Policy from Evidence

bias explanation: Every now and then, folks are surprised that an election technology guy like me expresses his political opinion in the open. They think: ‘how can I trust this guy on election technology if he’s shilling for the Obama campaign?’ Here’s my take. I’m not getting paid by the Obama campaign, so I’m not shilling for anyone. I have an opinion, just like everyone out there, and I have some rational and emotional reasons for holding that opinion. All of the voting experts you hear also have an opinion, whether they tell you or not. Very few people are actually on the fence. So my take is, I’d rather you know where I stand so you can decide for yourself whether I’m trustworthy or not. Everyone’s biased. In my case, you know my bias, and you can factor it into your evaluation of my statements on voting technology.

Alright, so the election is less than 2 weeks away, and I still hear from a few people who are undecided, wondering which tax policy is better, which health care plan will be more successful. I think this debate misses the point. My first question is: who’s going to define policy based on evidence not ideology. Because if you base your policy on ideology, what possible chance do you have of actually improving people’s lives? So when Palin, in the same speech, calls for research on disabilities like autism, then blasts earmarks for fruit fly studies, it boggles the mind:

The complete explanation tells it all, and here’s the kicker:

This idiot woman, this blind, shortsighted ignoramus, this pretentious clod, mocks basic research and the international research community. You damn well better believe that there is research going on in animal models — what does she expect, that scientists should mutagenize human mothers and chop up baby brains for this work?

So just ask yourself this: if you had a policy speech to give about a certain topic, wouldn’t you look up at least the very basics of what you’re talking about? Would you really make a policy recommendation without understanding the most basic aspect of the field you’re attempting to regulate?

And if that’s how policy decisions are made in the McCain/Palin administration, what chance do we have that they’ll restore the economy or fix healthcare? You need to know what’s wrong and what has a chance of fixing the problem, before you suggest a solution.

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