Polls Show Increased Support for Democrats On The Issues

The latest survey from the Pew Research Center presents news favorable to Democrats. If the election were held today, 50% say they would vote Democratic and only 39% say they would vote Republican. It’s clear why the Republicans are resorting to slime, as opposed to running on ideas as Harold Myerson discussed in his last column. The voters oppose the Republicans on virtually every issue:

Republicans can’t talk about issues like the economy, health care, or the environment as their policies have all been failures. Wedge issues like homosexuality and abortion no longer work for them. Even promises of tax cuts (regardless of whether the country can afford them, and regardless of their effect on the deficit) no longer even work for the GOP. All the Republicans have is resorting to personal attacks, and continuing to mislead the country on terrorism in the hopes that this will scare enough voters into voting for them.

Even the Republican’s advantage on terrorism has decreased from thirty points at the beginning of the year to nine percent. The number of people who believe we are losing the war on terror is approximately the same as those who believe we are winning (41% t0 39%) making it hard for Republicans to successfully run on this issue. The more they try to use fear, the more voters will see the Republicans as having been unsuccessful in keeping the nation safe.

The Gallup Poll has similar bad news for Republicans. Just as in the Pew survey, majorities prefer Democrats on the generic ballot and support the Democrats on most issues. Republicans often deny the results of polls which shows them doing poorly by claiming that the poll “over-samples” Democrats. There’s a good reason why recent polls are showing more Democrats. The Gallup Poll shows a steady increase in the number of people identifying themselves as Democrats and reduction in Republicans. This is really no surprise. If people are telling pollsters they plan to vote for the Democrat, and that they agree with the Democrats on the issues, naturally they are now more likely to also identify themselves as Democrats.

Dick DeVos, Voucher Warrior

I have previously noted the contributions from Dick DeVos to far right groups, including those which support vouchers, but People for the American Way give him even more “credit” as they expose those like Dick DeVos who oppose the liberties this nation was founded upon. They label DeVoss a Voucher Warrior:

Dick DeVos has used his family’s fortune and status to create an intricate national network of non-profits, political action committees and federal groups known as 527’s that effectively fund the political arm of the school voucher movement. As this profile details, DeVos money flows into the coffers of various ultra-conservative candidates, committees, and causes. Nowhere is the impact of the DeVos family fortune greater, though, than in the movement to privatize public education. After 69 percent of Michigan voters rejected a DeVos-led drive for vouchers in 2000, he and his family turned their attention in recent years to building an organizational infrastructure that pumps huge amounts of money into ballot initiatives and political races at the local, state and federal level. Since he announced in June that he would run for governor of Michigan, Dick DeVos has said that he does not plan to push for vouchers again if elected. It is unlikely that indicates a newfound lack of support for privatizing public education—rather it may simply show that he has accepted the political reality already expressed by the Michigan voters. If true, Michigan may be the only state where DeVos money is not being used to push vouchers. In 2006, the funding network he has built is putting more money into pro-voucher candidates and legislation than ever before.

The site has considerably more information on the DeVos family’s ties to the religious right.

Republicans Flip Flop on Support for Liberty

The Republican Party includes many people with libertarian background which conflict with the authoritarianism currently prevalent in the party’s policies. Glenn Greenwald looks at how they reconcile these differences. After providing some examples of flip flops he notes:

It really is a sad spectacle to see how many ex-conservatives and libertarians have followed Reynolds’ path of completely abdicating their belief system in order to become consumed by blind support even for this President’s most authoritarian policies.

John Kerry on Afghanistan

John Kerry has a post at The Democratic Daily on Afghanistan, pointing out that it is Not A Forgotten War.

Ronald Dworkin Answers Three Questions

Ronald Dworkin answers Three Questions For America in the New York Review of Books.First he looks at teaching alternatives to evolution in the schools:

Nothing frightens liberals and moderates more, I think, than the vision of religious organizations and movements dictating what may be taught to children in public schools, either through formal legislation or school board rulings or informal intimidation of teachers. Many Americans are horrified by the prospect of a new dark age imposed by militant superstition; they fear a black, know-nothing night of ignorance in which America becomes an intellectually backward and stagnant theocracy

Dworkin refutes claims of proponents of intelligent design and finds teaching this as an alternative to evolution in science classes to be harmful. He does make an alternative recommendation:

If we are to protect dignity by protecting people’s responsibility for their own personal values, then we must build our compulsory education and our collective endorsements of truth around the distinction between faith and reason. We need a defensible conception of science not only for the intensely practical reason that we must prepare our children and youth to advance knowledge and to compete in the world’s economy but also in order to protect the personal responsibility of our citizens each for his own religious faith. We need an account of science, in our public philosophy of government, that does not make its authority depend on commitment to any set of religious or ethical values. So Senator Frist made a serious mistake when he said that describing intelligent design only as a scientific alternative to evolution doesn’t “force any particular theory on anyone.” In fact it damages young students, practically and politically, by using the state’s authority to force on them a false and disabling view of what science is.

When President Bush said that intelligent design should be taught in the schools, his science adviser, John Marburger, said that Darwinian theory is “the cornerstone of modern biology,” and that Bush meant only that “students should be taught that some people have suggested that Intelligent Design is a viable alternative theory.” If so, we should welcome Bush’s suggestion, but not for courses in science. Instead we urgently need to make a Contemporary Politics course in which such claims can be discussed part of every high school curriculum.


The Holocaust is Not Funny

Not even in Tehran. The Independent reports that the exhibition of cartoons about the Holocaust is flopping in Tehran.

Creationists Fumble

Intelligent design has even made its way into college football coverage.(Hat tip to Evolgen and Panda’s Thumb.) Here’s how they combine the two topics:

Ironically, Baylor’s public relations woes and internal identity crisis can be traced to the city where the Bears will be playing Washington State’s Cougars this Saturday: Seattle.

The notion of refashioning creationism into “intelligent design,” and then pushing it as legitimate science rather than philosophy or faith, was hatched at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute. And Baylor came to Seattle to find a director for its now-defunct Intelligent Design research center.

When it comes to evolution, though, Baylor head coach Guy Morriss is hell bent on transmutating the Bears back into winners.

Princeton Study on Electronic Voting

Last week Public Radio’s Tech Nation gave one example of where old fashioned methods are better than newer computerized methods–voting. A study from Princeton gives more reasons to question the use of computerized voting. (Hat tip to Political Wire.) Their key findings:

  1. Malicious software running on a single voting machine can steal votes with little if any risk of detection. The malicious software can modify all of the records, audit logs, and counters kept by the voting machine, so that even careful forensic examination of these records will find nothing amiss. We have constructed demonstration software that carries out this vote-stealing attack.
  2. Anyone who has physical access to a voting machine, or to a memory card that will later be inserted into a machine, can install said malicious software using a simple method that takes as little as one minute. In practice, poll workers and others often have unsupervised access to the machines.
  3. AccuVote-TS machines are susceptible to voting-machine viruses — computer viruses that can spread malicious software automatically and invisibly from machine to machine during normal pre-and post-election activity. We have constructed a demonstration virus that spreads in this way, installing our demonstration vote-stealing program on every machine it infects.
  4. While some of these problems can be eliminated by improving Diebold’s software, others cannot be remedied without replacing the machines’ hardware. Changes to election procedures would also be required to ensur security.

AP has further information on Princeton showing how the machines could be hacked.

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