GOP Primary Debate Scorecard

I’ve looked around the web, and although there are many articles entitled “GOP Debate Scorecard”, none are actually what I would consider a scorecard, that is, a card with the names going across one way, various categories going across the other way, and marks where the rows and columns intersect.

Like so:

Romney Brownback Gilmore Huckabee Hunter Thompson McCain Paul Giuliani Tancredo
Repeal Roe v. Wade •/-
Disbelieve evolution
Ban stem cell research
intervene in schiavo case ND ND ND ND
slag Mrs. Clinton
pardon Libby ND ND ND ND
cut taxes without mentioning reducing spending
support flat tax/"Fair" tax or repeal AMT
talk about iraq in terms of winning instead of leaving ND ND
slag Bush
namecheck Reagan
set up a national ID system ND ND ND
admit to beliefs dictating lawmaking ND ND ND ND ND ND
believe there is no consensus on global warming ND ND ND ND ND ND ND ND
wall off Mexico ND ND ND ND ND ND ND
"they do it too" in response to ethics questions
Have Charisma ND ND ND

• Candidate made statements to that effect
-Candidate disagreed with statement
ND Candidate didn’t take a position

You can visit their website to get their supposed platform and stand on common issues; what is represented here is only what they actually said during the debate itself.

Caveats: I’ve used my own glib shorthand to refer to some issues. I’ve selected all the issues they all took a position on, but selected others according to my interests. The last row is my opinion only. Giuliani expressly said he was pro-choice, and only that it would be “OK” if it were overturned.

“It’s an issue for the states” was a common phrase, and it seems to have been used most commonly to try to hide lack of support for a mainstream position. For example, saying “It’s an issue for the states” in regards to abortion, means “Overturn Roe v. Wade” whereas “”issue for the states” in regards to the Schiavo case meant “I personally would have intervened”.

As you can see now that it’s all laid out, the only candidate remotely mainstream is Giuliani. The Right is pushing Romney, but it’s clear from his statements regarding the Schiavo case and the role of his faith in lawmaking that he’s just a puppet to steal get “compassion conservative” votes from Giuliani. McCain is close to mainstream, but way too hawkish to be trusted. Likewise, Ron Paul is close to mainstream, but extremely libertarian with regard to governmental services such as healthcare, welfare, and so on. The rest of the lot are absolutely off-the scale radicals. Brownback, Tancredo, and Huckabee make Pat Buchanan look like a centrist.

Word Frequency Analysis of 2007 GOP Primary Debate

I had a chance to look at the GOP primary debate this weekend between going to the amazing shows that come to town during the weeks surrounding Jazzfest.

I thought it would be fun to do a little analysis of word frequencies:
The number in parenthesis is the word count.

  • would(88)>should(67)>can(57)>want(55)>need(52)
  • think(102)>know(52)>>believe(4)
  • Governor(89), States(49)
  • Romney(50)>McCain, Giuliani(49)>Tancredo(42)>Gilmore(33)>Brownback(32)
  • Faith(19)>God(7)
  • Iraq(33), Iran(19), Policy(18), Foreign(17), Nuclear(14)
  • Reagan(29)>Clinton(13)>Rove(9)>Bush(8)
  • Win(22)>Troops(7), Home(8), Leave(6)
  • No(51)>Yes(21)
  • Below I’ve generated a simplistic “most significant” measure, by computing the ratio of the word frequency in the debate transcript to the word frequency in a corpus of spoken English. The number in the first table is the ratio, whereas the number in the second table is the word count. I’m going to get this in Exhibit and have a play with some neato visualizations as soon as I get a chance.

    Here are the caveats: The word frequencies I’m using in the first table are actually from the British National Corpus, so many of the words in the speech transcript are highly represented simply because they’re speaking American English, and in the second table, using the ANC Corpus, many words are highly represented because they represent current events that hadn’t occurred when the corpus was compiled and because debates are part speeches, which are more like written English. I’ll update it when I find a better reference.

    Top 100 Words in GOP Primary Debate 2007

    Top 100 Words in GOP Primary Debate 2007
    sorted by appearance ratio

    GOVERNOR 589.4664
    IRAN 335.5764
    IRAQ 174.853
    CLINTON 137.7629
    FEDERAL 90.07577
    TAXES 84.77719
    COALITION 79.47862
    STATES 74.18005
    READER 74.18005
    BUSH 70.64766
    CALIFORNIA 61.8167
    AMERICANS 61.1374
    BORDER 57.06157
    NATION 56.51813
    BELIEFS 52.98575
    DIPLOMATIC 52.98575
    EXPORTS 52.98575
    MILITARY 49.86894
    UNITED 47.09844
    SPENDING 46.07456
    WASHINGTON 45.41635
    DEMOCRATS 44.15479
    PROGRAM 39.73931
    SECURE 39.73931
    ACQUIRE 39.73931
    DEFEAT 39.73931
    KOREA 39.73931
    NUCLEAR 39.04213
    WEAPONS 38.53509
    PRESIDENT 38.34495
    MAYOR 37.84696
    ISRAEL 37.09002
    ACQUISITION 35.32383
    AUTHORS 35.32383
    JOURNAL 35.32383
    LIMITATIONS 35.32383
    PRESIDENTIAL 35.32383
    TROOPS 33.7182
    FOREIGN 33.3614
    GLOBAL 33.11609
    AMERICA 32.99113
    AMERICAN 32.75483
    VALUES 31.79145
    GAINS 31.79145
    SUPREME 31.79145
    GREATEST 29.80448
    SERVING 29.43653
    FAITH 26.49287
    ENTIRE 26.49287
    CONSTITUTION 26.49287
    ILLEGAL 26.49287
    CATHOLIC 26.49287
    COMMANDER 26.49287
    ACCOMPANIED 26.49287
    JUDICIAL 26.49287
    VIEWED 26.49287
    WALKER 26.49287
    PROTECT 25.43316
    THREAT 24.93447
    CELLS 24.45496
    GRADE 24.08443
    CANDIDATES 23.54922
    WEAPON 23.54922
    CONCERNING 22.70818
    JUDGES 22.70818
    BILLS 22.30979
    ELECTED 22.30979
    WELFARE 22.07739
    STABILITY 21.1943
    FORMER 20.18505
    DEFICIT 19.86966
    CELL 19.52106
    SOLVE 18.92348
    VOTED 18.92348
    PROUD 18.54501
    LEAD 18.1267
    MIDDLE 18.1267
    TAX 17.82698
    CRITICAL 17.66192
    FREEDOM 17.66192
    CONSISTENT 17.66192
    PRINCIPLES 17.66192
    TRANSFER 17.66192
    EXPERIMENT 17.66192
    INTELLIGENCE 17.66192
    ROMAN 17.66192
    SUCCEED 17.66192
    DISCRETION 17.66192
    ENEMY 17.66192
    STUDIED 17.66192
    WEALTH 17.66192
    COLLAPSE 17.66192
    CONCLUDED 17.66192
    CONVICTION 17.66192
    HUMANS 17.66192
    PAKISTAN 17.66192
    REVEAL 17.66192
    SEPARATION 17.66192
    WIN 16.89401

    Top 50 Words using ANC Corpus
    sorted by appearance ratio

    9 KARL
    21 RONALD
    3 VETOED
    7 REPEAL
    12 STEM
    4 AISLE
    4 HYDE
    2 CURES
    2 UNIFY
    6 CELLS
    6 ENGAGE
    15 ID
    5 BIN
    3 RACISM
    2 CONVEY
    2 CURING
    2 TAMPER

    Which came first, the blank slate or the writer?

    Mardi Gras comes and goes here in New Orleans and I miss out on all the controversy. I think I have discovered the real reason some people get so queasy when talk of genetic engineering of intelligence arises.

    If the comments on this forum are in any way indicative of how the dialog will go on the larger scale(and I suspect that they are) the discussion will be like every other debate about genetic engineering, cloning, or pre-emptive medical intervention.

    The anti side will be ignorant of the basic science and will be composed of liberal art majors chattering about how wrong it is to “tamper with nature” and religious right-wingers chattering about how wrong it is to “tamper with god’s creation.” The pro side will be composed of those who understand the basic science involved and realize that this really is nothing new and nature has been doing it all along, but this side will be totally unable to communicate with the anti side because:

    1)the anti side is ignorant of the basic science.

    2)the anti side doesn’t really want a reasoned debate anyways, they just want to yell and scream about how wrong it is.

    [ EDIT 10-2007] It took me a long time to realize that not everyone agrees that rationality should be the basis for all policy decisions. If you want to get across to those people, you have to speak to their heart, not their head.

    Are Scientific Journals Self-censoring?

    Lagniappe is sounding off on the decision of the major scientific journals to self-censor material which could be used by terrorists. All kinds of things are being done now, that we normally wouldn’t do, due to fears about terrorism. There are reasons why we don’t normally do these things. We don’t normally keep a database of information about where foreign nationals are going, what they’re doing, and what they’re buying. Our government doesn’t normally provide us a number to call in case our neighbors look like they’re doing something suspicious. We don’t normally do anything to infringe on the freedom of the press. It’s the same issue underlying all three issues: respect of individual liberty. In the extreme case we need to take one of these measures, it should be understood that serious oversight and openness must be part of the process.

    The way the journals are handling the issue is a great example of the way to handle an issue like this. For the tiny number of cases that require it, they work with the author to get them to focus their article on the things necessary to make their point, but not to give anyone any unrelated ideas. If additional information is desired by someone, well…any responsible researcher knows how to handle requests for additional information. They are familiar with the people in their field, so they can handle requests for information such as, “Exactly which conditions most greatly contributed to pathogenicity” in somewhat similiar fashion to the way you would handle a request to borrow your axe. You might loan it to your neighbor willingly, but if somebody you don’t know shows up wearing a hockey mask and asks to borrow it, you’re gonna be a little more careful.
    Thanks for the blogroll, Derek!

    Are you a Lunarist?

    Compare and Contrast

    Consider that creation vs. evolution shouldn’t even be a debate we’re having. Michael Shermer and the philosophical debates over the existence of god are something I can tolerate, because that’s what philosophers are for, but the idea that we should have a scientific debate about creationism vs. evolution is every bit as ridiculous as a “lunarist” debate would be, except this time Buzz Aldrin can’t help us.

    4 MIT professors give science advice to the president.

    No Sense of Place directed me to 4 MIT Professors give science advice to the president. The actual number is 85 and counting, from science personalities nationwide, including such personalities as Craig Venter (who has a great rant), Ray Kurzweil (who goes offtopic, but makes some excellent points), Eric Drexler, and this from Stephen Schneider.

    The role of science in the public debate is clear: assess what can happen and what are the odds of it happening. The role of policy�driven by the beliefs of the public�is to make value judgments on how to react to the odds of various possibilities. It will take some major realignment of institutions like the media and congressional hearings apparatus to back away from the model of polarized advocates toward a doctrine of “perspective”:reporting and debating based on the assessment of the likelihood of various events, not giving advocates of extreme opposite views equal time or space.

    Anyone who has the media report on their particular topic of expertise, especially if it’s a scientific topic, knows how totally clueless the newspaper or television treatment can be. However, more subtle distortion also exists. Instead of reporting on the different positions of many scientists regarding a certain issue and maybe the relative validity of each postion judged by the number and repute of the scientists holding each position, the stories that get reported force a debate among the two most diametrically opposed views, even when neither is very likely. Ever read anything about Nature vs. Nurture?

    My eyes opened wide when I realized how clearly he understands the problems of science debate among the public and the nation. Unfortunately, and perhaps this is the problem, every statement I read declined the hypothetical offer to be science advisor to the president.