Archive

  • DEBUNKING THE SOUTHERN MYTH.

    DEBUNKING THE SOUTHERN MYTH. If I may add a footnote to Charles � post below, I am particularly sensitive to the pervasive �conventional wisdoms� about Democrats and the South. One of the most annoying of these analyses -- so common that I wonder if it�s one of those cut-and-paste paragraphs journalist pre-write and insert into their stories about the South -- closed the very piece Charles links to: �The last three Democrats to win the presidency--Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson--came from the southern states of Arkansas, Georgia and Texas, respectively.� That statement is true, of course: All three came of age and made their political chops in Southern states. But Clinton is different from Carter and Johnson in a fundamental way: He won his ticket to the White House outside the South. Here come the numbers, folks: Carter�s margin over Gerald Ford in 1976 was 9.5 points higher in the South than his margin over Ford in the non-South (which Ford carried narrowly). Just...
  • SINKING FAST. ...

    SINKING FAST. A new Rasmussen poll shows Ken Blackwell trailing Ted Strickland by a whopping 25 points in the Ohio gubernatorial race While I typically spend more time handicapping Armageddon than elections, it�s hard to see how even Blackwell could come up with voting rules draconian enough to keep more than 25 percent of the electorate from voting. While the gap may be explained by Republicans falling out of favor nationally and in particular in Ohio, one might also read into these poll results a growing disgust with the self-righteous political proselytizing of Blackwell and his friends on the theocratic right. (For more on that, see Paul Hackett �s new blog, We United Ohio .) According to the poll, 55 percent of Ohio voters view Blackwell unfavorably, with 35 percent viewing him very unfavorably. In a move so desperate you can practically see Blackwell groping for his life jacket, his campaign has launched a new blog , Tell The Truth, Ted, which purports to �fact-check� the voting...
  • EARLY START.

    EARLY START. Those people who get exercised when the commercials pushing the Time-Life Treasury of Christmas come on shortly after Labor Day will be happy to note that idiot season apparently opens in August these days. Will your national media fall for this crapola again? And in an election year? Stay tuned to hear Bill O'Reilly sing "Good King Wenceslaus" while accompanying himself on marimba. --Charles P. Pierce
  • CAN'T ARGUE WITH RESULTS.

    CAN'T ARGUE WITH RESULTS. Writing in The New York Times , David Leonhardt and Stephen Greenhouse have the crispest, clearest description of how sick our economy has become that I've yet seen: The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity � the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation�s living standards � has risen steadily over the same period. As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation�s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960�s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as �the golden era of profitability.� And let's not fool ourselves into believing that the difference is made up in benefits; increases there have failed to keep place...
  • ALLEN FALLING.

    ALLEN FALLING. I think Matt is onto something with his observation that Virginia may be evolving into a non-Southern state. In addition to the election of two successive moderate Democrats as governors (the first, Mark Warner , being a non-native to Virginia or the South), the latest Wall Street Journal /Zogby poll in the '06 Senate race gives Democrats some reason for hope. It shows challenger Jim Webb dead even with incumbent George Allen . This is a dramatic shift from a few weeks ago when Allen led by double digits. Observers who thought that Virginia had conquered its Confederate demons were disappointed that Ryan Lizza 's expos� on Allen seemed to matter not a whit to the average Virgninian. But apparently Macacagate has taken its toll on Allen. Whether it's Allen's xenophobia per se or his crass bullying that is turn-off to Virginia voters remains unclear. --Ben Adler
  • AND THE AWARD GOES TO JOE BIDEN.

    AND THE AWARD GOES TO JOE BIDEN. Give the man credit. It's only August of 2006, and we've already heard the single dumbest thing a Democratic presidential candidate is going to say prior to the 2008 election? Come on down, Joe Biden (D-Finance Charge). So he goes on FOX News and, like so many people recently, accidentally drinks out of Ollie North 's water-cooler. (They simply have to mark that thing better.) He then steps before the cameras and produces one of the most stunning pieces of bafflegab imaginable. I know that, among the various nominal Democrats with whom Biden feels most comfortable, there's a feeling that the party has no future until it sponsors a car at Talledega. And I bow to nobody in my respect for embattled Southern progressives. But this is triangulation covering itself in grits and running amuck down the boulevard. Hell, in George Allen , we already have one Civil War re-enactor running on the other side and, even if we didn't, is there a reason why Biden...
  • THANKS KATHERINE.

    THANKS KATHERINE. A big hand goes to colleague Greg Sargent for finding this little bit of nonsense . Personally, I don't think poor l'il Katie 's "Some of my best friends are in the IDF" alibi is going to hold much water, and the real grace note in the piece is where it was that she happened to commit this latest episode in her ongoing attempt to disgrace her opposable thumbs. If "Talking Religion at a Gun Show" isn't the best definition of the modern Republican base ever contrived, then you can swell my head and call me Newt . Without this crazy woman, none of it would have happened. We should remember that. --Charles P. Pierce
  • THE SHRINKING SOUTH.

    THE SHRINKING SOUTH. Ben Adler and Jason Zengerle both note Joe Biden 's odd theory as to why he can do well in the South as a presidential candidate: You don't know my state. My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state has the eighth-largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a Northeast liberal state. Atrios also chimes in . In Biden's semi-defense, the article is a little unclear, but I think that was in answer to a question about whether or not Biden thought he could win primary elections in the South against the region's native sons. Biden is arguing that the electorate in Democratic primaries in Dixie is heavily African-American and that, in light of Delaware's large black population, he has experience with appealing to that demographic. Three further points. One is that if Biden genuinely thinks he's going to be president some day, he's seriously deluded, but that sort of delusion is widespread in the Senate. Second is that Atrios...
  • WAL-MART: ROUND 2....

    WAL-MART: ROUND 2. Sebastian Mallaby 's obtuse column about anti-Wal-Mart sentiment among Democrats offers me an opportunity to expand on some comments I made last week. Then, referring to a Jonah Goldberg column on the same subject, I said that "how to handle Wal-Mart is among the two or three most important issues facing the country." A lot of folks ceased reading right there and began accusing me of not taking "Islamofascism" and health care seriously enough. Yes, if only I paid more attention to health care. Here's the point: It's not about Wal-Mart. Many on the left and the right make to believe this is primarily about how much H. Lee Scott pays his cashiers. It isn't. Rather, Wal-Mart is setting the norms and standards for the coming service economy. Where GM and Ford played this role for the manufacturing sector -- and the unions forced them to use their power to create the American middle-class -- Wal-Mart is assuming primacy as manufacturing's successor, and doing so without...
  • IT'S ALL ABOUT...

    IT'S ALL ABOUT THE R'S IN '08. Bloggers and journalists focused on the Democratic presidential primary contest in '03 and '04 because there wasn't one on the Republicans side, and there still seems to be a bit of a hang-over from that reporting that leads people to pay more attention to possible '08 Democratic contenders than Republican ones. This really needs to end. The most common questions about the '08 contest in my experience involve Hillary Clinton : Will she run? Can she win? etc., etc. But the answer to such questions cannot be found by looking at Clinton's history or the political landscape alone. Clinton's electability will be entirely a function of who the Republican '08 candidate is, as will any Democrat's electability. This straw poll of Republican bloggers (via a Jerome Armstrong post at MyDD) reminded me of this and of just how different Republican bloggers are from the mainstream of the Republican Party. There's been a surge of support among Republican bloggers for...

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