I almost feel bad for Mitt Romney. He's obviously a smart guy, and when he was governor of Massachusetts he was pretty much the technocratic kind of governor the voters expected -- not pushing conservative social issues too far, creating a health-care reform that's a lot like what the Obama plan ended up looking like. But since he wants to be president, he has to get past a Republican primary electorate that really doesn't care about smarts and technocratic skill. Identity politics is king in the GOP, and Mitt just doesn't have an identity he can hang his hat on. As someone without any evident sense of self, he'll put on whatever identity he thinks will work.
Karl Rove's memoir will be coming out soon, and apparently, there's something he's genuinely contrite about: "The former White House political adviser blames himself for not pushing back against claims that President George W. Bush had taken the country to war under false pretenses, calling it one of the worst mistakes he made during the Bush presidency." Yes indeed, if there's one thing Rove and the Bush administration failed to do, it's criticize their opponents for not supporting the president's war policy.
As folks are noting, congressional Republicans are now engaging in a round of what we on the Interwebs call "concern trolling" on the health-care issue -- offering friendly "advice" to their opponents, counseling them to do the opposite of what they actually ought to do. In this case, Republicans are telling Democrats that if they pass health-care reform, it'll be really bad for them in the November elections.
The Pew Internet & American Life project just released its latest survey on media use, and the results show both the transformation and stasis in our media diets. The big headline seems to be that "The internet has surpassed newspapers and radio in popularity as a news platform on a typical day." Sixty-one percent of Americans get news online in a typical day, but only 50 percent read their local newspaper, while 17 percent read a national paper like the New York Times or USA Today (Pew didn't say how many of the 50 percent are also in the 17 percent, but presumably it's enough to bring the total below 61 percent).
Yesterday, I noted that Republicans have a hard time defending the filibuster when they try to claim that circumventing that filibuster via reconciliation would be the crime of the century. That's largely because the filibuster is not easy to defend, particularly as it's being used today -- not as an occasional, dramatic measure to gum up the works for a principled reason, but as something they impose on every single significant piece of legislation. Republicans are now on pace to triple the previous record for filibusters in a single Congress.