America: Now 73 Percent More Taken Back

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Take Back America, the yearly liberal confab sponsored by the Campaign for America's Future is happening up the road from reason world headquarters; I stopped by earlier and will stop by later, but don't expect the madcap antics of the Conservative Political Action Conference. For starters, it's smaller. That fact is amplified by the location, the very same D.C. hotel that conservatives gathered in last month. At CPAC, a mostly youthful crowd of college students and grubby politicos took over the whole cavernous hotel, lining up for speeches 20 or more minutes after they began, showing off the "I'd Rather Be Waterboarded Than Vote for McCain" shirts and replica Ronald Reagan inaugural tickets they'd just grabbed at the merch tables. The TBA crowd is older, and notably less excitable. Mitt Romney isn't buying blocks of tickets for these people, and daddy's credit card went back into his wallet a long time ago.

That doesn't explain why this crowd is less excitable, though. Chalk that up to the lack of presidential candidates (most of them showed last year) and the bitter struggle for the nomination raging whenever the attendees flip open their Powerbooks. (Nothing will flare up your Mac Envy like a liberal convention.) This year's conference is less about politicians than than 2006 or 2007. The speakers are mostly authors and organizers, either wine-track bloggers or beer-track union types.

The first panel I attended was billed "The Crackup of Conservatism," and up on the podium were liberal pundit Cliff Schechter (very popular on the web for his flame-throwing style on mid-day cable news hits) and author Rick Perlstein, who's about to publish his sequel to the brilliant Barry Goldwater/conservatism history Before the Storm. I settled in for some Bush administration gravedancing, and then Perlstein gave a powerpoint presentation about "toxic trade" and handed the mic to Mike Zielinski of the United Steelworkers, who blistered free trade deals and corporate influence in politics. "We could make a T-shirt," he said. "My job went to China and all I got was a baby-bib-laced-with-lead."

Mark Hemingway caught the latter part of the panel, which shifted back toward partisan politics:

Schecter began his speech by announcing "John McCain is a jackass," and closed his remarks by announcing "Conservativism today is theocracy, oligarchy and permanent war," so you know you can look forward to reviewing his other salient and scholarly opinions in his forthcoming book on McCain.

Still, Schecter expressed great concern over the damage done by the infighting between Barack and Hillary's infighting given McCain's relative strength, adding "If it were Mitt Romney we were running against we could all sit back and eat barbecue for six months and still kick his butt."

This is true: There was a 1 in 100 chance the Democrats would draw an electable opponent in this Year of Republican Doom, and they did.

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  1. Nothing will flare up your Mac Envy like a liberal convention.

    I, too, have noticed this. I propose that certain posters such as joe and John try to explain this, because I’d like to know why liberals like Macs.

  2. Tak, can’t watch–I’m at work. Care to describe the humor?

  3. Me too

  4. I just switched back to Windows after two years on the Mac. Each has its pluses and minuses. Anyway I was at a party last year where I asked everyone I know what they used. All the artist/musician types (about ten) had a Mac. The only Windows users were 2 or 3 programmer friends.

  5. “Conservativism today is theocracy, oligarchy and permanent war,”

    As opposed to liberalism, which is over-taxation, knee-jerk protectionism, and permanent war U.N. “peace-keeping” missions.

  6. This is true: There was a 1 in 100 chance the Democrats would draw an electable opponent in this Year of Republican Doom, and they did.

    While failing to have either of their final options to be electable themselves.

    Rule seven of American politics: Ninety-nine percent of the time, Democrats run bad Presidential campaigns with unelectable candidates.

  7. I’m not a liberal and a programmer and I use Macs. Funny, most people I work with are fairly liberal to left-winger and most of them use Windows.

    So I don’t see much of a correlation. Maybe it has to do with how people like to work and not so much their politics.

  8. Rhywun,

    Did any of them describe PCs as going “like beep beep beep and stuff” like that chick from the Apple commercials a few years ago?

  9. Programmers, geeks and gamers loooove PC’s. I’m the latter, so Mac can suck it.
    Liberal nabobs looooove Macs, because they hate Bill Gates and Steve Jobs looks like a young, Levi’s-wearing Noam Chomsky.
    Fuck liberals.

  10. I dual-installed Leopard and XP SP2 on my girlfriend’s MacBook using Boot Camp.

    Leopard’s a nice OS, but interestingly the XP install is crazy fast, so fast that I was going WTF? I assume this is because Macs use top-notch hardware. But it is interesting that XP is WAY faster and more responsive than Leopard on the same machine.

    It might be because I had to install XP on a FAT32 partition if I wanted the Mac to be able to pull files off the XP part of the disk, and FAT32 is slightly faster than NTFS but with worse security. I don’t know if the NTFS slowdown would be enough to account for this speed.

  11. Mac users are dipshits if they think “PCs are too hard”. I knew my way around MS-DOS prompt when I was seven years old, for God’s sake.

  12. While failing to have either of their final options to be electable themselves.

    Meh – against McCain?? I think either Dem is electable. The razor-thin margins of the last couple decades seem to suggest that either party can field an electable candidate.

  13. Somehow Macs aren’t all corporatey. This despite the proprietary nature of the MAC and iPod prducts, the high cost in comparison to the open standards products most people prefer, and a habit of suing journalists.

  14. Back in the oldentimes, Macs were used by graphicdesigners, for printing things out, etc. Then, the PC came along and was sold by IBM for accountants, complete with spreadsheet programs, etc. The Mac was considered to be more appropriate ForRightBrainedTasks, the PC ForLeftBrainedTasks.

    And, since we know that “liberals” are only capable of feeling and not thinking, that distinction remains to this very day.

    Also, Macs are more Green, and SteveJobs is supercool.

    OT: in all their pimping for GMO, Reason doesn’t seem to have discussed the Rockefeller connection and the “SeedBank”. Odd.

  15. Episarch,

    It would depend on the implementation of the file system driver, but, FWIW, I’ve never noticed a lot of difference on a native windows machine.

  16. Episiarch*

  17. I dual-installed Leopard and XP SP2 on my girlfriend’s MacBook using Boot Camp.

    Funny… that’s exactly what trashed my Mac and caused me to go back to Windows.*

    Programmers, geeks and gamers loooove PC’s. I’m the latter, so Mac can suck it.

    Yeah, gaming blows on the Mac. Not that it’s much better on my new Vista machine. None of my old games work and Vista is slow as molasses compared to XP, at least as provided. I’m sure I can speed it up eventually.

    *Apple’s notoriously terse instructions neglected to inform me that if I didn’t perform a certain step–a step which *changed* from the Tiger version of Boot Camp–it would render my machine unbootable. Much later I was able to boot the damn thing with an *old* keyboard, but of course by then it was too late.

  18. I am staying far, far away from Vista for as long as humanly possible.

    Macs are preferred by a few programmers where I work, though not very many by any means. I think it’s the Unix-based OS and the high-end hardware they like.

    …and a wee bit of smugness.

    Anyway, the people around here who have them seem to know exactly what they want and what they’re doing. There’s something to be said for that. Macs still suck, though, for really geeking out. Proprietary == bad.

  19. It appalls me but I sort of agree with (gulp) LoneWacko. Macs originally became associated with a different sphere than PCs and then Apple exploited that to the hilt by having ad campaigns designed to appeal to people who identify themselves by what molded plastic they buy.

    That’s not to say that all Apple users are completely superficial; iPods are great inventions, really brilliant, and make sense. But for many, it seems tribal and group-oriented: Macz rule PC droolz.

  20. I’ve never voted for a democrat for president. As much as I dislike the left “Conservativism today is theocracy, oligarchy and permanent war …” is, IMO, correct. Libertarians aren’t leaving the GOP, they were evicted.

  21. Yeah, gaming blows on the Mac.

    Considering the usual quality of their hardware, this surprises me. Or is it because nobody ports Bioshock over to the Mac because it’s too much work?

    Microsoft should really get cracking on making multi-platform .NET frameworks, and make the failed Java dream a real possibility. If I could run my stuff on a Mac that would be cool.

  22. I am staying far, far away from Vista for as long as humanly possible.

    I like Vista; my machine is brand new so it functions well, just rather more slowly than I hoped. I suppose I could throw XP on it if I get sufficiently motivated.

    Yes, Wacko stated it very nicely.

  23. Episiarch,

    Since Macs are now *nix there’s a possibility with mono.

  24. Considering the usual quality of their hardware, this surprises me. Or is it because nobody ports Bioshock over to the Mac because it’s too much work?

    Some of the most popular games are ported over, months later and never get discounted either. So you’ll see, I dunno, Civ IV for the Mac at $49.99 and for Windows at $9.99 at the same time. As for hardware, the iMac is not quite up to playing the most demanding games, and the configurable Mac Pro is just too expensive for most people.

    Microsoft should really get cracking on making multi-platform .NET frameworks

    Don’t hold your breath.

  25. XP Pro SP2 is far and away more tolerable than Vista.

    It’s that continual resource hogging that helps make Vista a horror show. On the other hand, XP did the same over ’98 and 2000. When a new OS comes out that immediately doubles your system requirements (especially memory) to run the same piece of software you had on the previous OS, you know you’ve been screwed.

    But at least XP is stable. ’98 was a fucking nightmare.

    XP is actually Microsoft’s only OS since maybe DOS that worked remotely as well as advertised.

  26. XP is actually Microsoft’s only OS since maybe DOS that worked remotely as well as advertised.

    Hmph – when XP came out it broke all my ’98 games.

    Oh well, perhaps the upcoming SP1 will help Vista.

  27. Oh well, perhaps the upcoming SP1 will help Vista.

    That’s the word.

    My father has been using Vista for years (he’s a MS Beta tester) and he digs it, but he has a high tolerance for rebuilding machines and dealing with issues. Plus he has about 10 computers so he has all kinds of installs everywhere.

  28. Isn’t it really an issue of which keyboard wipes off easier?

    Mac > PC

  29. Shouldn’t you use some tissues or something, NutraSweet? Then you won’t have to clean the spunk off your keyboard.

  30. I’m a unix sysadmin, and I use a Mac because it’s got the standard unix tools I’m accustomed to, and I got fed up with the inconsistencies and lack of standard business software on Linux. I use Parallels for Windows – unlike Boot Camp, I don’t have to reboot to use it, and I can also boot into 2 different flavors of Linux, FreeBSD and Solaris, none of which are supported by Boot Camp. Whether Macs are inherently any better than PC’s I couldn’t say – I’m equally comfortable with either one, but the Mac seems to mesh more naturally with the kind of tasks I use a computer for.

    And nobody has ever accused me of being a liberal!

  31. The porting issue is the real problem with Mac (besides the expense). No doubt it’s better hardware, but the software side of things sucks.

    I worked for a conservative nonprofit for awhile, and we used Macs, and I think it might be a stretch to call it the “liberal computer.”

  32. Related to the subject of Liberals using Macs: Has anyone else noticed that liberals tend to drive foreign cars, while conservatives tend to drive American? That has always struck me as odd given that liberals tend to be more pro-union (and the UAW is probably one of the strongest unions there is) and conservatives tend to be more pro-free-trade.

  33. nal, we’ve got three mercedes. what does that mean, we’re liberal or that we’re crypto-nazis?

  34. Yeah, gaming blows on the Mac.

    Considering the usual quality of their hardware, this surprises me. Or is it because nobody ports Bioshock over to the Mac because it’s too much work?

    Not enough marketshare to make most games worth porting to the Mac. And the Mac blows for downloading porn, too.

    The Mac doesn’t have all the security problems of PCs, though. Vista has far fewer security problems than XP, though more than Macs.

    Tradeoffs, people. Tradeoffs. Own a Mac laptop and a Vista desktop.

  35. The preference of artists, academics, lefties, etc. for Mac is part effective marketing and part the product itself. Macs are really easy to use for people who are not computer savvy. They are also a very expensive, boutique computer where the outward appearance is stressed as much as what’s inside. And because they have been favored by creative types for a long time, some proprietary software is favored in those industries such as Final Cut Pro in the independent film world.

    I recognize that Macs are quality machines but I still can’t help but hate them and Apple products in general. Something about the whole ipod, imac, ilfe, think different marketing thing just rubs me the wrong way. Too many hipster douchebags with ipods I guess.

    Most annoying is the cult of Macintosh users who believe that their computer is better in every way despite having very little knowledge of computer technology.

    awhile back I dropped my Dell laptop and the ribbon cable attaching the screen came loose causing lines to appear. It was annoying but not so much that I had bothered to get it fixed. I was using it at a coffee place one day and the mac user next to me saw me pushing on the screen to make the contact better so the lines would go away. “that looks annoying” he says. “That’s why I’m glad I have a Mac”. Right. Because Mac screens are made out of fairy dust and won’t break when you drop them.

  36. And the Mac blows for downloading porn, too.

    Hm, not really.

    the whole ipod, imac, ilfe, think different marketing thing just rubs me the wrong way

    I have to agree. And I can’t get that goddamn iPhone jingle out of my head, either.

  37. Jesus, have we become another slashdot?! Let’s get back to politics, shall we?

    … oh, the topic is the Taking Back America conference … never, mind …

    Macs rule! PCs suck!

  38. MS-D0S! MS-DOS!

    Oh yeah, and OS/2!

  39. I read reason in Lynx.

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