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Michael Ubaldi, December 1, 2003.
Best economy in twenty years, if things continue to shape up. How is Herbert Hoover going to fit into headlines like these?
Michael Ubaldi, November 25, 2003.
I watched one Democratic presidential debate earlier this fall. It was more than enough, with the highlight of the evening being every candidate's impugning of John Ashcroft and the Patriotic Act without a single one of them substantively (or even nominally) explaining why. Andrew Sullivan comments on last night's veritable GOP ad.
Michael Ubaldi, November 24, 2003.
Larry Kudlow, the walking inspirational poster:
Growth of the U.S. monetary base and the measure known as MZM (money at zero maturity) are about 6 percent, a modest rate that shows non-inflationary balance between cash supplied by the Fed and cash demanded by the economy.
Michael Ubaldi, November 10, 2003.
Drudge linked an AP blurb about Ralph Nader, his unapologetic reflections on running for president in 2000 and outlook for 2004. I've been wondering to what extent the Green Party will distract Democrats farthest to the left next year, so I gave the article a quick read. A referential remark, presented as established fact, caught my eye. It looks as though the debate on liberating Iraq isn't the only bit of history some journalists are willing to rewrite:
A media-sponsored review of more than 175,000 disputed ballots found that Gore would have won by a small margin if there had been a complete statewide recount.
In the first full study of Florida's ballots since the election ended, The Miami Herald and USA Today reported George W. Bush would have widened his 537-vote victory to a 1,665-vote margin if the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court would have been allowed to continue, using standards that would have allowed even faintly dimpled "undervotes" -- ballots the voter has noticeably indented but had not punched all the way through -- to be counted.
Using the NORC data, the media consortium examined what might have happened if the U.S. Supreme Court had not intervened. The Florida high court had ordered a recount of all undervotes that had not been counted by hand to that point. If that recount had proceeded under the standard that most local election officials said they would have used, the study found that Bush would have emerged with 493 more votes than Gore.
National Review's Byron York offered one thoroughly skeptical take on the NORC recount, considering some of the Gore victory scenarios run by the Washington Post to be an indication of how absurd the media recounts were - even though he made a more striking point one month earlier by citing the Miami Herald recount's open-and-shut case for Bush. Even if the four or so recounts that occurred officially in November and December weren't sufficient, the vast majority of media recounts run by agencies not at all sympathetic to Bush nevertheless gave victory to him.
That AP casually promotes what didn't happen by any reasonable argument is a disturbing case of meme-creep. In fact, the only places one finds articles claiming an indisputable Gore win are far-left and socialist sites. So I'd keep an eye out for wire services going further as time goes on, claiming that Gore's large margin of victory was dashed by a Supreme Court injunction, or that Saddam Hussein never had weapons of mass destruction to begin with. Or something even sillier. Stopwatch begins...now.
Michael Ubaldi, November 10, 2003.
Glenn Reynolds rounds up a few perspectives on Rock the Vote, a one-hit wonder for corporate, soft leftist, youth-oriented political outreaches. Its unmitigated failure as a relevant election factor is yet another reason why 2004 will be nothing like 1992 despite the presidential incumbent's last name, mixed public views on another military action in Iraq, and the Democrats' hyperbolic attacks on the state of the union.
Granted, I was straddling the eighth and ninth grades during the 1992 presidential campaign, so canned culture might have been a little bit more omnipotent in my world. But without the blogosphere, Fox News and a talk radio market dominated by conservatives, it's not a stretch to look back and remember nothing but a relentless, concussive chant of "Throw the bums out" and "For the children" from every outlet of the media.
Life magazine's photography worked as a regular alternation between scenes from the Highway of Death and the victory over Saddam Hussein that suddenly wasn't, and weather-beaten-faced men holding up cardboard signs bearing the oddly consistent message of "Will work for food," economic upturn be damned. Ditto for Time and Newsweek. Rocking the vote (small caps) was in full swing, every other commercial break on MTV featuring their Choose or Lose campaign. Youth politics and accompanying cushy, television-injected issues had never received so much attention; the gimmick, untried and as market-fresh as the word "alternative," was infectious the first time around. Even rightist Francis Fukuyama, in his essay The End of History, figured that politics in a Soviet-free world would turn to patty-cake domestic chats. Anderson Cooper, who hosted this latest Rock the Vote special, was in a hip, young cast of chic-leftist anchors back then on Channel One, a lunchtime news program widely distributed to schools all over the country. Kids got something resembling current events. Buzz was born.
Greying suits who won the Cold War were old news; hadn't you heard that bad guys were as yesterday as hair bands? Never mind that the new wave, the new buzzwords in pop and politics - grunge, alt, Independent, New Democrat - were snazzed-up storefronts for the same old conglomerates. The Nineties were starting to Roar like a certain decade earlier in the century, two wars removed. CHANGE and CHOICE and retro clothes from a protest generation were in fashion. Did your high school hold a mock vote? Mine did - Reform Party candidate H. Ross Perot won by a significant margin, followed by Bill Clinton.
The general election results were not very far removed from the concentrated, youth-market, media bacchanal: the upstart, counter-culture Democrat won, in no small part because of Perot's enormous electoral grab. 18-to-24-year-old voters - voters most likely to turn the GOP down - showed their best poll attendance with a 43-percent turnout.
While Clinton's reign spanned the decade, the youth-vote novelty wore off quickly. Young voter participation was back to its traditionally low levels in 1996. By 2000, the hip bloc was inconsequential enough that the candidates' reaching out to it in vain could be justifiably ridiculed. The war on terror has undoubtedly forced young people to pay attention to the nightly news for a few more seconds than they might have in a time of undisturbed peace; but the issues at hand are neither lighthearted nor soluble into catchy, marketable slogans. Threats to civilization have expanded far beyond the Nineties' categories of Brockvich-hounded corporate swine, guns without safety locks and crazed backwoods militias.
So as Matt Labash sledgehammers, galvanizing high school and college kids into a plucky revolutionary force just isn't going to happen this time. Or many more times in the future, as long as politics keep from getting downright flaky again. You want youth politics? Back when I was at Syracuse, at the height of Rwanda's massacres, a friend's sociology professor asked the class what "genocide" was. One girl raised her hand and shrugged, "I dunno, but I think it's a book in the Bible."
Michael Ubaldi, November 6, 2003.
A news media comparison of mainstream to alternative like this morning's is far from the only source of quotidian bias, as Hugh Hewitt explains. Happily, he describes what may be a telling series of latter-year defeats for leftist distortion:
There is a pervasive dishonesty running throughout elite media. CNN admitted its cover-up for Saddam earlier this year. The Los Angeles Times is still reeling from the fallout from its recall bias which it swears didn't exist. Maureen Dowd got caught slicing quotes to fit her needs, and now CBS is standing by its story on why it is not standing by its movie.
Michael Ubaldi, November 5, 2003.
I'm sure many of us have choice words for the exposed scheming by some Democrats to deliberately time an invasive investigation on prewar intelligence for maximum presidential damage. Steven Den Beste offers a few of his own, with some powerful perspective.
READ FOR YOURSELVES: Glenn Reynolds linked a Newsmax posting of the offending memo's text. A sample of sludge, emphasis mine:
The fact that the chairman [of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Republican Pat Roberts] supports our investigations into these offices and cosigns our requests for information is helpful and potentially crucial. We don't know what we will find but our prospects for getting the access we seek is far greater when we have the backing of the majority. [We can verbally mention some of the intriguing leads we are pursuing.]
Michael Ubaldi, November 3, 2003.
Would you expect a young, Rhodes scholar, first-generation Louisianan of Indian descent to run as a Republican for governor and pull ahead in the polls? Believe it. Rising star Bobby Jindal has not only accomplished all that but has recently won an endorsement from Ray Nagin, Democrat mayor of New Orleans, too. Ramesh Ponnuru took a look at the candidate back in September before Jindal rose to his challenges, took the GOP nomination and set to gaining what appears to be a solid majority of state electoral support; if Jindal wins and is everything that his platform promises to be, Louisiana and the nation are both for the richer.
Say, what is it with these across-the-party-lines endorsements for Republicans? It's as if the GOP had a superior vision and a cogent message, or something.
Michael Ubaldi, October 31, 2003.
They may end up calling it the Bush Boom, but a happy Larry Kudlow has a few more candidates deserving congratulations:
Yes, indeed — the Bush boom has begun at last. This tax jolt has ended the prior capital bust — which lasted a long and dreary three years — and ignited a new capital boom.
Michael Ubaldi, October 30, 2003.
Try to run on blaming the incumbent for a weak economy, especially when that premise is turned on its head every day. Today's news should be a special challenge for killjoy spinmeisters:
The economy grew at a scorching 7.2 percent annual rate in the third quarter in the strongest pace in nearly two decades. Consumers spent with abandon and businesses ramped up investment, compelling new evidence of an economic resurgence.
The 7.2 percent pace marked the best showing since the first quarter of 1984.
Analysts are saying that [the] pattern [of weakness] could be broken, considering increasing signs the economy finally has shaken its lethargy and is perking up.
WHAT ONE DOES WITH REALLY, REALLY GOOD NEWS: Jonah Goldberg has been canvassing colleagues and readers over at the Corner. The best one, tauted by a readers' friend, was that the 18-24 unemployment rate was up - that wouldn't last a nanosecond on the Gong Show. Could some of the predictions being tossed around actually find their way into Democratic politicking? If they do, it'll be pretty sad. "Sad," that is, as in "fun to watch." It should be interesting to see each candidate and Democratic leader report in today - and exactly how each one twists his or her pretzel of a press conference.