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How do you think our candidates would react to finding out they were wrong?

Poll #1202700 A presidential thought experiment

Which is the more likely response, given each precondition as axiom?

Precondition: Obama gets into office, collects information from intelligence sources, and comes to the conclusion that US troops are making progress in Iraq. Response: Obama announces that he was wrong, and continues American presence in Iraq.
28(87.5%)
Precondition: McCain gets into office, collects information from intelligence sources, and comes to the conclusion that US troops are making NO progress in Iraq. Response: McCain announces that he was wrong, and ends American presence in Iraq.
4(12.5%)

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
srakkt
Jun. 10th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
given the options that you have here, I picked as I did. The second option, however, presupposes that the correct response to "making no progress" is "end effort" which is an entirely different ball of wax.
crs
Jun. 10th, 2008 03:03 pm (UTC)
Oops.

You're right, of course. I was trying to keep all such presuppositions out of the question, and still failed.

I think I need to make the question simpler. "Who do you perceive as more likely to admit they were wrong in the face of factual evidence?" is what I was aiming for. The question as written is largely useless, given your point here.
dpolicar
Jun. 10th, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
It's worse than that, I think.
Admit to who?
And in the context of what?

"Our strategy isn't working and we need to change it, but our goal is the same as ever" is one way of admitting you're wrong. "What we're doing isn't working and we need to do something else" is a different way of admitting you're wrong. "I'm a moron and have no right to try to decide anything important" is a third way. There are others.

dcltdw
Jun. 10th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC)
I think dpolicar narrowed/rephrased the question well. I'd also throw in distinctions between "Whoops, we were wrong; let's go publicly announce that and reverse this course" and "Whoops, we were wrong; well, let's quietly reverse course" and all the variations in between.

I -think- what you're asking is "who is more likely to make a public admission of error", and nrrr, I don't really have a clue about that. Also, I'm not sure how much I care, either, about a *public* admission of error. If it's just the (Cabinet | Joint Chiefs of Staff | whatever) that knows, and they still act on it, that's probably good enough for me.
crs
Jun. 10th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
Close - I'm trying to ask "who do you perceive as more likely to make a public admission of error?"

"I don't know" is fine. I'm going to post my corrected poll shortly with that wording instead...
awfief
Jun. 10th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Actually I think srakkt has a point -- it depends what an admission helps him do.

Anti-Iraq-war protesters don't want "the children" to be "sent off to die in Iraq". To admit that he was wrong and troops are "making progress" I would say he would have to be actively justifying "not sending troops home" or "send more money/troops".

No politician would actively say "by the way, on that issue, I was wrong." And I think this question is unfair because you're not "wrong" if you made a decision based on the facts you had, and the facts you had were incomplete. You're wrong if you have all the facts and come to an illogical conclusion, because you either ignored some facts or used bad reasoning, or accepted opinions as facts.

(note that it's OK to consider emotions, ie, even though it makes more sense to put $5,000 in high-yield savings, it allows Tony to sleep at night to keep it in the bank (even though we have relatively liquid savings like ING Direct), and we have plenty of $$ in high-yield savings. It's not the most logical thing to do with our money, but Tony sleeping is important too.)

Putting it another way -- there's no reason right now for Bush to say "I should not have agreed to declare war with Iraq / spearheaded the effort." (I believe Congress actually voted to go to war, so it's not 100% Bush's fault, but yeah, mostly his fault :) )

Because whether or not we should have done what we did, we did it. And we need to focus on what we should do NOW (or what we're doing in the coming months, planning ahead, etc). So if I had the choice to go back in time and magically stop that action, I would probably do it -- but that's completely irrelevant.

So any admissions have to be relevant, and then it's less of an admission of wrongdoing and more of a "I have more information that's come to light and because of that I am spouting an agenda that may seem different from the past."

And really I'm not sure why you'd care about that, aren't you more concerned with "who's likely to make better judgments when they have the facts?"

The only times I care if someone admits that they're wrong is when I want to see remorse if they've done something morally wrong, or when I want to have them show that somehow they've learned and wouldn't make that decision again -- GIVEN THE SAME INFORMATION.
dpolicar
Jun. 10th, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
right, exactly. I was going to say this but now I don't have to.

"Precondition: McCain gets into office, collects information from intelligence sources, and comes to the conclusion that US troops are making NO progress in Iraq. Response: McCain announces that US troops are making inadequate progress in Iraq and calls for a change in our military strategy there." seems pretty likely.

Also, you asked for "more likely" so I answered accordingly. But

"Precondition: Obama gets into office, collects information from intelligence sources, and comes to the conclusion that US troops are making progress in Iraq. Response: Obama supports ending American presence in Iraq anyway" seems fairly likely to me, also.

(Note that this is not intended as a criticism. Just because we're making military progress, if we are, doesn't necessarily mean we should be fighting the war.)

Edited at 2008-06-10 03:09 pm (UTC)
totient
Jun. 10th, 2008 03:29 pm (UTC)
I'm the only person to have chosen the second option, and I bet I stay that way for a while. I did so because there are so many other factors at work.

As for Obama, I do think that the surge worked and that violence was down during that period. I also think that doing that hampered our efforts in Afghanistan and that focusing there is more of a concern. I don't see it following that the response to Obama changing his mind would be to continue our presence there.

Meanwhile, I look at the Bush white house and see people who would be unable to come to the conclusion that things weren't working; I think McClellan's recent book supports this hypothesis. What makes fiction of the idea that a Republican would pull out of Iraq is already contained in your hypothesis.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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crs
just a guy made of dots and lines
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