...or at least like Martin Luther King and Bill Clinton, which should close enough.
Dr. Mankiw directs my attention to a diverting little study by Dartmouth professors Bruce Sacerdote and Owen Zidar on our presidential candidates' word choices (PDF alert!). The curious professors analyzed word frequencies in the speeches of Huckabee, McCain, Romney, Thompson, Giuliani, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards and compared them with word frequencies in the speeches of Reagan, ML King, LBJ, Bill Clinton, GW Bush, JFK, and Stalin.
On a scale comparing candidate speeches to the words of Reagan and King, ranging from 0 for Reaganesque speech and 1 for Kingly speech, Huckabee scored a 1.466, highest of all the candidates, even higher than Obama (1.051) and Clinton (0.751).
Shift the scale of comparison to LBJ (0) vs. Bill Clinton (1), and Huckabee sounds much more like his fellow Arkansian, scoring 0.993, second only to Hillary (whose 1.743 points to the obvious conclusion: same speech writers!).
Most startling and amusing: on a scale of comparison to Stalin (0) vs. JFK (1), Huckabee ranks way down in old-school Red territory with a score of negative 0.587. (Don't chuckle too loudly, grieving supporters of Thompson: old Fred sounded pretty Stalinist too, scoring 0.007).
I've been bemused by the steady drone of anti-Huckabee propaganda posted by some who think a Southern Baptist preacher poses the greatest threat to the Christian worldview (or maybe just the party of evangelical plutocracy) since Nero. But now I see the Huckabee-haters can back up their claims with some good old secular humanist science.
Enjoy, Bob -- think of it as an early Groundhog Day present.
Just a couple more interesting notes from the study: Giuliani, that liberal sheep in GOP wolf's clothing also scores closer to King, Bill Clinton, and Stalin in Sacerdote and Zidal's analysis. But churchgoers and unconstitutional religious testers, take note; in placing candidates on the Reagan-King scale, the researchers found that Obama uses the word "god's" twice as often as McCain and almost four times as often as Hillary Clinton. Obama also uses the word "church" more than twice as often as HRC and twelve times more frequently than McCain.
I think I hear Todd humming, "Oh come, all ye faithful...."
For more number fun, read the whole study here.
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