Monthly Archives: September 2006

Stick a fork in Angelides

The lamest campaign in recent California history, surpassing even such comedy reel hits as Michael Huffington and Bill Simon, is over. Angelides is down by almost 20 points in the latest PPIC poll. While it’s not as drop-dead-accurate as the Field Poll, even if this is an outlier, it’s still lights out. And here’s why:

Arnold is thirty percent up among Latinos. He is only down by 30 among Democrats, whereas he’s up by almost 80 among Republicans. Arnold has 20 points among independents as well.

It’s over.

UPDATE: I almost forgot Cruz Bustamante. (How could I do that?) He may be the lamest of all.

UPDATE 2: The scary-accurate Field Poll has the race 44-34. That’s a far cry from the 20 points we see in the PPIC poll, but it’s still bad news for Angeweedees.

Mr. Conservative

I’m sorry that blogger’s limitations will force this post above the below one, instead of side-by-side, but I wanted to offer my own take on Mr. Conservative.

First, I think you can forget about the anti-New Dealism. Goldwater was wrong on the–by far–most important issue of the day, the Cold War. The aggressive approach suggested by Goldwater was wrong in policy and politics. In policy, it might have provoked a war; in politics, folks were still in shock from the Cuban missile crisis and the Kennedy assassination. (Though Goldwater wasn’t the type to worry about whether it was the right time to say it.)

When the threat of the world exploding in 30 minutes is kicking around in the conscience of every voter, you can’t be wrong on that issue and win an election.

As for the rest, I’m a little less hostile to the man himself. I think Goldwater may have been blinded by his supposed individualism, but he was at least an interesting person. I believe that he was at least genuine in his convictions.

Less noble were the followers. You see, Goldwater was drafted. He resisted running for a long time. But the people that created to so-called Goldwater movement were not very interested in his libertarian ideas. Most of them used them as a convenient framework to advance pro-wealth and anti-desegregation ideas. The classic example is the idea of “state’s rights.” In the 60s, this was code for states’ rights to continue the practice of racial segregation.

I don’t think it meant that to Goldwater himself, and it doesn’t mean that to libertarians. To them, it means that there is some metaphysical property of states, called “sovereignty” that they preserve, even notwithstanding the federal government’s existence. This doctrine began to bear positive fruits not long after Goldwater’s time. In environmental law, the so-called New Federalism left certain aspects of environmental regualtion to the states. This, and this alone, is responsible for California’s air being cleaner than it was in the 1970s. If all clean air regulation was centralized, the powerful lobbies against it would never have allowed for strict enough regulation to account for the climate patterns in California enough to make the air clean. In numerous ways, devolved power to the states makes for better policy. As diar and urgent, for example, as gun control is in urban centers, it is not a priority issue in places like Montana. Preserving that distinction in public policy is directly attributable to the non-cynical application of the idea of states’ rights that flourished thanks to Goldwater’s moevement.

Likewise, true libertarians, like Goldwater appeared to be in Mr. Conservative, would never oppose gay marriange or abortion rights. (Though I found it convenient that Goldwater was suddenly pro-gays-in-the-military after he found out about his grandson, but many people had this similar awakening.)

The Republican party, however, has no use for libertarians other than the aspirational rhetoric that speaks to the patriotic soul ith its Apple-pie, motherhood, and baseballesque aroma of Americana. That rhetoric provides convenient vehicles to cut taxes–but only on the rich–and to tie the hands of the federal government, fully aware of the consequences, such as segregation, criminalization of abortion, and so on.

Goldwater is culpable to the extent that he knew or should have known that what he said was going to have that effect. He was also completely detached from reality on nuclear weapons policy.

But I always wonder if he would have felt the need to accept the crap the men around Johnson were telling him about Vietnam.

Fuck Barry Goldwater

I have never seen greater manipulative self-serving tripe than “Mr. Conservative”. Grandkiddy Goldwater talks to prominent liberals to provide a more “interesting” look at Granddaddy Goldwater. This is done in the purple context of a progeny trying to learn more about a famous branch on her family tree. Only a true A-Hole would talk negatively about someone to that person’s granddaughter. Still, it is telling that Barry’s biggest barker in “Mr. Conservative” is the pseudo-intellectual George Will, the paragon of Tightie-Whitey Conservatism that is uncomfy with what FDR and Civil Rights wrought.

Goldwater made it from history’s trash can to its recycling bin because Ronald Reagan took on his faux-individualistic ideology with success and he became “liberal” by rejecting the Christian theofascism prevalent in today’s Republican Party. Reagan’s actualization of elements of Goldwater’s conservatism had disastrous effects for the poor and Goldwater’s liberalism-via-libertarianism only proves how low the statesman bar is set for Republicans. The pathetic Bush Patsy John McCain is a “Maverick” for not being willfully ignorant of Global Warming and for being against torture. Wow, what principle! Even for its rejection of the Christian Right, Goldwater conservatism still contained the seed of the divisive hate-based politics that Rove and company have slickened up today and that LBJ so ably denounced in his 1964 campaign.

The problem with romantic cowboy conservatism is that it is a myth. Yes, rugged individualist type settlers did work the West. But the pattern westward was one of small groups of whites living mostly peaceably with the native Indians. Then more mostly whites came and began to encroach on Indian lands. The Indians rightfully grew hostile and then the federal army came and that was that. It was the federal government that built the highways and dammed the rivers that allowed the west to blossom. This isn’t romantic or even necessarily interesting, but for better and worse it is true.

We have grown so accustomed to the society forged by FDR, Truman, Ike, JFK, and LBJ that it is impossible to imagine America without it. Goldwater conservatism rejected this America. Beyond its false and petulant pretext Goldwater conservatism is heartless. True, Barry did say that he regretted voting against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but he only learned that he was on the wrong side of history after history passed him by through the efforts of truly great people like Rosa Parks, Hubert H. Humphrey, Martin Luther King and countless others.

Let us not forget that a Goldwater America would be an America that never “stepped forthrightly into the sunshine of human rights.” It would be an America where millions of elderly are destitute. Where there is no electric infrastructure to deliver kilowatts to sparsely populated rural areas. There may be nothing stopping individual states from enacting Civil Rights laws or allowing gays in the military, but there would also be no national force willing to take on the KKK or other domestic terrorist groups. There would be lynching. Unopposed, hate groups would work to divide America by color, ethnicity and religion. America would be hindered by not being able to tap the talents of all its citizens. Such a nation, in my opinion, would have lacked the moral authority necessary to lead the west in the Cold War. But at least we would use nuclear weapons with impunity.

Fuck Barry Goldwater.

Wither the Ass Kicking Dems of LBJ

The most interesting character in the inter-generational Goldwater masturbation “Mr. Conservative” that is pulsing through HBO currently is none other than Lyndon Baines Johnson. Although the film tries to make ol’ Plain Spoken Barry appear sympathetic as the LBJ campaign machine twists his blunt words, it is impossible not to see the reality of the pugnacious and idealistic LBJ lunging accurately for Goldwater’s exposed jugular.

In one commercial the LBJ Team takes Goldwater’s assertion that America would be better off if the eastern seaboard were sawed off of it literally. The commercial repeats Glodywater’s assertion and shows a wooden map of America floating in a pool. The eastern seaboard is sawed off and floats away. The commercial asks: how can a man who makes these assertions lead the whole country?

In another spot Goldwater voicing his rationale for voting against the 1964 Civil Rights Act is played over footage of a Klan rally. The commercial once again asks how a man who supports racist policies can lead the whole country.

Then there is the notorious girl-with-daisy-nuke commercial. Here LBJ’s attack is more instinctual. “Mr. Conservative” displays footage of ol’ Tell-It-Like-It-Is Barry holding forth on how America needs to get used to the idea of mixing nuclear weapons that can destroy entire cities into its regular military arsenal. The detachment of his delivery is off-putting, but the glint of glee in his eyes as he talks about nuclear holocaust is truly creepy. LBJ’s slogan on Goldwater was “In Your Guts You Know He’s Nuts.” This assertion and the daisy commercial would not have worked if Goldwater’s own words, behavior and vibe were not so weird and discomforting.

LBJ’s idealism is heart breaking to behold today. His speechifying for a Great Society where every child is educated, the elderly are cared for and racism and division are eradicated is a profound contrast to Goldwater’s crabby faux individualism. His negative ads were not Rovian fnords, but harsh honest broadsides against the words and actions of his opponent that encouraged dividing Americans by region and color.

Today’s Dems lack the pugnacious idealism of LBJ. That is why they lose. If LBJ, or his team, were running against Generalissimo Bush in 2004 they would have had thirty-second commercials of Bush sitting in a classroom reading My Pet Goat. A clock marked “time elapsed since Bush learned that America is under attack by terrorists” would have ticked upwards and all of America would have been treated to the agonizing seconds of Bush just siting there like a stunned bird that just flew into a glass window. The words “President Bush?” would have appeared on the screen as the commercial ended.

If LBJ’s team were directing the 2006 mid-term election, across the country Barbara Bush’s bourgeois dismissal of the Katrina refugees as being fortunate to leave their New Orleans squalor for “homes” elsewhere would be played over footage of the evacuees’ struggle.

The Dems don’t need a Great Society policy suite. They need to be profoundly in favor of national unity and to have the guts to unmask the clever divisiveness and “racism lite” of the Conservatrons. LBJ did.

Democrats: Turning a big win into a small one

I feel like someone has given me some evil melange of acid and nitrous every time I read the political pages these days. I see ludicrous stories actually discussing whether it might be better for the party if the Democrats lose this election. In other words, through some clever machinations, it might actually increase chances for the White House in 2008.

I see tie-die, pulsating characters leaving trails in my eyes attempting to claim that Democrats should run on the economy, and not the disaster that is Bush, that approximately 60% of Americans see as a disaster.

It’s as if the Democrats were some poor African woman battling AIDS. The Democrats own immune system is busy killing the host body, diminishing its ability to fight off predators and provide leadership within the clan. Except instead of AIDS, the virus is some kind of self-doubt inflicting DLCism.

I’ve been to enough truck stops (I used to work in one), Waffle Houses, barbeques, and business lunches to know where this DLC virus comes from. Democrats look out across America and see hostile voters. They think that if they can cloak their Volvo-driving liberalism, they can get these dupes to vote for them. That’s entirely the wrong approach. You have to ask yourself how and why these people stopped liking the party of FDR. (Besides racism.)

Part of the reason is the self-doubt, the over-strategizing, and the cloaking of principals. Now, when people are exhausted with the late phase of the Conservative revolution, people are ready to look at an alternative. NOW is the time to wear your heart on your sleeve and proudly trumpet this alternative–not suggest you’re a cuddlier version of the same shit.

I think my election predictions were done too microeconomically. I think that, race by race, those predictions look right, but macroeconoically, the Democrats just can’t carry through a big win like that. Too many pussies on top.

So maybe, in the end, yet another defeat will help to purge the idiotfucks that have gotten us here and will lead to a better 2008, but I doubt it. Winning is winning.

NHL: More-o Longer Contracts

Dallas signs Morrow for 6 years, for $24.6M, for a reasonable $4.1M cap charge each year. Morrow doesn’t earn that salary by scoring, though he is a competent scorer. He earns it with grit and solid play in both ends, with a career total +98.

This is exactly the type of player that should be signed to long-term deals, like I mentioned before. Character changes way less often than point production does.

Say whatever you want, but I just can’t agree with signing any player to more than about 5 years when they’re young. Signing older players past their prime to long term deals may just be the cost of doing business, and you at least have some record to work with. Ovechkin and DiPietro aren’t the counterexamples to Yashin.

If I had to think of anyone, it would be a guy like Sergei Brylin. Giving a utility player like him a 10 year deal for, say, $20M in 1998 would have made sense.

Overachievers

It’s hiding in the wrong section of the bookstore, but Alexandra Robbins’s Overachievers is probably the second most important policy-related book of the decade (after An Inconvenient Truth.) While global warming is a world-wide catastrophe, the very bedrock of our country depends on our education system, and the implicit and explicit lessons children learn from it.

The merciless push by mass-tested students to achieve good scores to belong in universities ranked to be the best will inevitably create a US News caste system. But so far, no such system exists. The graduates of the elite schools do not necessarily end up among the elite.

Today’s WSJ (sub req) has more evidence of this, but the data is a little squishy. (Are CEO’s a good sample? Is 10% Ivy League still per capita heavy or light? What about a sample of people making more than $100k per year? etc.)

The illusion is that the US is still a strong, health meritocracy. It’s not. If you want your kids to thrive in the future, their time is probably more well spent doing something to save money and learning how to invest that fitting in another AP class or another extra-curricular activity to get into a top 10 school instead of a top 25.

Pope

Boy, Muslisms sure seem to get a bug in their ass pretty easily. Is it even controversial that Islam was spread by conquest? (Just as Christianity was.)

Muslisms are not part of the Pope’s constituency. In fact, I bet there are plenty of Lutherans out there that wouldn’t appreciate the Pope’s feelings about them, either, but it’s not a scandal. Also, let’s remember that there are muslim leaders out there that have plenty of interesting things to say about christians (and jews), yet that doesn’t seem to be news.

There is apparently a meme that the Pope is supposed to be PC about religions that by their very nature disagree with Catholicism. This kind of fake ecumenism is a shield for religion to prevent people from seeing that it is an inherently divisive social phenomenon.

Academic Study Says 2006, 2008 Favors Dems

Based mostly on data related to employment and inflation figures, this article in the Atlantic says that history points in the Dems’ favor this year and in 2008.

At the end it concludes that

If this excursion into political science has any relevance for Democratic electioneering, it may be this: downplay “position-issues”; they leave you open to attack. Instead link the Republicans to “conditions negatively valued by the electorate”—incompetent management of the government and falling real incomes or rising unemployment or both. Make the 2006 and 2008 elections referenda on a record of miserable failure.

Branding, in other words. Removing the issue groups from prominence with their wonkish talking points. And attacking the other party re: same… sounds familiar? Sounds like Kos’s formula minus the stats and footnotes.

TN-SEN

Ford in the lead, 48-45.

RI just got tougher with Chafee winning over the Winger. But with pickups looking solid in OH, MT, PA, CT, and good in VA, MO, and TN, the senate is looking much better–maybe even Liberdict Arnold proof.

More on DiPietro

Spector defends the notion of long term deals, if not DiPietro’s exactly.

Would it be a stretch to assume the Capitals could make a ten-year, $80 million contract offer to Ovechkin to lock him up long term through his playing prime? Would it be unreasonable to believe Ovechkin wouldn’t pass up an opportunity to earn $8 million US per season for the next decade, thus securing his financial future?

I’ll bet more than a few Capitals fans would love to hear that deal announced today, and more than a few hockey sages would commend the club for doing so.

Don’ t expect the DiPietro contract to be used as a comparable throughout the league, but don’t be surprised if teams with genuine young superstars consider much longer deals to retain those players if it makes sense under their respective salary caps .

It’s possible the fan reaction would be better, but that doesn’t make it a better deal. I understand the impulse to triple-check criticisms on an easy target like the Islanders/Wang, because it can be too easy to lazily criticize people with a reputation for doing strange things.

Signing Ovechkin for 10 years would be incredibly stupid unless you could justify it as a way of paying him extra for now. No player–ever, Gretzky included–can be safely given this length of a contract in the NHL. Injuries are just too prevalent. As such, it’s difficult to get insurance on contracts like this. Second, most players go through several peaks and valleys of performance in their careers. The good GM signs players in a valley, knowing which ones will peak again.

Ovechkin also has yet to show us how he will mature emotionally, and whether he’s good enough of a player to lead the team to contention. Good players naturally start to rust in a losing environment.

Say whatever you want, but I just can’t agree with signing any player to more than about 5 years when they’re young. Signing older players past their prime to long term deals may just be the cost of doing business, and you at least have some record to work with. Ovechkin and DiPietro aren’t the counterexamples to Yashin.

If I had to think of anyone, it would be a guy like Sergei Brylin. Giving a utility player like him a 10 year deal for, say, $20M in 1998 would have made sense.

Clown Show Continues On The Island

Isles sign Rick DiPietro to a fiftteen year deal. That’s 1-5. Fifffffteen. ie until 2021.

It’s $4.5M per, which actually at first sounds like a great position for an Islander team to be in with respect to the cap. But hockey is a strange sport. There are few players that maintain that kind of worth over that period. Most that do would chafe at a period of undervalue, but perhaps that’s the tradeoff for all of this security.

From the Isles point of view, if all goes well, they are all set in the most important position at a good price. But, this deal lasts longer than the current CBA–and who knows what that will mean??? Crazy.

I don't care.

On September 11, 2002, I sat in my apartment in Honolulu and watched all the news coverage of the one year anniversary. I was very emotional. A year before, I was trying to shake off a hangover in Chicago when people slowly started descending on the television in my law school dorm. We were terrified. Mostly, that came from the uncertainty. We thought we might be under attack in Chicago as well, and, who knew what else might come.

That was before 9/11 was used as an excuse for other Americans to hurt America, as much or more as any terrorist did on that day. Now, we are all in a contest to outdo each other to show who really cares more about what happened that day.

I can’t lie: I don’t care at all anymore.

At the time, the figure of 3,000 Americans killed seemed catastrophic. Nearly that many of our soldiers have died in Iraq, sent there on the excuse of 9/11. Nearly that many people died in New Orleans because the government isn’t about building levies anymore, it’s about getting the contract to build the levy. And 3,000 dead? That’s a good month in Iraq for the Iraqi people anymore.

All 9/11 means to me anymore is that America can run rampant around the world, and inflict whatever pain or punishment on anyone else. Then, when someone retaliates (even in an evil, immoral way), we wonder “why they hate us.” And we’re hurt because we believe we’re a good people. Well, we are, but we’re grossly irresponsible. We don’t know what’s being done in our name, and we don’t care. If we did, we’d probably not allow it; but we don’t, so it happens.

Five years later, we’ve learned nothing. We’re even more irresponsible with our behavior abroad, and we’ve shown that inter arma enim silent leges is the true rule in America: the Constitution is a set of guidelines, not rules. And the war that silences the laws? Whatever they put on TV.

We’ve failed in Afghanistan; we’ve failed in Iraq, and bin Laden is alive and well on this fifth anniversary, under the protection of or “allies in the war on terror,” the ISI and Pakistan, who, have undoubtedly aided Kashmiri groups bomb India–but of course the war on terror is not a war and it’s not on terror. It’s a pretext for the repression of dissent at home and belligerance abroad.

Does the Arrival of Dowd Signal the Departure of Madden?

The pride of Brick, NJ is back with the home team looking to land a spot on the roster. Assuming he does the most obvious odd man out would have to be John Madden.

Madden rounded in to form over the last third of 2006, but his effectiveness seemed limited by the new rules. His PIMs increased to 36 from the mid-20s for most of his career. Not a lot, but still, Pandolfo barely had any.

Unless Lou can pull some magic with the Mogilny/Malakhov contracts someone will have to go. Madden may be enough of a sweetener for another team to take Mogilny or Malakhov thereby freeing up enough cash to sign Gionta, Martin, Hale and a back up goalie.

I like Dowd. Everyone likes Dowd. Still, from Madden to Dowd is a downgrade, but it may be the best Plan B available.

Something needs to happen soon….

The Traffic Ticket Racquet.

So, Paris Hilton is busted for DUI. All she wanted was a burger! She didn’t claim, at least, to own Malibu or whatever.

I can imagine this getting me into more shit than even some of the quasi-bolshevik ideas I sometime post, because it isn’t really on anyone’s political axis, but. . .

Is DUI really such a threat to our way of life? Are DUI deaths any more or less tragic than any other? Is this truly something worth ignoring the Constitution for? (It’s ok to give your blood, breath, and urine, because driving’s not a “right” it’s a “privilege,” according to the pedantic, condescending bullshit they tell you.)

I’m not suggesting that DUI should be legal or condoned–but the severity with which it is punished seems rather silly to me. Dram shop liability for bartenders who serve people who turn around and drive (still no tobacco litigation against supermarkets!), loss of license, fines, jail time, and serious stigma.

Are all of the resources poured into this saving the most lives per dollar possible, or is there something more we can do with them to save even more lives? My guess is “yes.”

But DUI is just a small part of the traffic ticket racquet.

Traffic laws operate in an extra-constitutional world, where you do not have (for some undetermined reason) the same constitutional rights as in other worlds. No public defender. Nope, all you get is traffic school, if you’re lucky.

Why is that? Why are all of these repeat offenders and hardened criminals getting away with a slap on the wrist and 30 minutes of web browsing? Why? Because no one cares if you pay.

Traffic tickets are about funding local agencies, the highway patrol, and the DMV. They are aboslutely not about safety. Safety-related laws would enforce lane discipline, not speed limits (the easiest violation to prove). It’s a scam that would amont to the biggest organized crime ring in the world if it weren’t perpetrated by dozens of state and local governments.

It sounds trivial, right? I should just shut up and pay my tickets and let the damn drunk drivers rot in hell, or at least in jail, right?

Well, if were are able to let fear-fnords absolutely whitewash our constitutional rights with respect to something that has no real, direct relationship to our safety (speeding) that is only meant to fund unnecessary government–then why should anyone be surprsied that terrorism leads to the same thing writ large.

Yup, the CHP could learn a thing or two about generating revenues with fear from Halliburton.

Can the Democrats Close?

Rounding the corner for the last quarter of the mid-term race the Democrats find themselves poised to make gains in both Congressional houses and with a strong chance of gaining a House majority. As more “safe” Republican seats fall into play getting the majority of last minute deciders to break in their favor could give the Democrats a monumental pick-up; perhaps 30+ seats.

The Bush Junta and the Conservatrons have tried the normal scare tactics, false choices and innuendos. They can still win news cycles, but people pay less attention to the outlets that constitute news cycle these days and the track record of the Rights dismal failure is impossible to ignore. The Terri Schiavo fiasco laid bare its scary Theofascism; the Hurricane Katrina disaster proved that its stunning incompetence would leave horrible results in the face of catastrophe – whether caused by man or nature. Regardless of the numbers in their guts people know that the economy is sluggish as a snail in a salt flat; willful ignorance on global warming isn’t pleasant any more.

The last obstacle for the Democrats to overcome is the comfort factor. Reagan and Carter were neck-and-neck until Reagan equaled Carter in their debate. Asinine as Reagan’s one-liner was, it effectively showed that this new-fangled Republican could be President. The Republicans did not win in 1994 until the Contract With America gave people a reason to vote for them.

I have almost no doubt that the Beltway Democrats are aware if this and have something of substance ready for October. The quality of the “why to vote for us” message will make the difference between a brief departure from the dominant trend and the establishment of a new political paradigm.

Civilization Happens

Civilization is what happens between eating and fucking. We are all animals removed from eons of creaturehood by only about 5,000 years of settlement. Nowhere is the evolutionary psychology that guides our existence more bare than in the G-Rated pornography of everyday TV commercials.

A current ad for Bacardi Limon takes this paradigm to hysterical extremes.

In this story a bottle of our star product is launched by a giant watermelon into warm tropical waters. Propelled by lemon wedges it shoots past several sea horses and into a dark, curvy, coral cave. It progresses through the tunnels of this mystery and emerges at the outskirts of a swell underwater Party City that is crackling with the hollers and drum beats of good times.

The message: drinking this concoction will help you to experience that crucial first moment when you were just a sperm (the Bacardi bottle) that made its ways past other lesser sperm (the faggoty sea horses), through crucial portions of a woman’s anatomy (the cave), and to her egg (Party City).

Wow! Who knew?

Of course, if that original sperm was capable of thought, it would hope that you would do something better in Party City than trying to ignite conversations with shallow Ambercrombie and Fitch clad hussies and puking up a bellyful of lemon drops at the end of the night.

Does Party City have a bookstore?

Tech Writers Are Horrible

As much as I enjoy reading political writing, I have to admit that a great deal of how much I enjoy it has to do with whether I agree with it or not. There’s a lot of opinion that goes into it. I don’t often think about how utterly terrible of a writer some of them are (or how good).

Technology is another interest of mine. Technology writers are an interesting bunch, because, for the most part, they work for huge corporate publishers that jealously guard their relationships with the companies they allegedly review. (Sorta like Congress.) But instead of writing for years about what they know about before branching out, they seem to know everything.

Take this article at Wired. Some Wi-Fi gizmo that plays Sirius radio is going to kill the iPod. Now, this writer thinks the Internet, not satellite is the way to deliver content. That may ultimately prove to be the case, but the infrastructure simply isnt there.

Why this article, though, perfectly embodies why tech writing is so lame, is that the built in assumption is that more features=good. That may be the case for the 1% of us that are “early adopter” super geeks, but people like their iPods because they have style. They are not merely a commodity MP3 player. Trying to take down the iPod on that basis has and will continue to fail. Failing to have that much insight about something which he’s writing about, and instead applying narrow, unwritten assumptions embodies the tech writer’s style.

Read anything on ZDNet, Gizmodo, etc. etc. It’s tiresome.

Are Social Issues For Proles?

Abortion… gay marriage… affirmative action… feminism… are these issues distracting from the real deal?

I’m beginning to wonder. At first, I scoffed at Thomas Frank’s What’s the matter with Kansas, because it seemed to imply that Democrats should stop talking about civil rights and only talk about class.

The CW is that Dems lost their advantage on foreign affairs starting with Humphrey/McGovern/Carter, lost their advantage on class issues when people allegedly stopped caring in the 80s, and only really maintained middle ground lead on things like race. So, the DLC was founded on being “tough” in foreign policy and ignore class issues. Well, that sure backfired. Despite Clinton (who won on his own personal merits), since that time, the Democrats have won nothing else.

Now, I’m starting to wonder. Is it time to kick NARAL and company to the curb and reembrace labor unions–or is there a 21st century working class movement to support?

I’m starting to wonder if so-called social issues aren’t inextricably linked to economic ones. In other words, is America really now safe for minoirities of all kinds with money to the point where it furthers their lot more to advance their economic interests than their identity issues?

I’ve also felt that there is a serious conflict between labor and the environment, but I’m also starting to wonder if that’s real. To the extent that labor can’t or doesn’t start it’s own businesses, it will lose if existing business loses–but assuming you can go green and hire people with realistic retraining, that may not be the case either.

Updated Predictions

With the latest polls in, I’m going to update my prediction, happily, to 51(50+1)-49. Dems pickup RI, OH, MT, MO, PA, CT, and VA.

Allen just can’t seem to get his feet out of shit, and it’s reflecting in the polls. If Webb can convert on that, he’ll win. Mark Warner’s support hasn’t hurt anyone, either.

I’m sticking with +25 in the House.

Kill Phil

California Democrats were faced with the choice of two Pyrrhic victories this year. Play partisan hardball (a la Republican Congress) with the Governor after his 2005 special election defeat and nudge people towards Angelides, or deal with Arnold and destroy motivation for independents to head to the polls in November.

They chose the later, and it’s done a lot of good, but it will Kill Phil.

It started with the deal on the infrastructure bonds. Sure, there was some wrangling, but that’s just high stakes negotiation for you.

The budget was on time. More money for schools.

All of that was wonderful and needed. Then came the two killers.

My theory of California politics is that it’s much more linear than national politics. The labor/corporate axis is dominant, at least much more so than on the national stage. So when Arnold made a deal on the minimum wage, it mollified, to some extent, a large part of the Democrats’ support. In essence, it sent a signal that Arnold was someone that could be dealt with, so ridding us of him was not an emergency.

He did the same thing to environmentalists with the global warming bill, playing into his supposed reputation as an environmentalist, Hummers notwithstanding.

So, who’s left? Social liberals? Arnold has been very quiet on the social front. Check.

That leaves us partisan Democrats. Even asuming 100% turnout among us, we don’t win an election without a jolt from independents, and Arnold now owns them. (See the PPIC poll.)

I’ve been a big Phil naysayer on this site. So, you can take what I say in that context. I believe that given these dynamics, unless he was going to run a campaign for real change in our state he was going to lose. Now it’s almost certain.

Blame whoever you want, but unless lightning strikes, it’s the Democratic legislature that did it.

I’m glad they acted this way. They were responsible to the people first. If only the other side would act that way.