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Well, I think they both are salient:

the media has investigated Obama for buying his house from indicted  
political fundraiser Tony Rezko and they have investigated McCain for  
buying too many houses (as an academic, I too lose count of how many  
houses I own sometimes).

and the media was also quite interested in who Bill Clinton kissed  
(now *that's* a lot of collaboration) and now who Sarah Palin's  
daughter kissed (Bill swears it wasn't him).

so from their point of view, a past connection could mean a current,  
hidden connection, and thus current influence....

but, yes, that way of viewing the world asymptotes all of us towards  
having a Palin number of 2!


James H. Fowler

On Sep 15, 2008, at 3:02 AM, Blyden Potts wrote:

> The most interesting question here IMO is: Which kinds of compound  
> relations have political salience?
> I would imagine that buying your house from a person who had a  
> personal relationship with the candidate would have not have any  
> appreciable impact on voting behavior or political ideology. Does  
> the relation "buying a house from" or any compound relation stemming  
> from that direct relation have any impact on one's politics? Does it  
> make your politics more similar to Palin's than they otherwise be?  
> Or do you find yourself more likely to vote for her on account of  
> your closeness?  OTOH if you were close friends with someone who had  
> been intimate with her that seems more likely to matter. Also the  
> direction of that impact, of each relation, could be either positive  
> or negative.
> Timing would seem to be a factor. Your relation to the house seller  
> is in the past, and his relation to Palin is in the past, so you  
> only have a Palin number of 2 if you consider relations in  
> cumulative time.  Wouldn't your current Palin number matter more?
> I used to be 2 steps from Jesse Ventura, and when I was there was  
> some minor active political influence that came across those two  
> links, but now my Ventura number must be at least 3, and I no longer  
> get that active political influence. I'm no longer even sure what  
> the path distance may be. Across all time my Ventura number would  
> still be two, but clearly the impact has changed.
> Blyden Potts
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Social Networks Discussion Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]]  
> On Behalf Of James Fowler
> Sent: Monday, September 15, 2008 1:16 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: me, Paul Erdos, and Sara Palin
> ...
> I bought my house from a man who kissed Sara Palin.
> ...
> All sorts of interesting questions arise.
> *In high school was Palin as prolific in "collaborating" as Erdos was
> at publishing?
> *Could this be a factor behind "the Palin bump?"

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