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October 03, 2003
A Handful of Headlines

Reports like this don't surprise me. The Republican blue-collar vote has been gradually increasing for a long time. White-collar "professionals" tend to vote Democrat.

It is an odd reversal. In my misspent youth, blue-collar workers saw the Democratic Party as the one that represented and cared about them. Such a shift isn't unprecedented, of course. If you review the history of party politics in this country, you can easily see how an issue can appear on the Republican platform in one year, only to resurface in the Democratic platform a few years later. Party platforms are largely dependent upon the entire socio-economic climate of this country, not to mention (increasingly) the world. (It's easier to see if you look, at a minimum, at decade-long or twenty-five year intervals.) Issues shift back and forth depending upon a complex interworking between each issue, the actual people in power in the party, and, very importantly, what the other party is interested in.

In this instance, the weakening of unions is allowing blue-collar workers, those probably most likely to respond to manufactured patriotism and empty rhetoric, to be swayed to the Republican side of the vote. I'm not dissing blue-collar workers, so don't write me hate mail. It's just that blue-collar workers are a group unlikely to actually have the time it takes to unravel complex political issues where you can't trust the politician to be telling the unspun truth. Where there's a strong, an active, or an influential union, members count on the leadership to evaluate political issues and advise them. There there's no union, or a weak union, there's unlikely to be the same guidance. That leaves the, "little money and no time" blue-collar worker at the mercy of the so-called liberal media and whatever it sees fit to print, or not print.

I love posting these half-considered thoughts. I always get mail objecting to the lack of depth in my coverage (it's just a blog, people, and nowhere on the page do I claim any pretense to scholarship), my left-wing bias (apparently that comes as a surprise to some readers), or the general psychosis I'm exhibiting by not lockstepping behind the current Administration. I can't wait until I get a chance to start writing up my next book review this weekend. That one's going to annoy a few people, I hope, since I'm planning to argue against democracy.

And, speaking of lockstepping, here's the story of a woman at a Springsteen concert who was apparently outraged to discover that he's both political and liberal. " I hear echoes of the Vietnam War era all over again." So do I, Judy. (Others also continue to use the specter of Vietnam when discussing Iraq.)

Also from Common Dreams, people besides just me are frustrated at the lack of clarity in the Democratic field of challengers' platforms. You can run, and win, by being against someone, but eventually you'll be in office and you'll have to be for something. Better to define it up front and see if you have any actual support for what you believe.

(But this is just absurd.)

More on California's Proposition 54.

Kenya's judges may sound like a cheap deal but in such a poor country, it's probably tough for most people to get $50 together. Democracy is amazingly more democratic toward the rich.

A trap kills two soldiers and wounds three others. No, not Iraq. It's Afghanistan, the War That Bush Forgot, and the soldiers were Canadians. My sympathies to their families and loved ones. Land mines are a curse.

The lone Washington Post reporter in the country is finding coverage of all that's happening to be hard going. And the situation is, she tells us, "heating up."

Looks like it's Ashcroft and Rove day as the alternate press continues to dig into the long-time ties between these two. When they start filling in the Cheney-shaped blanks, we'll have the Big Three.

I haven't said much about the 9/11 air quality reports. I agree that in the weeks that followed, there should have been testing and requirements for protective gear but I ascribe neither malice nor stupidity to the statements, shortly after the attacks, that the air was okay to breathe. I think those who say that the EPA's first statements should have warned of dangers are suffering from some serious amnesia concerning the state the country was in during that first week or so.

On the other hand, I have no problem with passing along a new link to the Rush Limbaugh - All-American Drug Addict story. While part of me feels that what he really needs is help, part of me is also glad to see such a sanctimonious hypocrite developing a tarnish on his right-wing halo.

Back in 1995, Limbaugh told his audience on the syndicated Rush Limbaugh, The Television Show that people who are obtaining drugs illegally should be held responsible.

I accept, and agree, that mouthpieces like Limbaugh stir up valuable debate on important topics, but, like any garbage can, the general utility of the thing doesn't mean I have to pretend it smells good.

The UN in crisis?

In a typical, brain-twisting reversal of conventional logic, the report says that, so far, no WMD have been found in Iraq and Bush says that's proof Hussein was a danger to the world. (I said it before, remember? It's better to have WMD than to tell pretend you do. Developing WMD gets you appeasement and frequently multi-billion dollar pay-offs. Playing chicken gets you hell, or exile.) Anyhow, mockery aside, discoveries were made in Iraq and it's worth reading about them.

And it would seem that just because we need $87 billion to pay for some of Bush's war ravages doesn't figure, in Republican minds, as any reason why corporations should pay the taxes they owe.

We also tried nation-building in Bosnia.

Pity the child who had a snack attack in a DC metro subway.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:12 AM