McCain Space

by Kieran Healy on March 27, 2007

John McCain’s “MySpace page”: “borrows” Mike D.’s page template and also hotlinks to images on his server. So he “makes a few changes to them.”:

Via John “You’re having a membership drive but you still haven’t mailed me my t-shirt, it’ll be three months on Friday” “Gruber.”:

Scholarly activism

by Henry Farrell on March 27, 2007

Patrick Jackson and Stuart Kaufman have an interesting short piece (summary “here”:, pdf “here”: in the new “Perspectives on Politics”: on the Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy letter that they co-organized to express the opposition of IR professors to the Iraq war. They describe the letter as having had “remarkable success” in building a consensus among IR scholars, but having been a “miserable failure” in terms of its impact on public debate. The letter appears to have been self-consciously intended as an exercise in ‘Weberian activism.’ Max Weber draws a strong distinction between the vocation of the scholar and the vocation of the politician. Roughly speaking, the responsibility of the first in the public arena is to strive for understanding and education; the responsibility of the second is to persuade others to adopt the politician’s viewpoint. For the politician, words are weapons; for the scholar, ideal-typically, they aren’t. Thus, Jackson and Kaufman argue that Weber’s ideas provide a “guideline for how we social scientists should think about intervening in the political realm in a way that does not compromise the detachment and the nonpartisan character of our enterprise.” This didn’t work in the case of the SSFP letter, because the media aren’t equipped to deal with scientifically detached analyses, but academics should persist in seeking to be Weberian activists; that is, they should participate in the public space on issues of their expertise, without getting sucked into partisan debate. [click to continue…]


by John Q on March 27, 2007

There’s been a lot of discussion of a recent Pew Research Center study of US voters, mainly focusing on this graph, which certainly suggests a strong reaction against the Bush Administration and the Republican Party


But the underlying picture is much worse for Republicans than this, as Gary Kamiya observes. On the one hand, the Pew Survey shows that Democrats and Independents are becoming pretty similar in the views to people elsewhere in the developed world (such as Europeans) – liberal on social issues, moderately social-democratic in social policy, preferring peace to war and so on. Not surprisingly, this translates to a strongly negative view of the Republican party, just as it does everywhere else in the world.

On the other hand, Republican support is contracting to a base of about 25 per cent of the population whose views are getting more extreme, not merely because moderate conservatives are peeling off to become Independents, but also because of the party’s success in constructing a parallel universe of news sources, thinktanks, blogs, pseudo-scientists and so on, which has led to the core becoming more tightly committed to an extremist ideology.

[click to continue…]