Harvard serves sour grapes and glee for Fourth of July

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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A Harvard study claiming that Fourth of July celebrations promote Republican voting is being paraded across the Internet by right-of-center websites and media, but left-leaning authors are disparaging, downplaying and ignoring the Ivy League’s unwelcome report.

“People who celebrate the 4th of July with their parents are more likely to grow up with right-leaning political affiliations!” warned Brandon Scott Gorrell at ThoughtCatalog.com. “That’s right – fireworks on Independence Day + children = the next George W. Bush! Fuck,” he wrote.

The study, authored by two Swedes — one at Harvard, the other at an Italian university — concluded that kids who attend a rain-free Fourth of July parade are one percent more likely to vote, two percent more likely to identify as Republicans, three percent more likely to make a political donation and four percent more likely to vote for the GOP by their 40th birthdays.

The authors of the study declined to answer questions from The Daily Caller.

Left-of-center sites provided brief or sour coverage of the story. “Does this really mean festivities associated with Independence Day have the power to sway kids to the right?” worried Nick Carbone at Time.com. “The numbers are minute, but when compared to Democrats, they’re meaningful … This study might change the weekend plans of some parents who want to ensure their kids remain left-leaning,” he wrote.

Liberal commentator Alan Colmes briefly summarized the study at his site, Alan.com, and left the comments up to his readers. “Republicans are nothing more then sheep … The right wing tea bagging racist America is only about three things…..guns,bible,flag,” commenter named ‘RJ’ complained.

MSNBC’s ‘The Last Word’ blog headlined its short article “Can 4th of July turn you Republican?” and commentator “Nilesapup” griped that “Republicans can own anything, They no doubt paid these guys that did the study.”

The left’s leading website, The Huffington Post, briefly described the dense, 40-page study, and then let its readers vent. “Maybe the kids were gnawing on those Chinese made American flags and got lead poisoning? That could explain it,” said “Var Enyo,” one of only a few liberal commenters on a website where issues important to Democrats can draw hundreds of comments.

Many right-of-center media sites and blogs gleefully cited the Harvard-branded study as evidence of Republicans’ fidelity to American ideals. The Harvard academics “admit that celebrating the founding of the nation is a Republican event…[and] that liberals don’t care and that they don’t show up,” said radio-host Rush Limbaugh. “Democrats gather to protest their handout begin[ning] to get cut, that’s their parade… Man, are we going to have fun with this one!” he said.

“Reagan used to say, Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, but the democrats believe every day is April 15,” said Deb at nicedeb.wordpress.com. “Now, a new study from Hahvad,  shows what most of us probably suspected. Republicans seem to enjoy celebrating the 4th more than Dems. A shock, I know.”

But some of the right-wing commentators didn’t allow their delight in the study to overwhelm their long-standing distrust of Harvard, whose academics lean sharply to the left. “Here we have two Swedish citizens thinking they know something about America and its values,” commentator “Joe” wrote to the USNews.com website. “Apparently, the only thing they know less about is proper research design… [such as] controlling for antecedent variables and extraneous variables in a research study.”

Neil Munro