Monday, April 30, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Cloris Leachman, 86. Weird that imdb got her "known for" horribly wrong; I assume the correct answer is Mary/Young Frankenstein/Last Picture Show/her current sitcom, no?

On to the good stuff:

1. Absolute must-read of the day: Jonathan Chait, explaining not only Paul Ryan but also Paul Ryan worship.

2. Nice piece about health care reform implementation by Sarah Kliff, who looks at the Massachusetts example.

3. Seth Masket on the Edwards/Clinton question. I'll stand by what I've written, but at this point I'm mostly voting "overdetermined" on this one.

4. And Nate Silver's definition of swing states is the right one. At least, those are the states to pay attention to. If you're going to pay attention to states. Which you shouldn't this early.


  1. that chait piece on paul ryan really is very good. at the same time I think he underplays how risky the game that the Republicans are playing is... how many Americans know who Ryan is? 10 percent? 15? at the end of the day, charming and everyman paul ryan isn't the face trying to sell Americans on austerity. it's wooden and wealthy mitt romney. And especially since Romney has avoided releasing actual details of his own plan, and has promised to enact paul ryan's, Obama has plenty of room to tie Romney to the least popular aspects of the Ryan plan. Romney will either have to defend it, which puts negative focus on the GOP platform, or deflect it with increasingly stale "Obama isn't working" platitudes. I don't think the GOP can pull it off, honestly, and if they win in '12 I think it will be because the economy seriously tanks or something else unexpected happens. Which raises the very interesting question, which I would love the Plain Blogger or another wonky blogger to game out, of how an ideologically extreme Administration + like-minded Congressional majority would fare in a country where a majority are deeply opposed to their agenda?

    1. I think the Ryan plan is all about the overton window. It's a bargaining tactic, and so far it's sort of working, at least working better than one might have thought. All the "neutral" media have bought it hook line and sinker, and the GOP-sympathetic electorate seems dandy, ready to rally around it on partisan grounds. So when serious budget talks re-emerge between 2013 and 2016, the GOP, whether or not they have the presidency, will have established their newly radical beginning position. The media who will frame the election for low information voters have ensured that the Ryan plan will be seen as firmly conservative and 'serious', nothing to be alarmed about.

  2. Yes, that Chait piece is excellent.

  3. Is Chait damning Ryan with faint praise or praising him with faint damnation?

    Either way, he is far too polite and restrained.

    The Ryan budget would destroy the last remaining vestiges of the American Dream. And not by accident. It is the core of his plan.

    If Romney wins, we will experience a depression at the '30's level or worse.

    There is no left political left in this country to counter the excesses of the right. We are on our way to the the 12th century.


  4. Chait's article is a thinly veiled hagiography of Ryan. It's the most insidious kind of hagiography by cloaking its right-wing tropes in the guise of a liberal critique. Go here for the definitive takedown of Chait's Ryan-worship.

  5. This is really strange. It was weird enough that anyone would misread Chait (he's not exactly known for his subtlety or his lack of partisanship), but even weirder that people are buying it.

    For the record: Karoli simply misread the article. Chait believes that Ryan is in fact wildly ambitious. He thinks that it's a terrible thing that deficit idealists foolishly fall for Ryan's clearly phony concern for the deficit. He is trying to explain how such an awful thing (as he sees it) could happen. He is neither, in my view, particularly polite or restrained; he's sarcastic and, really, somewhat mean-spirited (in that he clearly does not grant Ryan good intentions).


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