Sunday, January 09, 2005

Quick Hits 2

Here are some quick hits that you may find interesting:

The Man and His Message

Mark Danner has an insightful piece explaining Bush's victory in November. While many pundits have weighed in on this, this analysis is one of the best. What comes across clearly is the intimate alignment between Bush's public persona and his message. We know now that most voters never seriously considered voting for another candidate, and Democrat partisans were constantly bewildered by Bush's consistent support even though his policies remained unpopular and the news from Iraq worsened in the run-up to the election. Kerry, on the other hand, never achieved the primary objective in any campaign, connecting with the voters in a visceral way such that they believe in the candidate as much as any policy he supports.

Stranger Than Fiction?

Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism advisor, has a disturbing fiction piece in The Atlantic Monthly ( (subscription required), about the 10 years after September 11th. Obviously based on his own perceptions of the threats facing our nation and the world, Clarke lays out a grim scenario, where terrorists use low tech methods on vulnerable targets like shopping malls and amusement parks. It will be interesting to see if Clarke's fiction draws more attention than his dire non-fiction warnings about Al-Qaeda and international terrorism.

The Substance of the Matter

Finally, a great article on college drinking and fraternities from the New York Times Magazine. Since the electorate is increasingly focused on family and values issues, why does no one talk about the disastrous impact of alcohol abuse on American families? This article elucidates what we already know--that the culture of alcohol abuse starts early. If Democrats are eager to connect to voters on values issues, why not call out alcohol companies that market to kids and contribute to GOP leaders? In a future post, I plan to outline exactly how Democrats can use issues like this to win the "new culture war."



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