Lightning Round: If Only There Were a Political Party Whose Appeal Relied on Contempt for Government.

  • According to reporting from Christina Bellantoni, the White House has concluded that Senate Republicans will work to block any Supreme Court nominee Barack Obama names, regardless of their actual judicial philosophy, and this realization has had a "liberating" effect on the president. Another possibility, floated by Peter Baker, is that Obama actually does view himself as a -- if not the -- bulwark against the conservative activism of the John Roberts court. We can't and I won't attempt to get inside the president's mind. But perhaps this is simply an instance where the political conditions dovetail with arresting the conservative trajectory of the high court.
  • Yesterday, contemplating that Pew poll recording record discontent with government, I thought to myself "libertarians will think this is great news!" And sure enough, here's Radley Balko at Reason proudly displaying the statistic with the title-says-it-all headline, "The Most Encouraging Thing I've Seen in a Week." Now, if your political philosophy bears little distinction from anarchy, then I suppose this finding would be "encouraging." But if you actually want to reduce the size of government in the real world, then shouldn't you be promoting trust in government which, ironically, appears to make it easier to reduce government spending?
  • Libertarians aren't the only ones rooting for failure. National Reivew editor Rich Lowry has yet another entry in the tiring genre of how the liberal agenda is destroying America: "How did Democrats fall so fast, and take perceptions of government down with them? If the weak economy has hurt, so has what they’ve done and how they’ve done it. Their two signature initiatives -- the stimulus and health care -- constitute massive expansions of government, passed on partisan votes in a sloppy, heedless rush." I love the casual reference to the "weak economy" as just one possible factor and that Lowry would have us believe that these "perceptions" were arrived at independent of a year-long Republican effort designed to foster them.
  • What passes for mainstream political discourse in this country is something more than embarrassing, but it's got nothing on what passes for mainstream foreign-policy commentary: "Naturally, when I go looking for informed commentary on Russian foreign policy the names Judith Miller and Doug Schoen are the first to come to mind. Who wouldn’t want to have the international affairs insights of a journalist best known for funneling pro-Iraq war agit-prop to The New York Times and some pollster?"
  • A special thanks to Justin Charity, Rebecca Delaney, Mikhail Zinshteyn, and TAP's editorial staff for keeping this space lively in my absence.
  • Remainders: On this day in 2010, let it be known that America is still gripped with fear of the reefer madness; nobody could have predicted that defending George W. Bush's heroic presidency from liberal propaganda would become a major component of the Republican Party's platform; Mark Halperin forgets that you're not supposed to call out the GOP's lies on the air; the editor of the Las Vegas Review-Journal takes a much-needed stand against those flighty and emotional womenfolk voters; why conservatives (or anyone) cares about Hollywood's cultural influence is beyond my ability to comprehend; empathizing with Scott Brown's appeal does excuse him from saying stupid things; and it's amazing that anyone would be seriously convinced of the alleged danger of putting an "open, radical lesbian" (radical?) on the D.C. Superior Court.

--Mori Dinauer