As you know, I would so love it if Sarah Palin indeed runs for president. The Slate Palin-o-meter just took a big jump with her announced bus tour through early primary states.

Simple truth– I find politics more fun and interesting when Palin’s involved. Plus, I think she’s a disaster as the face of the Republican party. And, lastly, and not insignifcantly, it would make my Fall offering of Gender & Politics so much more fun.

It’s the skin color, stupid

Matt Yglesias extracts the key finding from recent paper by Political Scientist Alan Abamowitz.  Racial attitudes strongly predict attitudes towards Obama even when controlling for partisanship and ideology:

The results in Table 2 show that racial resentment was strongly related to ratings of Obama and that this relationship persists even after controlling for party identification and ideology. Regardless of party identification or ideology, whites who scored high on the racial resentment scale had substantially more negative opinions of Obamathan those who scored low on the racial resentment scale.

Obviously, this does not mean that a person’s negative opinion of Obama is driven by race, but it does mean that, in the aggregate you really cannot deny the fact that racial attitudes are strongly related to how Americans think about Obama.  Or as Abamowitz puts it: “These results indicate that Barack Obama’s race remains a major influence on how he is perceived and evaluated by the white Americans.”

What’s a major worth?

Pretty cool chart looking at average incomes by major.

What is a major worth

Glad to see that Social Science fares relatively well.  I really do believe there’s genuine (economic, among other) value in the analytical approach good social science takes to understanding the human world that can be applied quite broadly.  I do love this quote in the accompanying article:

“I don’t want to slight Shakespeare,” said Anthony Carnevale, one of the report’s authors. “But this study slights Shakespeare.”

One thing this data is not able to answer at all is life satisfaction/happiness.  Are the people who studied Shakespeare happier because they pursued their dream, rather than business majors who chose that due to earnings potential.  Obviously, earnings potential and potential happiness figure in these decisions for most people, but surely earnings weighs in more for the majors at the top and less for those at the bottom.  I’d be genuinely curious to know if sacrificing potential earnings proves to be worth it for choosing an educational path that is seen as personally more worthwhile and fulfilling– it’s not as if you are starving on $45K/year.  Of course, part of my curiosity stems from the fact that most people who are college professors are smart enough that they could be making significantly more money in other fields, but have chosen this career because of the fabulous non-financial benefits.

Video of the day

This is just amazing.  Fox Business makes regular Fox news look like a model of decency

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Senate “Ryancare” vote

I have no idea if it’s original (probably not), but I think we should term Ryan’s disastrous plan for voucherizing Medicare as Ryancare.  Anyway, good for Harry Reid for forcing Republican Senators to go on the record on this.  All, but 5 of them voted for the Ryan plan.  An interesting collective action problem.  The best interest of pretty much any individual Senator is to vote against this plan.  At absolute best, this is electorally neutral, and in most cases surely looks to be an electoral negative.  That said, the more this vote is all Democrats against all Republicans, the easier it is to play it off as “partisan politics as usual” to try and destigmatize the vote.  The more divided Republicans are on this, the worse it is for all Republicans.  Republicans learned very clearly with Obama’s health care reform effort that you can very much muddy the waters of perception– of both ordinary folks and the punditocracy– by strong party discipline.  In this case, the best approach probably is to double-down and just try and convince everyone that this is just “partisanship as usual” by keeping near unanimous opposition to Democrats.  Still, those Senator X voted to end Medicare ads may yet be quite damning.  No surprise that Scott Brown and the ladies from Maine were among the defectors.

%d bloggers like this: