Lightning Round: May 18 = Judgment Day.

  • The primary season is upon us, so that means it's time for wild pronouncements about the "meaning" of it all. According to a Hoover scholar, this is a "tectonic moment in American politics," birthing an "insurrection" against Barack Obama's "revolution." The NY Times Caucus blog asserts that "Rand Paul’s bid for the Republican nomination will again test the strength of the Tea Party right against the establishment" and that "Lt. Gov. Bill Halter’s attempt to oust the incumbent Democrat, Senator Blanche Lincoln, will measure the left’s resistance to compromise in the age of Obama." Well, maybe. But maybe, just maybe, these local races are about the local candidates, and not indicators of some national referendum.
  • Speaking of superficial political analysis, two contemporaneously running stories in Politico illustrate the point well. The first concerns the alleged "high-profile re-emergence" of Rudy Giuliani, who apparently wants to be "part of the game in 2012." I guess the editors thought it might be a little much to explicitly proclaim "Rudy 2012: It Could Happen!" The second non-story is on a subject we can all relate to: political surrogates whose clout is "on the line" in tomorrow's primaries. Whatever will Mike Huckabee and Ed Rendell do should their preferred candidates lose? Will the Clinton Global Initiative fold if Blanche Lincoln loses? And Mitch McConnell? He's up for re-election in only four and a half years! He needs to start refilling his clout coffers immediately!
  • The term "wingnut" was probably invented to describe people like Daniel Pipes, but explaining his concern that there has been a "noticeable" uptick in Muslim pageant winners of late goes beyond hatred of Islam. As this Benjamin Sarlin piece on "Jack Bauer Republicans" makes clear, the most committed adherents to our glorious war on terror take a certain amount of pride in punishing those they see as savages who would threaten us. So while Pipes is disturbed that a savage could win a beauty contest, the Jack Bauer Republicans see no problem with the inhumane treatment of people whom they fundamentally don't see as human to begin with.
  • Weekend Remainders: The Senate uncharacteristically votes to do something beneficial for debit-card-carrying Americans; Time magazine wants to make sure it's up to date on tomorrow's right-wing talking points; Jonah Goldberg continues his quixotic quest -- thankfully not in book form -- to prove that the left wing is always more crazy and radical than the right; yep, yet another shiny new media toy for the wingnuts ought to guarantee conservative success at the polls; the NRA hates freedom; and is Andrew Breibart really interesting enough to warrant nearly 7,000 words?

--Mori Dinauer