PowerLine – Settled Science: Liberals Are Simple-Minded

PowerLine –  Settled Science: Liberals Are Simple-Minded

Settled Science: Liberals Are Simple-Minded

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 03:48 PM PST

(Steven Hayward)

The nation’s best science reporter, Reason’s Ron Bailey, has the story:

It is almost a truism among psychological researchers that conservatives are simple-minded and dogmatic. Liberals, meanwhile, are supposed to be more complex and open-minded thinkers. But a new paper is calling those conclusions into question.

Writing in the journal Political Psychology, a team of researchers led by the University of Montana psychologist Lucian Gideon Conway III reports the results of four studies that together call “into question the typical interpretation that conservatives are less complex than liberals.”

You’ll want to take the time to read Ron’s entire story if you can, which shows that a lot of the social psychology studies that supposedly find that conservatives are more dogmatic or unintelligent are badly skewed in their methodology. But there’s some additional material Ron brings along to the party that is especially fun:

In one study, the researchers analyzed the responses of nearly 1,500 undergraduates sorted along the usual liberal-conservative continuum to a questionnaire asking them to think about various social and political issues. Their answers were then coded for integrative complexity and compared. It turns out that conservatives showed more complexity when dealing with topics like the death penalty, socialism, and refugees. Liberal responses were more complex when considering pre-marital sex, biblical truth, and alcohol. Overall, they report that liberals showed no greater complexity in thinking than conservatives did.

A similar study analyzed liberal and conservative responses to a 30-item questionnaire. Again, conservatives exhibited more complex thinking on some topics, including open-door immigration, smoking, castration, and easy access to birth control. . .

And the coup de grace:

Their final study analyzed the integrative complexity of arguments on 15 different topics made by President George W. Bush and his Democratic rival, John Kerry, during 2004’s presidential debates. They randomly selected five paragraphs on each topic from the candidates. The results are that Bush expressed more complex thinking than Kerry on religion, terrorism, stem cells, health care, and affirmative action. Kerry, on the other hand, was complex than Bush on Iraq, general foreign policy, economic issues, abortion, and education.

Debate Night Post Mortem

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 11:59 AM PST

(John Hinderaker)

I don’t think a lot of minds were changed by last night’s GOP presidential debate. That was the impression I got following the action on Power Line Live, and the impression was reinforced this morning hosting the Laura Ingraham show. I may have thought Trump had an off night–his attempt to smear Ted Cruz with a “birther” theory was embarrassing–but his supporters are undaunted.

The exchange between Trump and Cruz on Cruz being born in Canada occurred early in the debate and lasted for around seven minutes. It was notable because 1) Cruz thoroughly dominated, and 2) it went on much too long. Millions of people watching on television must have been thinking, I don’t care about Ted Cruz’s mother, I want to know which candidate can address the terrible problems our country faces.

At that moment, Marco Rubio took the microphone and the stage. He quickly turned the conversation back to the issues, where it needed to be:

I thought Marco won that segment hands down. He did well throughout, but another moment when he scored heavily came near the end, when he went after Cruz as a flip flopper. This line of attack can be dangerous for Cruz, as he has been, shall we say, opportunistic over the course of the campaign:

Cruz was not able to respond fully, or very effectively.

And finally this, where Rubio argued that Hillary Clinton is disqualified from the presidency:

So, among much else that could be said, I think Marco Rubio had an excellent night.

Which Tribe Are You?

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 10:15 AM PST

(Steven Hayward)

Larry Tribe

Lawrence Tribe is one of the liberal eminences at Harvard Law School, author of a leading constitutional law casebook (that for many editions failed to include the text of the Constitution, until Ed Meese embarrassed him about that fact back in the 1980s), and a ringleader of the shameless and demagogic mob that derailed Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination back in 1987.

But right now Trump and lots of liberals are seizing upon Tribe’s tendentious opinion that Ted Cruz is not a “natural born citizen” under the Constitution and is therefore ineligible to be president. Actually Tribe’s argument is slightly more subtle—that Cruz’s own constitutional “originalism” would call for a narrow reading of the “natural born citizen” clause, especially if, like Cruz (and Trump) you challenge the “birthright citizenship” reading of the 14th Amendment. But this argument is ridiculous, too. I think Cruz easily satisfies Blackstone’s common law understanding of what “natural born citizen” means, and in any case common law is not constitutional law.

I could say much more about this, but I think the two relevant points are these: First, I suspect what’s really going on here is that Tribe, who may have had Cruz in class at Harvard Law (remember that Alan Dershowitz said Cruz was one of the very smartest law students he’s ever had at Harvard), is simply terrified at the idea of President Cruz, and is doing what he can to stop him.

But second, for liberals who are hanging on Tribe’s birther opinion, let’s also note that Tribe has argued, in federal court, that Obama’s so-called “Clean Power Plan” is unconstitutional. So liberals: if Tribe is right about Cruz, why isn’t he also right about the EPA’s ukase? He’s your favorite con law guy after all.  Expect to hear crickets chirping on this question.

When Hillary wielded the hatchet for Bill

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 10:07 AM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)

I wrote here and here about David Brock’s 1996 book The Seduction of Hillary Clinton. This would be the same David Brock who, via Media Matters, now runs interference for Hillary Clinton on scandals large and small.

Although not a hatchet job, The Seduction of Hillary Rodham does not go easy on Hillary Clinton. Brock wrote:

Hillary’s story is that of an intelligent, talented, ambitious, and very determined woman who nevertheless succumbed to powerfully seductive forces — philosophical, political, and personal.

These include the easy moral certitudes of the Christian left; the fashionable instrumental legal doctrines disseminated at Yale Law School; the situational ethics and power-based political philosophies of a certain strain of 1960s radicalism; the dangerously tempting belief, instilled by influential mentors, in the beneficent potential of government as a force for social progress; the frictionless ease of manipulating the levers of power in a corrupt one-party state; and the idealized vision of a new kind of political partnership with her husband that proved impossible to realize.

Above all, she has repeatedly succumbed to the seductive attraction of Bill Clinton himself, perhaps the most articulate, beguiling, and empathetic figure ever to emerge on the American political scene.

Mark Paoletta, a distinguished lawyer who served in the Bush 41 White House Counsel’s Office, shows how Brock’s honest reporting from 20 years ago confirms Donald Trump’s criticism of Bill Clinton’s numerous extramarital affairs and Hillary’s role in keeping the women involved out of the spotlight. As Mark shows, “Trump’s charges eerily mirror those made by one of the Clintons’ biggest defenders in politics today.”

Brock describes how, during Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign, Hillary was heavily involved in covering up Bill’s affairs and mistreatment of women. Brock states that during this campaign Hillary was

…fighting behind the scenes to keep the press from exposing the unseemly aspects of life…with her husband…The shadow campaign apparatus involved Hillary’s lawyer friends…to combat womanizing stories. In this respect, anyway, the Clintons were indeed a second coming of Camelot: not since the Kennedys had there been so many retainers on hand whose primary function appeared to be to keep a lid on all manner of personal scandals. (p. 271)

The zealousness of this effort was remarkable, as Mark shows via Brock’s book:

Brock quotes Rex Nelson, former political editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, recalling that “women were called and told they’d make them look like whores if they came forward.” The campaign hired a private investigator, Jack Palladino, who Brock reports was “part of the same circle with which Hillary Rodham had been associated in the early 1970s.” Palladino’s job was simple: To contain what Clinton operative Betsey Wright called “bimbo eruptions.” Yet Brock reports the press turned a blind eye:

The use of a private investigator to do surveillance on – and attempt to intimidate – potential witnesses was an unprecedented scandal potentially far darker than the story of the ill-starred whitewater investments. Yet with the sole exception of the Washington Post story in July, not one of the campaign reporters chose to write about the practice, even though many were quite familiar with it. (p. 273)

[Brock] goes on to say that “Hillary had always been an advocate of take-no-prisoners tactics,” and that bringing in her old pal Palladino “suggested that with the White House in her sights, Hillary was willing to countenance intimidation to cover up Bill’s peccadilloes.”

Is this relevant to the 2016 campaign? Relying further on Brock’s fine reporting, Mark argues that it is:

Some might think going back to the 1990s is irrelevant in the 2016 campaign. But Brock’s reporting from the time shows that nothing has changed in Clinton-land. Contemptuous of the democratic process, Hillary Clinton still thinks the rules – like keeping the Secretary of State’s emails on government servers so that they are both secure and available as part of the public record in the future – do not apply to her. She still stonewalls or impugns anyone who points out her husband’s misdeeds, and has shown herself capable of doing worse.

Although Trump was correct that the seedy history of the Clintons is itself reason to be suspicious of Hillary’s campaign, Brock put his finger on an even more important lesson about it: Hillary has disdain for the democratic process and believes she doesn’t have to abide by its laws. We’ve seen that attitude play out over and over, but as president it could have a much greater and more harmful effect. This should not be another Clinton story that is simply allowed to disappear.

To fully understand how the past is being repeated in the present, I recommend reading Mark’s piece in its entirety.

Stormy Weather, a convergence of Power Line interests

Posted: 15 Jan 2016 08:50 AM PST

(Paul Mirengoff)

John likes to write about beauty pageants; I like to write about soccer. The two topics converge in an unfortunate story out of Seattle, Washington:

Miss Washington USA Stormy Keffeler is a possible suspect in the stabbing of MLS player Marco Pappa last month in a confusing incident that could cost the troubled beauty queen her crown.

Keffeler, who also has a DUI arrest to her name, gave differing accounts to police when they arrived at a Seattle-area apartment and found her with a bloodied Pappa nursing a stab wound to the stomach, King 5 TV reported.

Pappa also contradicted himself in statements to cops, who rushed him to a nearby hospital to undergo emergency surgery.

I have not been able to confirm whether the two had attended a Daryl Hall concert earlier in the evening or whether the stabbing was the culmination of an argument over Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Fortunately, Pappa seems to be okay now. Seattle has traded him to Columbus, where he will be outside the jurisdiction of Miss Washington USA. The stabbing investigation remains open.

Keffeler is not your normal beauty contest winner in several respects. For one thing, she’s a former lingerie football player — quarterback and defensive end — for the Seattle Mist. Then, there’s the DUI conviction mentioned above. Reportedly, she was driving on two flat tires with a blood alcohol content three times the legal limit.

Yesterday, Keffeler resigned from her position as Miss Washington USA. As I understand it, contest rules require disclosure of incidents such as DUI convictions. Apparently, Keffeler did not disclose hers.

Kelsey Schmidt becomes the new Miss Washington USA. Without wanting to infringe on John’s beat, she seems well worth of the title. Perhaps John will follow her progress when she competes in the 2016 Miss USA pageant.




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