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January 2, 2008

Bad News for Mike Gravel
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 11:12 AM *

I just got another telephone poll call. It was one of the “Two question” polls (there’ve been a lot of them lately). They go like this: “Would you like to participate in a quick two question poll? Are you planning to vote in the [name of party] primary? Who are you planning to vote for?”

Today’s call: “Are you planning to vote in the Democratic primary?”
“Sure am.”
“Who are you planning to vote for?”
“Mike Gravel.”
“Oh, you mean you’re going to vote in the Republican primary.”
“No, Mike Gravel is a Democrat. Two-term Democratic senator from Alaska.”
“Are you sure?
“Yes.”

At least it was a live human being. The caller never did say who paid for the call (which is required under New Hampshire law). Caller ID was “Unavailable.”

Heck of a thing when even the pollsters don’t know what ticket you’re running on.

Today’s mail: two Obama fliers and one Hillary flyer.


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Comments on Bad News for Mike Gravel:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 11:32 AM:

Oh, dear Ghu, they ought to have a better handle on the candidates than that! (Is this possibly the same outfit that didn't know that New Mexico is a US state?)

#2 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 11:36 AM:

no mail, no calls, no commercials.

nobody gives a crap about primary voters in NC.

#3 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 12:05 PM:

cleek @2, yeah, I know. *grumbles and mumbles about a national primary just so my choices wouldn't be already picked for me before I even get a chance to say anything*

#4 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 12:08 PM:

A national primary would just mean that no one outside of New York and California would hear from anyone, and there'd be no chance of anyone who didn't start out with a multi-million-dollar-highest-bidder war chest being heard from at all.

#5 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 12:16 PM:

Jim, no one from CA hears from these guys anyway. Or at least we hadn't been, before this year, because we were so late in the primary season. They're still trying to ignore us, while they focus on Iowa and New Hampshire.

#6 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 12:26 PM:

I live in Iowa, and before we disconnected the landline we got more calls for Clinton than anyone else.

Edwards is ahead in the mail ads, although most of them come from an independent group. I found it notable that one actually mentions support for the Second Amendment.

Richardson seems to be spending more than his poll numbers would indicate.

On the Republican side, Ron Paul seems to be doing well in the yard sign race in rural areas. His poll numbers are low, but perhaps this means the few supporters he does have are more committed. This could make a big difference if the weather is bad on caucus night.

#7 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 12:27 PM:

Phooey. Getting totally ignored by campaigners here in PA. Although I've seen Ron Paul signs around.

#8 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 12:36 PM:

So why are both Gravel and Kucinich in the race? Don't they just help to further marginalize each other? And is Kucinich's support for Obama purely a fit of pique about Edwards and Clinton suggesting there were too many people in the debates?

#9 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 01:00 PM:

James #4: I see your point, and I don't have a good solution, but leaving most of the country with no chance of affecting the choice in either party doesn't seem like a great situation, either. I have a feeling I'm going to go into a voting booth in November with a choice like Hillary vs Huckabee or Obama vs Romney or something. And while I know how I'll vote in those cases, I'd kind of like at least the illusion that I get something besides a rubber stamp on what the first half dozen states decided.

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 01:03 PM:

How about getting rid of the Electoral College?

#11 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 01:30 PM:

I don't think the electoral college has much influence on primaries. Primaries are about selecting which party candidates will run the the actual election, which is where the electoral college is used.

Unless what you have in mind is having all state parties go to proportional representation of their party delegates.

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 01:32 PM:

One nice thing about Super Tuesday (5 February) is that after that date we're never going to hear of "Ron Paul" again.

#13 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 01:34 PM:

Oh, Serge...would that we could. But opening up the Constitution to make that change would cause a political (and perhaps literal) bloodbath, and a direct popular vote would cause effects similar to a single nationwide primary.

This early primary race has become absurd, though, and I'm not sure what can be done about it. I like the idea of rotating waves of primaries, where 1/3 of the country casts their primary ballots in February, the next in May, and the last in August (or some other arrangement that keeps the primary out of high summer), and the next election cycle the ones who had August have February etc. But that's unlikely to be implemented in our lifetime.

I'd just like to point out that at this point in 1992 I had never heard of Bill Clinton. I barely knew who he was after the NH primary, in fact.

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 02:00 PM:

Xopher @ 13... Yeah. One can dream.

#15 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 02:06 PM:

I haven't gotten any mail or calls either. I'm an Illinois democrat; maybe they just assume we're going for Obama?

#16 ::: Rachel Heslin ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 02:16 PM:

will @8

And is Kucinich's support for Obama purely a fit of pique about Edwards and Clinton suggesting there were too many people in the debates?

Personally, I think Kucinich backs Obama because they share a preference for idealistic optimism over cynical pragmatism (something which I, myself, think is a good thing.)

#17 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 02:22 PM:

Ron Paul signs are everywhere here, almost all in places where it's illegal (and often stupidly dangerous) to place signs.

Yesterday I saw one within six inches of the breakdown land on I-5 in the 101 Junction area, which is possibly the most dangerous stretch of freeway in the state.

Also, I'm perfectly thrilled that candidates ignore my state in the primary season.

#18 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 02:25 PM:

I haven't noticed any advertising in Georgia, and we're a Super Tuesday state (but I expect that in about two weeks there will be a flurry of political adverts). On the other hand, I watch very little commercial television.

#19 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 02:39 PM:

No presidential-themed stuff here that I've seen in WI, though we've gotten a few letters from the Democratic Party asking for money, and a very odd political mailing set up like a Christmas card* from someone so sure they're a household name that they didn't bother saying who they were, or what they're running for.

If I knew who they were, and would still be in the state for the election, I would vote against them for displaying that level of ego.


*One side of the postcard was a family picture. On the back was printed "Merry Christmas, from Joe, Penny, Sarah, and Jake"--Can't remember the real names. There was teeny writing along the bottom saying that it'd been paid for by a group with a frustratingly vague name.

#20 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 02:45 PM:

Oh, I forgot. I did get one robot phone poll weeks ago about our Cogressman (an R), which basically asked if I was going to vote R or D. I said D. Then the robot said Congressman(R) supports Preznit W. Does that make me more or less likely to vote for him. (duh)
I guess that must have been a push poll, huh?

#21 ::: Ron Henry ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 02:50 PM:

Jim, the pollster knew perfectly well what party Gravel belongs to. They were just hoping to confuse a few (few hundred; few thousand?) people who might support him in the Democratic primary. They played dumb when you called them on it because dumb probably seemed preferable to admitting their deceit. This type of call that messes with the voter's mind is kissin' cousin to the more usual "Would you be less likely to support candidate X if you knew he or she was doing shady activity Y?"

#22 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 03:24 PM:

If we elected Ron Paul, none of this would happen because . . .

OH MY GOD, I DON'T HAVE A COLD, I CAUGHT THE RON PAUL MEME!

Please, someone get me some Cipro before it's too

#23 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 03:38 PM:

P J Evans @ 1
Is this possibly the same outfit that didn't know that New Mexico is a US state?

If they are, they are in numerous, if not good, company. ISTR a poll 5 or 6 years ago that showed that 40% of all Americans thought New Mexico was not a part of the US. I'd be curious to see a geographical breakdown of that poll by state: were any of these bozos in Texas or Arizona for instance? How about California (I'm taking bets on that one)?

#24 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 03:45 PM:

will shetterly @ 8

So why are both Gravel and Kucinich in the race?

Because both of them want badly to be President, and both are hoping for the kind of miracle that Clinton pulled off in '92. The candidate pool is always large at first, and the narrowing down is subject to chance enough that it's at least possible that either one could beat out all the others, including Clinton and Obama. Very unlikely in reality, of course, but the reward is huge for someone who wants power as badly as these dudes do.

#25 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 03:47 PM:

Bruce @ 23

You'd have to count me out of that poll: I've driven across NM twice, I have cousins there, and my father used to go to 'Albuquerque' on business occasionally.

(I'm pretty sure that people in Utah, Colorado, and Oklahoma also know where New Mexico is.)

#26 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 04:03 PM:

and there'd be no chance of anyone who didn't start out with a multi-million-dollar-highest-bidder war chest being heard from at all

So I hear from them on the radio, incidental to their campaigning at you in NH, but does it make any difference at all when they've dropped out of the race anyway by the time I get to vote? Around here, we only hear about Clinton and Obama (multi-million war chests) anyway. The only question is which will be pre-anointed by the time I get to mark a ballot, and which will be a truly wasted vote because they won't even be in the race anymore.

Harrumph.

I like Xopher's idea. And I would like a pony.

#27 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 04:10 PM:

I've missed the entire Iowa campaign thing. No calls, no mail, nothing-- I'm in Iowa City and have seen meetings at coffeeshops, but most of it goes around me. I'm heading into the caucus undecided. This should be interesting.

#28 ::: Rick Owens ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 04:19 PM:

I have a pleasant mental picture of John Cleese getting the above-mentioned sort of call, and responding thus:

Q: "Would you like to participate in a quick two question poll?"
A: "Certainly!!!"

Q: "Are you planning to vote in the [name of party] primary?"
A: "But of course!!!"

Q: "Who are you planning to vote for?"
A: "Oh! I'm sorry, you've just used up your 2 questions. Now, if you had selected a *3* question poll, I could answer that question, but you didn't, did you? Poor planning on your part sir! Good day!"

Q: "What?"
A: "I'm sorry, but 'What?' is technically a question, and thus answering it is, ha ha, out of the question. Good day!"

... and so on. (If they're going to waste our time, the least they can do is be amusing!)

#29 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 04:32 PM:

Has anyone seen the www.billiondollarpresident.org website or listened to the broadcast? I heard it a week or so ago on our local NPR station, and found it quite interesting.

#30 ::: Matt Stevens ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Heck of a thing when even the pollsters don’t know what ticket you’re running on.

I've worked on a number of telephone surveys, and and we never tested interviewers for their political knowledge. It's rarely necessary, since interviewers are supposed to follow a script closely and keep ad libs to a minimum.

Chances are that the interviewer saw a list of Democratic candidates on the computer screen and Gravel wasn't on it, so she assumed Gravel was a Republican.

#31 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 04:59 PM:

re #22

Giving you the Cipro would interfere with the invisble hand of the market.

#32 ::: elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 05:01 PM:

When I was about 12 or 13 I helped my parents with a "get out the vote" phone thing. I was given a list of "known friendlies" and a script, and I dialed through them. I basically smiled and nodded when confronted with anything I wasn't familiar with. I'm not at all surprised the minimum wage or volunteer dialers aren't much better trained.

As an aside, living in California I may as well be living in in Canada. No one cares what we think. I'd love to get some dumb push poll calls just to suggest we actually exist on the political radar.

#33 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 05:17 PM:

We actually got a phone call from a live member of the Clinton campaign! It went to the answering machine, as just about everything does, so I've saved it. She was asking my husband if he'd like to go up to New Hampshire to work on the Clinton campaign, sometime between now and the 9th. (We live in Massachusetts.)

#34 ::: michelel ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 05:28 PM:

A friend says Kucinich is good to have in the race because he defines "crazy far left", which allows the other candidates to skew more left than they otherwise might without themselves being labelled "crazy far left". I dunno if that applies to Gravel; I'd forgotten about him myself.

Maybe we could solve the selection dilemma this way: a two-tier primary system. The top 10 states (in terms of electoral votes) go second; the rest all go at the same time first. That prevents California/New York from becoming the new Iowa/New Hampshire, and it forces candidates to decide where best to concentrate their efforts. The breadth of that first round means that a larger variety could, in theory, still compete at "big state" time, while the ones who can't carry even one or two states get weeded out. Not that it's ever gonna happen.

#35 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 05:33 PM:

James @ 12: What an unexpected note of optimism, coming from the person who gives us all the be-prepared-for-the-worst tips.

#36 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 05:38 PM:

It could be worse, Jim -- I had a guy who claimed to be from Biden's campaign try to convince me that Biden wasn't in favor of universal health care. It's one thing not to know all the candidates in the race; it's another thing not to know where your candidate stands on a pretty major issue. I suppose his main purpose was to make sure we were going to the caucus and knew where and when it was, and to try to recruit banner-carriers.

The phone has been ringing off the hook here (Iowa) -- at one point we got four calls in the span of a half-hour. We've taken to hanging up on the robo-calls, but we at least give the live people the time of day, and we've collected the full set of the Democratic campaigns. (Plus one very confused college student on the Ron Paul campaign, who I was a bit brusque to.)

I'm still relatively undecided; I spent a chunk of yesterday reading up on the candidates' health care policy proposals, and today it'll be the Iraq war policies and everything else. I tried watching one of the debates online, but it was worse than useless. I want more detail, dammit.

#37 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 05:46 PM:

Living in California, I actually did get someone caring what I thought -- but for the Illinois congressional seat left open by Dennis Hastert's resignation, not for anything to do with the presidential race.

Specifically, I got an email from a Bill Foster, who appears to be running on a platform of being a particle physicist, former businessman, and (as best I can tell from the email) entirely reasonable and sensible, and capable of hiring a campaign staff that can write intelligently to people who are assumed to be intelligent. Basically, he was asking for campaign contributions, and I suspect he got the email list either from the American Physical Society or something along those lines. (Probably not actually the APS, as I don't think they give out email lists for such, but I could be wrong.)

And, yes, it was spam asking for me to forward it to other people, but I can forgive a lot when it's phrased as "P.S. spreading the word by forwarding this email to others in the scientific and academic community will be exponentially helpful."

#38 ::: will shetterly ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 06:13 PM:

I just checked the stats on the candidates in New Hampshire here:

http://www.usaelectionpolls.com/2008/new-hampshire.html

If it's accurate, Gravel's invisible, so it's no surprise the interviewer hadn't heard of him. Kucinich is barely a blip either.

Rachel @ 16: I'm a proud idealist, too. That's why I think the candidates' rhetoric matters, even if they don't follow through: Edwards talks a progressive agenda, and Obama adopts conservative memes on things like social security. Edwards broadens the debate; Obama narrows it. This just doesn't seem good to me.

Bruce @ 24: Ego is part of being a US politician. I think Gravel and Kucinich are both sincere, and this does give them a chance to talk about issues the Democrats are generally willing to ignore. But the effect is that they divide the 2-3% of liberals who are willing to take them seriously.

#39 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 06:40 PM:

Nobody is going to care much about us (MD) presidentially, I imagine, but there will be a lot of attention because the congressional seat is certain to be hotly contested in the primary.

#40 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 06:47 PM:

I was wondering who the hell Mike Gravel was and why nobody in southern NH was campaigning for any of the (known-to-me) Democrats.

(We made a road trip to Nashua via Exeter last month and somewhere in the middle started seeing wall to wall Mike Gravel campaign signs. Looked at each other and asked in unison, "Who the hell is Mike Gravel?")

#41 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 06:50 PM:

Gravel doesn't get included in the straw poll Patrick put in his Sidelights.

So far my vote went to Edwards, not a surprise that Dodd isn't in the running.

#42 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 06:50 PM:

I never heard his name until this thread.

#43 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 07:01 PM:

I like Gravel because of his wacky ads, and his propensity for telling the other democratic candidates that they're living in a fantasy world. Other than that, I don't know much about him.

#44 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 07:09 PM:

"Giving you the Cipro would interfere with the invisble hand of the market."

Couldn't he just indenture himself to some kind master in exchange for the Cipro?

#45 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 07:18 PM:

Xopher: He made some splash after the debates (he did better than most of them, but he's not one of the kewl-kids ideas of electable...).

#46 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 07:53 PM:

From what I know of Gravel, he makes John McCain's Straight Talk Express look like the fraud it is. Gravel has a lot of home truths he wants to express (Out of Iraq Now is the one that sticks in my head), and he's pretty blunt about it. Alaska fired him and hired Ted Stevens, which says nothing good about Alaskan voters.

#47 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 08:11 PM:

Pushing 50 is nothing compared to pulling it.

#48 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 08:23 PM:

IJWTS I miss the League of Women Voters-managed debates of my youth.

The candidates hated them--they were asked meaningful questions of actual significance to voters, and they were expected to give genuine answers. The League also had a nasty tendency to invite all the candidates, too. Good times, good times.

#49 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 08:39 PM:

Steve C @ 47, is that comment meant to be a contribution to the Intimations of mortality thread? Or is it related to your country having 50 States?? (As a durty furriner from far away, I'm otherwise veering wide of this discussion.)

#50 ::: Jeliza ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 09:48 PM:

The Ron Paul signs are *everywhere* in our part of Seattle. (Except for the corners owned by the LaRouchies) Until I found out who he was, my mind kept hopefully misreading them as RuPaul for President.

#51 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 10:19 PM:

I mostly dislike how blinking long the political season is. (And don't you wish "political season" had a different meaning? Ah, but there my cynical side is showing through.) We've been hearing about these candidates since last spring (and feelers from before them.)

Since I'm unaffiliated, I tend to watch the primaries with bemusement, and go and vote on the issues that proliferate on the California ballots like maggots. (When in doubt, vote "no." I'm sorry, the state is broke.)

I look forward to the winnowing of the candidates, if for no other reason than I might actually have the energy to look up their records and see where they actually stand, rather than where they say they stand. Political fatigue indeed.

#52 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 10:32 PM:

B Durbin @ 51

And the props that aren't openly about spending money tend to be poorly thought out, when they aren't actually insane. (Been looking at them for far too many years, sorry.)

#53 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: January 02, 2008, 11:02 PM:

Will @ 38:

I can see why you might not like what Obama's been saying about healthcare, but I don't agree with you that Obama narrows the terms of political debate. I used to live in his (state) senate district, and I've seen firsthand: the guy has a real talent for making the system address topics that aren't part of the normal political discourse.

Which is to say, I'm not too worried about how he's positioned himself in the election. I think he'll be at least as effective at moving progressive legislation through Congress as anyone else running.

#54 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 12:36 AM:

Boy, I would've been even less sympathetic if I'd gotten a letter from a particle physicist saying that my support would be "exponentially helpful." One of my linguistic pet peeves is seeing "exponentially" used as a synonym for "very". I can almost forgive that usage when I see it from journalists who haven't ever met a transcendental function and haven't ever been told that the word has any specific meaning, but seeing it from someone who ought to know what it means... Horrors. It's like seeing a New Yorker article using "disinterested" for "uninterested".

#55 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 12:51 AM:

Matt Austern @ #54: One of my linguistic pet peeves is seeing "exponentially" used as a synonym for "very".

I don't think that it was, in this case. I understood it to be referring to the fact that forwarding the message to multiple people would be of ongoing and multiplying helpfulness (assuming that each of those people did likewise).

#56 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 01:23 AM:

Matt @54: The number of people who read and respond to that e-mail should in fact follow an exponential (well, really sigmoidal) curve if people do forward it as he asks them to. ("Sigmoidally helpful" just doesn't have the same ring to it.)

#57 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 01:28 AM:

Paul, #55: I'm with you; I think it was a very precise and correct usage of "exponentially". If each recipient were to send it to just two new people, that would be an exponential function. (One must, of couse, allow for the effects of duplication in the acquaintanceships of the recipients, but that's a quibble.)

#58 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 02:34 AM:

Matt @54: Yes, but in this case, if I forward it to (on average) X friends, and they forward it to (on average) X friends, then it _is_ exponential in the true scientific sense. After N iterations, it's reached X^N people.

And that's why I considered it a good thing, rather than a bad thing -- he used it _correctly_.

#59 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 02:39 AM:

(Hah. I'd say, "That'll teach me to write posts before reading the rest of the thread," except I suspect it won't actually do that. Still, I didn't mean to add to a dogpile -- and it's certainly true that it's often misused in that sort of phrase; that's why I was entertained by its being a correct usage.)

#60 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 03:52 AM:

Rachel Heslin @ 16: "Personally, I think Kucinich backs Obama because they share a preference for idealistic optimism over cynical pragmatism (something which I, myself, think is a good thing.)"

I prefer idealistic pragmatism myself. This is why I back Edwards.

#61 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 04:48 AM:

R*n P*ul is starting to cost me friends who have been swept away by enthusiasm for presidential politics. I can only hope that they'll come to their senses after the election and realize that friendships are more important than politics.

#62 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 09:39 AM:

I saw Bloomberg on tv (nbc) today sounding like he's definitely going to run. None of the current contenders are up to snuff, according to his richness.

#63 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 09:52 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 61

I would hope they come to their senses and recognize that reality is more important than politics. I enjoy reading fantasy, but living in it isn't quite so much fun.

#64 ::: Summer Storms ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 02:04 PM:

Matt @ 54: Actually, disinterested can indeed mean the same as uninterested: indifferent, not interested. It is commonly used to convey that meaning (the American Heritage and Random House dictionaries back me up on this) and n fact, that was the original meaning of the word, going back to the 17th century.

/nitpick mode

#65 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 03:04 PM:

Summer Storms, #64: I was thinking about that just the other day in a different context, and it occurred to me that I've heard "disinterested" being used to mean "not just uninterested, but actively hostile". This is an entirely separate usage from "not having a stake in the outcome".

#66 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 04:49 PM:

#50 Jeliza --

I'd vote for RuPaul in a New York minute. Especially if he* were running against R-n P--l.

* He? She? What's the correct pronoun here? Modern life is complicated.

#67 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 07:42 PM:

Today's score: A flyer each from Richardson, Obama, and Edwards. A "non-partisan" flyer that only listed Democrats. A phonecall each from the Edwards and Clinton folks.

#68 ::: Madison Guy ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 08:28 PM:

Iowa and New hampshire suck. Since they're mostly about poll flogging, ad dollars, press preening, and Ordeal by Sleep Deprivation and Total Exhaustion on the candidate side, there must be a better way. Why not try this? A Modest Proposal.

#69 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2008, 10:53 PM:

P J Evans @ 52: Why sorry? I agree totally. If you know anything about how to parse a sentence, you figure out quite swiftly that most propositions are a hash. (This explains why the last attempt to "fix" eminent domain failed so badly; the voters of California ARE actually smart enough to figure out that it was written so that the stated intent and the actual result were not the same thing.)

#70 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2008, 12:22 AM:

lightning @66: I prefer the Spivak pronouns for cases such as these, but YMMV. Your statement would be "Especially if ey was running against R-n P--n."

#71 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2008, 10:33 AM:

Today's flyers: Two Edwards, one Clinton.

One poll last night. Told the pollster I was definitely voting for Ron Paul.

#72 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 07:00 AM:

I'd never heard of Mike Gravel before this thread, but a which candidate matches your views quiz shows him as my closest fit. I haven't heard him mentioned on the news since reading this either. I do have the excuse that I'm not an American, so won't be voting no matter how much or little I know about the candidates (I only filled the quiz in out of curiosity).

#73 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 10:04 AM:

Mike Gravel had a front-page profile in the Union Leader yesterday, with a color photo. True, it was below the fold, but it was most of the area below the fold.

That might have been the Union Leader saying to WMUR and Fox that this guy is, indeed, a candidate, and who are they to exclude him from the primary.

Yesterday's phone calls: Two Edwards, one Clinton, one Obama, one Opinion Research.

#74 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 11:05 AM:

B Durbin @ 69

I'm tempted to send you the one from the city of LA, on revising the utility tax.
They've 'discovered' DSL, VoIP, and Blackberries, and think they're missing out on a major revenue source: they want to trade taxing all the accesses to the Internet (many of which are already taxed) in return for reducing the tax rate from 10% to 9%. (The increase in revenue is supposed to be used for more police officers. We've heard that one before, and somehow it never works out that way.)

#75 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 06:17 PM:

Just got a live-person pro-McCain call, and a pro-McCain/anti-Huckabee robo-push-poll (from Common Sense Issues, which claims "not to be affiliated with any candidate.") Bizarrely, the robo-call asked if I had a favorable opinion of Governor Sununu.

((That's reaching a while back--let's see if McCain comes up with an endorsement from ex-Governor Sununu (famous for abusing his Washington job as Bush I's Chief of Staff to have a government driver take him from DC to a stamp auction in NYC, among other things). Sununu's son, now-Senator Sununu, was the beneficiary of the New Hampshire Phone Jamming scandal, for which a Republican operative went to jail.)

Doyle got a recorded call from some governor who's pro-McCain.

#76 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 06:43 PM:

"Some governor"?

#77 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 07:42 PM:

And I just got a human pro-Ron-Paul call. Assured him I was going to vote for Ron Paul.

[UPDATE] ...and just now a call from the Edwards people! First Democrats of the day!

#78 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 07:43 PM:

Yeah, some governor. Doyle doesn't remember which one.

#79 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 07:57 PM:

Too bad, I'd be interested. For some reason.

#80 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 06, 2008, 09:12 PM:

And ... just got a robo-call attacking "Washington insider" Clinton on health care{!]. Claimed to have been paid for by John Edwards for President.

#81 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 09:15 AM:

Video from CNN

N.H.'s contrarian Yankees".

New Hampshire voters are sick of the political process -- but they still want to go first. CNN's Richard Roth reports

I note that, based on their video, they managed to get as far as a whole twenty miles from the Massachusetts border.


#82 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 01:45 PM:

Today's mail: two Hillary fliers. One phone call so far, live person from the Edwards campaign. The script used the word "change" at least eight times, and didn't blend it in too well. Caller asked me if I knew that Edwards was the only candidate who hadn't accepted campaign contributions from Big Pharma. Me: "What about Ron Paul? He hasn't accepted them." Caller: "Ron Paul is close..." then went back to his script.

#83 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Another robo-call from the Edwards people, a Manchester city councilman telling me that to win the Presidency the Democrats have to win Ohio, and the only Democratic candidate who wins in the polls in head-to-head match-ups with every Republican candidate is Edwards.

#84 ::: EClaire ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 07:03 PM:

Being in Illinois, I'm loving these updates from the front lines of the primaries... I just wish anyone was trying to persuade me.

#85 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 10:23 PM:

The latest:

Robo-call from the Ron Paul people reminding us that the primary is tomorrow.

Robo-call from the Huckabee people, reminding us that "'Massachusetts Mitt' Romney" is soft on abortion.

Human from the Obama campaign reminding us that the primary is tomorrow and asking if we need help getting to the polls.

Robo-call from the Ron Paul people asking who we were planning to vote for.

#86 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 10:52 PM:

Thanks for bringing it home, Jim! I had forgotten the joy of continuous robocalls. New Hampshire and Iowa seemed like vague places I'd never be. Your blogging makes the political process seem more real and interesting!

#87 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 11:07 PM:

On my drive out to the woods I saw a R*n P**l sign at the end of a driveway. Just outside of an incorporated part of the state. I'm betting that person hauls their garbage to the transfer station as they drive into the borough, probably to work. I do have some libertarian leanings, and I respect the constitution, but those people... yeesh. RP has a very excitable following up here in the frozen north.

As someone who lives in a state taken for granted as being R, I want to add in my thanks for the updates.

#88 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 11:18 PM:

Robo-call from the Ron Paul people asking who we were planning to vote for.

Did you tell it that you'd be voting for RuPaul? "I think she's really hot..."

#89 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 11:45 AM:

It ain't over yet.

A Hillary flyer in the mail. Just got a robo-call for Ron Paul (this one was Ron's wife, talking about his children and grandchildren).

#90 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 12:38 PM:

A human call from the Obama people, reminding us that today is Primary Day.

Human call for Edwards.

Human call for Obama, asking if anyone needed a ride to the polls.

Flyer for Hillary.

#91 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Incidentally, to lightning @66, Google seems to give the consensus that RuPaul is okay with being referred to with both male and female pronouns. So, pick one, or switch back and forth as it takes your fancy. (Or I suppose you could do gender-neutral pronouns -- "ze" and "hir" seem to be the ones settled on in my circle of friends, for those who prefer to use gender-neutral pronouns about themselves.)

#92 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 01:14 PM:

Caroline 91: I'm less concerned about their wanting to be gender-neutral than about their referring to themselves in the third person.

Except on the lunatic fringe of radical feminism*, 'I', 'me', 'my', and 'mine' are considered gender-neutral.


*Back in the 1970s I actually read a paper by a woman who claimed that 'I' was gender-specific because it was phallic. She typed it with a slash through it**, the castrating bitch!***

**No doubt she now thinks that the impossibility of doing this in HTML is part of a patriarchal conspiracy.

***I am JOKING about this. Ha ha, slash? Through the phallic symbol? No? Oh, well.

#93 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Xopher, you know what I mean. *sticks out tongue*

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 02:11 PM:

The tongue is a phallic symbol! Help, help, patriarchal conspiritress* in the thread!

(Yes, of course I do. Just too much fun to pass up.)


*Well, it oughta be.

#95 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 03:00 PM:

Caroline, #91: You may find this to be interesting. Apparently there is at least one area of the US which is developing its own spontaneous gender-neutral pronoun.

All it will take is one popular DJ or one character on a TV show...

#96 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 03:31 PM:

Xopher @92:
Back in the 1970s I actually read a paper by a woman who claimed that 'I' was gender-specific because it was phallic.

So we should use the Dutch formal second person to balance it out. U. Nice and yonic*.

-----
* The fact that I even know a word like "yonic" is due, of course, to attending UC Berkeley in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

#97 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 03:37 PM:

One human call from Edwards.

One robo-call from Ron Paul.

#98 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 03:48 PM:

Xopher @ 92... Abi @ 96... What that person make of San Francisco's Koit Tower, which resides on top of a hill?

#99 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 04:19 PM:

Well, it is often said that it was not built just because she liked firemen just for their conversation...

(It's Coit, BTW)

#100 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Abi @ 99... it was not built just because she liked firemen just for their conversation...

...and no interruptions were allowed?

As for the misspelling, I blame the Bay Area's FM station for it, but I'll still shamble away in shame and in embarassment.

#101 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 05:04 PM:

Xopher #92: *Back in the 1970s I actually read a paper by a woman who claimed that 'I' was gender-specific because it was phallic. She typed it with a slash through it**, the castrating bitch!***
**No doubt she now thinks that the impossibility of doing this in HTML is part of a patriarchal conspiracy.
***I am JOKING about this. Ha ha, slash? Through the phallic symbol? No? Oh, well.

Well, there's always this symbol, if you're desperate: ¦

#102 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 05:08 PM:

Xopher @ 92

Someone should have told her she was looking at it in the wrong direction (like 'It's not phallic at all. It's really feminine.'). I don't know what the results would have been, but the confusion should have been wonderful to behold.

#103 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 05:19 PM:

P J 102: It couldn't have been me, though. She wouldn't have had a conversation with me, because I'm tainted by Original Sin a Y chromosome.

#104 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 05:31 PM:

Xopher, she'd have stopped talking to me after a few minutes, because I'd have given her my opinion of that kind of non-thinking.

#105 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 05:38 PM:

Abi #96 wrote: "The fact that I even know a word like "yonic" is due, of course, to attending UC Berkeley in the late 1980's and early 1990's."

I know it, and I only spent one day on the Berzekeley campus....

(I burst into laughter on a bus, years ago, reading Anthony Burgess's Earthly Powers, when he introduced a villanous character named "Mahalingam".)

#106 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 05:45 PM:

I personally prefer doric columns to ionic ones.
("Yonic, not ionic.")
Oh. Nevermind.

#107 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2008, 07:40 PM:

Abi @ 96: The fact that I even know a word like "yonic" is due, of course, to attending UC Berkeley in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

I only know the word because I spend time with frighteningly literate filkers.

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