The Corner

Blue about Red, &c.

I have a friend who is devoted to a lost cause: the idea that the Republican states should be the “blue” states, and the Democratic states the “red.” I used to be devoted to this cause too: because blue has always been the color of conservatism, whereas red . . . well, you know. Don’t want to be accused of McCarthyism more than absolutely necessary!

I gave up this fight, however, because Republicans-as-red and Democrats-as-blue got entrenched. It was bassackwards; but it got entrenched. There is a conservative blog called RedState. Its leading writer, Erick Erickson, has just co-authored a book called Red State Uprising. What’re you gonna do now? These wrong colors, or this wrong color assignment, is here to stay.

But my friend was given new hope yesterday by a line from a Michael Barone column: “Get an outline map showing the 50 states and take a look at the latest poll averages in in each race for senator and governor. Color in the percentage (rounded off; no need for tenths) by which either the Republican or Democratic candidate is leading (I use blue for Republicans, red for Democrats) in each state.”

Aha! Michael Barone does that because he is a very sensible person and knows politics, and its history, as well as anybody. Oh, well.

My above-mentioned friend has another cause — a littler cause, concerning National Review. Our editorial section is called “The Week.” It is called that because, in the first two years of our existence — 1955 to 1957 — we were a weekly. When we went biweekly, we never changed it. My friend thinks the editorial section should be called “The Fortnight,” for two reasons: First, because it’s true; and second, because “fortnight,” and “fortnightly,” were big WFB words. In fact, I’m pretty sure I learned those words from him.

There are arguments on either side of this question. An argument for keeping “The Week”: It has always been that way, and aren’t conservatives supposed to be “against change”? (No: We are against foolish and unnecessary change.) Why change now, after 55 years? The argument for “The Fortnight”: Accuracy. The correction of an historic error. Plus, it’s just a fun, Buckleyesque word.

In any event, on to non-lost causes . . .


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