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Bloggingheads
01-08-2008, 08:32 PM

cragger
01-08-2008, 09:28 PM
Respect.

These gentlemen get it from me at a time when we are all involved and invested in an event that has a major importance in the future of our lives. No insider horse race crap, no "how to get an advantage out of this" or "why my candidate should and will win" partisan spin and hackery, two people who obviously care deeply, whether you agree with their opinions or not, talking absolutely honestly.

There is something unique about this diavlog, about listening to a serious and thoughtful white man who thinks the best hope for the US to recover its promise lies in the first black presidential candidate with a chance to win, and an equally serious and thoughtful black man who believes that the better choice for what they both want, hope, and believe, lies instead with a white woman.

Your mileage may of course vary, and likely does, but there is something about this that gives me a rare flicker of hope for us all.

bjkeefe
01-08-2008, 11:29 PM
cragger:

I agree with you -- it was a good diavlog.

I had one problem, at about the 23 minute mark: I'm don't understand why Glenn sees Barack Obama (as African-American) as a mere symbol but Hillary Clinton (as woman) as much more than that. He said that her being president would have a multi-generational impact.

I can accept his point of view that the election of Obama would not magically wipe away the problems we have with race. In fact, I agree with it. But there's never going to be a single point when those problems do vanish, and there won't ever be one event that causes it. It's a process, agonizingly slow to be sure, but it is moving, and the election of Obama might be a big help along the way.

I can also accept Glenn's view that the election of Clinton would mean a lot. I'm not sure I agree as much with this. For one thing, women seem to be making faster progress than do blacks. For another, this particular woman as president would provoke countless invocations of "bitch" by her opponents. Even people who mostly agree with her politically will be endlessly obsessing over trivialities of her appearance, not to mention writing off some of her inevitable disputes with Congress as "catty."

I wonder if Glenn sees this the way he expressed because he's much more aware of the problems of the group he happens to belong to, or if he's more reluctant to hope about something he's more invested in.

There's another, lesser, point that Glenn raised. He said that he thinks that Clinton is the only possibility on the horizon to break the gender barrier for a long time. He did not say that Obama was the only foreseeable chance to break the color barrier. I wonder who else he thinks is viable in the near future? I wish he had said.

I did find Glenn's reasons for preferring Clinton to be pretty persuasive, or at least, persuasive-sounding. She would do well to recruit him to campaign for her, not that I think he would take the job. I'm not sure I agree with his reasoning -- as Josh said, it's just as easy to suppose that the Clintons are at least partly responsible for weakness of the Democratic Party in recent years.

eskinol
01-09-2008, 12:02 AM
The McWhorter/Loury pairing crackles with energy. Cohen sucks all the energy out of the room :)

somerandomdude
01-09-2008, 12:06 AM
On a previous episode of BHTV, Jon Chait had I think the best summary of Kristol. He said that you have to assume bad faith whenever you're dealing with Kristol, because Kristol views journalism as just another form of politics.

basman
01-09-2008, 02:56 AM
I generally like these two guys a lot and I thought, as someone commented, that Loury was strong in his arguments for the "A Team". But I also did not completely understand the distinction drawn between a Hillary presidency being a real achievement of historic proportions but an Obama presidency being only symbolic. My thought is that Loury thinks that racism is so endemic and structurally inbred in America that an Obama presidency could not dismantle it and could even be a distraction from the reality of it. Without questioning that racism exists in America, I am unaware of its structural embeddedness, tend not to believe that, want to be pointed to where the convincing case for that has accessibly been made, and find Loury guilty of some special pleading here.

I thought Cohen took way too long to make the very small point about the arguable inappropriateness of Huckabee's line about loaves of bread and such, which for all I know was said in jest. I'd be interested also in being pointed to something that convincingly makes the case for Huckabee's wrongful blurring of the separation between church and state over his 10 or so years in Arkansas. If that case cannot be made, does that not dampen significantly the concern over some Huckabee as some fundamentalist loon in the White House about to Christianize America? (I say these things as someone who utterly rejects Huckabee politically.)

Finally, I look forward to reading Kristol's columns in the Times. He is smart, well educated, writes well, is not too excitable, is a large voice for his side of the political spectrum and is able to argue strongly from his perspective. He is provocative. Just because he thinks the Iraq war was justified and is now being won, just because he is a neo-conservative and hates what he considers statism, is he therefore ipso facto to be barred from having an op-ed column? I'd argue no. I enjoyed the partisan and counter-intuitive argument of his first column, enjoyed in his writing the "new journalism" strands, and look forward to reading him more assuredly than I look forward to reading Bob Herbert, with whom I am probably more in tune with politically, or Maureen Dowd, who, in truth, I can no longer abide.

brucds
01-09-2008, 10:17 AM
Loury's right about Clinton being "The A Team" - i.e. reminiscent of reruns of an old TV show that's long past its expiratioin date. To me the visage of Madeline Albright standing next to Clinton says everything I need to know about that pot of leftovers. I like Glenn - he's my favorite on bloggingheads - but his age and timidity are showing here and his characterization of team Obama as "teenagers" is beyond ridiculous. If I'm going to get leftovers from the Clinton administration - which we will, inevitably and/or ironically, served in the nextGen Dem Presidency - I'll take the likes of Robert Reich, the younger of the Rubins and the foreign policy wing that got Iraq right and not horribly wrong (Lake vs. Holbrooke, et. al.), not the doddering old madame Albright who told us that a few hundred thousand Iraqi deaths was no big deal - nor, frankly, the has-been Bill skulking around. Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton. No thanks. I'm 61 years old (born within a few days of Bill C) and I'm way too young to pick through the recycle bin for the next wave of leadership. The only thing more dispiriting than another Clinton admnistration would be a McCain administration - which Democrats who lazily back Hillary as the "conventional wisdom" path to some knee-jerk, manifestly uninspiring "restoration", but with her high negatives and lacking Obama's ability to move young voters, independents, moderate GOPs and (dare I say it?) many Democratic men, are likely to hand us. I fear a McCain/Hillary facedown will be a recipe for Democratic defeat. Hell - I'm a committed Democrat and McCain doesn't irk me all that much more than Clinton does. At least he came by his vote for the Iraq war honestly and not as a despicable act of political calculation.

Hoofin
01-09-2008, 11:00 AM
I am so tired of the Hillary Clinton bashing.

Herb(<---I meant Howard, an old coworker was Herb) Fineman (of Newsweek) had it right the other day, when he said that Barack and Michelle Obama were basically the Bill and Hillary Clinton of 16 years ago: Ivy League lawyers on the up, looking to make it in Washington, DC.

It's like the Clintons wrote the book and the Obamas are turning the pages.

The only change I see with Obama is new font. They used to use the DLC font, and now Obama has that futuristic one that imitates Art Deco style. I see those signs and I am not sure if I am watching a rerun of Citizen Kane or looking at an old metal plate in the New York subway system.

So far, Obama has made a lot of pretty speeches.

And tried to seem Kennedy-esque. Even Bill Clinton tried to do the Kennedy thing in '92. (At least he had shaken the guy's hand as a teenager.)

Obama lost because a lot of New Hampshire voters saw him as the latest media sensation. And he should have realized that long before he told Hillary she was "likeable enough".

It made me think that Obama, if capable, is "capable enough". Or "experienced enough". I guess it depends on what your definition of "enough" is.


In 1968, few people were saying "oh no not Nixon again!" Therein lies the reason the Democrats keep screwing up. They even toss their winners overboard. And arguably, Bill Clinton is the only real winner they had in a quarter century.

So everyone hold your nose and vote for McCain, if you don't get Barack Obama. Or watch him get ripped to shreds by the Republican Attack Machine in the fall.

I assure you he would not be able to pretty speech his way out of that.

Wonderment
01-09-2008, 02:31 PM
Well, like many others, including the professional polls, Josh was quite close on the Republicans and Edwards, but out-to-lunch on the Hillary/Obama numbers. I've yet to hear a good explanation of the Hillary victory margin compared to the polls. Some have suggested she cheated (the usual paranoics); others have suggested people lied to the pollsters; others have said O benefited from open caucuses in Iowa and was hurt by secret ballot (we won't REALLY vote for the black guy) in NH. ALso, I've heard it was the Hillary final push or the tears she shed on TV. None of this, however, seems sufficient to explain how "10% lead and surging" turned to fizzle and defeat. It's especially intriguing that the pollsters got it right for all the other candidates and only blew Hillary/Barack. What's your view, election addicts?

brucds
01-09-2008, 03:10 PM
Who the hell is Herb Fiineman ?

brucds
01-09-2008, 03:17 PM
"I'm so tired of Hillary bashing..."

Is it "bashing" to remind folks that she cast a despicable vote for Bush's war resolution soley out of political calculation - and that hundreds of thousands have died because of her and like-minded Dems' cowardice and opportunism.

That - combined with her incredibly amateurish health care debacle when she was First Lady - should disqualify her. Bill Clinton was no great shakes as President - he singlehandedly set the stage with his irresponsible narcissistic behavior for 8 years of BushCo disaster. Let's skip handing the ball to his "I'm entitled" wife.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
01-09-2008, 03:38 PM
Mr. Loury keeps getting better and better on these diavlogs.

I love the unique camera angle style that he brings. Pure cool.

Finally, in the midst of his explaining why William Kristol is a hack, he says,
"Bill Kristol used to be a friend of mine, maybe he still is, I don't know."

It can't get any better than that.

bjkeefe
01-09-2008, 04:07 PM
Wonderment:

I share your puzzlement about the disparity between the polls and the elections results. I confess to a moment or two of paranoia last night while watching the returns come in -- could it be? Could her operatives be messing with the voting machines somehow? -- but that way lies madness.

Another thing I thought of is that most of the Iowa polls underpredicted the margin of Obama's win.

I am now led to think that polling is less accurate than it has been in recent history. Recall that one of the methodological flaws that led to the "Dewey defeats Truman" headline was that it was conducted by telephone. At that time, telephones were not universal, and so the selection process was biased in favor of those who did have phones, which meant an over-representation by richer people. Over the next few decades, phones became less of a luxury, and so this bias disappeared.

Today's variation may be the cell phone phenomenon: many people have only a cell phone, and it's believed that these people don't get called as often as they should if one wants a true random sample, if they get called at all. Also, I wonder how what the effect is of people moving to VOIP systems exclusively. If you have, say, Vonage only, does this mean you'll not be called as well? One more: if phone numbers are unlisted, does that mean they'll be less likely to be called? Requests for unlisted service are on the rise, and possession of this service would tend toward richer people, I'd think. Maybe the older women who favor Clinton are disproportionately predisposed to fall into one of these off-the-pollsters'-grid demographics.

Probably this hypothesis -- that phone ownership is not as uniformly distributed as the polling process requires -- is not the whole explanation. In the specific case of New Hampshire, it could be that lots of people changed their minds at the last minute, for whatever reason. But I do think that we should probably view polling data with increased skepticism. This is a borderline tautology, but it's also something that troubles me, because polls are really the only tool we'd have available if we had some worries about the reliability of election results in the future.

Wonderment
01-09-2008, 04:24 PM
Probably this hypothesis -- that phone ownership is not as uniformly distributed as the polling process requires -- is not the whole explanation. In the specific case of New Hampshire, it could be that lots of people changed their minds at the last minute, for whatever reason. But I do think that we should probably view polling data with increased skepticism. This is a borderline tautology, but it's also something that troubles me, because polls are really the only tool we'd have available if we had some worries about the reliability of election results in the future.

As you suggest, Brendan, the phone variables may provide some, but not enough, explanatory power. It leaves out why things were skewed only in the Clinton-Obama numbers and none of the other NH numbers. This was even weirder, if I recall correctly, than the Kerry-favorable exit polls in Ohio in 04. 10%-15% is a LOT of votes to miscalculate -- way outside margin of error.

My gut (very unscientific gurgling) tells me that the last-minute mind-changers were suddenly panicked by the possibility of Obama actually winning and kicking Hillary's sorry ass out of the race. It was okay to fantasize about a young black president who would change things dramatically, but in the privacy of the polling booth, voters heart palpitations.

If race plays into it, I would say the image of Obama struting his stuff post-Iowa-victory (uppity colored boy) wreaked sufficient subliminal havoc on white voters to make a difference. Audacity of hope is one thing; uppity black is -- sadly -- quite another.

bjkeefe
01-09-2008, 04:30 PM
Wonderment:

If race plays into it, I would say the image of Obama struting his stuff post-Iowa-victory (uppity colored boy) wreaked sufficient subliminal havoc on white voters to make a difference. Audacity of hope is one thing; uppity black is -- sadly -- quite another.

If you're right about this, it's quite saddening. Even more sad: I think there's some chance that you are right.

basman
01-09-2008, 05:00 PM
Wonderment, a question or two:

(A friend of mine who I had dinner with last night has your same view from his Canadian vantage point.) Why generally would someone tell a pollster that he or she intended to vote for Obama when he or she didn't so intend, and why was there congruence between the Iowa polls and the result but incongruence in N.H?

basman
01-09-2008, 05:09 PM
p.s. I am a simple minded guy and my thought is over and above the Clintons' deep roots in N.H. and their formidable ground game there, that a lot of people changed their minds about Hillary over the last 24-48 hours for a lot of reasons including her debate performance, her welling up, some sober second thought about Obama's perceived callowness, and race too, and a host of ther factors. I think that positing race alone as a sufficient reason for the polling incongruity is reductive.

Wonderment
01-09-2008, 06:47 PM
I agree that positing race as the answer is overreaching.

But there apparently is considerable precedent from several previous US elections suggesting that a black person's candidacy skews the polls.

Pundits call it the Tom Bradley factor. Bradley, a rather conservative black Dem., was leading in polls for California governor against a white guy Dukmajin (sorry about the spelling). But like Hillary, Bradley got beat in the election. The theory is this: The pollster calls you, a Dem. voter, and asks if you're going to vote for Bradley or Dukmajin. You're ashamed to admit that you won't vote for a black even though you're a solid Democrat, so you say you will, and then you don't.

The case may be harder to make in a Dem. primary than in a general election like the Tom Bradley one, but the Obama victory swagger, combined with Hillary's (intentional or not) playing of the gender card, may explain a few percentage points.

A less cynical explanation is that NH voters believed the polls and were simply concerned about locking up the nomination for Obama (or anyone else) this early on. In that case, you have the MSM to blame for trying to bury Hillary. The electorate responded by saying, "We have serious doubts about her, but we don't want her dead yet."

garbagecowboy
01-09-2008, 07:26 PM
Bill Kristol is certainly a partisan hack. His arguments probably don't belong in the New York Times. Well, I couldn't give a whatever about what's in the New York Times, but sure, partisan hack is a fair charge.

What doesn't make much sense to me is the bizarre claim from Cohen that somehow, all the liberal partisan hacks employed by the New York Times op-ed page are somehow distinct, more thoughtful, less hack-y than Kristol.

I call bullshit.

He claims that Kristol is unthoughtful and sloganeering... his use of "snatch victory from the jaws of defeat" with regard to Iraq is beyond the pale. Paul Krugman, on the other hand, is thoughtful, musters evidence (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/7919?in=00:51:53) and although partisan, is not a hack. The fact that he happens to be "right" about everything doesn't have to do with it, something is really different about Kristol.

The fact that Krugman is an academic may make him more liable to put forward writing that Cohen thinks is not just partisan hackery, but one doesn't have to dig deep to find similarly empty-headed and equally partisan sloganeering in a Krugman column, to pick just one of the several liberal partisan operatives in the NYT Op-ed stable.

From within the last two weeks (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31krugman.html), Krugman asserts that conservatives continued persistence in wanting to cut taxes and spending is part of our "greed-is-good orthodoxy." Yes, I remember the famous George W. Bush "greed is good speech" that rocketed him to the Republican nomination in 2000. Oh wait, that was Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. No matter, this guy clearly has his thinking hat on. You know how I can tell? He agrees with me on just about every issue! He must be a f'ing genius!

Is it really that different? Can Cohen, one of these liberals, long famous for their ability to empathize and walk in the shoes of others, really not wrap his head around the fact that most of these pundits, liberal and conservative, are not really different, and that their politically different conclusions may spring from... well, politics, as opposed to careful, fair weighing of the evidence?

I know this argument will probably not fly here, since I know most of you guys do carefully weigh all the evidence and you (correctly) realize (like Loury) that the American experiment with conservatism is just a big con job, but I thought perhaps someone as empathetic as Cohen might have been up to the task.

brucds
01-09-2008, 07:26 PM
I don't think there's any evidence of a "Bradley-Wilder effect" in NH because Obama's predicted poll numbers were very accurate. It was Clinton's strength with "undecideds" and her ability to pull older women from the Dem base to the polls just as Obama was able to woo younger voters and independents to maximum effect in Iowa that created the "surprise." Let's remember that this wasn't a two-person race. Obama was within the margin of error of predictions in the late polls. It's also a fact that Obama did far, far better in NH than polls just days prior to Iowa had predicted. This great Clinton "upset" is a mirage created by a couple of polls done in a three-day window and a ton of media hype. Obama is running strong. He's got some strong union endorsements which carry a lot of weight - and warm bodies doing grunt work - in Nevada and there's an excellent chance the black vote in SC will shift dramatically in his favor, which would damage Clinton enormously.

There are no assurances, but I'm a happy Obama camper this week with the Hillaryinevitability narrative destroyed. Obama's showing in New Hampshire was far better than the great "comeback" of Bill Clinton in NH circa '92. Without more of a horserace, this would have not been a good test of the Obama campaign infrastructure or the candidate himself. Everything he said in his post-Iowa speech still holds true if one looks at the big picture in context.

Namazu
01-09-2008, 07:52 PM
I'm surprised by Glenn's case for Hillary: we're electing an individual, not a village or a tribe. A President Obama would be equally able to tap Hillary's entourage for staff and advice, and better positioned to separate the wheat from the chaff--especially where Bill Clinton is concerned. The temperament and leadership skills of the person at the top determine, to a large degree, what a presidency can accomplish.

cragger
01-09-2008, 09:02 PM
Other potential black candidates with a real chance to win? No idea. Certainly won't be Powell after his stint in the current administration and resultant humiliation and nobody else is on the visible horizon, but who knows.

So why the initial post?

I suppose that while watching I was less interested in the difference-splitting between the candidates (as in the more recent Rosa - Heather diavlog) than impressed and moved by the racial aspect of their arguments and preferences, given these are two folks with what appears to me to be a pretty similar worldview. This probably has to do with having moved to the South in the early sixties, and my view of racism and its persistance in American society, coinciding with my understanding of psychology, evolutionary and otherwise.

As a young lad obviously new to the neighborhood, one of the locals asked me to come over and play. On the way to his house, he told me a racist joke. I was puzzled and asked "whats a jig", which I later understood was shorthand for the slur "jigaboo". Thick though I may be, I had just enough awareness of my social error to not ask the next obvious question when he gave me a disgusted look and replied "its a n____!" since I had never heard that word either.

The point is that through an accident of my previous life and not due to any particular credit to myself, I still wouldn't have "gotten" the joke which at that time would have been about some part of the Steppin Fetchit black stereotype. Not having been exposed to it, and not having had it reinforced throughout my previous life I wouldn't have understood that the joke was funny since "of course blacks are stupid, lazy, dishonest, and cowardly." Just wasn't part of my internal worldview.

I agree that the racial climate in the US is slowly changing, but I'm not so sure it will ever go away, or at least in my lifetime. As evidence you might consider the tenor of the latest anti-immigrant bile, and that it might be better defined as anti-Mexican. They do look and sound different don't they.

We are all I think victims of a tribal heritage, with a built-in bias toward being more comfortable in what we percieve as "our group" and more willing to scapegoat or fear "others". The US has exhibited virulent anti-immigrant sentiment toward many groups, coupled with assorted negative stereotypes. One part of my heritage is Irish, once reviled and subject to "No Irish" signs on doors not much different than the "whites only" sign I read on the drinking fountain at the county courthouse.

The thing is, the Irish blended in. Just like the Polish, Sweedes, and other groups once resisted in parts of the US. Its harder to hate people as a group when you can't easily identify them as such. Maybe hate is too strong a word for the bias these days, when racism and sexism are admittedly in some sense less bad than when towns turned out to have their pictures taken at the big party of a black lynching in the 1930s.

But I don't imagine many white people get cut off in traffic nowadays and snarl or think "damn Micks". Or "stupid Polack". They all look "white" they all "look alike" and don't trigger the idea that they are "other". It's just "friggin asshole" and it gets left at that and forgotten.

With someone more identifiably "other" however, the primitive fear and animosity gets reinforced rather than dissipating. If a black driver cuts someone off, any residue of negative stereotype of a lifetime gets just a little bit of reinforcement. Its because hes stupid, or pushy, or feels some false sense of entitlement. With easily identifiable racial differences, it is too easy to associate causality with the identity of the offender.

I don't think this is all unique to white males. I think this is all one of our weaknesses as human beings, and while it may get better, I don't think it will go away quickly or easily. And I think that there are a lot of vile people out there who deliberately work to preserve and exploit it all for advantage.

There isn't much about politics that inspires a lot of optimism to an old cynic once shocked by a sudden immersion in racism, but something about watching this did.


Note - edited due to a spasm of lucidity in which I realized I could have attempted to make the same point as poorly, incompletely, and incoherently without recourse to a particular term that could cause offense without adding much to the clarity.

bjkeefe
01-09-2008, 09:06 PM
Adam:

You make a good case, and I'll admit it's hard for me to separate my agreement with Krugman's point of view from my sense that he is, in fact, a better columnist than Kristol, but I think he is, and I think Josh got it right in ways that he differentiated the two. Kristol's debut piece really was nothing but slogans, and evidence of the lack of thought he put into it can be noted by the hastily appended correction.

Though it's not fair to judge him just on this one piece, his corpus exists elsewhere (The Weakly Standard, for example), and I have to say that my impression of him is that he doesn't really do much besides make unsupported assertions. Krugman does have his columns where he does the same, but more often than not, he makes an argument based on evidence, to the extent that such a thing is possible in 700 words.

Some of the rest of the NYT columnists might be better to use as counter-examples to Kristol in this regard. Though I don't think Friedman and Dowd are particularly liberal, I do find them so navel-gazing that I rarely read them anymore.

I think Gail Collins is funny, but you'd get little argument from me if you said she doesn't offer much in the way of evidence. I do think she has displayed better focus than Kristol did in his first piece, in that she tends to write a whole column about a specific recent event, rather than making the sweeping pronouncements that Kristol did.

BTW, I don't particularly hate that Kristol got this job. I do wish the NYT had hired someone with more intellectual chops, but I think one upside to his hiring is that people who only read the NYT will get a chance to see what the neocon mindset really looks like.

garbagecowboy
01-09-2008, 09:46 PM
I made the argument based on Krugman based on the fact that he's the only NYT op-ed columnist whose work with whom I'm even vaguely familiar.

The NYT, gray lady though she may be, is not on my reading list.

Hoofin
01-09-2008, 10:28 PM
No, it's more like the bashing they're commenting about today on Salon.com

http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2008/01/09/hillary_nh/index.html

Give the woman a break. She gets hit left and right every darn day. It's worse than Nixon. Because at least then it only came out of 1/2 of one-party (the Northern Democrats).

bjkeefe
01-09-2008, 10:52 PM
Adam:

I made the argument based on Krugman based on the fact that he's the only NYT op-ed columnist whose work with whom I'm even vaguely familiar.

Fair enough.

The NYT, gray lady though she may be, is not on my reading list.

What is your principle source of news? What is your preferred newspaper? What are the other sources you regularly rely upon?

If you don't mind my asking.

garbagecowboy
01-09-2008, 11:00 PM
What is your principle source of news? What is your preferred newspaper? What are the other sources you regularly rely upon?

Blogs, Google news, Drudge Report. I do not read any newspapers in print except The Economist and occasionally The Financial Times, but the latter only when I can steal my dad's copy, which is not often now that I don't live at home. I have a subscription to The Economist. Other than that, my opinion and news consumption is based entirely on internet sources.

bjkeefe
01-09-2008, 11:34 PM
Adam:

Thanks for the full disclosure. I'm old-school, so I think one should take a daily paper. I'm non-Luddite enough so that this really means I visit the same paper's web site on a daily basis. I like a starting point, and I like to get a first glance at the news from a source whose biases I'm familiar with. I'll point out, not that I think it'll have much of an effect on you, that the NYT's news sections and opinion section are quite different in slant, much like the Wall Street Journal.

I'm surprised that you don't pay more attention to one of the NY papers, given where you live. For sports, if for no other reason.

I used to get The Economist, but I let the subscription expire -- it was just too much to get through with everything else that there was to read. I still like it, and I'd visit their site more often if they didn't have most of their stuff behind a pay wall. Ditto, the WSJ.

I'm like you in that I let the blogosphere (including, of course, BH.tv) lead me to a lot of stuff that the NYT doesn't cover. I make an effort to visit a few other newspapers and magazine sites as much as I can, if there are any minutes left in the day; e.g., the Guardian, Salon, Slate, the WaPo, the Boston Globe, the LA Times, but lately, this has been less of an action than a goal.

I have tried Google News, and various other aggregators such as Yahoo and Newser, but I find those to be not much better than watching TV news.

Now you know.

garbagecowboy
01-09-2008, 11:51 PM
The NYT and New York Post's sports sections are a joke. I could get into a whole discussion of why and where the actual good sports information is to be found on the web.

As a mostly baseball fan Baseball Prospectus (http://www.baseballprospectus.com) and Baseball America (http://www.baseballamerica.com) are two of the best sources of information, bar none. I buy the hard copy of the Baseball Prospectus book every year and I will order it on Amazon as soon as the 2008 version comes out. Also, I am a Mets fan but other than that I'm not really a fan of the New York teams. I check out the New York Times blogs on sports from time to time for New York specific information, but in general, paper versions of sports sections are lame. The blog aggregates the best of the paper stuff in its online incarnation anyways. Deadspin (http://www.deadspin.com) is pretty good in that respect.

Also as a fan of mostly the Minnesota teams, I read the Minneapolis Star-Tribune's sports sections online (although mostly for the blogs by Lavelle Neal and Joe Christensen) and the Pioneer Press occasionally and am very active (at least during baseball season) on the magnificent Battle Your Tail Off (http://www.battleyourtailoff.com)... the ultimate Twins site.

I find the insight in The Economist to be better than virtually every paper out there, excepting perhaps the WSJ and Financial Times, and I like particularly its global scope. Its coverage of news, politics and economics in the developing world is unrivaled by anything else that I'm aware of. I am aware that NYT news section is not the same as its opinion, much as the WSJ is. I find the WSJ's news coverage superior anyways, though, although I don't read either of them very much anymore.

Wonderment
01-09-2008, 11:58 PM
It was Clinton's strength with "undecideds" and her ability to pull older women from the Dem base to the polls just as Obama was able to woo younger voters and independents to maximum effect in Iowa that created the "surprise." Let's remember that this wasn't a two-person race. Obama was within the margin of error of predictions in the late polls.

I'm a Kucinich supporter, so HRC is the extreme right wing for me. But from talking to everyone else I know who votes, I'm seeing a strong gender bias in favor of Hillary. What shocked me was not that she pulled in women in NH but that she failed to do so overwhelmingly in Iowa.

I also think Hillary can make a good case that her "real voice" is more appealing than her media image. I know people who have known her from the Arkansas days, and they all say she is very empathetic and has a great sense of humor. So I'm betting that the raucous cackle is the real deal, as is the teary-eyed woe-is-me number. She may win by being less stiff.

Obama's real chance, I think, is differentiating himself on the issues. Smart Dems. won't go with him because he's got a more progressive vibe; he needs a more progressive PROGRAM of government. What Republicans have always accused HRC of (being a closet left-winger) may work in her favor in the primaries. When I ask myself what she would REALLY do compared to Obama, there's not a lot of differentiation to hang your hat on.

bjkeefe
01-10-2008, 12:08 AM
Wonderment:

What shocked me was not that she pulled in women in NH but that she failed to do so overwhelmingly in Iowa.

An interesting thought. If true, I wonder if it can be explained by women in the Iowa being less comfortable with a woman as leader, or women in NH being more likely to vote their feminist leanings. It could well be that I am biased to think the Northeast is a little ahead of the game on this one. Feel free to flame, cornhuskers.

I also think Hillary can make a good case that her "real voice" is more appealing than her media image. ... She may win by being less stiff.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The times when HRC turns me off the most is when she tries to be "likable" on a big stage. She may well be genuinely warm in small groups, but she should just admit she can't convey this in front of a crowd. I didn't find the tears phony. I think she should stick to projecting an image of competence, and let the human side leak out when it will.

When I ask myself what she would REALLY do compared to Obama, there's not a lot of differentiation to hang your hat on.

Agreed. Ditto Edwards. By the time any of them tried to get their programs through Congress, you'd never be able to distinguish them. I'm all about image on this one, and I think Obama projects a much better one than HRC.

garbagecowboy
01-10-2008, 02:06 AM
Agreed. Ditto Edwards. By the time any of them tried to get their programs through Congress, you'd never be able to distinguish them. I'm all about image on this one, and I think Obama projects a much better one than HRC.

Well if it's all about image you're basically admitting you're a racist or a sexist. I guess being a sexist is better than being a racist.

Admitting the problem is the first step on the road to recovery.

Hoofin
01-10-2008, 05:26 AM
It is so funny to read about: what if we have a woman, what if we have a young black man.

It is as I have felt, that Democrats are more obsessed about the outward appearance than the general population.

I think Iowa showed that you can get a plurality fired up for a young Senator who is mixed race and has a lot of talent on the stump.

Hillary Clinton's outcome in both states shows that there is at least a plurality who thinks that she has the capacity to be next President, and the first woman President (if you don't count her time influencing the Clinton Administration.)

Obama was never going to be able to "seal the deal", because he is new on the scene. "Fresh Prince" if you will. (I hope no one has ever used that phrase before in the media.) Any reasonable partisan voter is going to ask him or herself, how long it will be before the people start asking these where's-the-beef questions.

The Republicans would surely grind him up into chuck or loin over that. And have him out right there in the supermarket display case.

All year long we are going to hear about "race factor" on EVERY contest where there is Obama. "Which way did race play this time? Which way did it play that time? What is the 'ethnographic makeup' of this state or that?" It is going to be like an analysis of the diversity of an Ivy League student body.

We have to hope that the Democratic voters are going to do a calculation at each point. They are going to say, "how likely is it that this person becomes President?" They want to win, so this question is going to be asked first. Before the color and equipment questions.

So the race (political race) may well bounce between Obama and Clinton and "hey what about me" Edwards. For some time, until someone gets 50% of the delegates.

But if we spend early 2008 agonizing over how honest the few people who even are willing to respond to pollsters are being in their answers, I think it would be a genuine waste.

bjkeefe
01-10-2008, 10:26 AM
Well if it's all about image you're basically admitting you're a racist or a sexist. I guess being a sexist is better than being a racist.

Admitting the problem is the first step on the road to recovery.

Bad analysis, Adam. Since I am against both Clinton and Edwards, it makes more sense to conclude from these data that I am a racist.

bkjazfan
01-10-2008, 05:35 PM
I agree. Loury should be paired with a conservative like McWhorter. When him and Cohen get together it's like a love fest.

Cohen takes such a long time to say things and I am not sure of the content of what he is saying. That whole with about Huckabee's some kind of religious pronouncement in a message he gave was at least 10 miles above my head. Maybe my lack of college education has something to do with it. I don't know? I understand Loury but Cohen and his ramblings are way out of my league.

Tim_G
01-10-2008, 08:37 PM
I had one problem, at about the 23 minute mark: I'm don't understand why Glenn sees Barack Obama (as African-American) as a mere symbol but Hillary Clinton (as woman) as much more than that. He said that her being president would have a multi-generational impact.
I thought the same thing. Josh listed some names of former world leaders: Thatcher, Indira Ghandi, Golda Meir, etc. But the one that sprang to my mind was Benazir Bhutto. Correct me if I'm wrong, but her stint as leader of Pakistan didn't exactly usher in a new era of sexual equality, did it?

The other thing, in my mind, is: should the modifier "mere" be applied to "symbol"? I'm one who actually thinks that symbolism has more importance than many cynical people realize. I don't want to overestimate the importance of symolism, but I take issue with underestimating it with modifiers such as "mere."

bjkeefe
01-10-2008, 11:59 PM
Tim_G:

The other thing, in my mind, is: should the modifier "mere" be applied to "symbol"? I'm one who actually thinks that symbolism has more importance than many cynical people realize. I don't want to overestimate the importance of symolism, but I take issue with underestimating it with modifiers such as "mere."

That's a good point. I certainly agree that symbols can be powerful.

On the other hand, I believe Glenn used this exact word, and I knew what be meant: In addition to the sense that you describe, there is also a sense in which symbol connotes something superficial; i.e., without much substance or (lasting) impact. The adjectival form is perhaps used more often in this latter sense -- to speak of something being symbolic is often to dismiss it of being of no real import. Not always, of course.

thprop
01-16-2008, 06:44 PM
Stephen Walt (of Walt and Mearsheimer fame) has a good piece in Salon on Kristol, America needs realists, not William Kristol. (http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/01/16/realism/)

Summary paragraph:
In short, a realist would be a valuable antidote to the self-righteous hubris that pervades contemporary U.S. commentary on foreign affairs, an attitude that has encouraged many of the policies that have undermined America's image around the globe. A realist would also cast a skeptical eye on virtually all of the current presidential candidates, whose views on foreign policy do not stray far from the current neoconservative/liberal consensus. Realists aren't infallible and some readers will undoubtedly object to their views, but that's hardly the issue. The point is that Americans would be better informed if they regularly heard what realists had to say, and media institutions that are genuinely interested in presenting a diverse array of views should be signing up a few of them.

bjkeefe
01-17-2008, 07:20 AM
thprop:

Thanks for the link. I didn't agree with all of Walt's points, but I sure did like some of them, especially the one you quoted.

mpg77
01-17-2008, 10:14 AM
Basman, you asked for an accessible argument for the structural embeddedness of race in regards to Loury's pessimistic assessment of an Obama candidacy.

_Whitewashing Race_ ed, Brown, Duster, (et al) is probably the best social scientific and statistical study of the ways in which whiteness has led to accumulation on many fronts. I would also recommend Cheryl I Harris's brilliant legal analysis "Whiteness as Property" in _Critical Race Theory_, ed. Crenshaw. Harris argues that because of whiteness meets all the criteria of property in Anglo-American legal theory, and the protection of private property is one of the cornerstones of liberal democracy, it is exceedingly difficult to redistribute the disproportionate accumulation whites received (and still receive) because of official and unofficial racial hierarchy. Harris has the theory, Duster and co show how it has played out since WWII.

In my mind, to say that something is structural is to say that it is a taken-for-granted part of the society, running through all areas. To the extent that race is a form of property, can determine income, life chances, and health, and ties to fantasies about creativity and sexual deviance, I would say it counts as deeply embedded in the US. I would not claim that class and gender are any *less* embedded, mind you. In fact, the power of each of these categories is in the ways it crosses and influences all the others.

So, that's my two cents.

mpg77
01-17-2008, 10:36 AM
Hoofin:

I, too, had been extremely disappointed with Obama's vague speeches, until I remembered an episode from my own life.

Eleven years ago, I was running to be the first black student council president of a prestigious all-boys' Catholic high school in Ohio. The school was a bout 2% black, and had a terrible attrition rate. But as a Catholic myself, and a high academic achiever, I could weather the storm of people rubbing my hair, asking me about the size of black penises, scrawling swastikas and ****** poems on bathroom walls, and denigrating African civilizations and African-American history and art. I could defend myself pretty easily against such stupidity. After all, I was familiar with their thoughts from years of going to predominately white schools. They did not know me. And I was kicking their butts in classes.

In any case, my strategy when I ran for student body president was to remain completely silent about racism for the entire year leading up to the election. No more letters to the editor of the school newspaper. Silence. And hopefully everyone would think I had forgotten and would stop pushing for a just and inclusive environment. Even so, a white freshman came up to me sheepishly and asked, "If you get in office, are you going to f--- the white man?"

It's these kind of irrational fears that black candidates have to face from white voters. Consequently, I think it is better that Obama says as little as possible and that we should take his silence for a smart strategy and not as evidence that he, in fact, has no thought or substance.
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I thought your point about the Obamas as the new Clintons was really insightful. I'd never thought of them that way. But I think there is an important difference. Obama could never signify what he's being made to signify (that the end of American racism is happening/will happen/already happened but we missed it) if he didn't have the Ivy League pedigree. Every time Barack and Michelle Obama (or Condoleezza Rice, for that matter) speak, they gain authority by being a walking miracle -- a negation of the image of illiterate, promiscuous black criminals addicted to welfare and crack. Of course, most black people know that articulate black people are no miracle, but in front of white audiences, such a display has its appeal. So there's another layer here that isn't in the Clintons' story.

bjkeefe
01-17-2008, 05:02 PM
mpg77:

Thanks for your comments. Your honesty about your past, though painful for me to read, was especially instructive.

I hope you stick around these boards. We whiteys could use the help.