Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘cell phone effect

Thursday Night Linkdump

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* I hope someday my admirers are moved to unearth my terrible college fiction: Wes Anderson’s “The Ballad of Reading Milton” (1989).

* The true size of Africa. Also has the true side of Australia and the USA as a bonus.

* Liberal blogs are trotting out cell phone effect again. Looks like it’s time to call November for the GOP.

* “In these challenging economic times, it’s good to know you can get some financial protection for unexpected illness and injury to your pets,” the e-mail reads before listing the many benefits. Federal Employees Can Purchase Health Insurance For Their Pets, But Not Their Same-Sex Partners.

* Running it up the flagpole: Wheel of Fortune‘s Pat Sajak argues at National Review Online that public employees shouldn’t be allowed to vote in at last some state and local state elections.

* And in twenty years, we’ll need another Earth to sustain us. Time to get building.

Afternoon News

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Afternoon news.

* The Rick Davis lobbying revelation is the big campaign story today as the McCain camp struggles to find some way to respond. The indispensable Steve Benen dissects their first attempt here, with this succinct summary of why this matters:

Remember, the McCain campaign walked right into this one, insisting that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were largely responsible for the Wall Street crisis, and any associations between a candidate and officials at the lending companies are necessarily scandalous.

Talk about leading with one’s chin….

More at HuffPo and TPM, which notes that Davis “quietly canceled” a scheduled lunch with reporters today.

* A report from the Pew Center says that cell-phone-only voters are not being properly counted in the polls. And Marist’s poll of swing states has Obama sweeping the map: IA, NH, OH, PA, and MI, where he has (according to this one poll with a high margin of error) a nine-point lead.

* Kos says the Palin pick is already paying unexpected dividends, as if McCain had been more responsible he probably would have picked Romney.

But think, what if McCain had picked Mitt Romney as his veep choice, like so many of us were fervently hoping?

Sure, the rollout wouldn’t have give McCain a fraction of the attention and excitement that Palin generated. The GOP ticket’s (now evaporated) post-convention bump would’ve been smaller, and maybe Romney would’ve been less effective at revving up the fundy base.

But right now? Romney would be kicking ass. The media would treat him with deference as an economic expert, and let’s be honest, he does looks straight out of central casting for the role of “serious businessman who we should defer to on the economy”. McCain wouldn’t have to hide him. Romney could make the media rounds, being taken seriously no matter what GOP gibberish he spouted. Rather than flail and cower, a McCain/Romney ticket would look sure-footed and confident, projecting gravitas in a time of uncertainty.

What’s more, McCain would no longer look like a political opportunist in his VP choice. He’d be lauded for being such a “maverick”, picking his greatest primary rival. The GOP and its apologists could say, with a straight face, that McCain put “country first”, and actually get away with it since it’s obvious McCain personally loathes Romney.

Good thing Mittens was snubbed.

* Also at Kos, Meteor Blades argues that the Congressional Democrats’ myriad failures on energy this seession are not as bad as all that.

Hurrah! What a relief. This summer’s rush to remedy 27 years of bad energy policy in just a few weeks had generated a mish-mash of contradictory proposals that couldn’t possibly be fully discussed or vetted. Better to wait, as I’ve said from the get-go.

Written by gerrycanavan

September 24, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Sunday Morning Politics Linkdump

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Sunday morning politics linkdump. Sorry for all these linkdumps, by the way—it was a busy week. Next week should see a return to a little bit more sustained commentary (including the exciting return of debate liveblogging!).

* There have been some interesting debates about poll biases lately. Ron Fournier (grumble) at the AP covers a study that argues Obama would be further ahead were it not for racial animus, by as many as six points. FiveThirtyEight throws cold water on this, as well as looking closely at the possibility of a “cellphone effect” in the polls. If Obama does 2.8% better in polls that include cellphones, that suggests a shifting map like the one below, turning Virginia light-blue and strengthening small Dem leads in Ohio and Colorado.

* A study from political scientist Alan Abramowitz argues that Obama will win, when all is said and done, with 54% of the popular vote. That he’s naively comparing historical models with this year’s unprecedentedly diverse tickets in both camps shows how seriously we should take this analysis.

* A new PPP poll shows North Carolina tied. Other recent polls show South Carolina within six, West Virginia within four, and MontanVoteRonPaula within two.

* There’s evidence of a “Palin effect” in Florida driving undecided voters to Obama.

* The Spine tries to get a handle on Obama’s early-voting advantage, beginning as early as this Friday in Virginia. The second link has some stats of interest for Dukies and Durham residents:

In addition, more early-voting centers are being located at colleges and universities, a change that significantly affects student turnout. Students at the University of North Carolina and N.C. State were able to vote on campus throughout the two weeks leading up to North Carolina’s primary contest in April. At Duke University, however, students had to make their way to voting sites in the city of Durham. While turnout for Durham County was 52% in the Democratic primary, only 11% of eligible Duke students voted. This fall, however, Duke will have its own early-voting center, open for business starting Oct. 16.

* The McCain camp has successfully demanded the VP debate rules be changed to protect Sarah Palin.

*Judge orders Cheney not to destroy his VP records.

* SNL mocked McCain this week. He also preemptively mocked himself with an article in Contingencies arguing (for reals) that “Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation.” Straight out of the Dept. of Bad Timing. Obama’s already taken aim at this.

* Will Obama raise my taxes? A helpful widget.

* And American Stranger has a long post on ideology that seems to take as one starting point my post on Slavoj Žižek, Obama Supporter. Essentially Ryan takes aim at the various binds the Left finds itself in with regard to political action, and I largely agree with what he says—though I certainly hope I wasn’t in mind as his example of sell-out “liberal ‘pragmatism’ a la The New Republic.” My point, both in the earlier post and now in this one, is simply that the U.S. President has a tremendous ability to make life better or worse for real people with real lives, all over the world, many of whom (believe it or not!) do not have cushy long-term contracts with elite universities. Naderite “Oh, they’re all the same!” negativity only makes sense to people who are inoculated by class and privilege from the consequences of that power.

The mere recognition that the perfect not be the enemy of the good doesn’t quite throw my lot in with TNR, I don’t think, and certainly not so long as we also keep in mind that the good not be the enemy of the better. Our discomfort with pragmatic compromises—and we should be discomforted by them, every time and in every case—isn’t by itself a reason not to be pragmatic.