The conventional wisdom on immigration crumbles.

A mostly political Weblog.
May 30 2006 5:42 AM

Special Premature Gloating Edition

The bogus CW on immigration crumbles.

(Continued from Page 14)

**--I originally wrote "more popular," but--as several emailers and Mystery Pollster note--while Bush's favorable rating is, in fact, a bit higher than Kerry's or Gore's, his   "not favorable" rating is more than a bit higher. .... Still, those are amazingly bad "favorable" numbers for Kerry and Gore. Don't the losing candidates typically rise in the polls when the President who beat them gets in trouble? ... 1:09 P.M.

Fast and Sloppy Rules: The publisher of the Daily Gotham chastises the New York Times for failing to block her and other outsiders from posting to its unreleased New York politics blog:

You've overlooked what I would consider a huge detail in blog development : You never, ever leave the login permissions open while mired in testing and development.

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"Testing," ... "development"? Wow. People actually do those things! And criticize others for not doing them! Sounds like creeping professionalism to me. ... Of the two modes of product launching--(1) Rational, systematic testing and development, with dry runs and mock issues before anything becomes public, or (2) Just start doing it and fix anything that sucks--I've always found that (2) is not only more fun, it's vastly more efficient. Dry runs are soul-killers. Nobody really puts their heart into a mock issue, and there's no substitute for feedback from actual readers. ... Approach (2) was preferable even for print publications, I claim. (That's how Newsweek'sCW Watch started, for example. The first few weeks were bad!) On the Web, where mistakes can be erased and problems fixed retroactively, it's not even close.** If the New York Times is being sloppy with its new blogs, that's a good sign! ...

**--The exception, illlustrated by the LAT's "wikitorial" experiment, would seem to be when any initial errors will be seized on by powerful enemies of innovation. A wikitorial was a perfectly reasonable thing for the Times to try--all the more reasonable because it seemed slightly crazy. When hackers managed to post child porn to the site, the entrenched Times bureaucracy and outside Times critics rose as one and said, "See!" The paper retreated, validating the idea that this was a horrible black eye. An alternative would have been to fix the security problem and let the experiment continue. The wikitorial would have survived or died a natural death due to disinterest--and we would have found that out much quicker than if the feature had been "tested" and "developed." It's the exception that proves the rule!

Just as often, it's critics who overreact to an initial, sloppy launch who wind up looking like fools. Remember when Nikki Finke, after the Huffington Post had been up for a few hours, wrote  that it was

the sort of failure that is simply unsurvivable. Her blog is such a bomb that it's the movie equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heaven's Gate rolled into one.

Bush's Polls--The Simplified Model: John Podhoretz argues that the immigration and spending issues can't be causing the drop in Bush's poll numbers among Republicans because

he had the same immigration plan in 2004 and spent like a sailor in his first term and still had over 90 percent support during that election year.

That might go for spending, but not immigration. Bush wasn't actively pushing the immigration plan that year, was he? And it wasn't moving through the Senate.  And it wasn't on the front page. And there weren't giant media-hyped marches. Podhoretz can't bring himself to admit the obvious--that Bush's push for a "comprehensive" semi-amnesty immigration plan has been a disaster for him. Thanks presumably to Iraq and Social Security he was down to his base of 45 percent or so--and then he willfully did something that pissed off half of them. It seems pretty simple. ... P.S.: Byron York tries to complicate the picture, depicting a "three-step process." But he can't complicate it very much.

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