The Youth Vote

You know, it’s still a matter of conventional wisdom among the Democratic strategy elite that, since Obama won by pulling in a massive number of youthful voters (more than the 65+ voters for the first time), they have to cater to them — and testing in that age group shows that they don’t like partisanship, and they’re greatly in favor of compromise solutions. (Children of divorce who don’t like yelling?)

Apparently we raised an entire generation of political illiterates. My kids still don’t believe that Social Security is financially sound, because Ron Paul told them so!

So I think that’s what all this depressing, infuriating happy horseshit is about — Obama sucking up to the kids. I don’t think it’ll work, though, especially since their turnout is easily depressed by their current moods. Boomers and seniors are much more reliable voters.

Just sayin’!

Philadelphia

I saw this picture on another blog and I was thinking how most people don’t realize how beautiful this city is until they visit.

P.S. See that brown building? I used to have that corner office, on the 32nd floor.

Dog Whistles

No one trusts the person who starts making fun of other people as soon as they leave the room because it makes you wonder: What is he saying about me when my back is turned? Krugman:

What I think of is the contrast between how Obama operates and how Bush operated. Bush and his handlers were masters of dog-whistle politics — of conveying to their base, in ways that went under the radar of mainstream media, the message that he was really one of them. The vaguely Biblical language about evildoers, for example, struck most mainstream commentators as being slightly odd, but never mind; what it conveyed to the religious right, however, was the message that Bush was a dominionist at heart.

Obama, however, seems to go out of his way to convey the message that although he rode to office on a wave of progressive enthusiasm, he and his people don’t respect the people who got him where he is. There are the gratuitous jabs at the “professional left”, the “both sides are wrong” rhetoric even as the right goes all out to destroy him, and stuff like Lew’s testimony. I mean, how hard would it be to have a little message discipline here?

In fact, it often seems to me that there’s an almost compulsive aspect to the administration’s anti-dog whistling. Maybe it comes from hanging out with the political and business establishment, which leads to a desire to seem respectable by dissing the DFHs. But memo to the president: Wall Street will hate you anyway. All you’re doing is undermining the enthusiasm of people you need.

Just to be clear: I’m not saying that it would be right or justified for progressives to take their ball and go home. Obama has brought real change — above all, health reform, imperfect as it is (and if it survives). But yelling at the base won’t get them up and going; a little respect might.

‘Not An Acceptable Person’

From Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: I asked John le Carré if we would go to—if he would go to one of Tony Blair’s book events.

JOHN LE CARRÉ: No, I wouldn’t, nor would I buy the book. At the last election in which he stood, I was invited by The Guardian newspaper to interview him. And after much thought, I declined, because I did not see how I could lay a glove on him. And I’ve asked some pretty heavy-hitting journalists what questions they would have asked, in retrospect, that might have unseated him a little, that might have thrown him. And they said, almost with one voice, there’s nothing you can get past him, there’s no way of doing it.

I think I would have asked him one question, perhaps, and I’d have asked it repeatedly. I’d have asked him about his faith, because we were told, when journalists asked about Blair’s faith, the reply was, “We don’t do God here.” Well, of course, he does do God, and he reports that his actions have been put before God and confirmed, as if somehow God has signed a chit for him. I think that the question of somebody’s religious faith is absolutely central to what we think of them, if we are members of the electorate. We have to know. If it is, for example, somebody’s conviction, widely held among Christians in the United States, that the second coming of Christ is not possible ’til the Greater Israel is established, we need to know that. That’s an important political perception. In Blair’s case, I would have asked him that question, and I’d have pressed him on it. I’d have asked him whether God had ever restrained him. I find it very strange that we elect a politician who then claims to serve a higher deity who guides him: “I did what I believe is right.” Well, will you tell us, please, how that relates to the Christian ethic? Do you believe in war first and negotiation afterwards? Exactly how does this work?

And the second question I would ask him is the really painful one, which I could not have asked if I hadn’t gone on my own journey. Have you ever seen what happens when a grenade goes off in a school? Do you really know what you’re doing when you order shock and awe? Are you prepared to kneel beside a dying soldier and tell him why he went to Iraq, or why he went to any war? I think that if anything has happened to Europe since 1945 that defines it, it is collectively Europeans do not believe in war anymore, until it comes as an absolute last resort, and then they’re going to do it rather badly. The United States, I think, still sees war as a necessary part of its existence. It’s impossible to maintain the military on that scale, a Pentagon on that scale, without turning it over. You’ve got to have officers who are experienced in command and control. You’ve got to have troops who have been bloodied. So, we were, in that sense, at odds. I was, as a European. I was at odds with the whole notion of a preemptive strike. And I think many Europeans have that in common, of course with very many Americans, too, feel the same. So I would have tried to challenge him in that area.

And as I think I said earlier in the interview, for me, there are very few absolutes about human behavior. But I think a leader who does take his country to war under false pretenses is simply not an acceptable person. I don’t think that we should be weighing the rights and wrongs of that. It seems to me to be quite simply wrong.

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