If you're living where there's a contested election or two, you're probably getting a lot of mailers from candidates. Maybe you don't like them, but it isn't that big a deal -- give it a glance, toss it in the recycling. But just you wait.
Democrats are probably hoping they can turn this latest Kinsley gaffe (which is when a politician inadvertently tells the truth) from Mitch McConnell into this year's "I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it":
"The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."
Citizens United President David Bossie outside the Supreme Court after it ruled on the campaign-finance reform case (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
"If men were angels," James Madison wrote in Federalist #51, "no government would be necessary." And if Americans were attentive and informed about the workings of government and current debates about policy, campaigns would barely be necessary. We could just peruse the documents on candidates' websites, read their résumés, perhaps watch a debate or two, and we'd all know for whom to vote.
If Democrats end up losing the House next week, as seems likely (though not certain), it's obviously going to bring a period of calm, reason, and cooperation to Washington. Just kidding, of course -- as I argued last week, the Republicans who get elected are going to be even more conservative than the already extremely conservative caucus, and less willing to compromise. Not only that, the ones who've been around for a while will be terrified of getting a primary challenge from the right, and so will be even more likely to give in to their base's demands.
Yesterday's New York Times contained an interesting article by a couple of psychologists detailing some experiments they've done on the political effects of disgust:
In an experiment conducted recently by Erik Helzer, a Cornell Ph.D. student, and one of us (David Pizarro), merely standing near a hand-sanitizing dispenser led people to report more conservative political beliefs. Participants who were randomly positioned in front of a hand sanitizer gave more conservative responses to a survey about their moral, social and fiscal attitudes than those individuals assigned to complete the questionnaire at the other end of the hallway.