Thursday, September 11. 2008
There were also narratives about George Bush being a regular guy, and McCain being maverick moderate. The fact is that McCain's campaign lies more than Gore ever did, and that McCain's flip-flopped more than Kerry ever did. Aloof may not be the right word, but McCain could hardly be more disconnected from the problems of the middle class, let alone the poor. He's blinded both by ideology and by the company he keeps -- indeed, by his own ten house, private plane lifestyle.
But the press narratives keep slanting one way. It's enough to make you wonder who owns the media, but you only need to ask that question to surmise the answer.
Billmon: The Future Belongs to We. This runs through the demographic shifts that are pushing the white Republican backlash ever further out on the plank. I don't think it's anywhere near this simple, but the demographic shift has already had an effect on how both parties contend for votes. Bush and Rove made some (neither sincere nor effective) efforts to woo hispanic and even black voters. McCain's making fewer gestures in that direction, most likely because he wants as much racial backlash from Obama as possible. But even there he needs to be careful, because the white race margin is already thin, and more and more whites are willing to vote for a black or hispanic. Wichita, which is still 65-70% non-hispanic white, elected an hispanic mayor a few years back, then voted him out in favor of a black. On the other hand, those were both conservative candidates backed by business interests. Real progressives, even white ones, have a much tougher time.
Andrew Hacker: Obama: The Price of Being Black. One problem with the demographic shift Billmon wrote about how do you turn raw population numbers into actual votes. Hacker reviews the various ways blacks are still denied their right to vote.
Andrew Sullivan: McCain's Integrity. Actually, lack thereof:
Probably more convincing coming from a conservative who believes he has a soul. Less so from me, because I've seen through him longer. For me the last straw broke in South Carolina in 2000 when McCain declined to defend the stars and stripes, let alone the Party of Lincoln. Sullivan's endorsement:
FiveThirtyEight is now showing McCain with a 0.8% popular vote lead, although the electoral vote still gives Obama a very slim edge (1.8). They surmise that this is the full extent of the Republican convention bounce. Looking at the state polls, almost all of McCain's gain has come in red states -- topped by Alaska, where the Palin pick has delivered a 31% margin in what had previously been considered a competitive (although red-leaning) state. Sullivan argues that the bump was in the "Christianist" base, which seems likely. The last week has been exceptionally stupid even by usual Stupid Season standards. Even things that should be hard news have turned to political mush. For instance, Bush's announcement of a trivial drawdown in troop strength in Iraq, albeit not until after his term ends. I keep seeing endless repetition of the "surge has worked beyond our wildest dreams" mantra by people with no idea what "working" means. (I believe the quote was from Obama, of all people, but don't quote me on that.) Meanwhile, the situation in Pakistan keeps getting further and further out of hand, which is all the more worrisome given that both candidates are hawks on it. It's tempting to say that Obama is losing because he's drifting away from the right positions on critical issues of war and peace. But to the extent that he is losing, it's for far worse reasons: because more/less half of the American people, and considerably larger slice of the media and business powers, are still willing to snuggle up in Karl Rove's pocket. What it says about us as a nation is nothing less than shameful.