Dem's Congressional Lead Lags Indicators

A rough comparison of polls by month shows that the Dem's lead over Reps in generic congressional polls is lagging the changes in other indicators of the public mood:

Discussion on the flip.

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Gounds For Optimism In Iraq

Nightline struck a familiar note at its start tonight: looking for grounds for optomism in Iraq.  It was pretty thin. I think we can do better.  Your choice below.

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How Racism Changes Form--Conservatism As Identity Politics, Pt5

Cross-posted from Patterns That Connect

It's my main thesis in this series that conservatism is not fundamentally about ideology, but about the preservation of elite power, maintained as a form of identity politics.  Elites then claim "natural" leadership, in the name of protecting, defending and exemplifying the group identity against evil, enemy "others." Ideology matters to the conservative project solely as a means for justification, including identity formation.  It supports the forms of policies, practices and institutions that preserve group identity and power--and, thereby, elite rule. Consistency matters to this ideology only insofar as it proves necessary.  Therefore, "the abandonment of conservative principles" is to be expected when those principles no longer serve those in power.

America's history of racism provides examples of how conservatism adapts, responding to repeated movements for social justice, which profoundly alter the relationships of radical, liberal and conservative forces.  Inconsistencies are generated at multiple levels whenever this happens.

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Social Dominance Orientation And Conservative Identity Politics (Pt4 in the Series)

While RWA is associated with group prejudice in various ways, that was not its specific focus.  It is the conformity with authority that is its core focus.  The willingness to discriminate against or attack members of a stigmatized group is one dimension in which this is expressed.

We now turn to a second factor that is also strongly associated with group prejudice.  However, unlike RWA, it has group prejudice as its central focus.  That factor is known as Social Dominance Orientation (SDO).  Because it, too, is correlated with political conservatism, it provides further evidence that conservatism functions as a form of identity politics, and gives further evidence of how this works.  SDO is also part of a more comprehensive theory which focuses attention on how hierarchical structures and values endure, while rationales may change--or even directly contradict what people actually believe.  This last is a crucial point when addressing the persistent fictions that "real conservatives" support balanced budgets, states rights, "judicial restraint," etc., despite repeated evidence to the contrary.

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Marcy Winograd Challenges Blue Dog Jane Harman's Seat

I don't know the district or anything about the politics here, but it seems interesting - Matt

I just found out today that Marcy Winograd, President of Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles, has stepped up to challenge conservative Blue Dog Democrat Jane Harman in the Democratic Primary for the 36th Congressional District in California.

Not only is Harman pro-war, as Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee, she was one of those briefed on the illegal NSA spying.  She is fully complicit in a wide range of Bush Administration policies, and can only credibly criticize him on narrow tactical grounds at best.

In contrast, Winograd's website,  says:

As a congresswoman, Marcy would immediately join the "Out of Iraq" caucus in Congress, vote to defund the war, and lobby to spend the war billions on social programs for education, health care, housing and the environment. "The best intelligence, the most effective defense against terrorism," says Winograd, "is to craft a sound foreign policy and build strong social networks that unite, rather than divide, the world community. Pre-emptive wars that kill and maim thousands of innocent Americans and Iraqis will only create more terrorists and undermine our security. It is time for a new vision and a new leader in the 36th Congressional District."

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Rightwing Authoritarianism and Conservative Identity Politics (Pt 3 in the series)

Cross-posted from Patterns That Connect.

Rightwing authoritarianism (RWA) is one of two attitudinal constructs (along with social dominance orientation--SDO) that combine to account for a majority of group prejudice, which in turn is a major aspect of group identity politics.  Both also correlate significantly with political conservatism.  RWA is defined as the convergence of three attitudinal clusters:

  • Authoritarian submission: A high degree of submission to the authorities who are perceived to be established and legitimate in the society in which one lives.
  • Authoritarian aggression: A general aggressiveness, directed against various persons, that is perceived to be sanctioned by established authorities.
  • Conventionalism: A high degree of adherence to the social conventions that are perceived to be endorsed by society and its established authorities.
As might be guessed, RWA is associated with a high degree of hostility toward outgroups, a key characteristic that correlates with findings discussed in the previous post in this series, indicating that hard core conservatism correlates with a strong resistance to power-sharing with various outgroups--blacks, Jews, Catholics, unions and women.

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Conservatism As Identity Politics--Pt2: Hard Core Data

Cross-posted from Patterns That Connect

"Identity politics" is a term generally associated with the politics that came out of social liberation movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, such as black power/black liberation, women's liberation, and gay liberation. In all these movements, there was a concern with analyzing how people as a group had been oppressed, not just politically, but socially, culturally, psychologically... at all levels.  Yet, all these movements-despite being politically progressive-were necessarily a reaction to already-existing forms of identity politics that were not nearly so analytical-the identity politics of privileged groups: white identity politics, male identity politics, straight identity politics, etc.

In future posts, I will examine two attitudinal constructs-rightwing authoritarianism (RWA) and social dominance orientation (SDO)-that strongly correlate with political conservatism, and that help us understand how all these forms of identity politics reflect common underlying mechanisms.  But first, I want to present some direct evidence that conservatism involves the basic rudiments of privileged identity politics.  That is the purpose of this post.

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Conservatism As Identity Politics--Intro

Cross-posted from my new blog, "Patterns That Connect."


Last week, Glenn Greenwald wrote an influential post, "Do Bush followers have a political ideology?", in which he argued that Bush supporters are cultists who do not possess a political ideology, but instead use the terms "conservative" and "liberal" to identify members of the cult and those outside the cult, respectively. While I agree with the vast majority of Glenn's analysis, I believed he was mistaken in one respect--the cultism is the ideology.  What's more, it is also a form of conservatism, as I argued in an initial response, "It's The Ideology, Smarty!" at My Left Wing. Here I want to expand on those remarks in a series of posts, and place them in a larger framework that draws on a variety of different disciplines and perspectives.  At the core of this endeavor is a definition of conservatism, as follows.

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How Many People Has Cheney Shot?

Editor and Publisher reports:

More Questions Raised About Delay in Reporting Cheney Misfire
By Greg Mitchell
Published: February 12, 2006 10:20 PM ET updated Monday

NEW YORK The more than 18-hour delay in news emerging that the Vice President of the United States had shot a man, sending him to an intensive care unit with his wounds, grew even more curious late Sunday. E&P has learned that the official confirmation of the shooting came about only after a local reporter in Corpus Christi, Texas, received a tip from the owner of the property where the shooting occured and called Vice President Cheney's office for confirmation.

The confirmation was made but it is not known for certain that Cheney's office, the White House, or anyone else intended to announce the shooting if the reporter, Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, had not received word from the ranch owner.

All of which naturally raises the question of how many times Cheney has shot someone and it hasn't leaked.

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DATA: Conservatives Don't Like Civil Rights Leaders

The fact that people talked politics at Coretta Scott King's funeral is upsetting to some people. Conservatives especially, but not exclusively.  There's nothing new about this, however. For the most part, these are the same folks who always wanted the civil rights community to shut up.

Looking at data from the National Election Survey (NES), cumulative file 1952-2000, we find the following:

(1) To the question, "Do you think that civil rights leaders are trying to push too fast, are going too slowly, or are they moving about the right speed?" the public answered:
                          Liberal   Mod    Conserv    Total

  1. Too slowly     23.3       9.8     6.7       12
  2. About right    55.2      50.7    50         51.6
  3. Too fast        20        36.5    40.4       33.8
  4. DK/depends    1.5       3       3          2.6

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