What to Read Before You Unwonk for Thanksgiving

  • If you had fun last night, you missed out on yet another GOP debate. Sucks to be you. Thankfully, Dan Amira and Brett Smiley summarized all the crazy stuff that happened, and Maggie Haberman summarized all the substantive stuff you should know. Also, Jonathan Chait has a great post that highlights the huge difference between Romney and Gingrich’s views on immigration, as they presented them in the debate. Romney’s stance may have changed by the time this post is published.
  • Ezra Klein wrote in this morning’s Wonkbook that there are actually two triggers, scheduled to cut spending by a total of $6 trillion. How both parties negotiate these cuts—whether they happen, how they are framed, who gets blamed—is sure to be one of the big political battles of the next year.
  • Newt Gingrich “is the tallest building in Wichita” when it comes to his oft-promoted intellect, according to conservative academics. Apparently the tallest building in Wichita might have a decent chance at being the nominee though. I refuse to pay attention to any more predictions of who will be the nominee at this point—it’s not even 2012 and already almost every single candidate has been crowned the definitive winner. Jonathan Bernstein assures that no matter who surges next, the nomination battle will be resolved by early next year and that brokered convention will remain a fantasy of wonky diehards who also love movies where the world comes to the brink of complete destruction.
  • Alec Bings wrote a beautiful and honest essay on the strange city of Washington, DC and the ecosystem of obsessives and wonks that thrives here. If you live and breathe politics and haven’t been reading his column, put it on your media diet right now.
  • Brendan Nyhan, now covering the election for Columbia Journalism Review, reminded state journalists not to get caught up in the horse race when covering presidential politics. Although DC journos may be too far gone to ever pull back from the allure of the horse race, someone has to focus their coverage on policy and platforms.
  • According to new analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, up to 2.4 million people owe their jobs to the Recovery Act. Without the Recovery Act, high estimates also have unemployment hovering slightly below 12 percent.
  • Black Friday has become an entrenched and somewhat terrifying institution that rivals Thanksgiving as the most important November holiday in Americans’ hearts. Although many look forward to joining the chaotic mobs at midnight, remember that retail workers often sacrifice their Thursday with family so you can stand in line for a new Kindle.
  • Scott Lemieux thinks that precedent won’t constrain the Supreme Court in their deliberations on the Affordable Care Act, disagreeing somewhat with Michael Bailey and Forrest Maltzman’s calculations from Monday. Does this mean we have to wait for them to actually decide before we know what happens? So boring. Political science fail.
  • In other political prediction upheaval news, The Monkey Cage tried to put an end to the campaign v. debate nerd fight once and for all. Then again, this may only be the end of one battle in a nerdy war that lasts the whole election cycle. Which I’m fine with. I love this stuff.