hard heads soft hearts

a scratch pad for half-formed thoughts by a liberal political junkie who's nobody special. ''Hard Heads, Soft Hearts'' is the title of a book by Princeton economist Alan Blinder, and tends to be a favorite motto of neoliberals, especially liberal economists.

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Friday, November 12, 2004
comment on winds of change:

As for the liberal bias of the mainstream media, you can have them. Print reporters are of course disproportionately liberal than the population at large, but they are not emotionally invested partisans, and it tends to be a wishy-washy, feather-weight liberalism which cracks at the first sharp gust of wind. Broadcast is a different ballgame. There people today tend to be kiss-ass careerists, a mindset which lends itself more easily to conservatism than liberalism. CBS, due to the faint lingering legacy of Edward Murrow (which will die when Dan Rather leaves), is an exception, but even there they now fold like cheap accordians when challenged by the suits in any way. For us partisan liberals, there are a handful of mainstream guys that really care about winning, and really represent their constituency (Krugman, Herbert, the old Kinsley, a couple others). Everyone else in mainstream "liberal" journalism I would generally characterize as "Mush from the Wimps".

As for Bush winning, I think he might, but it will have nothing to do with the "media cocoon". There has been one praiseworthy and impressive accomplishment of the Bush administration: apart from 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, there has not been a terrorist attack on American soil. Of course, the obvious counter is that apart from Oklahoma City and the first WTC bombing, there were no terrorist attacks during the Clinton administration on American soil. Nevertheless, it is a very real accomplishment which I think people will have in mind on election day. On economic isssues, I think most people are not very satisfied with the status quo, but they are more fearful of things getting worse than they are hopeful of things improving. The sentiment of "Don't rock the boat" might win out over the desire for improvement.

The irony is that change is coming whether Bush or Kerry gets in. The economic situation as it is, with massive federal borrowing, rising debt levels, an aging population with increased health and retirement costs, lots of liquidity fueling an asset bubble of uncertain dimension, an energy crunch, and a corporate upper management that is accountable to no one and is able to consume an astonishingly large and growing portion of the pie, is not sustainable. The choice is between somebody who will work er "proactively" (hate that word!) to try and fix the problems, or someone who will float in LaLa land until the shit hits the fan.

Apologies for length, I'll just say I thought Kerry has done a fantastic job in the part of debates I saw (missed the first 30-45 minutes of the second debate). Without those good performances he might have been toast.

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