Frequently Asked Questions
I'll skip with the praise e-mails and focus on the negative e-mails.
If you would like to send me a comment and would like a personal response, please read the Q&A below first as you may find that your comment or question has already been answered.
No one has been able to discredit the Klein or Haney papers. Nor has anyone come up with an error in my analysis of the Bush's educational accomplishments that are listed on his web site.
No one has challenged these two statements. These two statements are the whole point of the campaign:
how can we expect him to deliver on less important issues?
If Bush can't
be trusted to tell us the truth about his accomplishments
Here are some of the specific Q&As below...
Q: I appreciate your clarification of the facts regarding GW Bush. This is an unfortunately close election and the dissemination of the facts is crucial to making a wise decision. Thank You!
A: You are welcome. That is precisely why I did it.
Q: Your main failing is that your site in no way demonstrates that Al Gore will do a better job than Bush. There is no evidence given. In fact, the claim is never given overtly, but implied. A weak argument for the weak minded.
A: The main point of the site is to point out that Bush's chief accomplishment doesn't hold up under scrutiny, not to create a pro-Gore site. I've received over 2,000 e-mails so far. None of them challenge the facts I brought up that invalidate each of Bush's supposed educational results. My point was to prove the two key assertions above. As for making the case for Al Gore, I've devoted a page to this, Why Gore?, but if you'd like to read just one thing, I personally enjoyed reading the very well-written endorsement for Gore from the San Jose Mercury News that hits all the high points. If you arent sold by now, this is worth reading. Also, It's the presidency, stupid, by Roger Ebert is short and to the point. If you are still undecided, you can also read the comments from other voters that I've posted on my site. My support for Gore comes from his environmental record. He's certainly not perfect, but Bush is far worse, and that's why Bush has no endorsements whatsoever from any leading environmental organization. Gore is endorsed by all who make endorsements, including the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.
Q: Why are you doing this at the last minute? Attacking one issue on election eve only makes supporters and undecideds angry.
A: See Timing of the ads- Is this a dirty trick? for details. I had not planned to do this but under the circumstances this was the only option to inform voters of the facts. The facts speak for themselves. You can verify them independently.
Q: With only one source for your data, I don't see how your argument is fully supported.
A: It's the other way around. There was only one piece of independent data (the earlier RAND report) that was used to justify Bush's accomplishments. Every other indicator showed flatline, including TASP which declined sharply. Klein basically showed that the earlier RAND report doesn't apply since they averaged the entire 1990 to 1996 period, rather than looking at 1994 onward. So all independent datapoints agree with Klein.
Q: Chester Finn wrote an editorial in The New York Times about the RAND report and did a good job of explaining why the Texas student achievement gains are real. You should read that.
A: I did. It raised more questions than it answered. I welcome your answers to the questions I e-mailed to Mr. Finn as he has been unable or unwilling to answer any of them. Why?
Q: So you caught Bush lying. Gore lies too!
A: It's probably safe to say that most people have lied at least once. The issue is how important to the country is the lie? Bush said education is the #1 national emergency. And Bush deceived you about his accomplishments there on his web site. What is the most significant Gore lie you can think of that people today are seriously misled by? The Internet? Love Story? Fundraising? I haven't seen any that qualify in the 2,000 e-mails I've received so far. Lots of people talk about Al Gore lying about inventing the Internet but (1) that isn't what he said and (2) it isn't represented at all as a Gore accomplishment on his website. You should read the true story of Al Gore and the Internet. And compare that to Bush's role in helping the Internet (zero). Others brought up the fundraising incident at a Buddhist Temple. Does that make a difference in your life? Were you seriously misled by that? Is it listed on Gore's site as a major accomplishment? I'm not excusing the fact that these things "happened." But we have to put things into perspective as to the impact on you and the country on the deception. Gore has many positive accomplishments and is most qualified to be President. Bush has had no major accomplishments and lies about it too. He was a failure as a businessman. What was Bush's most notable accomplishment before being elected governor? Who is the better of two evils? You pick. See Why Gore? and Why not Bush?
Q: If Gore is so great, how come only 50% of the people think he's better?
A: There are at least 7 criteria people look to for picking a President: position on the key issues, trust, accomplishments/track record, ability, intelligence, attitude, .... etc....
Many folks vote purely on a party basis. Some are single issue voters. I think very few look at the whole picture of the man. That's unfortunate, but that's the way the system works.
Because of the broad base, and realities of how many people read newspapers, etc., precious few could tell you how many issues Bush ran on as governor in 1994, and fewer still could tell you how he did on those.
I'd bet less than 5% could tell you how Bush did on his 4 campaign focus areas. The number is probably far less.
And only about 1% of the voting public knows what I found out about Bush's EDUCATION record (i.e., it sounded GREAT until you held up the light to it). Most people are still believing the hype and the misinformation that has been spread ("conflicting" RAND reports, Chester Finn's opinion piece in the NYT).
So to say that 50% thought Bush's accomplishments were equivalent to Gore's based on the vote is drawing an improper conclusion based on the evidence. If you did exit polls on this question I don't think you'd see that at all for the above reasons.
Q: I just want that whole band of liars, traitors and thieves out of D.C. Clinton and all his ilk must go for the good of the country.
A: I am very glad you do not blame Gore for Clinton's actions. Given the choice of liars, would you rather have a someone who lies about the #1 most important issue in America today? (Bush) Or someone who lies about stuff that really doesn't affect our lives one bit (Gore)? My personal choice is the latter.
Q: Why didn't you say anything good about Al Gore in the ad?
Q: Why isn't this an objective piece?
A: The analysis of Bush's educational track record is objective. All the facts are independently verifiable. Then people started asking me, "so is Gore any better?" So I added Gore content. It's a bit late in the game to present more confusion for people.
Q: If Gore is so good, then how come people in his home state are 50/50 in support of him?
A: Demographics mostly. There are more Republicans than Democrats in TN and most vote strictly on party lines. I've been there and asked around and that's pretty much the story I got. Maybe this e-mail I received from a TN native will help:
And, conversely, here is an e-mail from a Texan:
Here is another:
So why do many Texans support Bush? Some are better off, others are worse off, but none really know the truth. Most probably believed the TAAS scores and never thought about the fact that virtually all other indicator of academic performance were going the other way. Until 1999, we didn't have the test data to show this. And the July RAND report did not properly adjust for the 4th grade 1996 math score, whereas the Oct RAND report used raw scores so no improper assumptions were made. Until 2 weeks ago, the people of Texas didn't know that. And the press left them confused.
Q: Do you actually believe that George Bush has not done anything to improve education in Texas since he took over from Ann Richards?
A: I couldn't find one thing he claimed on his website that was credible from his list of top accomplishments in education. I focused on addressing every single item in the "results of his reforms" section since at the end of the day, it's results that count, isn't it? Of the thousands of e-mails I've received, nobody who has written in has disputed my analysis of Bush's claims on his website.
Q: I do not claim to be an education expert but I do know that I have personally seen reports both supporting and discrediting George Bush's education record in Texas. It all depends on the analyst or "expert". With the same data you can get two different opinions and analyses.
A: Fortunately, you don't have to believe either expert. You can go find out yourself with the raw NAEP data. I show you how: See the Texas NAEP scores yourself. The calculation is easy for anyone who graduated high school. Then you can also know that SAT and ACT scores are flat. You need not have a statistics degree to figure out what is going on here.
Q: With regard to the "last" Rand report, I seem to recall that the Texas children rank in the top ten percent nationally in reading and math. Not to shabby, I would say.
A: Unfortunately for Bush, it was like that before he took office. And the stats are getting worse, not better. See A closer look at the Bush education record posted on Bush's web site
Q: I want a tax reduction.
A: If you vote for Bush, he'll give rich people like me a much bigger tax break than he'll give you. That is, if you trust him, because he had his folks in Washington working against a federal tax break as explained on the page Why not Bush? Or you can vote for Gore and he'll give out tax breaks only to the middle class.
Q: How can you say Bush is a failure as a businessman? He made millions.
A: Don't confuse luck with brains. His failures as a businessman are widely documented and known, even by those in Texas.
Q: You're an obvious Gore supporter who uses his power to further his own political agenda (and don't hide behind the "good philanthropist" veil - I know that you're merely using those donations as a means to gain tax advantages)
A: If I wanted lower taxes, I'd be supporting Bush. I support Gore because I want a strong economy which helps all of us.
Q: At first I got into writing this long elaborate email about how you are too full of yourself, real philanthropists don't go around with horns and bells saying look at me, look how much I give, blah blah blah. But then I decided that although some criticism is in order, you deserve more credit than criticism. I welcome thought provoking material such as that which you have displayed.
A: The reason I am public about my giving is there is no advantage to being anonymous. Anonymous people aren't as effective in inspiring people to take action. Have you ever heard someone say, "I really admire Anonymous and what he's done. Anonymous is my role model." On my foundation web site, we go to excruciating detail to describe why we made each donation to inspire others to donate to those causes. If we were anonymous, we couldn't do that.
Q: Gore and Clinton have been in for 8 YEARS and have done Jack Shit for this country.
A: Were you better off 8 years ago than you are now? For most people, the answer is No. If you want a change, be careful you aren't asking for a change for the worse. Bush's proudest accomplishments are listed here. But there are many more in other areas. Have you seen the videos? Is this what you want for the rest of the country?
Q: I'm voting for Bush because he's a Republican and is for less government.
A: The purpose of my ad is to help you make an informed decision. Unfortunately, what Bush says is not what counts. It is what he can deliver and the impact on the economy of that. Do you like how Texas ranks relative to the other states and what Bush has accomplished on education and in other areas?
Here is another point of view about these comments from one of my incoming e-mails (this is not my story):
Q: Nothing happened under Clinton/Gore. Deadlock. I want a change.
A: The question is, do you want a change for the worse?? Check out how Texas fares relative to other states!
Q: You've claimed Bush is a single issue candidate, which is wrong, and then you've zoomed in on selected data related to that issue, and you've read (but ignored) expert analysis of the data dispute, and I'm not expert enough (and you are not expert enough) to interpret the data you've found, that's why.
A: Education is the ONLY major accomplishment he's had. He only ran on 4 issues as governor. Education was the one he "seemed" to have the best result in, as reported in Time. So he's a basically a "single issue track record" candidate. I've read uneducated opinions, not expert opinions. If they were expert opinions, they would have figured out the supposed "conflict" long ago. And lastly, I talked with the experts, the two RAND authors, to verify my work. Finally, you don't have to take anyone's word for it; you can do the math yourself. Have you tried? To figure out how whites did, you need to subtract two numbers and subtract another two number then compare the results to each other. Or just look at Table 2 in Klein's paper. It is so straightforward to interpret this data a texas 4th grader can do it. Haney's abstract is even more fun reading. Once you've read those 13 pages, then let's talk.
Q: Are Gore and his teachers unions responsible for NAEP results nationwide?
A: NAEP is the universally accepted "gold standard" by researchers. It shows Bush did worse than Gore. On education, I'd go with the candidate who did better.
Q: Is Gore against school choice? Yes. Am I against him? Yes.
A: Where is your proof that school choice is the answer? Edison schools have mixed results. Show me the data! If vouchers were the answer and proven to be the answer, I'd be surprised if Gore didn't support it. But we are really getting off topic here.
Q: I'm going with the WSJ and Bush on this, not you.
A: That's fine. You are entitled to look the other when viewing data you don't like. And if the WSJ and Bush are so smart, how come they haven't been able to show where Klein goofed? Why can't they point out the error? They can't because there was no error. Again, why don't you look at the data yourself. then you don't have to trust anyone:
Q: Gore is a pawn of the NEA and against vouchers.
A: Fact is that Gore is supported by 90% of educators, even non-NEA members. You can see this for yourself...go ask your favorite teacher. People complain that Gore is against vouchers. Well so is John Doerr and nobody I personally know has worked harder to help education in California than John. John also put in millions of his own money (and a hell of a lot of his personal time) to help fix up California schools. Show me a voucher program that works and perhaps Gore will adopt it. Educate yourself on vouchers first.
Q: Tell me, Steve, how has education gone in the US since Al was VP? Is he responsible for that? As much as Bush for Texas, I'd say. What is the data on that?
A: We're off topic again. The whole point is that Bush shouldn't be claiming as his #1 claim something he didn't do. That's deceptive. If Bush admitted nothing was going on in Texas and the achievement gap got worse under his watch, I'd have a lot more respect for him. Right now there is nothing to respect: he's deceptive and he got no results on his top priority. On Bush's other three priorities, he did even worse.
Q: I'm pro-life. That's why I support Bush.
A: Texas "justice" killed Gary Graham. Everyone knew he was innocent of the crime he was charged with (though he wasn't exactly what you'd call a saint, either, and in fact, is most likely guilty of murder of at least one other person and may have deserved to die, but not for the crime he was charged with). There was a single unreliable eyewitness who couldn't recognize him a week later. He had 8 people pass lie detector tests saying he was with them at the time. Jesse Jackson, Danny Glover, and others fought to have the verdict overturned. Did you see remorse on Bush's face when asked about the people executed in Texas? While in theory, there is "nothing" Bush could have done to overturn the Graham sentence, the fact is that the Texas justice system has not been a priority for Bush. If you are rich in Texas, you get justice. If you are not rich, you get shafted.
I :: Unequal Justice :: In Tarrant County, the ability to afford an attorney is
often the difference between serving a sentence behind bars or out in the
community, a Star-Telegram analysis has found
Kenneth Paul Jones had DNA and innocence on his
side, yet his inexperienced court-appointed attorney couldn't prevent him
from spending 18 months in jail on a charge of molesting a 4-year-old
Q: Yours is just an opinion piece. Your articles do not search for the truth, rather, you have merely tortured the data in order to support your biased conclusion.
A: This sounds like an opinion since you included no facts whatsoever in your argument. You really need to show me how Klein's paper is wrong, then show me how I made a factual error in decimating the rest of Bush's claims on education.
Q: I always appreciate hearing the facts, since both candidates are long on rhetoric. I realize educations is important, however, hiring well educated employees becomes a moot point if our nation faces a severe military threat that it cannot respond to. I'm not an alarmist, I'm a realist. Gore will continue to decimate the military. I believe Bush will begin to rebuild our neglected military assets. You say you love a good mystery? Tell me, why on Earth would one of our best naval destroyers be refueling in the most vulnerable position imaginable?
A: Surely you don't blame Gore for the re-fueling incident. Do you really thing Gore ordered them to re-fuel there? And Gore would spend more than 2x as much as Bush on rebuilding the military.
Q: The information you've provided seems credible, but the lack of objectivity makes it far too biased.
A: Fortunately, it is possible to independently verify the Klein paper which is unbiased.
Q: Where did you get the money for this?
A: See About Steve Kirsch
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: I was mad when I found out I was being misled. I thought people would like to know who they are voting for.
Q: I do not want the government involved in my children's education.
A: Shouldn't we look at which method provides the best education? Gore advocates the techniques proven to work.
Q: Your accomplishments seem contradictory to your desire to elect a Democrat. The core difference between Republicans and Democrats is less government instead of more government. Why would you like more government? Less government would better enable you to be impactful with your philanthropic work. Why would you desire to have the government distribute your wealth for you? Why don't you want to make this decision for yourself?
Q: Gore said he invented the Internet
A: No, that's not what he said. Can you find this claim on his website? Contrast that with Bush where all his top educational accomplishment don't stand scrutiny. I've read over 2,000 e-emails defending him and none of the e-mails has pointed out an factual errors on my page which disputed each one of his claimed accomplishments.
Q: I grew up in Texas, and all I have to say is that George Bush has done more for that state than all the governors in the past 50 years. He connects with all ethnic groups, and cuts through all the red tape to get things done. And by the way, education has more to do with parenting than it does with the schools themselves.
A: Have you seen the videos?
Q: Hey, it is great that you have done well for yourself and great that you can donate so much money. I am sure those who receive it appreciate it. I am working hard and want to keep what I earn for myself and my family. If I am fortunate enough to make it big, then I can afford to give some away. I don't need Gore taking it from me. You do what you want with your money and let me do what I want with mine.
A: A tax cut doesn't do you any good if you don't have a job or if the economy goes down the tubes.
Q: I guess if that is the only thing you can figure to say bad about Bush, I guess that he is a far better choice than Al Gore.
Q: How can you contribute $500.000 to the DNC and state that you are for campaign reform?
A: See Why I donated to the DNC.
Q: Hello! You only put the questions you had "ok" answers to. What about all the e-mails that proved you wrong? It said over 3000 people had visited this site, well you only posted 15 questions & answers. I guess that means over 3000 people showed you!
A: The others were fan mails (some of which I've posted), or content-free e-mails expressing an opinion, rather than asking a clarifying question.
Do you want to see what people who support Gore are saying about Bush?
If you have a legitimate question which is not answered here, you can send me feedback at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Due to the large amount of mail I get on this topic, you will not get a personal reply.