MartiniPundit

Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for August 2004

Two New Planets

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In a bit of news not pertaining to the election or Vietnam and therefore most welcome, astronomers have discovered two new planets:

US astronomers say they have found two more Neptune-sized planets orbiting stars beyond our Solar System.

They say their discovery of the smallest worlds yet seen circling other stars is a breakthrough in the search for other Earths and for life in space.

They are only about 15 times more massive than the Earth. Previously known worlds were Jupiter-class some 318 times more massive than the Earth.

One of the new planets is in the first four-planet system ever discovered.

How marvelous.  It is truly only a matter of time before we detect planets like the earth, and with that learn even more about ourselves and our world.

The amazing thing about Star Trek was always as advanced as the producers and writers thought it could be, they never quite got far enough out.

Written by martinipundit

August 31, 2004 at 11:37 pm

Posted in General, Technology

The Governator

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Just heard Ahnuld speak.  He was incredible – more tomorrow when I’ve had a chance to think about it.

But for now, I’ll say, there’s a man with credibility on the American Dream.

Written by martinipundit

August 31, 2004 at 9:25 pm

Posted in 2004 Election, Politics

Swift Boat Vets Have a New Ad

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The Swifties have a new ad which can be seen here.

They’re taking on the medals this time.

Written by martinipundit

August 31, 2004 at 6:59 pm

Immortality, of a Sort

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No doubt this will be the latest fad:

A Minnesota woman has honored her late husband by turning his cremated remains into a yellow diamond so she could always keep a part of him with her.

Nancy Wodziak wanted to honor her husband Richard in a special way after he died from a brain tumor last October. So, she became the first person in the state to turn a loved one’s remains into a diamond.

Wodziak received her brilliant, half-carat yellow diamond after eight months of waiting.

Half carat sounds kind of small to me, but what do I know? There does seem something slightly gruesome about it, although I can’t quite put my finger on it …

A glass raised to Drudge.

Written by martinipundit

August 31, 2004 at 6:48 pm

Posted in General

Missouri and the Democrats

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James Taranto is schmoozing with luminaries at the RNC, and runs into a candidate from Missouri in today’s Best of the Web:

We spent some time chatting with Bill Federer of Missouri, the Republican candidate for the seat currently held by Dick “Miserable Failure” Gephardt. Federer challenged Gephardt in 2000 and lost, 58% to 40%, but Gephardt is now retiring after his own miserable failure of a presidential campaign. Federer told us his opponent is Russ Carnahan, “the son of the governor who was killed in a plane crash.”

“If he was killed in a plane crash, how can he be running for Congress?” we asked.

It turns out the subordinate clause referred to the governor; this son was not on board the plane when it crashed. But it occurred to us that we were silly to ask the question anyway. After all, if the son who did die in the plane crash were to be elected in Congress, he would only follow in the footsteps of his dad, who won his 2000 Senate race three weeks after his death. In fact, Missouri hasn’t elected a live Democrat to the Senate since 1980, so a pulse may well be a political liability.

Mayor Daley (the dead one) would be proud.

Written by martinipundit

August 31, 2004 at 5:29 pm

History and the Democrats

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There has been a lot of discussion this season of whose election this is to lose. Some say Bush, some say Kerry. I don’t doubt there are a few moonbats out there who would say Nader or even LaRouche. In the cases of the two major party candidates, on the one hand the left simply expects that the depth of the ABB feeling is so great that it is practically inconceivable that Bush could win this thing. At the same time, on the right there is a sense that this is a war, one doesn’t change a wartime president without a really good reason, and Kerry is such a phony how could he win?

I’ve been curious about this sort of thinking in light of the historical record. After all, this is not just any election – it’s the first after 9/11. It’s also the first after the contested election in 2000 where the president did not win the popular vote (for the first time since Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876). Now the economy is always with us, and it’s always a factor. Say what you want about the way the media is reporting the economy or who is at fault for however you care to describe it, the plain fact remains that the economy has always been a factor in a presidential election and it always will be. So much so that some predictive models basically leave it up to the state of the economy to decide who will win.

Others (myself included) would argue that 9/11, the WoT, and Iraq are important and critical components of any analysis of the election. War as an issue in some form is not all that unusual in an election year, since perhaps only in 1992 was it not since at that time the vacation from history was in full swing. People feel passionately about Iraq – one way or the other – and it is clearly on the table as one of the top issues on the minds of the voters.

Laying all that aside, however, whence the strange certainty on the left that Bush will be defeated? Looking only at the postwar era, only two presidents running for reelection have been defeated in their bid for another term: Jimmy Carter and George H. W. Bush. All the others, Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton were returned to office. Three to one odds aren’t bad really. There is another angle, and that is the popular vote tallies. The NYT just the other day has opportunistically called for the abolition of the electoral college. Apart from the fact that this would require a constitutional amendment, and the smaller states are unlikely to vote to marginalize themselves in a such a way, it reflects liberal dissatisfaction with the fact that Gore could win the popular vote yet still lose the election.

I’ve seen many bumper stickers to this effect, most recently one which said “Bush: Let’s not Elect Him this Time Either.” Amusing in its way, but reflecting the frustration the self-proclaimed ‘party of the people’ feel at this. They honestly believe that the election was stolen not only because of Florida but because of the popular vote.

So do Democrats actually win a majority of the popular vote? How many Dems have been elected president since WWII with a majority of the popular vote. The answer is a bit surprising:

Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964 with 61.05% and James Earl Carter in 1976 with 50.06%.

That’s it. Two. All the others: Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton did it with a plurality each time. In 1964, Johnson was able to run on sympathy for Kennedy on the one hand, and Goldwater’s inept campaign on the other. Jimmy Carter barely squeaked over the line by six hundreths of a percentage point primarily due to Watergate but also because Ford had been so wounded in the primaries by Reagan. It’s also worth noting that excepting Kennedy in 1960, every Democrat to win the presidency after WWII has been from the south.

So what about the Republicans? Where do they stand on this? Better, in comparison as they have Eisenhower (1952 and 1956), Nixon (1972), Reagan (1980 and 1984), and Bush I (1988) all breaking the 50% mark.

It follows that Democrats simply do not command more than 50% of the popular vote, and the idea that they represent the majority of the people the majority of the time is not borne out by history. The two times they managed the feat were both exceptional, whereas for the Republicans polling below 50% is the exception. Although one could argue that no one has polled better than 50% since 1988 and perhaps that’s the norm now, I would point out that in every election since then there has been a third party spoiler. It is as easy to argue that Bush the Elder would have gotten a second term without Perot in the race as Gore wins without Nader.

What does this mean in this exceptional year? That those on the left who are counting on some natural majority (Michael Moore call your office) are basing that belief on a fantasy. Which doesn’t mean that Kerry can’t win this thing, but as his daughters found out, not everyone loves him.

Here are the postwar numbers as reported in the lively and informative Presidential Leadership. I’ve left out the minor candidates.

1948

Harry Truman (D) Popular Vote: 49.51%; Electoral Votes: 303

Thomas Dewey (R) PV: 45.12%; EV: 189

Strom Thurmond (States’ Rights) PV: 2.4%; EV: 39

1952

Dwight Eisenhower (R) Popular Vote: 54.88%; Electoral Votes: 442

Adlai Stevenson (D) PV: 44.38%; EV: 89

1956

Dwight Eisenhower (R) Popular Vote: 57.38%; Electoral Votes: 457

Adlai Stevenson (D) PV: 41.95%; EV: 73

1960

John Kennedy (D) Popular Vote: 49.72%; Electoral Votes: 303

Richard Nixon (R) PV: 49.55%; EV: 219

1964

Lyndon Johnson (D) Popular Vote: 61.05%; Electoral Votes: 486

Barry Goldwater (R) PV: 38.47%; EV: 52

1968

Richard Nixon (R) Popular Vote: 43.42%; Electoral Votes: 301

Hubert Humphrey (D) PV: 42.72%; EV: 191

George Wallace (I) PV: 13.53%; EV: 46

1972

Richard Nixon (R) Popular Vote: 60.69%; Electoral Votes: 520

George McGovern (D) PV: 37.53%; EV: 17

1976

Jimmy Carter (D) Popular Vote: 50.06%; Electoral Votes: 297

Gerald Ford (R) PV: 48%; EV: 240

1980

Ronald Reagan (R) Popular Vote: 50.75%; Electoral Votes: 489

Jimmy Carter (D) PV: 41.01%; EV: 49

1984

Ronald Reagan (R) Popular Vote: 58.77%; Electoral Votes: 525

Walter Mondale (D) PV: 40.56%; EV: 13

1988

George H. W. Bush (R) Popular Vote: 53.37%; Electoral Votes: 426

Michael Dukakis (D) PV: 45.65%; EV: 111

1992

Bill Clinton (D) Popular Vote: 43.01%; Electoral Votes: 370

George H. W. Bush (R) PV: 37.45%; EV: 168

Ross Perot (NP) PV: 18.91%; EV: 0

1996

Bill Clinton (D) Popular Vote: 49.24%; Electoral Votes: 379

Bob Dole (R) PV: 40.71%; EV: 159

Ross Perot (Reform) PV: 8.4%; EV: 0

2000

George W. Bush (R) Popular Vote: 47.87%; Electoral Votes: 271

Al Gore (D) PV: 48.38%; EV: 266

Ralph Nader (G) PV: 2.74%; EV: 0

Written by martinipundit

August 31, 2004 at 3:48 pm

This Could Change Everything

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Iowahawk has made a profound discovery.

Written by martinipundit

August 31, 2004 at 3:38 pm

Posted in General

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