Friday, April 18, 2008

Poor whites are NOT the base for the Republican party

Let's go back to first principles: what if Thomas Frank, the author of "What's The Matter With Kansas," the bedrock on which Obama chiseled his "bitter/cling" remarks last week, had it wrong? That's the thesis of political scientist Larry Bartels of Princeton, writing in Quarterly Journal of Political Science. Aggregating data, he finds that:

(a) White working class voters identify more with Democrats on cultural issues and more with Republicans on economic issues

(b) the salience of social issues has increased over the past two decades but more so among whites with college degrees

(c) Frank's trend finds statistical support only in the South, where it has an obvious explanantion: Democratic "strength" was "artifically inflated" by segregation and Jim Crow, according to Bartels.

The fundamental question that Frank and Obama both try to answer is why John Q. Pennsylvanian seems to vote against his economic interest? The embedded assumption is that it clearly is in his interest to support Democratic policies on fiscal policies (income redistribution) labor (a shift in the union/corporate balance), regulation (more, not less) but for some reason, he refuses to. Maybe he is bamboozled into supporting Republicans who convince him that they share his values more on cultural issues (which by their nature come from the gut) and convince him that cultural issues are more important.

The data to support this trend is at the very least, mixed. The trend over the past 50 years is clear: those voters with incomes in the lower third of the distribution have been trending Democratic. Among working class voters overall, the trend from 1952 to now is positive for Democrats.

In the white working class, as in the electorate as a whole, net Republican gains since the 1950s have come entirely among middle- and upper-income voters, producing a substantial gap in partisanship and voting between predominantly Democratic lower income groups and predominantly Republican upper income groups.

Frank is correct on one score: voters who make decisions based on their economic conditions are choosing Republicans more and more. But most of those voters are not poor. Indeed, the trend is mitigated somewhat by the better performance of Democrats among poorer voters.


Monkey Cage makes a similar point. See the graphic below:


For Clinton and Obama, the Trade Trap

It happens when you believe one thing and say another

What were the odds that a top Obama adviser, and then the top Clinton adviser, would find themselves in trouble with their respective campaigns over the issue of trade? Pretty good, actually. Next to race, trade has become the most explosive issue in the Democratic presidential contest. And especially at a time when Hillary Clinton is trying to build on her win in Ohio with a last-chance victory in Pennsylvania.

It's no accident that Austan Goolsbee, the top Obama adviser who told Canadian officials not to worry about Obama's anti-NAFTA posturing, became an issue during the campaign in economically troubled Ohio. And it's no accident that Mark Penn, the top Clinton strategist who has been demoted over his private-business promotion of the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, has found himself in hot water in the midst of campaigning in Pennsylvania.

The two controversies point up one central fact: Many staffers and surrogates, in both campaigns, simply don't believe what Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are saying about NAFTA, and free trade in general, on the campaign trail. But they can't say so. "A lot of them are free traders, but during the Democratic primaries they stay in the closet," one Democratic strategist who is not affiliated with either campaign told me Monday. "More the Clinton campaign than the Obama campaign, but probably both."

When I asked Will Marshall, a key figure in the centrist New Democrat movement and head of the Progressive Policy Institute, what was going on, he seemed genuinely dismayed. "There has been a kind of willing suspension of rationality when it comes to the trade debate," Marshall told me. "Apparently, the rule is that in the primaries, facts and evidence don't matter, so bashing trade becomes a way of validating the emotions of people who feel stressed by global competition, and the facts get trampled underfoot in the process."...

More here



The Puffington Host has given Ann Coulter a boob job. I thought she looked pretty good anyway, myself. The Left sure hate her. They cannot stand being laughed at.

U.S. Strike on Iran Nearing ?: "Contrary to some claims that the Bush administration will allow diplomacy to handle Iran's nuclear weapons program, a leading member of America's Jewish community tells Newsmax that a military strike is not only on the table - but likely. "Israel is preparing for heavy casualties," the source said, suggesting that although Israel will not take part in the strike, it is expecting to be the target of Iranian retribution. "Look at Dick Cheney's recent trip through the Middle East as preparation for the U.S. attack," the source said. Cheney's hastily arranged 9-day visit to the region, which began on March 16, included stops in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman, Turkey, and the Palestinian territories. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently told foreign journalists that Israel needs to confront the threat posed by Iran. Privately he has been telling associates his number one priority is have the Israeli military strike Iran if the U.S. is unwilling. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz disclosed that Israel is concerned that North Korea has transferred technology and nuclear materials to Iran to aid Tehran's secret nuclear weapons program. A number of signs indicate that, contrary to the belief President Bush is a lame duck who will not act before he leaves office, the U.S. is poised to strike before Iran can acquire nuclear weapons and carry out the threat of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to "wipe Israel off the map":

WI Study: Banning smoking increases drunken driving: "Enacting city smoking bans appears to increase drunken driving, according to a new national study of arrests by Wisconsin researchers. Fatal accidents involving alcohol increased after communities banned public smoking, the study to be released by the Journal of Public Economics found. The authors attributed the increase to people driving farther to drink, either to a place with an outdoor smoking area or a city without a ban. 'The increased miles driven by drivers who wish to smoke and drink offsets any reduction in driving from smokers choosing to stay home after a ban, resulting in increased alcohol-related accidents,' the study says. The researchers, Scott Adams, of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Chad Cotti, now at the University of South Carolina, said they were surprised by the results. 'We thought we would see a reduction,' Adams said. 'Our first thought was, 'Throw it away, it must be wrong.' But it wasn't,' he said."

Welfare corrupts: "Before anything else it needs to be noted that most of the welfare recipients are not unwed mothers but people doing business as major corporations. They receive subsidies, bailouts, protection from competition and so forth, all undeserved, all unjust, all lacking any legitimacy in a genuine free country. American firms, as thousands of others around the globe, have managed to persuade politicians to provide them with benefits at the expense of people who haven't consented to any of the takings that provide the funds that make all this possible."


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A lesson in Australian: When an Australian calls someone a "big-noter", he is saying that the person is a chronic and rather pathetic seeker of admiration -- as in someone who often pulls out "big notes" (e.g. $100.00 bills) to pay for things, thus endeavouring to create the impression that he is rich. The term describes the mentality rather than the actual behavior with money and it aptly describes many Leftists. When they purport to show "compassion" by advocating things that cost themselves nothing (e.g. advocating more taxes on "the rich" to help "the poor"), an Australian might say that the Leftist is "big-noting himself". There is a recent example of the usage here. The term conveys contempt. There is a wise description of Australians generally here

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)


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