Interesting that Rove doesn’t mention the possibility that some white voters might be uneasy with an African-American presidential candidate. But he does touch on what seems to me the most interesting data in the results: Obama as the clear winner among more educated, affluent and younger voters; Clinton as the clear winner among working-class and older voters. So Obama takes Clinton’s natural base, and Clinton takes Edwards’s?
Archive for January, 2008
Andrew Kohut, the reliable Pew pollster, has an op-ed piece in Thursday’s Times that seems like the probable explanation for the polling failure in the Clinton/Obama race in NH
Update: Eugene Robinson has an assessment of the race issue and the Bradley effect in his Washpost columan today (Friday). His are the first comments I’ve seen about Clinton’s get-out-the-vote operation suggesting that was part (and only part) of her victory. Take a look:
UPDATE 1/12/06 This from John Judis at TNR
But an additional factor may have been at work. Some of the polls seem to have significantly underrepresented the women’s vote. For instance, the Suffolk University/WHDH poll, which surveyed voters on Sunday and Monday and came the closest to predicting the final result, estimated a 39 to 34 percent Obama win by working off the assumption that 53 percent of primary voters would be women. According to exit polls, though, the breakdown was 57 percent women to 43 percent men. If you rejigger the Suffolk/WHDH poll to take into account the real mix of women to men, what you get is something like 38 percent Obama and 35 percent Clinton–which is within the 4.38 percent margin of error for the final results.
That may not be the reason why other polls got the result so wrong, but the under-representation of woman voters, coupled with the volatility of the electorate (as evidenced by the last minute shift of college-educated women voters), is a far more plausible hypothesis than the one that Kohut, Sullivan, and Robinson provide. This is not to say that there weren’t people who did not vote for Obama because he is black. But, clearly, a hidden racist vote is neither an explanation for Clinton’s victory nor the pollsters’ error in predicting it. A closer reading of the evidence also has the benefit of not accusing half of New Hampshire Democratic primary voters of being racists. Whole thing here:
Sunday or Monday I heard a woman in New Hampshire say that she had been inclining toward Obama but then she wondered whether she’d be able to live with herself years from now if she had to confess that she had had an opportunity to vote for the first woman president and hadn’t done so. I wouldn’t be surprised if many other women did and will feel the same way. And, on the other hand, that there have been and will be many people who decide for Obama for the reason that he’d be the first black president.
Prescinding from these two particular candidates, of the two possibilities–the first woman or the first black–which would be of greater historic significance?
So, what happened? A late break for Hillary that polls couldn’t detect? Did the pollsters have the bad luck of stumbling on a group of liar-respondents? Theories abound: Her choke-up moment humanized her. Coupled with her debate performance, women were inspired to show their support. Bill’s late appearance/Obama attack suppressed Barack fever. New Hampshire voters thumbed their noses at the media’s coronation of Obama. Independents voted for McCain believing Obama had it sewn up. Obama supporters stayed home believing their man didn’t need their vote to win. What are your pet theories?
(Did anyone hear Tom Brokaw excoriate the press for their reliance on polling on MSNBC? Even left Chris Matthews speechless. Not an easy thing to do.)
Washington Post (and Commonweal) columnist E.J Dionne offers an interesting historical perspective on the Obama-Clinton debate:
If Obama seems to have history’s winds at his back, Clinton is carrying history’s burdens. In trying to push her way back into the contest by Feb. 5, when nearly two dozen states vote, Clinton would have to press her sober case that as good as Obama sounds, she’s the one who is vetted and tested. “If you want to know which kind of change we will make,” she pleaded to her Sunday night crowd, “look at what we’ve already done.”
Here again, the echoes of the past are eerie. It was Hubert Humphrey, on the aging side of the generational divide in 1968, who declared: “Some people talk about change, others cause it.” Hubert Humphrey was a great man. He did not become president.
I didn’t even know that they had Boy Scouts in Maldives, but this article in USA Today caught my eye. Apparently, a teenage scout in full uniform saved the president of Maldives when a potential assassin came towards him with a knife.
I don’t know what kind of popularity rating President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom is scoring these days, but the article made me wonder whether a Boy Scout here in the United States would be as quick to risk his life for George W. I generally think of the Boy Scouts of America as a pretty conservative organization, especially in light of articles like this one from early December, but I wonder if an Eagle Scout would be willing to jump into harm’s way and fight for President Bush. Heck, I wonder if I would.
The other day I was looking for something in the Washington Post and, not finding it, went looking for it on the paper’s website. I discovered that there was a good deal more information, gathered by their reporters and by others, than is in the print-edition. This made me wonder what happens to the web-version of this and other newspapers with similar services.
I’ve done a lot of work in nineteenth-century NYC newspapers. Some times discovering how an event unfolded depends on learning when people became aware of something when the chief medium for disseminating information was the newspaper. Some of the papers had morning and evening editions. These newspapers still exist, at least in microfilm, and provide the physical traces of the past that historians use in their reconstructions. Often enough written traces are all that remains. Now, of course, fewer and fewer traces are being left on paper. I once heard the story that Cardinal Spellman, having read John Tracy Ellis’s biography of Cardinal Gibbons, said, “They’ll never be able to do that with me. I do everything by telephone.”
I’ve been wondering what future historians will have to work with. How much of what a newspaper, especially a “paper of record,” is content to put on its website but not in its print-edition is being preserved at all? How will it be possible to know, for example, how much information on a particular person or event was publicly available, or when it became available? When a newspaper changes what is available on its website, what happens to the previous version? Is there any record of when things were posted on a website?
The questions could be multiplied, of course, with regard to all those other sources of information now available, trustworthy or not. When a journal of opinion ceases its print-edition and goes all-net, what trace of it survives?
It strikes me that future historians may have far fewer traces of the past to work with. I was wondering what historians might have to say about this.
“Listen up, Jesuits,” would be my own translation of that phrase in light of the speech by the Vatican’s envoy to the CG35 in Rome. Papal legate Cardinal Franc Rode, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, spoke to the General Congregation today. Like Peter Nixon below I cannot pretend to objectivity regarding the Society of Jesus, whose members have been so integral to my own faith life (which may may a bigger indictment of the order than anything Rode said, come to think of it). Yet Rode’s remarks about the Jesuits’ “growing detachment from the hierarchy” and other failings (like the “relativism” of certain Jesuit periodicals, ahem) seemed a bit uncharitable, given the circumstances. Above all they seemed stale. The Vatican has been cracking the whip on the Jesuits for 30 years now. And Kolvenbach has bent over backwards to improve relations and maintain fidelity to both the Pope and the Jesuit charism. It isn’t easy. Surely there must be something more constructive to say?
(And apologies for discussing an election other than the NH primary.)
As those near and dear–and not so near and dear–will attest I have never been a Hillary fan. I’m still not. My horror goes back to an article in the Harvard Education Review (circa 1970s, maybe) on children’s rights. It was clear she didn’t know a thing about children and parents–probably she wasn’t a parent yet. Soooo… And nonetheless….
I did vote for her in the NY Senate race. And if it came to that, I’d vote for her for president. Or Obama… Or…I would have liked to vote for Biden.
But it is clear from many, too many conversation, many women do not like Hillary. Why? A fan of hers tried to explain it to me a few weeks ago—they just hate her. Maybe Jean Raber caught something when she wrote below that Hillary comes across like a mother who is about to nag you for something (or something like that, sorry Jean).
The fact is, as I can attest, it is hard for women to make their way as first anything. Such women may develop defenses and offenses to keep themselves on track..defenses and offenses men can side-step. These put off both men and women who are accustomed to men’s leadership styles and maneuvers (although I’ll never get used to GW Bush’s!)
Still, at this juncture, I think Hillary is the best prepared person to jump into office on Day 1 and keep on. Perhaps because she has used /manipulated powerful people and been manipulated by them, she seems to have a better feel for how you get powerful people to get on your policy bandwagon. Sorry Grant, I just don’t see that with Obama (who to quote “is no John F. Kennedy”).
Sobering but not surprising–especially for those of us who train professional students.
Just watched Meet the Press. Tim Russert and two political consultant, McMahon and Murphy were spinning like mad against Hillary. Do I detect a woman-can’t-really be president message here? Some questions: If Obama and McCain wind up as the nominees, does anyone think Obama can beat McCain? Could Clinton beat McCain? On the likeability issue: George W. was likeable; he’s been a disaster. Do we care if our president is likeable, or do we care that they know what they’re doing?
I am not remotely objective about the Society of Jesus. The Jesuits have been my companions in faith for all of my adult life. It was graduate work at
It is true that the Society has sometimes been the target of criticism within the Church. This criticism often reaches a fanatic intensity in some of the more febrile corners of the Internet, which take delight in exhaustively cataloging examples of the Society’s alleged heterodoxy. Even more sympathetic Catholics, though, may be inclined to wonder why the Society is so often in the thick of intra-ecclesial controversy. By way of answer, I’d like to suggest three ideas as food for thought.
First, the Society is a missionary order. Missionary work always gets done at the margins and requires a willingness to translate the Gospel message into new cultural contexts. Sometimes the proposed translations can prove controversial. Back in the 16th century, the Society got itself into hot water when Jesuit Fr. Matteo Ricci attempted to make the Gospel intelligible to the Chinese by appropriating some of their indigenous religious language and traditions. Horrified Dominican and Franciscan missionaries reported to
Secondly, the Society is a teaching order. As the Jesuit historian John O’Malley details in his fine book The First Jesuits, the entry of the order into education was almost an accident, a byproduct of Ignatius’ desire to improve the formation of members of the order. Within the last century, the Jesuits’ large institutional presence within higher education has brought them into broader dialogue with an increasingly secular academic community. The Jesuits are thus very much in the middle of the—often heated— discussion about the nature of a Catholic university.
Finally, I would argue that the Society’s spirituality—rooted in Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises—positioned the order to be sympathetic to the religious concerns of the modern era. It’s no accident that Ignatius of Loyola and Martin Luther lived in the same century, which was characterized by an increasing interest in personal conversion and the subjective dimension of religious experience. To the extent that modern philosophy and theology emphasized the “turn to the subject” and religious experience, the Jesuits were well placed to respond. Recent assessments of Karl Rahner’s theology—perhaps the best effort by a 20th century theologian to express the Christian faith in a modern idiom—have noted the influence of the Spiritual Exercises on his work. To the extent, though, that differing assessments of the positive value of modern thought lie at the heart of Catholicism’s contemporary “culture war,” it’s not surprising to find Jesuits occasionally caught up in those controversies.
None of this is to say that the actions of individual Jesuits or the order as a whole are beyond criticism. In unpracticed hands, “faith doing justice” can degenerate into a form of social work that elides the eschatological implications of the Christian faith. The instinct to “find God in all things” can sometimes lead to excessively optimistic readings of contemporary culture. Inter-religious dialogue—a cause to which many Jesuits have been honorably committed in recent years—cannot become an excuse for failing to preach Jesus Christ as savior of the world. The phrase “Jesuit values” cannot be invoked to imply that the order somehow operates by a different set of rules than the
In my experience, though, the Jesuits wrestling with these questions are animated by the same kind of missionary spirit that animated Matteo Ricci, Francis Xavier, Isaac Jogues, and Ignatius himself. Those working in Latin America and
It’s true that not every solution that arises out of these interactions between Gospel and culture will ultimately prove fruitful. But there will be no fruitful solutions without these interactions, and without those willing to take on the risks that they entail. Which is why I’m thankful that for more than 450 years the Society of Jesus has inspired men to embrace poverty, chastity and obedience in service to Christ and his Church. They will be in my prayers in these important weeks and I hope they will be in yours.
What did you see? What did you like? Dislike? Who succeeded? Who didn’t? Who wants to adopt Bill Richardson?
Sorry, Peter. But Pat is really funny. Well, if you consider predictions of never-ending Apocalypse humorous. Read the 2008 predictions of the Visionary of Virginia Beach here. Among the main divinations that God whispered in his ear: oil at $150 a barrel, big stock market crash…Hey, maybe he’s (He?) not so far off. As for Pat’s prophecy for 2007 that there would be a major terrorist attack in the U.S., probably nuclear, the Reverend holds out hope that his projections are not written in stone: “All I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us,” Robertson said. Nice to know.
Out with the old, in with the new. Enough about the Big Stories of 2007. Here are the big religion stories of 2008.
January: Retooling his successful Iowa campaign for New Hampshire, former Baptist pastor Michael Huckabee expresses previously unnoticed interest in becoming a Congregationalist. Congregationalist Barack Obama, looking toward a tight race with Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, begins referring to his “inner Baptist.”
February: Controversy swirls around the choice of Ann Coulter as chief speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast. Organizers of the officially nonpartisan event insist they never anticipated her prayer that Democrats be saved from the fire of hell. ”But I only spoke in the spirit of Christian charity,” she says.
March: Two weeks before Easter, CNN broadcasts a special report on a newly unearthed “Gospel of Joseph” revealing that Jesus was a troublesome teenager. Princeton University expert on early Christianity, Elaine Pagels, hails the document for making Jesus appear more human. Other scholars complain that the ancient manuscript appears to be written with a ball-point pen.
April: Pope Benedict XVI, during a brief visit to the United States, stuns reporters and commentators by indicating that he still believes in God, considers Catholic teachings to be true and opposes abortion and same-sex marriages. Consistent with four decades of findings, fresh polls of American Catholics confirm that they still revere the Pope but disagree with him about contraception, ordaining women and other issues. The newsweeklies detect a “deep divide” and “growing rift” between Rome and the American faithful.
May: Dismay fills the ranks of atheists at news that Richard Dawkins has been seen lighting votive candles and fingering a rosary at a small church near Cambridge. Witnesses challenge Mr. Dawkins’s initial protests that he was merely “doing research.” He promises to undergo therapy and later declares himself cured of belief.
June: Two hundred thousand Muslim leaders around the world issue a fatwa condemning terrorism and suicide bombing. This development is widely reported on page 37 of most newspapers, just below stories outlining the settlement of the television writers’ strike.
July: Fears that the Episcopal Church’s consecration of an openly gay bishop might disrupt the world’s Anglican bishops at the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference in Canterbury are completely eclipsed by word that the Vancouver diocese of the Anglican Church of Canada intends to begin ordaining whales. Fierce debate breaks out over the meaning of five biblical passages about “the Leviathan.”
August: On the eve of a still undecided Republican convention, Mitt Romney’s reveals that he is distantly related to a 19th-century leader of the Southern Baptist Convention. Michael Huckabee counters with evidence that he shares DNA with St. Francis of Assisi.
September: Angry bioethical debates among researchers and animal rights supporters break out over preliminary research suggesting that stem cells obtained by destroying baby seals might lead to medical breakthroughs. Some argue that every research possibility should be pursued. Others reply that stem cells obtained by destroying human embryos should prove sufficient.
October: Once again males dominate Esquire Magazine’s annual list of Best-Dressed Religious Leaders. With his trademark attire of Hawaiian shirts, the Rev. Rick Warren, megachurch pastor and best-selling author, leads the list, followed by the Dalai Llama, the Sufi Whirling Dervishes, Moktada al-Sadr, Pope Benedict and Tom Cruise.
November: Voters ignore charges that all Democratic candidates are devil worshipers. Democrats deny plans to rip out Ann Coulter’s heart during the Inauguration ceremony.
December: On the Fox television network, neoconservative elder Norman Podhoretz and Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights demand that the incoming administration take sides in what they term “World War IV Against Christmas.” Mr. Podhoretz admits that he isn’t really concerned about Christmas but wouldn’t miss a World War IV for anything.
Post below begging to hear from Iowa has turned up a caucus goer–or as we have been calling them caucusasians!
UPDATE: David Cochran, 2nd Iowan reporting in, is on comments below. Sound like a rousing blow for discussion, debate, and democracy!
Here’s Koch’s report:
on January 4th, 2008 at 2:27 pm
I went to my first caucus last night, even though I’ve been able to vote for over —let’s see—3 or 4 decades…(Yikes!)….anyway, my 18 year old son was going (for Obama) and I was undecided but had been impressesd over the years with Biden and Dodd.
We went to Irving Elementary School and people were streaming in at 6:15, looking for their ward (or precinct—I’m not versed in these details). We were directed to the location for our precinct (the library) and when we went in there were 60 some people there, with supporters for a candidate congregated together. Hillary and Obama had the biggest groups, Edwards a smaller one. There were 3 people at a table with the Biden poster up. The organization of this caucus process was a bit lax. As we stood around waiting for the event to begin, my guitar teacher, a Biden supporter, walked in looking for the precinct listings. He wondered if I was supporting Biden and when I told him i was undecided he urged me to go Biden. He noted that BIden’s plan to bring order to IRaq had passed the Senate.
As we talked, a Richardson supporter came up asking if i would support Richardson. She needed more supporters to make Richardson viable. But since my guitar teacher (and colleague here at University of Northern Iowa) had found me, I took that as a sign (I’m hopelessly naive about political convictions!). Our precinct captain had just been asked to organize the caucus a few days ago. He had done this sort of things for years but had been absent for several more years, so he plodded along. When the real caucus began, we Biden supporters numbered 7. So supporters from the other candidates approached us asking us to join them. The man in our group who was use to caucusing went to the Hillary group to see if their extra people would join us to make us viable (we needed 12 supporters to get 15% of the number of supporters).
One Obama guy asked me what issues i was concerned about. I had so many, i didn’t know where to start. i said, “Iraq and education.” he then went into a spiel about Obama’s plans. Eventually I said, “who knows what he can do once he’s in office. At this point, I think we need to keep up the exchange of ideas and so I’d rather join with another small group to make them viable. So we have 3 groups discussing things. I think the words we need to give us better understandig of our problems are yet to be expressed and will only be expressed if we discuss things.” The Obama guy liked that. It ended up the Richardson people joined us and so Biden got one delegate for the county convention.
I left with the impression that it is easy to get involved in politics—just go to a caucus. I could have become a county delegate. And you see all sorts of people there, grumpy children of God, rude children of God. Those precinct caucuses in more depressed areas must really be a revelation. One’s patience would be tested, but i think you would have impressive expereinces of human solidarity and hope (and frustration). I tell students that their liberal education should be showing them how to be civic leaders. I better walk the walk more.
According to the Washington Post today, 49% of evangelical Christians in Iowa voted for Huckabee, 19% for Romney, 11% for Thompson, and 10% for McCain; nothing is said about how the other 11% voted. This means, of course, that 51% of them did not vote for Huckabee. Nevertheless, our friend E.J. Dionne speaks of his victory in Iowa as “the revenge of evangelical Christians who had been taken for granted by the GOP establishment and decided to vote for one of their own.” Even though six out of ten Iowan Republicans declared themselves born-again, Huckabee got only 34% of the vote. So I don’t see how Dionne’s conclusion follows; there seems to be a good deal of diversity among evangelical Christians in Iowa. That 19% voted for Romney I find striking. Or am I missing something?
In an editorial, the Post asks people “not to get carried away by the results [advice the editors might send to their reporters and columnists!]. In both parties, caucusgoers were a small and unrepresentative sample of a small and unrepresentative state.” (Perhaps someone could parse the use of the word “unrepresentative” in these two phrases.) If this is the case, why is it taken so seriously? Why should it have led at least two of the candidates to discontinue their campaigns, among them Sen. Biden who complains about the difficulty he had in getting the media to cover his efforts? (In the Post’s charts today, results are given only for three of the Democrats and four of the Republicans.)
Is anyone thinking about a better way of going about this?
David Brooks’s column on the Iowa results is well worth reading–and discussing, so have at it in the comboxes.
Obama has achieved something remarkable. At first blush, his speeches are abstract, secular sermons of personal uplift — filled with disquisitions on the nature of hope and the contours of change.He talks about erasing old categories like red and blue (and implicitly, black and white) and replacing them with new categories, of which the most important are new and old. He seems at first more preoccupied with changing thinking than changing legislation.Yet over the course of his speeches and over the course of this campaign, he has persuaded many Iowans that there is substance here as well. He built a great organization and produced a tangible victory. He’s made Hillary Clinton, with her wonkish, pragmatic approach to politics, seem uninspired. He’s made John Edwards, with his angry cries that “corporate greed is killing your children’s future,” seem old-fashioned. Edwards’s political career is probably over. Obama is changing the tone of American liberalism, and maybe American politics, too.
Maybe. I have a feeling Clinton isn’t going to make that very easy. Who saw the speeches last night? I saw Huck’s, Clinton’s, and part of Obama’s. What struck me: Huck’s preacher routine got old quick, but his tone (in public at least) certainly differentiates him from the rest of the pack. Hillary’s positivity was impressive, but her “change” schtick was strained (and backward-looking). But the look on Bill’s face near the end of her speech must have sent chills down the spines of Clinton supporters everywhere. He looked like he was at a funeral. What did you think?
If you have friends and family flying this week, you can track their flights, and listen to the air traffic. It’s very interesting. I really admire Air Traffic Control people–all of our lives depend upon them, and their tasks come at them very fast.
Lots of airports have broadcasts (O’Hare’s was down the other day). But the best is JFK:
(You can also look at a map of all flights arriving and landing–which looks like a bewildering mix of red and green).
(You start with either the CAMRN sector or the ROBER sector–it seems that CAMRN does national flights while ROBER does the trans-Atlantic Route)
Then you move to JFK Final Vector.
Then you move to JFK Tower
David Gibson must still be recovering from New Year’s Eve. So let me post my question myself: If not to William Kristol as the Times’s right, right-wing, con, neo-con columnist, to whom should the Times have offered the slot that would have had the respect of the paper’s readers?
I saw the movie Juno over the holidays. It’s a film about a sixteen year old girl, Juno McGuff, who unexpectedly finds herself pregnant after engaging in sex with her friend Paulie Bleeker to stave off boredom. She goes through with the pregnancy, and chooses a yuppie couple as its adoptive parents. Complications ensue. The reviews from the major sources– NYT — have been pretty good.
I know I OUGHT to have liked the movie. Russ Douthat from the Atlantic Monthly argues it approaches the issue with a shades-of-gray, complicated sensibility. I read somewhere else that it transcends the sensibilities of the Baby Boomers, moving toward a distinctive, more nuanced GEN X sensibility.
But the thing is, I didn’t like the movie. Unlike Knocked Up, it wasn’t gross or crude. I thought it was funny while I was watching it. But thinking about it later, I couldn’t get past the dialog, which was too witty, sharp, and mannered, for any real-live sixteen-year-olds to pull off.
To put it in a nutshell, it is as if the movie has a missing first scene:
God (played by Morgan Freeman) says to Truman Capote (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman) “Well, Truman, I want to let you into heaven, but you have a few things to do first. You were kind of mean to people from the Midwest in getting your material for In Cold Blood . So, in order to make up for that, I want you to possess the mind of a sixteen-year-old Minnesota girl about to face an unexpected pregnancy, and fill her mouth with jaded witticisms that all–but-hide her underlying vulnerability. Make her verbally fabulous.” And Truman Capote agrees.
So. . . it’s interesting. . . it’s fun while it’s going on. . . but it’s too clever by half to have any real purchase on the underlying ethical issues.
Did anyone else see it?
The New York Times is adding William Kristol as an op-ed columnist. Good choice, I think. They need a successor to William Safire. David Brooks has often been called the conservative that liberals like, and I don’t think that’s necessarily a compliment.