Republicans and Democratic Candidates: different level of sophistication

Workout notes Only weights today; since I am running on both Friday and Saturday, I skipped Monday’s short 2 miler.
Weights: (over lunch): rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 180, 7 x 170, 5 x 170 super sets with rows: 3 sets of 10 x 60 dumbbells.
incline press: 8 x 135, 7 x 135, military: 2 sets of 15 x 45 dumbbells. Curls (3 sets of 10), pull downs (3 sets of 10 x 160; last with a rotated grip.

I did vertical crunches as rest.

This is an excellent view of the space-age techniques the Obama campaign used in targeting voters:

Political guru David Plouffe and campaign manager Jim Messina made key decisions based on real-time reports from the geek squad, according to many people on the campaign’s staff.

“Our entire goal is to make the maximum use of our time and our volunteers’ time. And that means using analytics across the campaign spectrum,” Messina said after the election. “We invested unprecedented resources to do this because our entire theory was to get as micro-targeted — to get as close to the ground — as we could.”

Another campaign official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorized to speak for the campaign, put it this way: “It’s about turning over control to some nerds. And more than any other year, campaign leadership really took that leap of faith.”

For campaign professionals, that is a major leap. Politics long has been ruled by truisms, conventional wisdom and intuition, with millions spent based on a murky mix of polling and focus groups. The shift to data-driven decision-making has been gradual and steady — becoming increasingly sophisticated as political parties amass more information about individual voters through traditional means, such as polls, and new ones, such as data mining.

The Obama campaign has made the transition over two elections. In this one, it employed analytics in a far more systematic and thorough way, officials said. But the work was a closely guarded secret. Officials denied requests for interviews with the analytics experts, and when journalists visited Obama headquarters, the team was ordered to shut the Cave door.

Victory opened that door — a crack.

The idea: to very carefully target key voters. I had a tiny bit of insight; I got facebook messages to send requests for certain of my facebook friends to vote. I suggest reading the article; it is downright astonishing how detailed the process was.

On the other hand, the potential Republican candidates for 2016 have a rather different view of “geeks” and “science”:

Quite a few bloggers are having fun with Marco Rubio’s bobbing and weaving in response to a question from GQ:

GQ: How old do you think the Earth is?
Marco Rubio: I’m not a scientist, man. I can tell you what recorded history says, I can tell you what the Bible says, but I think that’s a dispute amongst theologians and I think it has nothing to do with the gross domestic product or economic growth of the United States. I think the age of the universe has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow. I’m not a scientist. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer a question like that. At the end of the day, I think there are multiple theories out there on how the universe was created and I think this is a country where people should have the opportunity to teach them all. I think parents should be able to teach their kids what their faith says, what science says. Whether the Earth was created in 7 days, or 7 actual eras, I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to answer that. It’s one of the great mysteries.
As I like to say, the GOP doesn’t just want to roll back the New Deal; it wants to roll back the Enlightenment.

But here’s what you should realize: when Rubio says that the question of the Earth’s age “has zero to do with how our economy is going to grow”, he’s dead wrong. For one thing, science and technology education has a lot to do with our future productivity — and how are you going to have effective science education if schools have to give equal time to the views of fundamentalist Christians?

More broadly, the attitude that discounts any amount of evidence — and boy, do we have lots of evidence on the age of the planet! — if it conflicts with prejudices is not an attitude consistent with effective policy. If you’re going to ignore what geologists say if you don’t like its implications, what are the chances that you’ll take sensible advice on monetary and fiscal policy? After all, we’ve just seen how Republicans deal with research reports that undermine their faith in the magic of tax cuts: they try to suppress the reports.

This goes to a personal issue. From time to time I’ve unfriended people on facebook or told them to leave me alone; they think that is because I don’t tolerate dissent. That isn’t the reason. The reason is that too many people think that their unsupported opinions should carry weight…because their conclusions “make sense to them.” Sorry; if you want to disagree with me I want to see logic and reason applied to evidence, facts and established laws. If you want to say that an “established law” is wrong, incomplete or obsolete, I want to see the evidence.

If you have none to offer, just go away and leave me alone. 🙂

Note: yes, plenty of liberals believe BS: homeopathy and quack medicine come to mind. Also, try talking about “forced copulation” in nature to a feminist. Yes, I’ve unfriended some idiotic liberals too.


November 19, 2012 - Posted by | 2012 election, creationism, evolution, political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, science

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