Creative Destruction

January 28, 2008

Not-So-Simple Questions And Possibly Dangerous Answers

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008,Politics and Elections — Off Colfax @ 12:57 am

Duncan:

Yes all political junkies dream of the brokered convention. It would be exciting!! But I started to think about how the news media would deal with such a thing if it were necessary. The primaries are early. The convention is in August. Between the primaries and the convention the bobblehead discussion would be unbearable. I don’t know how the campaigns themselves would deal with it. They couldn’t go dark, but they couldn’t campaign as the presumptive nominee either. There’d be calls and pressures from various quarters for one of the candidates to “do the honorable thing” and bow out for the sake of the party, or Tim Russert’s Nantucket vacation, or whatever.

Aside from the last part about Tim Russert’s vacation plans, which is obvious snark, this is a highly substantive statement from Teh Atrios. How will all three of the substantive candidates currently in the Democratic side of the race remain until a brokered August convention can sort things out? Can fundraising from the left maintain three mostly-idle campaigns at the national level at the same time while we wait to see what will happen in Denver? And if they do maintain that level of life-support, will any of them be able to start that mad, pell-mell sprint for November 4th at the sound of the cannon? All of these are important questions that we must ask ourselves, the party as a whole.

(And all of them are very good questions that could just as easily apply to the GOP side of the bracket this year, judging by my own personal (and probably amateurish) pre-primary analysis of both Florida and Terminal Tuesday when neither McCain or Romney can pull far enough ahead to keep the other down, much less force Huckabee out of the race. That’s just a prediction, and will not factor further into this post.)

Yet his next post, not ninety minutes later, puts a completely different spin to this line of thinking. And not one to the benefit of Teh Atrios, either.

The existence of multiple candidates in the Democratic primary race means that the party is hopelessly splintered.

As a moderate in this party, I read this as saying the following:

Shut up. Because you’re not picking my candidate, you’re sinking us all. Take MY hand, Luke!

Suddenly I am reminded of what was happening in the Connecticut Senate primary in 2006 between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont, when the party really WAS hopelessly splintered. An incumbent Senator lost the primary, yet remained in the race and eventually recaptured his seat. So the question is: why did the party splinter in Connecticut?

Of course, the answer could never be that out-of-state activists like Duncan Black himself, as joined by Jane Hamsher, Markos Moulitsas, and their attendant casts of thousands simply loathed and despised Joe Lieberman and everything he did and said. The answer could never be that they would attempt anything in their power to influence the election of a Senator not in their state. The answer could never be that, without their constant and unwavering support, Ned Lamont would not have defeated Lieberman in the primaries in the first place. The answer could never be that they themselves designed the blueprint for the hopeless splintering of our party when they scribed a bright dividing line, between the moderate wing and the progressive wing, that none shall pass without suffering near-permanent damage to their political careers.

And now I see Duncan Black himself sitting there, bemoaning the fact that the party is “hopelessly splintered”. (Insert prima donna-ish back-of-hand-to-forehead Oh Whatever Shall We Do! pose here.) And I hear this suggestion in the back of my head, one that he wants the rest of us to simply ignore our own decisions and throw ourselves behind the Clinton44 campaign, which he supports with all his heart and body and soul. And all of this simply so that we present a united front in the fall.

Pardon me whilst I call shenanigans here. I’d call something stronger, but all the cow pastures in Wisconsin wouldn’t hold enough of it to add up to the sheer amount of what I’d really prefer to call.

I have seen the dangers of letting the loudest sections of a political party have their way while ignoring the rest. With the GOP, it gave us the rise of religious conservatism. With the Democrats, it is giving us the rise of progressive liberalism. With both, those whose politics are in the middle are effectively disenfranchised and removed from the political process. And from both sides comes great damage to this country’s political structure.

My response is simple. Do not allow anyone, regardless of who or why or where or when or how, tell you who should or must or need receive your vote. Your vote is yours, and yours alone, to cast for whomsoever and whatsoever you so freely decide. No one is allowed to take that away from you. You should not allow them to even passively take it from you, such as by following the advice of a divisive pundit like Duncan Black by voting their way at their own fervent insistence.

If you want to vote for Hillary, then please do so. If you want to vote for Barack, then please do so. If you want to vote for John, then please do so. If you want to vote for Mike Gravel, then please do so. But let it be because you so desire and not because some bobblehead, whether the televised or the virtual variations of the species, told you to vote for Candidate X rather than Candidate Y.

For when you allow someone to choose your vote for you, you allow yourself to fall victim to the most dangerous form of disenfranchisement around: the passive surrender of your vote to a third party.

The concept that an individuals’ personal choice is what truly matters is the philosophical heart of a Democracy. Without it, a Democrat might as well be a Republican.

November 18, 2007

The Strategic Vote

Filed under: Election 2008,Politics and Elections — Brutus @ 1:34 am

Over at Wash Park Prophet, Andrew Oh-Willeke cites the one-word dismissal of so-called vanity candidates at Daily Kos’ round-up of Democratic presidential candidates and offers his agreement, though with a bit more explanation. I’ve been planning to blog on this rather bizarre notion for about a month, and Andrew has provided the nudge I needed to sit down and do it.

I simply don’t accept that the only worthwhile vote is one for the eventual winner or one that reflects a strategy to defeat an opposition candidate by casting a vote for someone nearly equally wanting. We complain perpetually that we don’t have good options, then we adopt Machiavelian strategies or misconstrue the results, thus ensuring that our options remain limited.

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November 1, 2007

Horserace Politics

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008,Politics and Elections — Brutus @ 11:33 am

I picked up the term horserace politics from Ampersand (who may have found it elsewhere). The term describes political coverage framed not in terms of the issues or platforms of the parties and candidates but in terms of the sheer competition, the race. I’ve opined that such thinking has made the practice of politics into a perpetual campaign. If the reorientation of the political sphere into a contentless swamp of personality and misfocus is not fully apparent, a report on a new study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism paints a pretty stark picture of how the mainstream media covers politics. This table shows what the public wants:

table 1

This graphic shows what the public gets:

table 2

It may be impossible (and probably pointless) say whether this discrepancy is more the fault of the media or the candidates themselves. No doubt, both are contributing to the syndrome. (Specifically, the avoidance of many candidates to take positions on political topics makes it impossible for journalists to restate the candidate’s positions coherently.) The blogosphere may be an antidote to the failure of the mainstream media to provide enough useful political coverage. Indeed, many believe that the blogosphere has at least partially revitalized the public sphere, which has been largely corrupted in the for-profit media. I tend to agree.

October 8, 2007

What Passes for Political Coverage

Filed under: Election 2008,Media Analysis,Politics and Elections — Brutus @ 10:00 pm

It is any wonder so many Americans ignore politics and don’t vote? One of the big stories emerging in the past few days has been dubbed Chucklegate, which is in-depth analysis of Hillary Clinton’s laugh. Um, yeah, her laugh. See just a few examples here and here and here. There is undoubtedly room for some consideration of personal character or characteristics in a presidential race, but the way the media has jumped on this issue is frankly embarrassing, considering actual issues bear greater scrutiny than hairdos, wardrobe, or how someone laughs.

If this pseudocontroversy isn’t lowbrow enough to convince you that journalism is at a particularly low ebb, how about a manufactured controversy about actual wardrobe? Barack Obama is being pilloried for his refusal to wear an American flag pin. See a few examples here and here and here. Who on earth bases political strategy or the decision whether to cast a vote for a candidate on something so entirely mundane? This particular stupidity was parodied in the movie Office Space, where the servers were judged not on their service but on pieces of flair. Simply substitute patriotism for service and it’s the same foolishness.

These cooked-up stories apparently have the power to kill a candidacy and are pathetic examples of political theater. Howard Dean’s now infamous scream comes to mind as a good example. Both candidates are apparently engaged in these utterly meaningless and ephermeral issues, which gives the issues legs and makes them fodder for endless spin, conjecture, and strategizing. And once the jokes and parodies start rolling in on YouTube and Comedy Central and such, we take lots of humorous enjoyment but lose sight of the fact that we’re considering these candidates for an office of far greater importance than the elements on which we apparently prefer to rank and rate them. It’s little wonder, then, that we get what we deserve out of the political process: buffoons, poseurs, and incompetents.

May 6, 2007

Just A Hypothetical

Filed under: Politics and Elections — Off Colfax @ 9:16 pm

One thing that I have been noticing in recent Democratic political history is that, except for those areas where it is expedient to support a moderate, the party as a whole is running to the Left as fast as possible. So I have to ask myself…

How many of us Clinton Democrats will become Republicans in thirty years?

I wonder if the progressive wing of the party will learn anything from this lesson. Probably not, unfortunately. After all, history is doomed to repeat itself.

[Turn signal: TMV]

February 21, 2007

Who Can’t Be President?

Filed under: Politics and Elections — Robert @ 2:38 pm

An interesting rundown of groups Americans say they’d never support in a Presidential race.

If you’re a thrice-married elderly Hispanic lesbian atheist, you can pretty much just stay home.

Interestingly, blacks, Catholics  and Jews are all in the single-digit column for rejection. I and my negrohebraic compatriots thank the American people for their acceptance.

January 30, 2007

Making Fun of John Edwards Just Got 50,000 Times More Fun

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008,Politics and Elections — Robert @ 9:01 pm

Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon has taken over the blog campaign for John Edwards. Congratulations to Amanda, and wheee, this will be fun.

January 24, 2007

On Behalf Of Every Republican In America…

Filed under: Politics and Elections — Robert @ 4:51 pm

Awwww. Come on, French-looking person. We’ll be nice this time, we promise.

November 8, 2006

Why We Just Got Our Ass Kicked

Filed under: Current Events,Election 2006,Politics and Elections — Robert @ 3:26 am

This is a post aimed at my fellow Republicans and/or conservatives and/or conservatarians. (God forgive me for using that word.) You patchouli-reeking socialists are welcome to read and comment, but the intended audience is my brethren of the GOP voting universe – and mostly those of the elected persuasion (and not a few of the recently unelected persuasion).

For my friends and readers of delicate disposition, please be advised that I shall attempt to restrain the worst things that I feel like saying, but I can make no guarantees as to the family friendliness of the language.

We just got our ass kicked and everybody damn well knows the reason why.

The political machine performed brilliantly. As in previous elections, it delivered 98% of what was needed to be delivered in order to win – leaving it to the operational side of the house to come up with the last 2%. That 2% is what the Congressmen and women and the executive branch and (to a much milder extent) the judicial system has to win on merit – on being able to credibly say “look at the solid achievements and real progress on important issues we have made”.

Some of them have tried, and a few have tried like heroes. I’m not going to name names, it’s pointless. The ones who are trying to get things done know who they are, and so does everyone else.

The Iraq war is a disaster. Not irretrievably so militarily or strategically, where we are surviving a war of attrition in what is essentially a test of political will, but politically – where the rationales and strategies and realistic prospects for the war have not been described to the American people. This is a failure squarely to be laid at the door of the White House and its communication machine. This country took on a military machine nearly as far away and a lot deadlier than the massed forces of the entire Arab world, and had it explained over those newfangled “radios”. Do you really think their Internet-enabled children and grandchildren can’t handle the real story of the war on radicalized Islam? Of course they can – but 90% of them are not going to take enough courses in medieval mideastern history to put the picture together on their own. It has to be explained, and people given the information they need to be informed.

The ethical emanation coming from the Congress is putrid. It’s on a bipartisan basis, but scrappy underdogs get forgiven for their colorful escapades. People who are allegedly governing don’t.

This Congress’ performance on other issues has been at best uninspired. No decisive action to take control of the nation’s borders. No resolution reached of the knotty questions surrounding immigration policy. No progress on fixing Social Security. A trainwreck prescription drugs bill hated by everyone. Bloated pork bills designed to curry favor with every special interest group in America – how well did that one work out for you, fellows? Currying favor with us religious elements on trivial crap, and blowing us off or dropping the ball on big picture questions. The list goes on.

Damn it all, this has to stop.

We are not electing you people to go to Washington and get rich in sweetheart deals. We are not electing you people because we saw your picture and said “this guy should get invited to every cocktail party in the Beltway”. We send you to our nation’s capital – a place where American soldiers have seen battle and shed blood – in order that you can govern this nation. But most of you don’t even govern yourselves.

Here is a refresher course. Here are the things that you are expected to do.

1. Secure our borders and coastal areas against casual violation, and formulate an immigration policy that is decent, humane, and survivable.

2. Fix Social Security so that it continues to work sustainably, without breaking it (hint: reasonably regulated markets). Reform the financial governance and fiscal prudence of our Government’s accounting practices.

3. Victory in Iraq. (Like pornography, we’ll know it when we see it.)
4. Fix the health care system of this country so that people who cannot get the care they truly need are helped, without bankrupting the rest of us. Hint: reasonably regulated markets.

5. Progress in the war on terror.

Here’s a suggestion for Congressional figures, and those who would so aspire: When you plan to do something, ask “does this help with any of one through five on Bob’s list of demands?” If the answer is “no”, then don’t do it. If you’re thinking “you know, I really need to start having relationships with teenagers…I wonder who’s on Yahoo Chat tonight”, then ask yourself “have we won in Iraq, fixed Social Security, saved the health care system, made progress in the war on terror, AND secured the borders?” If the answer is “no”, then I suggest that you put down the IM client and get your ass back to work.

You guys (and too few gals) have let down the team. You have two years to turn it around, get yourselves in some kind of order, and get serious about the business of this country.

Either get your shit together, or start looking for a new line of work in 2008.

Mmmm…

Filed under: Current Events,Election 2006,Politics and Elections — Robert @ 2:13 am

delicious crow!

November 7, 2006

A Much Less Comprehensive Ballot Rundown Than Amp’s

Filed under: Current Events,Election 2006,Politics and Elections — Robert @ 9:04 pm

For the 1 person out there (somewhere!) who cares, here were the issues on the Colorado ballot, and how I voted.  (Because I know you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out.)

Amendments to futz around with school funding and how they spend money: voted no on all these. Folks, you don’t administer school districts through the initiative process. Geeze.

Amendments to futz around with the state constitution on some things which frankly I don’t know what they’re about and I suspect the authors don’t know either: voted no on all these.

Amendment to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman: Voted yes.

Amendment to extend the legal privileges of marriage to civil unions (of any sort, I think), and also to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman: Voted yes.

Amendment to decriminalize possession of marijuana: Voted yes.

Other amendments: I don’t remember, and I voted no. Colorado does a nice thing for people like me, which is to require all initiatives and amendments and such to have “no” mean “leave things they way they are now”.

The partisan elections in my district were all safe Republican seats, so I voted there with no impact.

In fact, my vote is unlikely to have any impact, because I forgot to register when we moved and so I had to do a provisional ballot. I can find out in December if my vote counts or not. Wheee!

November 6, 2006

Election 2006 Predictions

Filed under: Current Events,Election 2006,Politics,Politics and Elections — Robert @ 1:13 am

Herewith my predictions for the House, Senate and gubernatorial races, 2006. Presented without data or argumentation – although the data and the argumentation exist in my fevered brain. This is simply intended as a recording of my predictions (some general, some specific), so that on Tuesday evening I can either make an incredibly snarky “I told you so” or a humbled “well, we all make mistakes…” post.

The Senate: Dems +3, Republicans retain control. Santorum retains his seat narrowly, as does Burns.
The House: Dems +10. Republicans retain control.

Governorships: Dems pick up 2 new governorships, which I believe gives them a majority.

(Yes, I am significantly more optimistic than the pollsters. I don’t think the pollsters know what they’re doing anymore; the game has changed and the statistical methods that work to assess a neutral population no longer provide good data.)

November 1, 2006

Republicans are stealing another US election.

Filed under: Current Events,Election 2006,Politics and Elections — Daran @ 3:36 am

Glitches cited in early voting

Lis Riba comments.

Notice how all the reported problems involve people trying to vote for the Democrat, and their ballot registering the Republican?

October 24, 2006

Do the Democrats Want to Win?

Filed under: Election 2006,Politics,Politics and Elections — Robert @ 2:37 am

The Dems look to have a shot at taking the House this year. Do they want to?

The war is going badly. It will continue to be a bad situation for quite some time – regardless of which party is in power, and regardless of their policy decisions.

North Korea remains a problem. Iran remains a problem. Neither is likely to change; both are likely to continue generating genuine incumbent-damaging news.

Genocides worldwide remain a problem. Slavery – for God’s sake, slavery – has broken out in force once more in many parts of the world.

More on that in the next post – first, the point of this one:

Do Democrats really want to win?

I know Hillary wants to win, I mean, does Joe Democrat on the street want to win? And be suddenly responsible for all this stuff?

This is an honest question, open for any Democrat out there who wants to opine. Do you guys & gals want to win?

October 17, 2006

Missouri Supreme Court Invalidates Photo ID Requirement For Voting

Filed under: Current Events,Politics and Elections — Ampersand @ 6:32 am

Racists and Republicans (not identical groups, but groups with significant overlap) everywhere are disappointed.

I’m not convinced that there’s a significant voter fraud problem to be solved by requiring IDs. (And if there were, it could be solved with less extreme measures, such as provisional ballots). But if we must have voter ID, it should be combined with free, proactive government programs to get IDs into the hands of every single eligible voter in time for election day. But Republicans have shown zero interest in any anti-fraud program that doesn’t promise to disenfranchise eligible voters.

This is an issue that should matter to everyone who favors democracy; but anti-voter laws like Missouri’s disproportionately effect the elderly, the disabled, and poor people (who are disproportionately people of color). I also wonder if it disproportionately effects transsexuals, not only because transsexuals are more likely to be poor, but in addition because being transsexual could create additional issues in acquiring ID. (But it could be that I’m completely off-base about that.)

From the Court’s opinion:

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October 10, 2006

Misleading nonsense at Firedoglake

Filed under: Politics,Politics and Elections,Statistical Method — bazzer @ 9:53 am

If Connecticut wants to oust Joe Lieberman for his support of the war, then fine. Many of his critics, however, seem worried that the war alone might not be sufficient, so they’re hurling everything they can at him hoping some of it will stick.

This trend reached its ludicrous apex, in my opinion, in this Jane Hamsher piece posted at Firedoglake.

Now I’m no fan of Joe Lieberman, but this strikes me as a grossly unfair and disingenuous abuse of statistics. Hamsher slams Lieberman because Connecticut sends more money to Washington than it gets back by a higher ratio than almost any other state.

True enough, but this ratio tends to increase as a function of a state’s wealth. Richer states tend to have a net outflux of dollars to Washington and poorer states a net influx. Connecticut is, by some measures, the richest state in the union, and in an indirect way, that is why Hamsher is slamming Lieberman.

Maybe it’s just me, but I find that pathetic. Perhaps it’s just desperation, as Lieberman’s lead four weeks out is beginning to look insurmountable. Perhaps when your “referendum” on the Iraq war looks as if it won’t turn out the way you want, you start urgently trying to make it about other issues as well. Still, criticizing Lieberman for not turning Connecticut into Mississippi seems like a bit of a stretch to me.

September 15, 2006

The liberals’ culture war

Filed under: Politics,Politics and Elections,Popular Culture — bazzer @ 6:54 pm

The woman who manned the register at the Blue Hill Food Co-op in Maine was a hugely pregnant hippie chick who did not shave under her arms. I knew this because she was wearing overalls… and nothing else. My wife, who is mildly allergic to bees, had just been stung, so we were asking her where we could find a nearby pharmacy.

She scowled for a moment, and then asked us (no kidding!) “Why do you need a pharmacy? You should just menstruate on a piece of tree bark, like I do.” Well okay, she didn’t really add that last sentence, but she might as well have. She mumbled some directions, we thanked her, and then drove for a few miles until we found a strip mall on the side of the highway, anchored by that pernicious blight of the suburban landscape — Wal-Mart.

First of all, let me say that I personally tend to avoid Wal-Mart as much as possible. I find shopping there to be a profoundly unpleasant experience (except for the ICEEs, which are getting harder and harder to find these days.) Still, I would never presume to judge those who do shop at Wal-Mart, as many liberals (including the Co-op girl) clearly do.

Secondly, there’s nothing wrong with the Food Co-op either. Sure, the staff and some of the clientele can be a bit nutty. It’s one of those places where you could probably expect a 10% discount if you say “STOP BUSH’S ILLEGAL WAR IN IRAQ!” at the checkout. But they have a wide variety of stuff you can’t find elsewhere. Much of it is good (fresh local produce, craft-brewed beer and exotic cheeses) and much of it awful (meatless meat, cage-free tofu and homeopathic snake oil) but all of the merchandise there has one thing in common — it was exorbitantly expensive.

See, the Co-op is committed to social justice, paying a “living wage” to its hippies, buying coffee only from the Zapatistas and other such b.s. Still, their curried chicken salad (real chicken — free range, of course) was quite good, and we shopped there often. With our New York salaries, we could afford to. Others, however, can’t.

The pregnant hippie chick and other liberals would, no doubt, prefer that everyone shop at the Co-op — or at the very least avoid shopping at Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, that’s simply not realistic, and the liberals’ animosity towards the nation’s largest retail chain is further evidence that the liberal movement in America has lost touch with working families. The GOP’s rise to power in America came about as the working class began to self-identify as Republicans. Liberals’ obsession with Wal-Mart won’t help them win the NASCAR set back, I’m afraid.

We’ve all heard the lefties’ anti-Wal-Mart shtick before. We also know that it seldom (if ever) stops at criticizing Wal-Mart’s labor practices. More often than not, it goes on to disparage the taste and class of Wal-Mart shoppers themselves. Remember the good old days, when Republicans were the party of the elite?

George Will has a great piece on the Democrats’ bizarre fixation on this American institution, and notes some very interesting facts.

The median household income of Wal-Mart shoppers is under $40,000. Wal-Mart, the most prodigious job-creator in the history of the private sector in this galaxy, has almost as many employees (1.3 million) as the U.S. military has uniformed personnel. A McKinsey company study concluded that Wal-Mart accounted for 13 percent of the nation’s productivity gains in the second half of the 1990s, which probably made Wal-Mart about as important as the Federal Reserve in holding down inflation.By lowering consumer prices, Wal-Mart costs about 50 retail jobs among competitors for every 100 jobs Wal-Mart creates . Wal-Mart and its effects save shoppers more than $200 billion a year, dwarfing such government programs as food stamps ($28.6 billion) and the earned-income tax credit ($34.6 billion).

People who buy their groceries from Wal-Mart — it has one-fifth of the nation’s grocery business — save at least 17 percent. But because unions are strong in many grocery stores trying to compete with Wal-Mart, unions are yanking on the Democratic Party’s leash, demanding laws to force Wal-Mart to pay wages and benefits higher than those that already are high enough to attract 77 times as many applicants than there were jobs at this store.

Whether you like Wal-Mart or not (and again, I don’t) it sure doesn’t sound like the unmitigated evil that John Kerry deemed it in 2004, when he called it “disgraceful” and symbolic of “what’s wrong with America.” So long, party of the working man. Hello, party of effete white liberals.You need look no further than this absurd war against Wal-Mart to understand why the Democrats have repeatedly failed to gain traction in heartland America. It’s another symptom of the same disease that Will summarizes brilliantly in the last paragraph of his column.

When liberals’ presidential nominees consistently fail to carry Kansas, liberals do not rush to read a book titled “What’s the Matter With Liberals’ Nominees?” No, the book they turned into a bestseller is titled “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Notice a pattern here?

Yes. I do.

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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