Addressing Our Troubling Lack of Reagan

This morning, Mitt Romney published an op-ed in USA Today laying out his economic plan, which will no doubt be read eagerly by people staying in hotels all across America. It's full of all the expected claptrap and flim-flammery, but there's one part I wanted to point out:

Scenes From the Campaign Trail

Imagine it's the 2008 primary season. Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, and the other candidates troop up to Vermont for a candidate forum. The questioners, who ask a series of questions demanding fealty to a variety of liberal principles, are Bernie Sanders, Maxine Waters, and Noam Chomsky.

Local News Is Awesome

Even in the age of the Internet, local television news remains the top source of information for Americans. And it's almost undoubtedly the worst, a festering stew of fearmongering and triviality, with the occasional waterskiing squirrel thrown in. So for your Friday amusement, via The Hairpin, here is a local news crew in Indianapolis, but most particularly the weather guy, freaking the heck out over a spider. Watch as his fear turns to panic, and then to sheer terror:

Some Context on the Coming GOP Immigration Debate

Could immigration be Rick Perry's Achilles' heel? Folks are beginning to ask. Republican primary voters, The Washington Post tells us, are pestering Republican presidential candidates about it. Ed Kilgore suggests it could be a problem for Perry in South Carolina.

What a Bad Politician Looks Like

Hapless presidential candidate Rick Santorum is not a happy man. Watch how he talks about same-sex marriage, even before being challenged, in this video taken at an event at Penn State (via Andrew Sullivan):

Seriously, Jon Huntsman Is Not a Moderate


If there’s anything impressive about Jon Huntsman’s presidential campaign, it’s the extent to which he’s convinced the world of his moderation. For example, here’s the first sentence of The New York Times’ write-up on his recently released economic plan:

The Party of Ideas

Washington is full of people who try to get politicians to adopt their ideas. That's one of the reasons the Prospect was founded, in fact -- to create a forum for progressives to have serious discussions about government and politics, in the hopes that the ideas generated might eventually be translated into policies that solve problems. But it's hard to get politicians' attention -- they're seldom deep thinkers, and they always have more immediate concerns.

The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations

Between his defense of the scientific consensus and his willingness to denounce the GOP’s brinksmanship on the debt ceiling, it seemed safe to describe former Utah governor and ambassador to China Jon Huntsman as a conservative representative of the reality-based community.

If Huntsman’s jobs plan is any indication, that assessment was off-base.

Here are the basics of Huntsman’s plan for lowering unemployment:

Conservative Victimology, Thomas Edition

Last week's New Yorker had an article by Jeffrey Toobin about Clarence and Virginia Thomas, which discusses how Mrs. Thomas has developed a career as a conservative activist advocating on many of the issues that come before the court on which her husband sits:

Some Sunshine for Presidential Nominations

Rick Perry has already been declared the front-runner to gain the GOP nomination less than a month after launching his campaign. He's posted a significant lead in recent polls over previous front-runner Mitt Romney. The only problem is that national polls mean nothing at this point in the election cycle -- it's all about how the candidates will perform in the early primary states. The current crowded field will get narrowed down to a handful of candidates by the time most of the states hold their primaries.

Nobody Really Cares About Federalism, Rick Perry Edition

A good article by Manny Fernandez and Emily Ramshaw details some ways in which Rick Perry's federalist views have yielded to other priorities:

In one of his more well-publicized shifts, Mr. Perry proclaimed that gay marriage was an issue for individual states to decide, but backtracked in recent weeks and now says he supports a federal amendment banning gay marriage. He has also signaled support for various federal actions to restrict abortion rather than leaving the issue to states. And he used $17 billion in federal stimulus money to balance the state’s last two budgets.

Your iTable Is Coming

Two years ago, I wrote a column talking about some of the things that still bring value to newspapers, even in the Internet age, particularly its size:

Your Tax Dollars at Work

War has offered the opportunity for profiteering pretty much since the most sophisticated weapons technology at man's disposal was a spear. But the level of that profiteering these days is truly spectacular. This new report from the Center for Public Integrity explains just how your tax dollars are shoveled into the coffers of KBR, the former Halliburton subsidiary that provides things like food to troops overseas. You see, when you start a war, you don't really know everything you're going to need. So the military retained KBR on what's called a Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, or LOGCAP:

Reining in Out-of-Control Democracy

The L.A. Times reports today that Democrats in the California Legislature are pushing a bill to have ballot initiatives appear only in general elections. Their argument is that having important laws passed via initiative in primaries -- when turnout is low, and so a tiny portion of the electorate can determine the state's fate -- doesn't serve anyone's interests.

Republicans, predictably, are outraged:

No Good News On Opinions of the Affordable Care Act

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation health reform tracking poll is out, and it's pretty seriously depressing. Essentially, as time passes, people understand less and less about the Affordable Care Act. This is the opposite of what the Obama administration and congressional Democrats want, of course, but it springs directly from the way the bill was designed and its implementation scheduled. Basically, we had this big contentious debate, Democrats won, then ... nothing.