Can't Get Enough About Third Parties:Mystery Pollster says he's "not convinced that immigration has yet become an issue of as 'paramount political concern'" as the issues that have historically produced third parties. That's almost certainly true. What MP overlooks, I think, is that the barriers to third party formation are dramatically lower than they used to be. It takes less, in the way of issue salience or personal ambition, to overcome them. .. . What, exactly--other than a first-mover advantage and often-negative "branding"--do the two existing parties have that can't be duplicated un a couple of months via the Internet, a few petitions and some lawsuits by a disaffected maverick or one of Lawrence O'Donnell's bored billionaires? If McCain doesn't get the GOP nomination, I wouldn't be surprised if he went the third party route. Heck, if Hillary doesn't get the Democratic nomination, I wouldn't be surprised. ... 8:59 P.M.
Which vehicle has more "domestic content"--that is, percentage of parts value from the United States and Canada--the Toyota Corolla or the new Chevy Tahoe? I wouldn't ask that question if the answer weren't the Corolla--with 75% domestic content, according to the Detroit Free Press' calculation. The new Tahoe has only 67%--25% of its content is from Mexico. ... I always figured inexpensive small cars like the Chevy HHR and Cobalt were in large part Mexican. I didn't realize GM's huge gas guzzlin' SUVs were heavily Mexico-sourced as well. Not that there's anything wrong with that! If you don't want unfettered immigration from Mexico then it makes sense to buy products that create decent jobs in Mexico. [Update: But see the WSJ's not-quite-convincing contrarianism on this point.] Still, you have to wonder if the price of maintaining Big Three UAW assembly jobs in the U.S. is the outsourcing of more and more parts overseas.** Honda, by way of contrast, doesn't have to support the UAW and is able to source 75 percent of its Pilot and Ridgeline vehicles domestically. Some 80% of the Toyota Tundra is domestic. ...
P.S.: What's Wrong with the Wagner Act Unionism, Part XXVIII: The UAW is only now concluding a drawn out, teeth-pulling, plant-by-plant reduction in the elaborate work rules and job classifications that have been built up over the decades. "One Chrysler official, who asked not to be identified, said changes included in the framework agreement are so significant that it is doubtful the union would have considered it five years ago." Non-union Japanese manufacturers' U.S. factories, in contrast, have never had such a cumbersome structure to dismantle. They've been building cars, not job categories. ... [ via Autoblog]
**--Many Corollas are in fact built by UAW workers at the quirky joint-venture GM and Toyota plant in Fremont, California. That doesn't change the general point that more heavily-unionized and work-ruled GM may face more pressure to use parts from cheaper-labor countries. 8:40 P.M.
OK, forget emo! Emo is so yesterday: Visionary CNN chief Jonathan Klein basks in another triumph: He proclaimed Anderson Cooper "the anchorperson of the future" and pushed out Aaron Brown to make room for him. The only problem is that Cooper isn't attracting many viewers. [Klein never said he was the anchorperson of the present--ed There's your spin!] [ Via Drudge] 2:16 A.M.
Die Gosserdammerung, Act II: Newsweek's identification of "Nine Fingers"--a Porter Goss aide who apparently played in a controversial, contractor-linked poker game with the CIA's #3, "Dusty" Foggo--actually jibes with Larry Johnson's surprisingly pro-Goss (and poontang-inclusive!) account of Goss's departure. Johnson argues that it was a Goss aide, not Goss himself, who championed Foggo's promotion to #3.. ... P.S.: But Newsweek says "the agency's problems may only get worse, and one reason is Foggo." Huh? Isn't it clear that Foggo won't be at the agency much longer? ... 5/8 Update: Already gone. ... [link via TPM ] 1:42 P.M.
Expat Power: I've always assumed that allowing Mexican-Americans to vote in Mexican elections was a terrible idea--assimilation, divided loyalties, and all that. Bill Mundell argues it's a great idea even from a purely U.S. perspective. Mexican expats, he says, are the "natural constituency" for the sort of U.S.-style economic reforms that might transform the Mexican economy into something offering enough opportunity to actually retain Mexican workers. Unfortunately, Mundell can't identify any of the three major candidates in Mexico's upcoming election as the sort of reform party he has in mind. ... Update: A fuller discussion of this topic, on video. ... 1:05 A.M.
More Fun With Third Parties: A Rasmussen robo-poll recently showed that "a 3rd party Presidential candidate with a pro-enforcement immigration agenda would theoretically end up in a virtual tie with a generic Democrat" and trounce the generic Republican. Mystery Pollster speculated that Rasmussen's poll reflected more desire for the third party than desire for a pro-enforcement immigration policy. Now, showing responsiveness to Web commentary rare in a pollster, Rasmussen has tested MP's hypothesis by duplicating his third-party candidate poll--except this time the candidate's agenda is "government-backed universal health care." The result: The "health care" third party tied for first with the generic Republican, with the generic Democrat trailing by 4 percentage points. Says Rasmussen:
The 28% support for the third party candidate is very similar to the 30% total received in the previous survey by the pro-immigration candidate. But, while the immigration candidate drew equally from both parties, the Universal Health Care candidate cost the Democratic candidate 18 percentage points while the Republican lost just six. [Emphasis added]
That still seems like a vindication of MP's hunch. But Rasmussen argues that