Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Cottle’

Which Party Is More Wingnutty?

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Michelle Cottle in The New Republic:

As the economy recovers, the level of public anger and panic will fall. That’s just the way things work. But even in fat economic times, there remain plenty of angry, scared, even paranoid people around, and these people need a place to come together and be heard. For a while now, the Republican Party has tended to be that place. [my emphasis]

Cottle makes the argument that Sarah Palin should become the leader of the Tea Party – and she makes more of it than I would guess could be made.

But the above point both struck me as true – and as something controversial that I couldn’t back up by citing to any sources or surveys.

Judging the truth or falsity of this statement would in the end have to come down to the precise meaning of “For a while now…” Certainly since Obama has become president this would be true – as it is always true that people who are “angry, scared, even paranoid” tend to gravitate towards the opponents of those in power. But my impression is that the “angry, scared, even paranoid” tended to be on the right even during the Bush years – though their leftist equivalents increased in number during that time.

I would guess that many of those to my right would see the opposite however. I think the argument can be made convincingly that the wingnuts of the right are wackier and more numerous than the wingnuts of the left. I don’t remember anywhere near the levels of support for such extreme statements as these about President Bush for example. But how can one measure which party attracts more wingnuts overall?

Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.

Must-Reads of Last Week: Data Warfare, Gay Rights, McCaughey, Summers, and Yankee Tickets

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Data Warfare. Marc Ambinder got hold of Catalist’s after-action report on the 2008 elections – describing how effective the Democrats were in pushing their voters to vote. According to the report, the combination of the effectiveness of data targeting and the pull of Obama’s candidacy made the difference in at least four states: Ohio, Florida, Indiana in North Carolina.

Gay Rights. Andrew Sullivan takes on the Weekly Standard‘s arguments in favor of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and continues his crusade to push the gay rights movement to agitate for change instead of simple accepting leaders who make the right noises. He continued over the weekend:

The president wasn’t vilified on the streets on Sunday as he has been recently. We are not attacking the president; we are simply demanding he do what he promised to do and supporting the troops who do not have the luxury of deciding to wait before they risk their lives for us.

We know it isn’t easy; but the Democrats need to know we weren’t kidding. You cannot summon these forces and then ask them to leave the stage. We won’t.

Remember: we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. Not him, us.

A Professional Health-Care Policy Liar. Ezra Klein recommends: “Michelle Cottle’s take down of professional health-care policy liar Betsy McCaughey is deservedly vicious and unabashedly welcome.” The entire article is illuminating, but I want to point out Cottle’s nice summary of McCaughey’s brilliance at debate:

Ironically, her familiarity with the data, combined with her unrecognizable interpretation of it, makes it nearly impossible to combat McCaughey’s claims in a traditional debate. Her standard m.o. (as “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart recently experienced) is to greet each bit of contradictory evidence by insisting that her questioner is poorly informed and should take a closer look at paragraph X or footnote Z. When those sections don’t support her interpretation, she continues to throw out page numbers and footnotes until the mountain of data is so high as to obscure the fact that none of the numbers add up to what she has claimed.

But it is Klein, in recommending the article that gets at the heart of why McCaughey is so effective:

She’s among the best in the business at the Big Lie: not the dull claim that health-care reform will slightly increase the deficit or trim Medicare Advantage benefits, but the claim that it will result in Death Panels that decide the fate of the elderly, or a new model of medical ethics in which the lives of the old are sacrificed for the good of the young, or a government agency that will review the actions of every doctor. McCaughey isn’t just a liar. She’s anexciting liar.

Summers. Ryan Lizza profiles Larry Summers for the New Yorker. Read the piece. This excerpt isn’t typical of the approach of the Obama team that the article describes, but it touches on something I plan on picking up later:

Summers opened with a tone of skepticism: The future of activist government was at stake, he warned. If Obama’s programs wasted money, they would discredit progressivism itself. “I would have guessed that bailing out big banks was going to be unpopular, and bailing out real companies where people work was going to be popular,” he said. “But I was wrong. They were both unpopular. There’s a lot of suspicion around. Why this business but not that business? Is this industrial policy? Is this socialism? Why is the government moving in?”

Noblesse oblige. Wright Thompson for ESPN explains the reason for the exorbitant prices and examines their affect on the loyalty of longtime fans. The article provides a close-up view of the  of the corrosive effect of the concentration of wealth and Wall Street culture – and how it destroys what the very things it enriches.

She was born with ovaries! I was born with ovaries!

Friday, August 29th, 2008

Michelle Cottle over at The New Republic suggests what the Hillary supporters’ response to McCain’s pick of Palin should be:

How insulting, how condescending, how downright patronizing of Senator McCain to attempt such ham-fisted identity politics. Does he really think women are so pathetic, so irrational, so weak-minded that a former supporter of the proudly pro-choice, feminist, progressive, grand and glorious Senator Clinton will now look at this staunchly conservative, possibly promising but currently totally unqualified woman from Alaska and think, She was born with ovaries! I was born with ovaries! Hell yeah! You go girl!

7 Reasons Why Hillary Should Not Be the VP

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

[digg-reddit-me]Although I was never crazy about the idea, there was a time – several weeks ago now – when I considered the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket to be a potentially good idea. Andrew Sullivan’s excellent column floating the idea moved me somewhat – even as I tended to think that Senator Jim Webb would be a better choice. I had thought of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s description of Lincoln’s genius in organizing his “team of rivals” even before Sullivan mentioned it. And I thought that Obama could pull it off if any politician today could. But Maureen Dowd’s description of Obama’s and Clinton’s interpersonal dynamic struck me as accurate enough, and Clinton continued to campaign – standing up for her supporters – “hard-working white people”; comparing her efforts to de-legitimatize the process of delegate selection she at first endorsed to abolition; and in general acting as if Obama’s nomination were not only a personal affront to her but the end of the Democratic party.

So, I’ve soured on the idea. Here’s seven reasons why Hillary Clinton should not be chosen as Obama’s vice presidential running mate:

  1. From Rachel Maddow on MSNBC’s Inside the War Room just a few minutes ago:
  2. [It would be] very awkward for a vice presidential candidate to be on a presidential candidate’s ticket after she has made repeated references to his potential death. Yes, that would be weird.

  3. It will undermine the rationale behind Obama’s candidacy and make Obama look weak. As Reihan Salam of The Atlantic wrote:

    A backroom deal with Clinton would make a mockery of Obama’s language of hope and change. It would make Obama appear weak, and it would reward Clinton for running a campaign more vicious than anything Lee Atwater could have cooked up. More importantly, Obama would be choosing a fundamentally weak and unpopular running mate who has masked her marked executive inexperience through endless misrepresentation of her role in the Clinton White House – a role that begins and ends with a healthcare debacle that would have gotten anyone other than a First Lady fired.

    Or, to put it as John Edwards did:

  4. She doesn’t put a single state or demographic group on the board for Obama.
    She is a highly polarizing figure. The demographic splits in the primaries so far have been best explained by the Peabody award-winning Josh Marshall over at the Talking Points Memo: The only areas where Hillary has decisively beaten Obama are in the Appalachian region of the country. But Hillary is far from the best candidate to appeal to this group. Former Senator John Edwards, Governor Ed Rendell, Governor Ted Strickland, and especially Senator Jim Webb all would seem to have greater appeal to the Scotch-Irish Reagan Democrats of the Appalachia. Clinton’s base is entirely in the Democratic party where she is relatively popular, while Obama has substantial support among independents and even some Republicans. That is why Clinton has done better in closed primaries than ones open to independents or all parties (at least until Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos gained traction).
  5. Bill.
  6. She’s run a terrible campaign so far. Would she run a better campaign if she trying to win for Obama?
    Her campaign is already $21,000,000.00 in debt. She squandered enormous institutional and name recognition advantages. Does anyone still remember that she was the prohibitive favorite before “a skinny kid with a funny name” expertly managed one of the hardest fought campaigns in history?
  7. She shouldn’t be rewarded for trying to bully her way onto the ticket (after being told no “politely but straightforwardly and irrevocably“, threatening an “open civil war“) and for her bullying tactics during the rest of the campaign (threatening to withhold funds from the DNC; attacking Nancy Pelosi; lying about Obama’s record on abortion, NAFTA, and other issues; using voter suppression tactics in Nevada and Iowa; and undermining the legitimacy of the delegate selection process she agreed to when she thought it was to her benefit.)
  8. Her sense of entitlement.

As a bonus:

Hillary’s not going to help Obama win in November. Let’s get on to the main event already.

Drop out, Senator, and settle for becoming the next Secretary of Defense or a Supreme Court Justice.

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