Lightning Round: This Non-Centrist Approach to Governance is a Bit Disorienting.

  • Rather than making health-care reform contingent on an idea supported by one senator, Majority Leader Harry Reid has done the right thing and included an opt-out public option in the Senate's health-care reform bill, something that virtually all of his caucus can agree to. In fact, Reid doesn't even appear to have submitted a plan with a "trigger" option to the CBO for scoring.
  • I'm sure these new results from Gallup breaking down the ideological lean of the electorate will confirm for conservatives what they've always believed: that the United States is a fundamentally conservative nation. This is as good a time as any to remind ourselves that when you let poll respondents self-select labels, those labels immediately lose precision as a way of defining political beliefs. It's also worth noting that the data presented, going back to 1992, hasn't actually changed all that much in those 17 years. And of course a big deal will be made about "moderates" shifting to the right but this tells us more about the ideological malleability of "moderates" than it does about whether American is a "conservative" nation or not.
  • Because of institutional inertia, Republicans have managed to stay somewhat relevant to the political process without actually contributing anything positive -- good policy ideas -- to the the process. But along the way, vacancies in the administration based solely on the GOP's decision to block Barack Obama's appointments mean that courts have less judges than they need and HHS doesn't have a surgeon general in the midst of a global flu pandemic. And if you really want to grind the government down to a halt, you can always deny a quorum to Senate committees trying to address climate change.
  • Weekend Remainders: The rights of defense contractors are truly a national treasure; Newt Gingrich is under the illusion that Americans care what he thinks; Pete Hoekstra wants his constituents to suffer; the world is dying to know why Michael Steele hasn't posted at in nearly two weeks; incompetence, thy name is the Bush administration; John McCain wants to be your guide to the wonders of the Internet; many newspapers are inclined to share George Will's descent into dementia with you; and why would anyone care about Mitt Romney's opinions on foreign policy?

--Mori Dinauer