Monday, February 27, 2012

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to the great Kent Desormeaux, 42. I lived in Washington when Desormeaux was riding in Maryland, and, well, it doesn't get much more dominant than that. (Although I was also in the Bay Area in the 1990s, so there's that).

On to the good stuff:

1. Nate Silver has an excellent overview of the GOP delegate rules; Josh Putnam has an excellent rant about misconceptions about the delegate rules. I'm with Josh about calendar being more important than delegate allocation in this cycle, certainly so far.

2. Really good piece by Greg Marx last week looking at how liberals -- and some in the neutral media -- got Rick Santorum's "phony ideology" comment wrong, and what Santorum was actually saying.

3. Ed Kilgore notes that the only attacks that have worked, and almost the only ones that have been used, in GOP WH 2012 have been from the right .

4. CNN moderators talked the least, Fox moderators the most, during GOP debates. Eric Ostermeier reports a Humphrey School study.  I've previous noted that CNN (at least in the early debates; I haven't tracked since then) tended to ask the most straight-up issue questions (that is, what is your position on X). Granted, they do toss away a big chunk on the front end with their silly introductions and the national anthem, but I think on the whole CNN has done the best job.

5. And a wonderful post by Matt Glassman on the occasion of Arizona's 100th birthday, all about how Arizona (and New Mexico) wound up looking like they do now thanks to the politics of the 1850s and 1860s.


  1. #2 on Santorum's comments is partly useful in clarifying one clear meaning of his remarks, but it's mighty charitable, probably too charitable. Santorum's not some newbie politician. He's knows how to use code words and make insinuations that have poisonous resonance, but secure some sort of plausible deniability. A good reporter/political news analyst should give both aspects their due and use their judgment and experience in covering politics to balance those aspects appropriately. Greg Marx seems unnecessarily set on scolding reporters who actually did identify one of several relevant aspects of Santorum's politically calculated remarks.

  2. I'm with Anon (and, if you'll notice, most of the commenters at CJR) on this one. If Marx wanted to focus on the point that maybe we're reading too much into the "phony theology" line when it should have read "phony ideology", that's fine, and he makes that point.

    However, if that's the case, and the media gets a C on reporting that part, they get an F---------- for their reporting on the context of the speech for Santorum, and really for all Republicans. It's not phony. It's goddamn fucking science. There's proof. It's almost to the point of a law, not a theory. And this is an indictment against the entire way in which the modern media operate. Ignoring Santorum's ABUSE of the term "political science," it is the REPUBLICANS that have politicized science. This isn't a subject open to debate. It's open to facts and evidence and theory, but not to opinion. And the facts, evidence and theory are clear. Honestly, this stuff gets reported as if Santorum said the world was flat, and reporters just ignored that. Or, if reported, they let the statement just stand. No. At some point, reporters and editors have to run the story that says "by the way, there isn't any disagreement on this point amongst anyone who knows what they're talking about, so Santorum is either stupid or pandering to the stupid."

  3. Following on Anon's point, I heard the clip and it seemed to me that Santorum meant ideology. But the audience's enthusiastic reaction sounded like they understood it in a true theological sense. I'm open to the possibility that Santorum intended to create that impression, but I'm also open to the possibility that he just thinks in "theological" terminology.

    Matt's certainly right about the science part. After you hear these things a number of times, you just begin to dismiss it and move on to other things. That's probably a disservice to people who think Santorum knows what he's talking about.


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