Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Pour some cement on the mushy middle

Atrios dispels some myths about "independent" and "swing voters":

I think the big issue here is the perpetual confusion of "independent" and "swing voters" with some concept of "centrist" or "moderate" which is generally put out by the press, when in reality these people are often low information voters who are likely to vote for someone "who knows what s/he stands for" instead of someone who has mushy middle distinctions-without-differences policy positions. There are tribal Democrats, tribal Republicans, and some genuine "can be convinced on the issues" voters. But most of the people up for grabs "in the middle" aren't really in the middle in any sense that we understand it. Instead, they vote their gut and are proud of it.

Besides, if you run a mushy middle candidacy, they're still going to run commercials calling you a crazy liberal who's going to make your son marry a dude and raise taxes to 100%. I see it happen over and over.

Chris Bowers for Philadelphia Mayor

Only if he wants to, but at least read this:

There are two specific narratives that I find absurd. First, there is the notion that people win elections by moving either to the left, the right or the center. This is one of the most pathetic types of lame, D.C. based thinking used to describe what is ultimately a broadly non-ideological electorate. The second type of narrative, which I find far more preposterous--and actually offensive--is the notion that elections are won by either one or a small handful of high-level consultants / party leaders in some backroom somewhere. That is just flat-out crap, and it need to be called such. Ultimately, voters and the American people swing elections. As much as the media seems to have forgotten, this is still a democracy in America, and when there is a change in power, it happens because the American people wanted a change in power. It didn't happen because they were tricked, scammed, or otherwise manipulated by a small number of consultants and / or party leaders hiding behind a curtain somewhere. Yet still, after every election that results in a change in power, one man behind the curtain or another is anointed by the media as the primary cause of the change in power: Atwater, Carville, Gingrich, Luntz, Begala, Rove, Rahm, etc. The message they want us to hear is that this very small list of people are responsible for changes in power in America, which is just a cynical, patronizing, aristocratic, anti-democratic, bullshit message to send out to Americans and to our democracy.

And there is something else too. Hundreds of thousands--millions--of Democratic and progressives activists contributed to this victory. Moving public opinion for even 5% of the electorate is extremely difficult, and there is no way it could have been accomplished without a broad-based, team effort. Everyone deserves credit and congratulation. However, not everyone is getting credit, and there are even some elements in the leadership of the Democratic Party who want to prevent certain others from receiving any credit. There are those who still say the netroots are destructive to the party, that Howard Dean is destructive to the party, and that the left-wing is destructive to the party. The thing is, that the netroots, Howard Dean and the party's left-wing all worked their asses off to help Democrats win this cycle, and our thanks for that is to be punched in the nose by Carville, Tauscher, Rahm, and a whole bunch of others. That is just offensive and bound to lead to increasing internal strife within the party. We are not Dobson-ites demanding tow Supreme Court justices and a Constitutional amendment. A step in the right direction might be to actually say thank you, and that you appreciate our efforts. You must read on....

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Oregon mail-in voting model

Sounds right to me:

1. My ballot and voter's pamphlet arrived by mail about three weeks ahead of election day.

2. My ballot could be mailed in at any time, or dropped off at a community collection center during the week preceding the election. I opted for this and dropped my ballot off at a neighborhood grocery store last Wednesday. I got a round of applause from the volunteers when I walked in, ballot in hand. I voted, bought myself a cookie from the bakery, and was done in five minutes.

3. I went online yesterday and verified that my ballot had been received by my county auditor's office.

One of the heroes of this election

Digby says it best:

There are a lot of heroes in this election, but my personal vote goes to Michael J. Fox. It takes guts to go up against the GOP character assassination machine and that guy did it with humor and nobility. I hope for their sakes that all those heartless losers who went after him, including the first lady, who didn't have the class to stay out of the mud, never have to face what he is facing. They don't have the character to deal with it and they don't care about curing it. It was one of the lowest things I've ever seen.

Monday, November 06, 2006

More on the toilet bowl restaurant

By the way, I tried the toilet bowl restaurant; it is called Modern Toilet (biansuo便所). The food was not bad though nothing special. It was more the novelty of it all. It was kind of loud though, with all those teenagers running around. The worst part was that they didn't serve our soft serve chocolate ice creams in a toilet bowl like we saw other people get.

Anyway, my brother (hey Mitch) discovered that the Toilet bowl restaurants have made it into the foreign press.

What happens next if Democrats win big on Tuesday?

Bill Scher has some excellent advice that might be helpful for progressives in Taiwan as well.