Wednesday, January 23, 2008

McCain: "American Honor."

The Vietnam war is still a razor cut across the American psyche. The end of the month is the fortieth anniversary of the Tet offensive. Bret Stephens argues in the Wall Street Journal that John McCain's resurgence is based on Americans who do not want to repeat the mistakes of forty years ago.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Mark Stricherz Looks to the Day When The Democratic Party Returns to Its Roots

Mark Stricherz attributes the ongoing electoral failures of the Democratic Party to its adoption of abortion and cultural radicalism. In his book, Why the Democrats are Blue: Secular Liberalism and the Decline of the People's Party, he blames the cultural revolution in the Party of Al Smith on the McGovern commission and the resulting party rules aimed at destroying the power of the party bosses. Kathryn Jean Lopez interviews him at National Review Online.

His analysis is spot on. The other neglected aspect of the transformation of American politics into highly partisan, ideological bitterness is campaign finance reform. The McGovern rules required extensive primaries and caucuses in the presidential nominating process. This meant candidates needed lots of money to run. Organization was not enough. Campaign finance reforms forbade very large donations. Large donors were more interested on picking a winner than on ideological purity. They worked well with the bosses. Campaign finance reform shifted fundraising to the collection of large numbers of contributions in the $10 to $250 range. The candidate who could excite large numbers of committed ideologues to cough up $250 ($500 a couple) had the advantage. That combined with the low turnouts characteristic of caucuses and primaries handed the nominating processes over to the most ideologically committed. Hence our polarized politics.

Bring back the bosses!

Mark's Blog is called In Front of Your Nose: A Catholic & Populist Review of Politics & Culture. The tittle is an allusion to George Orwell's essay.

Sex @ "Seventeen" Are pregnancies accidental?

Kathyrn Jean Lopez has some interesting things to say: "Seventeen magazine is a great gift to the youth of our nation. Before the magazine’s February issue, our nation’s adolescent girls were in danger of 'accidentally' falling into pregnancy, or so the magazine’s cover implies: 'Shocking Ways You Could Get PREGNANT By Accident.'

Last time I checked, pregnancy results from an activity that requires some effort, some decision-making. Seventeen’s editors, however, don’t seem to live in my reality. [Read on]"

Wednesday, January 09, 2008