What the hell, let's engage in some irresponsible 2012 presidential speculation. I see that the Republican primary is essentially (I don't consider the former governor of Alaska to be viable) down to Romney and Huckabee, which, as David Weigelputs it, "emphasizes the power Mike Huckabee has to shape the race." Why is this? Because Huckabee won Iowa in 2008. Romney came in second. Romney also came in second in New Hampshire, behind McCain. Nevada? All Romney. South Carolina?
It shouldn't surprise anyone that Republicans are now suddenly talking about the filibuster as an undemocratic abomination or that they would continue to lie out of convenience or ignorance about the costs/benefits of the Affordable Care Act. Whatever principles inform the conservative mind are conspicuously absent in the modern Republican Party. Since it's politically possible for the GOP to dismantle the welfare state, they instead do nothing and then blame Democrats for gridlock. Truly one of America's great political parties.
Yesterday, First Read had an item correcting a Washington Postarticle that claimed "federal authorities" were attempting to move the Jared Loughner trial to San Diego, which is actually up to the judge. Now, I bring this up because it's a great example of the mainstream journalism correcting a false meme. But my question is why this happens so infrequently.
According to the Heritage Foundation, America continues its steep descent on the "economic freedom" scale, dropping to ninth overall, firmly in the "mostly free" bracket. Now, I happen to believe economic freedom is a good and important thing. But it is one freedom among many. For the libertarian right, however, economic freedom is freedom, QED. Similarly, this Washington Posteditorial that reads a gloomy Freedom House report and concludes that Obama and America need to "advocate" more for freedom in the world.
I know we're all feeling unified as Americans after last night's speech, but Sen. Mark Udall's idea to have bipartisan seating for the upcoming State of the Union Address feels gimmicky. As Dan Amirawrites, the normal separation allows viewers to see "in real time" politicians' "positions on the president's agenda" and "allows us to identify the few party-bucking independent thinkers." All true. But a facade of bipartisanship does not necessarily lead to legislative bipartisanship, so this just feels like Beltway theater.