The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Harry Byrd's linear progression to the extreme
The Voteview and DW-NOMINATE material just invites tinkering.
So, I find myself looking at the record of the King of Virginia, Harry Byrd (aka Harry Flood Byrd) whose statewide machine invites comparison with those of the likes of Edward Crump of Memphis and Frank Hague of Jersey City .
Taking care to distinguish Byrd from his son - who took over from him - and erstwhile Klansman Robert Byrd, one finds that, in every Congress in which he sat (73rd to 89th), his DW-NOMINATE 2nd Coordinate - the one that measures the racial dimension of Congressional ideology - was higher than the one before.
In the 73rd, he had a rating of -0.25, the 70th least 'racist' ; by the 80th, there were still 31 senators with a higher 2nd coordinate than his. In the 86th and subsequent Congresses, he scored higher than +1 , topping off at 1.306 in the 89th - in which he was beaten to top spot only by Richard Russell with 1.456!
The danger with these stats is, of course, gee whiz overload.
(Too late. Ed)
My impression is that whilst professional users of these stats are comfortable explaining the meaning of results for the 1st coordinate (which provides a liberal-conservative scale), they're less happy with the 2nd coordinate.
Me too. The stat should explain something not otherwise apparent - such as the hotting up of race-related issues over the period 1933-1965 - but seems to do no more than reflect the obvious.
More tinkering required, I suspect.
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