Creative Destruction

October 10, 2006

Misleading nonsense at Firedoglake

Filed under: Politics,Politics and Elections,Statistical Method — bazzer @ 9:53 am

If Connecticut wants to oust Joe Lieberman for his support of the war, then fine. Many of his critics, however, seem worried that the war alone might not be sufficient, so they’re hurling everything they can at him hoping some of it will stick.

This trend reached its ludicrous apex, in my opinion, in this Jane Hamsher piece posted at Firedoglake.

Now I’m no fan of Joe Lieberman, but this strikes me as a grossly unfair and disingenuous abuse of statistics. Hamsher slams Lieberman because Connecticut sends more money to Washington than it gets back by a higher ratio than almost any other state.

True enough, but this ratio tends to increase as a function of a state’s wealth. Richer states tend to have a net outflux of dollars to Washington and poorer states a net influx. Connecticut is, by some measures, the richest state in the union, and in an indirect way, that is why Hamsher is slamming Lieberman.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find that pathetic. Perhaps it’s just desperation, as Lieberman’s lead four weeks out is beginning to look insurmountable. Perhaps when your “referendum” on the Iraq war looks as if it won’t turn out the way you want, you start urgently trying to make it about other issues as well. Still, criticizing Lieberman for not turning Connecticut into Mississippi seems like a bit of a stretch to me.



  1. o christ not again. well, at least she didn’t put him in frigging blackface again.

    i wonder how much she’s actually been a -liability- for Lamont at this point?

    well, she staked a lot on Lamont. if he goes down, she loses a lot of cred. and as -really- sorry as i am going to be t get motherfucking Lieberman back in there, i will get a certain schadenfreudic silver lining watching her rising star sputter and wane. she’s a nasty one.

    Comment by belledame222 — October 11, 2006 @ 12:03 am | Reply

  2. I find it a sufficient assessment of Ms. Hamsher’s intellect that she can take a graph that shows a smooth 30-year decline, put Joe Lieberman at the midpoint of the curve, and think that she’s done anything other than utterly demolish her own case.

    Whether she’s nasty or not I don’t know, belledame222, but whether she comprehends the notion of causality, I think I have a good bead on.

    Comment by Robert — October 11, 2006 @ 12:19 am | Reply

  3. This post gives the false impression that Hamsher’s criticism is out-of-the-blue – and if that were the case, Hamsher’s critique would be unreasonable. However, you’ve left out essential context.

    If it’s true that Lieberman publicly touted his accomplishments in bringing home the bacon to Ct – and Robert Novack claims that is the case, for whatever Novack’s word is worth – then Hamsher’s criticism is a reasonable rebuttal of an untrue claim made by Lieberman.

    Also, Robert’s criticism of “Ms Hamsher’s intellect” only makes sense if Hamsher was claiming that Lieberman caused a decline in pork for Connecticut. But that isn’t her claim; her claim is that Lieberman’s boasting regarding pork is not justified by his results. The graph she included is a reasonable illustration of that point. Far be it from me to suggest that Mr.Hayes’ intellect should be called into question, but his reading comprehension appears to be shaky.

    Edited to add: I’m not trying to defend Jane Hamsher in general; I think there are much better blogs than FDL. Like Belledame, I won’t mind if Hamsher’s star falls. But the particular criticisms leveled in this post and in Robert’s comment seem unfair.

    Comment by Ampersand — October 11, 2006 @ 10:43 am | Reply

  4. I was drunk.

    Comment by Robert — October 11, 2006 @ 12:53 pm | Reply

  5. By all means, let’s bag this Iraq war referendum and make Connecticut’s senatorial election about bringing home the bacon. Let’s make it a contest between Robert Byrd and Ted Stevens, shall we? Because whoever doesn’t turn the Nutmeg State into a welfare state obviously isn’t doing his/her job.

    Fine. So where does Ned Lamont fit into all of this? He’s on record as opposing earmarks (God bless him.) So Hamsher’s point is… what, exactly?

    Comment by bazzer — October 11, 2006 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  6. Regardless of whether he’s telling the truth, I think it’s pretty reprehensible to campaign on the basis of prior success in stealing money from taxpayers in other states.

    Comment by Brandon Berg — October 11, 2006 @ 10:36 pm | Reply

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