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Saturday, December 04, 2004
Senator McDim is at it again. This time he has "demanded immediate action" by major league baseball to begin testing for steroids. "I warned them a long time ago that we needed to fix this problem," babbled McDim. "I'll introduce legislation in January, but I hope I don't have to do that."
Who, exactly, does this overrated boor think he is? Hey, as a baseball fan, I share his dismay over this steroid business. The integrity of the game's record book is now under real dispute. But this is for the players and owners to work out between themselves, which they will. It is in the interest of both parties to reestablish the trust of game's paying customers.
McDim, though, really must have better things to worry about.
Then again, given his record as Every Democrat's Favorite Republican, maybe we're better off that he focus his attention on something like this where he can't do much harm.
The Economic Values Voter
Here's some information to keep in mind when the left starts arguing that cultural values decided the last election, so Republicans have no mandate to pursue a free-market based economic agenda.
A think tank called the Pacific Research Institute has calculated something called an "Economic Freedom Index" for each state in the U.S. The index takes into account over a hundred variables, including tax rates, measures of regulatory burdens, state govenment spending, litigiousness, etc.
To see a map of the 50 states, color coded according to their rank, go to the above site and click on the link that reads "U.S. Map and State Rankings. Looking at this map, one notices immediately a strong correlation between economic freedom and the recent election. Of the bottom 10 states, only 1 (Ohio) went for Bush. Of the top 20 states, on the other hand, Bush carried 18 (New Hampshire and Delaware being the exceptions - and New Hampshire was essentiall a 50/50 split). You can see the data in table form by clicking on "State Economic Freedom Rankings Table" once you're on the page with the map.
Commenting on the findings, Tom Nugent of NRO said the following:
"The chart makes clear that states with the highest level of economic freedom voted for George Bush by a wide margin, while states offering a low level of economic freedom went heavily for Senator Kerry. Across all 50 states, there is strong evidence to support the theory that people who believe in economic freedom have voted with their feet and migrated to states where economic freedom is high. On the other hand, states that have cultivated low economic freedom as defined by the Pacific Research Institute voted for the candidate that best espoused their principles (i.e., less economic freedom).
Those of us who live in red states certainly have a lot to be thankful for. As for those who relish economic freedom but live in blue states, there is an option: They can vote with their feet and move to a red state.
In the meanwhile, the next time you’re told why the red states went red and the blue states blue, you’ll know the real answer."
Nugent's entire article can be found here
Thursday, December 02, 2004
The Values Trap
I smell a rat.
Our friends in Old Media have been just a little too eager for my comfort to pick up on the "values voter" phenomenon. On first impression, this might seem like a minor breakthrough. After all, wouldn't it be a step in the right direction if the media elite were to become seriously introspective about its cultural tin ear? Wouldn't this constitute a significant victory?
As a radical solution to the problem of media insularity, Bernard Goldberg suggested in his book "Arrogance," only partially in jest, that one of the major networks relocate its news operations to Tupelo, Mississippi. The point being that unavoidable contact with the great unwashed of Tupelo would make journalists recognize that real, sentient beings actually have worldviews dramatically different from their own. No longer would they be shocked in the manner of the journalist who, upon hearing of Nixon's landslide reelection in 1972 is said to have exclaimed: "I don't see how Nixon could have won. Nobody I know voted for him!"
Well, wouldn't the sort of self-awareness implied by the media's sudden discovery of "values" put Peter Jennings and his cadre of fellow-travelers at least half-way to Tupelo and be cause for celebration?
Of course it would. But does anyone seriously believe these people to be capable of such honest self-appraisal? Do you really expect this sort of reexamination of notions previously held as axiomatic by such as Dan Rather (R.I.P)? Maureen Dowd? Paul Krugman? The L.A. Times Editorial Board?
No, I fear something more insidious is at work here. The left concedes a point only as a tactical maneuver and only when the cost-benefit tradeoff is weighted heavily in its favor. Witness for example the relatively magnanimous statements of most leftists on the passing of Ronald Reagan. They had vilified him as the Devil incarnate during his presidency; but this didn't stop them from using his death not only to rewrite history but further their anti-W jihad.
"Reagan made us feel good about America," they said. Once he was safely dead, of course. "Reagan reached out to everyone. He wasn't so divisive. But Bush........"
It was all a crock, of course, since these same windbags had ridiculed Reagan in his day with the same ferocity they presently apply to Bush. But it served their immediate purpose to utter this sort of drivel - so they did.
Now we've had an election between two presidential candidates whose worldviews were fairly transparent and in dramatic contrast. Certainly no one to the right of Angela Davis or the left of.....well....of me I guess....could say there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two. Voters had a clear choice between an unabashed leftist and an unabashed, if somewhat less ideologically consistent, conservative - and they selected the latter by a pretty convincing margin.
And when the inevitable first wave of analysis, recriminations and Monday Morning Quarterbacking hit the streets, what was the first thing we learned? Apparently, a newly-discovered member of the political ecosystem called the "Values Voter" decided the election in W's favor.
Well, I'll be damned: it's an en masse conversion! They've seen the Bright Right Light and they're coming home! Aren't you excited?
Or, like me, are you more inclined to believe that these people never believed this and still don't? Do you just know that post-election cocktail parties throughout Manhattan, San Francisco and points leftward were replete with comments like: "I don't get it. Will and Grace has such good ratings!"
Lest you think I've overstated leftist angst, the hatemongers at Democratic Underground posted a poll on the site asking which date was worse: 9/11 or 11/2. Seriously.
So we have every reason to doubt that THEY believe a bit of this values stuff. Nevertheless, it is indisputable that exit polls showed the primary consideration of between a fifth and a quarter of the electorate to be a constellation of so-called "values" issues. These doubtless include such concerns as homosexual marriage, anti-Christian bias in the public schools and government, and the untreated sewage that often passes for entertainment even on the major television networks.
But ask yourself this: aside from judicial appointments, how much of Bush's more ambitious second term goals project to fall into this realm?
The answer is: not much.
The three major items on Bush's agenda as I see them are:
1) Successful prosecution of the war in Iraq in particular and the war on Islamofacism in particular;
2) Partial privatization of the Social Security system so as not to consign future generations of victims to returns comparable to those obtainable by pursuing Nigerian email solicitations;
3) Overhaul of the Income Tax system.
Now. What of those relate even tangentially to the sort of values issues the left is clearly telling us decided the election.
Get my point?
No. Well let me put it another way. There's a time-tested sales technique whereby the salesman volunteers and even emphasizes a weakness in his product that he knows not to be of importance to his customer. So for example, a car salesman might say to a 75 year-old woman something like: "Now I have to warn you in advance that this car will rattle a little if you push it past 95MPH."
The idea is to gain the salesman credibility points while costing him nothing in terms of making the sale. When he then goes on to talk about the positive aspects of the car, the prospect thinks "well, he told the truth about the rattle, so he's probably telling the truth here."
I fear this is what Old Media is doing to us with all this "values" blather. I'm going to make a little prediction here. I'd put money on it if it were possible.
Every time Bush tries to advance one of the three policy initiatives above (particularly numbers 2 and 3), Democrats and their media allies will rebut by saying something like this:
"THIS isn't what the people voted for on November 2nd. All the exit polls said people were voting based on VALUES issues. They weren't voting for (privatizing social security/a flat tax/ pulverizing some terrorist vermin)."
You heard it here first. This is the only explanation I can imagine to explain the sudden willingness of cretin in the media elite to reexamine the true unpopularity of their worldview.
They'll concede values.
And try to sell us a lemon.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004|