An online journal of politics, policy, and society with a special focus on Maryland -- Contact: on_background at yahoo.com.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Cause and Effect?

Say what you will about Howard Dean, but the man has a knack for planning ahead. He has been actively running for president without having another full-time job for almost three years and has gone from obscure leader of a tiny state to contender, at least in part because he has built slowly, largely under the radar, and despite a lot of naysaying from pundits for most of that period. Of course, his strong anti-war stance, online innovations, and other efforts contributed to his movement upward as everyone knows, but starting early and working hard seem to have paid off for Dean (whether or not he gets the brass ring).

On a similar note, I was surprised when I came back to DC in the spring of 1998 (almost 2 years before the primaries) to hear all sorts of Republicans, well-informed and outsiders alike, talking about how George W. Bush had the nomination in the bag. Perhaps that’s the ticket. It might make even the most cynical among us wonder how much further our electoral contests can drift downward before any vestige of consideration for contenders’ experience, ability, or plan for the nation (or state, just look at California) disappears completely.

Oh, and speaking of the little-heard subject of policy (its August: Congress, the Administration, and most of the pols outside of California, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana are on vacation), I found Llwewellyn King’s column on the potential causes of the blackouts in his White House Weekly to be thought provoking. Beyond being the publisher and editor of the notable policy/political tip sheet Energy Daily, I don’t know much about King, but the potential that deregulation of the electric power industry and concomitant loss of private investment/responsibility in the grid contributed to the problem was illustrated.