Lightning Round: I'm Sure the Party of Yes Will Take its Advice and Consent Duties Seriously.

  • I don't think there's any mystery about how Republicans are going to handle President Obama's nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stephens. Here are some revealing quotes from a short Wall Street Journal post on the retirement announcement (all emphasis mine). Mitch McConnell: "Americans can expect Senate Republicans to make a sustained and vigorous case for judicial restraint and the fundamental importance of an even-handed reading of the law." Orrin Hatch: "Someone who would be an activist judge, who would substitute their own views for what the law requires, is not qualified to serve on the federal bench." John Cornyn: "Our nation deserves a Supreme Court nominee who is committed to deciding cases impartially based on the law, not on personal politics, preferences, or what’s in the nominee’s ‘heart.’" Man, it's gonna be a great summer.
  • Yesterday, the Southern Republican Leadership Conference kicked off in New Orleans. Here's a roundup of the story so far: The first rule about being a Republican in New Orleans is don't talk about Hurricane Katrina; whitewashing George W. Bush's legacy is a cherished Republican value; Liz Cheney dishes out the usual chum to the right-wing foreign policy feeding frenzy; Joseph Cao faces a tough crowd; and Newt Gingrich wants to stop the "secular socialist machine" of Barack Obama and shut down federal government when Republicans take over Congress.
  • The unspoken sentiment in Michael Calderone's piece on the rise of young blogger-pundits is the same one that has dogged blogging since it went mainstream: the breakdown of trust in "traditional" news reporting. To this very day, the image of the "blogger" is of some anonymous blowhard on the Internet disseminating pure opinion and repackaging the work of hard-working journalists. To accept this caricature is to admit that you are incapable of being discriminating. The best bloggers force their readers to engage their arguments and fact-check their evidence. Previously, one had little recourse but to rely upon the reputation of professional journalists and trust the outlets they represent. But being uncritical is a bad habit, and it explains both why political blogging came about and why it has traditionally met with stiff resistance from the so-called MSM.
  • On a personal note, I will be taking the next week off and getting away from the daily maelstrom of politics. It is not healthy for the soul to be neck-deep in this stuff day in and day out, but since I love doing it, it's worth taking a break to recharge the batteries. The Lightning Round will carry on in the interim in the capable hands of TAP's fantastic staff. Until next time, be excellent to each other.
  • Remainders: The generic ballot still looks pretty bad for Democrats in November; according to a majority of Americans, our millions of uninsured compatriots are doing just great; this is an excellent discussion of the Heritage Foundation's "Freedom Index"; Ryan Grim and Arthur Delaney have a must-read on the internal struggle between the Congressional Progressive Caucus and House Democrats; surely Reason can come up with a better explanation of libertarianism than this; yes, it would be a good idea to fact-check the Sunday shows, preferably on-the-spot; and Jesse Ventura unintentionally exposes the emptiness of Fox Business News.

--Mori Dinauer