Monday, September 13, 2004

Okay, so maybe they won't win

Having been roundly admonished by readers for writing from the convention floor that the Republicans were going to win the presidential election, your blogstress wishes to reconsider her prediction, however certain she is of her supernatual powers.

"It's just not productive," said your cybertix's lifelong friend, Karen from Jersey, of your Webwench's oracle of doom. (Karen spoke as her daughter protested something at the U.N. and her son returned from playing football on what Karen described as "a normal day in heterosexual suburbia.")

Yeah, but if it scares the cr*p out of people, maybe it is productive. Witness the windfall the other side is getting out of fear-mongering.

Along similar lines, Michael Tomasky has a more nuanced piece appearing on The American Prospect Web site today. Since we already offered a sentence of the week several days ago, let us today serve up, from Tomasky, the graf of the day:

But the world is the world. Republicans understand the world, and Democrats do not. Republicans know that voters will respond emotionally to character questions, and they know that the media will lap them up like a thirsty dog. Democrats keep thinking that voters will do something as improbably nutritional as study a health care plan (as, surely, a scattered few do), and that the media will show themselves eager to write articles and broadcast discussion segments about health care plans. Both assumptions are folly.

If there is any hope for a Democratic victory, your blogstress thinks, it will come from the young people whose potential votes go uncounted by pollsters since they do not fall in a category called "likely". Nor do many have listings in phone books, since they tend to eschew land-lines for wireless phones.

What their elders fail to do, perhaps the activists of the League of Pissed-Off Voters, the Stonewall Student Network, the National Hip-Hop Political Action Committee, and the Young Voter Alliance will pull off.

Having lost faith in her own generation, your blogstress looks to the young for redemption.

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McCarthy's ghost

She comes to this late, your blogstress admits, but a peculiar development is worth noting. Last month, it seems, a phase of the USA Patriot Act kicked in that all but demands a loyalty oath from the non-profit organizations to which federal government employees can donate via payroll deduction, a program known as the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC). Under the USA Patriot Act (an Orwellian bit of nomenclature if there ever was one), organizations participating in the CFC must provide employee rosters to be matched against so-called terrorist watch lists. Any matches between names disqualifies the organzation's participation unless it fires the branded employee.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) asserts that most such watch lists employed so far in other homeland security endeavors have been riddled with errors, and so it has withdrawn from the CFC program rather than comply with government vetting of its personnel rolls. The ACLU stands to lose some $500,000 in annual contributions from the payroll deduction program.

There's an ill wind blowing through the land, brothers and sisters, when one's name may appear on a watch list with no means of recourse, when the FBI is deployed to "interview" elderly black voters in Florida and student protesters in New York, when Capitol Hill, where your blogstress dwells, is kept in virtual lockdown for no other reason, she suspects, than to keep congressional staffers on both sides of the aisle toiling in the sort of fear so useful to those who loathe our way of life--no, not the jihadists (though they no doubt qualify); your Webwench speaks of the likes of Attorney General John Ashcroft.

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Department of self-promotion

Just to demonstrate that she toils not entirely alone in her garrett, your blogstress offers proof of her live interaction with actual media people.

The occasion was the launch of TV Newser by TV Newser is the product of media wunderkind Brian Stelter, who created the famed CableNewser site from his dorm room. Kid is way too smart for the good of us age-before-beauty types.

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