It's no wonder conservatives are in love with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- he's the embodiment of conservative Republican leadership. He has total contempt for actual governance and zero compassion for his constituents. Blizzard hit Jersey? Tough s**t -- I'm in Florida with my kids. Second, he has total contempt for public workers. Superintendent contracts are up? Go find a new job. Most important, Christie loves pissing off liberals. That's why he has a film crew follow him around, yelling at people. The guy's the total package!
Are all politics local? Nate Silver looks at the truism coined by Tip O'Neill and finds trends toward nationalization at the presidential, country, and congressional level. But what does this mean? If the parties are increasingly nationalizing races, does this change the basic calculus that outside of presidential contests (which shouldn't even be considered for this question) politicians need to pay special attention to their constituents? Or does this all hinge on how we interpret Mr. O'Neill's truism? I appreciate the data, of course, but does it tell us anything interesting about contemporary politics?
ViaSeth Masket, Andrew Sprung has written a sincere attempt to understand what he calls the "joyous cynicism" expressed by some political scientists, singling out Jonathan Bernstein as a prime example of this tendency. As Masket says, political scientists are less interested in advocacy and more interested in knowing how the system works -- the opposite of an activist repulsed by the impurities of politics.
As we wrap up the year, I thought it would be worth looking back on some of the terminology that featured prominently in our political discourse -- and perhaps made us recoil in terror. Some of these concepts were flashes in the pan, consuming entire news cycles for no apparent reason. Others were old chestnuts dusted off to be given new meaning by pundits in our dynamic media age. Others were included because it's my list and I want them there. Whatever their origins, we gain little as political observers by continuing to use them, and perhaps we would even have something to gain by retiring them permanently as 2010 closes.
Normally, there wouldn't be much to say about Think Progress' compilation of conservatives freaking out about the FCC's enforcement of Net Neutrality rules. What haven't conservatives called a "government takeover" in the past two years? But in this case, it's an especially dense critique, and speaks volumes about the contempt movement conservatives have for the intelligence of their constituents. Anyone who can read plain English can see that "require broadband providers to let subscribers access all legal online content, applications and services over their wired networks" expands access, not contracts it.