Monday, December 12, 2011

Youthful cockiness.

I keep seeing a lot of arrogance from some Progressives in the Twitterverse. Typical views are "there's no way Obama can lose" and " the Republican field can't produce a threat to Obama." I always wonder how old these people are.

(photo from Young Democrats of Maryland)

I'm old. I don't like to think about the number of elections I've seen where the best candidate lost to a clear dunce. This country elected a senile actor over a nuclear engineer. We elected Dubya over a war hero.

(Image from

Elections are about more than who's the best candidate. External economic factors could intervene. If gas hits $5 a gallon, very few incumbents will win, from either party. There could be a scandal. We simply have no idea who's going to win, yet. 

(Image from wikipedia)

Furthermore, we're talking about an electorate that is expending zero bandwidth on politics right now. They won't get interested until this summer, as the conventions approach.

The economic and historical "context" of a presidency is typically more important than the personal qualities of the president.

Paul Light
Paulette Goddard Professor of Public Service

(at least, I think I'm echoing Dr. Light's work here.  I could be misremembering)


the media WILL have their counter-narrative. Professional considerations will cause the media to find reasons for Obama to lose or why he should lose. It's a much higher percentage move to write a story which conflicts with the conventional wisdom than to write 1 of 100 identical CW stories, by 100 faceless writers. That's true even if you're wrong, and the CW is right.

Monday, October 17, 2011

So, I try to look at modern human civilization in all its complexity, with its massive population growth relative to most of our species existence, the variety of ecosystems successfully colonized, the incredible sophistication of material culture compared to even a few centuries ago...

achieved by an organism that (human megalomania notwithstanding) that is really nothing more than an overly specialized scavenger...

and I am astonished at the sheer, baroque complexity generated by the simple accumulation of 9000 years of inter-glacial agricultural surpluses.

And, its fragility.