Megan McArdle has the quote of the day:
In fact, I think that to some extent, the current political wars are a culture war not between social liberals and social conservatives, but between the values of the mandarin system, and the values of those who compete in the very different culture of ordinary businesses–ones outside glamour industries like tech or design.
She refers to people in the NY-DC elite whose careers involve government, finance, and media. Their lives have been all about becoming an elite and have lacked any connection to the “Real World” outside the elite bubble.
Somehow, I found my way inside this bubble without going to an elite school. However, unlike the people Megan refers to I force myself to always be cognizant that this rarefied place I work and play–Washington, DC–is NOT the Real World. The economics and incentives inside the Beltway are different than those 95% of the rest of America confronts daily. When I arrived in Washington five years ago, I told myself that when I started believing that this place was the Real World, it would be time for me to leave. It’s not time yet.
[H/T Glenn Reynolds]
Photo: Ali Smiles/Flickr.
Politico, New York magazine, and CNN should all be embarrassed, but I know they won’t be.
They don’t want to make things better. They only want to demonstrate how clever/funny/ironic/savvy they can be.
If they don’t want to respect me, then I won’t respect them.
And the fact that nearly 24-hours after Sen. Marco Rubio’s sip of water, people are still talking about it shows how much we’re living in an Age of Triviality.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said President Obama couldn’t recess appoint members of the NLRB unless the Senate was in recess:
President Barack Obama violated the Constitution when he bypassed the Senate to fill vacancies on a labor relations panel, a federal appeals court panel ruled Friday.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that Obama did not have the power to make three recess appointments last year to the National Labor Relations Board.
I have more on this at FreeEnterprise.com.
Governor Dave Heineman approved a new route through Nebraska for the Keystone XL pipeline. Approval for construction of the project to bring Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries is now back in the hands of the State Department (who is studying it again) and the White House. Will President Obama placate anti-energy activists or choose jobs and energy security?
Alabama throttled Notre Dame for the national title.
While I have nothing against the players, their talent, and their accomplishments I do have a problem with college football as a system. The SEC has won the last seven national titles, and you can give credit for that success to their ability to cheat. When it comes to football, SEC teams cheat better than any other conference.
Winning at the Division I college level is mostly–I’d say 70%–about getting the best players. The SEC consistently gets the best talent. For the sixth year in a row, more players were drafted into the NFL from the SEC than any other conference. Having the best players gives you a better chance at winning titles.
But how do they get them? Through under-the-table deals involving alumni, boosters, parents, and others. Remember how Cam Newton’s dad tried selling his kid to Mississippi State? The Kansas City Star’s Kent Babb writes about how the coach of high school recruit, Albert Means, sold access to his player, and a booster forked over $150,000 to get Means to go to Alabama.
The SEC no longer has any schools under probation, but do you think they’re all on the up-and-up? If so, I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
Is it a coincidence that Auburn hasn’t been very competitive since the Cam Newton scandal came out? Or do they know they’re under a watchful eye and have to be careful? Being more careful when other schools aren’t means Auburn is at a comparative disadvantage in recruiting.
Do I think Notre Dame doesn’t cheat? No, I’m sure they do too. As well as my Wisconsin Badgers. Brent Bielema, former Wisconsin coach, found a legitimate way to get Russell Wilson to play one season for the Badgers. I’m sure his ability to bend NCAA rules to his will crossed the line at times, and thus why Arkansas was willing to hire him. They think he can cheat–I mean recruit–with the big boys.
The problem with Notre Dame and Wisconsin (and the Big Ten, minus former Florida coach Urban Meyer) is they just don’t cheat as well as SEC teams.
With ESPN’s deal to show SEC games, do you think they’ll ever really dig into why the SEC has dominated the way they have? I doubt it.
Since Division I schools are essentially minor leagues for the NFL, let’s be honest and make them so. Spin off college football programs into independent enterprises (either for or non-profit) and pay the players. Let boosters pour in as much money as they want into their teams. Let players hire agents and get the best deal they can get.
College football evolved from a form of rugby into a fall Saturday obsession. It will survive further evolution. Let’s finally be honest about what really is going on.
Image: Tennessee Journalist via Flickr.
Once upon a time, Lance Armstrong was one of the biggest sports figures in the world. Winning seven straight Tour de France titles not only made him an American icon but also a global legend. What’s more, much of his success came after he beat cancer. Armstrong turned that fame into charitable success with Livestrong and their ubiquitous yellow bracelets.
But always hanging over him was the suspicion that he cheated to win. No tests have ever come out proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that he used performance-enhancing drugs and blood transfusions to cheat, but over the years, colleagues and fellow pro bicyclers made their accusations. Bit by bit evidence piled up until the United States Anti-Doping Agency last year stripped him of his Tour de France titles.
All that time, Armstrong claimed innocence, but he might not for much longer because “he wants to persuade antidoping officials to restore his eligibility so he can resume his athletic career.”
We wanted to believe Armstrong was legit. I know I did, but I also cheered for Floyd Landis when he won his Tour de France, even though we later found out he used drugs to win.
I don’t like living a cynical life, but the trope is often accurate: If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Photograph: Paul Coster on Flickr.
There is justice! After a long wait, Canada’s greatest rock band, Rush, will go into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In his typical deadpan, bassist Geddy Lee told Rolling Stone that it “made my mom very happy, so that’s worth it.” More importantly for Geddy was that Rush’s fans are thrilled:
But I appreciated how much it meant to our fan base. It really did mean a lot to them. It was kind of a cause they championed and I appreciated their feelings but beyond that, I really did not concern myself with it.
That’s one of the great things about this band. After watching the documentary Beyond the Lighted Stage, you see how grounded Geddy, Alex Lifeson, and Neal Peart are. They appreciate their fans. It has to be mindblowing to them to have thousands of people show up for shows all over the world and listen to them play for nearly three hours while simultaneously singing every line and playing air guitar and drums.
Years of fan frustration can now be turned into vindication. For a band with a passionate following among fans and fellow musicians, they rarely were appreciated by critics. It’s interesting that one music writer, J.D. Considine, who panned Signals in 1982 ended up voting for Rush this year:
What changed my mind? It’s not as if I’ve since seen the light and want to recant that old review (I don’t), or that allegiance to Rush was part of some agreement I signed upon moving to Canada.
Rather, it’s that Rush has gotten better over the years. Unlike most rockers, who peak in their first decade and spend the rest of their career either treading water or slowly sinking, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart have continued to grow over the decades. They play better now than they did then, they take more chances musically, and they write more interesting material. Frankly, I can’t think of many other bands I could say that about.
To all of you who laughed at “The Trees,” Rush (the band) will be laughing all the way to Cleveland.
Go to Rush is a Band Blog for more coverage.
Now, enjoy some great Rush songs.
“Roll the Bones”
“Time Stand Still”
American Majority wants to remove Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) as Speaker of the House:
“We only need 16 votes to get conservatives on the path to actually reducing our $16 trillion debt,” AMA Virginia Director Matt Robbins said. “If conservatives want to tackle our biggest challenges, we need competent leaders — and frankly — new leaders.”
It sounds like their plan is:
- Oust Boehner.
Which isn’t much of a strategy.
And if they somehow succeeded in replacing Boehner and we continue down the path of deficit spending, will American Majority take any responsibility? Or would they launch another campaign to boot that Speaker?
Election Night 2012 feels like a replay of 2008 in that after President Obama’s victory the Right does a replay of the same gnashing of teeth it did then.
Erick Erickson, now that the campaign is over, goes into Wednesday Morning Quarterback mode by returning to his hate-Mitt vibe writing that “he ran a crappy campaign.” In the same vein is this complaint I soon saw on Twitter after President Obama was declared the winner: “Mitt Romney was shoved down our throats by the Establishment.”
Uh, no. He won through a series of primaries against (theoretically) high-caliber opponents: a former Speaker of the House; a former number three GOP Senate leader; a governor of the top Red state; a charismatic former businessman. Out of that competition–a concept endearing to the Right–Romney ended up the winner. There was no fraud, and no one forced anyone to vote for Romney. He simply won.
For the record, none of the candidates in the GOP primary wowed me, not even Romney, and I didn’t endorse any.
As to Romney’s general campaign, he was never a superb campaigner, but he improved from the primaries. What I always found odd was with all his life’s successes and inspiring stories, Romney couldn’t (or wouldn’t) sell himself. But after the first debate, he showed voters–and probably himself–that he really could lead the country. From then on, he was more confident, and you could envision him as President. Over time, Romney got better to the point where I agree with Timothy Stanley that “it’s difficult to image an alternative candidate who could have done better.” Honestly ask yourself if Cain, Santorum, or Perry (who was hobbled with a bad back) could’ve done better? Equally as well, but no better.
Another bit of Wednesday Morning QB-ing I saw came from the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List who accused the Romney campaign of not energizing social conservatives.
Uh, despite the Obama campaign’s “War on Women” obsession, abortion wasn’t a pressing issue to voters. The economy was. And did anyone concerned about protecting the unborn not know the stark differences between Romney and Obama? Do pro-life groups like SBA List bare any responsibility?
Enough of critics who seem like they could wait to pounce after Romney’s loss. We must do like President Obama says and go forward.
To succeed in the future, it’s not simply about glomming onto the latest fad. It’s not about tech, or mobile, or social media, and it’s not about Big Data, although all are important. It’s about changing the campaign mindset toward constant innovation, relentless experimentation, and persistent measurement. Remember in the 1990’s when Newt Gingrich yapped about management gurus like Edward Deming? He was on to something.
The Right touts the power of the private sector as a source for improvement. It’s time to look deeply at what they’re doing to connect and satisfy customers. Any conservative strategist (or wannabe strategist) better be reading Mashable and Techmeme daily and think deeply about the capabilities of digital communications. Then take those ideas and approaches and apply them to campaigns–both for political races and for issues advocacy.
I advise you to get a copy of Sasha Issenberg’s The Victory Lab, where you’ll learn how the Left has been willing to take risks and experiment for years. The culmination being President Obama’s ground game. Steal their ideas and more importantly build upon them. Think big and leap frog over them, because we know the Left isn’t standing still.
Specifically to conservative groups here’s some additional advice:
- Hire consultants who want to transform current campaign approaches. Don’t accept tried-and-true. Or better yet, bring them in-house and let them play to their heart’s content.
- Create an environment where talented people want to join you in taking big risks and be willing to pay them.
- Scour America for savant tech-heads willing to work for the cause. Visit MIT, Stanford, and other top schools. Go to tech conferences and read tech weblogs to find top-notch talent.
- Quit expecting great content to be delivered for free from supporters. Pay people to write, tweet, make videos, make infographics, develop apps, etc. With the millions spent by super PACs we know the money is out there.
- Be willing to give credit to other groups. Don’t let your egos stop you from cooperating. We’re all on the same team.
- Share ideas that work.
- Find ways to amplify what allied groups are doing.
To media critics, attacking and shaming media outlets that perpetuate bias and make voters less intelligent (like BuzzFeed) is important work. However, be smart about it. In the hands of a virtuoso Team Breitbart’s “Vetting the President” campaign may have been effective. Unfortunately, few of us have that intrinsic ability that Andrew Breitbart had to play the media like puppets. The end result was that the “Vetting” campaign’s message was muddled. It was perceived to be (old) attacks on President Obama when they were intended to target his sympathetic media allies. Their bias will only be more blatant, and the battlespace must be prepared now for future political fights.
My suggestions don’t even get into adapting conservative ideas to a changing electorate in a way that tangible to people’s lives. That will be a deep discussion about what conservatives want to conserve and adapting First Principles to modern life.
Also, notice I’m not getting into the “Establishment vs. Grassroots” debate. It’s pointless because 1) both sides morph fast enough to become meaningless; 2) neither side has a monopoly on good ideas or arrogance. It’s best for all to do less shouting and a lot more listening.
Life is a constant struggle to make the world better. Like last night, there are losses. But I’m not going anywhere. One of my favorite quotes is from T.S. Elliot: “There is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause.” Our work is perpetual; the challenges never vanish.
I will continue defending life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I have no choice; it’s who I am. I know many of you are the same.
Today, take a break, dust yourself off, reflect on how you can improve. Tomorrow, we will re-start the fight. We hold on.
Today is an important day. We’re at a critical moment in our country’s history. The decisions voters make today will be with us for generations.
If you haven’t already, I urge you to vote for Mitt Romney for President. The United States made history four years ago by election Barack Obama. But today, we must move “forward” (to borrow the President’s slogan), and we’ll do that by electing Mitt Romney as our next President.
I have two Senate races I care about the most. If you live in Virginia, please return George Allen to the Senate. And in Wisconsin, please send Tommy Thompson to the Senate.
If you don’t agree with my choices, that’s fine. Please take part in your government. Men and women have served and died to protect your right.
There’s been chatter in the conservative blogosphere and on Twitter about an Obama campaign eCard from a fictional woman to her mom asking to borrow $18,000 for birth control:
$18,000 is a big number. Where did it come from? After a Google search I determined Planned Parenthood is the source. A Spring 2012 newsletter from the Nassau County (NY) Planned Parenthood office has an infographic explaining that the health care law could save women as much as $18,000 in birth control costs over their lifetime.
Compare that infographic to the one used by the Obama campaign. Do they look familiar? With only a few stylistic changes they’re exactly the same thing. Here’s a side-by-side (click on it to see a larger size):
- There’s a lazy graphics designer on Team Obama.
- The campaign treats Planned Parenthood talking points as gospel.
This is a good, short mix from a good DJ/producer team.
I didn’t let these 7-Eleven Day party poopers get me down. After work, I stopped to get me a cold, sweet, preservative-filled Slurpee. Pina colada to be exact.
Next year’s Coachella could be the last in Indio, California, where the music and art festival has taken place since 1999. Indio’s Desert Sun reports the festival’s promoters are warning they will take the shows out of Indio if the city goes through with a proposed admissions tax.
The proposal would put a tax of 5 to 10 percent on admissions to entertainment events with more than 2,500 in attendance. Promotions company Goldenvoice, which runs Coachella and the country-oriented Stagecoach festival, says that’s a deal-breaker. “If the tax initiative of putting $4 million to $6 million onto Coachella gets on the ballot, we’re going to take off 2014,” Goldenvoice president Paul Tollett told the Desert Sun. “2015 we’ll be at a new facility outside of Indio.”
The Indio city council member pushing for the tax backed off when he realized the threat was real, jobs would be lost, and the city would suffer.
Think about this when blindly assuming nothing negative will happen if taxes on high-income earners are raised like President Obama and the Democrats propose.
“Coachella Threatens to Skip 2014, Relocate Over Proposed Event Tax”
Photo via rieh.