Friday, September 24, 2004

Yet Another Strategic Blunder From Kerry

Quick note, and speaking only strategically:

Kerry's strategy to basically project gloom & doom about Iraq and other issues strikes me as myopic, more something born of desperation than inspiration. It's okay to criticize things where you see problems, especially if you were more like Howard Dean, and opposed this whole thing from the beginning. Kerry would probably find more success if he were to acknowledge the successes in Iraq as well as the failures, and focus more on a sunny, preferable (and halfway coherent) alternative that he can offer. It's a question of emphasis and attitude. I don't think voters are going to be all that enthusiastic about about a candidate who projects hopelessness and despair. They will be, though, about a candidate who is optimistic, or at least halfway confident. Again, it's not a question of policies - it's a question of emphasis. You'd think Kerry might have learned a few lessons from the Kennedy campaign of 1960 (Eisenhower did a few good things, but here's how things could be even better), and Carter vs Reagan in 1980 - hope vs pessimism personified.

PS - I was just finishing writing this, and noticed Boffo aka Nifty McNiftington made a similar observation. He puts it a lot more humorously and directly than I do.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Apocalypse Wow...

This is utterly, utterly brilliant. I've seen some great stuff written about the Presidential race this year. But nothing, nothing comes close to the sheer brilliance of this piece. You'll laugh. You'll cry. Well, you'll mostly cry tears of laughter, but it's all good.

Go there, now! Peer into the heart of darkness of this year's campaign.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Anti-Capitalism and Pharmaceutical Companies

Egad, this is what I get for listening to NPR. "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook is interviewing Marcia Angell, who just wrote a tome claiming that the industry by and large rips off the American consumer. Am I completely off point to observe a contradiction in her argument?

First, she complains that the drug industry doesn't actually do much real research or innovation. Most of that, she claims, is actually done by government-funded and university research. The drug industry actually parasitically pumps out mere "copy-cat" drugs that bring them far more profits than other industries. They spend more on marketting (and we know how immoral that is) than on research.

But another major complaint she lobbies forth is that the drug companies too strictly monitor and control research that universities perform on drugs, leading to research bias.

So I don't get it! Are drug companies bad because they don't actually research and innovate enough, or are they bad because they do it too much by tangling up and controlling all the channels of research? Argh...

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Rock over London, Rock on Chicago

I'll return to full blogging mode when I return from Chicago in a few days. Soon, I'll be posting - "Party Like It's 1996", why this election is more and more resembling 1996, something related to an article I'm writing about the ineffeciacy of street protests, and something about the future of gay rights in the GOP, and why it just might not be bad faith for gays and supporters of gay rights to support the GOP. (Not that they should, mind you, just that it wouldn't be bad faith if they did). Anyway. All this in the coming days.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

David Brooks, Libertarianism, Media Bias and All That Jazz

I was flabbergasted a moment ago to hear David Brooks on PBS's convention coverage. I've never really liked him, I should say, and I don't know anyone either conservative or libertarian who does.

But this was too much. Paraphrased, regarding Bush's challenge tonight: "He's got to come out and say he's not Barry Goldwater, that he's not a libertarian. He's got to say that he recognizes that government can do great things, and that he has the best ideas for the good things government can do in people's lives." Look, I knew neither he nor Bush are libertarians, and I know that the last gasps of Goldwater's greatness mostly died with Reagan. But to have it so explicitly put out there was heartbreaking.

This points to one of the things that makes me skeptical that ANY major news outlet, from NPR to Fox News, actually provides fair coverage of the plenthora of political viewpoints. My sense is that most (though not all) mainstream news outlets lean left - but even when they don't, they just provide the standard left/moderate/right axis. Sometimes, you see a substantive debate about liberty vs power over a single issue, like over the conflict between free speech and campaign finance law, and the gun control issue. But it stays schizophrenic at best, with the token leftist and token conservative switching sides about the efficacy of government force. Then the nature of force gets lost entirely in other issues, like over stem-cell research, abortion, and education. Thus, a decision not to fund becomes a "ban", and pro-"choice" advocates push for coercively-obtained tax money to fund abortion and birth control, and not providing a "moment of silence" in public schools becomes "supressing" religious freedom.

Maybe this is just what you get when libertarian views are such a minority. Ralph Nader gets far more publicity than any libertarian will, but he's probably also quite frustrated to see commentary from the "Democrat" facing off the "Republican." Nevertheless, it doesn't mean that I can't complain about it. :-)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Where's Mary?

I really, really hope there's a good reason why Mary Cheney didn't appear with the rest of her family at the end of Dick Cheney's speech at the Convention tonight. I may not vote for the guy, but I've admired his chutzpah and sincerity thus far. Please, Dick, don't give me a reason to hate you, that the Alan Keyes of the party played any role in this. Please, please tell me she just had a stomach flu or something.