Friday, August 27, 2010

Read Stuff, You Should

I'm going to recommend an essay by Heather Hurlburt and Ryan Keenen on Republicans, politics, and national security.  Ultimately, I don't really buy their argument at all, but it's worth thinking about.  And now, on to the good stuff:.

1.  I asked recently for more coverage of health care implementation; turns out that there's quite a bit recently, including two pieces from Jonathan Cohn, and one from Joanne Kenen.  Also, Kevin Drum goes reality-based against anti-ACA rhetoric, Ezra Klein on ACA and the budget, and Jacob Hatcher on the next liberal agenda on health care.

2.  Ann Friedman defends self-interest and identity politics.  Speaking of which, Eric Alterman points out that Obama's doing fine with the Jews.  And the latest in David S. Bernstein's dispatches about women in the GOP.

3.  Ron Replogle joins the conversation on ideology.

4.  Mark Schmidt takes apart John Judis: Obama isn't Carter.

5.  Political scientists Brendan Nyhan and John Sides explain that whole Obama/Muslim thing.

6.  Don't miss TNC on Andrew Jackson and, oh, just read it. 

7.  And I really need to get back to doing Monday Movie Posts, but meanwhile I'll read the excellent Oliver Wang.


  1. Did you read that Time piece about the long-term projects in the stimulus package? In it Biden said that stories of stimulus waste and fraud have been the dogs that didn't bark, so I wondered whether you had thought of adding that to your "Dogs, Not Barking" feature.

  2. John Sides writes, regarding the belief that Obama is a Muslim:

    One hypothesis proffered by Newsweek and Jack Shafer is that some Americans are just dumb. They believe in stuff like ghosts and astrology, so why not this about Obama?

    That doesn’t get us very far. It seems hard to imagine that Americans suddenly got dumber between March 2009 and August 2010, when the Pew polls were conducted.

    That doesn't seem like a convincing rebuttal to me. For those who think the poll is evidence of widespread stupidity or ignorance, the point is not that anyone suddenly became dumb, but that dumb people are susceptible to such a falsehood whether they happen to believe in it or not.

    I do agree that most people who call Obama a Muslim aren't making an "innocent" mistake from simple ignorance, but are willfully promoting both Islamophobia and Obamaphobia. But that's all part of the paranoid mindset common among right-wing opponents of the president. It's like the Birchers who called Ike a Communist agent.

    I'm not going to get into a debate over whether Americans are "dumb"--the term is imprecise, and people who make this sort of assertion tend to show a rather one-dimensional understanding of intelligence. I will say that 18% flags pretty closely with the amount of Americans who have had a positive view of Rush Limbaugh--which is simply to say that it has long been true that about a fifth of Americans are deeply paranoid right-wingers. That right-wing paranoia and Islamophobia are on the rise is not exactly news.


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