A modest proposal, perhaps.
It’s been entertaining watching American public “discourse” since the election. (I use that word in its broadest, most ridiculous sense, since nothing that hinges so completely on self-absorption, rank ignorance and pathological dishonesty can be accurately characterized by such a noble word. But indulge me. I’ve been working on my irony lately.)
On the one hand you have conservatives fainting dead away that we’re now in the clutches of a “socialist” president. Never mind that these folks wouldn’t know a real socialist if he was gnawing their balls off. Never mind that most of these folks think “socialist” is the French word for Negro. Never mind that Obama demonstrably is to socialism what Joe the Plumber is to brie-sucking Northeastern intellectualism. As arch-conservative TV pundit Stephen Colbert says, “this is a fact-free zone.”
On the other you have the righteous outrage of the progressosphere, which feels six different kinds of betrayed by a president who promised them the moon and stars and has now left them to what looks like at least a four-year walk of shame. If I might borrow from an old fraternity joke, imagine the following scene from the Oval Office: Read more
Hey, what’s that in our stocking? It’s Ron Paul! Oh joy – we got The TruthÂ® for Christmas!
Ahem. So those of you who thought Ron Paul was going to go away once the big boys got serious have probably been surprised by his staying power so far. He’s polling in the high single digits (something
Ronald Reagan Fred Thompson can’t say) and one pollster thinks his actual numbers are in the double digits. He says he’s raised $19M this quarter. His supporters are insane courageously enthusiastic, and he seems to be showing strength among some groups that you wouldn’t expect – progressives, younger voters, etc.
And of course, he’s left the rest of the pack for dead in the highly scientific S&R reader poll, where at the moment of this writing he has over twice as many votes as the rest of the GOP candidates put together (unless you count “other”).
Election watchers in both parties are trying to better understand Paul’s appeal and what it means for their candidates’ chances. Read more
In describing the Democratic response to Bush’s sabre-rattling toward Iran, Power of Narrative’s Arthur Silber summed things up neatly:
They don’t object because — they don’t object.
The only thing wrong with Silber’s assessment is that it was limited to Iran. In truth, you could just as easily use those seven succinct words to characterize the Democratic Party in general. Time and time again, on critical issue after critical issue, the Democrats fall in line with their Republican leaders and do what they’re asked. They do the will of the GOP instead of the will of the people. They act in the interests of the nation’s narrow power elite instead of in the public interest. They follow instead of leading. And they do so because – they don’t object.
Some examples illustrate the point.
First the suggestion that Ron Paul had more money than McCain, and now this:
McCain loses top advisers
by Mike DorningRepublican presidential candidate John McCain’s two top campaign advisers departed today, a major shake-up for a presidential bid that has been struggling for much of the year. Read more
My fellow Scrogues and I have been talking about the Political Compass and sharing scores and insights (and complaints) today. On the whole, the compass a great tool for helping us think past simplistic notions of a left vs. right political spectrum by forcing us to separate economic and social issues, which are all too often conflated in public “debates.”
Both an economic dimension and a social dimension are important factors for a proper political analysis. Read more
Tom Schaller has a fascinating take today on the evolution of the political center. To use his analogy, it’s evolved from a one-humped camel to a two-humped dromedary, statistically speaking.
The one thing media talking heads agree upon is that the center prevails. Turn on almost any of the nation’s political talk shows and pretty soon somebody will say how crucial it is for politicians to appeal to registered independents and self-described moderate voters. Read more