Latte Liberals

Dan Savage elucidates something I’ve been thinking for a while. Noting the new attack ad on Al Franken that accuses him of being a latte-sipping elitist, Dan writes:

Do Republican politicians and campaign consultants ever actually go to the heartland they never shut up about? I travel a fair bit and there are Starbucks literally everywhere you go—big towns, small towns, college towns, blue-collar towns. And do you know why that is? Because lattes are popular all over!

Exactly. I’ve also wondered about this with respect to McDonalds new latte ads, which feature two women who are relieved that they don’t have to pretend to be elitist anymore.

There are 15,000 Starbucks locations worldwide. If latte-sipping were solely the domain of hard-core liberals, well… suffice it to say we’d have universal health care by now.

Friedman and Oil Prices

Man, Tom Friedman sure is annoying today, getting all sanctimonious about how Bush needs to either get with the alternative-energy program or else STFU. But why is Friedman so angry? Bush already had a strategy to lower oil prices: invade Iraq. And he did so with the blessings of… Tom Friedman.

Back in ’02, Friedman wrote that the invasion of Iraq could lead to either $6/barrel or $60/barrel oil, but he spilled a lot more ink on the glorious benefits of the $6 scenario:

The scenario that could produce $6-a-barrel oil goes like this: Iraq under Saddam has been pumping up to two million barrels of oil a day, under the U.N. oil-for-food program. Let’s say a U.S. invasion works and in short order Saddam is ousted and replaced by an Iraqi Thomas Jefferson, or just a ”nice” general ready to abandon Iraq’s nuclear weapons program and rejoin the family of nations.

That would mean Iraq would be able to modernize all its oilfields, attract foreign investment and in short order ramp up its oil production to its long-sought capacity of five million barrels a day. That is at least three million barrels of oil a day more on the world market, and Iraq, which will be desperate for cash to rebuild, is not likely to restrain itself. (Now you understand why Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kuwait all have an economic interest in Saddam’s staying in power and Iraq’s remaining a pariah state, so it can’t produce more oil.)

Today, Iraq is producing roughly the same (or less) as before the invasion. And though the Saudis and Kuwaitis would have preferred to keep Saddam in power, it wasn’t because they feared its massive increase in production capacity. They simply liked the stability.

Oh, and, of course, $6/barrel oil would have unleashed a torrent of increased consumption. We’d all be driving Hummers today. It would have led to an environmental disaster that would make 2008 Friedman’s head spin. But 2002 Friedman had other priorities.

You Can’t Stop Elitism, You Can Only Hope To Contain It

Obama in his Father’s Day Chris Rock spiel:

Accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, who sat in the front pew, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, laid out his case in stark terms that would be difficult for a white candidate to make, telling the mostly black audience not to “just sit in the house watching ‘SportsCenter,’” and to stop praising themselves for mediocre accomplishments.

“Don’t get carried away with that eighth-grade graduation,” he said, bringing many members of the congregation to their feet, applauding. “You’re supposed to graduate from eighth grade.”

The same day, same paper, on the topic of his management style:

Mr. Obama’s circle of advisers takes seriously his “no drama” mandate. It is a point of pride in his campaign that there have been virtually no serious leaks to the news media — small leaks are immediately investigated — about internal division or infighting. He is a careful reader of daily newspapers and magazines (titles from Foreign Affairs to Maxim are stocked on his campaign plane). He takes his briefing books — three-ring binders filled with political memorandums and policy discussions — to his hotel room or home every night, but aides say how well he reads the materials may depend on what is on ESPN.

Sexism vs. Racism

Can’t it be both? Over the past few days, I’ve been wondering if, now that the primary is over, we can answer the question of whether the country is more sexist or racist.

Certainly it’s never going to be so clear cut, but the NYT has an interesting look at the role that sexism played in the media’s coverage of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

I think it’s pretty obvious that most of the male-dominated punditocracy — Matthews, Hannity, and the like — engaged in some pretty wretched behavior. At the same time, it’s very clear that certain chunks of white America refused to vote for Obama because of his race.

And I think that just about says it all. The issue of sexism seemed largely confined to the media. The rank-and-file voters had no problem voting for a woman (at least not this woman), despite how hard the media pounded her. But on the flipside, despite largely glowing coverage in the media, many Democrats didn’t vote for Obama because of his race.

To put it another way: the media has a sexism problem, but America still has a racism problem.