September 08, 2008
Rich Frum, Poor Frum
I highly recommend reading David Frum’s sharp and provocative analysis in the New York Times, on the “Vanishing Republican Voter,” who is, despite other ideological underpinnings, falling prey to the siren call of Democratic economic policies.
Chavez, The New Castro
It's not an exact parallel. But Hugo Chavez is fast approaching the status of Fidel Castro among the armies of discontent. One difference, however, is that socialism no longer has the moral standing it had in 1958 and for almost two decades thereafter. In fact, socialism as an answer to the grievances of the poor is widely seen -- even among the disinherited -- as the remedy of buffoons or actual madmen. What idealism do you see in the eyes of those carrying the red banner in Nepal and North Korea? It's actually a joke, a bloody joke. Now, Venezuela is not North Korea.
Palin, T.r., And Truman
I'll let Marty decide if he wants to bother responding to the shot Bill Kristol fires at him in today's NYT, but there's another part of Kristol's column that I'd like to take on. It's this graf: Should voters be alarmed by a relatively young or inexperienced vice-presidential candidate? No. Since 1900, five vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency during their term in office: Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, Calvin Coolidge in 1923, Harry Truman in 1945, Lyndon Johnson in 1963, and Gerald Ford in 1974.
September 05, 2008
The Unifier Turned Divider
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Once upon a time, John McCain promised to be a different kind of politician and a different kind of Republican.
A Star Had Already Been Born
The right-wing love affair with Sarah Palin, explained.
Free Sarah Palin! (cont'd)
David Frum makes a good case that it would actually be in the McCain campaign's self-interest to tear down the wall it's erected between Palin and the media: A question I am often asked when I give talks or lectures is: Why did the Bush communication effort end so badly? How did an administration that once commanded such public support end by losing all ability to make its case? My answer is that the ultimate failure was encoded into the initial success.
Crusade To Nowhere
John McCain hit the "reform" theme hard in his speech last night, and I couldn't help but wonder: What does McCain actually plan to change about government? I get that Sarah Palin is a nice person and doesn't like sleaze—except when she's hitting up corporate donors on behalf of Ted Stevens or hiring earmark lobbyists for her hometown... No, but seriously: Back in 2000, McCain could reasonably claim to be a "reform" candidate by touting his campaign finance bill—he had a specific proposal to address a concrete problem.
Mccain Concedes He's A Patriot
The Washington Post reports today: Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) conceded this week that McCain knew that his support both for the war and for the flow of additional troops he said was necessary for victory could doom his prospects in the election. "Calling for more troops to be sent to Iraq was one of the most unpopular things John McCain could have done," Graham said. "Some said it was political suicide. But you know what? It was the right thing to do." Conceded? A concession is when you say something that's against your interests or makes you look bad.
A Good Speech -- In A Vacuum
I sat down in my rocking chair tonight, armed with a glass of Ovaltine and toast with ration-stamp jelly, and experienced McCain's speech like it would have been experienced had he been a mid-century presidential candidate: on the radio. (With no TV at home, I didn't have much of a choice.) Tonally, over the radio I actually liked the speech other commentators are now panning as "mediocre", "not a great success", or even "shockingly bad." What to others sounded flat (was it the crowd? McCain's expression?) to me sounded plain-spoken and unadorned.
How did it play politically? Will it energize the base? Will it make swing voters swoon? As usual, your guess is as good as mine--or any of the pundits you see yapping on the television right now. Until the focus groups and polls come in, we're all just speculating. But I can register a verdict on substance. If this was McCain's answer to voter anxiety about the economy, it wasn't too impressive. As you've been reading--or, perhaps, as you've noticed on your own--economic policy has not been a big theme this week in Minneapolis.