The Spectacle Blog
Michael J. Fox should not be above criticism for the controversial stem-stell research ad for Claire McCaskill, but criticism should focus on the fact that he was being misleading about the science and policy of stem cell research. I think Rush Limbaugh went too far by saying, without any evidence, that, "In this commercial, (Fox) is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it's purely an act." Even if you were to argue that he didn't take his medication in advance of the ad (which we don't know), that still means that his natural state is to shake, and thus not "purely an act." I think one can acknowledge that someone is truly suffering while still arguing against an expansion of funding for stem cell research on moral grounds and questioning the soundness of the science of stem cell research. And certainly, on that front the ad is shameless by implying that Jim Talent is standing in the way of Michael J. Fox and millions of Americans getting cured.
I think that the media narrative of an impending Republican defeat can cut both ways. Perhaps, as has been suggested, it will lead conservatives to be dispirited, thus hampering turnout. On the other hand, the constant media harping on how Republicans are going to lose could instead annoy conservatives and motivate them to hit the polls in large numbers to prove the liberal media wrong. Also, one of the primary arguments that Republicans are making in an attempt to turnout the base is to get them to imagine what Congress would be like under the control of Nancy Pelosi and/or Harry Reid. By annointing Pelosi the Speaker with several weeks remaining in the election, the media, in a sense, is already doing half of the RNC's job.
As I mentioned in my previous post, CNN's "Broken Government" series focused yesterday on how Democrats are considered "wusses" and are having difficulty overcoming their defeatest attitude. But little did I know that last night's broadcast on which the network's Web report was based would turn into an hour-long campaign ad for Heath Shuler, who is challenging Rep. Charles Taylor in North Carolina's 11th District. Most handicappers rate the race as a toss-up.
In response to my column last week, reader Keith Huylebroeck home-produced this video that seems to me to be as effective a political message as almost any professionally produced commercial I've seen in a long time. One need not endorse the message to recognize its simple and powerful clarity. Very impressive indeed! It makes one wonder why the so-called "pros" are often so unable to understand what makes voters tick.....
Shawn: I think McIntyre's theory is a valid one. To the extent that the Democrats can make the "dispirited GOP base" a self-fulfilling prophecy, they will. The more conservatively-inclined voters that stay home, the better for the Dems.
Is the press playing along? Well, just take a look at the
Jim Webb Megaphone the Washington Post. 'Nuff said.
In fairness, it is hard to make something a self-fulfilling prophecy unless it is based on something tangible. Clearly there is unrest in the GOP base this year, and one can hardly blame the Dems for trying to capitalize on it. If it were the Dems who were dispirited, you can be sure the GOP would be trying to take advantage of it--all's fair in love and war and politics.
I'm with you, David. Andrew Sullivan long ago jumped the shark. He cares only about his own sexual desires and placing those desires first in the universe. That's his entire belief system. The rest is just well-educated, energetic verbosity.
At about 3:00 PM Eastern Time, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will be issuing a ruling in Lewis v. Harris, in which seven gay couples have sued the state, demanding marriage certificates. Judging by the oral argument from February, which you can watch online, the plaintiffs have a very good chance of prevailing. Two of the seven justices asked no questions; if I'm reading between the lines of the others' questions correctly, the state can count on only one vote while the plaintiffs have two for certain and another two that seemed to be leaning in their direction. New Jersey has a reputation for activist jurisprudence, which isn't surprising given that the state's constitution opens with a sweeping declaration of vaguely enumerated rights. The case for gay marriage by judicial fiat isn't really such a stretch in light of declared "natural and unalienable rights, among which are those of ... pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness."
David: Almost everyone who supported Kerry in '04 thought he'd be better than Bush on a range of issues, terrorism included. I don't think we can dismiss them all. Sullivan's ideas are well-expressed and widely-diseminated, idiosyncratic yet influential, and very often not only wrong but wrong in an interesting or revealing way. All those things make him well worth engaging.