Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Rules of pontificating

Actually, there's only one rule; don't know what you're talking about. If you make arguments based on facts and logic, your argument can be proven wrong. If you make it based on personal anecdote and a muddled understanding of the issue, you'll be too incoherent to be directly responded to. Plus, you leave yourself wiggle room to claim you meant the exact opposite if someone manages to parse something semi-coherent out of your work and demonstrate its wrongness.
For example, Megan put a post up today about how Dems feel about their candidates based on the idea that Hillary's main attraction is how much she antagonizes the conservative base, and that this is poor strategy. Megan has followed a similar path in the past, and she seems not to comprehend that the primary process is not guided by some overarching hive mind which makes its decisions based on random whims.
I had an interesting discussion recently about the 2008 election. Reliable Democrats seem so certain that it's a lock that it doesn't matter who they nominate. Nomination thus becomes a form of self-expression; and the self they seemingly most want to express is "Screw you, Republican jerks". Since Hillary Clinton best fills that bill, then she should be the nominee. The belief that she, alone, can best put the screws to Republicans, and therefore she, alone, must be the nominee, seems surprisingly common.
Surprisingly common. Now, I could ad hominem Megan's friends and acquaintances, based on them being Megan's friends and acquaintances, but the bigger question is who she's trying to kid. Has anyone, anywhere, ever met someone who's actually excited for Hillary's likely nomination? I know it's a big country and it must've happened, but, at best, I think Megan has things backwards. Hillary's machine seems to have taken control, that much is true, so despite the fact no one really wants her, we're stuck with her. Viewing the antagonism she inspires among the conservative base as a positive seems, to me, to be trying to make lemonade when given lemons.
But Megan takes it as "self-expression" in "political discourse", and thinks it's tactically unwise. Because, and hold onto your seats, folks, because this might shock you, the political landscape frequently changes. That's right, elections have cycles, and these cycles can involve tremendous changes in fortune. I know this blows your mind, but it's true.
I am put in mind of an aphorism I inherited from wise ancestors: the wheel goes 'round and 'round, and sooner or later, the fly on top is going to be the fly on the bottom. In political cycles, these days, that wheel seems to be spinning with peculiar alacrity.

Are we really so sure that America, in a year, will hate Republicans quite as much as it does now? Might it not be that if Iraq settles down--as it seems to be doing, whatever the reason (and forcible ethnic sorting strikes me as the most likely one)--and the economy mysteriously fails to go into recession, that the Democrats might have a bit more of a struggle than they are currently anticipating? It seems to me much more likely than not that America will have either a recession, or a bloody ongoing battle in Iraq, or both. Nonetheless: always have Plan B, said another wise ancestor. What's Plan B, if the economy and Iraq are both all right in time for Clinton v. Giuliani 2008?
So.... umm. Nominating Hillary to tweak the conservative base means that Dems want a recession here and continued massive bloodshed in Iraq cuz otherwise they'll lose? Hillary, the wife and equal partner of, no matter your views of his policies, one of the most talented political actors in American history, has no strategy beyond hoping for the worst? The Dems are the reactionary party, choosing a candidate based on how much she tweaks the opposing base?
Megan was paid to write this, and thousands of people will/have read it. Sports journalism is better informed and more carefully constructed than Megan's work. At least their bs narrative tropes have some vague relation to reality.

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