Archive

  • 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...
  • Dubya and the F-You Boys

    Posted by Nick Beaudrot Morning Folks, it's Nick from Electoral Math again. I'm on pager duty this weekend, which means I'm stuck inside while the Blue Angels buzz Lake Washington, the high speed boats zip along at frightening speeds, and downtown becomes a zoo. Yes, it's time again for SEAFAIR , Seattle's annual summer expression of civic pride and beer consumption. But I'll either be spending it at home or tucked in the corner of a coffee shop that has free wireless. Anyway, t his has to have the GOP worried: Bush has lost support most dramatically ... among men with a high school education or less. In The Two Americas , Stan Greenberg calls the white portion of this demographic the "F-You Boys". "They think President George W. Bush is their guy," he writes. "Everything about the Bush presidency seems to resonate with these voters. These white men, without college degrees, many blue collar, married, under fifty years of age, mainly with young families, like the style, values,...
  • Kanye and Jay-Z

    I know Kanye West likes Jay-Z. I know West is with his label. I know he owes Jay-Z. But enough. He's got to stop letting him ruin his songs. After spitting out an overview of Sierra Leone's massacres, the role diamonds have to play in them, and the conflict that creates for those who see them as an innocent status symbol, the segue to Jay-Z is the aural equivalent of smacking into a pole during your morning jog. But you quickly forget your aching head, because Jay-Z's lyrics are so unsubstantial, so meaninglessly self-aggrandizing, that you stop wondering why he fucked up the song and start wondering why Kanye let him. How can you falter, when you're the rock of gibraltar/ Had to get out of the boat, so I could walk on water/ This ain't no tall order, this is nothing to me/ Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week/ Jay-Z, contrary to reputation, is about the most lyrically derivative rapper we've got. The guy's allergic to profundity, terrified of substance, and addicted to...
  • James Woolsey, Granola Muncher

    Check out Josh Bearman's overview of the energy bill, what it means for oil consumption, and where it's leading us. I know, I know, energy bill was so last week, and it's boring besides, and the fight is over, and peak oil stuff makes you antsy but...c'mon. Just give it 5 minutes.
  • One Bernie Sanders Does Not a Rule Make

    This is what always confuses me about David Sirota's bimonthly explosions towards "centrists" (which is to say, people who disagree with him on NAFTA). He writes as if the only way to win an election is carrying a giant pair of scissors and slicing up free trade agreements at every stop to rapturous applause from union audiences. This, he seems to think, is what people "who've actually won some campaigns" want us to do. But Evan Bayh thinks NAFTA was great. So does Clinton. Norquist, who he uses as an example of someone who "actually knows how build a serious movement", hearts business, free trade, bankruptcy bills, and all manner of screw-the-working-class wonderfulness. So if we're to actually go by Sirota's argument here, you can absolutely fuck over your base en route to majority status. Right?
  • Call Me When He Turns Into a Bat

    You gotta feel bad for Bob Novak. It's no easy transition to start the day a hack and end the week a criminal. That Novakula reacted to Carville's gentle patter as if someone had thrown open his coffin lid in broad daylight is just a symptom -- he didn't expect to be here, didn't want to be here, he's not the story. But he is. Amy Sullivan's piece on the guy made this point pretty well, but the reason Novak, a droopy, heavy, ugly guy with little on-air charisma and no proven facility for independent thought, has succeeded so stunningly is because, in addition to a principled refusal to engage in critical thinking, he took a similar stand against filtering information. Novak waits for what the cat drags in, then dedicates his column to dragging it back out. He's not a Krugman, a Brooks, or a Will, his columns aren't arguments or advocacy. Instead, they're transcripts. Whatever scuttlebut, rumors, hearsay, and smears Novak receives during a week are tossed in, and, lo and behold, a...
  • Don't Forget the Insidious "Tuxedo T-Shirt"

    GQ's "The Style Guy" is not where I generally expect to find penetrating social commentary, but when it pops up amidst the wrinkled suits and shoes with buckles, who am I to refuse? In my opinion, the casual movement has gone hand in hand with the restructuring of society. The past ten years have seen the creation of a class of superrich, who own everything, while the middle class has eroded. But it's all very invisible, because the superrich have traded in their frock coats and wing collars for jeans and sneakers. Bill Gates wears denim shirts, Steve Jobs wears jeans. It's brilliant when you think about it: The next fascism won't be Blackshirts in shiny jackboots; it'll be "barbecue casual".
  • At Least Obama Can Relax

    Paul Hackett's a good guy, but could we not raise the bar quite this high? Plenty of other candidates have outperformed expectations, even done so wildly, and not become Bill Clinton. Let's relax for a few months, then try and get the guy elected to something before we start planning his acceptance speech at the 2020 convention.

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