Sunday, November 28, 2004

Forgotten men-Weeb Ewbank

If you asked 100 sportswriters to list the five most important milestones in the evolution of the NFL, I'd bet good money that all 100 would agree that two games belong on the list: the Colts's sudden death victory over the Giants for the 1958 championship and the Jets win over the Colts in Super Bowl III. Almost every football fan knows about those two games. What many do not know is that the same man coached the winning team each time.

Strange. Maybe Weeb Ewbank was just too quiet in the era of Lombardi, too self-effacing to get noticed during the let-it-all-hang-out 60s. Celebrity is about providing good copy to lazy journalists. Reputation is built on something more substantial.

Ewbank won three titles in his career. (Don Shula, Tom Landry and Bill Parcells each won two.) His team pulled off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history. He mentored two of the best QBs ever seen (Unitas and Namath) while rebuilding two horrible teams.

Coaching great QBs is a subtle art. Legendary coaches find it difficult. Don Shula could never win a title with Unitas or Marino. Chuck Noll never managed to form a true partnership with Terry Bradshaw. George Allen preferred to grind it out in 13-10 games with Billy Kilmer (life time passer rating- 71.6) rather than exploit the passing talents of Sonny Jurgensen (lifetime rating- 82.6).

Ewbanks's work with Namath is especially notable because he had figure out schemes to protect an immobile, gimpy passer while still getting receivers open. The Jets depended on Namath's arm but Joe Willie's knees were just one hit away from a season-- (or career--) ending injury. Ewbank had to adjust to his superstar; he could not coach the Jets as he had Unitas and the Colts.

Not many coaches can bend like that. Noll, after Bradshaw retired, found it difficult to adjust his offense to fit the less-gifted passers who replaced the blond bomber. For that reason alone Ewbank has to be considered a great coach. If I was an NFL assistant who aspired to be a good head coach, I'd start researching Weeb Ewbank's career, methods, and character.

Previous Forgotten Men

Jim Ryun

L. C. Greenwood

Chuck Bednarik

Harvey Haddix

Friday, November 26, 2004

Like tasteless cotton candy

Some TV news stories are pointless but appear like clockwork. Reporter on a beach as a hurricane approaches, reporter standing outside a polling place on election day, reporter at a mall on Black Friday. It fills air time but the beach is the worst place to track the hurricane, 20 minutes at one polling place tells you nothing about turnout, and crowded malls on Black Friday is not evidence that spending is up for the Christmas season.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Rerun season

Originally posted 15 February 2004

Two ways to plan

Most large corporations seem to operate under the assumption that the best strategic plan is detailed, heavy on numbers, and tightly integrated to the expense budget. Although strategic planning was invented by the military a century before its adoption by corporations, very little of the insight into military planning has made it into the office tower.

Von Moltke wrote that "no plan survives contact with the enemy" and that strategy is "a system of expedients." This flexibility and acceptance of the unpredictable is anathema to the typical business planning process. All too often, we plan as though the we can determine what sales will be eighteen months from now, what expenses and what programs will produce those sales (by product and market).

In short, we think that the point of planning is to produce a plan that can be followed as though the organization is on auto-pilot. We want details, accountability, and milestones. And then we spend the rest of the year interpreting performance based on variance to plan.

This is not what effective planning is in the military. Colin Gray writes:

As General Dwight D. Eisenhower once observed, the principal value of military planning is not to produce ahead of time the perfect plan, but rather to train planners who can adjust and adapt to changing circumstances as they emerge.
Any business which wants to be more resilient and flexible would be smart to adopt the Eisenhower approach: planning as an educational process for people rather than a process for the production of the perfect plan.

Another problem with traditional planning is that it treats strategic problems as though they are entirely a matter of detail complexity. Yet, in reality, making and implementing strategy is a matter largely of dynamic complexity.

From Peter Senge's The Fifth Discipline:

The answer lies in the same reason that sophisticated tools of forecasting and business analysis, as well as elegant strategic plans, usually fail to produce dramatic breakthroughs in managing a business. They are all designed to handle the sort of complexity in which there are many variables: detail complexity. But there are two types of complexity. The second type is dynamic complexity, situations where cause and effect are subtle, and where the effects over time of interventions are not obvious. Conventional forecasting, planning, and analysis methods are not equipped to deal with dynamic complexity. Mixing many ingredients in a stew involves detail complexity, as does following a complex set of instructions to assemble a machine, or taking inventory in a discount retail store. But none of these situations is especially complex dynamically.
From John Sterman, Business Dynamics:

Most people think of complexity in terms of the number of components in a system or the number of combinations one must consider in making a decision. The problem of optimally scheduling an airline's flights and crews is highly complex, but the complexity lies in finding the best solution out of an astronomical number of possibilities. Such needle-in-a-haystack problems have high levels of combinatorial complexity (also known as detail complexity). Dynamic complexity, in contrast, can arise even in simple systems with low combinatorial complexity. ... Dynamic complexity arises from the interactions of the agents over time."
Competitive strategy is inherently dynamic: competitors react to each other's initiatives. Treating it as a matter of static analysis and programmed implementation is a recipe for failure.

Odd omission

At the close of 2004 everyone is debating the role religion played in a hotly contested election that confirmed that the nation is deeply divided. The year opened with another controversy about religion and media that mirrored the red-blue split on the electoral map.

Yet, I've not seen one article or column on the election that mentioned Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ.

At a minimum, the success of the movie showed that the legacy media had lost touch with a huge swath of the populace. I also think that the coastal elites's reaction to the film's potential consequences-their fear of how Christians would react to seeing it-was not lost on Red America. They noticed that the usual liberal suspects thought they were stupid, ignorant and prone to violence.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Truly asymmetrical information

Cathy Seipp makes a point that deserves serious attention:
One of the election lessons for Democrats is that while the Left doesn't understand the Right, the Right can't help but understand the Left, because the Left is in charge of pop culture. Urban blue staters can go their entire lives happily innocent of the world of church socials and duck hunting and Boy Scout meetings, but small-town red staters are exposed to big-city blue-state values every time they turn on the TV.
Mystery writer Harry Kemelman put it another way:
Ask anyone in the city how far out Farmer Brown lives, and if he knows him, he will say, 'Three or four miles.' But ask Farmer Brown how far he lives from the city and he will tell you, 'three and six-tenths miles-measured it on my speedometer many a time.
["The Nine-mile Walk"]
But Seipp is wrong to limit this only to pop culture and values. The same is true about day-to-day news and this hurts the Democrats. Those of us who live in the exurbs and rural areas still get a healthy dose of information about city life. Our local radio and television stations are based in cities. Tune in for highlights of the Eagles or Steelers and you hear about the latest corruption scandal in Philadelphia or the abject failure of the Harrisburg schools or the disastrous fiscal situation in Pittsburgh. By and large, Democrats govern the cities and many of those cities are governed poorly by our lights.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Exactly right

The Wall Street Journal on modern war reporting and the battle in Fallujah:
In a more grateful age, this would be hailed as one of the great battles in Marine history--with Guadalcanal, Peleliu, Hue City and the Chosin Reservoir. We'd know the names of these military units, and of many of the soldiers too. Instead, the name we know belongs to the NBC correspondent, Kevin Sites.
Admittedly, this point is something of a hobbyhorse for me. But it does shape war reporting whether journalists want to admit it or not.
Target and the Salvation Army

Captain's Quarters has the argument in favor of the SA. I especially liked how he dispatched Targets "a rule is a rule" canard.
The notion that Target finds it "difficult" to make exceptions to their own internal policy is absurd. Management gets paid to make value judgments all the time -- they don't hire seven-figure executives just to have them rely on zero-tolerance policies.
Hugh Hewitt will be doing a round-up of other blogger reactions.

An interesting bit of history. The Salvation Army has never been popular with the intellectual or economic elites. In nineteenth century Britain it was hated by the Darwinists and viewed with suspicion by the real-life Scrooges. Did not matter to the "fanatics" who had a mission to help the poor. Here is Jacques Barzun on the whole matter (from Darwin, Marx and Wagner):
Huxley's denunciation of it for fanaticism and regimentation hindered it no more than did the disdain of professional men, who seemed to think that spirit seances and Theosophical jargon were worthier expressions of their feelings. It was not until George Bernard Shaw made the point in Major Barbara that the so-called elite began to appreciate what General Booth's movement had done for the uneducated, pauperized, and drink-sodden masses which Social Darwinism had complacently allowed to find their place under the heel of fitter men. Then it was seen that neither the fatalism of biological evolution nor the fatalism of 'scientific' socialism could withstand a vigorous assault by people who believed in the power of the human will and had the wits to combine religion, social work, army discipline, and rousing tunes.

The downside of participatory management

In my favorite Dilbert strip, Dilbert goes to pick up his date. The woman launches into a monologue about her hobby.

"I collect crystals. I don't know of any scientific evidence that they can heal, but it's my point of view that they do"

Dilbert, ever the engineer blurts out, "When did ignorance become a point of view."

Bad thing to say on a date. But an important point nonetheless.

Everybody can come up with an opinion on anything if you ask them. It takes a special kind of willful innocence to think that they all are equally valuable, even the ones grounded on ignorance.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Rerun season

Originally posted on Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Journalists and criticism

Instapundit makes a very good point:"Is there any profession that's worse at admitting mistakes and taking criticism than the journalistic profession? "

The stereotype of the military is that they are constantly fighting the last war and are resistant to change. Yet, the various war colleges and service schools set to work analyzing Vietnam while the fighting was still going on. The mistakes and lessons were not swept under the rug. New doctrine was developed and all officers educated accordingly. All this happened while the draft was ended and the defense budget reduced in real terms.

My question is, how many J-schools focus on what went right and wrong with war reporting in SE Asia? Do any of them discuss how the military victory of Tet '68 was portrayed as a military defeat for the US and why this mistake was made? Do any of them remind students that it was an armored blitzkrieg from NV, not a peasant uprising which doomed Saigon in 1975?

I sometimes think that the biggest danger of war reporting is the journalist's selfish motive to be defeatist. Back in April i put it this way:

What is not often discussed is how professional ambitions make journalists defeatists. When wars go well, the uniformed military receives the praise. It is they who enter into history. We remember Nimitz and Patton, not the correspondents who wrote dispatches about the victories at Midway and Bastogne.

In contrast, Vietnam made the careers of David Halberstam, Seymour Hersh, and Neil Sheehan. Exposing military failure and atrocities makes the journalist the hero not the chronicler. It is a powerful temptation, one which could cause a reporter to lose proportion and distort the meaning of events. Yet this is not something that seems to get discussed much.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Rerun Season

Originally posted Monday, January 05, 2004

Central Staffs

Corporate staffs, especially central planning staffs, have few defenders anymore. Since In Search of Excellence most businesses writers have come down in favor of decentralization and line units. GE used to have a large and powerful planning staff, but Jack Welch dismantled and dispersed it. Most turnaround CEOs have followed suit.

The critique of planning staffs argues that they just generate paper, distract line managers, and generally make the business slow to respond. Nearly every indictment of GM and Ford notes that they were hamstrung by the power of their Finance department while the Japanese ate their lunch.

This critique is largely correct in my experience. The plans and projects are bureaucratic exercises, not courses of action which yield marketplace gains.

But what i find intriguing is that it is a different story in the military sphere. The rise of the staff-- especially the general staff-- is a critical element in operational prowess and military effectiveness.

The German experience is the most studied. A strong general staff was a key part of the Prussian military reforms which revived the army after Napoleon crushed Prussia in 1805-06. It played a key role in the rapid victories in the wars of unification (1864-1871) and was the critical instrument in the development of the Blitzkrieg.

The importance of a general staff is almost universally accepted by military historians. Lee's failure to develop a modern staff is one of the causes for the CSA's defeat. Patton had a good staff which was why he could respond so quickly in the relief of Bastogne. The French general staff was the antithesis of their German opponents which explains many of their failures between 1914 and 1940.

I'll hazard a few reasons for the difference in performance of military and corporate staffs.

1. The best military staffs are made up of officers who previously served in line positions and know they will return to such positions. The worst corporate horrors seem to come from companies where the staff world can provide a career path (Finance, Audit, HR, etc.). Staff-line rotation serves to broaden perspectives and as a reality check.

2. The German staff officers were trained in the totality of war-- history, planning, tactics, leadership. All too often corporate staffs have a limited, specialized toolkit that they apply to every problem. Not every situation can be approached as a question of financial control or process reengineering.

3. General staff officers were selected after a rigorous screening process which looked at intellectual potential, past-military performance, and academic preparation. Combined with their service in line positions, this ensured that they were respected by the officer corps as a whole. Too many corporate staffs fail to win this respect and must rely on executive fiat to gain even minimal cooperation.

4. Business staffers generally operate with the assumption that the world is predictable. Most of their efforts are devoted to measuring, explaining, and eliminating variances. The German General Staff understood that war was unpredictable-- as von Moltke said, "no plan survives contact with the enemy."

5. Business staffs generally assume that they have the answer and success is just a matter of applying the right template. Often those templates and methods come prepackaged by consultants. The best general staffs serve a vital role in creating new doctrine by studying past operations and potential enemies. The US Marine Corps had worked through the problems of amphibious warfare by 1937, The roots of Blitzkrieg are found in von Seeckt's creation of 57 study groups tasked to analyze the 1914-1918 war. He did this in 1919 and assigned nearly 10% of the officer corps to this task.

See also,

Waiting for our Clausewitz

Clausewitz (II)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Clinton legacy

Robert Musil doesn't think Clinton did the Dems any favors:
So why the focus on the presidency - and therefore the focus on Mr. Clinton as "the last big Democratic winner" and on Hillary Clinton as potentially "the next big Democratic winner?" The Clintons since 1992 are more responsible than anyone else for putting the Democrats in their current disastrous Congressional position. The Democrats' top imperative should be to make sure that nobody like the Clintons ever gets close to Democratic positions of power again.

Obviously, I agree.
Guilt by association

This quote from the WSJ piece by Daniel Henninger bugged me:
A survey by the Pew Research Center reports that over three years from January 2000, the percentage of people getting candidate and campaign news fell 9% for daily newspapers, 10% for network news and 5% for news magazines. The numbers rose, up to 4%, for cable news, the Internet and comedy TV shows (Jon Stewart's rise as a news authority figure is the court jester displacing the journalistic monarchy).
Why link Jon Stewart with the Internet?

Stewart has much more in common with Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer than he does with PowerLine or Little Green Footballs or Kos. Lumping an unfunny comic playing a newscaster in with the whole Internet is just an esteem-boosting ploy. The MSM may be shrinking, but they are being squeezed out by sources that are just unserious, you see-- intellectual junk food for the lazy and stupid. It's not Dan's fault, or Bill Kellers, or Aaron Brown's.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Mission for the day

Convince Scott Chaffin to write that post about the election and the Scots-Irish that he's promised. In the meantime, make sure you read the comments on Scott's tease post.
Music blogging

Michelle remembers Disco days.

Jack Sparks watches the CMAs.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Another butler throws a hissy fit*

I was going to blog about the Rothenberg column in Ad Age, but Jeff Jarvis has already done so.

I've noted before that Ad Age is oddly dismissive of blogs and bloggers. They seem to be locked into the prevailing model of one-way and don't want to change.

The rise of citizen/consumer media presents challenges for both marketers and advertising agencies. But wishing that it goes away is not a real solution.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Why Specter

The tactical

The big bloc of 55 GOP senators contains 4 Northeastern liberals (Snow, Collins, Chaffee, and Specter) and two mavericks (McCain and Hagel). Alienate them and see how much GWB gets done in this Congress

Specter won't be a strong chairman. He is not well-liked or respected by his colleagues. He'll maximize his face-time on TV, but in the end he'll go along with his caucus because being chairman is how he gets on MTP. Don't make him a martyr or a hero in the fight against intolerant right-wingers.

The strategic

The anti-Specter forces are painting the an image of GOP conservatives as intolerant right-wingers. If that image takes hold, Rick Santorum is finished in '06. Specter, after all, ran better here than W.

Further, the Dems are in a bind because they have written off the South. Why should the GOP repeat their mistakes in the Northeast? Don't we want to be competitive in Maryland, PA, or NJ?

Nightmare scenario

Conservative anger builds up, the media covers it, then the six GOP mavericks form a "Moderate Unity Coalition" with Harry Reid's Democrats. They looks like heroes trying to heal the blue/red divide. (Essentially, they triangulate like WJBC). Instant loss of Senate majority, no conservative jurist has a prayer, GWB becomes the lamest of lame ducks.

LOOK: It's not just Hugh Hewitt on the" leave Specter alone" side. The guys at Powerline have come to similar position.

More here.

And here are two posts i wrote about NRO and Specter during the primary fight.



New Blog

A Pittsburgh law-blog written by a Steelers fan. (Some really good posts on start-ups, angel investors, and VCs).

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Nice appreciations up at PowerLine and Michelle Malkin. The Ashcroft confirmation was an important battle in the 2004 campaign. An awful lot of evangelical and conservative Christians noticed how the Left attacked the man for his faith and his upbringing as a minister's son.

This is from an article MM linked to:
One thing is clear: While other politicians pick up religion as a fashion accessory, Ashcroft exudes it from his core.

Says Franklin Zimring, law professor at UC Berkeley and a law school classmate of Ashcroft: "You'd learn a heck of a lot more about John Ashcroft researching his church than you would turning the University of Chicago Law School upside down. What's problematic about his career as attorney general is not his technical legal training. It's his values


I wish the kids in The Corner would stop mucking around in my state and do something useful like working to defeat their own Senator Clinton in '06.

Hugh Hewitt has all the facts on his side. The man is a stalwart.

Remember this-- HH understood the politics of the exit polls and did his utmost to reassure and fire up the base. The namby-pambies at NRO girded up their loins and started to draft their "Why Bush Lost" articles.

I know that it is hard to come off the adrenaline rush of an election campaign for political junkies like NRO. And creating a controversy doesn't hurt their hit count. (Nor does picking a fight hurt the response rate for those fund-raising letters they send out each year to pay for the high cost of being a metrocon publication.)

So the Steelers knock off two undefeated teams in consecutive weeks. And the guys at ESPN just want to show TO yapping on the sidelines and come up with excuses for why the win over New England does not count.

Instead of focusing on Mr. Sharpie who did next to nothing on Sunday, how about a little attention to the wide receiver who scored the first two touchdowns. Hines Ward may not hog the spotlight like TO, but he catches, blocks, encourages his teammates, and does not mind sharing the limelight.

And how about the secondary that snapped Owens string of 100 yards games and completely stuffed him on yards after the catch.

Yes, I know that New England had injuries. But we are playing our third string quarterback. Against New England we were without our Pro Bowl nose tackle, a linebacker who was the NFL defensive rookie of the year, and our number one cornerback. Against Philly we were without the NT, the CB and also our number one running back.

Monday, November 08, 2004

"The Banner of Zarqawi"

Belmont Club looks at the importance of bases for terrorists and guerilla bands. Hence, the importance of the Battle of Falluja.

Carnival of the Capitalists

Now that the election is over, check out the round-up of econ and business blogging over at Incite.
Oh no he couldn't

Virginia Postrel:
If he can resist the comic temptation to make wild generalizations, Brooks could spend the next several months explaining the complicated reality of middle America to the parochial readers of the NYT.
To do that, Brooks himself would have to understand "the complicated reality of middle America". And he doesn't. Trust me, I live in the area where Brooks did his "field work" for his famous Atlantic article. He was only marginally more astute than Maureen Dowd.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Clinton Legacy

When WJBC triangulated in 1995-96 to win re-election, he made a conscious decision to leave the conregessional democrats in the lurch. They would continue to be perceived as liberal/left/out-of-touch. He demonized the Republicans as dangerously right-wing claimed the middle for himself.

It worked, but it was a personal victory. Democratic senators and congressmen were left to fend for themselves. Without the WH bully pulpit to demonize their opponents, they twisted in the wind. No problem if you are the incumbent senator of New York or California. Big problem if you are competing for an open seat in Georgia or Oklahoma.

Why do they love Cinton so much? That is the great mystery.

See also:

Clinton Legacy Watch

Clinton and FDR
Credit where due

The smartest reaction to the election by a liberal blogger:

Letter from Gotham

A couple of days after the returns came in she added a quote to the top of her blog:
"Lick 'em tomorrow." Grant to Sherman after Shiloh.

In politics, there are no final victories or final defeats. We do it all over again every two year.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A sure sign they are taking the loss hard

I am getting a lot of hits (i.e. a lot for me) from Google on the search "IQ and politics." Prompted, no doubt, by that old hoax that Bush states have a lower collective IQ than Gore/Kerry states. This has been thoroughly debunked by Steve Sailor.
Blogosphere Blindspot

Check out Evangelical Outpost:

Earlier today I mentioned how rare it is for mainstream journalists to have any personal acquaintance with evangelical Christians and how they must have been shocked to discover that “moral values” was such a prominent issue with those voters. The top-ranks of the blogosphere, though, are probably just as likely to have been surprised by the findings. Even Andrew Sullivan, a usually astute observer, claimed, “What we're seeing, I think, is a huge fundamentalist Christian revival in this country, a religious movement that is now explicitly political as well.”

Friday, November 05, 2004

On the Exit Poll Debacle

Ace has some thoughts on why the exit polls were wrong. It is the analysis I've seen so far.

Key point I have not seen anywhere else:
The exit polls have been shown to be utter rubbish, and yet the Democrats and their liberal media Spirit Squad are still quoting from them. The numbers were simply bad-- they showed a coming landslide for Kerry, which was just not what happened. So if the numbers were off on the head-to-head horserace, why are liberals continuing to cite the erroneous polls for the non-horserace data?
FWIW, it think Michael Barone's "slamming" theory is plausible. Polling places in all the battleground states were crawling with observers from the DNC, the Kerry campaign, MoveOn, ACT, etc. It makes sense that activists saw the exit pollsters and the word got around.

No top down conspiracy is required. Just as Rove did not tell bloggers to go after the Rather documents, Mik McCurry did not have to call his minions to send them to the right polling places. Leftists, too, can operate as a pack instead of a herd.

A question: if intra-day poll results are inherently unreliable, why does the MSM want to see them?

Ace also spanks Wm. Saletan of Slate. Like Drudge and NRO, he reported that Kerry was running the table based on exit polls. Unlike Drudge and NRO, he did not report the problems with the internals later in the day.
But it might be worse still. I can't help suspecting that Saletan wasn't especially upset by the thought that the numbers he was publishing -- numbers he had to know by 5:00 were probably bad -- were helping to depress Republican turnout. Whether those numbers were right or wrong.
I wrote about this before Election Day here.

Poll games: one last card to play

UPDATE: Just saw this over at
Outside one polling place, we noticed a stringer (a Frenchman!) working for a pool of several news organizations (CNN, ABC, Fox, MSNBC, etc.) who was doing some exit polling. For most of the day he was frequently caucusing with the Democrat lawyer poll watcher and occasionally with some ACT people. (I think they’re the Soros group.) It was just all too chummy for objective reporting. It occurred to my teammate that this might have been part of the bogus exit polling that was being disseminated throughout Election Day.
I guess we can be pretty sure now

that the Edwards/Kerry mention of Mary Cheney was calculated.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

A placeholder for an idea that deserves more time than i have right now

That redneck, Bible-thumping vote on Tuesday was, in part, an anti-imperial vote. It was a peaceful insurgency aimed at preventing a handful of lawyers and politicians in New York, Boston, and San Francisco from disenfranchising a hundred million citizens.
Clinton Legacy Watch

Bill Clinton is one of the big losers in this election. His status as a two-term Democratic president placed him in the company of Wilson and FDR. Had Bush lost, Clinton would have been the guy who turned back the Reagan tide and made the Democrats competitive at the national level.
Now Clinton looks smaller, maybe a dead-end for the Dems.

His two terms are now just part of a series of minority presidencies bracketed by the majority victories of Reagan, Bush 41 and now Bush 43. Perhaps worse for his legacy is the fact that he fumbled away Democratic control of Congress.
Suggestion for MSM election soothsayers

Don't look at a poll for four weeks.

Buy a copy of Michael Barone's Almanac of American Politics. Read it cover to cover.

Polls are like a snapshot of the surf near a beach. They tell you nothing about what will happen next week or what is happening 200 miles away. Barone understands the deeper historical currents that matter.

(This advice also applies to the metrocons at NRO who acted like hysterical chickens on Election Day.

Almanac of American Politics, 2004
Almanac of American Politics, 2004

Unsung heroes

My hat is off to the Republican voters in deep-blue-states who went out and voted for Bush even though they knew that the local race was not in doubt. They pushed Bush above the magic 50% and gave him the 3.5 million margin that put the election beyond the limits of litigation.

Voting in such circumstances is an act of defiance. In most circumstances, it does not matter a great deal. This time, it mattered a lot.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Go read Scott Chaffin

Just go. He said it better than i can.
Good advice

Media wants ratings tomorrow night. Nothing creates ratings like a close election.

So now what? Where do you sit? Are you sitting? If the Fox poll showed Bush up twelve, would that change what you know you have to do tomorrow?

From Radio Blogger.
Reason surprises

Desertion In the Field: Twilight of the liberal hawks

Anybody seeking to prove the Kerryan criticism that George W. Bush doesn't know how to build an alliance need look no further than the pan-ideological coalition he built right here at home. In the heat of battle, when their support was most important, the liberal hawks broke ranks and fled the battlefield. Nor will they acknowledge having betrayed the president who gave them what they claimed to wish for: In the minds of the liberal hawks, it is Bush who has betrayed their grand ideals with his "mismanagement" of the postwar situation.
So if the liberal hawks honestly thought the war could be conducted without brutality, they were merely naïve. If, however, they are not so much disappointed in the war as tired of Bush, they are something worse. I'm not going to prescribe how anybody should vote, but are there any issues of greater moment than the invasion of Iraq? What is the case for turning out a president who delivered something of such importance to people who say they wanted it? That Bush supported the Federal Marriage Amendment? That No Child Left Behind is underfunded? That Michael Powell has been too rough on Howard Stern? Are these the same people who spent the last three years reminding me that there's a war on?

Monday, November 01, 2004


Check out Powerline in case you had any delusions that "60 Minutes" cared about journalistic integrity.

Captain's Quarters looks at coverage of the candidates in this and in past campaigns. Many good points but this one deserves mention. In 1984, Ronald Reagan received positive coverage only 9% of the time. The idea that RR was a beloved, bipartisan figure while in office is a lie that has become one of the mythic touchstones for the media. Just wasn't so.

Beldar looks at how media bias shows up in the coverage of politician's secrets. He is right that we have been offered a pig in a poke as a candidate and the press doesn't care.
Carnival of the Capitalists

The latest round-up of the best in econ and business blogging is over at