Creative Destruction

August 23, 2006

Progressive-Colored Glasses

Filed under: Blogosphere,Politics and Elections — Off Colfax @ 6:49 pm

Today comes another forest-and-trees moment, courtesy of Atrios.

It’s just awful that the rabid lambs of the Republican party are purging their own

Of course, Atrios is making a not-so-thinly-veiled reference to his own efforts to remove Joe Lieberman from the U.S. Senate while comparing it to the losing primary campaign of incumbent Governor Frank Murkowski. And, by doing so, he shows us non-progressives that he does not truly understand the neo-Darwinian process of American politics and sees everything through the gravatic lens of his own viewpoint.

For this example, I will refer to two charts helpfully provided by SurveyUSA: the approval ratings of Murkowski and Lieberman. Go ahead and click the links while I pour another cup of coffee. While you’re at it, check the party affiliation and ideology graphs for them both.

(Want a cup? Sure, I can do that… Extra-large triple-caffeine. Do you take sugar? Cream? No? Well, I’ll just leave them on the table for you, just in case.)

Have you noticed anything different between the two graphs yet?

Lieberman’s graphs show a consistent general approval throughout the state. Conservatives and moderates view him higher than liberals (The liberal numbers have gone down since the Lamont campaign got such high-profile support from the likes of Jane Hamsher and Duncan Black, but not quite into all-negative, all-the-time territory. Two negatives, one positive, and two within the margin of error.), which is only to be expected for a moderate-to-conservative Democrat. Even after losing the primary race to Lamont, he still enjoys a pos/neg difference of +10 points. I’ll wait to pass further judgement on his chances of winning the general until the next survey comes out. That way, the factor of the “Connecticut For Lieberman” party will be able to fully seep into the numbers.

Murkowski’s graph is consistently in the “disapprove” range, and has been since 05.10.05 where the graph begins. Not even among his own party could he pull a consistently positive rating. He was seen as an incompetent, a blunderer, and a mistake almost from the start due to his appointment of his own daughter to replace him in the U.S. Senate. And then it went downhill from there. And any incumbent that cannot pull 20% in the primary… Well, that’s just pathetic. It’s not even an indictment of your performance, but an abrupt dismissal into not-early-enough retirement. And they don’t even give you a cheap gold watch. (Movie reference.) And if you look at the picture from this article one more time, you will notice that he knows it. He can see what is coming and, like an oncoming train, is powerless to stop it.

There is a vast difference between these two primaries, and it can be summed up in two short sentences. In Connecticut, the primary was about ideology. In Alaska, the primary was about competence.

For Atrios to claim that Murkowski’s loss was a “purge” the same stature as Lieberman’s was is, to be perfectly frank, a poor attempt to view the event through his own progressive-colored glasses. (Perhaps it was even a poor attempt to self-justify his support of Lamont over Lieberman, in a I-did-it-they-do-it-what-seems-to-be-the-problem sort of way, although that is too much of a stretch for me to be certain. Hence the parentheticals.) And that is a viewpoint so far from the “Reality-Based Community”, which he was once a vocal member of, as to be on the other side of the known universe.

So with this, I am officially determining Duncan Black to be in the same category as most Fox News pundits: they are too deeply steeped in their own ideological theories to see reality, even when it hits them in the face. As a media watcher he will still have a ton of credibility with me. But as a member of the unofficial punditry…

Dude, they don’t make grains of salt that big.

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