Monday, July 16, 2007

Sometimes the Numbers Do Tell the Whole Story

Have an argument with any die hard conservative that somehow hasn't yet turned on the president, and you will assuredly at some point hear a rebuttal something along the lines of "Well, when Bill Clinton was in office he did the exact same thing."

In some cases they are right. While that doesn't constitute much of an argument for whether the current president is right or wrong, it does put their opponent in a more awkward position. But often they are flat out wrong. The latest example comes in these numbers from Harper's Index:

Number of Bush White House officials who are authorized to discuss pending criminal cases with the Justice Department: 711

Number of Clinton officials who were: 4

Percentage of federal inspectors general appointed by Bush and Clinton, respectively, who had prior audit experience: 36, 66

Percentage who held some political position prior to their appointment: 45, 22

And two more numbers that don't have a Clinton parallel but are appalling nonetheless:

Number of Bush appointees who regulate industries they used to represent as lobbyists: 85

Number of the five directors of a No Child Left Behind reading program who had financial ties to the curricula the developed: 4

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