« McCain - US/Iraqi agreements are binding - on them. | Main | More oil leaking from the barrel. »

22 July 2008


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Col. Lang,

I gather the McCain strategist who's idea it was to push an Obama trip to Iraq and the Middle East has been fired.

The only question remains is will said strategist be given courtesy compensation by the Obama campaign for creating such a buzz and such a public relations coup.

McCain's anemic, scattershot and hamhanded campaign is ongoing proof that he's not ready for prime-time.



Col. Lang:

Thank you for the succinct analysis.

As to polling issues if you haven't seen it you may want to check out http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/

The data and data analysis are comprehensive and exhausting to the point that I sometimes feels like it's telling me more than I want to know. It also includes the Senate races as well as the presidential.

Thanks again for doing Dan Balz's job for him.


Re national polls: yes, Obama has been maintaining only a small lead over McCain. But it's important to remember, we don't have a national election. We have 50 state elections. When you look at the electoral college map, unless something dramatic happens to change it, it looks like a slam dunk (sorry) for the O man.

It's amusing that McCain dared Obama to go to Iraq and Afghanistan. So he went, he's getting all this good press, and all McCain can do is whine about it (when he's not riding around in a golf cart with Papa Bush).

Patrick Lang


A knowledge of politics is good.

"Political Science" is crap and a pseudo science that seeks to explain real world data in terms of phony models that seek universal behavior in specific circumstance.

This opinion is nothing new for me. I have never had any use for Political Science as a discipline. It is of ZERO value, no, it is of negative value in forecasting developments in non-European cultures.

Burn those diplomas and learn something useful, and not destructive. pl

Buzz Meeks

Col Lang,

Reasons for close polling- I think the FISA vote and his AIPAC suck up has tarnished him with a large number of voters. "Change we can believe in", horse balls. People want specifics, they aren't going to go for the guy you want to have a beer with again.

No mater what Obama does, the amount of small money donations he has raised shows that the country will vote progressive and the screwed are going to elect and agitate for progressive policies and and a return to rule of law. Unless, that is, there isn't another staged "terrorist" attack between now and election day.I don't believe the Bushscum are going to go quietly.

Buzz Meeks


We could do worse than to disregard polls. Polls unfavorable to Obama should drive his supporters towards greater effort. This election is very important. Its importance shows up daily in McCain's campaign blunders. I do not believe democracy can withstand four more years of W. with its permanent campaign mode, it theory of the Unitary Executive, and control over Supreme Court appointments. Vote and vote often.

Cloned Poster

Barack Obama should be very careful in his choice of running mate. He needs someone who will assure all those who are afraid of a leap into an unknown future. Chuck Hagel?


Col. Lang wrote:

""Political Science" is crap and a pseudo science that seeks to explain real world data in terms of phony models that seek universal behavior in specific circumstance ... It is of ZERO value...."


Seems to me you're right in the sense that it should be named Political Art or Political Theory. But would you then also agree there's no such thing as "Military Science"? Seems to me that too fits your definition as "models that seek universal behavior in specific circumstance[s]," doesn't it?


David Habakkuk

Might not Sam Nunn be rather a good choice as a running mate?


"Burn those diplomas and learn something useful, and not destructive."


LA Confidential Pantload

Col. Lang,

Given your views on political science, I take it you do not have a very good opinion of Marc Lynch?

William R. Cumming

Too soon to predict but it will be interesting to see if enlisted ranks deployed outside CONUS get the chance to exercise their right to vote. After all Lincoln v. McClellan in 1864 did manage to allow th troops to exercise their rights. Hope so whatever the outcome! I don't have current figures but believe military minority percentages are actually in decline over previous totals. Joining the military not viewed as PC in many minority circles. Oddly service academy minority enrollments way up particularly if you include Asian-Americans. Would be an interesting breakdown to see percentages of all ranks that are minority in all branches of armed forces.


Col: The election will be close. The Bradley Effect is still true. Unlike Colin Powell, among others, Obama is not riding to power on the coattails of a powerful white patron. He is charting his own course. That makes this race more exciting...but also more unpredictable. White Americans (like myself) like to flatter ourselves into thinking that race doesn't matter that much anymore. We'll see.


Just for fun, I feel I should defend political science as an academic field. I am not a political scientist. Political science is like Economics. Both are good at analysing the past, but weak on predicting the future. It is like generals wanting to refight the last war. Or forecasting the weather. Politics is what mathematicians call a chaos situation. That is, the number of factors is so great, and their interrelation so complex, that 100% correct prediction is unlikely. Add to that the prejudices of the analyst.

It is true that the last meeting on Iraq that I attended in the company of political scientists, they were unimpressive - and to that extent you are right. My feeling was that it was not difficult to do better. The most distinguished analyst there, who works for a well-known think-tank, was unimpressed by my view that Iraqi nationalism is the most important factor in Iraq today, though it has subsequently been demonstrated in the question of the SOFA, and the oil law. He has subsequently published a widely-diffused article that the Christians are on a come-back in Lebanon. Make of that what you wish.

It's more a problem with the people, their prejudices and career needs, than the nature of the field itself.

Jonathan House

The first two paragraphs of a piece by Bertell Ollman entitled

What Is Political Science? What Should It Be?

Full text available at:

"Political science is governed by five myths: l) that it studies politics; 2) that it is scientific; 3) that it is possible to study politics separated off from economics, sociology, psychology and history; 4) that the state in our democratic capitalist society is politically neutral, that is available as a set of institutions and mechanisms to whatever group wins the election; and 5) that political science, as a discipline, advances the cause of democracy.

"Paradoxically, most political scientists, whose own work embodies at least some of these myths, would probably agree with a lot of the criticism that is implied in characterizing their beliefs as myths. These colleagues simply act as if they are true, because they don't know what else to do and, in some cases, may be afraid not to. How else understand a poll of 500 political scientists in l964 that showed that two out of three "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that much scholarship in the discipline is "superficial and trivial", and that concept formation and development is "little more than hair splitting and jargon"? There is no reason to believe that the results today would be any different. There is a deep-going and on-going malaise among political scientists that the self-congratulatory tone of most surveys of our discipline cannot succeed in wishing away. After all, most of us chose this particular subject as graduate students because of a strong interest in politics and with certain big questions to which we hoped to find answers. What happened?

Jonathan House

W.H. Auden, in a lecture to Harvard undergraduates:

"Thou shalt not sit with statisticians, nor commit a social science."

Sidney O. Smith III

Angry Aggie:

Assuming you are a Texas A & M Aggie…

If I had to deal with Francione as head coach of my college football team, I’d be angry too. But that’s no reason to go the nationalistic, presumably Fred Kagan, route.

Look at this way. Under your nationalistic approach, the Aggies would have to give up all that is unique about the culture of Aggie football and submit to the Texas Longhorn culture. Why? At least right now, the Longhorns have superior football fire power. The Longhorns have for awhile, although I know you guys won last year but, overall, let’s face it. Bleak.

I am sure that studies on Texas football employing the methodology of the political sciences would suggest that the Longhorns are more advanced than that of the Aggies. So under this (Lincoln) approach, everyone should submit to their centralized authority.

And under your approach, the Aggies would have to become Longhorn light. No more 12th man. No more Aggie non scholarship player who participates on kick offs etc. You guys would have to wear Longhorn helmets and similar uniforms.

But I do not subscribe to that point of view. I have much more confidence in the culture of Aggie football. So I prefer the anthropological approach. The Aggie football culture is very unique and has much to contribute. Aggie culture is not the same as Longhorn culture and should develop accordingly.

But I understand you anger towards Francione. And why would you guys give up a solid running attack? Geez…But have confidence in Mark Sherman. Celebrate your Aggie uniqueness and he may lead you guys back. Check out the book, Field of Glory about the tradition and history of Aggie football. That may help you go anthropological. Aggie football is unique. Let’s let it stay that way.

David Habakkuk:

Sam Nunn is tops in my view. His vote on Gulf War I hurt him among Georgia imperialists and there are more than a few, unfortunately. From what I heard, he became disillusioned with Clinton Democrats, so he called it quits. Later became a partner at an Atlanta law firm, King and Spalding (which was somewhat of pipeline to the Bush administration, neocons billing like crazy). He should have chosen Alston and Bird if he wanted to go down that path but that’s just my opinion. He’s a very intelligent man and I sure trust him more than William Ayers.

The pundits say Georgia is a critical swing state. Don’t yet know how much he’d help. Part of the problem is not what people think. It isn’t rural Georgians that are as much of a critical factor as suburban Georgians -- the Newt Gingrich crowd -- and many of them are corporate transplants with an evangelical strain. Like Newt, I see them as Georgia ersatz but I may be in a “minority”.

Plus, hip Californians -- the blush wine crowd -- don’t like Sam Nunn, at least based on my empirical evidence. So I don’t know what kind of appeal he’d have nationally. But I have always considered myself a Nunn democrat.


Pat and all,

I found this comment rather telling.

"John McCain has said he will only support a withdrawal based on conditions on the ground... The disposition of a sovereign, democratically elected government is one of the conditions that will be taken into account."
-- Deputy director of communications for the McCain 2008 campaign, Michael Goldfarb.

How magnaminous! The Iraqi's views will be "taken into acount."


Italics off.

Re: Obama and the military.

He has proposed 90,000 more GIs, who knows for what 'project' ... but anyway, the military will grow and people of rank are guaranteed to get promoted in an expanding force.

He wants them to fight another war in Afghanistan even when experts on Afghanistan say more soldiers there is not a solution but will lead to disaster. Some medals for the ranks - what is not like with that.

His general foreign policy seem to be neo-con lite and imperialistic just as Bush's.

Only come 2009, there will be no money for this. When Obama will have to cut off new F-22, JSF numbers, FCS, new DDG's the military will not like him anymore ...

Leila Abu-Saba

Italics off.
Just trying to clean it up around here....


Again accusations of racism against those who oppose Obama? Obama has no experience on a national level. His relationship with Tony Rezko alone should send us running in the opposite direction. Haven't we suffered enough during eight years of Bush without putting another vacuous, corrupt opportunist in the White House?



Another spot on analysis! This foreign tour with Reed and Hagel in tow will be a home run for him. I think Obama will use the whole package of his prospective team to win over the reluctance to hand power to an unkown black man - VP, State, Defense, Treasury. He will gain rock star status when a million people show up in Berlin as some believe. The media are beginning to lap it up - notice Chris Mathews on Leno. Of course Fox is going to be that lonely outpost.

Obama will never get the Bubba vote even if Jesus Christ is his running mate. In fact I am rather surprised that Charlie Black and the Goon Squad have not been more vigorous in defining Obama. The New Yorker "cartoon" caricature is what I expected them to push ad infinitum.

IMO, Obama does not need the Bubba vote. What he needs are the white soccer moms and dads in big city suburbs in the mid-west and south-east to turnout strong for him. NoVa, Richmond, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, etc. He also needs a strong over performance among Hispanics in the south west and west. The blacks, urban Democrats and college town Democrats and Independents are going to turn out in unprecedented numbers for him. That's why in the previous thread I predicted he will win in a landslide with over 50.1% of the popular vote and electoral vote wins in many Red states. He's going to get the popular vote majority through blowout wins in states like my home state of California where people in the most populous districts are determined to repudiate the Bush regime. In states like Virginia, Ohio, Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania the race will be very close and turnout in Philly, NoVa, Cleveland will make the difference between win or loss.

The real question in my mind is what kind of administration will we get under a President Obama. Here I predict a very cautious establishment oriented Presidency. He will make the DC conventional wisdom and the Wall Street corporate consensus very proud. He had his Sista Souljah moment with the rabble rousers at the left of his party. Unfortunately it had to do with FISA and the evisceration of the 4th Amendment. So we know he doesn't much care about that document or the oath he will take. He says he'll take on the jihadis in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I'm curious what he really plans to do there - boots on the ground or aerial; COIN or something else. In any case OBL may finally have to get back on the run. That's a good thing, IMO. Less chance for mischief. At the end of the day I am convinced Obama will be in reactive mode throughout his first term. Too many threads are unraveling that have to be sewn together.

There will be no revolution. This is not the second coming of Thomas Jefferson.


I would hope that Americans have had a belly full of entitled sons with the abject failure and destruction planned and overseen by the Bush43 presidency. John McCain is just more of the same. The son of a 4 star admiral, who was son a of a four star admiral, McCain ranked 894th in a graduating class of 899 at Annapolis. It's reasonable to wonder if a midshipman without his pedigree would have been flunked out.

Barack Obama's BA from Columbia was in International Affairs. Hmmmm.... Seems he may have been preparing for his intended career.

Of note, Larry Johnson worked from 1978 - 1983 on a PhD in Political Science. I found no indication that he ever completed it. I suppose his career in political disinformation interfered.

Jon T.

Sen Hagel I saw on Sept 12, 2001 on an MSM TV with I believe Sen R. Kerrey, also a military man of great dignity. Sen. Hagel was even tempered, clear, succinct,fearless, compassionate. Do the American people not want someone like that? Or is that too idealistic and ignores the academics' analyses?


"Frankly, there are still a lot of people in the US who are very leery of voting for a Black man whom they do not know."

I do not believe that the pecentage of people who think this way is as large as some think. These individuals tend to vote in the opposite party of Obama. Though not all.

Obama is multi-cultural and had a very rich cultural upbringing. Obviously once reaching manhood he gravitated towards the black community,most likely a culture where he felt comfortable. That does not mean he has lost what he learned as a young man. He needs to harp on this more as multi cultural is the future direction of this country.

Obviously he has a lot to prove to win this high office. But to wade through Iraq tossing his own grenades is not going to sit well with the American people eventually. Yes, he has his positions but leave those to be said on American soil. Countering the guy who has performed a few miracles in Iraq just isn't good taste for me.

Now the way our country is going, come election time I think the crotchity old guy we know may be a better choice than the one we do not know.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad