Think of this as Volume 14, Number 44 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
One of the big untold stories of this election cycle was just how easy it was to avoid the hoopla.
Like millions of others I no longer have a wired phone, just cell phones. So I never heard from a pollster. Like millions of others I spend more time online than in front of the TV, so I missed the flood of TV ads as well.
As a result I was inoculated. I could find out about it in my own way, from sources I trusted, and ignore the rest. When reporters complain about people getting all their news from Fox, or Comedy Central, it's a point they're missing.
Think of this as Volume 14, Number 43 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
You can't say a new political thesis even exists until it is fully engaged.
The election of a crisis leader does not always engage the Thesis, as the election of Abraham Lincoln precipitated the Civil War. It's not until the crisis leader sees the real problem of his time, the real obstacles, and calls upon the will of the people that the process begins.
After the crisis election of 1896, it took nearly five years for Theodore Roosevelt to issue his call against the "Trusts." After the crisis election of 1932, it was not until the Supreme Court called the New Deal unconstitutional that the issue was engaged.
This is not unusual.
No matter what happens in the coming elections, it's a good thing. The President is being pushed to confront political enemies, to embrace his political base, and to seek a message that will save both him and his party.
The economic crisis the President confronted was not the crisis we in fact face. It was a symptom of a deeper economic problem, the economics of scarcity.
The economics of scarcity have defined the last decade. It's why the Texas oilagarchs got involved in politics. It's why we went to war. It's why economic growth today seems impossible -- each appearance of sustained growth is met by a rise in energy prices.
Think of this as Volume 14, Number 42 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
Here is something you weren't told in school.
America is a Germanic country.
Our food is German. Our dress is German. Our distances, both personal and urban, are German. Our sense of beauty is German, not French. Our bread and sweets are German. Our loud laughter is German. America has people of French and Spanish and Polish and English and Irish and a hundred other descents, but the Germans set the mood, and the mood remains the same.
When I was young I envied rich and famous writers, hoping (and maybe expecting) I might be one some day.
I'm not. I'm competent, and my Internet readers know me well. But you're a small band – perhaps a few hundred regulars in all. You're not growing. I'm not on TV, I don't write books. I realized some time ago I am what I am, a journalist working the backwaters of technology, listening to sources and parroting what they say.
But I have learned, in my maturity, to admire those who can do more, even when they started out well behind me.
Take Anthony Bourdain. He's near my age and admits to having taken just the wrong path through life. He was a druggie cook for about two decades, his lungs always filled with smoke, his late nights (by his own admission) filled with cocaine and heroin.
Then at about age 40, he got angry, he got frustrated, he decided he wanted more. He sat down and started writing, hating the fame and pretension around him, vowing to tell just the truth and to never “sell out” like “that little ewok” Emeril, the Food Network, the whole celebrity-chef gourmet scene.
The result was “Kitchen Confidential,” a classic which told the truth about American kitchen life. Brutally honest, howlingly funny, with a unique voice that (it turned out) poured right out of him, unedited, whenever you talked to him.
Think of this as Volume 14, Number 41 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
In that past I've discussed how political theses live and die, how they're not just political but economic, and how they expire as the media mix changes.
Another key to understanding them is they are all about new people.
Republicans began life as a coalition of capital and free labor, in the 1850s. Their coalition was renewed with the rise of distribution channels early in the last century. Democrats dominated from 1932 based on the votes of cities, while Republicans returned to power after 1968 on the strength of the suburbs.
What makes Obama unlike Carter, or Clinton, is partly the nature of his coalition. It includes all the rising forces within the country:
The new class based around universities.
Most of these folks had not voted before. Young people were notorious for under-voting. Immigrants were invisible, and the "new class" didn't seem to exist before the 1990s.
Think of this as Volume 14, Number 40 of A-Clue.com, the online newsletter I've written since 1997. Enjoy.
The biggest mistake I ever made was journalism school.
Not that journalism has been a mistake. Far from it. It's what I am, not just what I do. I have loved nothing more than writing since I was a little kid. It's a love affair that has lasted nearly 50 years.
The problem is with journalism's definition of itself, which was presented to me in the first lecture I went to. "Journalists are people who work for people who buy ink by the barrel," I was told.
What's wrong with that sentence? Work for people.
Journalism, as a profession, as something you're employed to do and be, was already dying in the late 1970s. I could see the end coming. I debated the end with my teachers. But I really did nothing about it.