1mi @ 11:54min
2mi @ 23:53min
3mi @ 36:06min
3.72mi @ 45min
CNN's This American Morning had John Avlon (Independent Nation) and Patricia Murphy (CitizenJanePolitics.com) on via satellite. The former commented that undecided/swing voters are fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I was like, "Repruhsent!"
STEVE CHAPMAN LOOKS AT THE DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN CONVENTIONS, and doesn't like what he sees. "You will scour the presidential nominees' acceptance speeches in vain for any hint that your life is rightfully your own, to be lived in accordance with your beliefs and desires and no one else's." They're giving people what they want.Reading the article, I felt kind of like, "Okay, I am kind of a socialist," but by the end I was like, "Oh yeah, still a libertarian."
Relatedly, I finally got around to doing my voter registration (since I moved towns).
At CWM last night, Tallessyn lifted up as a prayer concern the "misconception" that Sarah Palin is a feminist. I winced. We had joked last week about feminism being "my way or the highway," and she explicitly said when lifting up the prayer concern that she wasn't saying that Palin herself was bad, just that it was a dangerous misconception. But still... I didn't approach her afterward, in part because I didn't know how to begin articulating what I saw as the (broader, more inclusive) definition of "feminism," but in reflecting later I kept coming back to: "Feminism is the radical notion that women are people." [Goggling to confirm gives me: Feminism is the radical notion that women are human beings. --Cheris Kramerae, author of A Feminist Dictionary, 1996]
This morning, InstaPundit linked to:
* "A feminist's argument for McCain's VP" by Tammy Bruce
* "Sarah Palin Feminism" (WSJ) -- which discusses popular mis(?)perception of evangelicals vis a vis women having careers and families, etc.
There are many acceptable criteria for evaluating candidates and no real agreement as to which criteria are more important than the others. As a result, it's easy for commentary to focus on what many will perceive as minor points while ignoring what many perceive as bigger ones, and it's easy for commentary to speak to a very small slice of the ideological pie while ignoring or even alienating the rest. The result is that a lot of blogging about candidates ends up just running in circles.
The key difficulty with blogging about political candidates -- and Sarah Palin in particular -- is that any one of these criteria can be an acceptable basis for commentary. A really predictable dynamic follows: One commentator picks one aspect of one criteria and focuses on it, while others will marvel at the commentator's focus on such a narrow issue while ignoring everything else. And that criticism will often be pretty fair. That is, often the commentator really will be more focused on some things and less focused on others based on their own biases and interests in a way that doesn't accurately reflect the merits of the candidate for a lot of people.
You can see this in a lot of threads on Palin, both here and elsewhere. A blogger might make argument #2 about candidate A, and a commenter will respond my making (say) argument #6 and #7 about candidate B. Another commenter will respond to the first commenter with argument #12 about candidate A, which will then lead yet another commenter to pivot to argument #8 about candidate A with a left hook of argument #1 on candidate B. You end up running in circles, which everyone changing the topic to whatever ground they think puts their side in the most favorable light. The only conclusion anyone reaches is that everyone else is a political hack.
Is there a way out of this dynamic? Maybe, maybe not. But I tend to think that it would improve the level of commentary for bloggers and commenters to explicitly acknowledge how limited their claims really are. Given how many criteria exist, narrow commentary about just one criteria is necessarily only a very small piece of the puzzle about the merits of voting for a particular candidate. I think it would help us if we all acknowledged that, and didn't pretend that any one point was determinative. Perhaps it won't make any difference. But possibly, just possibly, it will be a fairer way of discussing the candidates and won't send us running in circles quite as much.