Archive for the ‘dems’ tag
I was about to post to Twitter my displeasure with the Democrat’s indefatigable plan to give money to Detroit, when I saw that David Brook said it much better than I would:
Not so long ago, corporate giants with names like PanAm, ITT and Montgomery Ward roamed the earth. They faded and were replaced by new companies with names like Microsoft, Southwest Airlines and Target. The U.S. became famous for this pattern of decay and new growth. Over time, American government built a bigger safety net so workers could survive the vicissitudes of this creative destruction — with unemployment insurance and soon, one hopes, health care security. But the government has generally not interfered in the dynamic process itself, which is the source of the country’s prosperity.
But this, apparently, is about to change. Democrats from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi want to grant immortality to General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. They have decided to follow an earlier $25 billion loan with a $50 billion bailout, which would inevitably be followed by more billions later, because if these companies are not permitted to go bankrupt now, they never will be.
This bit, further down the page, was also good:
It is all a reminder that the biggest threat to a healthy economy is not the socialists of campaign lore. It’s C.E.O.’s. It’s politically powerful crony capitalists who use their influence to create a stagnant corporate welfare state.
Timothy Noah’s hardly the first person to claim that the Democrat’s go-to economic wise men, Bob Rubin, should have to shoulder a piece of the blame for the current financial mess. But his arguments are clearly laid out, and worthy of a perusal for anyone with a faint interest in the topic.
While Democrats can always threaten to flee to Canada in the event of an election loss, where can conservatives flee to?
Democrats and the Economy
Two semi-scientific surveys point to the facts that:
- Democratic presidents have been historically better for the economy than Republicans.
- A survey of 500 economists by Scott Adams (he of Dilbert fame) shows them more likely to favor Obama’s economic policies, nearly 2-to-1. (via /., Tyler Cowen comments)
Feel free to read as much and as little bias into these items as you wish.
Though I question the statistical value of these numbers, Mother Jones’s list of party identification by occupation is full of interesting thoughts. Consider, for example, that 65% of plastic surgeons identified as Republicans, but only 28% of pediatricians.
(via Boing Boing)
Michelle Goldberg offers what could be a very useful explanation for those wondering why so many vocal Clinton supporter’s still refuse to accept the nomination of Senator Obama:
Hillary Clinton has lost the nomination, but some of her most ardent female backers seem unwilling to accept it. A strange narrative has developed, abetted by Clinton and some of the mainstream feminist organizations. In it, the will of the voters was thwarted by chauvinistic party leaders in concert with a servile media, and Obama’s victory represents a repeat of George W. Bush’s in 2000. It’s a story in which Obama becomes every arrogant young man who has ever edged out a more deserving middle-aged woman, and Clinton, hanging on until the bitter end, is not a spoiler but a feminist martyr.
(via Matt Yglesias)
David Runciman’s exploration of America’s 2008 election is an engaging read. A few bits, however, stand out. On political blogs:
[A]lthough many of the blogs are hideous, rambling screeds, many are not, and a selection of the best will always produce plenty of wit and passion, along with unexpected insights.
On chronically inaccurate opinion polls:
This endless raft of educated opinion needs to be kept afloat on some data indicating that it matters what informed people say about politics, because it helps the voters to decide which way to jump. If you keep the polling sample sizes small enough, you can create the impression of a public willing to be moved by what other people are saying. That’s why the comment industry pays for this rubbish.
On how predictable the whole Democratic race has been:
The demographic determinism of this election campaign is evidence of the ease with which the main candidates have been able to exploit the instinctive reflexes of various segments of the population, and the difficulty that their opponents have had in overcoming these reflexes with competing arguments.
This one was too rich not to share:
Hillary Clinton enthusiastically picked a filly named Eight Belles to win the Kentucky Derby and compared herself to the horse. Eight Belles finished second. The winner was the favorite, Big Brown. Eight Belles collapsed immediately after crossing the finish line, and was euthanized shortly thereafter.
I’ve been thoroughly bored by the last few months of the presidential campaign, but this bit of counter-intuitive advice got my attention:
Even as Hillary Clinton trails Barack Obama in pledged delegates, the popular vote, and number of states won, she has made it clear that she plans to stay in the race for the nomination. All of which brings me to this logical conclusion: It is time for Barack Obama to drop out.
If Clinton had the good of the Democratic Party in mind, she would have given up her bid the day after the Mississippi primary, which Obama won by 25 points. The delegate math was as dismal for her campaign then as it is now, even after Pennsylvania, and she was facing down a six-week gulf before the next election.
But Hillary Clinton isn’t going to drop out. There simply isn’t a function in her assembly code for throwing in the towel.
Obama, on the other hand, is fully capable of it. And if he’s really serious about representing a new kind of politics, now is the time for him to prove it in the only meaningful way left. Moreover, were he to play it right, dropping out now nearly guarantees that he’ll be elected president in 2012.
For The New Republic, Eve Fairbanks may or may not be reading too much into the effectiveness of Wikipedia editors:
To test the air, I undertook my own little, highly unscientific experiment. I made a professional-looking but somewhat negative edit on each of the candidate’s pages. For Hillary, I wrote a line on the hopelessness of her chances even when you count superdelegates; for Obama, I added a phrase about his loss of some white support. My Obama edit was fully scrubbed within three minutes, by an editor I’d never even seen before. My Hillary edit languished untouched for four hours until Schilling finally got around to deleting it. But, even then, he carefully preserved my skeptical text and pasted it onto the separate history-ofHillary’s-campaign page, a gesture of acceptance. It has remained there, a little wart on Hillary’s Wikipedia face, untouched, ever since.
Though I wouldn’t vouch for the veracity of this, it’s undeniable that it’s an interesting and reasonable account:
According to a Democratic strategist unaligned with any campaign but with knowledge of the situation gleaned from all three camps, the answer is simple: Obama blew it. Speaking to Edwards on the day he exited the race, Obama came across as glib and aloof. His response to Edwards’s imprecations that he make poverty a central part of his agenda was shallow, perfunctory, pat. Clinton, by contrast, engaged Edwards in a lengthy policy discussion. Her affect was solicitous and respectful. When Clinton met Edwards face-to-face in North Carolina ten days later, her approach continued to impress; she even made headway with Elizabeth. Whereas in his Edwards sit-down, Obama dug himself in deeper, getting into a fight with Elizabeth about health care, insisting that his plan is universal (a position she considers a crock), high-handedly criticizing Clinton’s plan (and by extension Edwards’s) for its insurance mandate.
(via The Page)
John Heilemann deftly handles the oft-ignored disparity between the media coverage of Senators Obama and Clinton.
Theories abound as to why the media has treated Clinton and Obama so differently. The simplest is that reporters simply like Obama better; that he’s new and fresh and unburdened with anything resembling Clinton fatigue. Another theory revolves around cultural bias. “The fact is that the national press is a bunch of northeastern liberals,” says the adviser to an erstwhile Democratic runner, “and they just love the idea of this post-racial black dude being the nominee.” A third revolves around the respective dramatic arcs embodied by Clinton and Obama. Citing the Times primary-beat reporters assigned to the candidates, a competitor of theirs observes, “Pat Healy’s job is to challenge the Clinton myth and machine. Jeff Zeleny’s is to write the epic rise of Barack Obama. That’s generally the media’s approach—Clinton and Obama are just at different points in their stories.”
All these theories contain at least some truth, but it’s the last one that edges closest to what I think has actually gone on. Campaigns are, at bottom, a competition between memes: infectious ideas that gather force through sheer repetition. The most powerful of these memes are what Just refers to as meta-narratives, the backdrops against which everything plays out in the media. “Clinton’s meta-narrative,” she says, “is that she’ll do anything to win; she can’t be trusted, she’s ethically challenged; she’s manipulative, calculating, and programmed.” Obama’s meta-narrative is decidedly otherwise. “It’s the same, in a way, as John McCain’s,” says Just. “He’s authentic, honest, free of taint. Then you add in new, charismatic, and an agent of change.”
(via The Page)
The Economist has a pretty good summary of the events in the Democratic campaign this weekend. But that’s not why I’m linking to this. I’m linking to this because the picture of Hillary Clinton attached to the article is the funniest thing I’ve seen all morning.
In David Brook’s slightly gimmicky — not that there’s anything wrong with that — column, he offers useful (if odd) analogy for the two Democratic contenders:
Listen, the essential competition in many consumer sectors is between commodity providers and experience providers, the companies that just deliver product and the companies that deliver a sensation, too. There’s Safeway, and then there is Whole Foods. There’s the PC, and then there’s the Mac. There are Holiday Inns, and there are W Hotels. There’s Walgreens, and there’s The Body Shop.
If you couldn’t tell, he is saying that Senator Clinton is a Holiday Inn.
This is about the machinations of Democratic party politics, so don’t tell me I didn’t warn you. Having said that, I found this very interesting (emphasis mine).
“Thanks to Zell Miller, there is a rule to deal with Joe Lieberman,” reports Mark Pazniokas of the Hartford Courant. “Lieberman’s endorsement of Republican John McCain disqualifies him as a super-delegate to the Democratic National Convention under what is informally known as the Zell Miller rule, according to Democratic State Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo. Miller, then a Democratic senator from Georgia, not only endorsed Republican George Bush four years ago, but he delivered a vitriolic attack on Democrat John Kerry at the Republican National Convention. The Democrats responded with a rule disqualifying any Democrat who crosses the aisle from being a super delegate.”
The Project for Excellence in Journalism has news that’s galling and/or obvious. Bill Clinton got more media coverage last week than any Republican candidate or John Edwards.
Obama edged Hillary Clinton by the narrowest of margins. But her surrogate and husband—whose aggressive attacks on Obama and increasingly conspicuous role have been manna for political pundits—was the third-most prominent newsmaker in the race for President last week, January 21 through 27. That period began two days after the Nevada caucuses and ended the day after the Democrats’ South Carolina primary.
(via The Page)
Paul Krugman wants to bring the rapidly inflating post-partisanship balloon that’s carrying Obama upward in for closer examination. And whether he’s being a realist or a killjoy, he’s got some interesting things to say.
First, those who don’t want to nominate Hillary Clinton because they don’t want to return to the nastiness of the 1990s — a sizable group, at least in the punditocracy — are deluding themselves. Any Democrat who makes it to the White House can expect the same treatment: an unending procession of wild charges and fake scandals, dutifully given credence by major media organizations that somehow can’t bring themselves to declare the accusations unequivocally false (at least not on Page 1).
The point is that while there are valid reasons one might support Mr. Obama over Mrs. Clinton, the desire to avoid unpleasantness isn’t one of them.