Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Perhaps the perfect use of a weblog

Rafe Coburg is right: Winning Argument may be the perfect use of this medium.

About Winning Argument
Most of the political debate in this country does not occur behind podiums but in backyards, bus stops and ball parks. This blog is an effort to give you – or at least those of you who agree with us – the arguments you need to convince others that you're right. If you disagree with the opinions expressed here, please make your case in the comments section.

Assertion; evidence in favor; evidence contradicting your opponents.

Simple. Useful. Elegant.

Next: Republicans cure cancer!

I used to worry about how the profit motive motivated or distracted medical research, but I'll admit, I'd overlooked entirely the electoral calculus.

Newt Gingrich thinks curing cancer would be good for his party:

...starting with health, Republicans need to include African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans in their policy development and policy implementation. Because African Americans, Native Americans and Hispanics disproportionately suffer from diabetes, the right answers on diabetes and obesity are inherently good answers for America's minorities. Eliminating cancer as a cause of death ... has a powerful appeal to minority Americans
(via Matthew Yglesias)

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

War on Terror is over; you can all go home!

Ashcroft, in a five-page, handwritten [resignation] letter to Bush, said, "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."

He probably finished up the job in the week after the election; otherwise, he'd have told us all sooner, right?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Now the work

Now that someone has committed suicide at WTC Ground Zero in protest of last week's election results, I suppose that we can end the half-hearted joking about wrist-slitting and emigrating to Canada.

Lakshmi Chaudhry's despair/concern is typical:

James Carville says that if liberals like me want to win, we need to learn how to talk to white guys in pickup trucks who think my gay friends are a sin against nature. But what could I possibly say to someone for whom a ban on abortion is the single most important issue in their life? There's no point in trying to "speak my values," if the folks I'm talking to think those values are simply wrong

In the aftermath of the election, it feels like I've not just ceded my country, but also my self. I've become just one among the sea of anonymous losers whose concerns and issues are simply not relevant any more. In the space of a single night, I've become invisible.

So don't be invisible. Don't 'speak your values'--be your values.

Frankly, how else do you anticipate persuading anyone?

This view of popular vote by county reaffirms that Kerry's support correlates with population density; i.e., when you know people who are different than you, you learn that you needn't fear them. The white guys in pickup trucks don't know your gay friends, but they could get to know you. Once they come to trust your independent judgement, such that you can no longer be demonized, it may not be so clear what a "fag-loving baby killer" really looks like.

Maybe we're already home

Since this is my first post, I thank any and all who have stumbled by.

In his Saturday NYTimes Op-Ed (registration/surrender of first born required), Nicholas Kristof somehow cannot seem to recall the existence of the Democratic Leadership Council and the three presidential campaigns run by its early leaders (all three of which, need I add, earned a plurality of the popular vote). Instead, he trots out yet another version of why the Democrats have to move to the right: it worked for Tony Blair (and he was there to see it in person!)

Of course, the medicine Kristof prescribes was fit for a Labor Party "caught in its own echo chamber of militant unions and anti-American activists, and it so repulsed voters that it seemed it might wither away entirely."

That's no diagnosis of the current Democratic Party.

Gary Langer's nearby Op-Ed helpfully cautions against misreading the prominence of the "moral values" response in Tuesday's exit polls because

the exit poll, co-sponsored by the national television networks and The Associated Press ... asked voters what was the most important issue in their decision: taxes, education, Iraq, terrorism, economy/jobs, moral values or health care. Six of these are concrete, specific issues. The seventh, moral values, is not, and its presence on the list produced a misleading result.

But it's the additional data that Langer cites to cast doubt upon the exit poll results that interests me here.

The makeup and views of the electorate in other measures provide some context for the moral values result. The number of conservative white Protestants or weekly churchgoing white Protestants voting (12 percent and 13 percent of voters, respectively) did not rise in 2004. Fifty-five percent of voters said abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Sixty percent said they supported either gay marriage (25 percent) or civil unions (an additional 35 percent).

Got that? On the two hot-button moral issues of the day--abortion and gay marriage--55% and 60% of Americans support the Democratic presidential candidate's position, respectively.

Where is there to move?