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  #1  
Old 03-03-2008, 03:15 PM
Bloggingheads Bloggingheads is offline
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Default The McDiavlog

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  #2  
Old 03-03-2008, 04:12 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Can anyone see this new diavlog? I see a big white space where the faces usually are.
My guess is that one of the diavloggers is Benjamin Barber.
Aaaaagh, the suspense!

A bit later: I found the diavlog by looking at the side bar of another diavlog. Now I see that it's McWhorter and McArdle.

The main page is still weirdly blank, though.

Last edited by Bloggin' Noggin; 03-03-2008 at 04:15 PM..
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  #3  
Old 03-03-2008, 04:22 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Off point maybe. Did anyone else see John McWhorter yesterday on Booknotes in-depth. He is fascinating and prolific. Even though I have always found his diavlogs interesting, I had a tendency to want to paint him as a conservative (not that that is a bad thing)...he is so much more.
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  #4  
Old 03-03-2008, 04:58 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

BN: Display seems to be working (now) for me.

graz: Thanks for the reminder about JM's BookTV appearance. I plan to catch it when the webcast is posted.
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  #5  
Old 03-03-2008, 04:58 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

McWhorter is fast becoming my favorite non-Mickey/Bob blogginghead. Glad to see him paired with someone other than Loury. What can I say? Linguistics is a surprisingly interesting subject!
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  #6  
Old 03-03-2008, 05:43 PM
David Thomson David Thomson is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Barack Obama will likely lose by a landslide to John McCain. The middle-of-the-road voters are more interested in competence then merely proving they are not racists. Obama is another George McGovern who has learned to manipulate white guilt. This will get him the support of "elites" like John McWhorter and Megan McArdle---but few others past the guaranteed 40% that even the previously mentioned McGovern earned on Election Day.

Many voters are starting to realize that Obama is both inexperienced and a mealy mouther leftist. Also, why didn't Megan mention that Austan Goolsbee has been caught lying on behalf of the Obama campaign. Does she really believe that elitists like this University of Chicago economist can get away with their nonsense in this era of the Internet?
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  #7  
Old 03-03-2008, 06:31 PM
David Thomson David Thomson is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

There is something else that cannot be overlooked during the 2008 elections: America is at war against Islamic nihilism. This fact may be of little concern to John McWhorter and Megan McArdle---but it is very important to middle America. What in heaven's name does Barack "Barry" Obama have to offer in this regard? A number of Megan's friends like Michael Totten have already jumped aboard the John McCain bandwagon because of this top priority issue. Does McWhorter even spend five minutes a week thinking about the threat of Muslim extremism? Somehow I doubt it very much.
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  #8  
Old 03-03-2008, 06:58 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

David:

I doubt I'll budge you out of your thinking, but for the record, here's my new favorite bumper sticker:

Quote:
Hope Kicks Fear's Ass
I am not about to vote for a candidate who's running on the same basis as the current administration has operated. No how. No way.
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  #9  
Old 03-03-2008, 07:18 PM
David Thomson David Thomson is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

"Hope Kicks Fear's Ass
I am not about to vote for a candidate who's running on the same basis as the current administration has operated. No how. No way."

Wow, it sure is nice to communicate with the one of the forty percent who will vote for "Barry" Obama on Election Day. Most American voters do not think of themselves as paranoid regarding the threat of Islamic nihilism. No, they are convinced that the threat is real. And God help the candidate who wants to become our country's next commander-in-chief if they fail to share this concern. Alas, with friends like you---Obama does not need any enemies. Is it even possible that Karl Rove hired you to damage his campaign?
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  #10  
Old 03-03-2008, 07:30 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

David:

Quote:
And God help the candidate who wants to become our country's next commander-in-chief if they fail to share this concern.
You are mistaken if you think Obama or most of his supporters believe there is no threat from terrorists. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The differences between someone like me and someone like you on this issue can be expressed by two questions: (1) How big is the threat, really? and (2) What's the best way of dealing with it?

I am of the opinion that terrorism is not an existential threat to the US or any of its allies, and that it can be better dealt with once people stop attributing magical powers to those who engage in terroristic actions. I am also of the opinion that there are better ways to deal with the problem than by trying to solve it exclusively through military means. And I am convinced that the Bush Administration is doing more to help the terrorists than they are to stop them, both by acting as a recruiting poster and by allowing fear to change our way of life at home. I do not see McCain as being different in any of these areas.

Finally, I don't know what you hope to accomplish by saying "Barry" over and over again. Are you so unconvinced of your own political views or the soundness of your preferred candidate that you need to resort to name-calling?
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Last edited by bjkeefe; 03-03-2008 at 07:33 PM..
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  #11  
Old 03-03-2008, 07:38 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

"White guilt", "liberal elites", "'Barry' Obama" - first time I've ever heard that last one, and all in a couple short paragraphs.
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  #12  
Old 03-03-2008, 07:50 PM
David Thomson David Thomson is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

I am preparing dinner and have not had the chance to listen to the whole dialogue between John McWhorter and Megan McArdle. At this moment, however, it sure seems that the war against Islamic nihilism is not one of their top concerns. This should tell all you need to know about the "elites" supporting "Barry" Obama. They live in their own little yuppie world. This may be especially true of Mr. McWhorter.
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  #13  
Old 03-03-2008, 07:52 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Extinction of languages

I know people have commented on Megan's lack of prep in the past, but interviewing a linguist and asking, "what's a dialect?" is like interviewing a chemist and asking, "what's a molecule?"

John is a pragmatist about the loss of languages (it's inevitable), but he also seems to underestimate the unique value of each language. It is not just a matter of vocabulary and grammar, as he seems to suggest, but much more importantly a cultural universe. What dies is absolutely irrecoverable, and it is significant to humanity.

Ask anyone who is a language orphan. Once the native speakers are gone it's impossible to capture the essence of the culture/linguistic community.

Hebrew, which John briefly discusses, is not really a recovered language. When Hebrew was "revived" it was quite clinically dead. There were zero native speakers, and there hadn't been any for many centuries. The new Israeli language that now has millions of native speakers is only roughly based on ancient Hebrew and certainly does not capture the culture of the original Hebrew speakers.

Ironically, the Jewish languages that were sacrificed for Hebrew (Yiddish and Djudeo-Espanyol (Ladino) are in disfavor in Israel and barely hanging on. (Ladino is in much graver danger than Yiddish.) An Israeli lingua franca meant the destruction of irreplacable Jewish treasures and the loss of a true understanding of Jewish experience over the last millennium.
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  #14  
Old 03-03-2008, 07:56 PM
David Thomson David Thomson is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

"I am of the opinion that terrorism is not an existential threat to the US"

Please keep talking. Karl Rove must be paying you a huge sum of money. "Barry" Obama most assuredly does not need friends like you.
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  #15  
Old 03-03-2008, 08:03 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Extinction of languages

Wonderment:

Quote:
I know people have commented on Megan's lack of prep in the past, but interviewing a linguist and asking, "what's a dialect?" is like interviewing a chemist and asking, "what's a molecule?"
In fairness, it is often the case that when interviewing an expert, one asks questions simply to get the conversation started. I think it's also arguable, especially from the way that John answered the question, that there really isn't an easy answer to the question.

Quote:
John is a pragmatist about the loss of languages (it's inevitable), but he also seems to underestimate the unique value of each language. It is not just a matter of vocabulary and grammar, as he seems to suggest, but much more importantly a cultural universe. What dies is absolutely irrecoverable, and it is significant to humanity.
How so? I sort of had the same emotion as you before hearing John talk about this, and now I would find it harder to say what of significance is lost when a language dies.

Quote:
Ask anyone who is a language orphan. Once the native speakers are gone it's impossible to capture the essence of the culture/linguistic community.
But once the native speakers are gone, isn't it the case that the essences of their culture and community have also vanished?

Interesting stuff about Hebrew. Thanks for that. I will be sad if Yiddish vanishes. I find it far more euphonic, for one thing, and many of its expressions seem so evocative they're practically onomatopoeic.
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  #16  
Old 03-03-2008, 08:09 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

David:

You're not making a whole lot of sense.

First, why would Karl Rove be happy with my attitude regarding terrorism as an overblown threat? Wouldn't he rather have me talking like you? After all, that's how he advised Bush and Congressional Republicans to run -- all terrorism hype, all the time.

Second, why do you keep saying "Islamic nihilism?" As I understand nihilism, it is an attitude that says nothing is knowable and that life has no purpose. While I don't agree with anything religious fundamentalist believe in, it seems to me that what they do believe in is the exact opposite of this -- they believe they are doing what God wants them to do, and that is the reason for their existence.
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  #17  
Old 03-03-2008, 08:10 PM
publius publius is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Wow. This diavlog was recorded on March 28th. In the future!
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  #18  
Old 03-03-2008, 09:37 PM
Namazu Namazu is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Quote:
Did anyone else see John McWhorter yesterday on Booknotes in-depth.
Very worthwhile. John identifies Shelby Steele as an early inspiration, and I'd be very interested in his take on Steele's "Bound Man" thesis (see, for instance, the C-SPAN Book TV archives, or the National Review video archives). I guess he disagrees with the conclusion (that Obama can't win), but that would be a fascinating conversation.
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  #19  
Old 03-03-2008, 10:23 PM
Wonderment Wonderment is offline
 
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Default Re: Extinction of languages

Quote:
How so? I sort of had the same emotion as you before hearing John talk about this, and now I would find it harder to say what of significance is lost when a language dies.
Without the language (native speakers) it's impossible to experience the culture from the inside. Subjectivity is lost, much like in the death of an individual. No one else can be you.

Quote:
But once the native speakers are gone, isn't it the case that the essences of their culture and community have also vanished?
Yes, that's the point. Linguistic extinction is comparable to genocide or ethnocide, although not necessarily with an evil perpetrator.

So you can debate how important preservation is or what we should do about endangered languages, but that debate shouldn't diminish how much we value the dying language. The language has an intrinsic value, just as a biological species does or an individual human being.

John seems to accept the inevitable. Languages, he estimates, are disappearing at the rate of one every two weeks. Maybe so. But it matters when it's YOUR language. People are dying of cancer at the rate of one every few seconds. We can be very philsophical about the inevitability of that statistic, but we're deeply affected if it's our parent or child who is getting chemo.

The politics gets very tricky. There's a large population of Mixteco speakers in my community, for example. Emigration to the US is a path out of poverty for these people. But their language, which has resisted Spanish domination for 500 years, is now threatened by NAFTA. Globalization pressures are having these kinds of linguistic/cultural consequences all over the planet. The process is accelerating. What should we do?
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  #20  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:44 AM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Re: Hmmm...

Hmmmm.

Can't say I blame either JM or MM for having their starry-eyed riff on the charm-filled rhetoric of Monsier Obama, but having to listen to such a long interlaced aria on the matter wore on me rather like the fingernails-on-chalkboard syndrome. Or perhaps more aptly: like watching a couple making out passionately in the middle of a church service.

Result: They both dropped at least two points on my 10-point scale of previously stratospherically high estimation for such uncritical intoxication with what finally is only rather mundane and shallow vanilla demagoguery.

Oh, well. They're young yet. What do you expect? (We can revisit this 3 years into the first McCain administration initiated in the wake of disemboweling Obama for lack of national-security credentials in the terrorist-threat-filled run-up to the general election.)

Frankly, although I hope Shelby Steele is wrong on Obama's unelectability, I think he really has a much better analysis on the psyche of the Obama mania currently diseasing the mind of the nouveau-Left.

Cheers,
Eastwest

Last edited by Eastwest; 03-04-2008 at 01:50 AM..
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  #21  
Old 03-04-2008, 02:03 AM
benjy benjy is offline
 
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Default Re: Extinction of languages

I don't really have any comments specifically about this diavlog, just a general corny comment that I love Bloggingheads TV! Its just such a pleasure to listen to such high level discussion, and a special place in my heart is of course reserved for your fearless leader Bob and Mickey's banter....its so pitch perfect--I trust compliments won't make you self-conscious with praise ... When Mickey asked if you can say you-know-what on the last one it was just classic...And an apology of sorts--one of the first diavlogs I watched was with Megan and I wrote in a slight criticism which I feel terribly guilty about after seeing her later discussions and especially after seeing her in the cook-off and realizing how nice she really is...I have the unfortunately common characteristic of writing more often with criticisms than with praise....hopefully Megan will read this comment if she read the other one and they'll cancel out Anyway, I really love all the discussions, they're just so interesting and generally provide a higher curiosity satisfaction to effort ratio than books And I just love that all of you love learning and discussing ideas and the world so much...BHTV--Heaven for intellectuals You guys are the best!!
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  #22  
Old 03-04-2008, 04:09 AM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Off Topic - Alterman, Eric

Whatever happened to Eric Alterman? I don't remember seeing him since his rather interesting encounter with the police. Did he fall from BHtv grace?
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  #23  
Old 03-04-2008, 09:08 AM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
David:

I doubt I'll budge you out of your thinking, but for the record, here's my new favorite bumper sticker:

Hope Kicks Fear's Ass
For my own health, I pray that this bumper sticker doesn't catch on. Is it possible to go blind from excessive rolling of the eyes?

UPDATE: I see that the Hitch has a new Slate column up lambasting the inanity of using words and phrases like "hope," "change," and "yes we can!" in political campaigns. http://www.slate.com/id/2185606/

Favorite line:

Quote:
Take "Yes We Can," for example. It's the sort of thing parents might chant encouragingly to a child slow on the potty-training uptake.

Last edited by Thus Spoke Elvis; 03-04-2008 at 09:20 AM..
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  #24  
Old 03-04-2008, 11:13 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Elvis:

If the slogans were all there were, I'd agree with you. After all, we have been suffering through two terms of an administration that seemed to generate little else; e.g., "Compassionate Conservative," "Uniter, Not a Divider," "Stay The Course," "No Child Left Behind," "You're Either With Us Or You're Against Us," "Healthy Forests," "Clear Skies," "When the Iraqis Stand Up, We'll Stand Down," "If we don't do [X], the terrorists win," etc., etc., ad nauseum.

So, I understand your cynicism.

However, it seems to me that Obama also has substantive policy proposals, if you're interested. Just because he's smart enough to realize that a big crowd doesn't want to hear a speech filled with nine-point plans and wonkish details is no reason to assume he has none to offer. It's a question of timing and of recognizing the audience.

The first thing this country needs, in order to turn around, is its citizens feeling like there is a reason to make an effort, a reason to believe that others will be there with them, and a reason to expect that their efforts will pay off. Nothing long with a little good old fashioned revivalist-style chanting to boost the spirits. Think of it as the birds singing at the first sign of spring, after a long, hard winter. We'll get to actual nest-building, food gathering, and egg-laying soon enough.

Yes We Will.
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  #25  
Old 03-04-2008, 11:16 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Off Topic - Alterman, Eric

Jim:

Quote:
... his [Alterman's] rather interesting encounter with the police.
Details, please.
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  #26  
Old 03-04-2008, 11:22 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Hmmm...

EW:

Apart from too much uncritical reading of the Beltway pundits, I can't imagine what makes you so sure McCain can win, or even what makes you think there's anything to him. What national security credentials does he have, apart from talking about his POW experience for forty years? We'll see how well he stands up when the primaries end, and the Straight Talk Express finally starts getting a much-needed look under the hood.

As for Obama's supposed "unelectability," I remind you that just a few months ago, all the groupthinkers agreed: he had no chance against the inevitable Hillary Clinton.

Via TPM:

Quote:
Tale of the Tape

CBS News/NYT national poll:

Jan 13: Clinton 42%, Obama 27%
Feb 3: Clinton 41%, Obama 41%
Feb 25: Obama 54%, Clinton 38%
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  #27  
Old 03-04-2008, 12:01 PM
brucds brucds is offline
 
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Default Re: The mention of Hitch's column on words...

Hitchens lampooning profligate, content-less incantations like "hope", "change", "yes we can" is rich - since those sound like exactly like the plans and prognostications of he and his neo-con buddies when they were dropping their "regime-change" wisdom on the rest of us poor uninspired knaves who thought they were total wack jobs drooling onto their ties (or in Hitchens' case, his unbuttoned shirtcollar) for promoting an invasion of Iraq. Read Obama's speech in the lead-up to the war and read some of Hitchens ravings at the time and the difference between substance and unhinged hopes (in tandem with deliberate disinformation) looks rather stark.
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  #28  
Old 03-04-2008, 12:04 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Since I've always been of the party of nuance and qualification -- a party that in the 2004 election, the Republicans identified as the Democratic Party -- I've never been very fond of bumper stickers. They struck me as necessarily simple-minded.

But tell me, would you urge the Republicans (or any party you supported) to unilaterally disarm -- give up slogans and bumper stickers? Or would you have them produce paragraph-long bumper stickers with plenty of space for caveats and footnotes?

Short statements of purpose are necessary everywhere: Philosophers are fond of caveats and highly individualistic descriptions fo their positions, but they still need to use shorthand and indicate broad areas of agreement and disagreement: e.g., "compatibilism/incompatibilism", "dualism/materialism", "naturalism/supernaturalism" etc.
Given that we need to be able to sum a position up in a few words, and given that doing this helps to indicate with whom our disagreements are more and less profound, it seems that we can't just reject all slogans. Instead, we need to distinguish between good slogans and bad slogans.

One criticism of a slogan is emotive: it doesn't move people. The other kind of criticism is intellectual: it's empty or deceptive. Given what I said above, we can't just reject all slogans as empty and deceptive -- we need to find reasonable distinctions among slogans.
I'd suggest the following:

1) A slogan should be a summary of a more fully spelled out position, not a substitute for it, and

2) It should not (unlike the "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests" of the Bush Administration) be more of a distortion of the fuller policy than its short form requires.

By these standards, I don't find Obama's slogans all that objectionable. Take the "Change" slogan. When it comes down to it, the public does not have the ability to directly vote for policies. Ultimately, elections come down to the question whether you feel the party in power is doing well enough to be rewarded with another term, or whether you want to try something different and possibly even punish that party for mismanagement. Recall Reagan's "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"
Individuals may have any number of idiosyncratic theories about what the party in power has done right or wrong and they may not agree on the specifics. Whether people agree on these theories or not, the issue of the election is ultimately whether enough people agree that the leadership needs to be changed. In this election, many, many people agree that it needs to be changed -- both because there's a sense that our leaders are taking us in the wrong direction and would continue to do so, and because many people feel that they shouldn't be rewarded for past mistakes.

The invocation of "Hope" also goes back to Reagan -- think of "Morning in America." The context in the current campaign is GWB's relentless use of the politics of fear -- playing with the threat index in 2004, associating Democrats with Osama bin Laden and so on. Obama senses that people are sick of this kind of approach and he's suggesting that he would take something like the approach that the pundits THOUGHT GWB should adopt in the wake of his controversial election/appointment and in the wake of 9/11: seek national unity.
In the context of Obama's other moves, this doesn't strike me as deceptive. He recently floated the idea of putting Republicans (specifically Chuck Hagel) in his cabinet.

Slogans are necessarily going to rely a lot on context. In the context, the slogans we're talking about are not really all that empty -- nor is it clear that they are deceptive.

Both Clinton and Obama, I will say, are pretty clearly "demagoguing" the NAFTA issue in Ohio. They may well renegotiate NAFTA and insert more labor protections, but both know perfectly well that these will be insignificant.
If Clinton were more honest about this than Obama, that would give her points in my book. But neither (probably rightly) feels they can get away with honesty here. McCain gets some points for honesty here, but a) the pressure is not as strong on him because he's a Republican and he's already sewed up the nomination, and b) I'm far more concerned about repudiating the Bush legacy as completely as possible and c) I'm sure I would prefer Democratic policies on balance to McCain's policies.
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  #29  
Old 03-04-2008, 12:21 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

I don't think Obama lacks substance. He does have lots of policy proposals that are available at his website, and he'll talk about them when asked.

But I think that his campaign message and his appeal to many (thought not all) of his supporters is largely substanceless [see here for a notable example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGeu_4Ekx-o]. That's hardly unique to Obama campaign -- you see this in almost every major election. But the dewy-eyed reaction that many Obama supporters have to his vacuous statements strikes me as particularly fervent and pathetic.
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  #30  
Old 03-04-2008, 12:50 PM
Thus Spoke Elvis Thus Spoke Elvis is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Noggin',

I understand the purpose and necessity of slogans, and consider them a necessary evil. I think your explanation of what makes a slogan acceptable is spot-on.

Of course, some slogans are more annoying than others. A factor in one's annoyance level is the type of people to whom the slogan panders. On a personal level, I have a greater bias against do-gooders than jingoists. I'm less bothered by a person waving his fist in the air when a politician says "We'll hunt them down" than when I see a grown man tear up when a politician says "Working together, we can make the world a better place."

If I saw someone with a bumper sticker that said "Hope Kicks Fear's Ass," my immediate reaction would be "God, what a pussy." (I'm assuming that Mickey made that word safe for bloggingheads).

Again, our reaction to slogans and bumper stickers is entirely based on our personal biases and peeves. What I find annoying is not the same as what others do, etc.
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  #31  
Old 03-04-2008, 12:57 PM
JIM3CH JIM3CH is offline
 
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Default Re: Off Topic - Alterman, Eric

It was quite a while ago:

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com...-in-spin-room/
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  #32  
Old 03-04-2008, 12:58 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thus Spoke Elvis View Post
That's hardly unique to Obama campaign -- you see this in almost every major election. But the dewy-eyed reaction that many Obama supporters have to his vacuous statements strikes me as particularly fervent and pathetic.
Would you argue that it was any more pathetic than the reactions we saw in Bush's Potemkin-village audiences in the last Presidential election? (And what about Midge Decter on Rumsfeld and some of the Hagiography we heard from people like Frum and Gerson regarding Bush?) Bush's message was also, not merely contentless, but frequently positively deceptive -- implying that Iraq was part of the "war on terror" and that those who thought terrorism should be approached in a different way just didn't recognize the danger of terrorism.

I'm an Obama supporter myself. I find most of the plans I've read about quite cleverly designed and worthwhile in their goals. But apart from any such reading, I am impressed with the thoughtfulness and intelligence of what he says even when he is not giving a big speech. I see no reason to think even his less informed readers are simply blind to these factors, which are a big part of my reason for favoring him.
And then, if some of his supporters seem a bit too worshipful, is that supposed to discourage me from voting for the person I think would be best?
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  #33  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:02 PM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

QUOTE=Thus Spoke Elvis; "I don't think Obama lacks substance. He does have lots of policy proposals that are available at his website, and he'll talk about them when asked.

But I think that his campaign message and his appeal to many (thought not all) of his supporters is largely substanceless [see here for a notable example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGeu_4Ekx-o]. That's hardly unique to Obama campaign -- you see this in almost every major election. But the dewy-eyed reaction that many Obama supporters have to his vacuous statements strikes me as particularly fervent and pathetic".

Elvis:
So are you irked because otherwise intelligent fellow citizens are treating a presidential nomination like a high school popularity contest? Would you propose to disallow the power of rhetoric and persuasion? Free speech is a bitch when you do not agree with the results. If you are inclined to vote, wouldn't you make your informed choice based on factors other than the perceived response of the charmed crowds? Can you offer a case on the merits for dismissing Senator Obama as a worthy candidate?
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  #34  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:02 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Hmmm...

The costant harping of the all-Obama-supporters-are-starry-eyed-idiots meme, is really getting old from all the Clinton supporters. First of all, there are plenty of Democrats out there who have been around just as long as, or longer than you who support Obama (some are even prominent elected officials with lifetimes of experience) not because of his charisma but because of strongly held beliefs in Democratic ideals as expressed in his plan for America and the policies he proposes. Lumping all Obama supporters together as a bunch of mindless, star-struck morons, is not only bad for the unity of the Democratic party, but it's also wildly over-simplistic. It would be like me saying that all Clinton supporters are only supporting her because she's a woman, or because she's a Clinton.

Now, I'm not saying there are NO star-struck idiot supporters. Unfortunately, the public is largely made up of sheep who vote on either one or two issues, or on personality. But Clinton and McCain have them too. And those sheep will be voting in the General, and their votes count just as much as the well-informed voters.

You think that Obama can't win for a variety of reasons. Fine. Many Democrats disagree. The same could be said about Clinton. I think even if she manages to get the nomination that she would lose in a landslide to McCain based on the fact that she won't be able to use the "experience" argument against him, she has the high negatives, the "Clinton" name that motivates the GOP like no other word, and the fact that Obama supporters (after being routinely derided as morons) might be less-than-enthusiastic about supporting her. Hopefully, I'm wrong. If HRC gets the nomination I will support her rather than McCain, any day of the week.
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  #35  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:20 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Elvis:

I'm glad that you acknowledge the candidate himself is not without substance.

As for the rest, I'm sorry the groundswell of emotion in response to Obama leaves you feeling cold. As one who is usually a card-carrying cynic, I can certainly sympathize with that reaction. I can't say exactly why I've dropped my cynic's credentials this time around. Maybe it just feels right for once. Maybe things are just so crappy with our political system and our image around the world that it's time to take a chance on the idea that if enough people feel confidence in something good, they can make it happen.

More pragmatically, I don't care if some of Obama's supporters like him only for, say, his presence on stage. You can't govern if you don't win. I'll take support based on less political sophistication than I might prefer. For many of the people who like him, who bug you, the options are: (1) get out and vote for Obama or (2) keep up the apathetic attitude and stay at home. And, in any case, people always like a candidate for all sorts of reasons that have nothing to do with rationality. A drawback of democracy, but that's our system.

(And speaking of lack of rationality, I hope you're not basing too much of your doubt on one person's bad moment before the cameras, just because he couldn't name what many others have no problem listing.)

I myself want Obama to win just on the merits -- compared to the other two choices, there's no contest. It's a choice between two known quantities who offer nothing more than the same old same old, and one candidate who at least offers the chance of something new. If he can make a crowd feel positively energized and committed to boot, that's just gravy to me.
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  #36  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:23 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Quote:
I'm less bothered by a person waving his fist in the air when a politician says "We'll hunt them down" than when I see a grown man tear up when a politician says "Working together, we can make the world a better place."
Hmmm. I'm more afraid of jingoists -- or rather tribalists. The do-gooders can certainly become tribalists: "if you're not with us in our program to make the world a better place, then you're against us, and if you're against us, then you're evil, and if you're evil, you don't even count as a human being..."

The Manichaean temptation is neither left nor right, and it's dangerous. "Pussies" or lame-brained idealists might be ridiculous and annoying, but they aren't that dangerous (unless they actually get into a position of power).

Concerning Obama's speeches, I think it's really only a very selective view that can make them seem contentless. They generally don't get into the weeds of policy implementation, but they do talk about goals -- problems he would like to solve. Nor does he always just tell people what they want to hear. He told black congregations that they should extend their Christian attitudes to gay people. He told black audiences that they need to work hard to make sure their children do well in school -- turn off the TV, help with homework, even get help from the teacher if they don't understand the homework. He told teachers he'd look into merit pay and that he was favorably inclined toward charter schools.
It isn't unreasonable to talk more about goals to the voters than about the details of how one will achieve these goals -- most voters are, fortunately or unfortunately, willing to leave that to the candidate. They'll judge on success or failure later. I admit it could help to know how he'll prioritize his goals, but I suspect we'll get clearer on that during the general election. Right now, I'd expect healthcare and Iraq to be at the top of the list.
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  #37  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:27 PM
deebee deebee is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

I agree with "Elvis" that personal peeves are mysterious. For example the very cadenced, preacherly style that so enraptures Obama supporters leaves me cold because it just doesn't seem to suit the Presidential persona -- to me he's just too cool by half. His continual "let me inspire you" theme also strikes me as presumptuous. I don't doubt Obama's intelligence or motivation, but his style and thin resume do concern me a lot.

I would guess that Obama strongly appeals to about 25-30% of the population which will not be nearly enough in a general election. A recent Pew Research poll backs this perception up by indicating that 25% of Hillary supporters are likely to defect to McCain if she doesn't get the nod, while only 10% of Obama supporters would do the same. If a more conservative Republican were running, this probably wouldn't happen, but as things stand, I believe that of the two Democrats, Hillary has the best chance of winning in November.
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  #38  
Old 03-04-2008, 01:32 PM
Bloggin' Noggin Bloggin' Noggin is offline
 
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Default Re: Hmmm...

Good post, Uncle. I'd add that the only objective evidence we have right now (the polls and the turn-out figures from the actual primary battle going on now) support the claim that Obama can beat McCain in the general election.
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  #39  
Old 03-04-2008, 02:05 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: The McDiavlog

Brendan, I know why you've dropped your cynical stance. You're a baller!! As Charles Barkeley says, it's all about matchups in the playoffs. And the same can be said of politics. You understand that Obama actually matches up against McCain better than Hillary would. He can differentiate his record and his goals a little better than Hillary can. And he can steal some of McCain's independent base better than Hillary can.

I think that if Hillary wins OH and TX today and makes it close, then the only fair way to settle it would be a game of one-on-one. How cool would it be to finally have a President that can dunk? (allegedly)
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  #40  
Old 03-04-2008, 02:06 PM
Eastwest Eastwest is offline
 
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Default Re: Hmmm...

Re UE's:
Quote:
The constant harping of the all-Obama-supporters-are-starry-eyed-idiots meme, is really getting old.
1) See the "deebee" post. Nails it. (Though I will certainly vote for Barack if he can't be stopped.)

2) Check out Shelby Steele's latest on "white guilt" & "masking, examples being Louis Armstrong and Oprah (as opposed to what won't work for black's seeking power ("challenging" [examples: Jesse J. & Al Sharpton]). Barack is hip to this, plays the youngsters like a harp, but is just as much a liar-politician (justified as means-to-an-end) as all others (example: back-channel note to Canadians he was just BS-ing on NAFTA to sneak by a particular audience).

Talk about "not having looked under the hood," the sycophantic press hasn't even thought about looking closely at Barack (see "white guilt," per Shelby Steele).

The Republicans won't be bashful. Barack's rig needs disassembly to the last drive-shaft bearing and he's trying to slick his way by on Leo ego strength to avoid that process just long enough to bump Hillary to the curb.

EW
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