It’s Come to This: Attack Ads Against the Media

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CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: An anemic economy and sense of national decline portend a bad Election Day for Democrats. A Referendum on Competence.

JONAH GOLDBERG: In The Walking Dead, evil that emerges among the living is foreshadowed by the zombies. What Monsters Portend.

KATHERINE TIMPF: Go ahead and dress like someone from a different culture — if you want to carry on a “deadly system of oppression.” Eight Most Absurd PC Police Halloween Rules.

KEVIN D. WILLIAMSON: Doctors and patients get burned by the world’s worst middleman. Health-Care Hell.

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October 31, 2014

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Have a Happy Halloween.

It’s Come to This: Attack Ads Against the Media

A two-minute television ad?

Conservative War Chest unveiled its final ads of the 2014 midterm elections, with different ads running in North Carolina and New Mexico.

A new 2-minute TV ad airing in North Carolina asks voters to make the election a referendum on the “corruption of American journalism.”

“Conservatives can never gain final victory until they confront the problem of news organizations who are the real opposition party in America,” said Mike Flynn, spokesman of Conservative War Chest. “This content-heavy spot puts before the public case studies that establish these organizations as partisan not journalistic organizations that are dedicated to activism, not the fearless pursuit of the truth.”


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Conservatives will relish every second of the ad hitting the New York Times, MSNBC, George Stephanopolous, the critics of Sharyl Attkisson, and so on. But will it change a mind, or influence the decision of a North Carolina voter who wasn’t already going to vote for Tillis? Or is this the kind of argument against the media that the Right needs to make outside the realm of blogs, articles, and so on?

Here’s the group’s explanation of the New Mexico ad buy . . .

Flynn also revealed that the Super PAC was “doubling-down” on its ad buys in the U.S. Senate race in New Mexico.

“We were the first outside group to hold U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) to account for his extreme liberal agenda and its threat to national security,” Flynn said. “Many pundits laughed that we were engaging with New Mexico voters, but since then the polls have tightened.”

“Tom Udall has spent his entire adult life in the family business of liberal politics,” Flynn said. “His family’s policies were wrong in the 1970s and they are devastatingly wrong today.”

Flynn said his group was increasing its buy behind its groundbreaking, 2-minute “Blame America First” ad, which details the national security failures of radical liberal policies like those espoused by politicians like Udall.

The group is also launching its ad highlighting the liberal “war on Hispanic dreams and values.”

Flynn said, “New Mexico has a proud Hispanic legacy stretching back generations. They understand that the liberal policies of taxes and regulations stifle dreams of economic growth. Their alliance with social issue extremists insults Hispanic values.”

As noted earlier, Allen Weh has improved his standing, but still trails significantly. New Mexico is a pretty consistently Democratic state, which is not to say that Republicans always lose in a landslide. In 2012, Heather Wilson lost the New Mexico Senate race, 51 percent to 45 percent, to Democrat Martin Heinrich. No one is going to argue that incumbent Democratic senator Tom Udall is a whirling dervish of raw political charisma, and the political environment is not good for Democrats. But there are no cases of an incumbent blowing a seven-point lead in a statewide race in the final week since 1998.

Liberalism Is a Luxury Most Americans Can’t Afford

It’s not just your imagination. Some of the country’s most liberal cities San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., Seattle, Los Angeles -- might be nice to live in, but they have the highest costs of living.

Liberal cities seem to have the worst affordability crises, according to Trulia chief economist Jed Kolko.

In a recent article, Kolko divided the largest cities into 32 “red" metros where Romney got more votes than Obama in 2012 (e.g. Houston), 40 “light-blue” markets where Obama won by fewer than 20 points (e.g. Austin), and 28 “dark-blue” metros where Obama won by more than 20 points (e.g. L.A., SF, NYC). Although all three housing groups faced similar declines in the recession and similar bounce-backs in the recovery, affordability remains a bigger problem in the bluest cities.

"Even after adjusting for differences of income, liberal markets tend to have higher income inequality and worse affordability,” Kolko said.

Kolko's theory isn't an outlier. There is a deep literature tying liberal residents to illiberal housing policies that create affordability crunches for the middle class. In 2010, UCLA economist Matthew Kahn published a study of California cities, which found that liberal metros issued fewer new housing permits. The correlation held over time: As California cities became more liberal, he said, they built fewer homes.

"All homeowners have an incentive to stop new housing," Kahn told me, "because if developers build too many homes, prices fall, and housing is many families' main asset. But in cities with many Democrats and Green Party members, environmental concerns might also be a factor. The movement might be too eager to preserve the past."

Ah, the progressive rallying cry: “I’ve got my happy home; you poorer people go live somewhere else.”

Author Derek Thompson writes:

One could attempt tying this together into a pat story — Rich liberals prefer to cluster near historic coastal communities with high home values, where they support high taxes, rent control, and a maze of housing regulations to protect both their investment and the region's "character", altogether discouraging new housing development that’s already naturally constrained by geography . . . — but even that interpretation elides the colorful local history that often shapes housing politics.

I don’t know, is that “pat story” really so hard to believe?

Speaking of liberal cities . . .

What Everybody Sees, but Doesn’t Want to Say, about the Catcalling Video

A few observations on the catcalling video . . .

First, the obvious. Gentlemen, this is crude behavior. Don’t do it. It’s shameful, and no, she’s not going to go out with you anyway.

Second, some are objecting that the video isn’t offering an accurate depiction of harassment on the street because it isn’t sufficiently racially inclusive:

Rob Bliss, who posted the video on behalf of the anti-street-harassment group Hollaback!, told CNN that those shown were just a small sample.

"Looking at this as being some type of sample that is completely balanced, I think, is never going to be accurate," he said. "To do that, we would have had to shoot for days and days, and we didn't set out to make a long video."

Bliss, who was inspired by the experiences of his girlfriend, tracked volunteer Shoshana Roberts as she walked through the city over the course of 10 hours. The video shows her being greeted by mostly black and Latino men with calls like "Hey, baby," "Damn!" and "What's up, beautiful?" Some of the men even follow her.

Hanna Rosin objects:

We can just conclude that they caught a small slice of catcallers, and lots of other men do it, too. But if the point of this video is to teach men about the day-to-day reality of women, then this video doesn’t hit its target. The men who are sitting in their offices or in cafes watching this video will instead be able to comfortably assure themselves that they don’t have time to sit on hydrants in the middle of the day and can’t properly pronounce “mami.” They might do things to women that are worse than catcalling, but this is not their sin.

First, there are a lot of men sitting in their offices or in cafes watching this video who can indeed comfortably assure themselves that they don’t behave like this . . . because they don’t. Clearly, Rosin doesn’t want to confront the possibility that some groups of men may be more inclined to engage in this behavior than others, and wants to return to her more comfortable conclusion that all men, including those sitting in offices or cafes, are part of the problem.

But the video suggests a truth that’s self-evident but uncomfortable to those who religiously practice political correctness: Catcalling is more common from men who are sitting on fire hydrants on the sidewalk in the middle of the day than among men sitting in offices and cafes. Are we shocked that an organization that aimed to shine a spotlight on catcalling and other inappropriate behavior in public chose to record the streets of New York City? Would it have taken the same amount of time for them to gather enough video on the streets outside the Naval Academy in Annapolis, or at the Saint Vincent Archabbey, or in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, or outside the VFW hall in Peoria, Illinois? Or are we to conclude the inappropriate behavior occurs with the same frequency on every street in America and that all men are equally prone to this behavior? Are we supposed to feign shock to see how many of the men depicted appear to be homeless, unemployed, under-employed, or looking like hoodlums?

And how likely is it that any of the men who engage in this behavior will be shamed by a video of their behavior? After all, they’re already engaging in this behavior in public.

ADDENDA: A nice moment up in New Hampshire, where debate moderator WMUR's James Pindell apologizes to Scott Brown for erroneously correcting him on a geographical point.


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