Sunday, 5 September 2004

Back home in flyover country

The trip back home was nice and painless. Southwest may get a lot more of my business in the future. Now off to catch up on my TiVo viewing and get a sound night’s sleep in my own bed.

Church sign blogging

Seen on a church sign today in Fayette County:

I had to wonder — will that really increase their resale value?


You know, I don’t care to hear about France’s sex life, thank you very much, although I do think the “long pounding” was suffered by the other 49 states, not to mention the Iraqis, rather severely as well.

Dirty, filthy tricks and party cohesion

James Joyner and Steven Taylor ponder the cognitive dissonance (or perceptual screens) that allow partisans to think their party never resorts to “dirty tricks” while the other does so routinely. Helpfully, Steven Bainbridge produces an incomplete catalog of Democratic offenses, perhaps as evidence of both sides of this phenomenon.

Bainbridge’s post is in reaction to a post by Kevin Drum that argues liberals “still aren’t as dedicated to [their] cause as conservatives are to theirs.” Pondering this point over breakfast (about 50 feet east of where I’m sitting in the Palmer House), I concluded liberals (or, rather, Democrats) aren’t as committed as Republicans because the Democrats are more fractured into multiple interests who often have diametrically-opposed values on important dimensions—consider, for example, the strong religious faith of most African Americans versus the highly secularized, mostly-white “professional” left, or the divergent interests of organized labor (who favor a cartelized labor market) and the working (and non-working) poor. Obviously this isn’t an especially keen insight, but it may go some ways toward another explanation of why the DNC failed to rally support for Kerry/Edwards in the way the RNC did for Bush/Cheney.

More here.

September surprise

Equal-opportunity partisan wingnut hat on…

I think this report was clearly timed to distract voters from John Kerry’s self-immolation or his cunningly effective attack on the president. I blame George Soros or the neocon cabal.

Nuke the Hurricanes!

Apropos of Hurricane Frances: Why don’t we try to destroy tropical cyclones by nuking them?

Environmental and physical problems aside, I think Florida and Florida State fans could also get behind this plan.

Pondering the bounce

I’ll admit I was about the last person who would have predicted a large convention bounce for the incumbent—heck, I’m on record predicting a narrow Kerry victory, and that was largely predicated on Bush receiving about the same bounce (i.e. zero) that Kerry did due to a polarized electorate.

As Robert Garcia Tagorda notes this evening, the Democratic postmortem—and perhaps the recriminations—have begun. Robert argues that the DNC’s singleminded focus on Kerry’s military record as a qualification for office created the media frame for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth to have an open line of attack on the challenger.

I suspect there may be a separate dynamic at work as well. All party conventions (aside, perhaps, from the Communists’) wrap themselves in the flag and try to emphasize their party’s “big tent” nature. Of course, these frames don’t work as well for some as for others; attempts to paint the Republicans as an open-minded party committed to diversity (however defined) result—often with some basis—in snickering and eye-rolling from anyone with a modicum of knowledge of American politics, while Democrats’ wrapping themselves in the flag leads many observers (including myself, in my more cynical moments) to ponder that many of the party’s adherents would rather burn the flag than use it as a cloak. Thus, parties also have to do something else at a convention to make it a worthwhile exercise.

The trouble for the Democrats is that essentially all they did at the convention was a “gung ho,” flag-waving exercise that nobody bought—the leftist base found it offensive, while a lot of other people found the whole exercise downright implausible. Contrast the Republicans, who—despite the cringe-inducing emphasis on the “big tent”—managed also to articulate a message on national security that is so effective against Kerry that the Democrats have had to resort to smearing Zell Miller as a racist (if, by “racist,” you mean “any politician who ever was elected to public office in a Southern state”—I can draw the same lines between many prominent “real” Democrats and bigots, but apparently Democrats don’t want to talk about the sheets in “their guys’” closets) and both Dick Cheney and George Bush as relapsed alcoholics.

Bypassing Clinton

My (newlywed) cousin Gordon emails the extended family:

I just caught on the online news that Bill Clinton has to have emergency, quadruple by-pass surgery, probably some week next time (seriously), and it occurred to me that that is probably the first thing my Uncle Pic [my maternal grandfather – Ed.] and a liberal Democrat will EVER have had in common!

I think Gordon may be right about that. In all seriousness, though, I join those offering my best wishes for Mr. Clinton’s speedy recovery; may he live to agitate my grandfather another day.