August 8, 2006


Donut Hole (KEVIN F. RENNIE, 8/08/06, Hotline)

The 2006 Connecticut Democratic primary, according to one pollster who has been monitoring turnout today is turning into a “donut primary.” The suburbs are outstripping Democratic cities in voter interest in the race between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lamont. Lieberman has been counting on voters in the state’s cities to overcome the advantage Lamont is expected to show in liberal suburban voting. ... [M]oderate, blue collar Democrats may not be as interested in supporting Lieberman as liberals in more affluent communities are in turning him out.

It's pretty amazing -- as well as amusing -- to watch them shrink their already marginal party further.

WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH THOMAS FRANK? (Lee Siegel, 8/08/06, TNR Online)

Actually, I think Thomas Frank is one of the most intelligent social and political commentators around. I've been reading just about every word he writes since his days editing The Baffler. It's a relief to see that he's a guest columnist for The New York Times this month. But what I often miss in Frank's analyses is an adversarial empathy. Oh, there's plenty of adversarialism in his writing. But he keeps selling his heartland subjects short.

A good example of his myopia--or perhaps just his impatience--is the column he has in today's Times. Frank is writing about the defeat, in the Republican primary, of the conservative, creationist members of the Kansas school board. He goes on to note that heartland conservatives are waging a "war against 'elites,' and, with striking regularity, that means a war against the professions." In every area of cultural contention, Frank shrewdly observes, the right's target is an educated, professional class: the "liberal" media, the legal profession, the medical establishment, education professionals. These are all stigmatized, in the right's perspective, as "elitists." Until, as Frank would have it, liberals know how to deal with this hatred of the professional class, this anti-elitism, "we will all bleed with Kansas."

But wait a minute. Is anti-elitism always a sign of cultural regression?

More importantly in political terms, is there a successful democratic party in history that was based on defending the privileges of elites against the rest of us?

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 8, 2006 9:25 PM

So marginal, in fact, that when asked if they'd rather vote for a Republican or a Democrat, the Democxrat wins by about 15 points.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at August 9, 2006 12:04 AM

If only it weren't for those dang elections.....

Posted by: oj at August 9, 2006 12:07 AM


Are those the "15 points" of Evan Thomas?

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 9, 2006 2:09 PM

Jim, good point. Let's hope that 15 point advantage will dwindle by November as the media are being exposed again and again for their perfidy.

Posted by: erp at August 9, 2006 3:15 PM

erp: The point is that that "15 point" spread is utterly meaningless. First, it's almost certainly an "all voter" statistic, which tells you nothing about elections, and second, it probably comes from asking whether they'd prefer to vote for "A Democrat" or "A Republican." Considering that in our system you have to vote for one of the individuals whose names actually appear on your ballot, the question is absurd.

Posted by: b at August 9, 2006 5:16 PM

b. What was the question again?

Posted by: erp at August 9, 2006 6:25 PM

erp: "Would you prefer to vote for a Republican or Democrat for Congress?"

Posted by: b at August 9, 2006 6:51 PM

Polls like that are so meaningless.

Posted by: erp at August 10, 2006 9:31 AM