Man Without Qualities

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Remembering Values, Issues And Internals

A Man Without Qualities post that appeared hard on the heels of John Kerry's preposterously incompetent Democratic Convention acceptance speech included this passage:

Kausfiles points out that Donkey Rising's Ruy Teixeira and Slate's William Saletan have been busy, busy, busy cobbling up yet more ad hoc special purpose arguments explaining why Kerry-Edwards really did get that bounce most other observors missed and why the Democrats really scored big on those now-to-be-construed-as-all-important poll "internals" and "issues." ... There is the basic problem that neither Messrs. Saletan nor Teixeira offers up any historical or other justification for considering an "issues and internals" bounce to be of electoral significance - especially where such an ad hoc bounce fails to correspond to a significant bounce in net support. It's all very nice to pick out some poll question on which one thinks one's candidate has done well, call it an "issue" and proclaim it's significance ... How about any argument that an "issues and internals" bounce has ever meant anything?One big problem with "issues and internals" is that there are so many of them, and they deploy themselves like guests at a cocktail party at which the pundit speaks only to his friends. For example, does any sensible person think Kerry-Edwards would score well on an "issues and internals" poll question that probes who would best keep the nation's courts from imposing gay marriage a la Massachusetts? Of course, that question is not driving this election - yet over 70% of voters in the "battlefield state" of Missouri just voted for a constitutional amendment to keep that from happening. Why don't Messrs. Saletan and Teixeira spend time chatting up that issue at their "issues and internals" cocktail parties posing as pundit columns?

Considering all the fuss that's been going on in some quarters about how this election was supposedly decided on "values" - with gay marriage supposedly being the flashpoint for a deciding number of "values" voters - I was just wondering if either of Messrs. Saletan or Teixeira has ever actually offered an argument that an "issues and internals" bounce after a convention has ever meant anything, or meant anything this time, or if either of them has explained why their "issues and internals" cocktail party roster didn't include anything on gay marriage - or on "values" at all?

Just asking the professionals. Mr. Saletan? Mr. Teixeira? Yoo, hoo!

There's been so much frantic typing by these two since the November 2 Kerrydammerung that it almost seems to be employed as a form of therapy: here and here and here, for Mr. Teixeira. But I don't see much in the way of explanation for their post-Convention "issues and internals" columns. Does silence mean consent to those columns having been totally wrong? Or is there a more (I struggle to write the word) nuanced explanation?

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