Tuesday, September 20, 2005There's a lot worth commenting on, so I'll get to it....
1) The Backlash is apparently alive and well. The New York Times has seen fit to do an article on the new tendency of educated women to prefer motherhood to careers. This is what Susan Faludi calls a "trend" article. Their evidence is an email survey of 190 students at 2 Ivy League schools. So a tiny sample size with a self-selected set of interviews justifies front page coverage on the country's #1 newspaper? How about I start a sample of all my friends asking them whether I'm a cool guy or not, and then get a headline on the NYT claiming that "Publius is the coolest guy around!" I don't know what's more offensive - their misogyny or their incompetence.
2) Washington Post headline: "Recruits Sought for Porn Squad." Sign me up! Do they write these stories just to make us giggle? And why are we diverting scarce FBI resources to this when there are people trying to destroy the country? Y'know, like in the White House?
3) A panel by Jimmy Carter and James Baker has an election reform proposal. They want better technology for maintaining the voter lists, to require voter id's, better registration, electronic machines with paper receipts, and a regional system of primaries after Iowa and NH.
A lot of this sounds good. Unfortunately the voter id provision seems suspect, since it relies on the states actually providing everyone a free id. It also shifts the burden from the state to the voter, and changes the presumption that someone is a voter to one that someone is not a voter - not exactly a positive change.
I'm also opposed to the regional primary, since it will just magnify the importance of the big states. Kevin Drum thinks that we should just accept that money and wholesale politics is inevitable, which is why he wants to strip NH and Iowa of their privileged position. I say, why make a problem worse?
There is a better alternative anyway - the "small state bias" system of primaries going from large to small states every week of the primary process in clusters. This would diminish the importance of money and make for a dramatic finish to the primary season in June, like what we used to have. And hey, if you want to change the nomination system, how about just restore the 2/3 rule and/or make the primaries nonbinding "beauty contests" again? That would restore the nomination structure to that of the 1960's, which represented a good balance of virtues.