Saturday, December 10, 2011

What Mattered This Week?

As usual, start with Europe.

Surprisingly, the Russian elections. The Monkey Cage has quite a bit on this, for those interested. Syria, Egypt, and other related places as well. Pakistan.

That cloture failed on Richard Cordray is important, albeit not unexpected. That Barack Obama hinted that he might finally use recess appointments is a bigger deal, especially if he's re-elected.

Mostly I don't expect that either Barack Obama's big speech this week or the fighting over UI/payroll tax extensions will matter all that much. The budgetary stuff matters, but the skirmishes around it? Not that much, would be my guess.

Republicans began to take aim at Newt Gingrich. Don't expect a rapid knockout, but it certainly matters going forward -- it's going to be a lot harder for Newt's spin to be accepted on anything with so many party opinion leaders gunning for him. Not sure if that adds up to "matters", but the process rolls along that way.

They found a warm, Earth-like planet. No word yet on whether it has mountains; if so, we're obviously doomed. (Yes, I miss Herman Cain). Seriously, though, I have no idea whether that kind of thing matters or not.

What else? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. Hubert Sumlin died.

  2. Elections in the DRC - incumbent rigged it, opposition declared itself rightful winners, violence appears imminent.

  3. Mitt Romney being forced to tack further right, and taking a stand in favor of the Ryan budget approach to "saving" Medicare seems to be the long-term move of the week. It was one thing for his surrogates to speak up, but then Mitt took the question head on the next day from someone in his audience.

    Mitt being Mitt, there was some equivocating involved - but you can make a decent ad out of what he did say (without even resorting to the Mitt Romney Standard™ of political ad truthiness).

  4. Obama calling himself a Teddy Roosevelt Democrat and campaigning against the "extreme isolationism" of Republicans. He's probably not quite as hawkish as all that sounds, but it's at least an indication of his campaign strategy.

  5. I agree with JS and Couves both. Romney's was a act that smells to me of desperation. They know the campaign is in more trouble than they imagined a couple of months ago.

    And his tacking right sets up Obama to control the center politically. I agree the details don't matter too much policy wise, but the narrative he is going to run for reelection on is clearer each week. And Romney's tack right just made it that much easier.

  6. What's going on with the EU is much more important than Newt Romney or filibustered appointments. When the European economy tanks (if it hasn't already), it'll take us down with it and probably Obama too.

  7. If you haven't yet, check out last week's SI cover story about kids struggling to avoid gangs and make it out of Compton. The story is framed around Kitam Hamm Jr, and the amazing lengths both he and his parents go to avoid getting ensnared in the perils of the street.

    Today in the Cincy metro we're reeling at the madness that went down between UC and Xavier last night. Partisans will disagree, but it seems the primary instigator was Xavier All-American candidate Tu Holloway, who even after the game was unrepentant in that 'you can't disrespect him and get away with it'.

    What was the disrespect that prompted Holloway to badly sully the reputation of the school that not only provided him a free education but also a platform to pursue millions in the NBA? One of the UC players said on the radio this week that Holloway "probably would not start for UC". Yeah, that was it. Well, that I heard. Maybe in the part I didn't hear the UC guy said Holloway's father was a hamster and his mother smelt of elderberries.

    If you're interested, check out the SI article and contrast the lengths to which Kitam Hamm Jr goes, including having an incredibly thick skin, with the thin-skinned destructive stupidity of a guy like Tu Holloway. And note in particular the courage of Kitam Hamm Sr, the father, who endures great struggle to give his kid a shot at the big time, which - if all goes well - will include an Ivy degree, then maybe a post-graduate degree, followed by a career among intellectuals, perhaps in Political Science, hob-knobbing with experts like Jonathan and Matt Jarvis and the like. All of which will greatly leave Kitam Hamm Sr in the boy's dust, which due to the father's great bravery, is exactly what he wants.

    I bet there are a lot of guys like Kitam Hamm Sr. in Compton, way more than you know in the media. But to your question, Jonathan, what matters this week? Egypt schmegypt. Iran Shmimam. What matters this week is Kitam Hamm Sr and the rest like him, they matter this week, and next week, and the week after...

  8. >What's going on with the EU is much more important than Newt Romney or filibustered appointments.

    Yeah, but I'll tell you what's way more important than any of that: Jon Stewart's war on Christmas. You can bet on that. (Just not $10K!) Just making sure we got our priorities straight.

  9. How could I forget: Jon Stewart going after Obama for supporting a bill that would allow the indefinite military detention of US citizens on US soil:

    Thanks to Stewart, it will now be politically uncomfortable for the President to sign-on to anything like this.

  10. Don't worry, it won't matter -- Stewart fans don't vote.

    It's beneath them, no one they know bothers, because it's all a shuck, and a carny game, and both parties do it. Great comedy fodder, sure, but come on -- it's tragically un-hip to care about such things.

    Irony will kill your republic as dead as tyranny.

  11. Davis, you don't need to be a Stewart fan to watch the clip.

    "Irony will kill your republic as dead as tyranny."

    As will cynicism.

  12. @JS, Romney's economic plan was equivocal with regard to voucherizing Medicare, but he said even then that Ryan's plan was a good starting good. His announcement for his similar plan didn't happen this week, but several weeks ago. I didn't remember how long ago, so I searched and found this from mid-November.

  13. The unrest in Russia -- meaning even Putin has less room than we used to think to maneuver.

    The Gingrich rocket that was not stopped in the debate this weekend. And his comments on the Palestinians which doesn't seem to have hurt him which tells you there's no establishment to counter any effort to undermine certain norms and accepted ways of behaving. This also means that the campaign 2012 is likely to be even nastier than earlier expectations suggested. Its almost hard to imagine what won't be okay for Gingrich to become president.


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