Friday, December 2, 2011

Read Stuff, You Should

Ach, I've been behind on getting to this. Links from the last couple of weeks, I think:

1. I really hope that Matt Yglesias backslides and winds up doing plenty of non-economic stuff over at his new Slate home, and not just because he and I disagree on lots of democracy issues and it's fun for me to take on smart articulations of what I think are the wrong ways to think about things. Anyway, from back at his old digs, this was a really good and I think sort of overlooked contribution to the nerd fight over election forecasting.

2. Victoria Shineman on mandatory voting; John Sides on going negative. Also, Andrew Gelman explains why primaries are hard to predict, Brendan Nyhan on fact-checking, and Sides again on the effects of local campaigning,

3. Seth Masket on some really poor reporting about Americans Elect.

4. Seems hard to believe that a Union Leader endorsement could mean 11 points in the GOP primary, but that's what Nate Silver finds.

5. I'm sure everyone has seen Jonathan Chait's excellent article about liberals and their presidents by now, but if not you should really read it. See also Andrew Sullivan's comments.

6. Good to see Ramesh Ponnuru take on the "53%" nonsense -- shouldn't anti-tax conservatives be proud of their achievement here, rather than attacking those they until recently sought to assist? Also, David Frum on immigration.

7. Noah Millman has been watching the Republicans on foreign policy, and only hears culture wars. And Sullivan rips into the GOP on torture.

8. The new expanded Wonkblog is just terrific, isn't it? Here's Suzy Khimm on the decline of Congressional oversight. It's just such a good thing to have important stuff like this in a high-visibility site.

9. Read Andrew Sprung for a good look at where the budget negotiations sit now, and how that reflects on Obama's strategy to date.

10. It really won't surprise you that Michele Bachmann's book isn't exactly accurate, but thanks to Tim Murphy for detailing it.

11. Ready? Newt! Ben Smith explains that Newt was too a  lobbyist; Steve Kornacki is right that conservatives could convince themselves that he's electable (although I don't think it will come to that); Steve Benen builds nicely from what I and Paul Waldman were saying about Newt and Mitt; Sarah Posner on Newt and the evangelicals; Sprung on Newt and Iraq; and Murphy on Newt's awful Confederate historical fiction.

12. I will give Newt this much: he may be an entirely destructive snake oil salesman, but he's a larger-than-life entirely destructive snake oil salesman. Which is perhaps why we're constantly searching for how to characterize him, or perhaps why it's so easy to characterize him. Regular readers know that I cast him as Tom P. Baxter, the guy who thinks computers are the wave of the future but is actually a total fraud. You may recall too that Chuck Todd miscast him as Bulworth, which was all wrong. I have two more! First, a friend of my eldest (they're taking 12th grade AP government together) who is apparently a big Huntsman fan -- so there is one in Texas -- has apparently cast Newt as some Pokeman character. I'm afraid I didn't ask which one, because it wouldn't mean anything to me. I'm also not really a South Park watcher (don't tell Sullivan, please!), but Jonathan Zasloff is and cast him as AWESOM-O. Not as good as mine, but not bad!


  1. Was the Pokemon character Professor Oak? Cause, yes, definitely.

  2. Newt as AWESOM-O is good. Newt as Cartman is even better! There's the whining thing, and self-aggrandizement, weaselly, selfish, egocentric, conniving, fat-ass, and lastly, he makes the show! Newt is Cartman, just 3-5 decades older.

  3. I'm not completely sold that item from Wonkblog shows a decline in congressional oversight. I suspect Republican distaste for federal agencies is a large part of the decline in hearings. And I'm sure conducting hearings is a big part of congressional oversight.

    But could there be other reasons for a decline in the number of hearings, such as a greater ease in communications between congress and interest groups? And, if I remember the research correctly, aren't a lot of hearings filled with people who agree with the majority party on the committee? Maybe the committee doesn't find it as necessary to hold a hearing to get info they already have. That seems plausible since even hearings during Democrat controlled congresses are down.


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