March 8, 2008

Obama's golf club?

Reportedly, Barack Obama took up golf and poker when he got elected to the Illinois legislature in 1996 to better bond with his fellow boys in the back room. My vague impression from references here and there is that he plays golf a fair amount, but it doesn't fit his image, so we don't hear much about it.

Does anybody know which, if any, golf club he joined? My guess would be that somebody starting in the mid-1990s would mostly play country-club-for-a-day courses open to the paying public, but it would be interesting to know if he joined a private club, and which one. Country clubs in the Chicago area were largely segregated up through the 1990 Shoal Creek scandal, so, as a Chicago public course player, I met a lot of affluent black golfers on the public links.

Once the Democratic race is over and the general election starts, Obama will have to stop being the Stuff White People Like candidate and start being the Stuff American Men Like candidate. So, expect to see photo ops of Obama pulling up at the golf club bag drop in his 340 horsepower V8 American-made Chrysler 300 land yacht.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 7, 2008

If I were Hillary I'd ...

... well, fill in your own punchline.

But if I were in her shoes ... nah ...

Okay, Hillary likely can't catch up in delegates unless Obama gets caught in some scandal that doesn't have anything to do with race. It can't be something that black politicians are stereotypically caught at, like money or sex or drugs, or it won't get any play. Because, you know, then it would be a stereotype and stereotypes can't be true.

Thus, Obama's got to show up on Youtube pummeling an endangered raptor to death with his putter because it cawed during his crucial putt on the 18th green, or some other kind of scandal that Ted Knight's Judge Smail's character in "Caddyshack" would get caught in. (By the way, Obama is a fairly enthusiastic golfer, but that doesn't get mentioned much.)

So, then it comes down to the Superdelegates. The point of the Superdelegates is to huddle in a smoke-free room and come up with the nominee who is best for the Party. But if Obama comes to the Convention with a lead in regular delegates of, say, 48% - 45% over Hillary, it's going to be hard for the Supers to come up with a plausible reason to overrule the regulars. What, Hillary didn't get a fair chance? She lacked name recognition? C'mon ...

To have a chance, Hillary's got to win it in the polling booths. But she's just about run out of states to make the case that she'd be the better candidate in November because momentum is now on her side. All Obama has to do is run out the clock and not screw up.

What Hillary should do, therefore, is call for a Best of Three Big Purple State Playoff: Pennsylvania, plus re-doing Florida and Michigan, which the Democratic National Committee said they wouldn't count because they moved their primaries to January. Those three states comprise 65 of the 270 electoral votes you need to win.

Florida and Michigan say it would cost $28 million to hold another election. Hillary should offer to pay for the elections herself, if necessary.

This would put Obama in a bit of a spot. "Let's not let Florida and Michigan participate in selecting the nominee" isn't an appealing slogan.

His better response would be along the lines of, "Sure, let's compete in Florida and Michigan. I certainly can't afford to pay for the elections (as you all can see by looking at my tax returns, which, by the way, I've released), but if Senator Clinton can somehow afford it, let's do it. But this "Best of Three" stuff is nonsense. There's no reason any one state is more important than any other. Just add up all the delegates after all the states have voted and see who's ahead. That's the fair way to do it."

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Will family formation determine the 2008 election?

Via Matt Yglesias, I found SurveyUSA's tables of Presidential polling in all 50 states (but not DC), as of early March. In each state, 600 voters were surveyed on McCain vs. Obama and McCain vs. Clinton match-ups.

They show McCain losing narrowly in the Electoral College against either Democrat. But that's not what I'm interested in. I want to know whether family formation among non-Hispanic whites will paint the electoral map red or blue again. The answer appears to be: yes, although not quite as much as in 2000 and 2004.

Here are the correlation coefficients (not the r-squareds) for recent two-party races (leaving out the 1992 and 1996 elections that were perturbed by Perot), and leaving out Washington D.C. (an outlier that typically falls beautifully on the best fit line):

Correlation Coefficients 1988 Bush 2000 Bush 2004 Bush 2008 McCain-Obama 2008 McCain-Clinton
Years Married Whites 2000 0.54 0.84 0.86 0.71 0.68
Total Fertility Whites 2002 0.59 0.79 0.80 0.56 0.76

Overall, family formation appears more somewhat more important if Hillary is in the race than if Obama is. I assume that's because Hillary is more of a known quantity, while Obama remains more of a blank slate upon which people are invited to fill in their fantasies.

I would assume that if 2008 elections were held today, the actual 2008 correlations would be higher because they'd be based on the universe of voters, not on samples of 600 per state, which injects random errors into the 2008 numbers, thus lowering correlations. On the other hand, as I've said before, the odds are that the November 2008 correlations will be lower than 2000/2004, both because they were so high in 2000 and 2004 that regression toward the mean will likely kick in; and because those two races featured fairly generic Republican and Democratic candidates, while only Hillary at present looks like a standard representative of her party. Also, the correlations would be higher if SurveyUSA had surveyed Washington D.C. -- it helps drive up the correlations to stratospheric levels because, being, in effect, a city-state, it's an outlier that falls right on the best fit lines).

Both McCain, who considered switching parties early in the decade, and (at least at present, Obama) are more sui generis than Bush and Gore/Kerry. On the other hand, Obama has been running so far as a bipartisan centrist. Eventually, I would assume, people will figure out where he's really coming from, so a McCain-Obama race would likely end up more like 2000/2004 than it looks like now.

It's not exactly clear what, besides decent judicial appointments, the Republicans are doing to merit the support of family-oriented voters and how long the can keep harvesting these votes without doing much in return.

By the way, I get a lot of knee-jerk criticism for correlating demographic statistics just for whites with election results summing all races. But, when you stop and think about it, that makes my findings even more unexpected and interesting. (I offered some explanations for why there's a better fit between voting by state with white family formation rates than with total family formation rates in the American Conservative in 2004.)

These correlations above would be higher if Washington D.C.

And this isn't just post hoc data mining on my part. The 2004 results confirmed a theory I had started to outline even before the 2000 election. I wrote about the connection between Total Fertility Rates and conservatism/liberalism in the case of two mostly white state -- Utah and Vermont -- in VDARE in June of 2000, before the 2000 election. And on 11/22/2000, I pointed out on UPI that Bush had beaten Gore in the 19 states with the highest white total fertility rate.

Methodology: As you'll recall, the second statistic, Total Fertility Rate, is a well-established measurement for estimating the number of babies a woman would have between ages 15 and 44 based on birthrates by age in a particular year. Unfortunately, the Census Bureau hasn't published total fertility rates by ethnicity by state for any year since 2002, so this statistic is starting to get a little dusty.

The first statistics, Years Married 18-44 is one I invented, modeled upon TFR, to denote the average number of years a woman can expect to be married between ages 18 and 44 based on rates of being married in a particular year. I only have it for the 2000 Census, so it's even more out of date.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 6, 2008

Ha Ha, Suckers!

I won't pretend that I understand what all those terms like FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac mean, but I think the gist of the following Business Week story is that we Californians aren't going down alone. We're taking the other 49 states down with us. See you in taxpayer bailout hell!
The government on Wednesday raised the mortgage limits for loans guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration in 14 high-cost California counties.The Department of Housing and Urban Development released the new loan limits for California -- a hotbed during the housing boom that now is suffering the worst home-price declines in the nation. The limits, with the maximum at $729,750, are derived from median home prices in each county.

HUD is expected to raise the limits in other counties nationwide in the coming days.

The economic stimulus package includes a temporary increase in the limit on FHA-backed loans, from $362,790 to as high as $729,750 in expensive areas, to let more homeowners with high-rate subprime mortgages refinance into federally insured loans.

The package also includes a temporary increase in the cap on mortgages that the government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy or guarantee from $417,000 to $729,750.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Math Is Hard

By Christina Hoff Sommers in The American:

Math 55 is advertised in the Harvard catalog as “prob­ably the most difficult undergraduate math class in the country.” It is leg­endary among high school math prodigies, who hear terrifying stories about it in their computer camps and at the Math Olympiads. Some go to Harvard just to have the opportunity to enroll in it. Its formal title is “Honors Advanced Calculus and Linear Algebra,” but it is also known as “math boot camp” and “a cult.” The two-semester fresh­man course meets for three hours a week, but, as the catalog says, homework for the class takes between 24 and 60 hours a week.

Math 55 does not look like America. Each year as many as 50 students sign up, but at least half drop out within a few weeks. As one former student told The Crimson newspaper in 2006, “We had 51 students the first day, 31 students the second day, 24 for the next four days, 23 for two more weeks, and then 21 for the rest of the first semester.” Said another student, “I guess you can say it’s an episode of ‘Survivor’ with people voting themselves off.” The final class roster, according to The Crimson: “45 percent Jewish, 18 percent Asian, 100 percent male.”

Why do women avoid classes like Math 55? Why, in fact, are there so few women in the high echelons of academic math and in the physi­cal sciences?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Mr. and Mrs. Clinton

Now that there's still a chance that Hillary Clinton could wind up in the White House, I want to ask: Does anybody have a clue how the White House would function with a First Gentleman who is also an ex-President? Doesn't this seem like the premise for a farce? It writes itself!

I presume F.G. Bill wouldn't attend the President's first-thing-in-the-morning National Security briefings -- but only because he didn't get up in time for them the whole first year he was President

Exactly what would Bill's role be? Pillow talk advisor? But do they sleep together? I don't know. This is something that I haven't wanted to know, but it seems like the kind of thing the voters should know in order to make an informed choice. (Similarly, what is the financial relationship between Hillary and Bill, who is always jetting off to Boratstan to introduce Rich Mining Honcho X to President-for-Life Y. Do they file their taxes jointly? Oh, wait, Hillary has been too busy to release her taxes...)

Granted, it's unseemly for the voters to have to know that kind of thing, but, in the big picture, it's unseemly, even banana republicy, for the country to elect the term-limited ex-leader's wife to be the new Glorious Leader.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Michelle Obama and the affirmative action perpetual futility machine

"Spengler," the Asia Times columnist who was a close associate of Lyndon Larouche back in the 1980s, takes a whack at Michelle Obama's "rage of a privileged class" as exemplified by her Princeton thesis. Typos ahoy!

That reminds me of something I didn't squeeze into my long VDARE article on Michelle and racial quotas: how the downsides of affirmative action just spawn more angry demands for more affirmative action. It's a perpetual motion machine that never goes anywhere.

Michelle got into Whitney Young H.S., Princeton, Harvard Law School, and Sidley Austin LLC due to racial preferences. The entire time she felt aggrieved because people around her at these intellectually elite institutions kept noticing she wasn't as smart as the average person there, and were guessing that she got in because of her race. That both presumptions were accurate only made them more enraging. Those 14 years she endured in over her head due to affirmative action still gnaw away at her psyche, as the recent Newsweek cover story on her makes clear.

With her aggressive personality and need for attention and dominance, she would have been perfectly happy being a big fish in a little pond, but because elite America institutions are so desperate for hard-working blacks with 115 IQs, she kept getting lured into situations where should couldn't be satisfied.

So, did all this bitter experience turn her into a campaigner against affirmative action?

Are you kidding? As usual, the exact opposite happened.

Here's the beginning of the press release put out by her employer after her husband became a U.S. Senator and she got a $195,000 raise:

May 9, 2005

Michelle Obama has been appointed vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals. Obama, who was previously the executive director for community affairs at the Hospitals, will be responsible for all programs and initiatives that involve the relationship between the Hospitals and the community. She will also take over management of the Hospitals' business diversity program.

Prior to joining the Hospitals, Obama worked as an associate dean of student services for the University of Chicago where she developed the University's first office of community service. She came to the Hospitals in 2002 and quickly built up programs for community relations, neighborhood outreach, volunteer recruitment, staff diversity and minority contracting. [Emphasis mine, although you could argue that her entire job was just diversity.]

She apparently couldn't cut it in big time corporate law, so she became a ... professional diversicrat, in charge of luring other blacks in over their heads, just like she had been, so they can also become underqualified and resentful too, suitable for becoming, in turn, professional diversicrats. Lather, rinse, and repeat, until the end of time.

March 5, 2008

The secret of Michelle Obama's appeal

Via Rod Dreher, I see that Byron York in National Review spent the day on the campaign trail with Michelle Obama:

And not everyone can afford to keep it all together, especially here in Muskingum County, where, according to the census, the median household income in 2004 was $37,192, below both the Ohio and national average. Out of that, there’s the mortgage. And child care. Health care. Education. Lessons. “I know we’re spending — I added it up for the first time — we spend between the two kids, on extracurriculars outside the classroom, we’re spending about $10,000 a year on piano and dance and sports supplements and so on and so forth,” Mrs. Obama tells the women. “And summer programs. That’s the other huge cost. Barack is saying, ‘Whyyyyyy are we spending that?’ And I’m saying, ‘Do you know what summer camp costs?’”

With all those concerns, one might wonder whether the women should be comforting Mrs. Obama, but she assures them that she’s really O.K. “We don’t complain because we’ve got resources because of our education. We’ve got family structure,” she says. “So I tell people don’t cry for me.”

But there are still problems. As she has many times in the past, Mrs. Obama complains about the lasting burden of student loans dating from her days at Princeton and Harvard Law School. She talks about people who end up taking years and years, until middle age, to pay off their debts. “The salaries don’t keep up with the cost of paying off the debt, so you’re in your 40s, still paying off your debt at a time when you have to save for your kids,” she says.

“Barack and I were in that position,” she continues. “The only reason we’re not in that position is that Barack wrote two best-selling books… It was like Jack and his magic beans. But up until a few years ago, we were struggling to figure out how we would save for our kids.”

Indeed, when Obama flew out to the 2000 Democratic convention in LA, he couldn't rent a car at the airport because his credit card was maxed out.

York sums up:

None of the women at the table has had it particularly easy, but as each tells her story, one, Heather Snoddy, a hairdresser in Zanesville, remains silent. At the end, after hearing from everyone else, Mrs. Obama looks toward Snoddy and asks if there is anything she wants to say. “The only thing that we’re concerned about in our family is bringing more jobs to this area,” Snoddy says. Her husband works in Columbus, nearly 60 miles away. “We are so fortunate and grateful that he has a job there,” Snoddy adds, but the price of gas adds to the problem of an already-difficult schedule. “He leaves at 4 A.M. to be at work by 5:30, and doesn’t get home until 5 at night. With my job, I’m not home sometimes ‘til 8 or 9, because my job works better because I serve people who have been working all day. So when it comes down to it, we only have one family day a week, on Sunday, that all of us are together.”

Mrs. Obama nods in agreement and says she and her husband do much the same thing. “We do that split day,” she says. “‘O.K. — you’ve got them, I’ve got them.’ When we’re together, we’re like, ‘Oh, everybody’s here — isn’t that strange?’”

I talk to Snoddy afterward, and she is genuinely touched by her time with Mrs. Obama. “I just thought it was an amazing experience, that she actually took the time out of her schedule to come and speak with us,” Snoddy tells me.

Something I've noticed over and over again is that normal people feel sorrier over minor indignities suffered by celebrities like Michelle Obama than they feel bad over major problems suffered by other normal people.

The New Yorker has a long, upbeat article about Michelle, but eventually the writer, Lauren Collins winds up flailing around in her inability to find much else to say about the potential First Lady that's both positive and interesting.

One thing that's interesting:

"In 2005, their income was $1.67 million, which was more than they had earned in the previous seven years combined."

That means they averaged less that $238,000, for 1998-2004, but probably more than $208,000; otherwise, the reporter would have said "which was more than they had earned in the previous eight years combined." Obama was elected to the state legislature in 1996, so I presume that if he had had to publish his tax returns for the seven years 1998-2004, he must have had to publish his tax return for 1997 as well.

A quick Google finds a Chicago Tribune article that reports their 2002 income, before the book deals and Michelle's amazing $195k raise after he got elected to the Senate, to be $259,394. In 1998, they made $191,146. So, the average was likely in the $208k-$238k range.

The 5'-11" Michelle, who definitely looks like she could win a fistfight with any First Lady in history, works out with a personal trainer four days per week, according to The New Yorker. At, say, $75 per hour, that would come to about $15k per year, more than they spend on their daughters' enrichment.

They also send their two daughters to the private and exclusive University of Chicago Lab Schools, where tuition runs from $15k-$20k per year apiece, but they may get some kind of faculty discount.

Listening to Mrs. Obama, you can imagine why Mr. Obama made the potentially disastrous decision in 2005 to involve the notorious criminal Tony Rezko in his purchase of an expensive South Side mansion with four fireplaces for the family. Because Rezko went on trial last Monday, the day before the latest elections, Obama's decision might have cost him the Texas primary, in which a victory would have knocked Mrs. Clinton out of contention.

The New Yorker makes one important point:

"Perhaps Obama’s high-handedness is preĆ«mptive, her way of “claiming a seat at the table”—as she is fond of calling enfranchisement in the power-brokering structure—rather than waiting to be offered one. It’s as though she figures she might as well say that she and her husband are all that before someone can say that they aren’t. And there’s a sort of strategic genius to her presentation of campaigning as grinding work that takes her away from her family, rather than a glorious tour of the world’s greatest country that she would be thrilled to be undertaking even if she didn’t have to. She frequently tells her audiences, “I don’t care where I am, the first question is ‘How are you managing it all? How are you holding up?’ ” The effect, of course, is to set up an expectation of tribute, like those hairdressers who display all their gifts in the days leading up to Christmas. By loudly voicing her distaste for retail politicking, Obama makes people feel as though, by showing up, she were doing them a favor."

So, the secret of Michelle Obama's appeal is that she's self-absorbed, self-pitying, and not all that bright -- just like most people. The only difference is that she's self-assertive and famous. So people love her.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Obama's half-Kenyan all-Republican doppelganger

Barack Obama has such an unusual background that it's interesting to find individuals very similar to him by heritage, such as his estranged half-brother Mark, and see how much they differ in world-view. Another doppelganger is the American-born daughter, Juliette Akinyi Ochieng, of Barack Obama Sr.'s old drinking buddy, the Kenyan newspaper editor Philip Ochieng. The elder Ochieng came to America to study under the same program as the elder Obama and their children were born 14 days apart. The Kenyan students eventually returned home where they spent a lot of time together, leaving their children to be raised by their American mothers.

Juliette is a retired U.S. Air Force sergeant and staunch Republican. Her blog keeps up with the latest on the situation in Kenya (which appears to be better today than a couple of weeks ago) and casts a jaundiced eye on her fellow half-Luo's candidacy.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Hillary wins 3 of 4

Hillary wins crucial Ohio easily and Texas narrowly, but Obama still has the lead in delegates, and now there's not much on the schedule all the way until Pennsylvania on April 22. Obama supporters are mad that Hillary isn't dropping out, but if their candidate is so strong, why won't seven more weeks of free publicity and massive fundraising make him stronger in November? Or do they fear what might emerge from more scrutiny?

It will be interesting to see if blacks are sore about Hispanics in Texas voting heavily against Obama.

By the way, the Democrats have a mess involving the DNC's decision in 2007 to punish Florida and Michigan, out of all the states that moved up their primaries, by not seating their delegations (where Hillary ended up doing well in both primaries, but they weren't really contested). These are two big purple states, much like Ohio, so the Democrats should want to know who would win them in a fair fight. It would make sense to reschedule their primaries for May.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 4, 2008

Why did the housing bubble inflate the most in California?

Why did the housing bubble reach the most ridiculous heights in California? Here are several theories and I'd like to hear your ideas:

1. Californians are too lazy and/or stupid to do some arithmetic before signing gigantic contracts for many hundreds of thousands of dollars. (As a native-born Californian, I'd have to say that this sounds plausible to me.)

2. Immigration raises demand for housing and drives down wages, while stressing out public goods like schools and freeways.

3. Momentum -- Housing prices had been rising in California most years since 1975, so they just had to continue. They had to.

4. Lack of land -- California! is essentially the Mediterranean climate zone, a strip 500 miles long and about 20 miles wide, running from the beach to the first line of mountains in Southern California and the first valley in from the foggy beach north of Santa Cruz. The rest of California is either beautiful but too vertical to be habitable, or is Odessa (TX) West, but with lousier high school football teams. Lots of people bought houses in Bakersfield figuring they had to go up up up because ... they're in California! No, they're in Bakersfield. If you saw "There Will Be Blood," you'll see the sharp difference between the miserable oil town near Bakersfield and the exquisite coast where Daniel Day-Lewis's pipeline winds up. The oil town was actually filmed in West Texas, but it looks a lot like the Central Valley anyway.

5. Zoning / Environmentalism (which are pretty much the same thing in California) -- The land everybody wants is controlled by the California Coastal Commission, so much of it, especially the prime turf between Santa Barbara and Hearst Castle, is unoccupied except by cows.

6. What's your theory?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 3, 2008

Poster Child

From Wikipedia:

Casey Konstantin Serin (born September 10, 1982 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan) is a former real estate speculator and blogger. In a newspaper article, USA Today called him the "poster child for everything that went wrong in the real estate boom".[1] Serin immigrated to America in 1994. In his early twenties, Serin worked as a web developer, but then decided to quit this job to pursue his dream of becoming financially independent through real estate investments. Beginning in October 2005 and continuing through the following year, Serin purchased eight houses in four southwest U.S. states, and then began blogging about the foreclosure[2] process on the properties he was unable to resell. In time, six of the eight properties foreclosed.[3]

He flew to Australia in June of 2007 for several weeks, leaving his wife with little or no financial support[4]

As for his real estate investments, Serin acknowledged to the Sydney Morning Herald that "the stuff I did is technically mortgage fraud, but it's not officially called that until someone prosecutes me and proves that that is indeed mortgage fraud," [5] asserting a presumption of innocence. On the Jon Ronson show, Serin confirmed his use of so-called "liar loans".[6]

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

More East African fun in the sun

East Africa keeps popping up in the news:

Americans Fire Missiles Into Somalia


NAIROBI, Kenya — American naval forces fired missiles into southern Somalia on Monday, aiming at what the Defense Department called terrorist targets.

Residents reached by telephone said the only casualties were three wounded civilians, three dead cows, one dead donkey and a partly destroyed house.

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman in Washington, said the target was a “known Al Qaeda terrorist.”

The missile strike was aimed at Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, a Kenyan born in 1979 who is wanted by the F.B.I. for questioning in the nearly simultaneous attacks on a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, and on an Israeli airliner taking off from there, in 2002, said three American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the strike or its details.

One American military official said the naval attack on Monday was carried out with at least two Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from a submarine. The official said the missiles were believed to have hit their targets. Witnesses on the ground, though, described the attack differently.

“I did not know from where they were launched, but what I know is that they hit a house in this town,” said Muhammad Amin Abdullahi Osman, a resident of Dhobley, a small town in southern Somalia near the Kenyan border.

Mr. Muhammad said two missiles slammed into the house around 3:30 a.m.

Monday’s attack was not the first time that American forces had fired missiles into Somalia or used airstrikes in pursuit of what the Pentagon has called terrorist operatives in the country. They did so at least three times last year.

Dhobley lies in the growing swath of southern Somalia that seems to be falling under the control of the country’s Islamist movement once again. The Islamists rose to power in 2006 and brought a degree of law and order to Somalia for the first time since the central government collapsed in 1991.

But they were driven out of Somalia in late 2006 and early 2007 by a joint Ethiopian-American offensive. The Americans and Ethiopians said Somalia’s Islamists were harboring Qaeda terrorists, including men connected to the 1998 embassy bombings. Thousands of Ethiopian troops poured across the border, backed up by American warplanes and American intelligence. The Islamist movement then went underground.

But in the past several months, the Islamists seem to be making a comeback, taking over towns in southern Somalia, including Dhobley, and inflicting a steady stream of casualties on Ethiopian forces with suicide bombs and hit-and-run attacks. Efforts by foreign diplomats and the United Nations to broker a truce have failed, and concerns are rising that Somalia could be headed toward another war-induced famine like the one it suffered in the early 1990s.

This kind of (hopefully) carefully-targeted missile strike seems like a better idea than our last big idea: sponsoring the conquest of the furious denizens of Somalia by their ancient Abyssinian enemies. I saw "Black Hawk Down," and the Somalis really didn't look like the kind of people who would passively put up with foreign occupation.

I call the Ethiopian invasion our Prester John strategy because it's a revival of the grand strategy of Christendom in the post-Crusades era: to form an alliance with the Christian king of Abyssinia, Priest John, to open a second front against the Musselmen. Negotiations went on for centuries -- we have a record from 1306 in Italy of a diplomatic delegation of 30 Ethiopians on their way to see the Pope; and the king of Portugal sent a delegation to Ethiopia in the 1520s that spent six years there and returned with a letter from Prester John asking for technological assistance to enable him to make war more effectively on the Muslims.

Allying with Ethiopia was a cool-sounding idea back then, too, but it proved pointless in the end, and I suspect our latest alliance will too.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Will the red state - blue state division be reshuffled in 2008?

One of the sillier popular conspiracy theories is that Bush somehow stole the 2004 election. In reality, his performance improved slightly from 2000 in almost every state and every demographic group. That's absolutely the wrong way to steal an election. The way you really do it is to hold back votes in particular strongholds until the other guy lays his hand on the table and then you make up the votes you need to win, as Mayor Daley I did in Cook County in 1960 or the GOP machine did in DuPage County in the 1982 Illinois gubernatorial race.

In fact, John F. Kerry almost won the election in the Electoral College by nearly snagging Ohio despite getting beaten narrowly but thoroughly all across the country.

This underscores how similar by state the 2004 results were, relatively speaking, to 2000. Bush's share increased a little bit in just about every state from 2000 to 2004. Right after the 2004 election I wrote: "In contrast, Bush lost share in only 2 of 51 states (although this may change slightly as final vote counts come in)."

Michael Barone, Patrick Ruffini, and Ross Douthat are talking about whether an Obama-McCain race would reshuffle the red state-blue state stasis of the last two elections. The question is not who will win the national election, but will the relative partisanship of the states change? Will Utah remain much more Republican than the rest of the country and Vermont much more Democratic?

Bush's share of the vote in 2004 by state correlated at the 0.98 level with his performance by state in 2000. What that means is that if you spent the last four years in a cave and just surfaced today and asked "What happened in the election?" you could be 96% (that's 0.98 squared) accurate in guessing Bush's share in each state with just three kinds of information: his 2000 performance, his new intercept (start Bush off 3.9 percentage points higher), and his new slope (for each 10 percentage points his 2000 share goes up per state, his 2004 share goes up 9.77 percentage points). For example, if he earned a 50% share in a particular state last time, you would expect him to earn 52.7 points this time (3.9 + (5 * 9.77).

Yet, holding the candidates' constant from one election to the next doesn't necessarily mean stability of results at the state level. In sharp contrast, consider the 1952 and 1956 races between Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson. Eisenhower's overall share grew 2.3 points from 1952 to 1956, only a little less than Bush's improvement from 2000 to 2004, but Ike's share fell in 19 of 48 states.

The 1952 and 1956 races correlated only at the 0.78 level, meaning you could only be 61% accurate at plotting Eisenhower's 1956 results knowing his 1952 results and Eisenhower's intercept and slope for 1956. In other words, there was hugely more shifting at the state level between 1952 and 1956 than between 2000 and 2004. I do not know why this was.

I made up a table of stability of state-by-state voting over time. Below are the r-squareds for state-by-state correlations for the last eight elections. The similarity of the 2000 and 2004 elections by state were the highest in recent history.

For 1992 and 1996, I've laid out the correlations both with the GOP candidate by himself and with the GOP candidate plus Perot (i.e., the non-Democratic share of the vote). There seems to be an upward trend over time for elections to become more stable, although 1984 to 1988 was 88%, which is low only compared to 2000 to 2004 (96%). The 1992 and 1996 elections were somewhat perturbed by Perot and by Clinton, who had a certain amount of Southern appeal.
















+ Perot












































My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Why we love John McCain

At his Citizen Lobbyist blog, Craig Nelsen recalls:

During the 2000 primary season, I made it a point to ask each presidential candidate in person the following question at least once:

Current immigration policy is doubling US population within the lifetimes of today’s children. Since you support this policy, will you at least say when we should stop?

One billion people? Two billion? Three? ...

Vice President Al Gore’s campaign event in New Hampshire was tightly controlled. It required a bit of creativity even to get in. There was no question and answer period, so I had to shout out my question as Gore was striding off the stage. He froze. He turned. He strode back to the podium. A hush fell over the auditorium as the vice president leaned into the microphone. With his Tennessee accent booming out over the loudspeakers, Al Gore said, and he said it firmly, "Diversity is our strength." And the crowd went nuts. They cheered wildly as he marched triumphantly off stage and back to his waiting limousine. The Secret Service collared me, holding me at the auditorium exit while the Gore campaign decided whether to have me arrested. As the audience members filed out, a few shot me dirty looks, but not a single person commented on the fact that I was being detained by guys with guns for participating in my democracy without permission. Live Free or Die, my ass. ...

I caught up with the Straight Talk Express in Darlington, SC. McCain finished his stump speech and said he’d take some questions.

My hand shot up. He pointed to me. I stood up and asked [my standard question]...

McCain’s eyes narrowed, and his head drew down into his shoulders. “You and I, sir,” he began slowly, emphasizing each word and glaring at me as if I were a poisonous insect, “obviously have differing views on immigration.

"But let me make one thing perfectly clear," he continued, his voice rising, "there is no room in the Republican Party for bigots, xenophobes, or racists."

I’ll say this for South Carolina Republicans as compared to New Hampshire Democrats: no one applauded McCain.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

March 2, 2008

Will "affordable family formation" remain dominant in a McCain-Obama fight?

As I've been pointing out for years, in both 2000 and 2004, George W. Bush's share of the vote by state correlated closely with the rate of family formation among whites, which in turn correlated with the affordability of housing and decent schooling.

Will this pattern be seen again in 2008?

Keep in mind that the theory of affordable family formation doesn't tell you who's going to get elected President. It merely says that the relative voting orientation of a state is driven by how affordable marriage and children are among non-Hispanic whites in that state.

My first guess regarding 2008 would be that the correlations will almost certainly go down because they were so high in the last two elections that they can hardly go up any further.

Back in 1988, the correlations between white total fertility and Bush the Elder's share of the vote by state was about 70% as large as in 2000/2004. In 1992 and 1996, the relationship either dropped sharply or grew, depending on how you treat Perot's votes. The correlation between white total fertility and the GOP candidate's share by state went way down versus 1988, but if you add Perot's votes to Bush/Dole's votes, the center-right share's correlation with white total fertility went up.

Bush the Younger, for all his peculiarities, was apparently seen by voters as a fairly generic Republican candidate, and they also viewed Gore and Kerry as fairly generic Democratic candidates, allowing the underlying dynamic of affordability of family formation to drive the voting.

On the other hand, unusual candidates could upset the relationship. My guess would be that if the candidates in 2008 were Hillary, the feminist with one child, and Romney, the business executive with five children (especially if Romney weren't a Mormon), affordable family formation would again rule the day.

On the other hand, I can't really begin to guess what impact McCain and Obama would have on the distribution of voting among states.

Another issue is that I don't have enough to see how fast voting patterns respond to changes in, say, total fertility. The latest Census Bureau statistics on non-Hispanic white total fertility by state, for example, is a report on 2002. My guess would be that numbers from a half-decade ago would remains reasonably useful -- that this isn't the kind of thing that changes year-to-year.

Any thoughts on what we'll likely see at the state level in 2008?

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

VDARE: "Why Barack Hussein Obama's Middle Name Matters"

An excerpt from my new column:

Why Barack Hussein Obama's Middle Name Matters

By Steve Sailer

No, it's not because he's a secret Muslim. Nobody has ever seen him engage in Islamic rituals since he left Indonesia at age ten. ...

The Republican fear that Obama is a secret Muslim is silly, but so is the Democratic dream that electing a black President will suddenly make America popular in the Middle East. The sad reality is that Middle Easterners treat their black minorities with contempt. (See Robert F. Worth’s New York Times’ Feb. 28, 2008 article Languishing at the Bottom of Yemen's Ladder, about the horrific conditions under which the blacks in that Arab country subsist.)

No, to understand the reason Obama's Muslim middle name matters, it's necessary to first review America's strategic situation.

The good news: over the next decade at least, America faces few, if any, serious foreign military challenges. The only dangers the next President will have to deal with are those, like 9-11, to which we choose to make ourselves vulnerable because of domestic pandering and political correctness.

A quarter of a century ago, we were faced-off against a military superpower that had a fighting chance to drive its vast tank armada through the Fulda Gap and all the way to the Rhine. And if that didn't work, the Soviets could fall back on their countless nuclear ICBMs.

Now, that was dangerous.

Today, in contrast, the rest of the world is demilitarizing. America's military spending is almost equal to that of all other countries on Earth (47 percent or 49 percent of the world's total, by two different estimates).

But what about the ruthless ambitions of Iran, which John McCain wants to bomb-bomb-bomb? According to the CIA World Factbook, Iran spent only 2.5 percent of its paltry GDP on defense in 2006, compared to America's 4.06 percent. In 2003, Iran ranked 25th in absolute military spending, wedged among such imposing military colossi as Singapore, Argentina, Norway, and Belgium.

This doesn't mean we are safe. We lost 3,000 people in a Muslim raid in 2001.

Yet, our military wasn't overpowered. The twin towers weren't knocked down by jet bombers launched from Islamic aircraft carriers. (In fact, the 44 countries of the Muslim world don't have a single carrier amongst them. We have 12, each one larger than any other country's biggest flattop).

No, we lost 3,000 lives because we let 19 terrorists into our country and let them roam around as they pleased. George W. Bush had campaigned in 2000 against the profiling of Muslims by airport security. His Transportation Department was running a program in 2001 to crack down on the "disparate impact" of security procedures on air travelers with Arab names.


My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

NYT: Luo see Obama as "meal ticket"

Theodore Dalrymple made a point that is key to understanding African politics: the typical corrupt Big Man does not see himself as a greedy person. Instead, every time he climbs the ladder of success, more relatives show up insisting that he subsidize them, and his closer relatives all agree with them and nag him to take on even broader responsibilities for supporting the ever extending family. Barack Obama Sr. was undone, in part, by this requirement to play the Big Man with his relatives even when he could no longer afford it.

Barack Obama Jr. has come under the same pressures during his brief visits to Kenya. Nicholas Kristoff writes in the New York Times:

Senator Obama barely knew his father and does not know his Kenyan relatives well. He has visited Kenya three times, most recently very briefly in 2006.

On his last visit, Mr. Obama visited two area schools that had been renamed for him. The intention in renaming the schools seems to have been partly to attract funding. One person after another noted pointedly that it was a shame that a school named for a great American should be so dilapidated.

Some of Mr. Obama’s innumerable relatives also see him as a meal ticket. They have made arrangements with a tour group to bring buses of visitors to have tea with Mama Sarah.

They are also trying to raise money from interviews with her. I had made arrangements to visit Mama Sarah weeks ago, and she had agreed to speak. But when I showed up, she said that her children had told her to keep quiet. Frantic phone calls. Fierce arguments. Hints that money might make an interview possible. I didn’t pay. I didn’t get the interview.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer

Kenyan tribe rages at Hillary

From the NY Post, a comic story that's part of a growing trend that nobody expected even a few years ago: the interpenetration of American and Kenyan politics:


By GEOFF EARLE Post Correspondent

February 29, 2008 -- WASHINGTON - Angry tribal elders in Kenya are calling on Hillary Rodham Clinton to "clear her name" over any involvement in publication of photos of Barack Obama wearing a turban and African garb on a trip to his ancestral homeland.

The leaders are planning a protest in their community today, and are turning up the heat on the US government over the incident. The photos appeared nationwide after they were published earlier this week on the Drudge Report Web site with a report that they had been circulated by Clinton staffers. Obama aides blasted the Clinton campaign for "shameful, offensive fear-mongering." The pictures show Obama wearing traditional Somalian garb on a 2006 visit to the Wajir region of Kenya, where his late father was born.

"The US government must apologize to us as a clan and the old man," Mohamed Ibrahim told Reuters, referring to a highly respected tribal elder who is also shown in the photos. "We have been offended, and we cannot afford to just watch and stay silent." He also said it was essential that Clinton "clear her name." …

"He [Hassan] was the right person to perform any such activity like dressing a visitor like Obama with traditional Somali clothes," Mukhtar Sheik Nur, another leader, told Reuters.

The elders said if they did not get an apology, they would demand the expulsion of US troops based near the town of Garissa in their region.

The serious issue is that we actually do have Marines in Garissa, which is on the road (such as it is) to Somalia, as this 2006 article "The Mystery Mission" details. We've been quietly building up our military presence in Kenya for a number of years to attack people within Somalia. We recently sponsored Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia.

Is all this a good idea or a bad idea? Does what happen in Somalia matter much? Are we likely to get drawn into more pointless tribal conflicts, a la Iraq?

Beats me, but it would be interesting to hear the candidates give their views on it. Obama's thoughts would be particularly interesting, since he has strong ties of blood and emotion to the Luo tribe in Kenya. Presumably, he knows more about American foreign policy in relation to Kenya than to any other country, relatively speaking, so hearing him speak about Kenya in depth would be a good test of his foreign policy instincts overall, which remain murky in general.

Personally, I have a bad feeling about U.S. involvement in Northeastern Africa. Places like Darfur and Somalia strike me as of almost zero strategic interest to us, but they're also the kind of places where we could get in and wallow around for decades. But, I really don't know much about the region.

My published articles are archived at -- Steve Sailer