Friday, October 24, 2008

5 Thoughts on a... Friday

1) Nate Silver said everything that I wanted to say better than I ever could in a recent article for The New Republic. My favorite hits are as follows:

In 2006, half of the top ten fastest-growing states were in the West, ranging from Nevada (3.5 percent) to Colorado (1.9 percent). These new residents generally fall into one of two categories: college-educated white folks from the coasts looking for cheaper housing, better schools, or a higher quality of life--or, Latinos. Both groups are quite friendly to Democrats.

McCain has also managed to wind up on the wrong side of a number of the West's peculiar pet issues. He had been a supporter of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada, and has previously called to renegotiate the Colorado River compact, which might result in diverting some of Colorado's water to Arizona and California.

He seems to satisfy precisely nobody on immigration, having lost the trust of conservatives with his support of the McCain-Kennedy bill in 2006, but then losing Hispanics when he backtracked on the issue during the Republican primaries.

These were the issues that I was trying (admittedly, in vain) when I highlighted Colorado as a potential swing state. Silver, in my opinion, has hit the nail on the head. However, his discussion has brought to the fore a corollary issue: the future of the Republican Party.

2) Do you remember back in Spring, when everyone was prophesying the destruction of the Democratic Party, a sort of final schism between Clintonites and Obamers. (?) The diagnosis made sense at the time, with Clinton being Hubert Humphrey, with her socially conservative coal minors and auto-makers, faced off against Obama, playing the part of McGovern with his unruly coalition of anti-war students and African-Americans. But, surprise surprise, Clinton proved to be the smartest man in the room, and now it's October and the Asses are, for once, presenting a strong and united front.

The real question, now, is whether or not the Grand Ol' Party is about to devour itself alive. (Schadenfreude! Schadenfreude!) We got hints during the Republican Primary of the coalition that brought W. to power starting to come apart at the seams, with the pro-business lobby behind Romney, the hawks hawking for McCain, and the crazy psychotic people voting for Huckabee. This divide has been highlighted recently via Sarah Palin, with half of the Party behind her and the other half (OK, the smaller half, but shouldn't we liberals be spreading the lie that it's at least half.... remember PUMA????) staunchly opposed to her "populist" message.

And I am probably wrong, but I think that McCain hates Palin and the people who have pulled her into the spotlight. He's proud to be a footsoldier in the Reagan Revolution, but that's because he doesn't like taxes and thinks that Gorbachev is a fag. (Still a fag!) But I sincerely doubt that he gives a damn about gay marriage, abortion rights, or Left Behind. I just think that he has never gotten those kind of Republicans, and he never will.

So I'm going to leave this thought on an ellipse, but my question is: Could we see the genesis soon of the McCain-Lieberman-Graham party, a party for aggressive foreign policy and low taxes that is moderate on social issues, is pro-choice, pro-drilling, and favors universal health care? And what would they call this party? The Grumpy Old Moose? The Tricky Dicks? Let's Burn Karl Rove At The Cross? Je ne sais pas.

3) Battleground: Oregon! quackquackquack

2004 Oregon County Map of General Election Results for President

Oregon isn't actually a battleground state this year, and it's voted for a Democrat every year sincce 1984. But McCain once said that he was going to go for it, and it's my home state, so I feel obliged to include it here. Kerry won the state 51% to 47%, but look at how small of an area that equates to on the map. Basically, Kerry won in Eugene and in Portland and its suburbs, and this was enough to carry him to victory. Also, all you Ducks and Beavers, look at how light blue Deschutes, Jefferson, and Wasco Counties are. In 2004, they went for Bush 56-42, 58-39, and 50-47. So, maybe Central Oregon won't be changing colors any time soon, but there's still hope for The Dalles.

Basically, Oregon may not be on the chopping block this year for the presidential election, but it is for the senate.

4) I'm not a big one for spilling tears over the plights of celebrities, but news that Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother were murdered in the 7000 block in Englewood brought me close to the edge. She is a great actress, and, honestly, I hope that the tragedy of her family will bring some attention to the South Side. Here's the article from the New York Daily News. Pray to the gods for Ms. Hudson, and for a fund to start ending this cycle of violence.

5) "All truly wise thoughts have been thoughts already thousands of times; but to make them truly ours, we must think them over again honestly, until they take root in our personal experience." - Goethe

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