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June 01, 2010


I agree that "social sanctions" are vastly preferable to criminalizing false claims of military service. However, attmpted criminalizing may be a useful step for promoting social sanctions. Hatch's bill is unlikely to pass. However, the publicity engendered by debate over the bill will help promote social sanctions against Blumenthal.

Polarization alert?

Not sure I understand what that is supposed to mean?

Are the Republicans polarized because they remain consistent in their opinions and are aren't significantly swayed by temporary situations? Or are they polarizing everyone else?

Or is it that everyone else besides Republicans are changing opinions that were not based on particular principles, so they are polarized?

Or is it the sunglasses everyone needs to use while in the gulf that are polarizing? ;-)

MartyB - baffled....

MartyB, here's my guess as to what Brendan means by "polarization."

All Americans are concerned about both energy production and environmental protection. We all use energy for transportation, heat, air conditioning industry, etc. And, we all breathe air drink water, appreciate nature, etc. Looked at this way, there's broad agreement on both issues.

Sometimes there's a trade-off between energy production and environmental risks. Rather than address the trade-off, libs often pretend that conservatives care nothing about environmental protection. Thus the polarization is created in the minds of libs. It makes them feel superior to imagine that they're the only ones concerned about the environment.

A particularly amusing example of this principle is that many urban libs preferred to believe that they were more concerned about nature than Ronald Reagan was. They didn't notice that Reagan had chosen to live on a ranch out in nature, whereas they were living in cities. Reagan's life style choice was evidence that nature was more important to him than it was to them.

Two recent Gallup polls give an interesting contrast in how Gallup interprets results. The poll Brendan cites provides the following "Bottom Line":

The recent oil spill has spurred a significant shift in Americans' environmental attitudes. For the last few years, Americans' environmental concerns declined as the public placed a higher priority on pocketbook concerns like the economy and energy, likely due to the poor U.S. economy. However, in just two months' time, that trend has reversed, and the pro-environment position has regained the strength it showed for most of the last decade. (emphasis added)

A subsequent poll showed Republicans moving ahead on the generic Congressional ballot. Here's Gallup's "Bottom Line":

Given the Republican Party's usual advantage in voter turnout in midterm elections, a tie on the generic congressional ballot among registered voters, as Gallup has been reporting, typically suggests that the party would win the national popular vote for Congress if the election were held today. Now, with a lead on the generic ballot, Republicans could be in a slightly stronger position than they have been in, though it is not clear whether the recent shift marks the beginning of a lasting change in the structure of the race or perhaps a short-term response to political events such as the Obama administration's handling of the BP oil spill. The latter appeared to be the case earlier this year as Republicans built a small lead after the healthcare bill's passage into law, but the slight bump for the GOP among registered voters did not last. (emphasis added)

I think Gallup is right in the more recent poll to be circumspect about whether the results evidence something more than a temporary phenomenon. But why didn't Gallup show similar circumspection in the first poll?

It's all about the narrative.

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