06
Feb 09

Destroying the Village

There’s a quote from an unattributed USAF Major at Ben Tre (detailed in personal detail here) describing the logic of destroying an entire village while attempting to rout a deeply embedded Vietcong:

“[It] became necessary to destroy the town to save it[.]”

I don’t disagree with the premise. There is always collateral damage in war. It is always brutal, regrettable, and unavoidable. Sometimes, it is necessary to destroy the old so that the new may prosper. Sherman practiced “scorched earth” on his March to the Sea, and Schumpter theorized about creative destruction. Death and rebirth is the natural order of the world.

So it should be with “The Village”.

For those unaccustomed to the phrase, “the Village” is a theme in lefty blog circles explaining the culture and customs of DC beltway types – be they socialites, politicians, fund raisers, but especially the media – print and TV personalities especially.

From the Seminal:

These phrases are shorthand for the idea that there exists a permanent class in Washington D.C. of people “who have a proprietary interest in Washington and identify with it”. This set overlaps with, but is slightly different than, the set of government employees; the latter ostensibly serve at the pleasure of the people who elected them (or elected the person who appointed them), while the former are unabashedly self-interested (“Certainly the Washington insiders have their own interests at heart. Whenever a new president comes to town, he [or she] will be courted assiduously by those whose livelihoods depend on access to power.”). The seminal article on the Village was written in the Washington Post by Villager Sally Quinn in 1998, during the Clinton impeachment. It’s where I got those quotes above, and it’s where the term ‘Village’ comes from, and it’s full of other descriptive lines. For example:

“This is our town,” says Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the first Democrat to forcefully condemn the president’s behavior. “We spend our lives involved in talking about, dealing with, working in government.”

…Muffie Cabot, who as Muffie Brandon served as social secretary to President and Nancy Reagan, regards the scene with despair. “This is a demoralized little village”

…”We have our own set of village rules,” says David Gergen, editor at large at U.S. News & World Report.

…”[Bill Clinton] came in here and he trashed the place,” says Washington Post columnist David Broder, “and it’s not his place.”

…Presidential historian Michael Beschloss … “When everything is turned upside down it affects our psyche more than someone who might be farming in Wyoming.”

That’s one big aspect of the Establishment mentality – the idea of entitlement, that being part of this rarefied group gives their opinions and feelings more weight than “someone who might be farming in Wyoming”. The other, equally important, part is that the Establishment is out of touch with the rest of the country.

I could easily tally their list of failings – the Clinton Impeachment, WMDs, the Iraq War, and now the economy – and particularly how out of touch they are with what Americans really think. We’re beginning to see it again with all the talks of tax cuts, spending freezes, the size of the stimulus, and a host of other issues. But that’s not the purpose of this post.

No. It’s about the public scolding of Michael Phelps for doing something the majority of Americans have done, with many doing so regularly, and ruining a young man’s life. Continue reading →


15
Nov 08

The ‘New’ New Math

A friend of mine forwarded me an email from a columnist by the name of Jack Tymann, detailing the share of votes Obama and McCain received from a variety of constituencies.   The gist of the numbers was that McCain LOST every demographic EXCEPT white males.

I thought back to Karl Rove’s interpretation of ‘the math’ and why he expected an outcome extremely different than the 2006 mid-term electoral results, famously quipping the following on NPR (via the Raw Deal):

“You may end up with a different math, but you’re entitled to your math,” Rove said. “I’m entitled to ‘the’ math.”

What led him to make the assumptions he made, and why were they wrong?   Rove believed that voters would respond to allegations of Democratic corruption, so that was the campaign he ran.   It also plays a role in the US Attorney Scandal as well as the prosecution and conviction (and subsequent appeal) of Alabama governor Bud Siegelmann.   It is quite possible that Rove was correct, and that the electorate did recognize corruption; Unfortunately, they had come to associate lawbreaking with the majority party and minority party.

I’m going to say that there may be far more simple indicators than black-box explanations of voter behavior.   Continue reading →


03
Nov 08

Craziness.

Would you believe me if I told   you that white supremacists and American Nazi’s were supporting Obama [Esquire via Political Irony]?

Rocky Suhayda, chairman of the American Nazi Party:

White people are faced with either a negro or a total nutter who happens to have a pale face. Personally I’d prefer the negro. National Socialists are not mindless haters. Here, I see a white man, who is almost dead, who declares he wants to fight endless wars around the globe to make the world safe for Judeo-capitalist exploitation, who supports the invasion of America by illegals “basically a continuation of the last eight years of Emperor Bush. Then, we have a black man, who loves his own kind, belongs to a Black-Nationalist religion, is married to a black women “when usually negroes who have ‘made it’ immediately land a white spouse as a kind of prize ” that’s the kind of negro that I can respect.

Continue reading →


30
Oct 08

Early Tuesday Night Presidential Predictions

I’m fairly comfortable stating the following predictions regarding the election. I base this after parsing the aggregate polls at fivethirtyeight as well as electoral-vote.

My logic was that any state where Obama has a lead of 10-points or greater could safely be assigned a Democratic win, with all others going to McCain. The 10-point margin assumes the presence of a “Bradley Effect” of 6-points and being on the high-side of the margin of error (usually 2.5-3.5%).

Under this scenario, the split for the Electoral College votes is 309 Obama, 229 McCain. This represents McCain’s best-case scenario.

The more-likely scenario, with Obama taking New Mexico, Georgia, and Florida, gives an outcome of 309-229, as pictured below (created with a screencap from 270towin):

The absolute worst case scenario, with Obama taking every state in which he has any measurable lead as of current polling, delivers a result of 415-123. If this should occur, be wary of falling Republicans.

The remaining uncertainties are the effect of cell-phones on polling, the specter of the Bradley Effect (and I suppose the Palin Effect), Republican voter-suppression efforts, the effect of early voting, the impact of new registrations, and turnout, particularly among minorities and youth.


28
Oct 08

Best. Post-Election. Crackup. Ever.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures
see Sarah Palin pictures

It’s not even election day, and already the GOP is taking out the long knives. I’m unsure if McCain picked Palin as a stunt to woo the unicorns PUMAs, as a dog whistle to crazy-baselanders, or as a patsy for his increasingly probably defeat. In any case, the coalition of convenience formerly known as the GOP three legged stool of social conservatives, policy and pundit conservatives, and fiscal conservatives is rapidly coming off the rails. We can only hope that the GOP is too busy dealing with their own insurgents to pay attention to any of the real work getting done in picking up the pieces of eight-years of GOP-rule. Continue reading →