Yes, I Read Comment Threads
Quasi-Random Responses to Comments from the Previous Thread
Proof that I read comment threads: I respond to my readers.
This is a good time to have dialogue. Let's dive in, in no particular order:
Barry64 writes: So from the comments from Tomasky and Elena and Radiant I have to assume they all watched MSNBC’s coverage. I guess they missed out on those speaches. Gotta wonder if they even knew they were missing out or were tricked by DNC TV.
MT: I mostly watched MSNBC, but I flipped to CNN from time to time. No, no Fox, not even for laughs. MSNBC carried chunks of all the speeches, except Artur Davis, whom I caught on CNN. I didn't write about those speeches because I think they probably don't matter, since they weren't on the networks.
For that matter, Chris Christie's speech doesn't matter. There've been two top-notch keynote addresses in my adult lifetime, Cuomo and Obama. Giuliani in 2008 also delivered a humdinger, although it wasn't Lofty like the other two. In all three cases, the candidate lost. Mediocre keynote addresses are missed but quickly forgotten opportunities, and good ones don't help.
Jabsco asks: Honest question, did any of the speeches talk about foreign policy?
MT: Not a word. Interesting. I doubt Ryan will have much to say about it either. McCain will of course, but again, that's a pre-network speech. Romney will have the obligatory section, but this provides a big opening for the Democrats, and we'll see if they're smart enough to take it.
Omegadon argues: "They don't like the guy very much." When are are going to realize that liking the guy is not important anymore? It is about compentence. I am sure that there are many dems in Jersey that don't like Christier much either, but they should be thanking their lucky stars for that guy.
MT: I beg to differ. The more likeable candidate, according to the polling on that question, almost always wins the presidential election. Ruth Marcus wrote on that very thing today. And your point about Dems in NJ not liking Christie is irrelevant. The point I was making is that Republicans don't even like Romney much. That's a different matter.
Elena24 says: And past generations were able to make good lives partly thanks to social security and medicare. They knew they could spend more now on buying their own homes and educating their children because they would have help in their later years.
Past generations - many in my family - were able to make good lives because they took advantage of the GI bill.
Past generations were able to make good lives because union membership ensured they were paid a living wage.
InLightened ripostes: Past generations didn't need that much. They saved like crazy because they remembered the Depression or at least the stories. They bought a house and stayed there for 40 years. They bought cars they could many times fix themsilves. They got married, raised a family and grew old together. They didn't take big vacations, they went and saw family. They didn't eat out all the time but on occasions. I never heard a relative or my parents or grandparents talk about the greatness of SS or Medicare. They talked about working for acompany for 30 years and the pension they received and medical benefits that meant so much to them. Can't comment on union membership as no relatives I knew were members.
MT: Without denying the truth of what InLightened says, I would say to him that ignoring Elena's important points amounts to just telling himself half the story. Union membership was 35 percent of the private-sector work force. If you want to go around pretending that that didn't lift wages and help create a middle class, you're not dealing in facts.
Also, InLightened: You seem to lament that people aren't as thrifty and disciplined as they were in the old days. Fair enough. But what forces in society created that change? Here we get to something crucial.
The conservative narrative would be built around some idea of liberal licentiousness or sloth or some such. But what of the market's role? Isn't it the market that has changed our habits? The single fact of the spread of credit cards in the 1970s drastically changed society along these lines. Around the same time began the explosion of consumer choices on all manner of products. In the next decade, money really took over--that's when salaries at the top zoomed to the stratosphere, and we started in on what Robert Frank and Philip Cook called the winner-take-all-society.
It's also when the median wage froze, union membership started dropping, and globalization started moving jobs overseas. And when civic responsibility among elites vanished. That's a huge problem in our country, and one neither party will discuss since it would require criticizing the people who finance political campaigns.
But all that is getting a little off-topic. My concluding thought: Maybe conventions just don't matter anymore. I doubt this one will change the dynamic much, and I doubt the Dems' will either. Maybe it's time just to drop these altogether. Just let the nominee give a big speech somewhere and accept the nomination to release the general-election funds, and go home.
I am especially taken with this view now that, as far as I'm learning, media organizations aren't throwing big parties anymore. If there's no free food and booze, there's no point.