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Better than listening to it

Democratic and Republican rhetoric, in graph form.

By Ezra Klein  |  February 18, 2010; 1:48 PM ET
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The latter graphic Sullivan cites is visually misleading. Once Obama becomes president, all of the job losses under Bush become visually attributed to Obama through the use of big blue bars. This then makes it look like Obama is responsible for 3/4 of the problem.

A less misleading way to view the data would be to color the bars under Obama from 0 to approximately -5 million, the cumulative job losses under Bush, as a neutral shade of grey.

Posted by: tomhamill | February 18, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The difference is just calculus.

Anyone who familiar with the normal distribution and its integral, or the sigmoidal distribution and its derivative should understand that these are just different views of the same data. The important thing is that the plots are labeled clearly and explained so that readers can understand them.

Personally, I favor the derivative view in most cases, as IMO policy allows the manipulation of derivative more than principle.

Posted by: zosima | February 18, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Your blog is overall great but the post about how the stimulus was more about creating growth than about creating jobs was particularly excellent. I realize it’s easy to sit here and second guess what the WH and the Dems are doing but I continue to be struck at how badly the stimulus was advertised and characterized. The Administration has to do much, much more than explain to people that some teacher somewhere is working because of the ARRA. People I know, even Democrats, who are unemployed or who are recession-affected in some way are somewhere between annoyed and furious at the Administration for what they justifiably perceive as the failure of the ARRA. Why the Administration thought it was good idea to be talking about the two million or so jobs during the time that unemployment was going from the attic to the treehouse is bewildering. Sometimes I feel like Obama’s people got by during the campaign by staying on a basic message and letting the political environment carry them to victory. Well that doesn’t work when the political environment is against you in a big way. I have tremendous confidence in Barack Obama but sitting here in a big media market in a “purple state” I can tell you that the GOP is running circles around the Dems in getting their message out about the economy, health-care, and even gridlock. Earth to the Dems: “Washington is broken” is not a good narrative for you. You are Washington right now! Like I said, it sure is easy to second guess from a computer but it’s truly unbelievable to me the extent to which the Dems have been on defense ever since Obama took office. We have the issues, we have an awesome party leader in Barack Obama, and we have an reckless opposition party that is a sad joke. The bad economy aside, the fact that people do not understand how the Democrats would make their lives better and that they don’t understand how irresponsible the GOP is raises serious, serious concerns. How is it possible that people still don’t know what the filibuster is?! How is it that Rachel Maddow was the first one to point out the incredible, glaring hypocracy of Republicans on the stimulus?! What in the world is going on?

Posted by: phillycomment | February 18, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

You can't use a histogram to show cumulative totals. That's ridiculous. It should be a line graph.

Posted by: rukkyg | February 19, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

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