I expect I will swing back and forth between posting a lot for several days and posting almost nothing for extended periods of time. There are two reasons for this. First:
The strength of a blog is not in any individual piece, but in working through the ideas in real time, responding to each day’s news events in some small way, putting a spin, adding a bit of understanding. Even as I would do that, I would still attempt to write “the piece” that would make a difference, that would change minds.
Blogging is about writing dozens of pieces - which together form a kind of journal, allowing insights into thought processes that are not available in single articles which should be consistent and coherent. Instead, blogs at their best provide a messy view of the thought process that would go behind an article, behind an idea. As people respond and attack and support a blogger’s arguments, they evolve. And that it what makes blogs a strong medium - even if it also demonstrates why they can never replace more definitive works.
And second . . . read the whole thing. Yeah, I'm serious, go read it. And then come back. Thank you.
I think blogging should be like a journal or a collection of essays. You're never going to have the definitive post that explains everything, but you may have a post that makes a big stride in that direction. And so I'm going to be holding back on blogging until I've built up sufficient ideas for a a lengthy post. For some periods of time the ideas will be flowing day after day. Other times, not so much.
One key lesson so far: Virginia Republicans have serious problems with both new voters in 2008 AND with Bush voters that jumped ship.
In no particular order, this big picture concern includes several demographic problems for Virginia Republicans.
Democrats are surging among voters with college degrees. Take a look at the localities in Virginia: Charlottesville and Albemarle (UVA), Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, James City (William and Mary) and Montgomery (VT). The strong Democratic performance around Charlottesville contributed to the defeat of Congressman Virgil Goode. Obama pulled out a narrow 51.73% victory in Montgomery County and finished with a more distant 44.95% in James City County. But compare that to Kerry's 44.83% in Montgomery County and 38.39% in James City County. If this trend keeps up, how long until Williamsburg and James City County become a danger to Congressman Rob Wittman's reelection chances?
But it's ok if the Republican Party is alienating college educated voters, the new "creative class," if they keep bringing home white working class voters, right?
What if we have problems with white working class voters too?
Andrew Levison has an interesting white paper at the Democratic Strategist on Obama's performance among younger white working class voters. (PDF) You might not want to listen to a liberal publication founded by William Galston, Stan Greenberg, and Ruy Teixeira. But Teixeira in particular seems to have been right on the money about the "Emerging Democratic Majority" and what the coalition would look like, even if an election cycle or two late. Know your enemies, so they say.
McCain won white working class voters 58-40, a margin not that different from 2004 and 2000. But Levison notes that a Pew Research Center study indicated that younger white working class voters split almost evenly, 50-48. Republicans will not be politically viable if the white working class voters of tomorrow aren't as overwhelmingly Republican as they are today.
I don't want to belabor the point (or do I?), but the Republican Party has some serious problems, both nationally and in Virginia. It would be great if the LBJ-McGovern coalition of minorities, feminists, and professionals locked the Democratic Party into permanent minority status. It did, for a while. But now we are a less Christian nation. We are a less white nation and the attempt by Mel Martinez and Karl Rove to reach out to Hispanics collapsed in a Minuteman induced explosion.
If we allow the Democrats to box us in as the party of white Christians, almost by definition we will be in the minority when the country is no longer majority white and majority Christian. It's that simple.
And going around complaining that Obama is a tyrant, after eight years of Bush expanding government spending more than any President since LBJ, on top of his own misuse of executive power, isn't going to change the GOP's fortunes at the polls.