The Republic of T.

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Digest for October 9th

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for October 9th from 15:21 to 16:50:

  • TPMCafe | Talking Points Memo | Sitting On the Conservative Coffin – Polls show that the share of the population self-identifying as "conservative" continues to hold steady at around the same level as it has for years. In the latest New York Times poll, for example, 36 percent self-identified as conservative, 38 percent as moderate, and 22 percent as liberal; the reading for conservative is toward the high end of the fairly narrow range the Times poll has measured since the early 1990s. Don't these people read books!? Though I've argued ad nauseum that progressives should strive to make the "conservative" label as toxic as the right succeeded in rendering the "liberal" brand, it's becoming pretty clear at this point that it ain't going to happen. If roughly the same number of Americans are as proud to call themselves conservative after the past eight years of disastrous right-wing governance as before, those folks aren't going to be talked out of anything.
  • James Love: McCarthyism with Lipstick – Like Obama, Sarah Palin missed the 60s and the Vietnam war controversies. She grew up when there was no draft, and when disco was more important than politics. She is discovering now her abilities to engage in the type of character assaults that one associates with Joe McCarthy — guilt by association. Like McCarthy, she has no real boundaries or shame.
  • Dave Winer: Profiles in Cowardice – The politics of the Republicans this year has crossed the line, as Joe Biden said today, so well. When one of your supporters yells "Treason!" or "Kill Him!" in one of your rallies, in response to your words, a response is called for, yet no response came. You need to stop and say "Wait a minute — Country First asshole." We're not going to get anywhere by killing our opponents, the leaders of half our citizens. That's a civil war, Republicans — we fought one of those, and it came pretty close to destroying us. It's time to back off the precipice Ms. Palin and Mr. McCain.
  • Rusel DeMaria: We the Losers – Palin has something. She has a natural charisma. She hasn't any wisdom or experience to speak of. She has a distorted world view and a vicious streak the size of her famous Alaskan pipeline, but she attracts people and can move people in a way that McCain never could. So, to me, she's dangerous, because she can incite people into a hate state. She is doing it now. The problem is, whoever wins this presidential election, we are all losers because of what McCain and Palin are doing now. Let me say that again, Joe Biden-like. We are all losers.
  • Black Congressmen Declare Racism In Palin’s Rhetoric | The New York Observer – As the McCain campaign ratchets up the intensity of its attacks on Barack Obama, some black elected officials are calling the tactics desperate, unseemly and racist. “They are trying to throw out these codes,” said Representative Gregory Meeks, a Democrat from New York. “He’s ‘not one of us?’” Mr. Meeks said, referring to a comment Sarah Palin made at a campaign rally on Oct. 6 in Florida. “That’s racial. That’s fear. They know they can’t win on the issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear.” “Racism is alive and well in this country, and McCain and Palin are trying to appeal to that and it’s unfortunate,” said Representative Ed Towns, also from New York.
  • David Brooks: Sarah Palin “Represents A Fatal Cancer To The Republican Party” – [Sarah Palin] represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party. When I first started in journalism, I worked at the National Review for Bill Buckley. And Buckley famously said he'd rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty. But he didn't think those were the only two options. He thought it was important to have people on the conservative side who celebrated ideas, who celebrated learning. And his whole life was based on that, and that was also true for a lot of the other conservatives in the Reagan era. Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I'm afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices.
  • Open Left:: The Hate Machine & The Lynch Mob – As you can see, the Lynch Mob has no facts – it's not even interested in facts, nor even incoherence (or basic grammar). It is interested in fulminating and spewing hate – and hate alone. I fear for Barack Obama's safety in these final days. I really do. The conservative movement is not going to go down quietly – and with this upsurge in unbridled anger, I'm worried we're going to see some violence. I really hope I'm wrong – but I'm concerned.
  • The Washington Monthly – ONLY ELITISTS CARE ABOUT PRONUNCIATION…. Barack Obama pronounces "Pakistan" correctly, with a soft "a," just like a lot of people who know what they're talking about, including Gen. David Petraeus. Apparently, having completely run out of compelling policy arguments to make, some high-profile conservatives have decided to make this their latest campaign hobbyhorse. The National Review's Mark Stein, for example, said that Obama prefers the "exotic pronunciation." He added, "[O]ne thing I like about Sarah Palin is the way she says 'Eye-raq'." This came after the National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez posted an email that argued, "[N]o one in flyover country says Pock-i-stahn. It's annoying." The inanity of what the right decides to whine about never ceases to amaze me. That Obama's pronunciation is accurate is irrelevant. Mispronunciation apparently makes some conservatives feel better about themselves, and raises doubts about candidates who care to get this right. "Elites" care about country names; real Americans don't.
  • New America Media Blogs – “That one” is slightly less demeaning than gook, but not by much Senator John Mccain once got into hot water for his insistence on using the word gook to describe his Vietnamese captors ( and alleged torturers) during his 2000 presidential bid. After many asian groups protested, and after trying to explain in vain that he meant “gook” as a term reserved only for certain kinds of Vietnamese, Mccain finally apologized. Perhaps because the convoluted logic seems to suggest that Chink could be used only to imply mean Chinese and not all Chinese and so on. One could tell, however, the senator only apologized out of reluctance. Gook – in Korean it actually means country – was an common term used among American military personnel in the Korean and later Vietnamese theater- a derogatory word that unified the US by demeaning its enemy- and no one seemed to cared.
  • Progressive Voter Guide to the Economy | Corporate Accountability and WorkPlace | AlterNet – The past year has been especially painful for America's working majority. In August, companies' payrolls shrank for the eighth consecutive month, resulting in a five-year high in unemployment. Whoever ends up occupying the White House in January 2009 will be faced with the epic task of restoring Americans' sense of economic security. What will the next president do about energy? About the mortgage meltdown? What kind of trade policies will he put into place? Read below for the answers. We've compiled these brief issue overviews to help you make an informed choice in November.
  • BBC NEWS | Americas | Challenges for changing America – Barack Obama's emergence as a presidential candidate in the US represents a profound change in the American psyche, distinguished historian Simon Schama argues in his new series for the BBC, The American Future. "Whether or not he wins the presidency, this represents an historic shift in America's self-perception," Mr Schama says.

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