03 August 2004

I'll be out for most of the day today, doing academic and family things, so just a couple of quick (and, naturally, sarcastic) comments…

I am always amazed at accusations of "hypocrisy" that arise when someone's politics do not comport 100% with someone else's idea of what that person's politics should be. Sometimes there are indeed valid criticisms, as Eric Alterman (via the Perfesser) notes concerning Laurie David and her simultaneous criticism of SUVs and use of corporate jets. Corporate turboprops and reciprocating-engine aircraft, however, are not as wasteful when one factors in the total fuel usage from door to door when one end of the journey is more than 50 miles from one of the big airports. That's beside the point, though, because Ms. David's behavior immediately related to her explicit position is indeed inconsistent. It might be mere ignorance; I doubt it, but the possibility is there, so accusations of "hypocrisy" (a matter of intent) may be a bit premature; but it is nonetheless inappropriate. The comparison implicit in the general tone, though, is that the "rich" are necessarily "conservative" in approach, and/or that only "liberals" are ever inconsistent. Consider the right-wing agriculture magnate who demands opening of Japanese markets to his imported rice and soybean products while simultaneously supporting restrictions on importation of cheaper tomatoes from Mexico (and if you think US tomatoes are necessarily cleaner than those from Mexico, I have a bridge to sell you). Yes, as a matter of fact I do have particular individuals in mind.

Then there's the whole bullshit regarding day-to-day and week-to-week comparisons of Presidential poll figures. There has been questioning of the apparent absence of a "post-convention bounce" for Kerry after the DNC. Three months before the election, before any direct engagement between Kerry and Bush. One can as easily ascribe this to apathy midway through the summer for an election midway through fall as to any substantive cause. It's not unique to either party, or either candidate; if the RNC and DNC switched their traditional order, one would probably see much the same thing happening to the Republican candidate every four years. Recall, too, that Clinton didn't get much of a "post-convention bounce" in 1992; nor did Carter in 1976, despite emerging from a far-more-crowded field. Instead, tracking backward and forward five weeks from each convention, the immediate post-convention poll results appear to be consistent with the progression of views. Further, front-runners almost never get much of a post-convention bounce, except that a front-runner whose convention is second can "wrest back" a few undecideds "stolen" by the first convention.

All of this, of course, assumes that the polling means a damned thing in the first place. There's only one poll that counts: The offically counted one in November. Thus, I repeat my call to subvert the current order. Go vote. I'd prefer to see the incumbent President lose; I'd prefer even more to see a vastly higher turnout at the polls, regardless of who wins. One of the most crippling aspects of the past four years has been the President's forced acquiescence to BS from his supposed "core constituency" because that "constituency" has a higher-than-ordinary turnout. The bumper sticker I put on my car in 1984 after the election was simple: "Don't Blame Me—I Voted [snipped off the "for whom"]."