Patterico's Pontifications


The Democratic Problem

Filed under: General,Politics — Christopher Cross @ 9:28 pm

Ron Brownstein nails it:

In the latest poll from Democracy Corps, a project of leading Democratic consultants, Republicans held a crushing 30-percentage-point advantage when voters were asked which party knows what it stands for.

If Dems don’t know, we don’t know. However, Brownstein poses a problem that isn’t much of a problem:

The danger for the GOP is that the political dialogue is being structured less as a choice between Republican and Democratic ideas than as a referendum on Republican ideas alone.

How is this not a win-win? If, for example, the choice is no longer whether to cut taxes but how much–that’s nothing but good for Republicans and conservative ideals. You never heard much about of a “democratic crack-up” in the 60 or so years of Democratic legislative branch control from the New Deal to the Contract with America.

“Will Bureaucratize for Food”

Filed under: General,International — Christopher Cross @ 9:27 pm

LAT–U.N. Seeks Temporary Site as HQ Undergoes Renovation

The United Nations is seeking temporary quarters while it refurbishes its 52-year-old asbestos-ridden building on the East River, starting in 2007. But New York legislators, fed up with the organization’s series of scandals, perceived anti-Americanism and alleged anti-Semitism, are denying it the adjacent land and funding it wants. So in two years, the whole U.N. will have to move somewhere else for a while.Local politicians have suggested that the U.N. relocate to Geneva, Germany or Africa.

Might I suggest lopping off the top seven floors of the building? But that might not make a difference, or so I’ve been told. Seriously though, attempting to move the U.N. out of the U.S. is on balance, a bad idea. For all the hand-wringing and complaining that conservatives make about the U.N.–the organization does serve a purpose. Granted, it’s pretty bad at the purpose it was formed for–international peace & security–but in terms of humanitarian endeavors, it’s not bad (the problems noted by the Diplomad notwithstanding).

From a pure realpolitik standpoint, the UN adds a level of legitimacy to US action that it would otherwise lack. As ineffective as it is in actually DOING anything, the UN is still perceived as being an authority throughout much of the world. That perception seems strongest in states that lack the vibrant and functioning free government that the US is blessed with. The U.S. doesn’t NEED the UN–Liberia does. For that reason, the US needs to imbue the UN with as much legitimacy as is necessary to show these burgeoning states that a semi-viable model of governance exists.

Granted, the fact that the UN tends to be corrupt as all-get-out doesn’t help, but so long as the UN is here, the US can take the lead (or be perceived to be taking the lead) in reforming the institution. That in itself has value.

With that being said:

The U.N. will also need a temporary home for its General Assembly, which attracts leaders from its 191 member nations for the annual September opening.

I recommend the East River.

Bill Maher’s Idea of Balance

Filed under: Schiavo — Patterico @ 8:24 pm

Flipping channels last night, what should I see but Bill Maher discussing the Terri Schiavo case with Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, and Dr. Cornel West.

I assume that there was a wide variety of opinions expressed. I have to assume, because I didn’t watch long enough to know for sure.

For some reason I wasn’t interested in watching Whoopi Goldberg play this issue for yuks.

How the Wording of a Poll Can Skew the Outcome

Filed under: General,Government,Schiavo — Patterico @ 7:07 am

I recently noted that polls, purporting to show Americans’ disapproval of Congress’s actions in the Schiavo case, were “push polls” that first gave the arguments for killing Schiavo (omitting any contrary arguments), and only then asked respondents for their opinion.

Michelle Malkin reports that the Zogby poll has asked a very different set of questions, and — surprise, surprise — received a very different set of answers.

How polls ask a question has everything to do with the outcome. If you believe a poll result without looking at how the questions were asked, you’re a sucker.

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