Friday, September 24, 2004

John Zogby forgets about the Civil War 

John Zogby, however skilled a pollster, is ignorant of history:
"I have been calling this the Armageddon election now for months because we are so polarized, so split culturally, politically, ideologically, demographically, like almost no other time in American history," Zogby, president of the Zogby International survey firm, told an audience of about 200 at his alma mater, Le Moyne College.

The last time the nation was this deeply divided over what course to take was the original Armageddon election of 1800, Zogby said.

"The last time the nation was this deeply divided" was 1800? What about the election of 1860? The national parties split by region, and armies mobilized as a consequence of the result.

Doesn't Zogby really mean that the nation is "closely" divided? Neither the election of 1800 nor the current race, in my opinion, reflects a "deep" division, however closely divided the balloting was then (the election was thrown into the House of Representatives, which ultimately elevated Thomas Jefferson) or will be now. Sure, there is a lot of passion over the personality of one of the candidates -- people either love Bush or they hate him -- but there is virtually no difference between their stated positions. Both candidates vow continued prosecution of the war on terror. Even the stated disagreements over Iraq turn on questions of execution, not grand strategy. Both candidates pledge to increase federal spending substantially. Both candidates promise relatively minor changes in the general level of federal taxation (true, Bush promises more cuts and Kerry promises both cuts and increases, depending on one's income). There are, of course, greater differences on social questions and one suspects that the two men would appoint very different regulators, but even these differences are relatively subtle. Kerry is opposed to gay marriage but won't do anything about it, while Bush is opposed to gay marriage and will go so far as to campaign for a constitutional amendment that has no chance of enactment. They have opposite positions on abortion, but the Supreme Court has removed that question from the democratic process. The stem cell debate has totemic signifcance, but the practical impact of a change in policy at the federal level would be trivial. For the life of me, I don't see where the "deep" division is, other than over passionate hatred of or support for George W. Bush, individual.

John Zogby, we can conclude, is like any other organ of the MSM -- he will say any ridiculous thing if it increases our interest in the intellectual property he peddles.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Sep 27, 06:31:00 PM:

Do you think that Kerry (or any other candidate) would appoint an Attorney General substantially similar to John Ashcroft? Or that the candidates' Supreme Court nominees would be indistinguishable? MCU  

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