Saturday, January 7, 2012

What Mattered This Week?

Well, let's start with the obvious: the Iowa Caucuses matter in various ways that I've been talking about all week. Also, the bounce Santorum is getting (or perhaps not getting -- he flattened out in one poll today) out if Iowa will determine whether this thing is over real quickly or whether it will be contested for a while.

Syria, again. Here's a question: other than within Iraq, how important should we think the events there are right now? Yemen was in the news too this week, and Egypt.

A fairly good jobs report continues the string of better US economic numbers, which matters both economically and politically, of course.

And the recess appointments matter -- for substantive reasons in the affected agencies, and because of the precedents involved.

What else? What do you think mattered this week?


  1. In terms of geopolitics, which is most concerned with the calculations and influence of powerful regional actors and thus usually large nations:

    Egypt is important in its own right.

    Syria is mainly important because it could deeply impact Turkey (and perhaps the international dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict).

    Yemen is only important if it significantly impacts Saudi Arabia.

  2. The end of the global `war on terror' as our dominant foreign policy meme - with the announcement of the new Asia-Pacific oriented defense strategy by Pres. Obama and Secretary Panetta.

  3. College football's farce of a bowl system is mostly over and the real football playoffs are beginning.

    Isn't it weird how Mitt Romney pretty much has the GOP nomination sewed up despite having won and likely to win over the next couple of weeks a tiny number of convention delegates? Conservatives must be furious and depressed that none of their big guns competed for the nomination against Romney. (Then again Rick Perry was likely considered one of their big guns before this race so maybe they just have nothing on their bench right now.)

  4. Ron Paul proved in Iowa that an uncompromising libertarian message can get votes -- lots of votes -- with a little help from independents.

  5. My vote goes to Iowa. Mitt Romney is the weakest major party standard bearer in a very long time.(As he should be. His campaign message is utter drivel). I have no idea how he will do in the general election. Both his campaign and many in the political media laud him as someone who is campaigning in the general election/"focusing on Obama"/running on electability or things like that. What is ironic is that I increasingly think that he will spend post-primary time shoring up his own party base, probably with a right wing hero as his running mate. Successful candidates inspire their own crowd in the primary before channelling that energy into winning support among more disengaged voters. True, only certain kinds of candidates can do this. It is, however, untrue that blandness is a winning electoral strategy. I suspect we will continue to hear about what a brilliant campaign Mitt Romney is running until early October when the political media can no longer credibly offer that argument.

  6. The recess appointments,in American politics, are quite important. Having the Consumer Credit Bureau finally having someone in charge of it is an opportunity to show it's usefulness. And finally facing down the GOP on the nominations / nullification efforts unites the Democrats and makes the GOP look small. If Obama takes the advice of the Yale Law Professor who suggests a way that this isn't an overreach or even better takes Richard Thaler's advice, someone who knows Obama personally, and get the Senate to commit to either voting within 90 days of a nomination on a nominee or that nominee is automatically confirmed this will be big stuff. It seems that this moment is a wonderful opportunity to propose that deal given the decent chance that the GOP will take back the White House. This business also made Obama look much tougher.

    I think the Dan Balz piece on Romney was rather pointed for Balz and I think is a touchstone of the questions about Romney's authenticity that will make his history and his presentation a little disconnected if not hard to reconcile. Balz doesn't usually do such tough pieces.

    And of course Iowa mattered as did the power of the SuperPACs which will be a huge weapon for years to come.


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