Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wednesday mix

Back from the garden

Here's some of the cuttings, or weeds, I've dug up:

  • desmoinesdem plays off my more recent Boswell bashing and splits the difference, saying Boswell should be out of the remedial "Front Line" group of first and second termers and should pony up his DCCC dues, but arguing that recent improvements make up for his lousy lifetime record.

    I think the lifetime record matters, a lot, especially a certain October 2002 vote that my then-congressman, a Republican, got right. And, let's be blunt: Leonard is getting old and has had health problems. desmoinesdem argues that there's no evidence yet that the GOP is seriously targeting IA-03. True. But no one took Dave Loebsack seriously until the last second, either.

    I think Boswell is a Front Liner because the DCCC is worried about another primary from the left, which is really Iowan's business rather than Washington's.

    Like I keep saying: Dems in Des Moines and DC would rather lose the seat than hurt Leonard's feelings. And they also have an outsized chip on their shoulders about Boswell's last primary challenger.

  • Speaking of Boswell's `08 primary challenger: Not even any symbolic pro-marriage equality rhetoric yesterday from the state Senate ethics committee, which in a mere seven minutes dismissed a complaint that Sen. Merlin Bartz was urging recorders to violate the law. Wonder if the words, if not the outcome, would have been different if someone other than Ed Fallon had made the complaint?

  • The interwebs have been full the last few days of the name the Dems dare not speak: John Edwards. Most of it has been spent on the psychology of the marriage, but there's been a little number crunching like this piece by Mark Blumenthal that says an earlier Edwards dropout would have meant a bigger Obama primary win (in three words: anyone but Hillary). Take That, Mark Penn, and I hope you never get paid.

  • Nate the great at FiveThirtyEight looks at voting behavior and high-level education, which goes a long way toward explaining Obama's 70 percent in Johnson County.

  • The whole piece plays off conservative Richard Posner's lament about the decline of intellectual conservatism and, indeed, the growth of conservative anti-intellectualism: "By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party." No wonder William F. Buckley dropped dead.

  • Larry Littlefield compares print papers to dying elite art forms:
    Governments in the United States have generally provided financial support only to those sources and styles that no longer appeal to popular audiences but still appeal to elite tastes, even if the elites are more affluent than those who get their information and culture without subsidy. Thus, when a jazz venue was added to Lincoln Center, you knew jazz was on its last legs as popular music.

    But he has one possible solution: the most valuable asset the print press has is its archives.
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