Monday, February 14, 2011

Read Stuff, You Should

Regular readers know that I disagree with Steve Benen's longtime campaign against the Sunday shows over John McCain. But he's right this time, since Face the Nation claimed that McCain replaced a Democrat because of McCain's supposed foreign policy expertise -- and because the Sunday shows in general dispensed with the party of the White House and the Senate majority completely this week. It's the Republicans' business which Republicans get to be on, but the Sunday shows should feature partisan balance. For an excellent explanation, see Matt Yglesias.

More good stuff:

1. What's wrong with our journalists? Ezra Klein says that it's their sources. In another way, so does Yglesias. I think they're both on the right track -- remember, the first-order job of reporters is to report on what's happening, so there's a bit of GIGO that we shouldn't blame them for.

2. I like Mark Schmidt's take on Democrats and the South.

3. Don't miss Fred Kaplan on Rumsfeld. As good as you would expect it to be.

4. Mandatory TNC reading.

5. Good stuff on the courts and the political system from Noah Feldman.

6. Adam Serwer: post-birtherism.

7. Heather Mac Donald talks sense about movement conservatives (Egypt edition); Jesse Singal does some mythbusting about the rich, the poor, and the government.  And Conor Friedersdorf has been terrific recently on why conservative yahoos are bad for conservatives.

8. But as good as Friedersdorf is, it sure is nice to have Andrew Sullivan back, and characteristically telling the truth.


  1. I think the world of Mark Schmitt, but I disagree with an important point on "The South." In electoral terms, it's time to stop thinking about "The South" as a geographic construct derived from the borders of the Union and Confederacy. WV was created as a reaction against the Confederacy, but in presidential races, I think WV is on the way to becoming one of the most Republican states in the country. OK wasn't part of the confederacy, but it was the most anti-Obama state in 2008. AR used to be the most Dem-friendly among the states of the old confederacy, but it's becoming one of the least Dem-friendly in presidential elections. But North Carolina and Virginia are, in the recent round of polls by PPP, performing better for Obama than is Ohio. And after Missouri & Montana, Obama's closest performance in a state he lost wasn't, as a lot of people think, one of the Dakotas. It was Georgia. And South Carolina did OK for him as well.

    No, what's happening is there's a split east of the Mississippi where the geographic voting blocs aren't "The South" vs the Northeast and Midwest, but instead it's becoming the Upper Midwest & Northeast vs the central interior with the Southern Atlantic Coast becoming the swing area. Virginia and North Carolina are competitive presidential states, and Kentucky, West Virginia and Arkansas aren't, with Missouri and the SE half of Ohio trending much more Republican over time. TN outside Memphis & Nashville and northern AL & MS--places with very small African-American populations--are on their way to being the most Republican parts of the country. But North Carolina and Virginia--with significant African-American populations that aren't concentrated in just a few large cities and with floods of internal immigration from the Northeast and Industrial Midwest along with lots of international immigration from East and South Asia, Africa and of course Latin America, and burgeoning major regional economies driven by "creative class" industries, have less and less resemblance to the interior areas of the Confederacy. NC & VA--and maybe over time GA and even SC--have conservative rural voters who will elect Republicans locally but are on their way to being hugely outnumbered by the extremely liberal, highly educated cosmopolitan migrants from around the country who are settling in the major metro areas, making it more and more likely that these states can regularly be competitive for the socially liberal Democrats nominated for President. In this regard, Virginia/NOVA and North Carolina/Research Triangle are looking less and less like Louisiana/Baton Rouge and Arkansas/Little Rock and more like Colorado/Denver-Boulder and Oregon/Portland.

  2. Schmitt's analysis is a spot on use of a Col. Blotto strategy and it's something I've been ruminating on for months. It is not at all likely that specific states, just based on registration and turnout history, will give a Democratic presidential candidate an edge. The resources, despite the amazing spending that will likely occur, will just not be there to justify the work. Considering most of the literature that we've recently seen focusing on turnout and influence campaigns can have on turnout, it's a waste of resources and a failed strategy. Certainly the DCCC should be focusing on districts that they may be able to work with and the DLCC can find some success, along with strong voter registration drives run by state and county parties. In the short-term, however, spending presidential election resources in these areas is a terrible mistake.


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