Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Brian Lamb, 71. As I always say: a Hero of the Republic. Thank you for CSPAN.

Good stuff:

1. Rick Hasen on Justice Roberts and campaign finance. With all the other things going on, I haven't paid as much attention as I should to this case. I go in with mixed feelings. I'm pretty much against contribution limits in most cases as a matter of policy...but that's not quite the same as saying that I think they should be ruled unconstitutional. I guess I'm at the point where I'd need to stop and think about it.

2. Josiah Neeley defends the US Constitution in large part on pragmatic, conservative grounds. Oddly enough, that's the argument that for me is the best one in favor of parliamentary systems; as tempted I am to conclude that US-style Madisonianism is "better," I pretty much have come to believe that there's a lot to be said for different systems evolving in different places (which I think was basically Nelson W. Polsby's position).

3. And Christopher Parker on the Tea Party.


  1. Thanks for the link to Neeley, but, you know, he doesn't really defend the Constitution (although it's a step forward that people are finally grasping that it needs a defense). His entire post is about 500 words once you take out the quotes, and he never answers the basic criticism of "dual legitimacy" or of both parties having simultaneous mandates. Instead he takes this cheap shot: "But there is something a little odd about seeing [Linz's] The Perils of Presidentialism being cited as an argument by those who wish that the House of Representatives would be more accommodating to the President." The critics he's citing have never (to my knowledge) argued that the House should be more accommodating to the president in general. They are aligned with the current president in opposing the current extortion, and in recognizing that the dangerous extremists happen to be, at this historical moment, based in the House. That is neither here nor there as regards the larger question of how the system should ideally be designed or what kind of structural flaws we're looking at here.

  2. Let me add to the applause for Brian Lamb. CSPAN is the sort of thing the Founders would have written into the Constitution if they'd only anticipated television.

    On Parker and the Tea Party, I'm less enthusiastic. The whole point about Buckley and the John Birch Society is not that National Review excluded the JBS on pragmatic grounds ("they won't help our cause much") but upon principle -- Buckley saw the Birchers as insane and insisted they shouldn't receive any support from NR.

  3. Here's an addendum to that extended comment thread from several days ago on the GOP's leadership-base gap (

    Look at this article summarizing the deep cultural panic and anger of the GOP base, which according to the study now makes up nearly 3/4ths of regular GOP voters:


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