Podcast 14: The War on the War on Christmas

The Dark Horse Dispatch holiday podcast.


Whole Foods Republicans & the Smarty-Pants Vote: Part Two

Thanks to all those who took the time to comment on my last post RE: Michael Petrilli’s op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal — besides the comments that appear with that post (Republicans & the Smarty-Pants Vote: Part One), others took time out of their busy lives to email their reactions. All these commentators were generous with their time, insightful in their commentary, & hopeful about the future —- just the kind of dialogue that the Dark Horse Dispatch hopes to generate!

Well to keep the conversation going, I thought I’d take Petrilli’s advice that the GOP needs to reach out to college grads in a bit of a different direction.

Based on the assumption that before charting a new direction for the GOP, as Petrilli suggests, it’s useful to see where the party stands right now — I went back to the last election and tracked which states Obama won, and which ones McCain won. I matched those victories with where those states ranked, based on what percentage of their citizens were college grads. The results appear below. Continue reading

Fired Up, Ready to Go

Howard Dean is fired up and ready to go. He is leading a liberal revolt against the Senate’s health care bill, stating that the legislation is “not worth passing.” Dean said that, “If it were up to me I would kill the bill entirely.” Progressives should be wary when their leaders begin to sound exactly like their conservative counterparts. Nate Silver does a fantastic job of explaining why progressives are “bat shit crazy to oppose the Senate bill.”

According to Silver,
For any “progressive” who is concerned about the inequality of wealth, income and opportunity in America, this bill would be an absolutely monumental achievement. The more compelling critique, rather, is that the bill would fail to significantly “bend the cost curve”. I don’t dismiss that criticism at all, and certainly the insertion of a public option would have helped at the margins. But fundamentally, that is a critique that would traditionally be associated with the conservative side of the debate, as it ultimately goes to mounting deficits in the wake of expanded government entitlements.

Liberals need to relax and listen to the wisdom of Sir Michael Philip Jagger.


Republicans and the Smarty-Pants Vote: Part One

For all the differences that divide the country’s two main parties, Republicans and Democrats share this in common: both are torn by internal wrangling.

For Democrats, this division is evident in the trouble they’re having creating a health care bill that all of their Senators can support. Republicans are engaged in a wide-ranging debate over which path promises to lead them back to the promised land of victory — the path of ideological purity or the path of inclusiveness?

While our most recent podcast discusses aspects of this GOP debate, yesterday Michael Petrilli made an interesting contribution to this conversation that merits our attention. Petrilli is a research fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution, and in an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal he argues that Republicans need to reach out to voters who have graduated from college.

He notes that college-educated Americans are a growing proportion of the electorate — he reports that they accounted for 10% of the population in the 1960s, 20% by the late 1980s, and about 30% today. Petrilli worries that just as these voters are becoming more influential, the GOP is losing its grip on them. As he puts it, “a majority of college-educated voters (53%) pulled the lever for Mr. Obama in 2008 — the first time a Democratic candidate has won this key segment since the 1970s”.

So how can Republicans appeal to these voters? The challenges seem formidable indeed. Continue reading

Podcast 13: Party Purification in the GOP

Brad, Dan, Chip and Brandon discuss ideological purity within the GOP.

Confidence in the military

During our most recent podcast, I mentioned that it is politically difficult for a president to buck the military bureaucracy. Data from a recent Gallup poll illustrates one reason why:

Hat tip: Matthew Yglesias


Podcast 12: Afghanistan and Terror Trials

Dan, Chip, Brandon and Brad discuss President Obama’s plan to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, as well as the decision to bring terrorist suspects to NYC to stand trial.