Lightning Round: All the Narratives That Are Fit to Print.

  • Allow me to let you in on the real meaning behind yesterday's elections: The political press has no idea how to process and report on the mundane and predictable. You say a Democrat beat a Republican-turned-Democrat in a primary? Incumbents watch out! You say a well-connected established pol with name recognition forced a Democratic incumbent into a runoff? The center is under attack! You say a Republican challenger with a formidable grass-roots fundraising and organizational machine at his disposal ran a better campaign against a lackluster establishment candidate? The era of the Tea Party has arrived!
  • Speaking of the press and their need for narratives, the fact that Peter Baker would express indignation on account of Barack Obama not taking any questions during a White House ceremony shows what his priorities are. It's quite possible that the president really has nothing of interest to say about a handful of primaries and special elections. In fact, it's quite possible that the "meaning" of the elections is something beyond the ability of pundits to discern. It's almost as if there's a shared sentiment among political reporters that there's very little of interest to talk about unless votes are being cast (no matter the size of the election).
  • The point of this long Jonathan Bernstein post on the breathtaking failures of the Bush administration isn't to say that their ideological choices were poor (which they were) but that the administration failed at the basic application of executive power. Now, this sounds counterintuitive given that the Bush years were characterized specifically by an expansion of presidential power, but Bernstein is talking about something quite different, which is the effective administration of a large federal bureaucracy. I would add that this is the consequence of committing to a governing philosophy that is premised on the corruption of bureaucracy: When your political movement fails to cultivate and train people who know how to run a bureaucracy, you end up with a Bush administration.
  • Remainders: The AP discovers the benefits of fact-checking news reports; seven straight special election losses = Republican wave; maybe if we didn't fetishize military service so much, politicians would be less inclined to exaggerate their own military service; a Tea Party activist has some well-considered thoughts on the Muslim savages and their pagan religion; yes, the reasonable restrictions we place on where we can carry our freedom-spewing firearms are "common sense"; and America is still coping with the latest terrorism threat.

--Mori Dinauer