Friday, November 20, 2009

Which of the following comes closer to your view of the budget deficit -the government should run a deficit if necessary when the country is in a recession and is at war, or the government should balance the budget even when the country is in a recession and is at war?

Run a deficit 30% 33%
Balance the budget 67% 65%
No opinion 4% 1%

The poll asked this question: "Do you think that Barack Obama legitimately won the Presidential election last year, or do you think that ACORN stole it for him?" The overall top-line is legitimately won 62%, ACORN stole it 26%.

Among Republicans, however, only 27% say Obama actually won the race, with 52% -- an outright majority -- saying that ACORN stole it, and 21% are undecided. Among McCain voters, the breakdown is 31%-49%-20%. By comparison, independents weigh in at 72%-18%-10%, and Democrats are 86%-9%-4%.
Democracy without leadership is failure but in America the myth has come to be the people lead, so conservative leaders are aggressive cynics and liberal leaders are idealistic and passive, a passivity that among the wealthy is clearly self-serving: they make money the same way rich conservatives do. That's changing now, slowly, and the motion is from the ground up, the cultural ground of course more than the economic one. John Stewart, a rich man, engages conservatives not just their ideas. He faced Lou Dobbs directly, talking to him not just about him. Interesting that the right doesn't attack Stewart and Colbert much.

It's not about idealism but a certain sense of obligation. Intellectual political liberalism is premised on the rationalism of rational action, of individual self-interest bound by law. Intellectual social -tacit, or de facto- liberalism is founded on the understanding that people are linked by overlapping and conflicting social obligations, that selves and others are wrapped up together in ways that are never clearly defined, but deny and demand description, and re-description. Academic liberalism is modeled on the naturalism of the hard sciences, informal, cultural, liberalism on historically minded but non-academic empiricism. In the US absent a crisis, that liberalism is anti-political, fitting with the hyper-political rationalism of the competition. That's the transition now.

The NY Times' professional television watcher catches the subtlety that the political intellectual does not.

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