Easing Back in Thread

Well, I'm back in Boston after the Meet the Parents trip to Syracuse and Rochester this past week. I had a good time, and realized all of the many cultural movements that came out of Upstate New York in the 19th century. On the plus side came the abolitionist and women's suffrage movement. On the negative side came the prohibition movement. On the trivia side came Mormonism. On the "good at the time, but not so good now" side came The Republican Party. Even though I grew up in Onondaga County, I actually had no idea the Republican Party was founded in Syracuse until this week. Maybe I should make it my life's goal to buy the house where it was founded, live in that house, and then win a seat in Congress from Syracuse as a Democrat while in residence. That might be the ultimate example of plating your partisan flag in the heart of the beast.

Anyway, here are some items that caught my eye while sifting through my email today: I'll b heading back to Philly on Monday afternoon, and I'll return to full-time posting on Tuesday. This is an open thread.

"People Powered" or just plain grassroots

As a fan of the on-line political world in general and MyDD in particular, I'm going to vent about the seemingly stylish affectation of writing about "people powered" campaigns as if they were something new under the sun.

What Chris, Markos, and others mean when they say "people-powered" is nothing more than a good old-fashioned grassroots campaign as opposed to a campaign built around institutional support.

There are a couple of fallacies at work here.  One is to suggest that campaigns that don't originate or sustain themselves from the netroots are somehow legitimate and don't involve people.

There's more...

The long arm of coincidence reaches way down South

[Having giving up my own blog, here is the only place I have to put this. So...]

I was delighted to come across a copy of John Dollard's famous study of mid-1930s Indianola, MS, Caste and Class in a Southern Town - one of those must reads that I've never quite got round to reading.

Mooching around online, I come across an article (Summer 2004) in Southern Cultures (not generally available online - I'm kibitzing on a college library password at the moment!) containing an interview with Dollard (d 1980) in his declining years on his Indianola experiences.

There's more...

Bush's Job Approval In Historical Perspective

Gallup has a terrible new poll for Bush: 31% approve, 65% disapprove. Since the main benefit of the Gallup poll are its trendlines stretching back more than sixty years, here are some facts about this poll in historical perspective:It is now reasonable to start talking about Bush in the 20's, and Bush breaking the all-time record for job disapproval.

What Is "Liberalism" Anyway?

The crisis of democratic liberalism today calls for re-examining the history of the American political tradition. The liberal political consensus of the post-World War II era has disintegrated. The once-cherished ideals of civil rights, social equality, and scientific rationality have given way to resurgence of religious fundamentalism and laissez-faire economics, growing disparities of wealth and power, and a political culture of incompetence and corruption. The spectacle unfolding before us resembles nothing so much as the decline and fall of the American republic, and our leaders seem incapable of rising to the challenge. The Republicans embrace principles of governance that proved to be unworkable in the nineteenth century. The Democrats offer no broad alternative vision, only a hodgepodge of ad hoc policies. But the roots of the crisis are buried much deeper than policy. The time has come to rethink and rebuild the foundations of our political institutions.

There's more...

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