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Whiny Conservatives:
Does anyone have a copy of this study? GW's library hasn't received it yet, and I'm interested in reading the study itself (in contrast to the media account of it). If you have an electronic copy, please e-mail it to okerr (at) law.gwu.edu. Thanks.
Bob Bobstein (mail):
Sorry, can't help finding the study.

I think the U of Ariz prof quoted as a critic has a point. Maybe because this study was in Berkeley, where the majority culture is liberal, the well-adjusted people grew up to be OK with what they saw going on around them. The social misfit types may wind up viewing themselves as political dissenters, which in the Berkeley area means becoming conservative.

It's unclear at this point how this fits into my theory: that liberals are people who were picked on by the popular kids in high school, while libertarians were so lacking in social skills that they were completely ignored by the popular kids and picked on by the liberals.
3.22.2006 12:50pm
Ofc. Krupke (mail) (www):
I confess myself unimpressed with the "confidence" of a political philosophy that has made constant attempts since the 50s to define anyone who disagrees with it as psychologically impaired.
3.22.2006 1:04pm
Cliff:

It's unclear at this point how this fits into my theory: that liberals are people who were picked on by the popular kids in high school, while libertarians were so lacking in social skills that they were completely ignored by the popular kids and picked on by the liberals.


This theory doesn't fit with the theory that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.

-cliff
3.22.2006 1:06pm
egn (mail):
No comment on the study, but this criticism in the article is just off-point:

He thinks insecure, defensive, rigid people can as easily gravitate to left-wing ideologies as right-wing ones. He suspects that in Communist China, those kinds of people would likely become fervid party members.

...especially given the study's use of "liberal" and "conservative," which are not precise terms but nonetheless markedly different from "left-wing" and "right-wing" in the political science sense.

Of course, I'm sure there's a contingent that insists that American liberals are akin to members of the communist party in China. But, y'know, it's not true.
3.22.2006 1:06pm
Don Miller (mail):
My thought on reading the article is that the study was flawed because of the location.

I have a couple different theories about how bias could affect this study.
1. "Whiny" children tend to partially blame local political opinions for their disappointment and would choose an opposite position as an adult to 'protect' the interests of children like them.
2. Observer bias on what is a "whiny" child. A child that feels that liberal policies are causing an injustice in their life, is perceived as "whiny" by those around them. Opposite, a liberal child who feels the dominate conservative policies of their community are causing injustice, would be perceived as "whiny" by the people around them.
3. People who feel like outsiders are more likely to choose a minority political opinion.
3.22.2006 1:09pm
Ubertrout (mail) (www):
The article is available on ScienceDirect, under "Articles in Press. GW doesn't have a subscription to those, only published ones...anyone else affiliated with a school with access?

It's supposed to be in Volume 40, No. 2 (April 2006), I surmise. I've pasted the abstract here (the funding part at the end is interesting):

Abstract
The present study reports on the personality attributes of nursery school children who two decades later were reliably stratified along a liberal/conservative dimension. An unprecedented analytical opportunity existed to evaluate how the political views of these young adults related to assessments of them when in nursery school, prior to their having become political beings. Preschool children who 20 years later were relatively liberal were characterized as: developing close relationships, self-reliant, energetic, somewhat dominating, relatively under-controlled, and resilient. Preschool children subsequently relatively conservative at age 23 were described as: feeling easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and relatively over-controlled and vulnerable. IQ during nursery school did not relate to subsequent liberalism/conservatism but did relate in subsequent decades. Personality correlates of liberalism/conservatism for the subjects as young adults were also reported: conservatives were described in terms congruent with previous formulations in the literature; liberals displayed personality commonalities but also manifested gender differences. Some implications of the results are briefly discussed.

Keywords: Political attitudes; Personality; Longitudinal; Q-sort assessment


This study was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH 16080 to Jack and Jeanne H. Block, now deceased. Many, many thanks to Peter Feld and Adam M. Kremen for help in computer analyses.
3.22.2006 1:10pm
SP:
I did not know that being "whiny" was in the the DSM IV.
3.22.2006 1:22pm
Taimyoboi:
"But within his sample, he says, the results hold."

I thought this quote from the article was priceless.
3.22.2006 2:00pm
Moonage Webdream (mail) (www):
This is the same guy who came to the conclusion that kids who do drugs are better adjusted than those that didn't as well. I think he made his mind up before he wrote the article. Like, 40 years ago. It's pretty fun reading too, he used almost exactly the same adjectives describing the kids in his previous study. I guess we're left with the assumption that you have to be stoned to be liberal? And more obviously, you have to be stoned to be well-adjusted in Berkeley.
3.22.2006 2:01pm
Nobody Special:
I'm most interested in interpretation bias.

Is it true that the conservative kids were whiny or were they "have a strong sense of fairness and morality and let their impressions of injustice be known?" Likewise, were they tattletails or did they simply "believe in the importance of authority and that everyone ought to follow the rules?"

Or how about the "self-assured" and "assertive" liberal children- were they that, or were they "pushy, disruptive, insubordinate and obstinate?"

In other words, I don't doubt that there are different personality proclivities that play into later political choices. I am quite skeptical, however, that this study somehow proves that these personality differences are "good" or "bad" as, say, Jessica Wilson, blogging at Brian Leiter's website seem to take it.
3.22.2006 2:01pm
Worker Bee:
Try here for the study.
3.22.2006 2:10pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
I have no idea about the validity of the study, though I am sure that in time we will find that there are things that happen in our childhood that do shape our worldviews.

One thing I will say, however, is that I am inclined to take this study at least a little seriously because there is at least a strand of conservativism which, despite holding most of the levers of power, is very whiny-- and in a very silly fashion. Examples include David Horowitz, the Catholic League, the Media Research Center, Bill O'Reilly, etc. I've always assumed that the complaints are phony-- just a way of trying to make the media and commentators bend over backwards not to offend them and thus shift public discourse to the right. But perhaps there's some deeper explanation as to why some conservatives, despite the fact that their movement has never had more power and that liberals control few institutions, still act as if the world is unfair to them and that forces are conspiring to prevent them from asserting their ideas in the public sphere.
3.22.2006 2:13pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

despite the fact that their movement has never had more power and that liberals control few institutions
Yeah, just three of the four major networks, all major daily newspapers (with the exception of the Wall Street Journal), effectively all universities, and the federal bench. That is, of course, just a few institutions--but the ones that exercise enormous power.

If you want to argue that the federal bench isn't controlled by liberals: explain Lawrence. Explain Romer v. Evans. Explain Free Speech Coalition v. Ashcroft. Explain Kelo. If you want to argue that conservative judges came to liberal results just because that was the only rational way to interpret the Constitution, well, feel free. But if the results on major hot button cases such as these are consistently on the liberal side of things, how can you tell "conservative" control of these institutions from liberal control?
3.22.2006 2:44pm
Moonage Webdream (mail) (www):
I have worked on, and done studies myself. This one is inherently flawed from the very beginning. Any researcher would realize that immedialtely. It may be that the abstract is TOO abstract, but it sounds horrible from a traditional mental health study, which according to Block, is who funded it. Basically, he has no control group. Berkeley is recognized for having very specific social traits. No need to delve into them, but they are very defined. Because of that, he needed a control. He used none. In essence, he should have taken 100 kids from Berkeley, 100 kids from Biloxi, MS, 100 kids from New York City, etc.. Given those very diverse social climates, he would have had controls in place. Secondly, he makes the most egregious error any researcher can make in that in foregoing controls, he generalizes. Although he may have based some of his results by using the DMH standards, he doesn't take into consideration the lack of controls. Better example, if I had taken the same study with purely emotionally handicapped kids in rural Kentucky, I would have come up with the same results but in different proportions. As I noted earlier, he came to basically exactly the same results comparing drug-using children as opposed to non-drug-using kids. That just proves my point. His results are too general. He is getting the result he is looking for based on the fact he knows his community and what is perceived as normal and what is not. Liberals in my community are whiny complaining wimps and conservatives are over-confident to the point of cockiness. That's because there are very few liberals here and they know every issue is a losing battle. Conservatives know every issue will unite them with a majority of the community in a love-fest. So, Block's entire project is flawed. The results are a non-issue in that his results only pertain to those kids that he researched. That is all. It has no scientific or social implications whatsoever. DMH should ask for their money back.
3.22.2006 2:50pm
Dick King:
Unfortunately, you have to pay $30 to get the study from Worker Bee's link.

Again, I don't think the study can be taken at all seriously unless it's repeated in a conservative area. Assuming it says what the reports claim it says, it supports the two hypotheses "whiney kids end up conservative" and "whiney kids end up with different politics from their parents or the area they grew up in". And that assumes that the low correlation coefficients of 0.27 or so are really statistically significant in a sample of 95.

Dilan, liberals and members of PC groups never whine or take offense at minor slights? Yeah, right!

-dk
3.22.2006 2:52pm
Richard Bellamy (mail):
I've got a 4 year old daughter in pre-school. At home, I teach her to not let herself get bullied or taken advantage, and to stand up for herself, going to the teacher if necessary. She often comes home and tells me her teacher told her to "stop tattling." Often, with good reason.

I'm learning as a parent that the difference between "tattling" and "not letting yourself get taken advantage of" is a difficult one to figure out myself, let alone communicate to a four year old.

While I won't discount a study I haven't seen, even if it's right, the takeaway could just as easily be, "Stop picking on kids, and they'll stay liberal."
3.22.2006 3:13pm
SenatorX (mail):
Crossing "whiny/not-whiny" in children with "conservative/liberal" when they are adult and leaving so open the definitions of the terms...it seems like bad science to me. I agree with you too Moonage, no control group?? Who pays for this crap?
3.22.2006 3:24pm
SLS 1L:
I want to see a study of children from different regions of the country.
3.22.2006 3:31pm
Steveo987 (mail):
It's nice to see that the commenters on this thread validate the study's conclusion. /tic
3.22.2006 3:32pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
A study by some Berkeley types of a limited number of Berkeley area residents? Why bother reading further. No need to get to the other obvious methodological flaws as pointed out above. They also failed to control for factors like the political leanings and whinyness factors of the children's parents, schools and colleges attended, etc.

Says the "Dog"
3.22.2006 3:33pm
Nobody Special:
I suppose we're so whiny because we question a questionable study's findings.
3.22.2006 3:44pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
I confess myself unimpressed with the "confidence" of a political philosophy that has made constant attempts since the 50s to define anyone who disagrees with it as psychologically impaired.

I confess that I have no idea which political philosophy the commenter refers to ("liberals" or "conservatives") — pretty much all political philosophies are guilty of this.


As to the comment that the "liberals" control the three of four major dailies, the federal bench, etc. Laughable. I won't even bother responding to the frankly uninformed Limbaugh/Hannity/Instapundit rant that the federal courts are controlled by liberals — even the "liberals" on the Supreme Court are not that liberal; pro-business, pro-death penalty, etc. As to the hated "MSM" - again, your worldview must be highly influenced by Rush Limbaugh. Let's take one of those three major dailies — the Washington Post had an editorial page that was and remains EXTREMELY pro-Iraq war (when the majority of Americans do NOT support it and even in the runup to the war a good 40 percent were against it). They lead the charge on the inquisition impeachment of Clinton for, G-d help us all, getting a blow job, but have not even said crap about Bush's blatant violations of federal law and lies that got us into war, etc. They just hired as a blogger to "balance" out their online content the proprietor of RedState and a rabid right-winger, yet they have NO, ZERO, ZILCH, liberal bloggers there (none did not support the Iraq War for example). Give me a break. Whiny little babies can't stand any criticism of their G-d President and his chosen party. People with this Rush Limbaugh worldview are really astonishing — maybe too high on Vicodin like their other hero.
3.22.2006 4:03pm
Justin (mail):
The science seems bad, because, as mentioned, the weaknesses of the sample and the ephermal qualities being examined.

That being said, there seems to me to be absolutely no reason for the prejudicial attacks on the scientist, and no support for as such. Since the common sense answer is that kids who have problems adjusting are on aggregate likely to dissent from the larger social structure, finding that Berekely kids who have such problems grow up conservative should be hardly surprising. Attributing it to his personal politics, without any core justification or previous work in the area, seems to me the very definition of unfounded.

Also, tangentially, while I don't support the doing of drugs,

"This is the same guy who came to the conclusion that kids who do drugs are better adjusted than those that didn't as well."

What is exactly unreasonable about this, if by drugs he means moderate amounts of the social majority drugs (generally pot, in some American cultures, sadly cocaine - though it would make much more sense with downers than uppers). Sure, the outliers are more likely to be heavily involved in drugs, rather than casual users, but I see no reason why nonaddictive usage of most drugs isn't perfectly compatable, and often in modern society, lubricates, social acceptance - after all, how many of the cool kids in your high school didn't drink?
3.22.2006 4:07pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Actually, scratch my third paragraph. I didn't realize that was Clayton Cramer -- hardly a representative of mainstream conservatism. He is pretty much a religious extremist (that's not an insult, just a fact) with very bizarre and erroneous views of the federal constitution (save his work on the 2nd Amendment which although I don't agree with it all is sound analysis).

The fact is that there are people on both sides who act like whiny babies when their leaders get criticized and use that as evidence of "bias." This study is just plain ridiculous on its face for several reasons.
3.22.2006 4:07pm
frankcross (mail):

If you want to argue that the federal bench isn't controlled by liberals: explain Lawrence. Explain Romer v. Evans. Explain Free Speech Coalition v. Ashcroft. Explain Kelo.


This is argument by anecdote. The data show that the courts make predominantly conservative decisions. And the practical significance (as opposed to moralistic) of decisions such as Lawrence and Romer is minimal. The economic jurisprudence of the Court is far more significant than a decision striking down an unenforced law about criminalizing gay sex.
3.22.2006 4:23pm
Strophyx:
SenatorX asks "Who pays for this crap?"

Well, from the information provided in the abstract regarding funding, it appears that you and I do. Nice to see more of my tax dollars circling the drain before they disappear forever. Where is William Proxmire and his Golden Fleece Award at times like these? Thank you very much, NIMH, but we already seem to have more crap than any semi-sane person might ever want.
3.22.2006 4:24pm
BU2L (mail):

here seems to me to be absolutely no reason for the prejudicial attacks on the scientist, and no support for as such. Since the common sense answer is that kids who have problems adjusting are on aggregate likely to dissent from the larger social structure, finding that Berekely kids who have such problems grow up conservative should be hardly surprising.

Were that his point, Justin, then personal attacks on him really would be unwarranted. But, and correct me if I'm wrong, he does not take into account the built-in location bias. His conclusion is that Conservatives are whiny and maladjusted - no qualifiers. When someone draws a conclusion like that, particularly in a very flawed study, it's a perfectly fair inference that the author is biased, seeking support for prejudices he already holds. That makes him a very fair target for personal attacks.
3.22.2006 4:57pm
Justin (mail):
Mike, there's a difference between "prejudice" and "error"

It's not like he did the study in Berekely in order to develop bias. He piggybacked off a previous project from 20 years ago that was in Berekely.

Or is it a perfectly fair inference that when Bush made mistakes in New Orleans, its because he hates black people? Because as long as we play by consistent rules....
3.22.2006 5:47pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Actually, scratch my third paragraph. I didn't realize that was Clayton Cramer -- hardly a representative of mainstream conservatism. He is pretty much a religious extremist (that's not an insult, just a fact) with very bizarre and erroneous views of the federal constitution (save his work on the 2nd Amendment which although I don't agree with it all is sound analysis).
I hate to burst your bubble, but compared to the average American, I am a religious moderate to even liberal. You might want to spend some time outside the ivory tower. On most moral issues, I'm not even very conservative:

1. I oppose the death penalty.

2. I think laws telling consenting adults what they can do in private are Constitutional but stupid.

3. I think that the primary focus of governmental action on drugs should be educational, and I have serious misgivings about attempts to limit the flow of drugs by prohibition.

You might want to talk to some mainstream conservatives--just so the rest of us can watch your head explode.
3.22.2006 5:50pm
Kovarsky (mail):
If you want to argue that the federal bench isn't controlled by liberals: explain Lawrence. Explain Romer v. Evans. Explain Free Speech Coalition v. Ashcroft. Explain Kelo. If you want to argue that conservative judges came to liberal results just because that was the only rational way to interpret the Constitution, well, feel free. But if the results on major hot button cases such as these are consistently on the liberal side of things, how can you tell "conservative" control of these institutions from liberal control?

Um, ok, the otherwise conservative judges (Kennedy in Lawrence) or lawyers (Roberts in Romer) came to those results because they were right. I know you want to pooh-pooh the argument, but on a stats thread I would dissuade you from making the argument that liberal outcomes indicate a liberal judge irrespective of other patterns. The Ninth Circuit is the only liberal circuit, with a bunch in the middle, and with the Fifth, Fourth, and DC circuits on the right. All four "liberal" justices would have been moderates on the Warren court. You've really got a long way to go before you make a succesful argument that the left controls the bench. I think you are confusing the judiciary's designated countermajoritarian role - which is inherently leftist - with the leftist character of the people that sit on it.
3.22.2006 5:52pm
The General:
a conservative who grows up in Berkeley probably has a persecution complex and for good reason. also, for one to grow up in Berkeley and ONLY become a "liberal" rather than an out and out che/mao/marxist castroite pinko commie probably is well adjusted on many levels.

anyway, most people in their early to mid 20s probably will still be liberal. see what they are when they have kids, a mortgage and have to pay a significant portion of their salaries to the gov't. they'll have plenty to complain about then. it reminds me of that old saying - a young person who's a conservative has no heart, while an old person who's a liberal has no brain.
3.22.2006 5:53pm
BU2L (mail):
Justin, I don't think your parallel is properly drawn. I concluded that the Berkeley guy is a bigot, because he undertook a study ostensibly in order to confirm his bias. Whether the work was original, or derivative, is not of primary important.

Bush, with respect to Katrina, can be accused of, at most, an incompetent response, which as it turned out, did not even have a disparate impact on blacks. Frankly, I just don't see the parallel.
3.22.2006 5:54pm
BU2L (mail):
importance sorry, im officially awful at editing before i post.
3.22.2006 5:55pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
Greedy Clerk blows a fuse:


They lead the charge on the inquisition impeachment of Clinton for, G-d help us all, getting a blow job,
Uh, no, for perjuring himself about it in relation to a civil suit about what was, at best, sexual harrassment. If you honestly think that the impeachment was about sex, you weren't paying much attention.
but have not even said crap about Bush's blatant violations of federal law and lies that got us into war, etc.
What? The Washington Post hasn't provided any coverage of the NSA wiretapping controversy? Of Padilla being held in a military brig? Or the Abu Ghraib matter? Of accusations of violations of law at Gitmo? Really?

"Lies that got us into war": I presume that you mean the WMDs question. First of all, remember that there was NO serious question--even from opponents of the war--that Iraq had WMDs. If Bush had indeed "lied" (intentionally misled the American people about the prescence of WMDs) about this, then why didn't he arrange to "find" a stockpile? It would not have been that difficult for our government, about three weeks after the fall of Baghdad, to find say, 100 kilograms of mustard gas in one of the outlying military bases. Mustard gas is a simple, low technology chemical agent, impossible to prove that it wasn't Iraqi made, and it would have been a huge political win. Clearly, Bush expected to find WMDs in Iraq--or the guy is a Boy Scout of integrity (of the sort you claim that he can't be).

Secondly, it is not clear even now that the pre-war assessment was wrong. Small quantities of chemical weapon shells were recovered after the war, and Hussein's Vice Air Marshal claims that Iraq shipped its chemical WMDs to Syria in 58 airplane flights just before the start of the war--a position that seems corroborated by statements at the time by the Israeli government of unusual air traffic, and by the presence of chemical weapons smuggled into Jordan from Syria by al-Qaeda for a foiled attack on Amman, Jordan.
3.22.2006 6:00pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

Um, ok, the otherwise conservative judges (Kennedy in Lawrence) or lawyers (Roberts in Romer) came to those results because they were right.
You define someone as a conservative even though he regularly writes opinions that come to the opposite conclusion. How can you tell he's a conservative, when he takes liberal positions?
3.22.2006 6:02pm
Kovarsky (mail):
oy,

has anybody actually looked at the study to see what the authors say about regional bias?
3.22.2006 6:03pm
BU2L (mail):

"Lies that got us into war": I presume that you mean the WMDs question. First of all, remember that there was NO serious question--even from opponents of the war--that Iraq had WMDs.

Here is Instapundit:


JON STEWART interviews Iraqi General George Sada (video is available here) and there's some interesting discussion in which Sada says that there absolutely were Weapons of Mass Destruction. (The interesting part starts at about 3/4 of the way in, with 2:45 remaining.) Sada says they were transported to Syria just before the United States invaded Iraq. "I have seen them myself, because you see I was the number two man in the Iraqi Air Force."


The relevance here, aside from the obvious, is that it takes a lefty fake news show on basic cable to bring this to light. Where are our loyal neo-con lapdogs in the MSM when we need em?
3.22.2006 6:04pm
blackdoggerel (mail):
Given that the subjects were residents of Berkeley, I'm inclined to chalk the results of this study up to the "whoever thinks they're not in the majority is more whiny" effect. There's an article in the latest Harvard Journal of Law &Public Policy with a data point on this. The author did a survey of hundreds of students at Harvard Law School, where liberal students are well in the majority, and found that while liberal students thought conservative students had pretty much achieved parity with liberals in terms of prominence on campus, the conservatives continued to believe that they were being persecuted and marginalized. So perhaps whininess is a matter of perception.
3.22.2006 6:06pm
RTG:
I'm sure everyone here would be as skeptical if the results were the reverse.
3.22.2006 6:10pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Clayton E. Cramer:

You forgot the public school system. The teachers' unions always support liberal candidates. You also forgot Hollywood.

Unlike the conservatives, the liberals strongly influence (I'm not going to say "control") institutions that exert a lasting influence on society. Moreover, their influence is also of an enduring nature. Professors and teachers have tenure; federal judges serve for life, and Hollywood is always been pretty much left of center. The grip conservatives have on legislatures, and executives could easily change in a few years with the whim of the electorate. We should not ignore the fundamental difference in the nature of the influence these two movements have.
3.22.2006 6:13pm
Kovarsky (mail):
You define someone as a conservative even though he regularly writes opinions that come to the opposite conclusion. How can you tell he's a conservative, when he takes liberal positions?

I hate using the political terms "conservative" and "liberal" when they apply to a judge's philosophy. A conservative jurist can be a political liberal and vice versa. The justices aren't up there voting for their political preferences (See FAIR v. Rumsfeld). I think your data is pretty skewed because you're looking at a such a small sample of cases. if you are just going to define someone as a liberal just because they write an opinion with a liberal outcome, this is a stupid empirical exercise. Ok, so is Breyer now a conservative because of how vocal he was and because he signed on in in Rumsfeld? Is Roberts a liberal because he argued Romer?

I'm not saying that a court can't be "liberal" or "conservative." But for those terms to have any meaning whatsoever, you have to compare its results with majority preferences. No matter how much complaining Sean Hannity might do, this court is much closer to majority preference than was the warren court.

Article III courts, when they enforce the bill of rights, are "liberal" institutions because, by definition, they are usually overturning a majority rule to protect a minority. It's silly to say that the "liberals" control an institution whose liberal bias is largely structural.
3.22.2006 6:14pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
Preschool children subsequently relatively conservative at age 23 were described as: feeling easily victimized, easily offended, indecisive, fearful, rigid, inhibited, and relatively over-controlled and vulnerable.


Victimized; fearful; vulnerable: Sounds like a rational conservative response to living in a region that is overwhelmingly hostile toward conservatives.

Easily offended: ROTFL! The Left has a virtual monopoly on the speech code meme in the West, and Berkeley is one of its holy cities.

Over-controlled: When I think of "California" and "over-controlled," I think of suffocating government regulation. I suspect that the study has in mind something other than the Vampire L'Etat.

Rigid, indecisive: Aren't these opposites?
3.22.2006 6:17pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Don't assume things Clayton, or you make an ass . . . well, you know the saying (though you are already guilty of it through and through). A few points:

1. WMD's -- No. First, there were WMD's in Iraq -- there were NOT WMD's in Iraq at the time we invaded; Saddam got rid of them (thus the Daily Show excerpt is irrelevant). Could a reasonable person in Bush's position believe there were WMD's there at the time? Of course. Could a reasonable person in Bush's position or Cheney's position have believed that Iraq was "reconstituting its nuclear program"??? No. Thanks for coming out, Clayton KCramer, I will send you some parting gifts.

2. Connection between Saddam and 9/11 -- Bush assures us he was "very careful not to say that Saddam had a direct hand in 9/11" -- an admission that he was trying to mislead us carefully (a la Clayton's favorite philandered, Bill Clinton) that there was a connection.

3. Washington Post -- not coverage, editorial policy. Difference, there is one. Learn it, live it, love it. The WaPo has not called for any type of sanction on the President for violating countless federal laws including directly violating Hamdi v. Rumsfeld by continuing to assert that he has a unilateral right to keep US citizens in a box without judicial review. For a guy who claims to be so concerned about original intent of the Framers like you Mr. KCramer, I would think you would care about that.

4. Gay sex and bestiality -- why Clayton are you so obsessed with that stuff? Your blog constantly talks about these crazy judges imposing all these horrible "unconservative things" on us, but the only thing you ever cite are things having to do with Gay Sex, and then you tell us continually that it will lead ot bestiality and polygamy etc. Why are you so obsessed with bizarre sexual behavior? I know that the only time I spend thinking about this stuff is when I am reading a dirty magazine, like The National Review, The Weekly Standard, or dirty conservative websites that love to talk about this.

5. Impeachment was not about sex. Funny.
3.22.2006 6:24pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):

1. WMD's -- No. First, there were WMD's in Iraq -- there were NOT WMD's in Iraq at the time we invaded; Saddam got rid of them (thus the Daily Show excerpt is irrelevant).

Did you not show up on that day in law school when they said the thing about logical thinking? If WMD's left Iraq, because and solely because, we invaded then they would have stayed there had we not invaded. Then Saddam would have just stored them in a basement, and forgotten all about it. Or not. Or something else would happen, maybe.
3.22.2006 6:29pm
Kovarsky (mail):
you people talking about the "berkely bias" ("BB") do realize you're talking about 4 year-olds, right? i mean, maybe the 4 year olds you know are really sophisticated, but the one's that I know aren't really responsive, positively or negatively, to the political climate at the ballot box. the ones i know tend to be much more responsive to, say, timmy stealing their ball.

this study might be flawed for a lot of reasons, and some of them might have to do with geography. But this idea that this group seems to have concocted is that 4 year olds are capable of feeling a sense of political alienation, like little mikey is getting beat up on the playground because he likes to listen to rush limbaugh instead of NPR at recess.
3.22.2006 6:29pm
Kovarsky (mail):
i should mention that i myself was beat up a lot at recess, but that was because i wore an eye patch until an unusually ripe age.
3.22.2006 6:33pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
When we were little, in Russia, kids from our building would fight kids from the next building. (It was stupid). The other kids usually won - there were more of them. Does that explain why I'm a Libertarian?
3.22.2006 6:36pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Clayton:

1. In contested (i.e., 5-4 and 6-3) cases, Kennedy votes far more often with Scalia and Thomas than he does with Souter, Stevens, Breyer and Ginsburg. He's conservative; indeed, his deviations from conservativism are quite notable and that is what makes him the "swing" vote.

2. While the Court has modestly expanded gay rights in Romer and Lawrence (and just how modest the expansion has been is demonstrated by Boy Scouts of America v. Dale and FAIR v. Rumsfeld), in most areas, the Court is now very conservative, especially compared to the Warren and Burger courts that preceded it. For instance, we've gone from a majority that was very skeptical of the death penalty to unanimity in favor of it. We have also gone from a blank check commerce clause to one which does not extend to certain local activities. We have also gone from a Tenth Amendment that was merely rhetorical to one that prohibits federal interference with core state functions. We have also gone from an antitrust doctrine that invalidates certain anticompetitive actions on a per se basis to one that applies a deferential "rule of reason" to such activities.

Perhaps most importantly, we have gone from a court that sees it as its mandate to enforce key civil rights protections to one that often invalidates federal attempts to regulate state violations of civil rights and other protections, on the basis of a federalism principle that appears nowhere in the Constitution.

In no sense is this a "conservative" court-- indeed, it is exactly what you would expect from a court that has SEVEN Republican appointees and only two Democratic appointees.

I don't know why you seem to think that Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Evans are so important that their outcomes automatically make the Court "liberal"; those decisions are pretty minor compared to all the cases where the result is "conservative".

3. As for "liberals controlling the media", really, give it a rest. First, it doesn't deny that conservatives control the government-- and even you would concede, I hope, that conservatives have A LOT of power and responsibility by virtue of their control of the executive and legislative branches. Second, whatever you say about the three broadcast networks and some big city papers, there are plenty of conservative outlets-- Fox News, opinion journals, talk radio, blogs, etc.

And further, a lot of conservative media criticism IS whiny. Even if you think that the mainstream media is liberal, read some of the stuff that the Media Research Center puts out! They complain about all sorts of alleged liberal bias that, to put it charitably, is in the eye of the beholder.

And that gets me back to my point. Conservatives DO have a lot of power. We can argue about how much they have, but you can't seriously say that they don't have a lot. Yet some of them make a business out of constantly complaining that their ideas aren't taken seriously, that they can't get their message out to the public, and that everyone is out to get them. No matter where the truth lies in terms of your claims about the media and the judiciary, you cannot seriously deny that some conservatives are whining.
3.22.2006 6:39pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
If conservatives have so much power, then why is Bush spending money like LBJ and Nixon (both fiscal/regulatory liberals) and getting away with it?

Republicans are a divided party, so a Republican majority in Congress doesn't mean a conservative majority.
3.22.2006 6:50pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
I'm sure everyone here would be as skeptical if the results were the reverse.


Yes, I would. Few things are as damaging in the blogosphere as making an argument or relying on a "study" to bolster your case that the other side can tear apart in five seconds. Which makes it more imperative for you to discredit and debunk this sort of nonsense before it spreads and too many people on "your side" use it in an argument.

But maybe that's just me.
3.22.2006 7:51pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
I don;t think it is just you. I understand the original comment was sarcastic, but I would be surprised if literally a single person here believes that differences of the sort cited by the study can account for differences in political views, one way or another.
3.22.2006 7:56pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):
With that said, only people whose mothers drank while pregnant can be liberal.




... jk
3.22.2006 7:57pm
Kovarsky (mail):
Mike,

I think it's possible, but I would like to say the data before saying that, and I think that should be most people's approach.
3.22.2006 8:06pm
Fishbane (mail):
I must admit, reading these comments on a page entitled "Whiny Conservatives" has had me laughing all through the thread.

Yeah, just three of the four major networks, all major daily newspapers (with the exception of the Wall Street Journal), effectively all universities, and the federal bench. That is, of course, just a few institutions--but the ones that exercise enormous power.

Who pays for this crap?

I want to see a study of children from different regions of the country.

They also failed to control for factors like the political leanings and whinyness factors of the children's parents, schools and colleges attended, etc.

Unlike the conservatives, the liberals strongly influence (I'm not going to say "control") institutions that exert a lasting influence on society.

Victimized; fearful; vulnerable: Sounds like a rational conservative response to living in a region that is overwhelmingly hostile toward conservatives
3.22.2006 8:54pm
LASunsett (mail) (www):
Boy, I tell you. It was the self-reliant part that got me. What a hoot.
3.22.2006 8:58pm
jgshapiro (mail):
Is Clayton Cramer a troll? Or is Greedy Clerk? Sometimes I find it hard to tell.

Clayton:

You seem to think that if the Supreme Court ever rules in favor of the liberal side in a dispute, it is ipso facto liberal. How else to square your views on SCOTUS with the fact that its decisions are overwhelmingly conservative, and are likely to get even more so with Alito replacing O'Connor, and yet you still think it is a liberal court. This has to be the most conservative court in your lifetime, even if you were born in the 1930's. Also, in your list of hot button cases, you left out Bush v. Gore, which I would submit had a much more significant effect on the country (like it or not) than, for example, the Court's decision invalidating a texas sodomy statute that was almost never enforced so that Texas could count the fruits of a warrantless drug search.

GC:

Clinton was impeached for perjury. He doesn't get to decide what he is entitled to lie about in a deposition or in front of a grand jury, based on his own views of inappropriate questions. Nobody cares that he got a blow job from an intern in the Oval Office; the issue was whether the chief law enforcement officer is entitled to commit perjury and to encourage others to do so on his behalf.

As for Bush, equating the exaggeration of a WMD threat (including the nuclear component of that threat) with a clear-cut statement in a court proceeding that is knowingly false - well, it does not enhance your credibility. If Bush is guilty of perjury, than every president in the last half-century would also be guilty of perjury.
3.22.2006 9:07pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail):

If Bush is guilty of perjury, than every president in the last half-century would also be guilty of perjury


I think Kennedy wasn't actually a Berliner. What Chutzpah, to lie like that. Perjury! (It wasn't in court or in connection with a crime, but still).
3.22.2006 9:26pm
Kovarsky (mail):
you can't be guilty of perjury unless you lie under oath.

but simply becaues bush is equally not guilty of perjury it does not follow that he has not misled the public on a number of important issues.

i also meant to mention bush v. gore, and ask clayton how that fit into his model with, you know, scalia all of a sudden the champion of equal protection.
3.22.2006 9:52pm
Broncos:
Are Romer and Lawrence really that conservative?

To my memory, Romer just held that pure animus toward a group does not constitute a "rational basis" for governmental action; and Lawrence simply held that the concept of "liberty" prevents criminal punishment (imprisonment?!) of an individual for having consensual sex, in the privacy of their own bedroom, with another adult of the same sex.

Really. I'm not liberal, but I found the backlash over these decisions a little excessive.
3.22.2006 10:07pm
Broncos:
Sorry, obviously I was questioning how *liberal* Romer and Lawrence really are.
3.22.2006 10:08pm
jgshapiro (mail):
Kennedy and Johnson both lied about Vietnam, Nixon couldn't stop lying, Reagan lied about Iran-Contra and the threat to Grenada, Bush I lied about not raising taxes and Noriega, the list goes on. Maybe Ford didn't lie, but he wasn't around long enough to have to.

Seems to me that there is a clear line between exaggerating in a political context (i.e., 'misleading'), where you are trying to sell a policy, even a military policy, and lying in a judicial proceeding after you swear to tell the truth. Otherwise, why bother to put the pols under oath?

If you are going to erase the significance of that line, than either every president gets impeached or we agree to allow them to lie as much as they want while they occupy that chair.
3.22.2006 10:38pm
Ross Levatter (mail):
jgshapiro: "If Bush is guilty of perjury, than every president in the last half-century would also be guilty of perjury.:

Works for me...

(but one needn't be so conservative. Half century takes us back only to Eisenhower. Don't forget Truman, FDR, Wilson. It's almost a foregone conclusion that war presidents lie.)
3.23.2006 1:31am
Justin (mail):
Justin, I don't think your parallel is properly drawn. I concluded that the <s>Berkeley </s>Bush guy is a bigot, because he <s>undertook a study ostensibly in order to confirm his bias</s> failed to even show interest in the destruction of a primarily black city. Whether this <s>the work</s> was intentional bigotry or inherent bigotry is not of primary importance.

<s>Bush</s> The scientist, with respect to <s>Katrina</s> the study, can be accused of, at most, an incompetent <s>response</s> control group, <s>which as it turned out, did not even have a disparate impact on blacks.</s> (this just gets xed out because the original assertion is false as well as as irrelevant) Frankly, I just don't see the parallel.

Fixed your post, Mike.
3.23.2006 1:43am
Fishbane (mail):
Should have added - I'm about libertarian as one can be. Anarcho-capitalist, at times (Hi, Duncan! Care to wade in?)

All the whiny concervatives are still funny, unlike the serious ones, like Orin and Eugene (even if I find the latter profoundly wrong on punishment theory).
3.23.2006 6:34am
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Alan K. Henderson:

Just because the President and Congress are spending like drunken sailors doesn't mean they aren't conservatives. What it does mean is that: (1) conservatives, like liberals, make concessions to political realities, which include demands for social spending as well as defense and homeland security; (2) conservatives, like liberals, like to reward their constituents with pork, whether it is Congressional bridges to nowhere or the President's subsidies to the religious right; and (3) a lot of conservative budget math doesn't add up, because most government spending is on programs that conservatives either enthusiastically support (e.g., defense) or do not claim to oppose (e.g., Social Security), and there is thus not that much left to cut.
3.23.2006 12:07pm
Alan K. Henderson (mail) (www):
So there's no such thing as a conservative who is a fiscal conservative?
3.23.2006 5:47pm