Chant and Pose Voters

Journalists on the hunt for the latest and greatest swing voter, take note of Michael Ordona’s piece in today’s Los Angeles Times. In reporting on a “Yoga for Kerry” event in Hollywood, Ordona resists the urge — all too common in campaign-related coverage — to breathlessly claim credit for discovering some subset of the population with a single trait or pastime in common who might therefore vote in common and, in so doing, the theory goes, swing the election one way or the other.

Instead, Ordona maintains the sense of humor and perspective necessary for covering a “fund-and-consciousness-raiser aimed at regime change in the United States,” held at a yoga studio in Los Angeles (headline: “Going to the mat for Kerry”). “As if President Bush didn’t have enough trouble,” Ordona writes, “the yoga community of Los Angeles launched its campaign of chakra and awe against him on Sunday.”

Ordona reports that some 250 people took part in “Yoga for Kerry,” which raised an estimated $3,600 (although the goal was 300 participants and $20,000). And while he permits Robert Rabbin, a keynote speaker at the event, to assert that “twenty million U.S. adults practice yoga and mediate regularly — that’s one hell of a swing bloc,” Ordona maintains a tone throughout the piece that suggests he isn’t taking that notion too seriously.

“In the middle of the day,” Ordona writes, “teacher Steve Ross led a yoga class of about 35 through a series of positions that the Geneva Convention might prohibit but the students seemed to enjoy.” The goal of the event, Ordona notes, was “to unleash the kundalini of the spiritual voting bloc, which sounds naughty but isn’t.”

Ordona reports for the Times’s “Style & Culture” section (he recently wrote an article on why “dweebie is dreamy” in today’s film and fashion). We knew William Powers was on to something when he wrote that entertainment reporting “often feels a lot smarter than our old-fashioned, boys-on-the-bus political coverage.”

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.