”

I think this exercise has demonstrated that this whole Republican talking point is about as absurd as any we’ve ever heard from them (though the “Alaska is next to Russia” one is a pretty close second).