Balkinization  

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Predicting Presidential Elections, 2008 Edition

JB

Yale economics professor Ray Fair has been predicting Presidential elections with only a handful of variables since the 1970's. He argues that economic news (in particular, a combination of inflation and growth) is the primary determinant of electoral success in Presidential elections. His simple formula, updated to the present, suggests that the Republicans are in for trouble. The model currently predicts a 52-48 victory for the Democrats, and with even greater margins if the economy continues to struggle.

Fair's model focuses on a small set of issues: whether an incumbent is running, how long the incumbent party has been in office, the rate of inflation and the growth of the economy. His model figures in the presence or absence of war but defines it so it rarely matters, in fact it makes a difference (as a dummy variable) only for the elections 1920, 1944, and 1948. (To me, at least, this is a puzzling feature of the model). It's worth noting that in 2004 Fair predicted a significant victory for George W. Bush, on the order of 57 percent of the vote. Although Bush won, he only received 51 percent. Fair's model did not account for the nature of Bush's campaign, which tried to appeal largely to a conservative base, or the importance of the Iraq war.

As John Cassidy writes, there are several other econometric models, and they offer differing results. Most of them agree, however, that if the country experiences an economic slowdown during the election year, the incumbent party (that is, the Republicans) will suffer for it. However, a terror attack or a national security crisis might turn things around for the Republicans, although it might be a double edged sword, depending on how the current President handles the crisis. It might suggest that only the Republicans can be trusted to keep the country safe (which is likely to be a theme of the 2008 campaign), or on the contrary, that the Republicans have proved themselves incompetent in foreign affairs and so it is time to give the other party a chance.

Comments:

If the race ends up being Obama v. McCain as the trends suggest, there are a series of unique variables in this race which will make it unique.

Youth v. Age in Candidates and Voters: Age usually prevails, but every so often a young candidate earns the trust of older voters and gets the young voters out to the polls. I do not believe we have ever had this range of age between candidates for President.

Charisma v. Substance: Obama has charisma to burn while McCain is hardly Ronald Reagan. However, when Frank Luntz ran one of his focus groups of Dem voters last week, he asked them to name a single thing that Obama had accomplished. The best they could some up with is that Obama gives a good speech and he was the first African American to be elected to the Senate. (I am unsure whether this says more about Obama or his voters). In stark contrast, McCain's name is on several major bills over the past decade.

Governance v. Target Voters: Obama governs from the far left and is seeking centrist voters, while McCain governs from the center and is seeking conservative voters. Once the GOP makes a big issue over Obama's governance, will he be able to get centrist voters? Given that conservatives know all about McCain's political apostasies, will they come out to vote for him? This is a strange alignment.

Race: The variable which shall not be spoken in the Dem press is the role race may play in the election. Obama would be the first African American to run in the general election for President. Is this the reason why Obama is having a hard time getting working class white voters in his own party? Will these voters show up for him in the fall, stay home or go for McCain?
 

Baghdad, you left out the role that McCain's mindless support for a pointless, and very unpopular, war will play. Obama probably gets a big boost there.
 

Professor Balkin,

This kind of prediction, that the GOP is in trouble in the upcoming elections, is just the kind of astonishing, counter-intuitive prediction that gives the whole art of statistical extrapolation its profound utility.
 

My estimation of Bush & Cheney's characters leads me to believe that the US will experience an averted-at-the-last-possible-minute
"terror" attack in the last two weeks of October, and that only after the election will the evidence show that it may have been staged ...

And, of course, we will have in the fall the Star Chamber trials of the detainees that the US has tortured and abused for four or five years before bothering to bring charges. This will fill the TV screens and the media with the magic phrase 9/11 every minute in the run-up to the election.

Over and over, these folks have demonstrated that there is nothing so vile, no strategy so without decency, that they will not willingly embrace it to cling to power.
 

A Diversionary Comment

I thought you might be interested to know that way down under in Australia the press is giving very good and positive coverage to Obama. I think a lot of Australians would like to see him as President.

You may recall that our former Prime Minister John Howard was a great Bush fan. At the elections in November last year the young Rudd beat the old master in John Howard (running for his 5th term conseuctive term as PM)and its been like a breath of fresh air.

Rudd has abandoned the previous government's inhumane treatment of refugees, he will be withdrawing troups from Iraq but boosting them in Afghanistan. I believe he is restoring pride in our nation where many in the past have been ashamed of Howard's stance on most social issues. My perception is that many Australians would see Obama as bringing that same fresh air and restoration of pride in the US.

Rudd has started to work on bringing our indiginous peoples' health, life expectantcy, literacy etc up to a par with 'white' Australia.

On Wednesday morning the whole nation stopped to listen to PM Rudd deliver message of sorrow and apology for white Australia's past misdeeds with our indiginous aboriginees, including a policy of taking children forcibly from their families (a practice that affected thousands) as recently as the late 1960's early 70's. Some called it 'social welfare' others called it attempted genocide.

The apology was broadcast live by every television station and a large proportion of radio programs. Large screens in city squares also broadcast the message live to thousands. The nation literally stopped in its tracks to hear the message of reconciliation.

It was an apology that Howard steadfastly refused to make. Four former Australian Prime Minsiters attended. Howard did not, and no apology was proferred by him. He is a bitter politician who lost touch with the people. He thrived in the last few years on an overinflated perception of who he was.

Today has been described by all our media and community leaders as an historic moment.

PM Rudd has also ordered hundreds of contracts with community groups who receive government funding - ranging from social welfare through to environmental groups - to be revised as all of the contracts prohibted the receipients from criticising the government, or if they did they would lose funding and have to repay funding. Rudd has ordered that provision removed so that these groups will now be able to voice criticisms of the government if the consider it appropriate.

Our anti terrorism laws have been abused by the previous Government and they were caught red handed in playing games with the life of an Indian Doctor who was working as an intern at a major hospital.

The Doctor was detained by ASIO (our CIA) and media statements circulated (leaked by ASIO) that he was implicated in the Glascow airport bombing in the UK and was planning to blow up some Australian landmarks (the latter because when they raided his apartment there were photos of he and his wife standing in from of some Australian land marks (like thousand of tourists do everywhere around the world. He was ordered to be released by the Courts, only to have his visa revoked and placed back under arrest with no evidence other than the government saying 'trust us ... we know things we cannot tell you and it is in the public interest that he is imprioned.'

It blew up in their face when further court action showed the government with an empty hand, playing politics with a man's life becuase it saw votes in being seen to be strong on terrorism.

I know this email is rambling and has strayed away from the issues of this thread, but I suppose all I am saying is that a change of government to someone who has passion, someone who can inspire, and someone who can be trusted, can change the heart of a nation and have people once again being proud of what our country stands for - I hope your election brings the same because, as you must be well aware, respect internationally for the US has plummeted under the Bush - Chaney regime.

Cheers, Graham
 

Differences between Obama and McCain are the differences between center left and center right I would say. And having watched the Cpac, I have a hard time calling these folks conservatives. I would call them extreme right. The extreme left in the United States is insignificant.
Best,
Ben
 

@marcab_invasion: yup; you've nailed it. All it will take is an errant fire-cracker at the Lincoln Memorial and the GOP will achieve it's goal of a single party government.

Peace.
 

I have little confidence in Fair's models. They are far too few observations. The dummy variables (such as for Ford's 1976 designation as not being an incumbent [he was never elected]) help to make the models statistically significant.

But really, they amount to what someone (I forget who) described as shooting an arrow, and then drawing a bullseye around it. When there are few variables, dummys make a big difference.

Note also that Fair's models (or for that matter, Erikson's) rarely predict the winner of close elections correctly. Rather, they get the winner of big-margin victories correct. But often not within the statistical margin of error.
 

bb:

I am addressing general candidate oriented differences.

However, I am sure that McCain will address Obama's complete inexperience in foreign policy which led him to call for surrender in Iraq, to start a new war in Pakistan, negotiate with Syria and Iran, and to vote against wiretapping al Qaeda yesterday.

The differences could not be starker.
 

If there's a "October Surprise," will there be evidence that it was staged by the incumbent party? Well, of course there will be. The real question is, will our corrupt, decadent, stenographic media cover such evidence properly?
Case in point, the FISA issue has been, quite properly, the subject of much durm und strang here in the left blogosphere, but my local paper is just NOW covering it! Yeah, I wrote them a nastygram on their much-belated coverage.
 

Ben. Yup. center-right v. center-left. Dead on.
 

Mr. DePalma also leaves out the significant difference in the candiates' appeal to voters seeking decreased corruption. As far as I know, Obama's record is relatively clean. McCain, however, has the distinguished honor of being one of the Keating Five. Sure, McCain was a POW (this status allows him to use racial slurs...), but this does not exempt him from accountability for his participation in government corruption.
 

nate:

There will be many issues in this race and I do not intend to address them all. I simply offered some unique candidate variables which are likely to make past history a risky guide to predicting this race.

However, I agree with you that Obama would be far better served to run against Washington on domestic issues and stay away from foreign policy, which is McCain's strong suit.
 

der schatten said...

Ben. Yup. center-right v. center-left. Dead on.

Not quite.

McCain governs center-right, but Obama may have the most leftist voting record in the Senate.

Obama is pitching himself as a centrist, but the voters will be educated over the next few months.
 

Race: The variable which shall not be spoken in the Dem press is the role race may play in the election. Obama would be the first African American to run in the general election for President. Is this the reason why Obama is having a hard time getting working class white voters in his own party?

I haven't noticed much of a "shall not be spoken in the Dem press" with respect to race. Race doesn't really seem to be playing much of a role and its questionable that as an issue it ever had more substance than a soundbite, and Obama appears to be no longer "having a hard time" with the the working class white voters at this point.
 

I found a very interesting comment on McCain's career from a WaPo letters column. Don't have the expertise to determine whether it's true or not, but I do remember watching the film on this during Navy boot camp.
--
Crashed 5 jets, plus was responsible for the Forrestal fire. Surviving crewmen and those who investigated the Forrestal fire case reported that McCain deliberately 'wet-started' his A-4E Skyhawk to shake up the guy in the F-4 Phantom behind his A-4. 'Wet-starts', done either deliberately (the starter motor switch allowed kerosene to pool in the engine and give a wet start) or accidentally, shoot a large flame from the tail of the aircraft. In McCain's case, the 'wet-start' 'cooked off' and launched the M34 Zuni rocket from the rear F-4 that punctured the Skyhawk's fueltank, knocked the M-65 1000 lb bomb off it's 500 lb rated mount, and touched off the explosions and massive fire. The F-4 pilot was reportedly killed in the conflagration, along with 167 of his fellow Forrestal shipmates (including those who died later from wounds suffered). 'Wet starting' was a common practice among young 'hot-dog' pilots. McCain was quickly (they were still counting the Forrestal dead) transferred to the USS Oriskany (the only Forrestal crewman to be immediately transferred).
Description: XA4D-1 Skyhawk BuNo 137812 experiencing a wet start (note the pool of JP on the ground and the tongue of flame from the tailpipe).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chuiyXQKw3I
 

bitswapper said...

Race: The variable which shall not be spoken in the Dem press is the role race may play in the election. Obama would be the first African American to run in the general election for President. Is this the reason why Obama is having a hard time getting working class white voters in his own party?

I haven't noticed much of a "shall not be spoken in the Dem press" with respect to race. Race doesn't really seem to be playing much of a role and its questionable that as an issue it ever had more substance than a soundbite, and Obama appears to be no longer "having a hard time" with the the working class white voters at this point.


You might want to compare the Dem press' fixation with race when Colin Powell was considering a run with the complete silence now.

The Clintons apparently think that race will play a role given the race based smears their surrogates have been dropping for the past three months.

Finally, white working class voters were about the only ones who stuck with Clinton in the Potomac Primary blowout.
 

Many Republicans don't like McCain because he frequently criticises other conservatives.

Huckabee voters will not vote for McCain. That's a big fat 30% donut hole of missing wing nuts.

McCain will do decently amongst the hawks of the party, but, voters really regret this war, so there's not that many of them as in years past, before the blessing of perptetual war had been laid upon us by the Herr Busch Gang.

I think it is also fair to assume that McCain's much vaunted appeal to Independents will be effectively countered by Obama's strong appeal to Independents.

Turning to voter turn-out, without a doubt their will be huge D turnout. For the Rs... not so much.

It's easy to forget, but as Glenn Greenwald posted just a few weeks ago, polling shows that the Democratic Party is preferred over the Republican Party on every single issue from the GWOT, education, environment, corruption, torture, economy... etc.

McCain is about to board the Pain Train. He will be crushed by Obama, or even Hillary, assuming some last minute miracle.

I'm looking forward to it.

fwiw, i think a stage managed terror threat unlikely because it would only redound to the benefit of mccain at the risk of the precious w legacy.
 

If somebody is going to claim something about where various politicians' support came from, it would be helpful if they were to supply a link to an authoritative source.

Otherwise we might surmise they're just making it up.
 

However, I am sure that McCain will address Obama's complete inexperience in foreign policy which led him to call for surrender in Iraq, to start a new war in Pakistan, negotiate with Syria and Iran, and to vote against wiretapping al Qaeda yesterday.

The differences could not be starker.


Nor could your misrepresentations and distortions be more outrageous, Bartboy. "[V]ote against wiretapping Al Qaeda?" You left out the part about judges and warrants, didn't you? Something any lawyer worthy of the title can't really do, ethically?

What a pathetic authoritarian hack you are. Really.
 

michael said...

BD: However, I am sure that McCain will address Obama's complete inexperience in foreign policy which led him to call for surrender in Iraq, to start a new war in Pakistan, negotiate with Syria and Iran, and to vote against wiretapping al Qaeda yesterday.

The differences could not be starker.

Nor could your misrepresentations and distortions be more outrageous, Bartboy. "[V]ote against wiretapping Al Qaeda?" You left out the part about judges and warrants, didn't you? Something any lawyer worthy of the title can't really do, ethically?


OK, have it your way...

Obama voted in favor of forcing the NSA to get a judge's permission to spy on al Qaeda.

I do not think this sounds much better to the average voter.

There is a reason why Obama was only joined by 30 other Dems in the Senate in his vote.
 

c2h50h:

Voters do not cast ballots for generic preferences. They choose between two candidates.

When asked to choose between Obama and McCain, voters bounce back and forth in the range of error and neither candidate gets even a simple majority.

If Obama took the center and McCain had lost the right, Obama would have well over 50% of the vote and an enormous lead. He does not.

And this is before the GOP educates voters about Obama's actual stands. The Dem left did not go ga ga over Obama because he was a centrist. The rest of the country needs to be and will be clued into what the Dem left thinks he will do.
 

Another variable I am very much wondering about in a McCain v. Obama matchup is the Hispanic vote. In any other matchup it would be a blowout. But Hispanic voters so far do not fully trust Obama, and McCain is the one Republican who might win them over. This could be interesting.
 

OK, have it your way...

Obama voted in favor of forcing the NSA to get a judge's permission to spy on al Qaeda.

I do not think this sounds much better to the average voter.


Ah, but as a (presumably) trained lawyer, you understand that the distinction here is between an outright lie and the truth.

Which raises the question why you invariably go for the "lie" formulation . . .
 

The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll reveals that Americans trust Democrats more than Republicans to handle every issue of any significance, including -- by a now fairly wide margin -- "the U.S. campaign against terrorism" - Feb. 4, 2008.

Americans continue to turn against anything the Republicans touch. The most vivid example of that is public opinion on the Iraq War. Even with the press corps and Beltway elite insisting by consensus that the Glorious Surge has made everything so much better in Iraq -- we're finally winning! -- and even as we were endlessly told that the war was only unpopular because we were losing, Americans hate the Iraq War more than ever before. The poll asked:

All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting, or not? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?
The results: only 34% believe it was worth fighting, a record low. A resounding 65% believe it was not worth fighting, and 53% believe that "strongly" -- both one point away from the record high. It simply doesn't matter how well things are going in Iraq: the vast (and still increasing) preponderance of Americans have concluded that the war was a stupid, wasteful thing to do and they will not change their minds, no matter how much happy news springs forth. GOP propaganda and Terrorism-exploitation now affect nothing.

"Dick Armey emerged from four years in the wilderness to blame conservative Christians for Tuesday's defeat. They were, he said, 'too involved' with the party. He can't be serious! Someone should tell him that without the support of that specific constituency, John Kerry would be president and the Republicans would have fallen into a black hole in '04," Dobson said in a story WND reported earlier.

"Values Voters are not going to carry the water for the Republican Party if it ignores their deeply held convictions and beliefs," he said.

"Speaking as a private individual, I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances," said James Dobson, founder of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family as well as the Focus Action cultural action organization set up specifically to provide a platform for informing and rallying constituents.

The presidential primary season has not yet confirmed a nominee in either major party, but it has already notched a different political accomplishment: It has driven more people to participate in the process.

More people have registered to vote, and many states have reported record voter turnout in the primary contests and caucuses so far.

Though there are signs that Democrats are gaining most from these developments, much can happen between now and November, and whom the party settles on as its nominee could make a significant difference.

The shift in party registration has been measurable in early-voting states like Nevada, where the number of registered Democrats crept ahead of registered Republicans in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 19 caucuses.

In Iowa, which started the nation's nominating season five weeks ago, Democratic registrations leapfrogged ahead of Republicans. Registered Democrats climbed to 606,209 last month, up nearly 14% from four years ago, and Republican registrations slid more than 1% to 576,231.

In New Hampshire, more than 75,000 people registered as Democrats on the day of the primary last month, compared with 61,731 Republicans. Such registrations for Democrats were more than double the number in 2000; primary-day registrations among Republicans fell from 2000.

Across the country, over three million more voters turned out in Democratic primaries than Republican contests -- a trend that persisted even in traditionally conservative states. Turnout in Missouri's Democratic primary was a whopping 70% higher than the G.O.P. contest, for example, where Obama won by a point. The last time the state held two contested primaries, in 2000, Republicans beat Democratic turnout by 56%.
 

enlightened layperson said...

Another variable I am very much wondering about in a McCain v. Obama matchup is the Hispanic vote. In any other matchup it would be a blowout. But Hispanic voters so far do not fully trust Obama, and McCain is the one Republican who might win them over. This could be interesting

That is an interesting swing vote I had not considered.

However, this begs the question of whether McCain gains more latin votes than he loses among the anti-immigration crowd.
 

Bart:
You might want to compare the Dem press' fixation with race when Colin Powell was considering a run with the complete silence now.



Still not seeing anything that looks like "complete silence".


The Clintons apparently think that race will play a role given the race based smears their surrogates have been dropping for the past three months.

So what?


Finally, white working class voters were about the only ones who stuck with Clinton in the Potomac Primary blowout.


Not going by the voting results.

What will be interesting will be after 2008 economic numbers are in and the elections have finished how close the formula will be - distractionary partisan tactics aside.
 

garth sullivan said...

Across the country, over three million more voters turned out in Democratic primaries than Republican contests -- a trend that persisted even in traditionally conservative states. Turnout in Missouri's Democratic primary was a whopping 70% higher than the G.O.P. contest, for example, where Obama won by a point. The last time the state held two contested primaries, in 2000, Republicans beat Democratic turnout by 56%.

While the generic polling is and always has been nonsense, the large Dem turnouts in the primaries are well worth keeping an eye on.

For example, is the turnout differential in Missouri an indicator of intensity levels of Dems in general or a product of the fact that the 2000 primary featured a competitive GOP race against a Dem primary featuring Clinton's annointed cadidate, while the 2008 primary offered the most competitive Dem primary since 1968 against a GOP race which was being called for McCain?

Dems have every right to be encouraged by their turnout. However, we are way early in the process.

Look at the Rasmussen tracking polls about a month out from the general election. Scott does the best job out there measuring intensity and deciding who is actually a likely voter. He usually has the final results pegged within a percentage point or two.
 

The differences could not be starker.

# posted by Bart DePalma : 12:29 PM


Indeed, Obama opposes an UNPOPULAR, pointless, idiotic waste of lives and money, while McCain is married to it.

That's pretty stark, alright.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

The latest Fox and Gallup polls have some very interesting internals in a match up between Obama and McCain.

Remember the Reagan Dems? Those were the white ethnic working class folks who were repelled by the radical social policies and retreat and defeat foreign policies of the 70s Dem Party and who were attracted to the Reagan's traditionalism and tough foreign policy.

Well, the polls are showing that the Reagan Dems may be returning to vote for John McCain.

In the latest head to head matchup done by Fox News, Obama and McCain are essentially tied overall in the low 40s with a ton of undecided. However, the internals of the polling are more interesting.

McCain wins 80% of Republicans, 18% of Democrats and 37% of Independents.

Obama wins 74% of Democrats, 10% of Republicans, and 41% of Independents.

McCain is doing better than Obama solidifying his base, with 80% of the GOP behind him.

However, what is stunning is that McCain is more than making up Obama's 4% advantage among Independents by taking 18% of Dems!

The most recent Gallup polling shows nearly identical internals.

I have often compared the retreat and defeat foreign policies of today's Dems to those of the 70s Dems. Perhaps, the return of these policies is causing the return of the Reagan Dems to the GOP.
 

Let's see what that "good news" Bart report really means. (And, by the way, Bart, next time, send us to the actual poll results, not to hotair.)

Suppose the percentage of people who regard themselves as Democrats is about 46 percent, the percentage of GOP members is 34 percent, and the number of independents is 18 percent (this is what was reported recently for North Carolina. The current figures, as indicated by the turnouts in the respective primaries and caucuses are much more lopsided.)

Let's see: .74*46 + .18*34+.54*18=49.88.

.80*34+.18*46+.46*18=43.76

So, in that best-case scenario, McCain would lose the popular vote by a significant amount -- in North Carolina.

The actuality, of course, is that it depends on the state, and it's much worse than that in most states (and even in North Carolina, today.)

Now we know where Bart gets his kool-ade from, and just how weak his analytical skills are.
 

c2h50h:

My friend, you might want to get your own analysis right before you challenge mine.

1) You are improperly applying national candidate percentages to one state's party self identification proportions.

2) Party self identification proportions are not the same as the proportions who actually get out and vote.

3) Your errors created a false Obama "victory" when both the Fox and Gallup polls from which you cherry picked percentages have the race as a tie.

BTW, I provided a link to the hot air site because they showed the Gallup data I wanted without having to plow through all the poll results. However, that page also had a link to the all the poll results. In contrast, you provide no link to your figures.
 

Bart,

It's embarassing to have to explain to a supposedly educated person that, when the word "Suppose" starts a sentence, it indicates that the next statement is an assumption.

If the assumption (that 46 percent now consider themselves Democrats while 34 consider themselves Republicans) is true (and I leave that assessment to the reader, but I think the tenor of recent polls -- as well as the lopsidedness of recent electoral exercises -- supports these numbers) then the rest of what I gave was a simple formula. It rests or falls based on your numbers, which you were crowing over.

I clearly identified the hypotheticals, and I gave the equations.

A link would only be necessary here if the reader were incapable of elementary arithmetic.

You accuse me of "cherry picking". I don't think this means what you think it does. I gave an example, pointing out how your analysis was flawed.

You, on the other hand, picked a single poll, misinterpreted the results, and then claimed that it indicated that "Reagan Democrats" were deserting the Democratic party.
 

Baghdad, do you remember how bad I crushed you when you claimed that red states have higher divorce rates because they are populated with more black people? You couldn't analyze statistics if your life depended on it.
 

Bart:I have often compared the retreat and defeat foreign policies of today's Dems to those of the 70s Dems.

You do realize you're resorting to the kind of petulant name-calling found in grade-school recess. It's really cool when you do manage to cite interesting and relevant information, but that kind of impish politicking keeps spouting up like Tourettes. I think its valuable to have different viewpoints represented here in an intelligent way, but that's not what you're doing.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

bit:

BD: I have often compared the retreat and defeat foreign policies of today's Dems to those of the 70s Dems.

You do realize you're resorting to the kind of petulant name-calling found in grade-school recess.


Do you actually challenge the accuracy of the terms retreat and defeat?

The Dems call Iraq a lost war and demand withdrawal.

Is withdrawal from a "lost" war anything less than a retreat?

Is a retreat from a war which is "lost" anything less than a defeat?

If these terms are pejorative, that pejoration is accurate and more than earned.

What is inaccurate is the claim that we have in any way "lost" the Iraq War.

No one can honestly deny that we have won a decisive military victory in Iraq. All of our Iraqi enemies have surrendered and stopped fighting and al Qaeda in Iraq is on its last legs.

The claim that the war was lost because the Iraqis did not enact Congress' political benchmarks has been the last refuge of scoundrels denigrating the hard won accomplishments of our troops. However, over the past month, the Iraqis have enacted four major benchmarks allowing former Baathists to join the government, freeing Sunni POWs, dividing up government oil revenues and establishing local provincial rule and elections.

So long as the Dems falsely portray the Iraq War as lost and demand retreat, I will have very little good to say about their dishonest and defeatist position.
 

No one can honestly deny that we have won a decisive military victory in Iraq.

I can honestly deny it. There was no WMD. There was no Al Qaeda connection. Every reason the scumbags who started this war used to gain support turned out to be false. That means we have spent the last 5 years pissing away lives and money for nothing. If that isn't a military defeat, you must set the victory bar pretty fucking low.

And since you refuse to acknowledge this reality, I see no reason to refrain from calling you what you really are, a despicable lying piece of shit.
 

Bart:
Do you actually challenge the accuracy of the terms retreat and defeat?


No, I'm saying that your political hackery isn't contributing anything of value here.

At this point you're playing a polarized semantic game to try to cover for incessant politicking and partisan harping or to serve as a minor diversion of some sort.

Its so obviously driven by a purely political agenda as to be strained at best.
 

At this point you're playing a polarized semantic game to try to cover for incessant politicking and partisan harping or to serve as a minor diversion of some sort.

He's a rightwingnut propaganda spewing scumbag on a forum where there is no incentive for him to act any differently. Why would you expect him to change?
 

I will take anything Obama has said in regards to foreign policy and place it squarely against McCain's "100 years in Iraq" and creepy Beach Boys parody any day of the week. I am extremely confident in which will play better with the electorate.
 

Nice blog !!!!! .I am interest to post comment in this blog about my china trip last year .me and my family member enjoyed lot . Hukou Waterfalls (Kettle Spout Falls) is very beautiful waterfall in china .
The Yellow River is the mother river of the Chinese nation. In its basin, there is a tourist attraction that visitors should not miss. That is Hukou Waterfalls, a glistening pearl in the middle reaches of the Yellow River. It is located in Yichuan County in Yan'an City, Shaanxi Province. It is the only magnificent yellow waterfall in the world and the second biggest waterfall in China after Huangguoshu Waterfall .
When the mighty Yellow River flows through mountains and gorges to Hukou, the billowy water streams narrow suddenly, falling 30 meters (33 yards) into a deep riverbed like a herd of galloping horses, transforming the quiet river into a turbulent one. The thundering sound can be heard from quite a distance. The tremendous mass of water strikes the rocks, creating piles of foam and huge water poles. It is an amazing view with mist all around. The riverbed here is like an enormous teapot absorbing all the rushing water, so the waterfall is named Hukou Waterfalls (Kettle Spout Falls). No matter its rumbling sound, its grand vigor or its marvelous scenery can make you exclaim that the nature is really incredible.
The power of the yellow water of Hukou Waterfalls is tremendous when falling down to the pond, so it is hard for you to get close to the main waterfall. Looking from a distance, you still can enjoy the vast and gorgeous yellow ocean of mist-covered water. The big waves and foam, like angry beasts, are running and roaring. The beauty and vigor of the waterfalls are indeed beyond words. You cannot know unless you visit it in person.
There are many wonders at Hukou Waterfalls, such as smoke from the river, boats on land, rainbows in the sunshine, and so on. In Hukou the water falls to the deep pond from a relatively high place, stirring the mist which rises high into the air like surging heavy smoke coming out of the river. You can see various shapes of rainbows formed by the rising mist, refracted by the sunshine from different angles. Sometimes rainbows are arched, cutting into the river from the sky like a dragon playing with water; sometimes they are colored ribbons lying across the river; sometimes they become colorful masses which change second by second. The water in Hukou is very much torrential, so all the boats from the upper reaches must be pulled out of the river onto to the bank when they arrive. These boats will have to detour around this section, carried by a group of boatmen or shipped by truck before they can be put in the river again.
The view of Hukou Waterfalls changes according to the seasons. In spring the frozen ground thaws and the stalactites of snow fall into the pond like the mountains collapsing and the earth cracking up. In summer and autumn there is much rainfall. With the rains, the river rushes and the yellow waves seem to reach the sky. In winter Hukou Waterfalls gives the visitors another new look. On the surface of the silvery ice waterfalls, cool water flows down. Little silver icicles hang on the cliffs around the waterfalls. It presents you a distinctive natural landscape of the northern region of China.
The Hukou Waterfalls has for years attracted visitors from all over the world. You can have a better understanding of natural wonder if you come here in person. The Hukou Waterfalls will give you a warm welcome with its thrilling sound, rolling golden waves, changing scenery and majestic vigor.
Transportation: You can take number 4, 6, 16, or 19 bus to the bus station in Yanan City and then taking the regular buses to Hukou Waterfalls. The buses to Hukou Waterfalls will be delivered every 30 minutes and the whole journey will take you about four hours.
 

Queensland: Queenslanders market their homeland as ‘Beautiful one day, perfect the next’, and this slogan could apply equally to the state’s adventure activities. The almost unlimited scope for outdoor pursuits is mainly a result of Queensland’s
remarkable range of landforms and environments, many of which have been recognized by UNESCO World Heritage listing. The most notable of these are the Great Barrier Reef and the ancient rainforests that extend from Cape York all the way to the New South Wales border. Others include spectacular remnants of volcanic landscapes such as the Undara lava tubes and Glasshouse Mountains, the deserts and plains of the interior, the savanna and swamps of the Gulf Country, the famous fossil fields of Riversleigh and remote oases such as Lawn Hill National Park. Adventurers heading to the Sunshine State should keep in mind the region’s seasonal weather patterns when planning their itineraries. In particular, the Wet Season that affects the far north can upset many well-laid plans, turning relaxed river trips, for example, into life-threatening undertakings. Tropical cyclones are another threat, with associated sea surges swamping boats along the coast, winds toppling trees and heavy rain swelling rivers. Even Queensland’s renowned high levels of sunshine are not without their dangers and all travelers should make sure they have adequate sun protection and sufficient water. What is procedure for tourist visa to Australia
 

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