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Spin Your Own Argument! Here’s How

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Leave it to the folks in DC to, again, show us the way. In Tuesday's Washington Times article, "Price dip adjusts Bush's gas legacy" writer Stephen Dinan showed us an example of how someone can basically say anything if given a set of facts and — here's the key — still not lie.

Dinan notes that the average price of a gallon of gas on December 29 was "$1.33 in 2001 dollars, or 9 percent less than it was the day Mr. Bush took office." Therefore, it's evident that, um, President Bush solved the gas crisis. He introduced the concept with an anti-Bush bumper sticker complaining about how much gas prices have risen since he took office, which was completely with merit because the affordability of gas and Bush's success in office should be directly related (as a bonus, the accompanying picture to the story is a black man refueling his tank, which means even Obama supporters can get behind the job this wonderful man has done to lower gas prices to two bucks).

And yet … no lies! Because leaving out facts isn't really lying. Technically, there are trillions of facts out there, such as the anatomic composition of marmosets, that have nothing to do with gas prices. The only thing he really left out was that the owners of Paddy's Pub already solved the gas crisis in Season 4. Wild card, bitches!

For example, we can use this logic to say that since Stephen Dinan used shitty logic to argue that Bush was a great president, most Republicans think this same way, since the Washington Times is largely read by Republican subscribers. In fact, perhaps Dinan is a secret mole planted in the WT by the government, since shoddy conclusions were what basically got the Bush administration into hot water in the first place. "You can't just send supplies into a hurricane-damaged city without filing the proper paperwork. Properly-filed paperwork is what separates us from the terrorists!"

To use a probably less contentious example, we can point out that the Detroit Lions lowered ticket prices for the 2009 season. Given that the Lions raised prices from '07 to '08 and subsequently went from 8-8 to 0-16, we can safely assume that a) the Lions will start selling out games again, and b) they will probably go 8-8 again no matter what.

Try it yourself, and you'll find out that the conclusions you're desperately seeking can be easily attained with a keen eye and John Nash's knack for patterns. Before you know it, stances on global warming, the economy, and the triumphant return of Betamax will be yours to hug.

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About Suss

  • Mike Huckabee, who has good knowledge about the media and running for office, says in Esquire, “Now I must say I did not think that either the Charlie Gibson interview or the Katie Couric interviews were unfair. In fact, if anything, Katie Couric was extraordinarily gentle, even helpful. [Palin] just… I don’t know what happened. I can’t explain it. It was not a good interview. I’m being charitable.”

  • Cindy D

    E.B. sounds the most plausible to me.

  • Or more likely, they didn’t cover it and she didn’t know what to do, which is why she gave such a terrible answer.

  • That sounds believable. A staffer could say, “don’t say you read the Juneau Empire because it’ll sound like you get all your news from a small town.” Or maybe they DID say “don’t mention any specific publication” and that was just a poor decision.

  • “Did Palin – who majored in JOURNALISM – really need to be prepped in order to answer what newspapers and magazines she reads?”

    To come up with an answer, no. To come up with the what the perceived right answer was, yes. If you don’t think most politicians and their staffs prepare to give answers that will benefit them the most politically, then you are a tad naive to the process.

  • Baronius

    Bicho, I don’t think it matters that Palin and Alaska weren’t well-known. That was a hang-up of the Washington press corps, the same group who welcomed Biden because he had been saying stupid, obnoxious things on their shows for decades. I’m not sure what you mean by Palin not being ready for prime-time. If you mean that she wasn’t polished, that didn’t matter to me and I hope it didn’t matter to most people. If you’re saying that she was too inexperienced for the vice-presidency, we agree.

  • Did Palin – who majored in JOURNALISM – really need to be prepped in order to answer what newspapers and magazines she reads?

    Come to think of it, did she really NEED to be prepped in order to be able to know what countries are in NORTH AMERICA????

    Sorry, guy, but she exposed her own lack of intellectual curiosity. She showed that she – like Bush – is one of those who thinks she knows all she needs to know. This will haunt her in every campaign she’ll ever run from now on.

  • Palin didn’t know how to answer the media question was because her staff hadn’t prepped her on it. She obviously wasn’t quick enough on her feet to calculate what would be the best answer to give politically, so she fumbled in her attempt to give a neutral answer. You can almost hear her gears spinning in the video.

    She was an unknown commodity from a state people know very little about. The questions weren’t overly nasty, so I don’t want to hear her spin after the fact. Please cite any barroom fight or gun pistol duel started because someone was asked what they read. I was surprised she also had trouble with the Supreme Court decision question.

    If she’s so sensitive, to the point that she can’t handle questions from Couric and Gibson, how was she going to handle Putin, Ahmadinejad, and Al Qaeda?

    She wasn’t ready for prime time and that’s why she did so poorly in her interviews. Her “aw, shucks” attitude and down-home charm may play well in Alaska, but she contributed to McCain’s loss because, like Lou Grant, Amercia hates spunk.

  • I don’t have anything against Arnold, nor against Davis, for that matter – except unattractive personality and some horror stories about his treatment of staff. I am (was then) from the Bay Area, and KSFO was a station I’d often listen to – mainly for humor (Lee Rodgers, e.g.) Melanie Morgan was instrumental in getting the recall started. But you must admit that budgetary problems plagued California politics, and Arnold, aside from his star value, ran and won on that issue more than anything else.

  • Arnold’s done a decent job as governor, but the recall that allowed him to become so was unforgiveable. Had the political climate of the time not been so uniquely rabid, it would never have happened.

    The country was still recovering from 9/11, and the Democrats had just tanked in the ’02 elections. The GOP thought they could get away with just about anything. And having got the recall vote on the ballot, all they needed to do was find a compelling alternative to Davis.

    You can argue that he was a poor governor, but he’d done nothing so incompetent or egregiously crooked (à la Blagojevich) as to justify such a drastic measure as recall.

    The real kicker was that the sins the pro-recall mob were whining about had all come to a head before Davis was re-elected!

    The only reason Davis lost his job was Schwarzenegger – the star factor, as you observe.

  • Well, I can’t help that, Doc. When was it last time, anyway, that upwards of the 50 percent had participated? Interestingly, Schwarzenegger’s election in CA in a recall of Gray Davis commanded unprecedented numbers. But that’s California, and we like star-quality.

  • I think Clavos is referring to the fact that out of the total (adult?) population of the Untied States, less than 25% actually voted for Obama. Which is still considerably more than voted for most presidents you lot have ended up with.

  • Very funny, Cindy. I like the reference to Chris Crack.

  • Do you mean that 75% have abstained? I was under the impression that this election commanded greater interest and attention than any other in a long time.
    Or, I understand now. It must be that the right wing has decided to sit this one out because McCain was no conservative. I get it now!

  • Baronius

    Don’t stir the pot, Clavos. They just had their first fight as a couple, and it’s a touchy time for them.

  • Clavos

    As to the kind of choice that was open in the general elections, I think the country has spoken.

    Actually, less than 25% of the country “has spoken.”

  • Cindy D

    Here is a video called “Obama Goggles.”

    see what u think.

  • Right, Cindy,same here. It’s just that Palin’s choice, as I said, was mostly dictated by the strategy to get “the Hillary vote.” That was the main reason. In fact, I thought it was smart of McCain to go that route right after Hillary’s heartfelt defeat.
    As to the kind of choice that was open in the general elections, I think the country has spoken.

  • Cindy D


    That comment was only meant to acknowledge that she wasn’t stupid. Nothing more.

    I wrote tons of posts against Palin before the election.

    The entire reason I voted and supported Obama was because I was scared to death by everything about McCain/Palin.

    I don’t think either party works. The Democrats in congress did nothing about the war, for example. But I think it’s foolish to believe that one choice isn’t marginally better than the other–when one ticket is actively hostile to freedom, pro war, and deluded by mixing religious beliefs and patriotism–I’ll take the other.

  • Cindy, #33

    Being pissed off is no excuse here. She was in the limelight and should have been able to rise above it. If that’s the real reason, then temperamentally at least, she was unsuitable.
    And in the second place, I do believe that her choice for the ticket had less to do with her personal qualifications (which I do not really want to comment on) than with her being a woman – a part of the Republican/McCain strategy in light of Hillary Clinton’s defeat. So perhaps in the larger scheme of things, this whole discussion over Ms Palin doesn’t deserve a great deal of attention, to my thinking.

  • Clavos

    Here’s an article for Pablo, written by his favorite government guy…

  • Baronius

    This was probably the first major interview of a female VP candidate by a female anchor. Of course there was poorly-hidden hostility. I’ve always found it amusing that women, the most subtle of all creatures, are transparent when they hate each other.

  • Clavos

    A woman doesn’t get to be governor of such a rugged, hairy, disproportionately dangly-bits-endowed state as Alaska by being dumb.

    ^Classic Dreadful.

    Thanks for the grin, Doc!

  • A woman doesn’t get to be governor of such a rugged, hairy, disproportionately dangly-bits-endowed state as Alaska by being dumb.

    She was clearly, like Barack ’57 states’ Obama, tired and flustered by the rigors of the campaign. However, in Obama’s case his error was more understandable, since he’d already been campaigning since 37 B.C., rather than, as in Palin’s case, for five minutes.

    I do agree that she is – or was at the time – far too parochial in her outlook for a national executive office.

  • Clavos


  • Christopher,

    I of course agree. Alas, had she visited all fifty-seven states in preparation for her candidacy, she might have done better.


  • To me it seems more like she was paranoid and suspicious from the get go; asking somebody what media they check out is a pretty simple and basic issue, particularly for someone who sought such a public office. I got the overall impression that she really is a bit dumb and was certainly way out of her depth in general.

  • Her comments after the fact suggest that she found the questions belittling and didn’t feel that they were the kind of questions which would have been asked of a man or any other candidate. Certainly if I were in here position and that was what they chose to ask me I’d be pissed off.


  • Clavos

    It’s unlikely she could be just plain so dumb that she couldn’t spit out the names of a few publications if she was calm and felt safe.


    Being mad might make one refuse to cooperate.


  • Cindy D

    Being mad might make one refuse to cooperate.

  • Cindy D


    I think you missed the point.

    What if she interpreted the question as hostile and it pissed her off? Being mad can make one flustered.

    It’s unlikely she could be just plain so dumb that she couldn’t spit out the names of a few publications if she was calm and felt safe.

  • Matt –

    Hm. What do you call a journalism major who can’t name a half-dozen publications at the drop of a hat regardless of the situation?

    A joke.

    What do you call electing such a person to being a heartbeat away from controlling several thousand nuclear warheads?

    Sheer insanity.

  • Maybe she didn’t want to endorse a specific publication. Maybe she reads specific articles that her staff puts on her desk. Maybe she has an RSS reader and all the publications blend together. Maybe she was inspired by Ben Roethlisberger blatantly avoiding questions. Who knows?

    You’re still doing it, Glenn. You’re trying to pull a Dave Kingman and swing as hard as possible by painting Sarah Palin as a dumbass who can’t name a single print media publication. She was a journalism major. She at least knows the name of Anchorage’s newspaper. She was published in the New York Times last year. Was knowing her subscription habits that crucial in deciding whether or not she would be a suitable vice president?

  • Baronius –

    Let me get this straight. You think it’s “the most condescending thing you’ve ever heard” that Katie Couric asked her what newspapers and magazines Palin read in order to understand the world…to develop her worldview as is made plain in the first part of Couric’s question…

    …yet you apparently have NO problem when Palin answers “Most of them”, “All of them”, and “a VAST variety of sources”…but gives the name of NOT A SINGLE NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE.

    Sorta reminds me of the days I spent on religious forums when ‘Christians’ would rail about the thousands of innocents killed by Muslims in the Name of God, but would be SO offended when I pointed out the hundreds of thousands of innocents killed by ‘Christians’ in the Name of God.

  • Baronius

    Glenn and Matt, I just watched the video of Palin’s comments about God’s will. She was speaking at her church. In that context, “I pray” aren’t just idle words. I’m not an evangelical, and I’ve never felt at home in their culture, but that doesn’t change the fact that her statements were completely fitting. If anything, her words were surprisingly cautious. Praying that our plan is in accord with God invites the consideration that it isn’t.

  • Baronius

    Glenn – sigh. What does she read “to understand the world”? That is the most condescending thing I’ve ever heard.

    Back to the comment about God’s will. I pray that I’m doing God’s will all the time. I’ve prayed that what Bush is doing is God’s will, and I pray the same for Obama. I can understand BC’s many atheists not understanding this, but I thought you said you were a Christian. Don’t you pray for Bush, the troops, et cetera? I don’t ask that to put you on the spot; I just don’t understand how it would be otherwise.

  • No, Clav you are wrong. Had she done that, I would have been forced to vote for her twice; that can cause big problems. Also, I think the term would have been inappropriate; most bitches I have known have been very pleasant, often more so than their human counterparts.


  • Clavos

    When Couric asked her that question, Palin’s answer should have been, “Fuck you, bitch.”

  • God heard the embattled nations sing and shout
    Gott strafe England! and God save the King!
    God this, God that, and God the other thing —
    Good God! said God, ‘I’ve got my work cut out!’

    Courtesy of Sir John Collings Squire.


  • Baronius – ‘Pray that our troops are…on a task sent by God’. Sheesh – shades of the Blues Brothers…. No, I will NOT back off on #4, because her words showed she wanted it to be a holy task sent by God.

    And FYI, here’s a transcript of the ‘magazine question:
    Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

    Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

    Couric: What, specifically?

    Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

    Couric: Can you name a few?

    Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

    ++end of transcript++

    OOooooooOOH! “Most of them”, “All of them”, and “a VAST variety of sources”, but not a single NAME.

    Baronius, you can rush to her defense all you want, but it’s hard to imagine someone who can’t even NAME a single paper or magazine they read. Even BUSH did it – even if it was the Washington Times. But Palin?

  • She thought she was capable of handling foreign policy if needed to serve as president and you don’t believe that. Perfect. That’s why the electoral process is fun, is that you get to decide if you agree with her.

    But … c’mon. Again with the Africa country/continent anecdote? Can you honestly believe that a college educated individual thought it was a country? Shit, Glenn, her Down Syndrome baby probably knew it was a continent. Of all the times to believe an unverified throwaway item from a Fox News report.

    “if you’ve just got to send up a conservative to the White House, at least make sure that they’ve got a clue as to world geography”

    I’ll see this statement, and raise you Occam’s Razor. What’s more probable? That she legitimately didn’t know Africa was a continent, or it was a misspeak or tongue twister?

    Next question: same question, only do you really think Cynthia Izaguirre thought the man who climbed Mt. Everest was gay?

    And McCain isn’t Internet savvy. This is true. But did you also know his war injuries make it difficult for him to type on a keyboard or a BlackBerry? If it were me I’d use the phone too. But reading that Politifact article it’s clear he’s not a crazy old coot who hates new shiny things that the hip kids use. It’s just it’s hard for him physically.

    You make some great points, Glenn, but they get terribly spoiled when you mention such things. Palin deals with international policy because she’s right there between Canada and Russia, but not the Middle East or Africa. She just wasn’t fit to be a vice-president in 2009, this is probably sound reasoning. But when a DailyKos blogger says that Trig was really her grandmother, or that the RNC spent $150,000 on Palin somehow reflects bad on her, or she tried to ban classic novels from her library, or that she called Obama a “sambo,” or that she didn’t know the NAFTA countries or the continent-iness of Africa … all of those are unnecessary and dangerous claims when you have the argument right in front of you that she shouldn’t have been VP. Because if you believe those … then you can pretty much say anything you want about the lady and most people will nod their heads in agreement, saying “yeah, that sounds like something she’d do.”

    Fuck, and I didn’t even vote for her ticket. I’ve spent way too much time on this.

    And Baronius, out of context isn’t factually incorrect. It’s leading, sure, but in this case I derive the same facts from your quote as I do Glenn’s. Omitting “I pray” is like omitting “I think” in an op-ed. Also, you just can’t say “soldiers” and “God’s plan” in the same breath. Whatever happened to just “God bless the troops?” Anything more complicated and the quote can get sliced, diced, and ellipsified.

  • Baronius

    Glenn, please admit to being wrong about #4 as well.

    Now, to the question of Palin’s reading. If I were Palin, I would have considered smacking Couric for that question. Watch it again. Couric asked, essentially, do you get newspapers and magazines up here? Palin responded yes, people outside of New York City are able to read.

  • Matt –

    Okay, I’ll own up to being wrong on half of #1 and ALL of #2 – and thank you for proving me wrong (that’s sincere – I really do appreciate it when people prove me wrong).

    But what really gets me is that she couldn’t say what publications she read – after all, ANYone who would be a heartbeat away from control of several thousand nuclear warheads should know what the heck is going on in this world! In other words, while Palin is very smart (like Bush), she is (also like Bush) not only unaware of the limits of her knowledge but also sees no reason why she should be concerned that she has such limits. That’s why she considered herself up-to-speed on foreign relations, never mind that (according to McCain’s people) she thought Africa was a country instead of a whole doggone continent!

    C’mon, Matt – if you’ve just got to send up a conservative to the White House, at least make sure that they’ve got a clue as to world geography – and one that knows how to use the internet (unlike McCain) would be a definite plus! After all – I can work with someone who’s a complete wrongheaded ass, as long as he’s got the situational awareness and technical wherewithal to back up his lack of social skills….

  • Pablo and Doc – hey, the Washington Times also gets their name right, and has the correct address to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so don’t misunderestimate them!

  • Baronius

    Pablo, what news sources do you trust?

  • Anybody that would believe ANYTHING published in the Washington Times ought to have their head examined

    Cut the Washington Times some slack, Pablo. They do at least usually get the date right.

  • pablo

    Anybody that would believe ANYTHING published in the Washington Times ought to have their head examined, or at the very least join the moonies, as this repugnant so called respectable newspaper has always been owned and operated by the Reverend Sun Myun Moon, one of the biggest nutcases and fascists on the planet earth. How fitting it is that it is a conservative publication. hehehehe

  • Baronius

    Glenn, Matt was too easy on you. Your point number 4 is based on a quote out of context:

    “Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God…That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

    She was calling on people to pray that we’re following God’s plan. There’s nothing arrogant or presumptuous about that; quite the opposite. She later commented that she was thinking of Lincoln’s statement that we shouldn’t pray that God’s on our side, but that we are on God’s side.

  • Fuck. I did sound like him.

  • Al should be along to join Matt in defense of his (Al’s) beloved Princess Sarah any time now…

  • Either you completely misunderstood my question, or you’re obsessed with Sarah Palin. And in the process of outlining four supposed wrong statements, you only hit on 1/2 a lie Palin said, while passing along 1-1/2 lies of your own.

    #1 — There’s nothing factually wrong with this, you just disagree with the policy. Moreover, it’s not clear that she directly supported the policy, even though she approved the city budget.

    #2 — She cut funding by 62 percent? Two Google searches later tells me that’s not true.

    #3 — Yes, this is a half flip-flop. She was for it before she was against it. But again, going back to my original question, not factually inaccurate. (An example of spin!)

    #4 — Probably ridiculous to say that … but how’s she wrong? You just disagree with her.

    You said people should own up when they’re wrong. Now own up to being wrong about half of #1 and all of #2.

  • What was Palin wrong about? Gee, where do I begin?

    How about:
    1. Rape victims having to pay for rape kits. She’s aghast at such a notion, of course – until one sees that Wasilla was the ONLY city in Alaska with such a requirement…and Sarah Palin was the mayor who signed the budget with this requirement.

    2. She would be an advocate for special-needs children – of course she would, until one sees that Palin actually slashed funding for schools for special needs kids by 62%.

    3. “I told Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ on the Bridge to Nowhere”. Hm. Congress’ requirement that funds be spent on that bridge (aka the ‘earmark’) were removed before Sarah Palin became governor…AND during her gubernatorial campaign she supported building the bridge.

    4. “Our national leaders are sending them [to Iraq] on a task that is from God,” she said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.” Oh, THAT’s good. You do realize, Matt, that a task from God is a HOLY task? So this is a holy war????

    And looking at the oh-so-far-left mainstream media that is ONLY out to get her – remember how everyone jumped all over Edward’s extramarital affair after he was already out of the race? It was the National Enquirer that broke that story…and it was the National Enquirer that broke the story about an extramarital affair by Sarah Palin – but did the mainstream media jump all over that one? I don’t think so, because I’m a news junkie and today was the first time I’d heard about it.

  • You’re glad someone failed for the sole reason of more Obama votes. Classy AND good for the country! I’m glad Penn State failed in the Rose Bowl, that meant more points for USC! It was a horrible game for the common fan, but hey … go Trojans!

    “I learned long ago to distrust those who are unwilling or unable to admit when they are wrong about something.”

    Not a bad principle to hold, but I don’t see how it applies here. What was she wrong about? (Factually speaking; I know where you disagree with her)

    “if you want to debate her suitability for 2012”

    No thanks, there will probably be several more viable candidates than her. Plus, isn’t there, like, a whole another presidential term before that time?

  • Glen,

    May I join in the debate in 2012 as well? Meanwhile, perhaps we could all join in song (to the tune of God Save the King!)


  • wow. A ‘Palin Complex’.

    No, Matthew, there’s nothing ‘complex’ about it. I learned long ago to distrust those who are unwilling or unable to admit when they are wrong about something.

    But in all honesty, I’m GLAD Palin happened on the national scene, for I suspect that there were many who decided against voting for McCain simply because they could so easily see right through her.

    I don’t need to list her faults here, but if you want to debate her suitability for 2012, I’ll be happy to oblige…for I’m sure hoping – for the sake of the Democrats – that she’ll run then, too.

  • Glenn, I think you have a Palin Complex. I vehemently disagree with your interpretation of that woman, but we’ll leave it at that. She’s in Alaska, where she can’t hurt you any more.

  • Dan –

    Great story. Sorry for bringing politics into this, but I couldn’t help but think of how Sarah Palin is now spinning her own tales of how she was sabotaged by Katie Couric, McCain’s handlers, and the mass media.

    It’s as if she believes that if she screws up and the media reports it, the media MUST be biased for not pointing out with equal severity similar screw-ups by her opponent…even if that opponent’s mistakes are much fewer and less severe than her own.

  • This just goes to show that you can manipulate any random order of words to suit your argument.

  • As suspected, not true, but a fantastic example nonetheless.

  • That’s a great story, Dan, true or not. My wife and I laughed our heads off reading it!

  • Oh, piffle. Here’s an even better story (even if not entirely true — I make no representations):

    How to spin a story.

    Judy Wallman, a professional genealogy researcher here in southern California , was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that Harry Reid’s great-great uncle, Remus Reid, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in Montana in 1889. Both Judy and Harry Reid share this common ancestor: Harry Reid.
    The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows in Montana territory. On the back of the picture Judy obtained during her research is this inscription: ‘Remus Reid, horse thief, sent to Montana Territorial Prison 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the Montana Flyer six times. Caught by Pinkerton detectives, convicted and hanged in 1889.’

    So Judy recently e-mailed Congressman Harry Reid for information about their great-great uncle. Believe it or not, Harry Reid’s staff sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

    ‘Remus Reid was a famous cowboy in the Montana Territory . His business empire grew to include acquisition of valuable equestrian assets and intimate dealings with the Montana railroad. Beginning in 1883, he devoted several years of his life to government service, finally taking leave to resume his dealings with the railroad. In 1887, he was a key player in a vital investigation run by the renowned Pinkerton Detective Agency. In 1889, Remus passed away during an important civic function held in his honor when the platform upon which he was standing collapsed.’

    There. That’s an even better example.


  • jamminsue

    It is a shame no one gets excited about how the value of an American dollar has declined.

    Devaluation is one thing that is awful. Prices have risen and fallen over time, but in my lifetime there has been a slow, steady rise compounded by devaluation of US currency. The only good thing about it is as importing countries’ currency gets closer to matching ours, US goods are no longer more expensive than imports. Maybe that will help restart industry here, which would be a good thing.

    This is one thing that cannot be explained away, the current buying power of 1 USD. The measurement ought to be how much you get for $1, now, not what the value was at some time past.

    Using fuel prices to determine success or failure of a presidency is silly, the pricing of fuel is byzantine, and often changes a number of times in a week. For instance, I go to a specific gas station on Sunday afternoons because he always lowers his price then, by about a dime, gathering cash for the fuel he purchases on Monday. (I see the refueling truck when I drive by on my way to work.)

    Here’s another example: Go to McDonald’s (or Wendy’s DQ, or where ever) and see if you can buy five value meals for less than $20; no super-sizing. $20 used to be all I used for lunch and gas for five days. It takes $100 now to do what I used to do on $20 – a tank of gas, four fast-food lunches, and one nice lunch in a pub with a coworker.

    Another indication – Check out the package sizes at the grocery; they are charging the same for slightly less product, hoping you won’t notice. And, all the two for’s: you are encouraged buy two for $5, not realizing that with the reduced packaging $2.50 per item is a jump in cost.

    Keep those comparisons honest! Look at what the currency will buy in necessities today, and then you can know you are looking at a “real” comparison.

  • Baronius

    It is legitimately difficult to analyze the Bush presidency in terms of gas prices. A few years ago, I worked out the average increase in gas prices under Carter, and figured out that for Bush to have the same rate, gas prices would have to be about $6 per gallon at the end of his presidency. Well, clearly that’s not going to be the case. But how do you take into account the highest highs? I guess there’s some integral calculus that could do it, but I’m not going to try it.

    The bottom line is that the Bush years weren’t as bad as Carter’s, but that’s not much to brag about.