Saturday, March 8, 2014

Last Call For Realpoli-Ticked Off

The notion that the United States could step back, lower its voice about democracy and human rights and let others lead assumed that the space we abandoned would be filled by democratic allies, friendly states and the amorphous “norms of the international community.” Instead, we have seen the vacuum being filled by extremists such as al-Qaeda reborn in Iraq and Syria; by dictators like Bashar al-Assad, who, with the support of Iran and Russia, murders his own people; by nationalist rhetoric and actions by Beijing that have prompted nationalist responses from our ally Japan; and by the likes of Vladimir Putin, who understands that hard power still matters.

These global developments have not happened in response to a muscular U.S. foreign policy: Countries are not trying to “balance” American power. They have come due to signals that we are exhausted and disinterested. The events in Ukraine should be a wake-up call to those on both sides of the aisle who believe that the United States should eschew the responsibilities of leadership. If it is not heeded, dictators and extremists across the globe will be emboldened. And we will pay a price as our interests and our values are trampled in their wake.

The funny part is the absolute entirety of Condoleezza Rice's credibility as a serious foreign policy expert is completely obliterated by the words "Iraq" or "Afghanistan", which ends up being about 2,498 words fewer words than she vomited out to the WaPo's opinion page.

Oh well.

In Which Zandar Answers Your Burning Questions

National Journal's Alex Seitz-Wald asks:

Is Ben Carson the Republican Who Can Defeat Hillary Clinton?

Before you laugh, consider this: The group that put Carson on the hotel keys has outraised Clinton's draft committee, Ready for Hillary; has been on the ground in Iowa; and is working from the playbook written by Howard Dean and Barack Obama.

It's all the work of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, which is trying to get the conservative neurosurgeon to run for president. It's part fan club, part savvy campaign.

The case for Carson is all about math and race. Carson is African-American and his supporters think that will be his path to victory. He's "a respected figure among black Americans," the video explains, and if he can win just 17 percent of the black vote, it is "mathematically impossible" for a Democrat to win the White House.

17% of the black vote is turns out to be about 2% of the voting public, but if the black vote really is that important, why do Republicans keep doing such a miserable job of attracting black voters?

Of course, Republicans could accomplish the same thing (reducing the African-American vote by 17%) with restrictive voting laws in swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia.

Which explains the empty room at the minority outreach panel.

Millennial Mish-Mash

The latest Pew Research study on Millennial voters finds a number of facts:  They are political independents (50% are), more likely to not have a religious affiliation than older Americans (29% do not), far less likely to be married (26% are), very cynical when it comes to trusting most people (19% do), much more likely to have a four-year college degree (33% of those 26-33 do) and support gay rights (51% do).

But there's a big gap in the political views of Millennials based on race, and it's larger than any other generation.

Across Generations, Racial Differences in Obama Job Approval 

The political views of Millennials differ significantly across racial and ethnic lines. About half of white Millennials (51%) say they are political independents. The remainder divide between the Republican (24%) and Democratic (19%) parties. Among non-white Millennials, about as many (47%) say they are independent. But nearly twice as many (37%) identify as Democrats while just 9% identify as Republicans.

These partisan patterns are closely linked to views of Obama. While Millennials as a group are somewhat more approving of Obama than Gen Xers, Boomers or Silents, these differences are driven more by race and ethnicity than by age. White Millennials’ views of Obama are not substantially different from those of older whites. Some 34% of white Millennials approve of the job Obama is doing as president, compared with 33% of Gen Xers, 37% of Boomers and 28% of Silents. By contrast 67% of non-white Millennials give Obama high marks for the job he’s doing as president.
So two huge things here:  first of all, age doesn't make any real difference among whites when it comes to Obama's job approval.  Younger whites have essentially the same low approval of President Obama as their Gen X parents, Boomer grandparents, and Silent great-grandparents do.

Second, the gap is actually largest between white and non-white Gen X'ers when it comes to the role of government in our lives. 

Wide Racial Differences on Views of Role of Government

White and non-white Millennials have different views on the role of government as well. On balance, white Millennials say they would prefer a smaller government that provides fewer services (52%), rather than a bigger government that provides more services (39%). Non-white Millennials lean heavily toward a bigger government: 71% say they would prefer a bigger government that provides more services, while only 21% say they would prefer a smaller government. The racial gaps are about as wide among Gen Xers and Boomers. 

Majorities of white Millennials what smaller government and don't think healthcare is the government's business, but actually the racial gap here is much larger among my fellow Gen X'ers.  Two-thirds of whites in my generation want smaller government, 71% of non-whites want more. 61% say it's not the government's business to provide healthcare, 64% of non-whites find the opposite true.

In both cases, I would have easily guessed the gap would have been largest among the Boomers.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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