Monday, October 11, 2004

How Bush (hswib) Stays Green

For some folks "politics" is seen as license to twist and spin and cherry-pick items to make whatever point you want to make. Here we have Bush (hswib) trying to make a general point that air quality has improved on his watch. It could be argued that the statistics he quotes are in-spite-of rather than because-of his policies. But it's an incomplete story. Greenhouse gases have continued to go up and some think that they should be included in air quality statistics.

Be that as it may, it causes me to ponder what the distortion index on issues in general can tell us. All candidates do this to some degree. The gentlest method is to conveniently omit what contraindications are present for one's desired point. At the other extreme there is gross lifting of statements or actions out of context in order to mislead the public about an opponent. The only reason I can think of to resort to this tactic is because one has no competent case against the opponent undistorted position.

I think it would be helpful for the voters if the media were to attempt to assess which candidates are doing the most egregious quantity and quality of distortion. Regardless of the issue involved it would give voters an evaluation of how strong each candidate felt about their own position. Any candidate that shows a consistent pattern of using distortion to get applause lines can be assumed to know that his own position has little true merit. I'll be returning this idea with some frequency I think.

Update: Kevin Drum has the same idea only he takes it to the point of a cool numeric score. Check it out.

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