Sunday, April 27, 2014

Week In Review: April 21-27

One of the things about being your own publisher and editor is you write when you feel like it. So instead of having a weekly rundown in the can Saturday night like a good reporter should, I wake up Sunday several hours after "deadline," check the headlines, and start writing late morning. Then I post the post and check the spelling, in that order.
Senate debates medical cannabis, and then orders eight pizzas. With a veggie lover's special for Joe Bolkcom, my senator and the godfather of the bill. Question: if your whole campaign is based around not enforcing drug laws, and the legislature starts to loosen those laws up, what do you have left?

THIS from Lynn Vavreck at NYT. So much this:
There just aren’t that many swing voters.
Many people change their minds over the course of a campaign about whether to vote and even which candidate they’re leaning toward. Ultimately, though, voters tend to come home to their favored party. There are relatively few voters who cross back and forth between the parties during a campaign or even between elections.

Most identify with the same political party their entire adult lives, even if they do not formally register with it. They almost always vote for the presidential candidate from that party, and they rarely vote for one party for president and the other one for Congress. And most voters are also much less likely to vote in midterm elections than in presidential contests.

The 2014 fight is not over swing voters. It’s for partisans.
Attention: objective journalists and people who claim to "study the candidates."

We started voting this week and for lack of anyone else available the Press-Citizen talked to me. Voting got off to a faster start than I expected and was overwhelmingly in the Democratic primary, even more overwhelmingly that you'd think in the People's Republic.

The thing about primaries is you have two elections more or less competing with each other, and voters can only vote in one. This year Republicans have a top of the ticket race and Democrats have a courthouse primary. Republicans have no contested races below state senate, Democrats have no contests above state senate.

The Republican Senate race is still taking shape, so many Republicans may be keeping their powder dry to see which two of the four serious contenders (sorry, Schaben) look to be strongest. At the moment that's Ernst and Jacobs but that may shift.

I expect a nudge sometinme soon. Terry Branstad always always always does a big absentee mailing in his campaigns and he has incentive to do it in this primary. He wants to bury Some Dude opponent Tom Hoefling, he wants to freshen up his absentee list for the fall race against Jack Hatch, and he'd like to help his preferred Senate candidate Joni Ernst. My bet, and I have no inside knowledge of GOP internal strategery, but my bet is those mailers hit sometime this week or next.

It's the kind of organizational thing Branstad has always been good at and that the AJ Spiker era Republican Party of Iowa was poor at. So yesterday's counter-revolution, where "establishment" Republicans knocked the Ron Paul supporters elected in 2012 off the state central committee, is a big deal.

Still, the administration's ethics scandal and tightening polls have the political number crunchers at Smart Politics asking: Could Terry Branstad Lose?

Russia doesn't consider Ukraine a "real country" and Joe Biden says "No nation has the right to simply grab land of another nation." I shouldn't be afraid to write what I really think in response to that. Must ask in person and answer will be off the record. I've got enough former friends already who've abused past trust lately.

She's over the top in some spots ("Exhilaration, ecstasy and communal vision are the gifts of Dionysus, god of wine') but of all people the eternal contrarian Camille Paglia comes closer than anyone to my thoughts on the drinking age:
It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age-21 rule sets the U.S. apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

Learning how to drink responsibly is a basic lesson in growing up — as it is in wine-drinking France or in Germany, with its family-oriented beer gardens and festivals. This civilized practice descends from antiquity. 
Plus bonus points for, you know, actually raising the subject.

And I finally give up all hope on a crush I've nurtured since the original Freaky Friday as Jodie Foster gets married.

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