Lightning Round: American Politics Ain't All that Complicated.

  • I think you could safely assess, on the basis of this New York Times article, that House candidates who ran against earmarks actually had no idea that their constituents expect federal dollars to fund projects in their districts. If, as they say, all politics are local -- and I certainly think that is the case with House races -- this could be the Achilles heel of the next congressional cycle. A more savvy politician will realize that the public is schizophrenic and will make the case against "waste" while quietly acquiring federal funding to help get re-elected.
  • I love the Republican spin Politico dutifully reports here that boils down to, "our presidential field sucks, but damn our VP options are hot." And to be fair, GOP: The Next Generation are more impressive than the poor fools vying to go against President Obama next year. But I wonder what this says about our center-right nation that it can't even field another Ronald Reagan even as it teeters on the verge of socialism.
  • Oh boy, more research on the burning question of why conservatives are underrepresented in the academy, this time with the insinuation that choosing a political philosophy is akin to being born a particular race or gender. I searched in vain for some variation of the term "self-selection" but came up empty. Apparently it never occurred to anyone that people choose their careers in no small part based on how they think the world works.
  • Remainders: Marc Ambinder goes inside the Secret Service; this sounds like unspeakably bad television; the true believers of Wall Street truly are terrible people; and yet another chapter in "good hindsight decisions that could have been avoided in the absence of poorly conceived state recall/petition laws."