Monday, February 26, 2007
If you know that show, then you know that's some high praise.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Still, it's faintly unnerving to see just how far ahead of the field Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani are right now.I have no problem with half of his assertion. Hillary is polarizing. Partly that is of no fault of her own, but stems from her involvement in her husband's administration.
That would be a hell of a campaign, wouldn't it? Two New Yorkers, playing out the unfinished grudge match of their 2000 Senate race. A mayor vs. a senator. The first major party female candidate in history. And just possibly the two toughest, most polarizing, most single-mindedly ambitious politicians on the national stage today. I hope we all survive.
But Rudy is one of the most polarizing? How exactly? This is a moderate-to-liberal Republican. I suspect the only reason that liberals find him to be polarizing is because he succeeded as a Republican in the most liberal city outside of San Francisco and Washington D.C.
This is a man who has a three to one difference between his favorable and unfavorable opinion ratings in public opinion polls. Polarizing to an underwhelming minority of voters, I'd say.
I know, I know. They will come back and scream Amadou Diallo and make hay over his approach to law and order. I think this is a mistake both on the idea and in impact. Probably no other Republican candidate would work more with Democrats (if they are willing) and would meet them half way more often than Giuliani. Further, do the Democrats really want to try to make the case that his proven, successful, tough-on-crime approach is what makes him polarizing? Do liberals have a compulsion for trying to prove true every stereotype about them that the right has claimed for the past several decades, so that they must eagerly and aggressively promote a soft-on-criminals mentality?
This is what it would have been like if Republicans had lamented Joe Lieberman's 2004 Presidential bid by saying he is one of the most polarizing candidates in the nation. The only ones who are driven batty by Lieberman, or by Giuliani, are strident liberals.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
All I know is that, in February so far, only three days have gone without any deaths of U.S. soldiers. And most days this month have had 4 or more soldiers killed.
I know there can be progress even with casualties. But until our men and women are not being killed on a day-to-day basis, I won't consider our efforts as 'working.'
On the other hand, I find most of this group, namely Rev. Jerry Falwell, Paul Weyrich, and Grover Norquist to be people I could simply do without. I find them insufferable, and I think that our nation's politics would be considerably healthier without their influence.
With that in mind, I find the fact that they are uncomfortable with the current crop of 2008 GOP Presidential contenders to be a very encouraging thing.
A group of influential Christian conservatives and their allies emerged from a private meeting at a Florida resort this month dissatisfied with the Republican presidential field and uncertain where to turn...The fact that they are unhappy with Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, and Mitt Romney is an encouraging sign for each of those candidates.
But in a stark shift from the group’s influence under President Bush, the group risks relegation to the margins. Many of the conservatives who attended the event, held at the beginning of the month at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla., said they were dismayed at the absence of a champion to carry their banner in the next election.
Many conservatives have already declared their hostility to Senator John McCain of Arizona, who once denounced Christian conservative leaders as “agents of intolerance,” and former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York, a liberal on abortion and gay rights issues who has been married three times.
But many were also deeply suspicious of former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts; the council has been distributing to its members a dossier prepared by a Massachusetts conservative group about liberal elements of his record on abortion, stem cell research, gay rights and gun control. Mr. Romney says he has become more conservative.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
The national disgrace of gerrymandering has created a system in which the vast majority of House seats are safe for one of the two parties. As a result, the real action is in the primaries, which tend to be dominated by activists. As a result, we see the polarization of Congress, as GOP candidates tend hard right to win their primaries and vice-versa for the Democrats. Now the netroots plan to exacerbate the problem.
The solution seems obvious. A national system of nonpartisan redistricting designed to maximize the number of truly competitive seats. In such a system, candidates would succeed by appealing to the center rather than the extremes, which in turn would reduce the destructive influence of the rabid partisans on both sides of the net.
A national system of nonpartisan redistricting! Of course! Why didn't I think of that? It does seem obvious!At least, as obvious as solving the problem of wars by making a weapon that destroys all other weapons, or of solving hunger by growing trees that produce unlimited fruit. Obvious, but completely existing in fantasyland.
There cannot be a nonpartisan system for redistricting, since any system will involve (to one extent or another) people. People are partisan (some more than others). The 'obvious' answer to that is to ensure that only non-partisan people (or at least, the least partisan people) end up appointed to or elected to be the ones with most influence or oversight of the 'nonpartisan' system. But then the people who would do the appointing or the electing will still be partisan, and will still use whatever means available, including this 'nonpartisan' system, for their own partisan advantage.
A nonpartisan anything never exists. The only thing that does is the claim of nonpartisanship, used to give cover to partisanship.
You know what would be cool, though? A device that would turn coldness into heat, or heat into coldness. It would solve global warming all by itself, and would also protect against global cooling. Isn't it obvious that this is exactly what we need?
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Both suck eggs.
UPDATE: My spouse saw this story and immediately said, "I bet he was molested at some point. The only people I have ever seen say things like that have been." That would be the only way that I could find any reason to have compassion for Hardaway over his remarks. I would still think they indicate a mental problem on his part, but I would at least understand his illness.
For the few Marcotte apologists left-- you know who you are. You are the ones who say that you are personally atheist or agnostic, but see a difference between mocking religion and being a bigot.
Explain the difference between calling someone a "raghead" and calling someone a "godbag."
You have seen both. One you would immediately recognize as bigoted. The other, you did not even notice, because your own beliefs are oh-so-close.
Comfortable? I doubt it.
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
It’s highly unlikely Edwards’ campaign would have significantly suffered if she had not quit. The main reason: the people going after her for her previous writings are not people who would likely vote for Edwards anyway. And voters who would vote against a candidate because someone doing blog outreach and coordination had written some things they hated were probably “squishy” voters who could not be counted on.A few things come to mind. First, I have seen a tremendous number of bloggers acting like her fall (of which this is now the second iteration) is a bad thing for bloggers, because it will mean that bloggers might have to be accountable for the things they write or have written. Given that bloggers, in general, take pride in holding others accountable, this strikes me as wanting to have the best of both worlds. Accountability is good, not bad.
Second, we are not talking about just some slightly over the line writings here. We are talking about things written that were so far over the line that it revealed a completely rotten core. Hers are the writings of an unstable, hate-filled person-- and she was chosen by a Presidential candidate specifically for the appeal of her poisonous scribing. I think it says something very disturbing about human nature that she has had so many bloggers suggest that it would be a bad thing for bloggers if Edwards canned her. Talking about God filling Mary with his hot, sticky Holy Spirit is something that should cause immediate revulsion from any American regardless of ideology; it is a matter of decorum and of proper treatment of others. For Marcotte, it is a key aspect of her popularity. But many, too many, bloggers went right past that with only token concern (if that) and went right to the impact on bloggers! What this shows is that any group will tend to be overly forgiving or blind to the failings of one of their own. And if bloggers will excuse the inexcusable from other bloggers because it would be bad for bloggers if they take a fall, it is easy to see how partisans outside of the blogosphere will tend to excuse the inexcusable from their fellow soul mates.
The third thing that comes to mind is that I certainly hope that Edwards takes a hit in the polls for his choice of hire, his flip-flop fire-rehire mush from last week, and giving her the easy way out of a resignation now rather than a firing. It showed poor judgment on his part, and suggested that, perhaps, he did not see anything all that wrong with what she wrote. This gets to my biggest concern, though. Maybe hate has become mainstream and shared by so many that it is a feature, not a bug. God help us all if that is the case.
ADDED: Althouse strikes a chord I am seeing too often.
I favor independent blogging, and I like to see things get interesting. Interesting... hot... sticky... whatever! Just not boring.
Maybe we should lament the reaction to Michael Richards' on-stage rant. We should favor independent comedy, and should like to see things get interesting. Interesting... slurs... whatever! Just not boring. Anything but that. And what, may I ask, is interesting about public displays of offensiveness, vulgarity, and hate?
And another added thought--I am sure a Duke-like blogger is interesting to certain racists and bigots. What does it say about someone who finds the writings of an anti-Catholic bigot to be interesting? Make no mistake, that is what Marcotte is. If one is an atheist or an agnostic does not make one a bigot. But if one finds the hateful writings of Marcotte to be interesting, then one might be a lot closer to, or over, that line than one realizes.
For comparison, Dale Franks gets it right.
Ms. Marcotte want two contradictory things. She wishes to create a public persona that spouts the most outlandish views, in the most incendiary fashion possible, then she wishes the rest of the world to ignore the public persona she created when it suits her...And on Danny Glover's blog, Michael Bérubé waxes sarcastically.
Ms. Marcotte doesn't want freedom of speech. She wants freedom from criticism. I'm sure that would be a cool thing to have, but, unfortunately, freedom of speech makes that...well...impossible to obtain...
It's time for a full-scale purge of atheists in politics. Only then can we restore civility to public discourse. With Rush Limbaugh's help, God willing.I find it interesting that you would try to expand the issue here from one pathetically bigoted atheist to all atheists. However, I am not sure that is wise on his part. I never really considered this to be a matter of atheists. However, if, as suggested by his snark, all atheists are like Marcotte, then frankly maybe we do need a purge of all atheists from politics.
However, I suspect that not all atheists are like Marcotte, or like Mike. As such, I do not want to purge them from politics. I am, however, open to being convinced. Not by non-atheists, but by atheists. They can make the case by emulating Marcotte.
Saturday, February 3, 2007
If one looks back over the past several elections, one sees that the country has been divided pretty evenly. For a while Republicans were winning the close ones, and then all at once the Democrats won every single close one in 2006.
The fact is that both parties have to maintain every portion of their voting coalition in order to retain the balance. For a while, thanks to Ralph Nader, it looked as if the Democrats would be the party that struggled in this effort. Now, though, the Republicans are the more vulnerable.
Let's say that you are a centrist. A moderate. You are open to the Republican message, and may even feel that you are center-right as opposed to center-left. Would you be part of a coalition that never, under any circumstances, would let someone from your corner of the ideologic spectrum lead?
The fact of the matter is that Rudy Giuliani is, perhaps, the most formidable center-right (or, if you must, liberal Republican) candidate of the last half-century or so. He is accomplished and popular. Sure, he has flaws, but every man and woman has flaws; if some of the 'problems' Rudy has were disqualifying in the eyes of the public, then neither Clinton would have had any success at all. If the GOP will not have Giuliani, then moderate Republicans will have no choice but to realize that the party will NEVER accept one of their own as the standard bearer. That is the time they will realize they no longer have a party.