Thursday, October 30, 2008

John McCain and Pat Buchanan birds of a feather?

With McCain's likely impending defeat next week, I suggest the Republican party's national leadership consider the following:

- McCain's campaign imposed an omerta on anything that could be even tangentially perceived as bringing Obama's blackness into play. Nineteen months after Steve Sailer made known the Illinois Senator's focus on taking white wealth and giving it to blacks, along with his close association with Jeremiah Wright, Obama's glaring political weakness was left unexploited. Although all the hate over race took place on the left, McCain's campaign continues to be denounced for being racist.

- McCain's lifetime actions on immigration legislation earn him a grade of "D", he has entered into a legislative amnesty alliance with Ted Kennedy, at his RNC acceptance speech he spoke of the "God-given right" of the "Latina daughter of migrant workers" to reach her full potential in America and disallowed other speakers from mentioning immigration at all, he chose strident open borders champion Juan Hernandez as his Hispanic outreach director, and he made three appearances before Hispanic groups in July alone (including La Raza). Obama, meanwhile, was clobbered among Hispanics in the Democratic primaries. For all of McCain's hispandering and the uneasiness Hispanics showed for Obama, McCain is losing among Hispanics by more than 2-to-1.

- Despite a highly-publicized suspension of his campaign to ensure passage of one of the largest governmental bailouts in American history, McCain is being accused by Obama and portrayed in the major media as a diehard supporter of unregulated, hands-off free market capitalism.

- McCain was the major media's favorite Republican Presidential candidate. How much goodwill does that count for? Pew Research reports:
By a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4.
In short, this most leftist of Republicans is being portrayed as a far right 'extremist'.

From this, the GOP should conclude that following a couple steps behind the Democratic party in a race to the left is not a winning formula, nor will it endear Republicans to a leftist media.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A stable middle class requires stable housing prices

Awhile back, I tried to convince a Dennis Mangan contemplating leaving California that Johnson County, Kansas was worthy of his consideration. Half the county's 350,000 people 25 or older have at least a bachelor's degree, and the poverty rate is half the national average while median income is 150% higher. He showed no interest, but I'm not deterred. Throw financial stability into the mix as well:
Overall growth in Johnson County has slowed to a trickle, a level not seen for 16 years, new numbers released by the county clerk’s office show. ...

Real estate valuation increased 2.36 percent compared with an increase of 7.12 percent a year ago. ...

Reappraisal growth for existing homes stood at 0.74 percent in Johnson County, a significant dip from the 10.64 percent home-value increase posted eight years ago, just before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Okay, so now's probably not the best time to buy in sober markets. But Dennis takes care of himself, so he's going to live for a long time. He should focus on the long-term! S&P/Case-Shiller data today shows continued double-digit percentage declines in home valuations. I'll take a marginal increase over this:
Both the 10-City and 20-City Composites have been in year-over-year decline for 20 consecutive months. Of the 20 regions, 13 of them had their annual returns worsen from last month's report. As seen throughout 2008, the Sun Belt markets are being hit the most. Phoenix and Las Vegas are both reporting annual declines in excess of 30%, and Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego are all in excess of 25%."

Nine of the 20 regions have record annual declines. Phoenix and Las Vegas are now returning -30.7% and -30.6% versus August 2007, respectively. Each of the California markets -- Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego -- are down more than 25% from their values 12 months ago. Miami and Tampa, the two Florida markets, are down 28.1% and 18.1%, respectively.
Housing doesn't create additional real value over time like other investments do. Without a rapid increase (or decrease) in both human capital and population, housing valuations shouldn't see double-digit year-over-year increases (or decreases). If they do, they're not reflecting an underlying reality, only the illusion of an increase (or decrease) in real value.

When people presume the illusory increases in value are real, they end up spending money they don't have. Loans from the future have to be paid back. Taking them out is going to inflict pain, especially when so many of those who took them assumed they were getting stipends, not taking out loans. And it's not just homeowners who plunge into the red as a result--state and local governments do as well, as property tax revenues drop in tandem with housing valuations.

Steve Sailer has recently written about this on multiple occasions. His parsimony in the face of illusory gains served him well. Fortunately for most of the people in my neck of the woods, there were never any wild illusory gains to begin with, so we were financially responsible by default. Consequently, fewer than 1 in 1,000 homes in JoCo are being foreclosed on (and the stodgy upper Great Plains states have fared even better), compared to more than 1 for every 200 homes in California. Score one for Jack Cashill over Thomas Frank.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fewer sexual partners means more babies

Last week, a 17 year-old friend to whom I consider myself a sort of mentor was on the verge of breaking down when I, sensing something was wrong, inquired as to what it was. His girlfriend of a few months had just broken up with him and started hanging out with a mutual male friend. I reminded him that only months ago, when she'd been after him, he'd been ambivalent for weeks before going ahead with the formality of asking her out and committing himself (he's a good looking, athletic guy who has had multiple eights and nines, including the girl who'd just broken up with him, show interest in him before he showed any in their direction--something that is relatively common during the 'egalitarian' adolescent years).

Never mind the details, just suffice it to say he's too passive to 'capitalize' on his opportunities. He's also a kind and sensitive person who I'm sure will do well in life. He's distraught over still being innocent, which bothers me. I tried to console him by letting him know that if I could turn back time, I still would be. Ideally, so would my wife. That way we'd have a special bond, a connection each would have to the other unique from either of our relationships with anyone else in the world. In response, he said such a situation is too rare among his generation for that to be realistic (I wanted to further console him by letting him know it's actually rarer among my generation than his, but he's only in high school and wasn't in the mood for me to be captious).

I dispense the anecdote because despite his concern that he'll never get any action, I suspect he'll end up having more kids than most of the other caddish guys who are currently after his former girl. I suspected the same, more generally, when I posted skeptically on a study which some insinuated to be evidence that girls find bad boys more attractive than they do good guys. It disturbed me to think that my ideal might be losing out, as old-fashioned as media portrayals of it suggest.

Fortunately, it's not going the way of the landline phone. Using GSS, I looked at the average number of children a man has and compared it with the number of female partners he's had from the age of 18 onward. Men who have only had one partner are the most fecund:


The GSS cuts off at eight children ("eight or more"). I treated men in this category as though they'd had exactly eight kids. Men with a single partner are the most likely of all groups to belong to it, so the previous table actually makes them look slightly less fertile relative to the others than is actually the case.

As the number of partners increases, the number of procreations decreases. Taking the average number of chidren for each group of men (those who've had one partner, those who've had two partners, etc) and comparing it with the number of partners each group has had yields an inverse correlation of .57 (p=.02).

A graphical representation of the data follow:

Green-on-up indicates replenishment or better. Nearly two-thirds of men who are committed to a single woman have popped out two or more children. For the contemporary Genghis Khans, fewer than half have pulled it off. While only one-quarter of committed men have not bore a child, one-third of the Khan's have failed to do so. Lifelong monogamy may have been 'selected' against in the past, but it is being selected for today.

I stand by my previous assertion that assuming because bad boys have more sexual partners they must be more attractive to women is a big leap. Perhaps the single most important factor in determining how many sexual partners a man has is knowing how many he wants to have. And it's the responsible, family man-types who want to have (or are at least content having) fewer partners and more kids.

In addition to this demonstration that men who find the one and stick with her are leaving more offspring than skirt chasers are, GNXP's Jason Malloy has shown that law-abiding men are also more fecund than those who get in trouble with the law are. He needs to move some of these insights from the comments section of various blogs to the main thread of GNXP:

"Anecdotally, it appears that your average psychopath, gang member, or convicted felon gets himself way further into the gene pool than the average salaryman."

The GSS asks respondents if they have ever been picked up or charged by police. According to the GSS, those who answer 'yes' average 1.73 kids, those who answer 'no' average 2.20 kids. Law-abiding men leave more children.
So it appears that if the bad boy traits were ever selected for, they're not being selected for any longer.

Finally, the insistence on an alpha-beta dichotomy strikes me as stupid. Is there anything empirical that actually backs up such a characterization? What man doesn't play the alpha role when he is able to and the beta role when he realizes he is unable to? I play basketball in a rough area of Independence. You better believe I'm Mr. Alpha there. When I'm dealing with my boss, I'm usually in beta mode. If I'm able to dominate the situation, or it's necessary to at least try to, I'm in alpha-mode. If it's harmful to do so, I'm obsequious. To be otherwise would be self-immolating.

The challenge is figuring out when to take charge and when to take orders. Perhaps conscietiousness would be a better measure of what the alpha-beta dichotomy is after?

Friday, October 24, 2008

O Ozone, where art thou?

Ilkka Kokkarinen recalls the ozone hole scare that was part of popular parlance a decade ago, noting that it has essentially disappeared since then:

Another funny (both strange and ha-ha) thing that I recently realized was how the 90's big scare of "ozone hole" seems to have vanished into, well, a memory hole. ... You'd think that environmentalists would be screaming their lungs out for that one at every opportunity, but for some mysterious reason, they are as silent about the ozone hole as liberals and progressives these days are about Free Tibet, or for that matter, one of their most decisive victories of recent times, the democratization of South Africa. ... Another, more cynical hypothesis might be that the ozone hole scare was just like every other green scare so far, a completely meaningless dud that was just a naked and cynical attempt to grab the power away from the masses and place it securely in the hands of an unelected, self-anointed eco-elite.
I vaguely remember hearing about ozone depletion and how I'd better where SPF 30 or higher sunscreen when I went to Oceans of Fun unless I wanted skin cancer before I finished high school, but haven't heard about it at all since I've become moderately cognizant of the world around me (the last five years or so).

Quantifying the astute statements of others is a stock-in-trade, so I visited the New York Times' archives to do just that. There is scarcely any other major media publication that gives more attention to putatively anthropogenic environmental damage than the NYT does. "Ozone hole" provided too scant a return to be helpful, so I used the phrase "ozone depletion" instead.

The nearby graph (click to enhance it) shows the number of articles, adjusted for the total number of stories produced over the entire year, containing the phrase from 1981 to the present.

Ilkka's recollection is pretty accurate. Attention peaked in the early nineties and had subsided by the end of the decade. I suspect the focus on ozone depletion was replaced by "global warming" in the early part of this decade, a phrase which has since been (in the face of ten years of moderate cooling) replaced by the more nebulous "climate change".

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Republicans wealthier than Democrats, especially in red states, but will it continue?

Razib reviews Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do at his SB site. It appears the authors delve deeply into what's been pointed out and discussed here: While Republican voters are on average wealthier and (slightly) more educated* than Democratic voters are, blue states are wealthier and more educated than red states are.

They also show, unsurprisingly, that wealthy Republicans in red states are more socially conservative than Republicans in blue states are (just as I suspect poor Democrats in red states are more socially conservative than poor Democrats in blue states are).

More intringuingly, wealthy red staters are said to often be more religious than poor red staters are. That wouldn't surprise me in Utah, but in Louisiana? My first inclination is to wonder if the red state poor are more likely to be 'Scots-Irish'--a group that has historically been less religiously committed (I think) than English and German settlers have been--than the affluent red staters are.

Razib makes no mention of it in his review, but to anyone who has read the book (I have it on the way), does it address how race effects the white vote? For states where at least 10% of the population is black (excluding DC, for once a theoretical state has a black majority, it doesn't matter how whites vote), there is a correlation of .42 (p=.07) between the state's Republican support and the relative size of its black population--that is, the blacker the state, the more likely it is to vote Republican. I suspect this is in part due to whites in heavily black states perceiving welfare programs as little more than a means of taking money from them and giving it to blacks, whereas in lilywhite states like Vermont, welfare programs are seen as merely taking money from overabundant whites and giving it to fellow whites who are momentarily down-and-out.

* Looking at exit polling data for the '06 mid-terms and the '96-'04 Presidential elections, I 'estimated' mean income for Republicans and Democrats. I took the middle value of the income range category, determined what percentage of each party's total vote it represented, did this for each income category, and then came up with a mean income (rounded to the nearest thousand) accordingly. For "under $15,000", I used $7,500. For the highest income range, I used 125% of the minimum value (ie, for "$200,000 or more" I used $250,000):

Rep avgDem avg

The income gap has remained pretty steady over the last decade, with Republicans earning somewhere in the area of 10%-20% on average more than Democrats. The estimates are useful for comparative purposes. It's a pretty crude method of estimating the actual mean income of each party's voters, though.

Income grows for both parties every election cycle for a couple of reasons. One is artificially due to the way I came up with the averages--the uppermost range was $100,000 for '96 and '00 (thus capping the top earners at $125k), then grew to $200,000 for '04 and '06 ($250k tops). The other is that, according to exit polling data, the lowest income range has seen decreased representation as time goes on. In '96, it's 11% of the total vote. Ten years later, it only comprised 7%. In '96, voters earning less than $50,000 constituted 61% of the total vote. A decade later, only 40%. Of course, this doesn't take inflation into account.

Educationally, Republican and Democratic voters are close to parity. Using a simple formula similar to what was used in looking at educational attainment by state, I assign an index score to voters in each party by election cycle. The formula used is [(1.5 * Post-graduate % + Bachelor's only % - < HS grad %) * 100]:

Reps Dems

Voters are wealthier and more educated than non-voters are. If the same formula is used for the nation as a whole, it earns a 9.3 in 2000. Half Sigma has lamented what he sees as an exodus of the well-educated and wealthy from the GOP to the Democratic side. It's difficult to discern an income trend evidencing this, especially since blue states tend to be more expensive states to live in then red states are (thus Republican voters' real buying power advantage over Democratic voters is even larger than the nominal income advantage is).

But educationally, he may be onto something. The Democratic index score has increased every election cycle over the past ten years, while the GOP's declined until '06, when it shot back up to where it had been when Clinton was reelected.

The abrupt increase is attributable to the walloping Republicans received in '06. Moderates tend to be less intelligent and less wealthy than conservatives or liberals are, and the "uncommitted" types who see their electoral leanings ebb and flow with things like gas prices or the S&P 500 index probably tend to be less educated and less affluent than those who are more committed. These moderate middlers primarily went for the Democrats in '06.

This election looks set to offer something similar. A large black turnout could again lead to Republican voters being slightly more educated than Democratic voters, as was the case in '06. Going forward, I'm hesitant to assume the increase in educational attainment among Democrats will continue because the party is increasingly becoming non-white. Some well-educated, affluent whites may continue to move away from the GOP, but I expect middle class and working class whites to move in the other direction. The educational attainment and affluence of white Democrats may well increase going forward, but it might be more than offset by the increasing number of Democrat-supporting Hispanics.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who will be next?

John McWhorter's already there. Armstrong William's waffling. JC Watts considered being on the right side of history, but pulled back in the end.

Pat Buchanan is focusing on Powell's pleading "no contest" to the insinuation on Meet the Press that his support for Obama is racially motivated.

I'm more struck by Powell's assertion that the Republican party has moved too far to the right for his liking, as its nominee opens with praise for Ted Kennedy in the first Presidential debate, touts partnering with Hillary Clinton, and is on the left side of CAGW, immigration, continual federal government bailouts and buyouts, campaign financing, etc. Watching Buchanan's 1992 address to the RNC leaves the impression the GOP has moved considerably leftward over the last 15 years.

A few late points on housing crisis

A few useful bits of information when mulling over the "housing crisis" I've not seen spelled out elsewhere over the last couple of months:

- Of the total political contributions made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from 1989 to the present, 57.2% of them have gone to Democrats (57.8% if leftist independents Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman are included), while the remaining 42.2% have gone to Republicans. That isn't as lopsided as has been insinuated in some places.

- The Community Reinvestment Act was passed by a supermajority Democratic Senate (61-39) and House (292-143) (during Carter's Presidency, of course).

- There is a modest but statistically significant correlation of .31 (p=.03) between Kerry's share of the vote in '04 and per housing unit foreclosure filings rate by state as of this August.

The need for more regulation schtick grates me. The WSJ's William McGurn quotes the former Louisiana Congressman who was a longtime opponent of the housing GSEs:

My starting principle is this," says Mr. Baker. "The closer an enterprise is to the taxpayer's wallet, the more congressional oversight it requires. The further away you get from that wallet, the more freedom you should give people, because they are risking their own money, not the taxpayers'."

On Capitol Hill, he notes, we had just the opposite. In terms of accountability, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were the worst of both worlds. On the one hand, they lacked the congressional oversight that would have come had there been an explicit and acknowledged taxpayer guarantee. On the other hand, the privileged position represented by this implicit guarantee removed the discipline that market competition forces on other private enterprises.
Private banks are effected by CRA examinations. The ratings they receive (made more stringent in 1995) factor into approvals for new branches, mergers, and acquisitions. Banks are required to hold 10% of capital to back up their investments ($1 for every $10 due), but Fannie and Freddie are only required to hold 2.5% of capital to back up their own ($1 for every $40 due).
It's old hat now, but the opposition to greater regulation of the GSEs came exclusively from (mostly black) Democrats. "Unregulated capitalism" isn't the right cliche to be throwing around. "Political correctness" and "crony capitalism" are more appropriate.

Tangentially, here's a neat (and partisan) video synopsis of what took place (via Al Fin):

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Tommy adds more for thought to the possibility Obama had a ghostwriter

For those interested in whether Obama's Dreams was ghostwritten, "Tommy" takes a fairly thorough look at one of Obama's self-described favorite books, Moby Dick, as well as the texts of a few of the Senator's biggest speeches, in attempt to ascertain if either share an affinity for the nautical metaphors found in the autobiography:

"Murky" appears twice Moby Dick. In both instances, it is use to describe light rather than water.

The "Hudson" is mentioned twice in Moby Dick, though it doesn't mention anything about the tide modifying the flow of the river.

I couldn't find use of the phrases "currents of calm," "pockets of calm," or anything very similar in Moby Dick. The phrase "into the current(s)" is not used.

The word "tranquil" and its variants comes up often enough in Moby Dick. References to a "tranquil sea" are pretty cliche in any event. "Oceans of despair" does not occur, but again this is a fairly common phrase.

The word "knotted" occurs often enough, but isn't used analogically or metaphorically except in a reference to wrinkles in Moby Dick. "Tangled" also isn't used in this sense in the book. There is at least one such use of "entanglement," however. "Horizon" occurs frequently, though always in reference to an actual, not metaphorical, horizon. "Ragged" occurs four times in the book.

A quick glance through the old book reminds me of how infrequently simple metaphors or analogies are used in Melville's writings. The narrative of the story, not simple phraseology, bears the author's allusions.

For what it is worth (again, not much), none of the following terms occur in Obama's DNC speech in 2004.


He makes a reference to a "naval lieutenant," but, of course, he is referring to John Kerry on the Mekong. He makes use of the phrase "wind at our backs." That appears to be the only possible nautical metaphor in the speech.

Obama's speech on race contains mention of the word "ocean," but only in reference to the founders of the colonies crossing the ocean from the Old World. The word "storm" only occurs as part of the word "firestorm." The word "current" is only used in the sense of "contemporary." None of the other words listed above are used. The word "wind" is used here, but only in quoting Dreams. I didn't read this entire speech again, but browsing it did not reveal any evident nautical metaphors.

With the exception of a reference to immigrants crossing the ocean, none of the above words occur in Obama's acceptance speech. He makes a reference to a "hurricane," and to "floodwaters," but these are obvious references to Katrina and Ike. The only reference to "wind" is in the term "wind power." Once again, I didn't care to read this entire speech for a second time, but I could not find any obvious nautical allusions in browsing this speech either.

He doesn't seem too fond of inserting nautical metaphors into his significant speeches. But then I'm not sure how involved he is in writing or editing his own speeches.

All in all, I have to say that after reviewing Moby Dick and Obama's speeches, I'm less certain than before that Obama wrote his autobiographies without assistance. I do get the sense that someone with firsthand experience of the sea might have assisted in penning these books.

It may also be worth keeping in mind that Obama hasn't had any qualms in borrowing the rhetoric of other speakers. That is demonstrated in this video. Some of the shorter phrases he uses are so generic that he may not be swiping them from the sources the video implies, but it becomes obvious toward the end of this video that he has lifted material from former clients of David Axelrod like Deval Patrick and from Malcolm X.
Jack Cashill brings all of his circumstantial evidence together, believing it to be near conclusivity. Seems to me without a 'smoking gun', though, that's a hard sell.

If I had to bet, I'd wager Dreams had help from a ghostwriter(s). Two instances of his previous writings have been discovered. The first is a very rudimentary poem, and that's not being hyperbolic:
Under water grottos, caverns
Filled with apes
That eat figs.
Stepping on the figs
That the apes
Eat, they crunch.
The apes
howl, bare
Their fangs, dance...
The other piece is an essay Obama contributed to a book entitled After Alinsky: Community Organizing in Illinois. It's competently written, but it doesn't flow (heh) well. Jack, excerpting from the essay, writes:
“Moreover, such approaches can and have become thinly veiled excuses for cutting back on social programs, which are anathema to a conservative agenda.”

“But organizing the black community faces enormous problems as well ... and the urban landscape is littered with the skeletons of previous efforts.”

These cliché-choked sentences go beyond the merely unpromising to the fully ungrammatical. “Organizing” does not “face.” “Efforts” do not leave “skeletons.” “Agendas” do not have “anathemas.” Indeed, the essay is clunky, pedestrian, and wonkish, a B- paper in a freshman comp class.
Even if that's the case, a celebrity utilizing a ghostwriter is hardly a unique story. It might ding Obama's image as a masterful weaver of words, but it's not a game changer. It has to be Ayers to really matter.

The McCain campaign, in tandem with Republican talk radio, has zeroed in on Obama's relationship with Ayers', something that might indicate they too feel there is something to Jack's suspicion.

It could also be desperation (although they're apparently not 'desperate' enough to go after the much firmer and evidential connection to Jeremiah Wright). The attack line was, in addition to 'weakness' and 'surrender' on foreign policy, that Obama was a tax-and-spend redistributionist, maybe even a communist. But then McCain voted for an unpopular $700 billion bailout with more than $100 billion in the "pork barrel spending" he had made opposition to a centerpiece of his campaign. McCain showed himself to be just what he'd been criticizing Obama for being, so that attack line had to be deemphasized.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Magic: The Gathering and Tidus, Auron, Rikku, Wakka, Lulu, Yuna, Kimahri

As a bonus, a fully orchestrated, heartwrenching rendition of To Zanarkand:

Friday, October 17, 2008

An appropriate sign for the times

It's not a bumper sticker yet, but I bet one of the many online retailers who sell the things could move more than a few. No rights reserved here--please, have at it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran gets ICE to pick up illegals' jail tab

Lake County provides an illustration of how the 287(g) program should work:
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran on Thursday released the results of an audit that showed a fifth of his jail population is undocumented and pressed for the power to deport them. ...

Fourteen months ago, Curran applied for certification in the federal 287(g) program, which gives local law enforcement officials deportation powers under Immigration and Customs supervision. He said he was the first sheriff in Illinois to do so, drawing criticism from groups who say the program is little more than racial profiling. ...

Curran also said the program could save the county millions. Once Immigration and Customs has a detainer on an inmate, it pays $65 to $75 daily to house the inmate in the jail. Curran said the Aug. 6 jailhouse audit found 122 of the 637 inmates were undocumented. More than 100 of those inmates were put under detainers, so the county can now apply to Immigration and Customs for reimbursement for housing those inmates—up to about $4.05 million per year.
Once ICE is notified of an illegal immigrant's residency status, the county is reimbursed for the criminal's incarceration expenses. By participating in 287, Curran is saving the county $8,500 a day. Maintaining the integrity of our national sovereignty is one of the (few) duties of the federal government explicitly stated in the Constitution, under Article 4, Section 4:

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.
Immigration is a federal responsibility and as such, the federal government should absorb the costs of illegal immigration. This undercuts the empty protestation that enforcement is too costly for state or local governments to employ, and thus they must take a hands-off approach until the federal government "fixes" the problem.

Although Curran's actions are being described as "controversial", it is difficult to believe the citizenry views it that way. "Controversial" is a favorite media descriptor of something favored by the right, regardless of whether or not it is more broadly favored, as is the case with immigration restrictionism.

Even open borders supporters are hard-pressed to argue that the deportation of jailed lawbreakers is a bad idea without flatly stating that all immigration laws should be uniformly ignored. To the contrary, shipping illegal criminals back home after they've completed their sentences stateside will improve the quality of the immigrant population residing in the US, thus making it less intolerable to the citizenry (but still far from being a net benefit to them). For most open borders supporters, however, quantity is more important than quality.

ICE provides a list of law enforcement organizations that have partnered with it in the 287(g) program. If yours is not included, contact your sheriff's office to find out the reason for its absence.

Split politically, the affluent county is north of Chicago's Cook County. Cook operates under a sanctuary policy. Consequently partnership in the 287 program is not under consideration.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Obama Panic, or Americans just wanting Obama to get us out of it?

The market descension and Obama's ascension are clearly linked. The conventional take is that when people see their 401(k)s and IRAs losing one-third of their valuations in a span of two weeks, they become angry and direct that anger at whoever is in the Whitehouse. As Randall Parker has reminded us on several occasions, the incumbent party always gets hammered during economic recessions.

John S Bolton, who smelled something fishy in the 2004 national exit polling data, thus spurring Steve Sailer to show the 44% pro-Bush Hispanic figure to be false, however, has been suggesting that the market crash be seen as the "Obama Panic". While the markets have plunged for ten straight days, excepting a one day surge, Obama has been pulling away from McCain, enjoying support above the 50% mark in multiple polls.

I figured one way to approach the chicken-and-egg question would be to look at two correlations: One of Obama's daily support and the market position for the day prior and another with Obama's daily support and the market position of the following day. Zogby does a daily tracking poll that is out by mid-morning. If Obama's support is a result of the market dropping, the former should be stronger. If the market is responding to Obama's gains, the latter correlation should be stronger. Not a definitive test, but it's worth running.

The results at least grant plausibility to John's perception, although they're by no means definitive. The inverse correlation between Obama's support in Zogby's daily tracking poll and the S&P 500* closing the day before the relevant poll began** is .73 (p=.003). For Obama's support and the S&P 500 closing the day of the poll's release (the polls always come several hours in advance of the close to give the market time to factor them in), it's an even more robust .81 (p=.0005). If the market's closing on the same day of the poll's release doesn't feel like enough time for the latter to have an influence, know that at .82 (p=.0004), the relationship holds for the S&P 500 close the following day as well***. In other words, the market follows Obama's polling numbers more tightly than Obama's polling numbers react to changes in the market, albeit not by much.

Another Zogby poll reports investors are more likely to support McCain than they are to support Obama:
53% of investors are for McCain and 38% for Obama, while 52% of non-investors are for Obama and 37% for McCain. More than half - 53% - of investors say McCain can best handle the economy vs. 35% for Obama, and 53% of non-investors say Obama can best handle the economy vs. 33% for McCain.
What percentage of the total population each group constitutes isn't given, but if retirement plans and pensions are included, slightly over half of the population qualifies as an "investor". Given the percentage splits, it looks as though investors and non-investors are evenly divided among the respondents.

Chief executives are even more firmly behind McCain than investors are:
Chief Executive magazine’s most recent polling of 751 CEOs shows that GOP presidential candidate John McCain is the preferred choice for CEOs. According to the poll, which is featured on the cover of Chief Executive’s most recent issue, by a four-to-one margin, CEOs support Senator John McCain over Senator Barack Obama. Moreover, 74 percent of the executives say they fear that an Obama presidency would be disastrous for the country.
But is that even close to enough to send the market plunging more than 20% in a matter of days? When George Bush won in '04, the S&P 500 climbed only very modestly. Obama looked to have the Presidency in the bag early in the summer, and that was before he favorably (from an investor's perspective) re-tooled his capital gains taxation proposal, yet the markets mostly hummed along sideways.

If anyone has an idea for a better way of looking at the question of 'causation', please make it known in the comments.

* The S&P 500 is a better gauge of the market than the DJIA is. Not only does the DJIA consist of only 30 bluechips, it's not weighted by market value, so stocks that don't split end up having more influence on the index than stocks that do.

** Some polls span more than a single day. I use the S&P 500 close the day before the first day of that span. The S&P 500 close following the daily tracking poll still comes from the day Zogby releases the results.

*** In addition to the daily tracking poll Zogby has been running for a couple of weeks, I used results from the other eight Presidential election surveys Zogby has conducted since mid-August so as to include Palin's nomination and also a period of time before the markets began their collective nosedive. On polls conducted over the weekend, the S&P 500 close from the previous Friday was used. When weekend polls were pincered by polls on the previous Friday and the following Monday, I disregarded them.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Jack Cashill's investigative work on who wrote Obama's autobiography finally 'making waves'

++Addition++Steve Sailer reminds his readers why an Obama ghostwriter is unlikely:
One reason few have finished Obama's autobiography, even though it has been on the bestseller list for over a year, is because of the stubborn relentlessness with which he refused to recount any incidents in his life just because they were entertaining or educational or edifying. It's clearly not ghostwritten—any professional hack would have made it less forbiddingly literary, more reader-friendly.
Steve's probably spent more time with Dreams than anyone else has. Jack will need to produce a smoking gun, not just suggestive circumstantial evidence, to definitively make his case. He tells me he's sure he is right, and that he has more coming soon. Stay tuned, I guess.


Jack Cashill has been marshalling circumstantial evidence that Obama's Dreams from my Father was ghostwritten for months. He has now flagged William Ayers as the suspected shade, arguing the sentence style, imagery, readability, and technical difficulty of the former terrorist's Fugitive Days bears a strong resemblance to Dreams:

Although Ayers has tried to put his unhappy ocean-going days behind him, the language of the sea will not let him go. Indeed, it infuses much of what he writes. This is only natural and often distinctive, as in an appealing Ayers’ metaphor like “the easy inlet of her eyes.”

Less natural is that much of this same nautical language flows through Obama’s earth-bound memoir, Dreams From My Father. For simplicity sake, I will refer to the memoir’s author is “Obama.”

Ayers is particularly eloquent when writing about the “fury” of the elements as, curiously, is Obama. Consider the following two passages, the first from “Fugitive Days”:

“I picture the street coming alive, awakening from the fury of winter, stirred from the chilly spring night by cold glimmers of sunlight angling through the city.”

The second from “Dreams”:

“Night now fell in midafternoon, especially when the snowstorms rolled in, boundless prairie storms that set the sky close to the ground, the city lights reflected against the clouds.”

These two sentences are alike in more than their poetry, their length and their gracefully layered structure. They tabulate nearly identically on the Flesch Reading Ease Score (FRES), something of a standard in the field.

The “Fugitive Days” excerpt scores a 54 on reading ease and a 12 th grade reading level. The “Dreams’” excerpt scores a 54.8 on reading ease and a 12th grade reading level. Scores can range from 0 to 121, so hitting a nearly exact score matters.

A comparable nature passage from my novel, “2006: The Chautauqua Rising,” scores a 61.6 with an 11 th grade reading level. The samples I submitted from my own semi-memoir on race, “Sucker Punch,” score in the 63-76 range.

In reading Ayers, one senses that he is unaware how deeply his
seagoing affects his language. “Memory sails out upon a murky sea,” he writes at one point.

Indeed, both he and Obama are obsessed with memory and its
instability. The latter writes of its breaks, its blurs, its edges, its lapses. He also has a fondness for the word “murky” and its aquatic usages.
Interesting suspicion, anyway.

Before settling on Ayers, the investigative work for which Jack is renowned didn't draw much attention. I suspect this is because it only requires a few minutes with Dreams and Obama's post-'04 DNC convention speech book, Audacity of Hope, to realize they probably weren't written by the same person. Ghostwriting is not an uncommon for celebrities to have done. Obama surely had substantial input in Dreams, and likely in Audacity, too, but unless he is the apotheosis of literary ventriloquism, possessing an uncanny political prescience to boot, he wasn't behind the keyboard when both (or either) of them were created.

It is the Ayers' connection and the Obama campaign's downplaying of it that has the conservative media now paying attention. It seems to me that proving that Ayers ghostwrote Dreams (presuming for the sake of argument that he actually did so) will be an impossibility. The major media will not only fail to undertake any investigative journalism of their own, they'll likely make no mention of Jack's work at all. It'll take an internal leak from someone on the 'inside' 15 years ago to break the thing open.

Voter swings by race from one election to the next

Thinking about racial demographics of party voting in the US over the last three decades piqued my curiousity over swings from election to election among racial groups. That "independents" will swing the election this way or that is a standard line of 'analysis' offered repeatedly during every election cycle. Yeah, fascinating, I know.

More interestingly, Hispanics are often considered a 'swing' category (even though they'll comprise around 3%-4% of the total vote in swing states this election cycle), as are various subgroups of whites. Blacks, in contrast, are, uh, never considered as such.

Those general characterizations aren't appreciably off the mark. From 1984 to 2006, the average swing from one Presidential cycle to the next (with the exception of '06, a mid-term only two years out from the '04 election) by group:

Whites -- 10 points
Blacks -- 4 points
Hispanics -- 13 points
Asians -- 15 points*
Others -- 2 points**

Those are absolute sums from the shifts on both sides, computed as though the race was a dichotomous one between the Democratic and Republican candidates only. So a 5-point drop in Republican support among Asians and a corresponding 5-point rise in their support for the Democrat represents a 10-point swing (and that has been the secular trend among Asians, whereas the other groups have more-or-less moved above and below an anchor of support favoring Republicans in the case of whites and Democrats in the case of blacks and Hispanics).

Since Asians move the most, it follows that campaigning should be directed primarily at them. It's of even greater importance than targeting the Hispanic vote is. Really, McCain ought to spend most of his time in California, where there are 4.5 million Asians and more than 13 million Hispanics! Surely that's his ticket to the Whitehouse!

The number of voters the average swing represented in the '04 Presidential election for the five major groups:

Whites -- 9.3 million
Blacks -- 500,000
Hispanics -- 1.3 million
Asians -- 300,000
Others -- 50,000

More than four in five 'swing' voters this election cycle are likely to be white. This understates the importance of the white vote, however, as swing states are considerably whiter, slightly blacker, less Hispanic, and less Asian than the nation at large is.

But since the white vote is invisible unless it serves to color working class whites as 'bigots' (despite the fact that blacks are more likely to vote for racial reasons than whites are, even in West Virginia), targeting the Hispanic vote at the expense of others makes the most electoral sense!

* Exit polling from '92-'06.
** Exit polling from '00-'06.

Friday, October 10, 2008

International student assessments (Rindermann) and L&V IQ scores compared

In the previous post, I looked at the relationship between international student assessment results and IQ scores as gathered by Lynn and Vanhanen in response to concerns the L&V figures are too unreliable. Running L&V and PISA (math, reading, science for 15 year-olds) '06 yields a correlation of .81.

Bettering that, Heiner Rindermann provides data aggregating results from multiple international student assessments given in various years to various students in several countries. This gets around potential isolated data errors and statistical anomalies. Jason Malloy pointed me to a site run by Volkmar Weiss presenting Rindermann's numbers, from which I sourced the nearly perfect correlation of .94 between the national IQ estimates of Rindermann and L&V.

But Weiss made some transcription errors. For Somalia, for example, Rindermann doesn't report any student assessment scores at all and assigns an adjusted IQ of 68 to the country. Weiss shows him reporting a 58 and V&H reporting an 84. But in IQ and Global Inequality, L&V give Somalia 68, the same score Rindermann assigns, as he has no assessment results for the country. I'm not sure what L&V estimated for Somalia in IQ and Wealth of Nations, which is where Weiss gets his V&H numbers, but such an enormous gap seems impossible, since in both cases Somalia is estimated from surrounding countries). There are other instances of similar errors on Weiss' site.

Knowing that Rindermann factored L&V's numbers into his own, it was clear the real relationship could not be that strong (the problem with Weiss' transcriptions aside). But how strong is it? I threw my hands up and said in lacking access to Rindermann's paper, I didn't know. Thankfully, my readers are more resourceful than I am. Bruce G. Charlton and Jason Malloy each sent me Rindermann's actual paper. The German professor explains how much weight L&V are given:
I calculated one total score for all cognitive ability studies (IQ, student assessment studies). Student assessment studies [PIRLS, PISA, and TIMSS in aggregate] were given a double weight in this total because they have newer and larger samples and they consist of more cross-national studies.
The next step is to expand the 1-r gap by 50%, yielding a correlation of .91. It had initially struck me as curious (I don't quite miss everything) that Rindermann had estimates for as many countries as L&V did, since the assessments Rindermann used are administered in few third world countries and only a handful of middling countries.

As it turns out, for more than 100 countries (60% of the national total) Rindermann's only data source is L&V. There are no recorded results from any of the student assessments in these places. So most of Rindermann's figures are identical to the estimates L&V present in IQ and Global Inequality. Using only the student assessment converted aggregate scores for the countries where they are available and comparing them to L&V's estimates for the same countries (a total of 74) reveals a correlation of .85 (p=0).

This isn't surprising, as Lynn has shown that IQ results correlate with various international student assessments in the range of .81-.89. Well, Rindermann's aggregation of those assessments correlates with IQ scores at exactly the middle of that range.

Rindermann also presents his estimates with adjustments (five points subtracted from L&V estimates for countries without any actual data, age and participation rate adjustments for international student assessments). For the same 74 countries where assessment results are available, the correlation with L&V is a marginally stronger .86.

This increases my comfort in using L&V IQ scores. International student assessments, where available, are vigorously correlated with L&V. There is no apparent reason to presume L&V's IQ scores are less accurate than assessment results converted to IQ estimates are, and L&V provide numbers for more than twice as many countries as the international assessment scores do.

The data are here.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Lynn and Vanhanen data not perfect, but best, most comprehensive available

In a previous post looking at the relationship between a country's average intelligence and the ideal age advantage of men in the eyes of the country's women, Agnostic wonders if there aren't more reliable sources for IQ data than Lynn and Vanhanen. Specifically, he points to some digging by Dienekes that seems to show Lynn inexplicably adjusted Greek IQ downard a couple of points in one of the two samples used to compute the nation's average. Dienekes argues that the other result L&V use (showing an average IQ of 87) should be given little weight because it was conducted in 1961 on 9-14 year olds before universal education had been adopted in Greece.

Other aptitude testing results lend credence to the L&V estimate, however. The Programme for International Assessment (PISA), tests 15 year-olds every three years in the areas of reading, math, and science. PISA results convereted to IQ scores on a scale with a 15-point standard deviation puts Greece at 91 in '06, one point lower than L&V's estimate. In '03, PISA scores suggested an IQ of 92, identical to L&V's most recent data, so large fluctuations don't appear to offer an explanation.

L&V's numbers hold up pretty well against PISA results. For the 50 countries where both L&V and PISA estimates are available for '06, the correlation between the two is a statistically significant .81 (p=0). This relationship is similar to the relationships found between the figures Lynn lays out in Race Differences in Intelligence (p173-175) and the International Studies of Achievement in Mathematics and Science, for which 52 countries provide results. Lynn's estimates correlate with these scores in the range of .81-.89, depending on the year and subject of the test.

Unfortunately, these tests only extend to OECD countries and a handful of middling countries that are trying to get in, like Russia and Brazil. L&V's estimates allow for far more extensive international correlations to be searched for.

GNXP's Jason Malloy suggested I look to a site by Volkmar Weiss for additional numbers from German professor Heiner Rindermann, who composed his own estimates by combining L&V estimates with results from PISA, PIRLS (a reading assessment), and TIMSS. I'm not sure where Rindermann's numbers come from for many third-world countries, as only around 50 or 60 mostly developed countries participate in them, but I may be missing something (the paper is not open access). Whatever his methodology, these results correlate at .94 (p=0) with V&H's estimates. That would be more telling if I knew how much weight Rindermann gave to V&H's data in coming up with his estimates, but they're essentially interchangeable regardless.

Weiss makes the case that the small variances between L&V and PISA suggest the existence of dysgenic effects in some countries*. His assertion is based on the differing periods of time the respective tests are measuring. L&V are using figures derived from people who are today somewhere between midlife crisis and the grave. PISA and others like the aforementioned PIRLS or TIMSS, in contrast, are looking at contemporary teenagers. I've suggested something similar may be happening in the US, specifically in the Southwest, where estimates several decades old vary most greatly with contemporary estimates based on NAEP scores (they are stable over time in the rest of the country).

Given their consistent relationship with other international testing results, the L&V estimates remain among the most thorough and wide-ranging available, so I'll continue to use them.

I could substitute Rindermann's figures, which are as expansive as L&V's are, but the extremely low values given to sub-Saharan Africa make me less comfortable with their reliability. For example, Sierra Leone is given a 59, and that's with L&V's 63 pulling it up to some extent. If L&V are given half weight, that'd mean the other tests put the country's average at an almost unheard of 55 (that'd put the average Sierra Leonean at about the 0.1 percentile in the US). Somalia strains credulity to the greatest extent of all. L&V put it at 84 to Rindermann's 58. At a half-weight, that's 32 (!) from non-L&V data. Even at one-fourth weight, it's only 51.

At almost non-existent levels of education in many of African countries, scholastic aptitude tests are probably going to tend to understate actual IQ relative to tests like Raven Progressive Matrices. Anyway, I see no compelling reason to assume Rindermann's are necessarily superior. I suppose I could run both sets to try to better distill real relationships, but as we're looking at estimates not absolutely precise values, and they are already so similar, that won't add much value.

The data are here.

* Among those said to be undergoing dysgenic changes in average intelligence: Hungary, Luxembourg, Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain, Italy, the US, and Mexico.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The question no one is asking

Why, when McCain's stance on immigration is at odds with most of those who will be voting for him, has there not been a single question concerning it in either of the debates thus far? Why hasn't Obama nailed him to the wall with it (or more gracefully, why haven't Obama supporters like Lehrer or Ifill done so)?

It would've been revealing to hear Palin address immigration, even abstractly. I wonder if she's yet received corrective education on comprehensive immigration reform.

The topic was conspicuously absent at the Republican National Convention as well. Stunning how something so prominent less than two years ago (looking back at pre-vote polling and exit polling data for the '06 election, I see it everywhere) is seemingly able to so suddenly vanish. I suspect it will reemerge sometime after January of next year, though.

Open letter to Americas Majority Foundation's Richard Nadler

++Addition++Richard Nadler has agreed to engage the points raised, but he'll understandably be busy until after the election. I will post his response in its entirety when it's received.


Two nights ago, I attended a debate moderated by Jack Cashill between Kris Kobach*, chairman of the Kansas Republican party and immigration restrictionist who successfully assisted the state of Arizona in defending its tough enforcement laws that went into effect at the beginning of 2008, and Richard Nadler of Americas Majority Foundation, a conservative organization in favor of open borders (and no, there is not an apostrophe in between the "a" and the "s" in AMF's name).

Kobach argued the familiar to regular readers--Arizona's enforcement policies have had an appreciable effect on reducing the illegal immigrant population in the state, in the process leaving the state of Arizona unexpectedly better off by more than $40 million (illegal immigrants cost the system a lot more than they contribute to it), buttressed by Robert Rector's exhaustive study showing immigration, especially of the illegal variety, transfers billions of dollars from taxpaying citizens to immigrants.

Nadler argued states experiencing the greatest economic growth over the last several years are also the states with the largest immigrant populations. He suggested that immigration was part of the reason for this speedier economic growth, although stated he could not prove which way the causation arrow pointed. He also argued that if Hispanics vote more heavily Republican, the GOP leadership will become more firmly pro-life (an issue of great concern to him). The report he authored and referenced did not distinguish between legal (H1-B, EB-5, etc) and illegal immigrants, as Kobach continually pointed out.

Reaffirming my belief that Steve Sailer is the most underappreciated intellectual in the US (Levitt, Gladwell, and even Nadler are more-or-less household names, but Steve's still a relative unknown, even though he's had high-profile exchanges with all of them), Nadler opened by attacking Steve together with Michelle Malkin. No one in the room had mentioned either of them.

Steve is the reason I was there, as my defense of Frances Semler (who was also in attendance) is how I met Jack Cashill and had the Zenith invitation extended to me in the first place, and AE wouldn't have the (modest--quality over quantity!) readership it does today without him. Consequently, I pinned my ears back after the swipe.

The setting was intimate, as the club meets by invitation, so after a 45 minute back-and-forth between Kobach and Nadler, Q&A was opened up to the floor of about 30 people. The audience was a virtual who's who list of prominent local conservatives like Kay O'Connor and Ben Hodge, so I was passed over in favor of august questioners who asked questions like "Mr. Nadler, do you or don't you believe in the rule of law?" Yeah, perspicacious, I know (although given that the correlation between the percentage of a state's population that is foreign-born and its identity theft victimization rate is a strong and statistically significant .75, it's really not a bad question). I approached Nadler afterwards for a lively 15 minute discussion that ended when he said to his wife (dismissively directed at me), "Well dear, shall we go?" His time's a lot more important than mine, so what are you going to do?

As Nadler is unusual among open borders proponents in that he is eager to actually discuss the issue, I've attempted to follow up on the discussion by addressing the assertions he made and both reiterating and substantiating my own. Here is the email I've sent him. I don't suspect Nadler will respond, but if enough readers contact AMF quering about it, there's a chance he might.


Mr. Nadler,

Your informative debate with Professor Kobach was greatly appreciated, as was your consideration following its conclusion.

I raised a number of points that were unsatisfactorily responded to. I pointed out that the six (former) members of the Immigration Reform Caucus (previously led by Tom Tancredo and now by Brian Bilbray) who were defeated in their '06 reelection bids represented 5.9% of its Republican membership. In contrast, 16.7% of non-IRC Republicans lost their seats in the same election cycle. The loss rate among IRC members was only a third as bad as what non-IRC members experienced.

You responded by pointing to Hayworth's defeat and pending lawsuits by Republican donors in Arizona against parties Kobach works with. The first point is redundant, as Hayworth was one of the IRC members who anyway only found immigration restrictionism when his House seat became threatened for other reasons (his lifetime immigration scorecard is an underwhelming C+). And as you conceded when I inquired about Chris Cannon's loss in Utah, restrictionism can be a political winner.

Your later point strikes me as being of little relevance. Yes, of course low value-adding industries (if I recall correctly, the person you referenced owns several fast food restaraunts in the area) that employ unskilled illegal labor are going to oppose an end to socializing their costs while privatizing their profits. My perspective is not one of a fast food franchise owner, it's of a US citizen wanting to maximize the quality of life for my fellow citizens.

I asserted that the putative deal-breaking Hispanic vote is a myth. Hispanics comprise about 6% of the voting electorate, while whites comprise 80%. But those figures overstate the importance of the Hispanic vote and understate the importance of the white vote. More than half of the country's Hispanics live in California or Texas, two of the most electorally reliable states. Of the ten most competitive states in the 2004 election, only two are proportionally more Hispanic than the nation at large, New Mexico (third closest) and Nevada (seventh closest). The other eight (in order of competitiveness)--Wisconsin, Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and Oregon, have (far) smaller Hispanic proportions of their total populations than the country as a whole does.

Following is a table showing the demographic composition of the nine states considered "swing" (up for grabs) by CNN election center tracking, the eight that are competitive but leaning McCain, the seven that are competitive but leaning Obama, and the remaining 26 (plus DC) that are electorally safe:

Lean McCain68.97.619.81.81.9
Lean Obama78.
Electorally safe59.620.

Or, shown dichotomously as states that are competitive and are uncompetitive heading towards November:


Whites are an even more crucial electorate than their four-fifths share of the vote would seem to indicate. The inflated importance of whites comes at the expense of Hispanics and Asians, who are more heavily concentrated in states that have already been decided. Blacks are slightly more concentrated in competitive states than they are in uncompetitive ones.

Keep in mind that electoral votes don't mirror racial demographics. Whites, being older, wealthier, and more civically-minded than blacks and especially Hispanics, comprise a greater share of the vote in a state than their numbers alone would predict. Blacks vote slightly less than their numbers would suggest, and Hispanics much less so--slightly less than half of what their population numbers would suggest. So Hispanic votes are unlikely to comprise even 5% of the total votes cast in the 'toss-up' swing states, and closer to 3% in the competitive states that lean toward either McCain or Obama.

To this you asked if I realized who I was talking to, pointing out that you've done more Spanish-language ads for Republicans than anyone else in the entire country. Yes, I've heard your radio commercials, read your WSJ op/ed pieces, and have seen your NRO pieces. I especially admire your tough questioning of CAGW presumptions. You're a hurricane on the national scene while I'm less than a zephyr breeze. With apologies to Adam Sandler, you're very good looking. I'm not attractive. But credentialism doesn't address the issue at hand!

You then pointed to Florida, clearly a crucial swing state with recurring importance in recent Presidential elections. I responded that more than half of the swing states' Hispanics are in Florida, where Central and South American illegal immigration across the US-Mexican border takes a backseat to Cuban issues among Hispanic voters. Anyhow, my figures include Florida among the swing states. With Florida removed, the Hispanic percentage in the swing states drops from 10.3% to 6.4%.

You informed me there are more people of Mexican descent living in Florida than there are people of Cuban descent living in the state. It is my understanding that just fewer than one million Florida residents of Cuban descent. The state's Hispanic population totals about 3.7 million, so that sounds correct, as I acknowledged to you. But I doubted that the absolute number of Mexican voters in Florida elections surpasses the absolute number of Cuban voters in Florida? Do we know? Regardless, Floridian Hispanics do not have the same concerns Hispanics in Arizona or southern California do, so I think it is fair to say that the Florida contribution to the Hispanic population among swing states oversells the importance of the immigration issue in the eyes of 'swing state Hispanics'.

To this you responded that I let you know how my position works out in November. I was taken aback, as I have no dog in the hunt. Well okay, I admit you're right. Chuck Baldwin isn't going to win on November 4.

But, I returned, is this not the ideal setting for your strategy to deliver Republicans a Presidential victory? We have the highest-profile open borders member of the GOP's national leadership, who teamed up with Ted Kennedy in an amnesty attempt that united the public in opposition and who virtually barred restrictionists from the Republican National Convention, running against Obama, who lost the Hispanic vote 64%-36%, a margin less favorable than Bush enjoyed among Hispanics in '04. Could you ask for a better setup? Yet McCain is getting massacred by Obama among Hispanics. The polls show him losing the Hispanic vote 59%-29%, an Obama advantage that has held steady for several months.

You responded that it doesn't matter what his position is if he's not able to make it known. If his lifetime immigration grade of "D", his amnesty alliance with Ted Kennedy, his acceptance speech at the RNC where he spoke of the "God-given right" of the "Latina daughter of migrant workers" to reach her full potential in America, his choice of strident open borders champion Juan Hernandez as his Hispanic outreach director, or his three appearances before Hispanic groups in July alone--including La Raza--aren't enough, I'm left wondering what is.

Graciously, you allowed me to continue. I asked, from 1976--as far as I was able to find exit polling data broken down by race--to today, how many times has the Republican presidential candidate won the Hispanic vote? You charged that I was reciting Steve's "crazy" idea that there is this "white backlash" strategy Republicans should buy into, and then went on to talk about the work you'd done trying to increase black support for Republicans.

Before getting to that, allow me to answer my rhetorical question: Zero. In at least 36 years, the GOP has never won the Hispanic vote. My next question was going to be how many times during the same period of time the Democratic party won the white vote? Again, the answer is zero. It never happened. More than nine out of ten Republican voters are white. Fewer than two out of three Democratic voters are white. Democrats make up the deficit with blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and other non-white groups, all of whom vote majority Democrat. Simply put, the less white the US becomes, the less Republican it will become.

In the spirit of the "how'd that work out for you?" theme, I asked how effective the black vote-getting strategy worked for you. "It delivered Ohio to Republicans two elections in a row," you answered succinctly. I had no information on Ohio's demographic breakdown in '04, so I simply nodded. Fortunately I followed the standards I rigorously hold myself to--only talk about something if I know what I'm talking about! Black support for George Voinivich in the Senator's '04 reelection campaign is stunning for a Republican to have received. According to the exit polls, he took 32% of the black vote. He won the total vote 64%-36%, so that presumes about a 24% share of the black vote if the race had ended in a dead heat, more than twice the level of support the GOP usually enjoys among blacks. Assuming Bush enjoyed similar support among blacks in Ohio, that is truly impressive.

You proceded to ask me what percentage of Hispanic voters in Arizona supported McCain in '04. I didn't know the percentage, only that it was a majority. Seventy-four percent, you correctly informed me.

But it was never a competitive race. McCain garnered 77% of the total vote. He did better among whites (80%) than he did among Hispanics. His most recent reelection race demonstrated the typical pattern that undermines the myth of the Hispanic swing voter--Hispanics vote similarly to whites, shifted some distance to the left. Not surprisingly, McCain, who is much less popular in the US as a whole than he is in Arizona, has not been able to turn that strong state advantage among Hispanics (or whites or Native Americans, for that matter) into a national one. He will probably garner around 30% of the Hispanic vote in '08, just as is to be expected given that his support among whites will probably decrease 5% or so from the level of support Bush enjoyed in '04.

It's also worth noting that by nearly 2 to 1 (36% to 22%), Arizonan voters believe levels of legal immigration should be reduced. Of course, opinions on illegal immigration are more restrictive than they are on legal immigration. Arizonans don't want open borders either, even though they love McCain.

As it became apparent that I'd blathered on long enough, you closed by saying you could think of no better way for the right in this country to permanently remove itself from power than to take my position on immigration. I said I could--the Iraq war. That, and perceptions of corruption, is what cost the GOP in '06, not immigration.

Allow me now to back that assertion up with more quantitative precision than I was able to off the top of my head. In '06, exit polls showed voters attaching lots of importance to the immigration issue went for the GOP. Those considering illegal immigration either "extremely important" or "very important" (62% of all voters) favored Republicans 54.4% to 47.6%. Chafee and DeWine, two of the Republicans' most hostile opponents of US sovereignty, went down in flames. Bilbray, the California Congressman the WSJ pummeled and John McCain abandoned as he battled for the Republican nod and then again against Democrat Francine Busby in the special election to replace the disgraced Duke Cunningham, won handily the last time around, 53.3%-43.4%.

Voters attaching lots of importance to Iraq went for the Democrats. Those considering the Iraq war either "extremely important" or "very important" (67% of all voters) favored the Dems 53.3% to 46.7%. Voters disapproving of the war in Iraq overwhelmingly threw in with the Democrats. Those who said they "somewhat disapprove" or "strongly disapprove" of the war (55% of all voters) favored the Dems by a staggering 79.7%-20.3%.

Ethical lapses were an act of self-immolation for the GOP. Voters considering ethical issues and those involving corruption "extremely important" or "very important" (74% of the electorate) favored the Dems by 55.4% to 45.6%.

You responded by saying that exit polls are now showing the Iraq war to be a plus for Republican candidates this election cycle. I'm aware of a recent Gallup poll showing the public is now evenly split on whether or not Iraq will turn out to be a success, but overwhelmingly Americans still see it as having been a idea that we should extricate ourselves from as soon as possible. Even if McCain is seen as better able to handle Iraq, inline with his relative perceived strength on foreign policy issues in general, I do not see how the war constitutes an advantage for the GOP. The Republican edge on national security would almost certainly be more pronounced without Iraq in the picture.

Had I more time, I'd have made it clear I feel the same way about your immigration position and the ushering in of a permanent rightist minority. California is case in point--it was once a Republican stronghold. Due to the demographic changes it has undergone in the last couple of decades, it is now permanently blue. It will never be a red state again. As goes California goes, so goes the country, no?

Thank you again for your consideration.


* Kobach, with a handsome, imposing figure (he's an athletic six-and-a-half feet) and an alacritous tongue (he uses no notes--everything's upstairs), is a lot more telegenic than Tom Tancredo. He could be a national champion of the restrictionist movement (and from his time working in AG John Ashcroft's office, he has been one of sorts).