Thursday, July 17, 2008


As many know, I live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a stridently and reflexively liberal enclave. It is remarkably good fun to dine and drink with this set and discuss politics if you are a moderate to conservative type with an ego and a sense of humor.

One of their gravest weaknesses is failure to understand just how unusual they are in the greater context of the American electorate. And I am usually surprised at how these pretty bright people are so poorly versed in American history. Since I am always in the minority, I find myself under relentless verbal assault on these matters, and wind up doing history lectures and socratic questioning in response. Drives my wife nuts. She finds it miraculous that these people ever go out with us again, but they do.

Anyway, Jonathan Chait's article from the New Republic provides an interesting glimpse into how a devout MSM liberal can still feel some reserve love for John McCain. I get the sense that the strident liberals are really missing how strong a candidate McCain is. I keep hearing from this set that Obama is a shoo-in, a landslide victor. I remind them that they said the same of John Kerry in 2004 against W, and W had everything going against him. By contrast, McCain seems to even get some benefit from the MSM. In fact, they really appreciate how candid and open he is with them and has been over many years, while they seem to be getting a little restless with Obama. Even the Upper West Side liberal immediately concedes they don't hate McCain -- they hate W with immense passion -- and while the like the idea of Obama, none profess passion for the man.

Why is this important? It diminishes Obama's fundraising advantage. If the press is willing to given McCain a benefit they don't typically afford a Republican candidate, he won't need nearly as much money to get his message across. Good for McCain that he's capable with the press. Good for the country too.

McCain is going to get many crossover voters who would typically vote Democratic. For instance, it's pretty clear to me that McCain will have the votes of at least the Clintons and Jesse Jackson.


By Blogger Escort81, at Thu Jul 17, 01:04:00 PM:

CP, you are a brave man to risk social ostracism, and more brave to risk the wrath of your wife.

I am also surprised at your observation regarding the historical illiteracy of your neighbors. I infer that you are referring to fairly bright, well-educated people, who ought to know better.

One of the problems with being an Upper West Side Liberal is that your vote has nearly zero marginal utility, since Obama wins NY going away!  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 17, 01:24:00 PM:

I completely agree with your assessment about the New York City liberal. In these circles it is absolute conventional wisdom that Barack will win this handily, almost to a point that they should do away with the actual vote and just crown him now. The same can be said for most strongly liberal areas where "group think" takes over as well as all the curses you mentioned (e.g. poor grasp of history.) The bigger issue I see is that many of these people are unable or unwilling to realize that many of their core positions have a natural counter within their own party. For instance, most Democrats want Nationalized Healthcare but there is no way in the world we can begin to pay for that unless you do something with Medical Malpractice; which the trial lawyers will never let them get away with. Another one is improved schools and better outcomes for all kids; however when their leading vote getters are the teachers unions who want nothing to do with pay for performance or with charter or vouchers to give these kids a better shot. By the way, these are only the tip of "dishonesty bucket" from the Democratic Party, but they are the best examples of "Lefty Obtuseness."

I am from a very large Irish Catholic Family and half of my very well educated and successful siblings still hold to their liberal roots. However, even though it kills them economically and morally they think they are on the "right" side because the Left supposedly looks out for the poor and disenfranchised? However, when you show them statistics of how giving to charitable causes drops precipitously when taxes are raised. These organizations that do the most for the poor and disadvantaged, and who often receive some very modest help from the federal government, ends up losing far more when the government raises taxes.

In the end these types of statistics do not matter because for most of these guys it's like they are rooting for the Packers, or the Bills or the Cubs - just as long as their team wins - all is well...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 17, 01:50:00 PM:

I offer empathy having suffered many a dinner/picnic/party/gathering in the midst of totally opposite ideological mindsets right here in the Big Apple. And, YES, the concept of historical occurrence is lost. Instead, it is replaced hopes of something different with little rationalization...or "maybe this time, it won't end like that"...or...my favorite..."you're wrong"...without the least bit of supporting information.

You see...my girlfriend is hopelessly liberal( as are her friends). Her friends scowl at me whenever we're together for something as innocuous as ordering red meat. My SUV (I am told) shows just how selfish I am, and apparently (despite my girlfriend's objections) that transfers into a compensation on my anatomy. It goes on and on, but they always invite us again, as we do them. I have become the punching bag for the group (which I enjoy since a number of them are too obtuse to pick up when I've insulted them right back and the others are too prideful to point it out to the others are the risk of providing me the satisfaction). They are so wrapped up in their individual griping that they feel a kinship in being able to come together at my expense. I aim to please...and wear cow hides at every turn. ;D

I have to admit...I go willingly, and always have a little story to tell each time that I know will stir the pot. My girlfriend lets me play with them...and it's all in good fun...until I play the trump card, win an argument, and get a non-sequitor about my leather shoes or some such nonsense.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 17, 02:15:00 PM:


Thanks for your post. I agree with your sentiments wholeheartedly.

I live in Pennsylvania (suburban Philadelphia), the purple state that will be a battleground in the fall. Half of the people will support McCain, the other half will support Obama. Many of the Obama-ites won't be able to articulate anything other than they don't like Republicans and they like his youth. Yet, if you were to break down issues, they'd probably be surprised to see the type of way left candidate they are supporting.

McCain is a very good candidate, and the mojo that followed Obama's obtaining sufficient delegates to get the nomination has wilted in the summer's heat, as has the gloss on Obama. The presidential race should prove to be a very close one.

A positive for McCain at this point is that a few friends (suburban Philadelphians) who don't like the President have said they'll be supporting McCain this time around. They cite two principal reasons: 1) Obama is way too far to the left for them and 2) the fact that there's more sizzle to the Obama candidacy at the moment than steak.

The Centrist  

By Blogger The Ghost, at Thu Jul 17, 04:39:00 PM:


as a fellow non-liberal NY'er I agree completely with your observations ...

I do find that all too often NYC liberals are well schooled (degree wise) but horribly educated on the simplest of concepts like human nature and supply and demand.

So much of what they "know" about conservatives are liberal myths with no basis in the real world.

My VERY liberal wife of 5 years has to constantly catch herself when she starts to say something like: "Conservatives want to ... (starve old folks, abuse women, kill puppies etc, pick the myth)"
and she realizes that she now "knows" its not true ...

makes for some awkward silences ...  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 17, 09:21:00 PM:

Escort81 don't assume that NY is in the bag for Obama,
NYC might be,
but upstate NY may not be.

one vote for McCain in NYC might be the winning vote in NY.

Vote early and often - that helps your candidate win. !;-})  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 17, 09:42:00 PM:

I mean, the major advantage I see to McCain is his dynamicism; if I happen to like the Bush tax cuts, I can find the video of him supporting them, and if not I can find that video too. Same being true for abortion policy, insurance covering viagra over birth control, the role of certain religious figures, and the like really adds to his depth as a candidate in my mind. (/snark.)

In seriousness, I don't think he could ever defend his assumptions on economic policy, (even with extensive coaching from the advisors he turns to on that issue,) I dislike his kowtowing on social conservatism, and I am seriously concerned about a President who can't use the Internet. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/06/11/mccain-admits-he-doesnt-k_n_106478.html
We're an incredibly technologically advanced nation, and not only is "series of tubes" type garbage embarrassing, but it has the potential to impact regulation of an incredibly vital resource. I think John McCain would be an incredible person to meet at a bar and buy a few rounds for, but I'll never do that with a President so that doesn't matter. Some of his policies are ok/good in part or whole, but he leaves much to be desired in relatively reparable ways.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thu Jul 17, 10:57:00 PM:

These ultra-rich liberals are the biggest hypocrites of all. They will, to a man ime, exploit every single loophole and bend/break any and all laws to increase their own personal wealth. They're all for every pie-in-the-sky social program you can name, except when it comes time to implement them at their expense. As the other guy said, just sports teams.  

By Blogger Joanne, at Fri Jul 18, 05:57:00 PM:

I keep thinking Hillary's camp is going to throw something big into the mix soon enough to cause Obama to tank big time.

Popcorn maker is fired up and ready to go.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sun Jul 20, 12:24:00 PM:

It is definitely a fishbowl effect and I have seen many a jaw drop at dinner parties when I drop my mask and reveal I am a neocon (a provocative phrase that is like red meat to the affluent blue-state suburban crowd who form my circle of neighbors and local friends). One bright spot, though: a few McCain lawn signs, something you would have never but never seen in the bad old days of GWB running for office! McCain is probably the only republican in American that had a chance to be elected this year; conservatives of all stripes should be at least privately grateful that he is the nominee.  

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