Over at the Atlantic, Josh Green and Andrew Sullivan are having something of a feud, complete with not-so-restrained insults, about the question of whether Sarah Palin will run for president in 2012 -- Josh says no, Andrew says yes. There are reasonable cases to be made on each side, but I'm in leaning Josh's direction.
We live, it is said, in an era of angry political polarization. Yet if you watch congressional floor debates on C-SPAN, you can't help but be struck by the elaborate rituals of politeness: "I yield to the gentlelady from Michigan," "Would the chair entertain a motion?", "My good friend from Texas seems to have his head up his ass." OK, the latter wouldn't happen -- because if it did, the offending party would have his words "taken down," which is a stern rebuke in which the remarks are stricken from the record.
Marco Rubio, Florida Republican Senate candidate, darling of Tea Partiers, and New Latino Friend to GOP presidential contenders everywhere, just did a very curious thing. He actually came out against Arizona's new immigration law:
When this season of 24 began, I confidently predicted that, as usual, Jack Bauer's eventful day would be chock-full of torture, just as the seasons before had been. "Who knows," I wrote, "maybe the folks at CTU will turn over a new leaf this season, and unearth the nefarious conspiracy without breaking anyone's fingers. But I wouldn't bet on it." How wrong I was. The season is almost over, and torture has been almost totally absent.
When the Founders wrote the words "freedom of speech" into the Bill of Rights, they certainly didn't considered the possibility that one day, Americans would buy and sell "crush videos," which depict women stepping on small animals with their high heels. Yet the Supreme Court was recently called upon to determine whether that rather unusual form of expression stood outside the First Amendment. While the Court spends much of its time ruling on highly technical matters of commercial and administrative law, every so often it considers a case like this one, which goes to the very heart of the American experiment precisely because of its unsettling nature.