Thursday, July 11, 2013

Mark Jones tries to take down Wendy Davis

And fails. As usual.

Since her filibuster on June 25, activists, politicians and pundits within and outside of Texas have been discussing a possible 2014 gubernatorial bid by state Sen. Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth. However, beyond her pivotal role in temporarily derailing a strict omnibus anti-abortion bill and her compelling life story, most Texans, let alone most Americans, know little about Davis. An analysis of her voting record on the Senate floor helps partially fill this informational lacuna, highlighting that during her tenure Davis has been one of the Texas Senate’s most liberal members.

Now you can click over and read Jones' data and interpretations for yourself, but you don't have to possess a doctorate to recognize political quackery disguised as political science. Just use Dr. Jones' own figures.

Jones asserts Wendy Davis is the 4th most liberal senator, and then charts a voting record that is all but identical to six of her colleagues. His words: "Her ideological position is statistically indistinguishable from that of the other six Democratic senators."

So if that's true, what weight is given data that makes her fourth most liberal and not one of the 6 others? By this same measurement, Jane Nelson -- yeah, that Jane Nelson -- is the 4th most conservative state senator, more so than Troy Fraser, Tommy Williams, Glenn Hegar, and Bob Estes. And every Republican in Texas is laughing out loud right now. Update II: In preparing my personal legislative scorecard at the Texas Tribune, Nelson was the Republican whose votes I agreed with the most often (a stunning 86%).

And if you have a bias hiding somewhere in the numbers that's so obvious that I can see it.... why are you even trying to hide it?

This is called cherry-picking... and then making Robitussin with the cherries instead of wine. Jones has hacked up a "too-librul" furball and needed some cough suppressant.

To be clear, I have excoriated Dr. Jones and his opinions more frequently in this space than even I had thought. Here's what I wrote two years ago when he suggested that the defeat of sanctuary cities bills in that legislative session was a "strategic victory" for Rick Perry. Jones was eventually compelled to back up and rewrite on that, and I kicked him while he was down. In searching for those I found about ten more posts eviscerating the good doctor. And when I say 'eviscerate', I mean his lower GI tract was removed and replaced with PVC pipe.

I stopped reading his dreck a while back because the sniffs I heard at the end of every sentence were just too obnoxious to endure, but I gave him another chance recently when he appeared on teevee with Khambrel Marshall and David Big Jolly Jennings. I couldn't make it to the end of the broadcast without calling my dentist to schedule a gum-scraping. I figured that would be less painful.

I am not joking; compared to Mark Jones, Marc Campos has searing political insights -- and real keen baseball knowledge, too.

Anyway, Jones buried the lede.

Paul Burka, Patricia Kilday Hart, Ross Ramsey and others have identified multiple hurdles Davis would face were she to run for governor in 2014. To those I would add one more: Davis would be competing for statewide office in what is still a very red state with the legislative voting record of a relatively liberal Texas Democrat.

Well knock me over with a feather: Texas is as red as a baboon's ass in heat and hasn't elected a statewide Democrat in a generation. And Wendy Davis is a Democrat. You don't think the past might be prologue, do you? Let's gather some data and plot a graph.

(This baloney makes almost as much sense as the TexTrib's own polls. Yeah, I've blogged about those too until I'm tired of doing so. They're so mad at me they don't link over here any more.)

Dr. Jones should have simply saved himself the trouble and just gone all Ronald Reagan "librul-librul-librul" on Sen. Davis. He could have at least updated Reagan's smear with some of Rush Limbaugh's or Ann Coulter's spew; they've both made fortunes off that 'Liberals-R-e-VILL!' schtick. But I suppose he thinks what he's doing isn't the same thing.

Actually, it is. Calling someone the "most liberal senator" was the very first argument made against both John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008, and Jones knows it's a dog whistle only right ears can hear. But he had to go and ruin his credibility again. 

I have a hard time believing that Rice University cannot do better than this in the poly-sci department, and that's even if they wanted someone who was the academic equivalent of Karl Rove or Frank Luntz. Mark Jones must be tenured harder than the mortar between the bricks under the ivy. I'm guessing that without something that meets the definition of moral turpitude, they're stuck with him out there for another twenty-five years or so.

And I doubt that remains a long enough time for him to see any librul get elected governor of Texas.

Update: Greg has a similar opinion of Dr. Jones (it's more courteous than mine, but still pretty harsh on his figures and his conclusions).

1 comment:

David Jennings said...

Trip to the dentist for a gum scraping?! Dude, that's cold!

But at least it's better than a trip to the proctologist, so I'm taking it as a victory!