Wednesday opinion (and let's start with Chile):
The first eight of the 33 miners who had been trapped underground for two months ascended to the surface here early Wednesday morning, as a rescue operation that has inspired the nation and riveted the world moved into its final phase.
Although we’ve been skeptical about the notion that the overall political environment has improved by any discernible margin for Democrats, there are some exceptions in gubernatorial elections around the country. In recent weeks, Democrats have moved into the lead in the gubernatorial race in California, while closing their deficits in other states where they once trailed badly. Likewise, while there were relatively few shifts in this week’s gubernatorial polls, the exceptions generally benefited Democrats.
My sense is that some of the big differences we have seen this year -- both in comparing Gallup's results to other national polls and on some polls at the state level -- may be about the way the classic likely voter model behaves in a year in which Republicans are generally more enthusiastic about voting than Democrats. The demographic pattern of enthusiasm reinforces the demographics of those already likely to vote, making the impact of the likely voter model on the overall result that much bigger.
PPP via twitter:
Bottom line on NV- Reid is unpopular, Angle even more unpopular, will be decided by Dem turnout
At one level, the use of "elite" to describe the new meritocrats simply means that the word has lost its meaning. As Jacob Weisberg points out, when Sarah Palin, Christine O'Donnell or -- bizarrely -- Justice Thomas's wife fling the word "elitist" at opponents, it often means nothing more than "a person whose politics I don't like" or even "a person who is snobby." But after listening to O'Donnell's latest campaign ads -- in which the Senate candidate declares proudly, "I didn't go to Yale . . . I am YOU" -- I think something deeper must be going on as well.
I suspect the "anti-elite-educationism" that Bell predicted is growing now not despite the rise of meritocracy but because of it. The old Establishment was resented, but only because its wealth and power were perceived as undeserved. Those outside could at least feel they were cleverer and savvier, and they could blame their failures on "the system." Nowadays, successful Americans, however ridiculously lucky they have been, often smugly see themselves as "deserving." Meanwhile, the less successful are more likely to feel it's their own fault -- or to feel that others feel it's their fault -- even if they have simply been unlucky.
Americans are essentially equally divided in their views of the role of the federal government, with one-third tilting toward a preference for a government that actively takes steps to improve the lives of its citizens, one-third preferring a limited government that performs mostly basic functions, and the remainder in the middle.
Clear as mud, eh? Just do what America wants. That is... what, exactly? No socialism – and take your hands off of my medicare?
via Ezra, "Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs," by Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, Giovanni Peri and Greg C. Wright:
We test the predictions of the model on data for 58 US manufacturing industries over the period 2000-2007 and find evidence in favor of a positive productivity effect such that immigration has a positive net effect on native employment while offshoring has no effect on it. We also find some evidence that offshoring has pushed natives toward more communication-intensive tasks while it has pushed immigrants away from them
Americans, he [Larry Bartels] shows, in all income brackets have enjoyed more economic success when Democrats inhabit the White House. Meanwhile, the economic policies of Republican presidents, such as regressive tax cuts, have disproportionately benefited the wealthy.
In another book, political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson have reached a similar conclusion. They have shown how the mobilization of business in Washington during the 1970s profoundly effected inequality.