Wednesday, 26 March 2008

In November, party identification will win

I can’t say I’m likely to get all that excited by Gallup’s numbers that allegedly show Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s supporters will engage in mass defections to John McCain in November if their preferred candidate doesn’t win the Democratic nomination. For starters, it reeks of the same whininess we were hearing back in ancient history (i.e. about six weeks ago) when we were told on good authority that Republicans who supported Romney/Thompson/Giuliani/Huckabee wouldn’t vote for McCain in November. A little smooth talking by the eventual nominee will get the base on board for November.

More importantly, most partisan voters are going to figure out that at some level their party’s nominee is preferable to the opposition’s candidate. For all Republicans’ complaints about McCain on issues like campaign finance reform, the Bush tax cuts, and judicial nominations, from the perspectives of the campaigners Obama and Clinton are at least as bad on those issues, if not worse, and they’re bad on many issues where Republicans agree with McCain too. For Democrats upset about Clinton’s triangulation or Obama’s lack of substance on the War in Iraq, the various spiritual advisors of those candidates, the level of armed attack Clinton was under when she visited Bosnia, or the detailed nuances of their plans to nationalize health care, again those differences pale in comparison compared to the prospect of voting for John “1000 Years” McCain. The real partisans will come home in November, once the nomination campaign sideshow is through, provided the process in the end is seen as reasonably fair.

Now, I may eat my words if one candidate somehow gets the Democratic party convention to unseat fairly-selected pledged delegates or otherwise makes an end-run around the established rules, but if that happens the Democrats will have much more serious problems in November than a bit of negative campaigning that will quickly be forgotten once the Democratic-leftist-liberal noise machine lines up behind the nominee—as much of the Republican acrimony has already moved to the wayside as most of the GOP-rightist-conservative noisemakers have gotten on board, to the point that the only real McCain complaints that show up on my RSS feed these days are coming from libertarians, centrists, and the Democratic side of the aisle.

Troester gets schooled

Nick on the unbearable lightness of office hours:

Another office hours, another students-not-showing-up-even-though-they-emailed me. I will resolve to no longer be surprised if this happens.

My modal office hours visitation score over my career is zero. The mean isn’t much higher, although I find amazing bursts of interest when I’ve passed out take-home exams or have a research paper due, particularly in my research methods classes.

That said, I am not complaining about this state of affairs (beyond the fact that it ties me to my desk at times I might otherwise choose not to be so tied), although I encourage the movement of most potential student meetings to email; as my ex-boss repeatedly points out, with appropriate Internet-shouting emphasis, WORK IS WHAT WE DO BETWEEN MEETINGS.

Finding numbers to stick in font-size-adjust

While fiddling around with my style sheets this morning, I discovered this web page which will allow you to calculate the right font-size-adjust value to specify in CSS for any locally-installed font, although I think the page only works with Firefox at the moment.