Friday, December 14, 2012

Elsewhere: Politics and Tragedy, and Others

I'm not posting much today, but I did write something about tragedies and politics over at PP.

I also have a new column up over at TAP arguing against Bobby Jindal's call last week for term limits.

And yesterday I posted my first reactions to the Susan Rice news over at Greg's place, and talked filibuster potential deals at PP.

I do plan, more or less, to be back later for a baseball post, but I think that's it for now.


  1. Great post on tragedy. I would also say that this is an ongoing criminal investigation and it will time time (days, maybe even weeks) for all the facts to come out. For example Andrew Joseph Stack who crashed a plane into an IRS building in 2010 was portrayed in the media as both a right wing extremist and a left wing extremist. But by in large his political views were a mismash of differing views that all revolved around an overwhelming rage and hatred for almost everything in American society, which he felt had caused the failures in his own personal life.

    But I do think Ezra Klein makes a great point about what calls for what "not policizing" this event really means:

    "first collected much of this data, it was after the Aurora, Colo. shootings, and the air was thick with calls to avoid “politicizing” the tragedy. That is code, essentially, for “don’t talk about reforming our gun control laws.”

    Let’s be clear: That is a form of politicization. When political actors construct a political argument that threatens political consequences if other political actors pursue a certain political outcome, that is, almost by definition, a politicization of the issue. It’s just a form of politicization favoring those who prefer the status quo to stricter gun control laws."

    1. Yes, I just heard someone make an interesting analogy. When a bridge collapses, you don't hear people warning you not to politicize the issue by talking about infrastructure needs.

  2. Wondering if it's uncommon for leaders to speak after a tragedy. Boehner said there will be no GOP video this week, but is this typical? Seems like we want to hear from all our leaders, if only to say they're sympathetic to the victims.

  3. Further to longwalk and Scott's point: we don't have an analogy in the US for a person executing a roomful of innocent first graders, but it happened in Scotland fifteen years ago at the Dunblane School Massacre. A fourth grader in that school, Andy Murray, would go on to become a famous tennis player; some people (myself included) believed he should talk about Dunblane after he broke through and won the Olympic gold and US Open last summer.

    If Murray had spoken out last summer, would it have mattered, in the sense of moving the needle? It may have helped him, it wouldn't have helped us. 50% of the audience would have been like "There was a school shooting in Scotland?" 49% of the audience would have been like "What are the chances that a famous guy would come from a famous incident?" 1% of the audience would have said "When are they going to cut to the Big Bang Theory?" 0% of the audience would have reconsidered gun laws. Its too late to have a meaningful conversation about Dunblane.

    To use another example, the most famous aspect of Columbine was that hyper-religious girl who stood up in the library, and was shot, when it was asked if anyone believed in Jesus. A few years later, that became part of the inspiration for the dark comedy Saved! Post-Saved, how are we supposed to have a serious conversation about Columbine? It gets awfully difficult.

    No, the best time to have a conversation about gun laws post-Sandy Hook is RIGHT THIS MINUTE. With each minute that passes, the effectiveness of that conversation diminishes. The 2nd Amendment Absolutists know this, and they prey on liberals' desire to be seen as "really sensitive" by shaming liberals into silence until the incident has scarred over, and no one is motivated to act any more. Kudos to longwalk and Scott for recognizing this.

  4. In the photo of you next to the TAP article...interesting how much you resemble Matt Bai. Which is to say: it's a picture of Matt Bai that was lazily taken from some TNR article you wrote ostensibly criticizing Bai's observations of "Washington consensus."

    1. Heh. Maybe they're just doing it to get me to be less lazy about sending them a real photo...

  5. That's on you, then!


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