Entries in Politics (10)
I really dislike the term “homeland”—as in “homeland security.” I am sure that I am in the minority there. It feels a bit like criticizing the pledge of allegiance, or the singing of the national anthem at sporting events. People think of you as a crank. But, until recently, I never once heard this country called our homeland. I heard, land, nation, country, home. If I heard the term homeland at all, it was to refer to whatever country immigrants to the United States left behind.
A couple of years ago I tagged along with my friend and neighbor Steve to my first and only gun show. I took Steve up on his invitation because I enjoy his company, and because he is something of a gun nut I figured he would be an excellent interpreter of this Virginia cultural event. He drove out from DC, and on the way he regaled me with stories about his own guns as well as his run-ins with other people and their guns.
I went to a birthday celebration for Senator Debbie Stabenow from Michigan today after work. Both she and Senator Carl Levin spoke to a group on Maryland Avenue here in DC. They were great--playing very well off of one another--funny, real people. Michigan is lucky. Four of my employees also showed up; we are all proud to work for both of their campaigns. Both Senators have been database clients of my firm for years now, though I regret to say that neither has any idea of who I am personally. But I was very proud to shake their hands.
When I was a kid, I read and reread the adventures of Robin Hood and his merry men. I knew every detail about quarterstaffs and longbows and Will Stutely, Will Scarlet, Little John, and Guy of Gisbourne. In third grade, I wore a green shirt and green pants to school day after day because I knew that Robin Hood and his merry men preferred “Lincoln green.” I read different retellings of the stories and came to strong opinions about which were the correct versions.
As a Democratic partisan, candidate selection and primary politics fascinates me—how to recruit and nominate the best candidates for office; whether to aim for the apparently strongest general election candidate, or an appealing outsider, or the most ideologically compatible; whether a vigorous primary is a good thing for democracy or a costly mess to be avoided. The calculus for picking the right candidate is complicated, includes many factors, and is subject to contentious argument and should often simply be put in the hands of the voters.
It is rare that I am an unabashed fan of anything. But the Daily Show with Jon Stewart is a gem that makes my purchase of TiVo worthwhile. I set that ever-alert machine to snag every episode for me. Then, at my convenience, I can indulge myself on a helping of skewered hypocrisy and exposed idiocy. Each day has something that makes me celebrate wit; the delivery, intonation, and genius for cutting through bullshit are rarely off key and often perfect pitch.
Bloggers, journalists, political scientists, and political practitioners need to stop disparaging each other’s work and learn about the strengths and expertise of others in the reporting and analysis of politics in the United States.
Joe Trippi re-launched his idea of a $100 "revolution" at the Politics Online conference last Friday March 11. He plans to establish a website where donors can pledge $100 to the first Democratic candidate who promises to accept no more than $100 from any single donor. I was present at the conference to speak on the less glamorous topic of integrating political campaign databases, about which my firm knows a great deal.
Running for President? I have an idea to curb tax cheating that you can steal for your campaign. (Tax cheating is estimated to cost the U.S. Treasury something like 300 billion dollars a year.) Create a national lottery tied only to the filing of tax returns – you file, you have your ticket. The IRS picks the winners randomly, and your refund includes your national lottery winnings. The only catch? You get audited.
According to Roll Call yesterday, “Some New York Democrats, increasingly confident that they can take over both the governorship and the state Senate next year, are talking openly of redrawing the Empire State’s Congressional lines before the next census — perhaps as early as in 2007.”