Do These Guys Read What They Write?

David “Uncle Dave” Brooks in the NYTimes and Ron Brownstein in the National Journal both write this week about the Democrats’ problem with a certain kind of voter in the middle of the United States.

Here’s Uncle Dave referencing his colleague Brownstein: 

As Ronald Brownstein of the National Journal noted, “The stampede toward the GOP among blue collar whites was powerful almost everywhere.” Republicans captured at least 35 seats in the U.S. House in districts where the percentage of whites with college degrees lags behind the national average. The old industry towns in the Midwest were the epicenter of the disaster.

Notice the references to “blue-collar whites” and “where the percentage of whites with college degrees lags behind the national average.” What about blue-collar “other color” people or “other color” people without college degrees? Are the “other color” people in these categories less attuned to their economic and social interests than the middle- and southern-America white people in these categories? Do you have to be white in those regions to understand that Democrats are bad for your civic health and economic well-being? Do these columnists think about what they are writing and what it means? If you are an “other color” working-class person why might you choose to vote for a Democrat?

Maybe there’s something else going on that explains those voting percentages.

Here’s part of Brownstein’s commentary:

The bigger problem is that in many states between the coasts, the Democrats’ coalition isn’t big enough on its own to provide a majority; to win, Democrats must run competitively among the rest of the white electorate, the college-educated white men, and noncollege white men and women. And on Tuesday, too few Democrats could meet that test. According to exit polls, Republican Senate candidates this week won at least 58 percent of noncollege whites in Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Republicans won all of those contests.

. . .

So Democrats emerge from this week confronting a huge demographic hole: their meager performance among all white voters except women with college degrees (who tend to be both more socially liberal and more receptive to activist government). And they face a huge geographic hole: a collapse in the interior states, which tend to be whiter and older than the coastal states, with fewer college graduates.

Tsongas and seven mayors of Lowell

As the just completed election drew near, seven recent mayors of Lowell gathered in front of City Hall to take an endorsement photo with Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. The photo appeared in a brochure that was distributed to many but not all homes. In case you missed it, here’s another view.

In the photo from left to right are Brian Martin, Bill Martin, Jim Milinazzo, Rita Mercier, Niki Tsongas, Richard Howe Sr., Bud Caulfield and Armand LeMay.

“War and Remembrance” by Edward Linenthal

A friend who is enrolled in the Public History graduate program at UMass Boston recently shared the following information about an upcoming lecture that might be of interest to some of our readers. Here’s the information:

On this special day of remembrance [Pearl Harbor Day], Dr. Edward T. Linenthal of Indiana University will
present a lecture on “War and Remembrance.”

Dr. Linenthal is a leading public historian and the author of Sacred Grounds:
Americans and their Battlefields- Lexington and Concord, The Alamo,
Gettysburg, The Little Bighorn, and Pearl Harbor. This volume ends with
his study of the attempts to create a National Park and memorial site at Pearl Harbor,
which will be one of the subjects of his lecture. He is also the author of The Unfinished
Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory on the Oklahama City federal
building tragedy as well as a study of the new Holocaust Museum in Washington.

When: Tuesday, December 7th, at 5:30 pm.
Where: The second floor meeting room in the Commonwealth Museum and Archives.
RSVP to Kellie at kellie.saunders001[at]umb.edu.

Reception to follow.

Accessible by MBTA from JFK/UMass Station by shuttle bus to the Campus Center and
by car. Parking available in the UMass North Lot (just past the Campus Center, across
the road from the Museum).

E. J. Says Nancy P. Deserves Another Shot

Columnist E. J. Dionne (from Southeastern Mass.) writes today that US Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California deserves the opportunity to be minority leader in the US House of Rep’s. E. J. makes the case that the woman who is still Speaker of the House can still lead the Democrats. I like how he closes his column, telling the Democrats that they have to get control of their own narrative and not let their opponents define them.

The modest impact of cheap money

The incredibly interest rates available these days seem to be benefiting some homeowners. The number of mortgages recorded at the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds during October 2010 was 37% percent higher than the number recorded in October 2009 (1508 vs. 1101). This refinancing surge disproportionately is benefiting homeowners in the suburbs rather than the city of Lowell itself. Lowell mortgage recordings were only up 9% while the nine towns in the district had a 45% increase in mortgages recorded.

The benefits of refinancing at this time are substantial. Someone with an existing mortgage of $200,000 at 7% has a monthly payment of $1331. If that homeowner were to replace that mortgage with one for $200,000 at 4% – an interest rate readily available now – the monthly payment would drop to $962 and the homeowner would have an additional $369 per month in his pocket to spend on other items.

You would think that if enough people were to refinance like this, the extra money that would be pumped into the economy would provide all the stimulus the economy would need. Author and economist Robert Kuttner disagrees with that conclusion in an Op-Ed in today’s Globe. He argues that these types of infusions of cash would have only a modest benefit “But none of this is potent enough to get the economy out of its vicious circle of depressed consumption, high unemployment, damaged banks, reduced business investment, and slow growth.” Kuttner observes that it took World War Two with its massive government spending programs to pull the United States out of the Great Depression. It’s clear that Kuttner is of the belief that the only way to bust out of our current economic malaise is with a robust government stimulus program of like scale. But given the current political realities, Kuttner sees little chance of any such measures being contemplated, never mind enacted and so we are forced to rely on “cheap money” to help inch our way out of our economic doldrums.

JFK – 50 Years Ago Election Eve in Boston

On the MetroDesk page of the Boston Globe today, Martin Finucane has post a brief black and white clip of then presidential candidate John F. Kennedy speaking before thousands of people in Boston Garden on November 7th – the night before his historic election as President of the United States. Finucane notes:

It was the night before the 1960 election and thousands of people flooded the Boston Garden for a homecoming rally for the young, charismatic Massachusetts senator who had just finished months crisscrossing the country running for president.

John F. Kennedy spoke to a roaring sea of supporters gathered before him. “So I come here tonight,” he called out, his voice growing louder. “I thank you for your past support. I ask you to join us tomorrow, and most of all, I ask you to join us in all the tomorrows yet to come, in building America, moving America, picking this country of ours up and sending it into the Sixties.”

Black-and-white footage of his speech from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Dorchester shows Kennedy’s shoulders still sprinkled with confetti as he addressed the crowd. It’s a tantalizing window into a night when Kennedy was poised to become a legend — a promising, beloved president whose life would be cut short by an assassin’s bullet.

In commemoration of  the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy’s victory – Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino has declared Monday as “John Fitzgerald Kennedy Victory Day” in the City of Boston.

Read the full Boston Globe article and see the Kennedy Library video clip of JFK click here.

Playwright Will Eno’s Latest Work Reviewed in NYT

I’m pretty sure this is the same Will Eno who is the son of Atty. Arthur L. and Anne Eno of Westford. He set up shop in NYC as a writer years ago and has had success writing plays. For a while, he published a literary magazine, which I was fortunate enough to appear in once. Read this review of his play “Middletown” at the Vineyard Theatre  in NYC, and get the NYT if you appreciate the arts coverage.

Yup, it’s him. Here’s his Wikipedia page. Says he was born in Lowell. His play “Thom Pain (based on nothing)” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize not long ago. MRT should bring him back to his birthplace for a production.

WillEno.jpg Will Eno image by cjonesang