Monday, August 4, 2008


There's a longish but interesting essay at Bookworm on what it's like to be a conservative in an overwhelmingly liberal community. Here's a sample of what the blogger, a mother and a housewife, says:

Given that liberals are in the catbird seat, and given their much-vaunted tolerance, one might think that they'd be kind to, indeed solicitous of, the few Republicans in the midst. Sadly, however, that's not the case. As regular readers know, I've chosen to keep my political life separate from the day-to-day aspects of my life. I simply can't (and don't want to) run the risk of tainting my carpools, my neighborhood barbecues, my kids' comfort level at school, the camaraderie of the sports teams with which we're involved, etc., by exposing myself to the obloquy that is routinely heaped on conservatives here - and this is a hostility that increases as elections draw near, of course.

During the 2004 elections, people who were unaware of my political inclinations announced in front of me that "Bush is the worst President ever," "Republicans are stupid," "Republicans are evil," "Bush is stupid," "Republicans are corrupt," "Republicans are fascists" and "Bush should be impeached." Children ran up to me on the sidewalk chanting "Bush is evil, Bush is evil" - so you know what their parents were saying at the dinner table. In this election cycle, one of my children announced after school that she was voting for Barack Obama "since every one is because he's black." I quickly scotched that line of reasoning.

I know I should be speaking out when I hear statements such as these, but the sad fact is that I like these people. Barring their monomaniacal animosity towards Bush and the Republicans, they're otherwise very nice: they're hard workers, loving parents, good neighbors and helpful and reliable friends. Being the social creature that I am, I don't want with one word ("Republican") to turn these friendships upside down and inside out. (I'm not the only one with this problem.) I don't want to be on the receiving end of some hideous Jekyll to Hyde transformation, so I just keep my mouth shut.

Those people I know who have spoken aloud their new conservative political views have been horrified by the animosity turned against them by formerly friendly neighbors and colleagues. My in-laws who are, like me, 9/11 neocons (down in Los Angeles) have stared open-mouthed at colleagues who use staff meetings to revile Bush and the Republicans - all to the cheers and huzzahs of the other staff members. (Indeed, what they describe sounds remarkably like Orwell's Two Minutes Hate.) On the occasions when they've suggested that maybe, just maybe, Bush isn't the Antichrist, they've found themselves shunned by these same colleagues.

This is all anecdotal, of course, but there is, as anyone who watches, say, MSNBC, can attest, an astonishing transformation that comes over some otherwise pleasant, rational people as soon as the subject turns to George Bush. There seems to be a venomous hatred roiling just below the surface of their psyches that transmogrifies some of these folks into thoroughly unpleasant commentators and companions. Whatever the cause, and we've speculated on some of the possibilities here over the years, it would be funny to behold were it not so pathetic.

Anyway, read the essay at the link.


McCain Edges Ahead

I don't think there's much point in getting too excited about polls this early in the presidential campaign, but the most recent Rasmussen poll has some interesting results:

The Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows the race for the White House is tied with Barack Obama and John McCain each attracting 44% of the vote. However, when "leaners" are included, it's McCain 47% and Obama 46%.

This is the first time McCain has enjoyed even a statistically insignificant advantage of any sort since Obama clinched the Democratic nomination on June 3. A week ago today, Obama had a three-percentage point lead and the candidates were even among unaffiliated voters. Today, McCain leads 52% to 37% among unaffiliateds.

The huge swing of unaffiliated voters is especially noteworthy. Of course, this could all change tomorrow, but as of now it looks like the media infatuation with Obama is not helping him as much as one might have thought.


About Face

In yet another volte face, Senator Obama has pretty much reversed himself on off-shore drilling:

The change is dramatic because Obama often pointed to his opposition to drilling as a key difference between himself and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain.

"I will keep the moratorium in place and prevent oil companies from drilling off Florida's coasts," Obama said in Florida in June.

Obama also said, in a separate statement issued by his campaign, that he supported the bipartisan energy plan offered by 10 senators Friday.

"Like all compromises, it also includes steps that I haven't always supported," he said. "I remain skeptical that new offshore drilling will bring down gas prices in the short-term or significantly reduce our oil dependence in the long-term, though I do welcome the establishment of a process that will allow us to make future drilling decisions based on science and fact."

Obama is racing headlong to minimize the substantive differences between himself and McCain. He apparently doesn't want McCain to be able to point to any reason why anyone should vote for him rather than Obama. If the public perceives there is no difference between the two then they'll be much more likely to vote for the youthful, charismatic Obama. It's a clever strategy, but if this is what he's doing it makes him look like a first class political opportunist with no guiding principles except the imperative of getting elected.

Read the last two paragraphs of this post from July 27th.