The spirit of ’96

Mickey Kaus makes fun of Karl Rove’s attempt to assemble a durable (no human thing is “permanent”) majority. All grandiose projects look silly after they’ve failed. The ones that didn’t fail don’t look grandiose, in retrospect.

Actually, I’m not sure Rove failed, any more than Croesus of Lydia failed to destroy a mighty empire, as the Oracle had promised he would. Rove’s latest candidate, McCain, seems to have re-assembled the William Jennings Bryan coalition, consisting of people who live in rural areas, attend church, and distrust those who know more than they do. That coalition, both in 1896 and today, is capable of carrying the South and most of the Great Plains. That was, and is, a durable majority.

For the other side, of course.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com