The New Majority

Clinton pollster Stan Greenberg joins those who believe GOP populism appeals to an increasingly narrow base:

In this poll, for example, when asked if homosexuality should be accepted or discouraged by society, moderates and liberals agree that it is a way of life that should be accepted by society by 65- and 33-point margins respectively, compared to conservatives who believe it should be discouraged by 32 points. When asked if our security depends on building strong ties with other nations or on our own military strength, both liberals and moderates agree with multilateralism by double-digit margins, while conservatives disagree. On values and on issues, moderates — with one large exception — swing toward liberals.

The exception is that moderates remain far more skeptical about government — and government spending — than liberals do. 

Brooks: “Nihilists”

An extraordinary columns today from the NYT’s David Brooks, pronouncing that the GOp has moved well beyond intellectual bankruptcy:

This generation of political leaders is confronting a similar situation [to the 1933 economic crisis], and, so far, they have failed utterly and catastrophically to project any sense of authority, to give the world any reason to believe that this country is being governed. … And let us recognize above all the 228 who voted no — the authors of this revolt of the nihilists. They showed the world how much they detest their own leaders and the collected expertise of the Treasury and Fed. They did the momentarily popular thing, and if the country slides into a deep recession, they will have the time and leisure to watch public opinion shift against them.

Read the whole thing.

Bail Out

Ross Douthat, in the wake of Monday’s House vote:

The most likely scenario, as of 3 PM this afternoon: The stock market continues to drop. Some version of the bailout passes in the next week. The American economy staggers into a recession, but passes through the storm without 1930s-style suffering; the Republican Party is not so fortunate. Even though most Americans claim to oppose the bailout [update: not anymore], the House GOP’s obstructionism is widely viewed as having worsened the economic situation; the fact that these are contradictory positions does not faze an electorate that wraps all of the country’s current troubles up, ties them with a bow, and lays them at the feet of the Bush-led GOP. John McCain loses by a landslide in November. The Democratic Party regains years or even decades worth of ground among the white working class, consolidates the Hispanic vote, and locks up a large chunk of highly-educated voters who might otherwise lean conservative. The muchdiscussed liberal realignment happens. And a politician running on a Ron Paul-style economic platform does very, very well in the GOP primaries of 2012.

The Dow dropped 777 points. Thanks, assholes. Main Street is getting antsy:

The United States Chamber of Commerce vowed to exert pressure, warning in a letter to members of Congress that it would keep track of who votes how. “Make no mistake,” the letter said. “When the aftermath of Congressional inaction becomes clear, Americans will not tolerate those who stood by and let the calamity happen.”

Like I Said …

Republican women and Democratic women just don’t mix. The Washington Post:

In the new poll, it is underlying political attitudes that appear to dominate, just as they do in ratings of Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Del.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee. Eighty-five percent of Republicans view Palin favorably, and nearly nine in 10 approve of her selection as Sen. John McCain‘s running mate. Among Democrats, 24 percent view her favorably and 57 percent disapprove of her selection.

Biden, Swinging

Sean Quinn at 538 was impressed:

In the hockey analogy, Palin wouldn’t get within a thousand miles of an NHL All-Star Game because she’s not a scoring talent. She’s a role player, an emotion-rouser. Emotion messes with the chalkboard-drawn game plan and thus achieves a specific strategic objective. She can make game-changing agitation plays that rouse her home team and provoke the other side into counterattacks that –- 100% of the time -– end up punishing the team who hits back. Democrats would be smart to understand her as such, and I see a lot of reaction that doesn’t seem to grasp what Palin is doing and the value she’s providing. I see a lot of Democrats taking a lot of bait.

This applies more to Democratic surrogates than it does to the top-ticket duo. Joe Biden had the smart response yesterday –- naming the behavior -– expecting it, and then riding through without taking the bait. … And that’s all he says of Palin’s antics. Name the behavior, even praising the skill with which the agitation was attempted, and then back to focus. It’s “the economy, stupid.”

Thumbs Down

North Carolina’s two favorite blogging political heavyweights, Gary Pearce (aide to former Gov. Jim Hunt) and Carter Wrenn (aide to the late Sen. Jesse Helms) are not impressed by the Palin selection. Their reasoning differs slightly, but agrees on McCain’s weakness.


McCain panicked after the Democratic convention and Obama’s speech. He wanted to stop the momentum. He did. The wrong way. … Show me a party that worries about revving up the base at this point in the campaign, and I’ll show you a party that’s losing. It’s another iron law of politics.


McCain’s campaign got caught flat-footed, fumbled, and looked just plain silly … This constitutes a whole bunch of fumbles –- in five days –- by folks who were supposed to know better. Governor Palin has a lot going for her and right now she ought to give some thought to telling the political gurus she’d just as soon decide how to handle the next crisis herself.

Switching Places

Thomas Barnett notes how the major parties have changed approach on the way to explaining why he’ll vote for Obama:

When I look at the labeling now with parties, to me it all seems backwards. Republican presidents seem to be associated with huge deficits and more radical foreign policies, while Dem presidents seem to be associated with more frugality and more conservative national security policies.

I tend to make my pick largely on foreign policy, and the reason why I would take Obama over McCain is because I think Obama will be a more cautious, conservative national security leader than McCain, who I expect to be more bold and radical–much like Bush. I just don’t think America can afford four more years of that.

You might read the whole thing. He comes from a post-Boomer outlook that has little use for red/blue division or refighting the battles of 40 years ago.

Not Leaving the Trooper Alone

A long post from Washington Monthly blogger Steve Benen shows Democrats could well get themselves in trouble by making an issue of McCain veep pick Sarah Palin’s efforts to get her state-trooper brother-in-law fired. It’s clear Palin has been disingenuous about her activities and the former state public safety commissioner she actually did fire has a point when he says there are personnel-law reasons that should keep a governor from putting a finger on the scales like she tried to.  But looking strictly at the politics of it, that’s beside the point. Most police forces are good-ol’-boy bastions that more often cover for than investigate fellow cops who get involved in domestic violence. That’s so widely known that women not only will give Palin a pass on the issue, many will actively take her side. Trust me, Dems, this one’s a loser.

So Far in the Convention

Blogging’s been a bit light around here (social obligations, plus things being soggy around here thanks to the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay) so I’m a bit late to commenting on the Dem’s big party. But these things stick out:

  1. Hillary’s were-you-in-it-for-me-or-the-cause moment Tuesday night. Pitch perfect, and absolutely the right question. Eventually, the intended targets of that question will answer, “the cause.”
  2. Joe Biden’s riff on the economy. No raise, falling home values, rising gas prices, all concerns for the middle class. A blow well-struck. He was less convincing on foreign policy, however.
  3. Bill Clinton’s hammering on the economy. Not the way I would have done it — all one need to is compare the misery index components at the end of his administration to those prevailing now — but effective nonetheless. 

Obama’s task in his acceptance is to build on what Biden and Bill had to say about the economy.

Hillary’s No PUMA

I think we’ll hear this in her prime-time speech. As David Byrne said in Stop Making Sense, does anyone have any questions?

Oh, and Steve Benen at Washington Monthly has only it partly right:

It’s almost as if the party “rift” has been exaggerated for effect by news outlets obsessed with the notion of drama, and desperate to find some kind of major conflict, whether it exists or not.

No, Steve, it’s a plant. And some people are dumb enough to fall for it.

UPDATE: They’re still at it. Let’s go to the tape, shall we?