As usual whiny media Baby Boomers and their elders are lamenting the loss of the political convention as a dramatic spectacle that actually decided who the presidential nominee of a given party would be. Today, the conventions are truly no more than political infomercials and usually present little more than empty calories.
This is no ordinary time, however, the election of 2004 is the most important that America has faced since 1860 not because of what vision may be realized should Mr. Kerry win the election, but because of the terrifying dystopia that would result from another Bush conquest. This convention marks Senator Kerry’s best chance to present himself to undecided, or uncertain voters, and position himself for victory. If opinion polls are to be believed much of the electorate is uncertain about Mr. Kerry, but Mr. Bush’s failings have left them willing to give Mr. Kerry a once over, and this is an opportunity that previous challengers like Bob Dole and Walter Mondale were never afforded.
So, by all means, keep your eyes glued to the infomercial. Although it will do nothing to determine the Democratic Presidential nominee, it may help decide whether or not he becomes president.
Farenheit 9/11 – This is the Long Dong Silver of Liberal Porn. It covers all the biggies except the environment: race, class, war, and corporations, but it does so in a way that’s compelling. It’s a well put together flick, that grabs ahold of you and doesn’t let go. Five Peace-sign dildos.
The Corporation – An ivory-tower psychological deconstruction of the corporation that touches on all of the usually Chomskyish attacks on the corporation: limited liability, no conscience, and externalities. I would have like to have seen some economic data on limited liability. I have never seen, from either side, any extensive study that confirms the proposition that limited liability benfits society by encouraging entrepreneurship. It’s just an accepted postulate of economics. This move is laden with liberal fnords, and it is just preaching to the choir. Two Peace-sign dildos.
The Hunting of the President – This movie starts out great. It has great interviews with important figures. But it seems to need to be twice as long; it seems to just stop at the end. I would have liked to have known more about the “vast right wing conspiracy.” Two Peace-sign dildos.
Outfoxed – This doesn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know. Fox is run with an agenda; is anything but fair and balanced; and is anything but journalistic. The only thing that really adds any meat to this are internal Fox memoranda and interviews with ex-Fox employees. I got bored with this one, because, again it wasn’t shocking to me, and I had the feeling that, unlike F911 it has little chance of reaching the audience on whom it would have an effect. Three Peace-sign dildos.
Uncovered – Like Outfoxed, the audience for this movie is the choir and MoveOn is doing the preaching. Everything in this is to be found in the pages of the Washington Post or the New York Times, if you’re looking for it. Two Peace-sign dildos.
All of these movies except F911 suffer from the same flaw: they are echo-chamber fnord flicks. Until a slightly diet-cola version of one of these makes it onto Dateline, don’t expect many minds to change.
The AP strikes again.
Their speeches, designed to rouse Democrats for a tough campaign, are sure to bring comparisons between the aloof, wooden Kerry and forceful, charismatic Clintons.
At least they have apparently received permission to stop bashing Clinton.
“The race is still fundamentally tied, and the Electoral College map reflects that,” said Bush strategist Matthew Dowd. “But there is beginning to be a slight tilt toward us with Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri and Arizona no longer being seriously contested.”
…the AP reports.
Funny then that a July 10 Zogby poll shows Bush leading by only 2% in Arkansas, another Zogby poll on July 1o shows Tennessee tied at 48% each, and a July 20 Market Research Institute poll from July 20 shows Kerry leading in Missouri 46%-44%, and a July 18 ASU poll shows Kerry leading 42%-41% in Arizona.
None of that is a convincing win for either side. To say those starts are no longer being seriously contested implies that Bush has them locked up. The data do not support than contention.
Neither do they support the AP’s headline: Kerry Trails Bush in Electoral Votes.
The report goes on to add, ominously, that:
Of the states won by Gore, Pennsylvania is by far Bush’s top target. The president has spent millions of dollars in the state on commercials and has visited it more than any other contested state — 30 trips since his inauguration.
For Kerry, losing Pennsylvania would create a virtually insurmountable electoral vote gap.
Of course, a July 21 LA Times poll shows Kerry with a 10 point lead there. If you follow the actual recent polls, the loss of PA still leaves Kerry in the win column. And this is all pre-convention, with most of the undecideds likely to break to the challenger. Nice spin by the Bush people.
Clinton said in his book that he wished that the survey data showing his giant lead in October 1996 hand’t come out, and that he feels that probably cost him the 50% lead he wanted. Spinning it that way, this could be just what Kerry wants: his supporters to continue to feel a sense of urgency. As for me, I’m tired of bullshit from the media.
From the NYT today (Kristof):
Yet the environmental movement is wrong to emphasize preservation for the sake of the wolves and the moose alone. We should preserve wilderness for our sake – to remind us of our scale on this planet, to humble us, to soothe us. Nothing so civilizes humans as the wild.
This has to be the environmental theory of a new progressive ideology. While E. O. Wilson and others have shown the delicate web woven by evolution and how we depend on other species for the biosphere we live in, this will never come to pass unless people understand that it is as much for our sake as for the sake of the owls, the whales, or the wolves that we are preserving the Earth. Man may not be the measure of all things, but for most voters that is their measure.
We need these species and they need their habitat; it’s tantamount to farmland. Without it, the web of life cannot persist, and we will not be able to grow food. It’s really that simple.
Of course environmentalism is not ab ovo a progressive or left-wing movement. It requries the consolidation of property and the limiting of resources, especially for the working class. Of course, in the last 40 years, environmentalism has replaced labor as perhaps the most identifiable lefty proposition. That has more to do with the who and not the how or the why. So, in some sense, it’s difficult to work out a theory that doesn’t undo or limit the basis of underclass prosperity.
The place to start, however, is to figure out, like the quote above, how to relate it to the benefit of man, and not man versus wolf.
Sometimes we have some good ideas and discussions that we’d like to get down quickly, and out there. We evolved the Polemic design after experimenting with blogging, but this new interface is so slick and simple that it’s impossible to say no to.