Wednesday, March 30, 2005

No Surprises Here

College Faculties A Most Liberal Lot, Study Finds (washingtonpost.com)

I don't often run quick links anymore, but I couldn't resist this one. According to a new study, 72 percent of those teaching at US colleges and universities describe themselves as liberal, whereas only 15 percent call themselves conservative. The party divide is almost as profound, with 50 percent identifying themselves as Democrats and a mere 11 percent considering themselves Republicans. (I presume that the other 39 percent involved are either independents or something else.) What's also fascinating is that no educational field yielded more conservatives or Republicans than liberals or Democrats. Aside from those figures, there are three main things I find unusually curious about the report:

1.) The report was funded by the Randolph Foundation. Although the Howard Kurtz-authored WaPo article cites some of the organizations that the group donates to, Political Friendster shows that they donate to a religious conservative think tank called the Institute on Religion and Democracy. The IRD's website claims that their president, Diane Knippers, was named one of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in the February 7 issue of TIME. Oddly, the IRD was not mentioned in Kurtz's article, although he did say that they have "given grants to such conservative organizations as the Independent Women's Forum and Americans for Tax Reform." The Randolph Foundation funded the poll and did not actually conduct it, however, so I believe they expected the results that we're seeing here. Not that the results were unexpected, because trust me, they weren't. I saw a highly similar study back in December that said practically the same thing, but it didn't get the press that this one is getting.

2.) One of the most left-leaning departments cited in the report is political science; at least 80 percent of their faculty consider themselves liberals as opposed to 5 percent or less conservatives. That honestly concerns me. English is one thing, and I guess it goes without saying that philosophy has similar numbers, but political science should be able to show the benefits and facts about both sides of the aisle. The study did not attempt to see if the professors were letting their views affect their course content, but I still find it highly disconcerting. (From my own perspective, the most I've really seen of liberal course content is the highly PC use of "B.C.E." and "C.E." in place of the year descriptors "B.C." and "A.D.". That has always bothered me, although I've only had a lone humanities professor use the politically-correct "Before the Common Era" instead of the traditional "Before Christ". For the record, he is one of my favorite professors on the campus; he is a strong liberal, although he does a good job of keeping politics out of the classes I've had with him.)

3.) The last major survey of college faculty was conducted by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1984. In that study, only 39 percent called themselves liberals. I did a little math, and this means that between 1984 and 2005, the number of self-described liberals in higher education has jumped by 84.6 percent. Why the shift? That question is something I think you should ask for yourself, as I don't have the answer to it.

I talk often about the need for discourse so that we can get out of our political "bubbles". This is one of the reasons why I am such a hardliner about bias and balance in the media. George Mason University political science professor Robert Lichter, a co-author of the study, had some intriguing things to tell the Washington Post. Without editing, this is the last paragraph of Kurtz's report:
"In general," says Lichter, who also heads the nonprofit Center for Media and Public Affairs, "even broad-minded people gravitate toward other people like themselves. That's why you need diversity, not just of race and gender but also, maybe especially, of ideas and perspective."

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Friday, March 25, 2005

My Campus Is Burning And Everyone's Watching

As my classmates at WVU probably know, our basketball team's win over Texas Tech last night resulted in the celebratory setting of about 50 fires in Morgantown, leading to four arrests and a vow to ramp up security for Saturday's Louisville game. What you may not have realized is the amount of press coverage (obviously not good coverage) that we're getting from this. Of course the Dominion Post is reporting the story, but get a load of this one: our students made the Drudge Report. No, I'm not kidding. His headline reads "MARCH MADNESS: West Virginia University Students Set More Than 50 Fires To Celebrate Victory." The link itself leads to a Florida news station.

If you still don't think it's big news, Canadian sports website Slam! Sports has a portion of the original report. That's right, Canada is talking about it. We're also mentioned on Canada.com. Disturbing. Pittsburgh and Charleston have articles all through their papers as well, some of which try hard to downplay the gravity of the situation. Thankfully, no serious injuries have been reported.

I fully understand the cause for celebration, and I'm not trying to sound like a doting grandmother, but I'm asking my fellow students to try to keep the after-party reasonable if we win on Saturday. You may not think it's a big deal, but when the AP and other large news services are waiting with bated breath to see if Morgantown will burn to the ground after big games, it's a big deal. The national media already has some images of students in the streets (some of which can be found in these links), and I'm sure more will be released. Even if you don't care about your own reputations, you could be jeopardizing the reputations, careers, and even lives of your friends. The university officials may not like putting it that way, but I don't have any qualms about being blunt.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Debate is Established

I had thought that my post on how to fix the DA would draw some controversy but blow over relatively quickly. At the most, I figured that someone from the paper would read it and get the point without taking it too personally. Enter a comment posted by opinion editor Matt Roberson. I will add in my response between passages, but otherwise, his words are unedited.
The daily athenaeum opinion page publishes the work of a list of columnists who were interviewed, suffered a trial period and are now full-time columnists. They were hired based on technical and literary proficiency; no one was turned away based on political bent, hometown, sexual preference, body odor, clothing style, height, weight, intelligence or beliefs.

Good...that means you're an equal opportunity employer. I never questioned or doubted that in the least.
If readers find the page one-sided then they should apply to be writers.

No kidding. That's why Step 1 is so crucial. The more you advertise for new writers, the greater your variety of choices between them. More variety = more diversity.

At this point, Roberson starts getting a little more colorful.
I have to pick from what I get; I don't have the luxury of holding a position open on my staff on the improbable chance a libertarian pulls his head out of ayn rand's ass and applies, or a green party member stops lamenting the death of Nader's campaign and wants to write, or even a heavily conservative or liberal stops bitching about fox or cnn and wants to write. If the page is one-sided, it's because the current writers who decided to apply all have a moderate stance on issues (with the exceptions of Mr. Nicholas and Mr. Wade). I don't go out and screen young dems for jobs.

You may have to pick from what you can get, but as I already said, you should have more to choose from. Step 1 can help alleviate that problem. Also, think about what you just said. "If the page is one-sided, it's because the current writers who decided to apply all have a moderate stance on issues." Here's the definition of the noun "moderate" as found on Dictionary.com:
One who holds or champions moderate views or opinions, especially in politics or religion.

A truly moderate position mixes both sides of an issue. The page cannot be one-sided if the current writers are moderates; it is logically impossible. By your theory, the exceptions to this rule are the Democratic columnist Steve Nicholas and the seemingly Republican columnist Charlie Wade. Wait...I think you forgot LJ Ulrich. Step 2 does not need to be utilized to the (D) and (R) tagging extreme to work; if Nicholas and Ulrich (and for that matter, any College Reps or Young Dems officers in the future) are designated with their political titles, then readers stand to gain from knowing for reasons that I have already stated in previous posts. And I know you didn't go looking for Young Dems, but that doesn't mean they didn't come looking for you. Why do you honestly think that they chose to write for the DA over the Dominion Post? I don't know and don't care about how much columnists are paid by the two papers; the fact is, conservatives are staying away from the DA and were even before Ulrich became a staff columnist. That is a problem, and you need to seriously consider why it exists.
As a side-note, I myself am an atheist, a free market advocate and find nothing redemptive in any major political party currently in existence. I don't have a single person on my staff who shares these particular views.

That's good (no sarcasm intended). Why don't you write editorials of your own more often? I know you're the editor of the Opinion page and probably a busy man, but I can't remember the last time I saw a column with your name attached. If you want to help provide new viewpoints, then you can start by showcasing your own. I'm honestly not attempting to be sarcastic when I say that; adding your thoughts would be good for the paper and the student body whether specific people (including myself) agree with you or not. Balance is necessary, if not always agreeable.

This is the final paragraph.
Your blog isn't too bad. (Thank you - Ed.) If you came out of your little shell and could bear the god-awful, heavy, unbearable, horrendous, foul pressure of having your work published with your face and name next to it, then maybe you could consider applying to be a columnist.

You know, that's not really a very nice way to go about trying to recruit me. I have already said that my anonymity is not due to some weird fear of being known; why else would I have an impulse to unmask myself every now and then? If I were known, this venue for intelligent debate and fresh viewpoints from myself, yourself, and everyone else would not be nearly as compelling or as open. Let me ask you this: if you knew who I was, would you have been so quick to respond to my words? The fact is that you could sit next to me in class every day without knowing that I blog. You already know that I am right-of-center, but you know little else about me. For all you know, you are debating with someone you have never met. I think it makes you and anyone else who reads this more able to challenge your mind and think freely. More than anything I can think of, free thought is powerful in and of itself.

There's also nothing saying that I would have to reveal myself if I joined the paper. I would not publish anything here about the DA if I was working for it, and as a matter of fact, this will probably be the last post I make about the paper for a good while. A discourse about the DA exists now, and discourse almost always brings positive change. My suggestions on what the paper can do better have been expressed: more advertising for new staffers, disclosure of titles, and as much original reporting as possible. The ball is now in your court, for I have said what I wanted to say.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Life, Death, and Politics

The case of Terri Schiavo has been the source of massive media coverage over the last few days. For those of you not familiar with the controversy, Schiavo is a severely brain-damaged woman from Florida who has been in a persistent vegetative state since 1990. Her brain damage was reportedly the result of a bulimia-influenced potassium imbalance that caused a heart attack, which stopped her breathing for several minutes before she could be revived. She can breathe independently, but she cannot feed herself and relies on a feeding tube to survive. Her husband, Michael Schiavo, claims that she had told him that she would never want to be kept alive with life support tubes; however, her parents believe that she can still make a recovery and function normally again. Her feeding tube has been removed twice in the past and had to be ordered replaced via legal action. It was removed a third time on Friday, leading the Senate to pass a bill gauranteeing Terri Schiavo due process of law as per the 14th Amendment. A Florida judge subsequently refused to order the tube reinserted, and as Schiavo enters her fifth day without food or water, the decision is being appealed by her parents. Doctors say that patients can survive for one to two weeks after the feeding tube is removed, but judging from what I've been reading from the AP, that's a nice way of saying "7-10 days".

The case for letting Terri Schiavo die is an intriguing one. Michael Schiavo said she told her best friend, "No tubes for me," while watching a show of some sort involving a person on life support. He says he's just trying to carry out her wishes. Doctors have also claimed that Terri Schiavo has no hope of recovery from her persistent vegetative state because her brain is so badly damaged. Michael Schiavo's brother recently said that anyone who thinks she is capable of communicating at this point "needs a mental health examination," possibly alluding to what he thinks of her parents. In short, assisted suicide and right-to-die advocates believe that letting Schiavo die would be a merciful act, and Michael Schiavo seems to think she would want it that way.

On the other hand, the case for replacing Schiavo's tube is equally provocative, if not more so. Michael Schiavo apparently filed for divorce at some point (I believe it was after her near-death, but I may be wrong). Although those papers have not been signed, he has a potential motive for wanting her dead: he has children with another woman that he cannot wed with Terri Schiavo still in the picture. Also, Terri Schiavo has no living will (she was 25 when she had her heart attack) and has never written anything saying that she would not want life support. Her parents also claim that she is a devout Roman Catholic who would consider life support removal a sin. The Vatican has released a statement likening the removal of her feeding tube to capital punishment of an innocent, and right-to-life advocates are protesting her starvation vociferously.

So what do I think about this? To me, it's really excruciatingly simple: unless you can prove to me that she would want it this way (through writing, recording, or something similar), err on the side of life and reinsert the tube until the whole thing can be settled. I'm not necessarily against life support removal, but why would you do it if you can't know the patient's wishes? Critics have been saying that the federal government has overstepped its bounds by guaranteeing due process; however, the Supreme Court ruled in a similar case to keep the patient alive back in 1990 (Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Dept. of Health) because incompetent persons were unable to exercise the right to refuse medical treatment. Are Schiavo's rights being violated because she cannot speak for herself? I don't know enough about the law to say that, but you should ask yourself whether you believe the right to die is greater than the right to live.

I don't necessarily think this should be such a political issue, but it has become one. Mark my words: if Schiavo dies before a verdict is reached, Christians from both parties will likely blame the Democrats for it and mobilize against the party over the 2006 and 2008 elections. Contrary to popular belief, not all evangelical Protestants were pro-Bush last election; this may push them over the edge. Catholics (who were slightly pro-Republican for the first time in decades) will go decisively right. There are no guarantees, but if Terri Schiavo becomes a political martyr, it could ruin the Dems. I'm NOT cheering for this to happen, but it would be a big mistake for the left to push the issue more. To do so would be political suicide.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Discourse and Goings-On

I'm sure many of you have been wondering why I've posted twice in the last two weeks. Well, I can't excuse last week, but as for this week, it's Spring Break! And I'll tell you what, I certainly needed a break from everything. Full, regular posting begins anew on Monday.

As for the moment, I'll take a second to bring you up to date on a few key issues.

1.) Condoleeza Rice said Sunday that she would not run for President. Whether she sticks to that or not could be interesting, but somehow, I didn't expect her to giddily throw her hat in the ring right away. From where I'm standing, it looks as though she'll only run if she feels the country needs her, which is probably the most sensible way to look at a candidacy. It's a tough job, but as our Founding Fathers decided, somebody's got to do it. Whoever the Republican candidate will be remains to be seen.

2.) As you know, Dan Rather stepped down from the anchor's chair last week. I haven't been alive long enough to give a proper analysis of his career, yet I thought it was curious that he chose to revisit his infamous sign-off "courage" in his final words. Some people thought he was goofy for saying that back in the day, but I think he wanted the word to define him. I leave partisan sniping alone on this point. After all, it really would take courage to walk a mile in the shoes of Dan Rather. I understand he will go back to field reporting; honestly, it's probably what he's best at. I had issues with Memogate/Rathergate and the glaring bias involved in that scandal; nevertheless, my hat is off to him. Was he bizarre? Quite often. Was he biased? Certainly. Was he one heck of a journalist? Definitely.

3.) I said earlier that I would talk at length about a possible challenge to Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) in 2006. Byrd is the oldest incumbent Senator and has not aged particularly well, but he still has enormous influence in Congress. An in-depth analysis of this issue is still coming. WVU Press is publishing his memoirs soon, which should be of great interest indeed.

A lengthy side note involving my post "How to Fix the DA": CBA blogger Dave Ryan provided his own take on the issue, and I have to admit, some of what he said surprised me. He stated that he almost never reads the DA, which is not a good sign for the paper because Ryan himself leans left and would agree with them more often than myself. In his words, not mine:

I just don't like it, it's not a paper. It's a byproduct of clutter and confusion, hastily written and poorly put together.

He also takes serious issue with their growing reliance on AP wire reports instead of original reporting, which is a not yet fatal flaw that I didn't touch on in my post. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Dominion Post has to use the AP wires heavily because they're under-staffed for their size. The DA should be capable of more original reporting, but it seems like they take the path of least resistance more frequently than they should. My "exclusive" on Peter Arnett's speaking engagement back in February was an exclusive in the sense that I had it first; however, I ended up being the only source for it because the DA never wrote a line about him the next day. Would it have been so hard to have someone there to cover the story? I don't know the internal workings of the paper, but I don't see why his remarks were so badly under-reported.

Anyhow, back to my post...Ryan seemed to really like the idea of aggressive advertising for new columnists and staffers, so long as it wouldn't turn the paper into the print version of CNN's "Crossfire". I don't see how it could myself; I don't believe that DA columnists are supposed to openly attack each other, and one of the things that made "Crossfire" so annoying was the element of crosstalk (where both sides attempt to talk over each other simultaneously in order to be heard), which becomes an impossibility in written form.

He thought my second proposal, partisan tagging, was "a dumb idea" (his words, not mine). I do agree that the possibility of tuning out columnists from your opposing party exists, but signifying their party has potential to serve an educational purpose that is anything but dumb. Although not all Dems and Reps are partisan shills, students with an interest in political science could benefit from observing the interplay between the columnists from those parties, as well as the alternate viewpoints of Greens, Libertarians, and independents. Partial disclosure is a less radical option that would get the job done on a smaller scale, which is what tagging L.J. Ulrich and Steve Nicholas as President and Vice-President of WVU's Young Democrats would be. That proposal has legs because they have highly pertinent titles that should be publicized. I'm not attacking them, but I think that readers should have a clear understanding of their organizational positions.

Oddly, Ryan doesn't understand why "someone who revels in anonymity would be so for public disclosure amongst writers." Frankly, who ever said I was "reveling" in it? Let me make something clear for everyone. I would never hold back any politically-related title I hold. I tell people that I am a moderate Republican from WVU so that they may better understand my views. If I were to become President of WVU's College Republicans tomorrow, I would want readers to know about it. If that means revealing myself, so be it; fairness is more important to me. I am anonymous partially so that my blogging may remain separate from my "real" life and partially so that people who know me personally don't color my opinions with their memories of the man the opinions belong to. The "real" me has known many of my classmates for years. The "real" me has met Dave Ryan in passing (don't flip out Dave, I've barely said five words to you). The "real" me fights the daily temptation to spill the beans in similar public moments, even when others bring up something I blogged about with praise or contempt. Most of my own family and best friends are completely in the dark about this, and I like it that way. I am unknown so that all of you may better understand my thoughts on the issues. Whether you agree with me or not is entirely your choice.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

How to Fix the DA

Last Friday, the Daily Athenaeum ran an editorial by Charlie Wade. Although I'm not going to reprint it here (as you might expect, it's available at their website), it was striking for one singular reason: it was in praise of President Bush. Humorously, the column started in this manner:
Readers beware: this column will be in praise of the president.

Yes, I laughed.

And then something much more serious came into my head...if my memory serves me correctly, this has been the first DA op-ed to openly give props to Bush since super-con Ben Helsley published his final column in December 2004. I'm not saying there weren't columns that took a favorable stance on the war in Iraq and other issues, but unless I somehow missed a day's paper (trust me, I haven't), this is the first editorial since Winter Break that openly embraced Bush.

If you aren't seeing anything wrong with that from a journalistic perspective, you need to stop and seriously question yourself. This is a severe imbalance. This isn't about whether or not the DA is currently a left-leaning publication with a liberal opinion page; that status was never in doubt. The real problem is that, unlike most large newspapers, the counterpoint never appears in the discussion. Even the New York Times, one of the most liberal papers in the country, had conservative columnist William Safire writing opinion for them from the 1970s until his semi-retirement after the 2004 election. If the other side does not get a voice, regardless of slant, then the editorials start to run together as the like-minded fall into step.

In an effort to allow for a discourse, I have come up with two ways to "fix" the DA. If anyone from the paper is reading this, hear me out. I'm not trying to insult you; rather, I'm attempting to give you ideas for improvement that you may not have considered. The list is as follows:

1.) Advertise aggressively for new columnists and staffers.
The paper needs to reform its image. You may wish to tag me as a radical conservative, but when I say that I'm a moderate Republican, believe it. Many of my strongly conservative friends don't even read the DA anymore because they feel attacked and/or angry every time they do so. Instead, they read the Dominion Post, a more moderate paper (albeit with smaller student readership) that is generally free to WVU students who know where to look for it. An unwritten truth held among the students is that the conservative journalism majors feel out of place at the DA and defect to the Post. Obviously, this causes the people who would be playing counterpoint to remain largely unread by the student body. To alleviate this problem, advertise for new columnists and staffers throughout the campus, particularly with the help of the high-traffic bulletin boards in the Mountainlair and campus bookstore. Printing black-and-white flyers would be extremely cheap, and you will be surprised with the results. Advertising in the paper alone (as is normally done each semester) will not do the trick.

2.) Disclose all major political ties of your columnists.
Before you recoil in terror, try to understand my reasoning. Most casual readers of the DA don't realize that columnists Steve Nicholas and L.J. Ulrich are the Vice-President and President, respectively, of the WVU Young Democrats. While I don't believe that you should deny Nicholas and Ulrich jobs for that reason (doing so would probably go against equal opportunity laws), I think that their titles should be affixed next to their pictures in their columns. If you're willing to really take balance a step further, add all of your columnists' party affiliations next to their pictures. I don't see how doing so would be discrimination, and if you were to do so, it would make the Opinion section much more thought-provoking for those who do not know the columnists personally. And no, I'm not recommending you do this for your masthead; assuming that the opinions of your staffers stay on the Opinion page, affixing D's and R's to them elsewhere would be tacky. Consider this: journalists have been openly tagging politicians as Democrats, Republicans, independents, Greens, Libertarians, and so on for decades. Why shouldn't we disclose our own ties?

These two steps may sound a little radical at first, but any change usually does. Once again, I did not present these two steps as some kind of ironic jab at the DA. Heck, I'd love to see Step 2 implemented in every paper in the country, although it would take years to accomplish even if the individual editors were willing to do so. Even if that seems absurd, Step 1 would be a low-cost, high-efficiency maneuver on the part of the DA to get new blood at the other end of the pen. Sometimes, a change just makes sense.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

It's OK, I'm Not Dead

I know it's been a few days since I posted, but the life of this college student has been tough over the last few days. Expect updates on Dan Rather's farewell and a possible challenge to the oldest incumbent Senator in Congress before too long.

Friday, March 04, 2005

The Dan Rather Countdown

I had to post this somewhere on my blog, and I didn't think the sidebar would be a good place for it. (Courtesy of RatherBiased.)

Thursday, March 03, 2005

A Look at Intelligent Design

This article on the decline of atheism in the world is absolutely captivating. I try not to bring religion into my blogging out of a desire to keep politics and religion reasonably separate. For the record, I am a Christian, which I tell you partially so you may understand me and partially so you may know my biases. Does that mean my opinions on the issues are influenced by my beliefs? Yes, it does; however, I feel that religion becomes what it should not be - materialistic - when mixed too heavily with politics. I don't consider myself fully part of the religious right, either, mainly because I am neutral on abortion (in most cases) and not a pure creationist. Instead of being strictly a creationist, I mix in a little science by subscribing to the intelligent design theory, which allows creation and evolution to co-exist. This is part of the reason why I'm linking the article, as it details how more scientists are coming to agree with the intelligent design theory and turning away from straight evolutionism. One of the biggest reasons for doing so is the dawning realization that some things simply cannot be explained by science as we know it. An excerpt from the article:

As British philosopher Anthony Flew, once as hard-nosed a humanist as any, mused when turning his back on his former belief: It is, for example, impossible for evolution to account for the fact than one single cell can carry more data than all the volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica put together.

Flew still does not accept the God of the Bible. But he has embraced the intelligent design concept of scholars such as William Dembski who only four years ago claimed to have been mobbed by pro-evolutionist colleagues at – of all places – Baylor University, a highly respected Southern Baptist institution in Waco, Tex.


It's a great read. Equally curious is information appearing later in the article that suggests paganism is replacing atheism in European countries. Check it out; regardless of your creed, it's a very provocative article.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March's Ironic Link

"Million Mom March" Chapter Head Arrested after Illegal Gun and Drugs Found in Home

I'm sorry, but this is hilarious. Her side of the story is kind of comical in its own right. I can't really say anything else about this...the link kind of tells the story by itself.

The True Progressives

The Lawrence Journal-World (Kansas) has an account of a recent speaking engagement by DNC chairman Howard Dean. He spoke harmlessly enough at Lawrence's Liberty Hall, but he got a little more outrageous at a fundraiser held in the backyard of residents John and Nancy Hiebert. As he laid into conservatives with greater audacity than in his Liberty Hall speech, he concluded by saying, "This is a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good." The quote stops short of directly calling Republicans evil, but the implication is very explicit. When Kansas Republican Party executive director Derrick Sontag was told about Dean's remarks, he responded, "My immediate reaction to that whole dialogue is, it's full of hatred. The Democratic Party has elected a leader that's full of hatred."

Personally, I would never call anyone "evil" just because they didn't agree with me. I know the value of positive discourse (why else would I be pushing the College Blog Alliance?), which is why this kind of political pessimism has always bothered me more than anything else. One of the biggest reasons that I am a Republican stems from my general optimism. I believe in a better tomorrow, and while I've always had a certain amount of admiration for the Democratic Party of the 1960s, it was mostly because of the vigor that John Kennedy and his Camelot legacy injected America with. The regression of the progressives can probably be attributed to Watergate, which led a large portion of the left to view all Republicans as criminals waiting to be caught in the act. Think about it; why else would Hillary Clinton have coined the phrase "vast right-wing conspiracy", and why else would one of the most popular anti-Bush books from last year be titled Worse than Watergate? The Democratic Party of the present day has lost their optimism and replaced it with contempt. In contrast, today's Republican Party has mostly avoided internalizing Watergate and has reinvented itself as a party with a positive perspective.

This allows me to touch on something else: what is it that President Bush has that makes his supporters love him so much and his opponents despise him? It is really very simple; George W. Bush is an idealist, and the twinkle in his eyes when he talks about the issues confirms this. This visibly confounds reporters who interview him, as they are used to politicians who are more concerned with their jobs than their ideals. Most who do not realize this, especially the liberals that oppose him, are quick to brand him stupid and/or arrogant. Stupidity does not produce a twinkle in the eye; the eyes of the idiot are dull. Arrogance does not produce that spark either; conceit harshens the glimmer into an accusing fire, which is not visible in the eyes of our president. There is probably nothing PC about what I am about to say, but this is one of the reasons why Bush's religious convictions are so obvious; everyone I've ever met with that gleam in their eye was either very devout or a true optimist, usually both. With Bush at the helm of the GOP, the Republican transition into the party of dreams is especially vivid and pronounced.

So how does this relate back to Democrats? To put it mildly, if Dean is the wave of the future, then the Democratic Party will drown in their negativity. The Dems can only salvage the party by finding a true idealist who is comparable to Bush in demeanor and charisma. Hillary Clinton is obviously not that person. John Edwards has the charisma but little optimism. John Kerry seemed to have some of the idealism, but he was too busy worrying about what people thought about him to have any perceptible twinkle in his eyes. I know that liberals have been calling themselves "progressives" in recent years, but as of present, conservatives are the true progressives. Without a dream of a better condition, there can be no reform; without idealism, there is no dream to speak of. If the DNC cannot add a little sunshine to its politics and move closer to the center, then it will spend years attempting to rise from its grave.

Flash Update

Welcome to those of you who are coming in from www.insidehighered.com. The link to the College Blog Alliance is on the right side of the page. Please submit any links you have so that the blogosphere may benefit. If you don't want to write out an e-mail, you may use the news tip box for link submission.

In other news: a full entry is coming later today, so for those who have been wondering where my blogging has been over the last week or so, you don't want to miss it!