Wednesday, September 23, 2009

At least someone is reading my blog!

Wow. In a column on Political Wire today, Charlie Cook takes great umbrage at the post I wrote yesterday on the 2010 elections and accuses me of attacking one of his columns and "cherry picking" to set up a straw man argument. I don't get it. First, I hardly think what I wrote could be viewed as an "attack" on him or his column. Actually, I liked his column and used it as a basis for the first two weeks discussion in my freshman seminar, titled "Politics by the Numbers." I was able to use the column to get students to think about underlying hypothetical statements and about how one could gather data to test those hypotheses. Second, I wasn't cherry picking. The general tone of his column was that trouble was brewing for the Democrats and he identified a number of indicators that he saw as "early-warning signs for past wave elections" that should terrify Democrats. I guess my interpretation of "early warning signs" as meaning something like "harbingers," or "predictors" was unreasonable. Anyway, some of these indicators are measurable, so I measured them and found that one of them, presidential approval at 14 months out, had some predictive capacity. No big deal; or so I thought.

Given Cook's insistence on fair treatment, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that he is in error, when he says that I acted "as if our entire analysis is based on just the president's approval ratings." I guess he missed that nice big scatterplot that showed how meaningless the generic congressional ballot (one of his warning signs) is 14 months prior to the midterm elections. What was that about cherry picking? I guess I should just be glad that someone is reading my blog.

Again, I liked Cook's original column and certainly didn't see my analysis as an attack on it. His column was full of interesting and stimulating ideas, and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.

I'm not at all interested one of those silly blogger-on-blogger cage matches, so this is the last you'll will hear from me on this.


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Yes someone is reading your blog. :)

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