Thursday, 29 October 2009

HOW QUESTIONS AFFECT RESULTS

Ken Berwitz

I would hope you already know that the way a question is asked has an affect on how it is answered.

And if you know that, you should also know that pollsters can alter their results by how they word their questions.

With that in mind, please read the following piece by Jay Cost, of www.realclearpolitics.com.  Then we'll talk....

RealClearPolitics HorseRaceBlog

By Jay Cost

Why Is the White House Courting Olympia Snowe? | HorseRaceBlog Home Page

The Public Option in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll

Last week I argued that question wording might be influencing polling outcomes on the public option - generally skewing the results closer to the Democratic side of the ledger because of contested buzzwords like "choice," "competition," and "option."

I noted at the time that the best way to test this theory was via an apples-to-apples scenario in which we can hold the pollster, the methodology, and the time of the poll constant. That's why I thought the Rasmussen results were significant: Rasmussen changed the wording of questions on the public option and found markedly different results.

The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, conducted by Hart/McInturff, gives us another such opportunity. They split their sample into two groups (A and B), and ask each subsample a different version of a public option question.

Here's the first version, asked of subsample A.

And thinking about one aspect of the debate on health care legislation

33.  In any health care proposal, how important do you feel it is to give people a choice of both a public plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance extremely important, quite important, not that important, or not at all important?

                                      10/9    9/9     6/9

Extremely important           45%    48%    41%

Quite important                 27      25      35

Not that important              8       8       12

Not at all important            15      15      8

Not sure                            5       4       4

This is your typically tilted question. The idea of a "choice" is referenced - again, Republicans would hotly dispute this. In this specific wording, respondents are asked how they feel about "(giving) people a choice," forcing opponents of the public option to play the part of Ebenezer Scrooge. Unsurprisingly, this wording produces some good results for public option advocates. Another potential factor driving these results: opponents of the public option might not have a category to register their opposition here. Can they say "not at all important?" Perhaps, but does that accurately reflect their views? A lot of opponents of the public option think it is quite an important issue.

Here's the second version of the public option question, asked of subsample B.

34. Would you favor or oppose creating a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health care insurance companies?

                                      10/9    9/9     6/9     7/9

Favor                               48%    46%    43%    46%

Oppose                             42       48      47       44

Not sure                           10         6      10       10

This one is less tilted to the Democratic side, although Republicans would still dispute the idea that a health care marketplace with a public option will actually generate competition. Still, the removal of the highly loaded phrase "(giving) people a choice" makes this less tilted overall - also, this time people have an opportunity to register support or opposition. And notice the big change. A majority of respondents are either uncertain or in opposition.

So, this is another apples-to-apples comparison. As with Rasmussen, NBC/WSJ finds that changes in question wording on the public option can produce big changes in the poll results.

Ok, Cost has a perfectly valid point.  Change the question and change the results.

But there is a little more to it.

Let's start with the fact that these are not different versions of the same question.  These are different questions. 

-The first asks how important it is to have a choice between public and private options, without specifying how either would work.  It is 100% blue-sky. 

-The second specifically asks whether respondents would favor or oppose a government health care plan, and gives a specific element of the plan (i.e. it would compete directly with private health care) - one that may or may not be true.    

Next, let's deal with that true or not true issue.  Since the first question asks for an opinion on a very general question, the truth part of things only applies to how the results are presented (which I'm not going into here).

But the second question is instructing respondents about what the health care plan is.  And this health care plan cannot be explained in a single sentence. 

That, of course, is before we get to whether it is fair to say that it competes directly with private companies.  It is not.  ObamaCare would be created by the people who make the rules for both public AND private health care.  And, because it is sucking off the government teat, it doesn't have to worry about profitability. 

How in the world can any reasonable person equate a private company that has to worry about profit-and-loss, with a government entity that a) is making the rules and b) can lose billions without going out of business? 

I could go on (results are also materially affected by the order of questioning, who is questioned, the day of the week, the time of day and a ton of other stuff that Mr. Cost is not factoring in), but the point - I would hope - is pretty clear by now.

Do not - repeat, do not - take "polls" at face value.  And do not assume that one poll is no more or less valid than another, even if the number of respondents is similar.  There is a lot more to this than most people realize.

Zeke ... There is another aspect of this.... The results change if either a) you have a small sample size or b) opinion swings widely from day to day ...... so, take a few dozen samples of, say 10 people each, and pick the few that (randomly) have the best results (our group had 38% fewer cavities) .... or do the testing on a day where news stories make people aware of YOUR side of the argument (racist Cambridge cop arrests Black Harvard Professor in his own home .... cuffs him, mug shot, yadda yadda) (10/29/09)

Ken Berwitz Zeke Yep. political research is an"art form". And using it to one's advantage may necessitate a certain type of "artist". I'll leave it to your common sense to decide which type. (10/29/09)


A PROVERB FOR 2010

Ken Berwitz

My sister sent this proverb to me.  I thought you might find it entertaining and instructive:

John was in the fertilized egg business.

 

He had several hundred young layers (hens), called 'pullets, and ten roosters to fertilize the eggs.

 

He kept records, and any rooster not performing went into the soup pot and was replaced.

 

This took a lot of time, so he bought some tiny bells and attached them to his roosters.

 

Each bell had a different tone,  so he could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing.

 

Now, he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report by just listening to the bells.

 

John's favorite rooster, old Butch, was a very fine specimen.

 

But this morning he noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all! 

 

When he went to investigate, he saw the other roosters were busy chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing, but the pullets, hearing the roosters coming, could run for cover.

 

To John's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring.

 

He'd sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.

 

John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the Renfrew County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges. 

 

The result was the judges not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize, but they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well.

 

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making.

 

Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention.

 

Vote carefully next year, the bells are not always audible.

I'm pretty sure this didn't actually happen.  But when you think politics, especially these days, you never know.....

The 2010 elections cannot come fast enough.


THE PRESIDENT'S D&D INDEX FOR AFGHANISTAN (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

The President Obama Afghanistan D&D (Dither & Dawdle) index is at two months and counting.

Here, from the Chicago Sun-Times, is Mr. Obama's schedule for today:

9:30AM Pool Call Time

11:50AM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks on the Administration's plan to help small businesses

EEOB South Court

Pooled Press (Pre-Set 11:00AM - Final Gather 11:25AM - Stakeout Location)

1:45PM THE PRESIDENT meets with Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore

Oval Office

Pool spray at the top (Gather Time 1:40PM - Briefing Room)

2:40PM THE PRESIDENT meets with Senator Patrick Leahy

Oval Office

Closed Press

3:15PM THE PRESIDENT signs the Girl Scouts USA Centennial Commemorative Coin Act

Oval Office

Closed Press

3:45PM THE PRESIDENT meets with senior advisors

Oval Office

Closed Press

5:05PM THE PRESIDENT meets with representatives of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

Will any of this result in Mr. Obama making a decision on whether to send the additional troops that his commanding General, Stanley McChrystal, says are imperative for the war in Afghanistan? 

Every day that Barack Obama dithers and dawdles away without acting endangers our men and women in uniform - and brings us closer to losing this war.

His press secretary, Robert "Baghdad Bob" Gibbs, tells us the President needs more time to make his decision.

Will signing a girl scout commemorative coin act or meeting with a group of different political and racially/ethnically segregated congressional caucuses move that decision along?  Are they more important than acting as commander in chief to protect our troops?

We deserve this.  We elected a Chicago machine politician without any qualifications for the Presidency, and handed him a lopsided majority in both houses to back his actions up.

But does our volunteer army deserve this --  especially those who are at risk in Afghanistan? 

Mr. President, when are you going to DO SOMETHING?


PISS HBO

Ken Berwitz

Do you think it's playful, rather than malicious, for a TV show to have someone urinating on a picture of Jesus Christ?  Do you think it's playful, rather than malicious, to show two devout Christian women, convinced that the urine is, in reality, tears from the picture, kneel down and pray to the urine-soaked Christ?

If so, you'll probably agree with HBO's position, which I have excerpted from a Fox News article:

Comedian Larry David is under attack from critics who say he pushed the mocking of religion and Christian belief in miracles over the edge in the latest episode of his HBO series "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which the cable network defended as "playful." 

On the show's most recent installment, which aired Sunday, David urinates on a painting of Jesus Christ, causing a woman to believe the painting depicts Jesus crying.

Deal Hudson, author and publisher of InsideCatholic.com, said he doesn't find any humor in the episode.

"I don't think it's funny," Hudson told Foxnews.com. "Why is it that people are allowed to publicly show that level of disrespect for Christian symbols? If the same thing was done to a symbol of any other religions -- Jewish or Muslim -- there'd be a huge outcry. It's simply not a level playing field."

Hudson said an apology from the show's producers and writing team should be issued.

"Somebody should [apologize]," Hudson said. "When is it going to stop? When is common sense going to dictate that people realize this willingness of artists to do to Christianity what they would never do to Judaism or Islam?"

In a statement to Foxnews.com, HBO downplayed the controversy.

"Anyone who follows Curb Your Enthusiasm knows that the show is full of parody and satire," the statement read. "Larry David makes fun of everyone, most especially himself.  The humor is always playful and certainly never malicious."

Tell you what:  The day that there is a "Curb Your Enthusiasm" episode with Larry David pissing on a copy of the Koran and having two devout Muslims believing it is a sign from Allah, let me know.

Until then, pardon me if I assume that this is the latest in an ongoing series of sickening, vile attacks on Christianity by elitists who think it is a laugh riot to insult people they arrogantly dismiss as their inferiors. 

You will never see anything like this directed at Muslims, because the Larry Davids and HBO executives of the world are scared out of their minds by what might happen to them if they did it.  But since they have no fear at all of Christians, it's open season all year long.

That isn't acting playful.  That is acting like a bunch of malicious, hate-filled, elitist cowards. 


THE "CASH FOR CLUNKERS" CLUNKER (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

How big of a clunker was the "cash for clunkers" debacle? 

From www.money.cnn.com (the bold print is mine):

Auto sales analysts at Edmunds.com say the pricey program resulted in relatively few additional car sales.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com senior writer

Last Updated: October 29, 2009: 12:59 PM ET


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A total of 690,000 new vehicles were sold under the Cash for Clunkers program last summer, but only 125,000 of those were vehicles that would not have been sold anyway, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the automotive Web site Edmunds.com.

Still, auto sales contributed heavily to the economy's expansion in the third quarter, adding 1.7 percentage points to the nation's gross domestic product growth.

Is the economy really getting better?

 

The Cash for Clunkers program gave car buyers rebates of up to $4,500 if they traded in less fuel-efficient vehicles for new vehicles that met certain fuel economy requirements. A total of $3 billion was allotted for those rebates.

The average rebate was $4,000. But the overwhelming majority of sales would have taken place anyway at some time in the last half of 2009, according to Edmunds.com. That means the government ended up spending about $24,000 each for those 125,000 additional vehicle sales.

"It is unfortunate that Edmunds.com has had nothing but negative things to say about a wildly successful program that sold nearly 250,000 cars in its first four days alone," said Bill Adams, spokesman for the Department of Transportation. "There can be no doubt that CARS drummed up more business for car dealers at a time when they needed help the most."

In order to determine whether these sales would have happened anyway, Edmunds.com analysts looked at sales of luxury cars and other vehicles not included under the Clunkers program.

Using traditional relationships between sales volumes of those vehicles and the types of vehicles sold under Cash for Clunkers, Edmunds.com projected what sales would normally have been during the Cash for Clunkers period and in the weeks after.

Edmunds.com's estimate of the ultimate sales increase generally matches what industry experts had thought, said George Pipas, a sales analyst with Ford Motor Co (F, Fortune 500). But that misses the point, he said.

"The whole purpose of the program was to provide some kind of catalyst to kick-start the economy," he said, "and by all accounts the extra production that was added this year was a boost to the economy."

It cost the taxpayers (that's us) $24,000 for each sale?  They might as well have just given away $20,000 cars for free, and saved $4,000 a unit.

This, folks, is the same government that wants to take over the health care system.

Think about that when you go to bed tonight.  Have a restful sleep..............


THE OPT-OUT SCAM - NOT EVEN AN EFFORT TO HIDE IT

Ken Berwitz

This is truly amazing 

Some - by no means all, but some - proponents of public-option health care  are not even trying to use Harry Reid's consummately fraudulent "opt-out" compromise ( i.e. states can either pay for ObamaCare and get it, or pay for ObamaCare and not get it.  Either way they pay.  That's the "compromise")  as cover for what they want.  They are literally gloating, out loud, about how the phony ruse works.

From Michael Graham of the Boston Herald, a columnist and frequent cable news guest (the bold print is mine):

Obfuscation off ObamaCare
Thursday, October 29, 2009 - Added 17h ago

If youre familiar with this column, you wont be surprised that last Tuesday night I appeared on a cable news show where the host ranted about how Sen. Harry Reids opt-out plan is a scam to foist the public option - and eventually socialized medicine - on the American people.

 

But you might be surprised to learn I was on MSNBC at the time. With a host who is a self-described progressive and hard-core supporter of ObamaCare.

 

I was on The Ed Show, hosted by the painfully earnest Big Ed Schultz, doing my part as the token right-wing nut. (Thats the unofficial MSNBC euphemism for people whose favorite political philosopher isnt Chairman Mao).

 

I was prepared to argue that Reids opt-out public option was a fake, a fig leaf to provide cover for wavering moderates so they could give President Barack Obama what he and the far left really want - a government-run program that would inevitably lead to a European-style single-payer system.

 

But before I could make my case, Big Ed made it for me.

 

Harry Reid has given Senate Democrats all the cover they need! he screamed - Ed always screams - at the camera. This is great move by the Democrats. This is calling out Senate moderates who arent too sure about the public option. Its great move by Harry Reid to put it this way. And it is the first step to single payer. Thats what we progressives want. This is just taking the road to get there.

 

When the camera turned my way, all I had to say was Amen.

 

Because there it was, Team Obamas entire con, laid out for all to see. And it wasnt exposed by Glenn Beck or a investigative reporter from The Wall Street Journal. It was a liberal host on MSNBC, bragging to anyone who would listen. Which, in MSNBCs case, alas, is a rather small group.

 

Still, is a con still a con if you admit it up front? Would Bernie Madoff be in jail today if he had just told everyone upfront: Look, nobody can get these kinds of returns for you and we all know it. Its a Ponzi scheme - you want in or not?

 

For weeks, opponents of ObamaCare like myself have been telling anyone who will listen that a government-run, so-called public option was a Trojan horse. When Reid came up with this convoluted opt out scheme, I thought liberals would use it to obfuscate even more.

 

Instead, Im listening to liberals like Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown brag about it. There he was on MSNBC confirming Big Eds analysis on national TV. Even with an opt out, most states arent going to opt out. Once you give something to someone, theyre not going to give it back.

 

They sound like dealers telling their street hoods how to sell crack:

 

Just get the voters hooked. Once theyre on it, theyll pay and pay and never get off!

 

All this in the face of the latest Gallup poll showing a mere 20 percent of Americans consider themselves liberals - half the number who are conservatives. This is a center-right nation with a far-left government which is going to remake America regardless of whether we actual Americans like it.

 

You almost have to admire their breath-taking brazenness. As the old saying goes, we know what theyre doing down our leg. I just long for the days when they went to the trouble to tell us it was raining.

At first blush it seems surprising that more Democrats do not take the opportunity given them by Harry Reid to pull the wool over voters' eyes.   But the more you think about it, the more you realize that a lot of congresspeople in what passes for the "moderate" segment of the Democratic Party these days, have to fear that those voters will very quickly (translation:  before the 2010 elections) realize what a scam this is and how badly they've been had. 

Frankly, the only reason we don't already have ObamaCare in place is the remarkable incompetence level of speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi and senate majority leader Harry Reid.  With a 257-177 majority in the house and a 60-40 majority in the senate (59, plus Lieberman who is an independent but aligns with the Democrats) this should have been a piece of cake.  Pretty much any legislation should be.

Now Reid demonstrates his ham-handedness and overall lack of capability again, by proposing a phony opt-out offer.  And we have at least some Democrats proudly commending him for his attempt to hoodwink voters.

The 2010 elections cannot come fast enough. 


LYING ABOUT THE SO-CALLED "STIMULUS PACKAGE"

Ken Berwitz

Sometimes the Associated Press surprises us.  In the last few months it has, at least to some degree, broken from most of our wonderful "neutral" media and started talking truth to BS about what is happening under Barack Obama's administration.

And today is no exception.

Here, excerpted from today's article, is the truth about job creation under the so-called "stimulus package":

WASHINGTON (AP) - A Colorado company said it created 4,231 jobs with the help of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan. The real number: fewer than 1,000.

 

A child care center in Florida said it saved 129 jobs with the help of stimulus money. Instead, it gave pay raises to its existing employees.

 

Elsewhere in the U.S., some jobs credited to the stimulus program were counted two, three, four or even more times.

 

The government has overstated by thousands the number of jobs it has created or saved with federal contracts under the president's $787 billion recovery program, according to an Associated Press review of data released in the program's first progress report.

 

The discrepancy raises questions about the reliability of a key benchmark the administration uses to gauge the success of the stimulus. The errors could be magnified Friday when a much larger round of reports is released. It is expected to show hundreds of thousands of jobs repairing public housing, building schools, repaving highways and keeping teachers on local payrolls.

 

The White House seized on an initial report from a government oversight board weeks ago that claimed federal contracts awarded to businesses under the recovery plan already had helped pay for more than 30,000 jobs. The administration said the number was evidence that the stimulus program had exceeded early expectations toward reaching the president's promise of creating or saving 3.5 million jobs by the end of next year.

 

But the 30,000 figure is overstated by thousandsat the very least by nearly 5,000, or one in six, based on AP's limited review of some of the contractsbecause some federal agencies and recipients of the money provided incorrect job counts. The review found some counts were more than 10 times as high as the actual number of jobs; some jobs were credited to stimulus spending when, in fact, none were produced.

 

In one major miscount found by the AP review, Colorado-based Teletech Government Solutions had worked with the Federal Communications Commission to come up with a job count for its $28.3 million contract for call centers fielding consumer questions about conversion of televisions to receive digital signals. The company reported creating 4,231 jobsthe highest number listed in the first stimulus accountingeven though 3,000 of those workers received a paycheck for five weeks or less.

 

The Toledo, Ohio-based Koring Group also received two FCC contracts to help people make the switch to digital television. The company reported hiring 26 people for each of the two contracts, bringing its total jobs to 54 on the government's official count.

 

But the company cited the same 26 workers for both contracts, meaning the same jobs were counted twice. The job count was further inflated because each job lasted only about two months, so each worker should have counted as one-sixth of a full-time job.

 

The FCC spotted the problem and called company owner Steve Holland, who now says the actual job count is closer to five, not 54.

 

"We're just trying to be accurate. All of this has happened so fast," Holland said. "It is a little confusing. We're new to government contracting."

 

The AP's review identified nearly 600 contracts claiming stimulus money for more than 2,700 jobs that appear to have similar duplicated counts.

 

DeSeve said he's pleased that the FCC and other agencies are working with businesses to fix the errors.

 

Barbara Moore, executive director of the Child Care Association of Brevard County in Cocoa, Fla., reported that the $98,669 she received in stimulus money saved 129 jobs at her center, though the cash was used to give her 129 employees a 3.9 percent cost-of-living raise. She said she needed to boost their salaries because some workers had left for better paying jobs.

 

"They were leaving because we had not been able to give them a raise in four years," Moore said.

 

How pathetic is this?  Or, put another way, how could it be more pathetic? 

Incidentally, what if the numbers were correct?  What in the world would that mean anyway?

Barack Obama told us that if we passed the so-called "stimulus" package, unemployment would cap at 8% and 3,500,000 - 4,000,000 new jobs would be created by the end of next year - which, days later, changed to created or saved - an Obama-friendly little revision that our media almost never mention.

But it has been 8 months since the "stimulus package" took effect.  That's a touch more than one-third of the time from when it was enacted to the end of next year.  And  two things have happened:  1) Unemployment blew past that 8% cap and is currently at 9.8% (that's 22.5% higher than 8%).  2) Even if we pretend the amount of job creation was not as dishonestly inflated as it was, it still totals just 30,000. 

That's it?  30,000 jobs?????   

As my wife used to say, whoopee doo and yippee excrement (yeah, she used a different word for excrement). 

Projecting this stellar performance through the end of 2010, that would be less than 90,000 jobs in total.  Can we agree that 90,000 is a far cry from 3,500,000 - 4,000,000?  Good.

Oh, wait.  But what about the 2,700,000 jobs that have been lost since enacting the "stimulus package"?  Hmmmmm

Lessee, how does the math go?  We were promised a gain of  3,500,000 to 4,000,000 jobs by the end of next year.  But we've lost 2,700,000.  So to make good on the promised gain, we actually need 6,200,000 - 6,700,000.   And we're going at a rate that will get us 90,000.

That leaves us a shortfall of about 98.5% of the jobs promised.

Thank you to the Associated Press for showing us this information.

And thank you to most of the rest of our media for conveniently looking the other way on behalf of the Obama adminstration.

You're quite the professionals.


DEMOCRATS' CIRCULAR "LOGIC"

Ken Berwitz

Here is a short, but superb analysis of what appears to be Democratic thinking on the war in Afghanistan (and Iraq).  It comes to us from Paul Mirengoff of www.newsbusters.org:

It's all a big circle for the Democrats

October 28, 2009 Posted by Paul at 9:51 PM

 

Senator John Kerry seems to be emerging as President Obama's go-to person for foreign policy advice on critical issues. This must be rather galling for Vice President Biden and especially Secretary of State Clinton. Biden at least gets to trot out ideas about major matters, such as his "Pakistan First" notion for dealing with the deterioration of our position in Afghanistan. Clinton apparently does not even have that consolation.

 

But Kerry's approach to Afghanistan is a little more serious than Biden's and thus will likely receive more consideration. Speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations, Kerry put his finger on the main problem with Biden's "Pakistan First" concept -- major gains by the Taliban in Afghanistan will "put Pakistan at risk." However, Kerry argued against a troop surge in Afghanistan unless three conditions are met: better Afghan governance, a bigger civilian development effort, and a supply of reliable Afghan security forces to work with U.S. troops.

 

This sounds sensible. But those who advocate a surge counter that these conditions cannot all be satisfied when we are losing militarily, as now seems to be the case, and Obama's commander on the ground seems to agree. As James Dobbins, who served as a special envoy to Afghanistan during the Bush administration put it, Kerry is basically saying, "we're not going to send more troops until we start winning, which seems to be an inversion of the usual sequence."

 

In the end, Kerry's position looks like just another in a long line of excuses offered by Democrats for not fighting to win. First, we shouldn't fight to win (indeed, shouldn't fight at all) in Iraq because the important mission was defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan. Then, we shouldn't fight to win in Afghanistan until the situation in Pakistan is dealt with. Or we should fight in Afghanistan, but only against al Qaeda (which has fled the country), not the Taliban.

 

Now, says Kerry, we shouldn't fight to win in Afghanistan until the Afghan government and military get their acts together.

 

But if the Afghan government and military got their acts together, the Democrats then would no doubt argue that our presence is no longer needed. Come to think of it, this eventually became part of the rationale for phasing out of Iraq.

Well said!

I wonder how Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton - especially Secretary of State Clinton - feel about John Kerry leapfrogging over them as the go-to guy for foreign policy?

So far mainstream media, for the most part, have avoided pointing out the humiliating, eviscerating treatment Ms. Clinton has gotten from President Obama.  Will they ever screw up enough courage - and/or integrity - to talk about this?  It certainly is right in front of their faces.


HILLARY CLINTON: WORLD CLASS INCOMPETENT

Ken Berwitz

I have blogged some number of times about Hillary Clinton's remarkable career of incompetence.  It is one of the most amazing stories in recent political history.

But this latest episode, in Pakistan, is special even by Ms. Clinton's (virtually non-existent) standards.

From John Hinderaker at www.powerlineblog.com:

Undiplomatic Diplomacy

 

October 29, 2009 Posted by John at 2:06 PM

 

Isn't a diplomat supposed to be--you know--diplomatic? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton doesn't seem to think so. On her current visit to Pakistan, she managed to insult both her own government and Pakistan's in the space of a few minutes.

 

The Associated Press has reported on interviews and a Q and A session that Clinton gave in Islamabad. I came across it via The Corner, where John Hannah was appalled by this partisan attack by Clinton on her own government:

 

As a way of repudiating past U.S. policies toward Pakistan, Clinton told the students "there is a huge difference" between the Obama administration's approach and that of former President George W. Bush. "I spent my entire eight years in the Senate opposing him," she said to a burst of applause from the audience of several hundred students. "So to me, it's like daylight and dark."

 

One can only agree with Hannah's comment:

 

Does anyone advising President Obama and the secretary of state really believe that this kind of partisanship and trash-talking abroad about another American president is going to buy us much long-term goodwill among either our friends or our adversaries? Do they imagine that this sort of thing really helps to advance U.S. national interests?

 

Interestingly, that paragraph has now been deleted from the version of the AP account to which Hannah linked, although it can still be found elsewhere. But the linked version adds this report of Clinton slandering the government of Pakistan, which is equally appalling, but for different reasons:

 

While U.S. officials have said they believe Osama bin Laden and senior lieutenants have been hiding in the rugged terrain along the border with Afghanistan, Clinton's unusually blunt comments went further as she suggested that Pakistan's government has done too little to act against al-Qaida's top echelon.

 

"I find it hard to believe that nobody in your government knows where they are and couldn't get them if they really wanted to," Clinton said in an interview with Pakistani journalists in Lahore. "Maybe that's the case. Maybe they're not gettable. I don't know."

 

Is it really the position of the U.S. government that Pakistan's leaders could kill or capture bin Laden et al. if they wanted to, but they have chosen not to do so? That is an explosive charge, and one that to my knowledge is false. Moreover, Clinton doesn't seem to make the charge seriously, as she immediately sort-of-retracted it by saying "Maybe they're not gettable. I don't know." So was she just idly musing when she accused Pakistan's government of deliberately harboring al Qaeda's top leadership?

 

Does either of the above instances represent how a competent, professional diplomat would behave? I don't think so.

Simply stated, Hillary Clinton is a disgrace on legs.

What a complete incompetent loser.


CAN HOFFMAN WIN? (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

Can Douglas Hoffman beat the Democrat, the Republican and the Republican establishment too?

From today's dailykos (which ain't exactly rooting for him):

NY-23: Hoffman surges at Scozzafava's expense

by kos

Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 10:38:21 AM PDT

Research 2000 for Daily Kos. 10/26-28. Likely voters. MoE 4% (10/19-21 results)

Scozzafava (R) 21 (30)
Owens (D) 33 (35)
Hoffman (C) 32 (23)

Scozzafava is down nine, and Hoffman is up nine. While Scozzafava got 46 percent of Republicans a week ago, she's down to 34 percent this week. Hoffman is up to 41 percent of Republicans this week, compared to 27 percent last week.

What's more, we asked Hoffman supporters who'd they support if Hoffman wasn't in the race, and 6 percent said Scozzafava, 5 percent said Owens, 28 percent wouldn't vote, and 61 percent would be undecided. I'm not sure what to make of that.

If Scozzafava's fade continues, Hoffman will win this thing. Democratic chances hinge on halting the Hoffman surge, which is why the DCCC has trained its guns on the conservative party candidate.

Can Hoffman win?  You see what I see.

Stay tuned.....


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