1) Over at Midterm Madness, there is some discussion of John Tester's very competitive challenge to corrupt hack Senator Conrad Burns. Tester has embraced "populism" as a campaign strategy (which is why David Sirota loves him so much). Tester's success is because (and I quote) : "Tester is running as a Montanan on issues important to Montanans: the war, the economy, and the deficit." Um, aren't these issues important to everybody? What makes them so special about Montana. Although I do find it interesting that he isn't really focusing on corruption. Maybe it's true that corruption just isn't a political winner. All I can say is, where's the outrage?
2) Frederick Hess wants to do away with summer vacation. He echoes all the points I've made in the past: that it's an outdated feature of the agrarian economy, that it assumes that a parent is home to take care of the child, that there are massive educational losses because of such a long fallow period. I wonder whether anyone has the political gumption to embrace this issue.
3) David Yepsen (via Kos) has suggested that the Presidential primaries be scheduled in order of closeness in the last general election. The next closest state would go second, and so on. So in 2004 Florida would have gone first, and in 2008 it would be Ohio. I guess it means that New York and California would still get screwed :).
It is a very intriguing idea, but I think there is a hidden assumption that elections will be close. What happens if there's a landslide? In 1996 the closest state was Kentucky, which means that both nominees in 2000 would more likely be more conservative. Alternatively in 1988 Washington was the closest state, which would have advantaged more liberal candidates.
I can imagine this feature would help the party on the wrong end of the landslide, but it would push the winning party off the political center. This would certainly help the competitiveness of elections, but I don't see the successful parties wanting to pursue it.
On the other hand, it's probably the best idea I've heard so far. Other possibilities have been going in order of size (small states first), which would bias the nomination process towards rural regions, and randomly, which would make the whole thing pretty unpredictable. My guess is that we're probably just going to have the same system we've had the in past.
If we get rid of summer vacation all those summer camp movies, and summer road trip movies, and summer vacation movies will become nothing more than stuffy costume dramas.By Jesse, at 12:37 PM
And what will happen the all the ice cream truck operators?
I would consider the end of the summer movie etc. a fringe benefit.By Arbitrista (formerly Publius), at 1:24 PM
And the sun doesn't go down until 8PM in the summertime. Still plenty of time for ice cream!