The following is cynical, I admit. But it’s not unfair.
This past weekend I attended an impressive campaign school by Democracy for America, a band of “progressive” shock troops for the Democratic Party. I like these people and am even giving them money.
Among the DFA’s many pragmatic teachings is the 27-9-3: a message that is (ideally) no more than 27 words long, delivered in nine seconds, and makes no more than three points. The idea is to impose discipline on one’s political speech, respecting the limited attention that most people feel they can afford to give to politics.
We were encouraged to write a 27-9-3 for our state party. And here is where my troubles began. After some thought I wrote: Continue reading
Coverage of tonight’s Obama press conference, as with the health care reform issue in general, has been tediously focused on political tactics and horse trading. Media consumers are being schooled to feel that reform is a prospect to be feared, as it’s bound to be expensive and is likely to make things worse.
They allow that the U.S. health care system is flawed, but the scale and focus of that critique is almost solely on cost — especially costs to businesses — and the consequences for our “competitiveness.” Because this, you see, is how grown-ups talk about public affairs: in terms of profit, loss, growth prospects, and the global marketplace.
Mark Halperin’s post at the Time magazine blog The Page is a study in this kind of trivia and misdirection. It’s a list of “ways that Obama can make news at his Wednesday press conference” — because mature adults should know that the only thing that matters in politics is how an event feeds the news cycle and sets up the next event. Continue reading
The Alabama Archives continues its curiously named “ArchiTreats” lunchtime lecture series, and I really want to drive down to Montgomery and attend the one this Thursday at noon.
For one thing, I’m a fan of the speaker, Marlene Rikard (Samford University). For another, the topic is the inescapable “New South” — a concept that was moth-eaten by 1930, yet lives on in present-day political rhetoric, as if it actually meant something. I expect that Dr. Rikard’s talk, billed as “a social and economic view” of the New South, will give us an idea of what it actually has meant. After all, the “New South” (invented, funnily enough, by some of the same people who cooked up the “Old South”) is well into its second century; in fact, its timespan conforms pretty neatly to that of Birmingham, Alabama. And Birmingham is not a young city, not by American standards anyway.
Bring a lunch, if you want, to the auditorium at 624 Washington Street, Montgomery. Drinks are provided free. Info is at (334) 353-4712 or the website.
There’s a Subway on Dexter Avenue if you want to pick something up on the way.
Family, work, and summer weather have taken their toll this month. Continue reading