• Sunday Music

    This week's been all about The New Pornographer's Electric Version for me. If anyone can recommend more bands like them, I'd be stoked. When I needed a break from the indie, I got Arrested Development to belt out some tunes, namely "Fishin 4 Religion" and "Natural". What're you spinning?
  • Never Enough

    By Ezra In comments, Iron Lungfish writes: If the bar's fallen so low that Huckabee is now the standard for what makes a grownup Republican, this is a hideous portent that there are no potentially tolerable Republican presidents. But were there ever? We always say that the Republivan party of today is so much more unacceptable than the Republican party of yore, but I can't think of a single Republican president who Democrats held anything than broad antipathy for. Eisenhower was neither Republican and Democrat, he was some fourth-dimension political being who simply acted the steward as America normalized after World War II. But his VP? Well now... The campaigns against Eisenhower, particularly against his reelection, were largely conducted against Nixon, the devilish lackey who was a heartbeat from the presidency. Democrats hated Nixon. Even Bush bashing looks light compared to the scorn, distaste, and revulsion we felt for the guy. Now, of course, we look back and wonder why we...
  • Say "No" to Newt Nostalgia

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot To respond to some comments in the Huckabee thread , let me say that in no way am I endorsing the nascent Huckabee '08 campaign. But given the non-McCain, non-Giuliani alternatives (since, let's face it, neither of those guys will get through the primary), I'd rather roll the dice with Huckabee than with Brownback, Frist, Romney, or any other oft-mentioned potential Republican candidates. A commenter writes on another potential Grown-Up Republican, "I'm alright with occasionally reminiscing about soft spots for Newt Gingrich, but Huckabee is much worse." At the risk of piling on, the burgeoning " Newt wasn't that bad" meme is highly dangerous , because he really was that bad. The are three good things about Newt: he's a significantly more honest conservative than the current bunch; he's learned enough political lessons from the Clinton years that he wouldn't try to dismantle the federal government completely; and he does a lot of reviews at [full...
  • A Taste of Life in the Other Washington

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot The Sunday Times-PI , which merges the two big papers in Seattle, has a couple of contradictory columns and op-eds today. Ted Van Dyk gets a prominent column on recent dysfunction in both City and County government, which is full of grousing about construction projects that end up over budget, and the connections between Paul Allen's real estate firm and several City Council members. Meanwhile the editorial board cogently argues that new high-density development will fail without support for services like grocery stores, neighborhood schools, and serious investment in public transit. Washington state is gearing up for city and county elections and ballot initatives this fall, where there's a good chance there may be a revolt against both the decade long project to build a monorail in Seattle and a repeal of the state-wide gas tax increase (which did nothing more than keep the gas tax in line with energy inflation) that will help upgrade the state's woefully...
  • Grown-up Republican Watch

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot In an issue that's otherwise close to worthless, New York Times Magazine has an interview with Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas), a dark horse candidate in the 2008 Presidential race. Other than his use of the nonsense term "Iraqi-Afghan war", which implies that there's some alliance there that doesn't exist and furthers the implicit non-existent ties between 9/11 and Saddam, he comes across as a quick-witted, amiable guy. He accepts partisan politics as a job, but once the campaigning is over, he's willing to get back to the business of governing. Arkansas has a Dem controlled state legislature, so Huckabee is forced to deal with the opposition in a way that Bush is not. Huckabee's so pro-life he makes Bush look like a raging moderate on the issue. And he's definitely no fan of "teh gay" [ sic ]. And once he has America's Express card, he might drop all his balanced budget talk. But, he's clearly feels that political Washington is imposing too many mandates...
  • If I Could Be Like Bobby

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot To maintain the Law of Conservation of Blog Post Length, I'll answer Ezra's book query in short order. I just picked up The Gospel According to RFK to feed my Bobby "first New Democrat" Kennedy hero-worship . It's a collection of speech excerpts from Kennedy's 1968 Presidential campaign -- all quality stuff, but with enough length to remind you that even RFK doesn't drip eloquence from every single sentence that comes out of his mouth. There are plenty of good speeches, on health care, poverty, civic responsibility, and foreign policy, and while one out of every three chapters will draw out enough empathy to have you on the verge of tears, the rest of the book is "just" a bucnh of good campaign speeches. It'd be tough to revive Bobby's political coalition, and his policies are a bit obsolete now, but if more Democrats learned to talk like Bobby, they'd lose way fewer elections.
  • Karl Rove's Fuzzy Math, Part #871

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot It's time to reach down into the bottom of your desk, get out your slide rule, an abacus, a quill pen, and a piece of carbon paper. We'll take a look at the turnout and election returns from this Tuesday's special election, and see if there are any clues pointing the DCCC where they should go next. [ lots of words and pretty pictures to follow ]
  • Saturday Books

    I had finals this week, so there's not been much interesting prose on my nightstand. I read a bit of Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture and am finishing up Nixon vs. Kennedy . But it's been more of a periodicals week, and the New York Review of Books has been leading the charge there. What'choo got?
  • A Candlelight Election Dinner

    By Ezra Nick's post below on Bush's declining support among white men with a high school education or less is important stuff. This is the demographic that kicked John Kerry in the teeth. In 2000, Gore won the non-high school educated by 20%, Kerry took them by 1%. In 2000, Gore lost the high-school educated by 1%, Kerry lost them by 5%. The only place Kerry made gains, in fact, was among the post-doc crowd, taking Gore's 8% advantage and turning it into a 10% lead. We traded beer bellies for egg heads and found out, just as Adlai Stevenson did decades ago, that electoral arithmetic is the one sort of math that the working class figures better than the knowledge class. But we know we need to win whites, the question is, why did we lose the,? Here you've got a few things going on. First and foremost, there's a respect for authority, particularly in times of national duress. This is the don't-change-horses-midstream crowd, and so they saddled up with Gore in 2000 but galloped off with...
  • Obligatory Paul Hackett After Action Report

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot Now that there's some space separating us from August 2nd's special election, let's take a step back and see what Democrats can learn. My initial thoughts haven't changed much, but I think Charles Kuffer summarizes the Hackett result much more effectively than I can [emphasis mine]: The bottom line is that a good candidate with clearly articulated values and enough funding to make his or her message heard is a force to be reckoned with, no matter where the race is. Ohioans are getting fed up with Republican governance, but that alone would not have been enough to push Jean Schmidt to the brink of defeat in such a crimson red district. Paul Hackett had a terrific biography, raised the scratch to get on TV, and portrayed himself as something of a conservative in his ads. Democrats may not be able to find candidates with his strength in every district that Bush carried with 64% of the vote. But if they can find a Paul Hackett or a Coleen Rowley in half those...