The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

13 January 2006

Signing on

Am I a "center-right" blogger? Maybe, maybe not. But I have no problem endorsing this:

We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.

As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.

I trust that bloggers to my left, and the Democratic leadership, will be similarly motivated to support reform efforts.

Posted at 3:45 PM to Political Science Fiction


I agree. I would sign, but I don't think I'm a center-right blogger.

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at 9:05 PM on 13 January 2006

I'm closer to the center than the right, I think, but a number of the signatories are way more conservative than I am.

Posted by: CGHill at 9:32 PM on 13 January 2006

When I take a group photo at the Okie Blogger Round-up, I want everyone to line up left to right according to their political leanings. I still haven't figured who should be in the exact middle.

Posted by: MikeH at 10:53 PM on 13 January 2006

I think I'll dominate the center by dint of sheer girth.

Posted by: CGHill at 10:57 PM on 13 January 2006

I'd say I'm to your left on many things, and I signed.

Posted by: Kathy K at 5:14 AM on 14 January 2006

Most of the "political compass" surveys peg me as a slighty-Libertarian moderate. This surprises me, as most Libertarians I know have absolutely no sense of humor. So I'll be in the center of your picture, Mike, but I'll be sure to represent my political leaning by not smiling. :)

Posted by: Joe Goodwin at 7:26 AM on 14 January 2006

The occupant of the center of the photo will not necessarily be the one whose opinions are most centrist politically. It will be the one whose views fall in the center (or "median") of those attending. If the group's opinions are largely conservative, or liberal, the median will be somewhat conservative, or liberal, respectively.

And, if an even number of persons pose for the photo (which I think is a 50-50 chance), no one will be at the center.

But Mike, if you seriously want to do this, you should have everyone do some kind of online quiz beforehand, so each has a score to compare. Or if you want to delegate this responsibility, I volunteer to run the polling.

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at 8:46 AM on 14 January 2006

Bwahahahaha!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at 10:40 AM on 14 January 2006

Blessed be Juan Gato, or whatever his name is these days.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:08 AM on 14 January 2006

I'm leaning toward staying out of this one.

I haven't had good luck with supporting candidates for congressional leadership posts like this. The candidates have, but I haven't.

Posted by: McGehee at 3:53 PM on 14 January 2006

Sean, while I wasn't serious, (I envision the majority fighting for the center with a relatively few on either end.), it would be interesting to see where Oklahoma bloggers fall in such a lineup.

My reservation would be the validity of evaluation. For instance: Libertarian moderate? ;)

Though, I do see a poll as a possiblity. Rather than an individual test, have other bloggers rank other individual bloggers. For instance...
-3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3
Left -------- Right

Sean Gleeson = +2
dustbury = +1
Play One on TV = 0
OkiePundit = -1
This is Class Warfare = -2

Posted by: MikeH at 5:02 PM on 14 January 2006

You would not be the first to decry the simplicity of the one-dimensional "left-right" political axis. Many people favor "left" domestic policy but "right" foreign policy (or vice versa), or "left" social views and "right" economic views (or vice versa). That's why some pollsters have tried to come up with models of two or three dimensions, yielding results like "You are a social cenrist, economic rightist, foreign interventionist," with an X-Y-Z coordinate map and Venn diagram. It might be more accurate.

But then, simplicity does have its obvious attractions, and its uses -- such as arranging bloggers for a group photo. I really like your idea of letting other bloggers vote on everyone's score. It avoids all kinds of sticky wickets and arguments about questionnaires and proper weighting of answers (such as, is your opinion of marriage law more or less important than your opinion of the war in Iraq?). Very nice idea. Very "Web 2.0."

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at 6:08 PM on 14 January 2006

On the left side of Dustbury is "Political Compass". Charles has posted his scores. Use that....

Posted by: unimpressed at 8:34 AM on 15 January 2006

The questionnaire at PoliticalCompass.org is poorly worded, and tests for nothing other than your score at PoliticalCompass.org. (For the record, I got Econ +1.50, Social -0.21.)

Just for one example, there's a question that goes "It's fine for society to be open about sex, but these days it's going too far." This is a compound sentence that makes two distinct assertions. Someone who decides to "agree" must agree with both assertions. Someone who decides to "disagree" (as I did) might be disagreeing with either the first ("It's fine for society to be open about sex") or the second ("these days it's going too far"). The answer is useless.

And then there's "Our race has many superior qualities, compared with other races." I checked "Strongly Agree," because I think opposable thumbs and a cerebral cortex make our race a lot sexier than slugs. But I shudder to think what my honest answer did to my score.

And a great many of the questions have to do with observations of culture and morality, not politics at all.

I don't mean to single out this one questionnaire (you did). I think that some people would have serious objections to any such questionnaire.

I like Mike's idea better.

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at 9:31 AM on 15 January 2006

where do I sign?

Posted by: Chase at 11:08 AM on 15 January 2006

Dude, that was a "for instance".... I never claimed it was PERFECT.

Posted by: unimpressed at 9:43 PM on 15 January 2006

Yeah, I know, I'm sorry if it seemed I was attacking. I was just trying to show how any rating based on any such questionnaire could lead to disputed results.

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at 10:06 PM on 17 January 2006