Friday, April 12, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to David Letterman, 66. Our TV friend.

Good stuff:

1. All the Hastert Rule violations, from Derek Willis.

2. Kevin Drum reads GOP (or at least Chuck Grassley) reserve court-packing as an indication that they aren't going to confirm anyone to the DC Circuit court for the remainder of Barack Obama's presidency, at least not after the current nominee. I'm not sure; it could just be Grassley, who has been following a Hatch re-election strategy,  looking to score points.

3. Jamelle Bouie, very good on Rand Paul at Howard.

4. The next step on health care? Sarah Kliff on the cost-cutting approaches wonks would like to see in the future.

5. Norm Ornstein on what's wrong with Congress.

6. And popularizing political science, from Joshua Tucker.


  1. Reading Bouie’s reaction to Rand Paul, it strikes me that it was a mistake for Paul to try to explain why blacks don’t vote Republican. That’s for them to say. Paul’s goal should have been to just make his own pitch for why black voters should vote Republican today. Since Rand is himself the leading force for change within the Republican party, it seems to me that his message -- and the minority response to it -- is especially pertinent. But putting himself in a position in which people expect him to apologize for generations of Republican perfidy is an automatic loser.

    1. Couves, I absolutely agree with this. Consistent with your last sentence, Bouie's column pretty much reduces to: "Paul came to Howard, he apologized sort of, but way less than he should have". Bouie then shared a laundry list of specific Paul omissions.

      You can imagine that Paul figured that the visit itself would be good faith enough. That his audience would understand that he wasn't going to go into great detail because, well, he's a politician after all, and that was a public speech, and he of course serves many diverse, interested constituents.

      And you can imagine one of Paul's staffers printing out and sharing Bouie's column, and Paul being perhaps stunned and horrified that "not specifically apologizing for Lee Freaking Atwater" renders his effort a complete failure.

      And you can finally imagine Paul thinking, like you suggested, that while it was probably good to go to Howard, it would have been better not to go "there" (the past).

    2. So, I realized that the line "and he of course serves many diverse, interested constituents" could have been construed as a sop to the racists in the Republican Party, and I didn't mean that. What I meant was that everyone, racist and non-racist alike, is watching a very public speech at Howard, and all are drawing conclusions from their own point-of-view.

      So for example, if Paul had followed Bouie's prescription, he would have apologized for, as I mentioned above, Lee Atwater. Many listeners, blacks and non-blacks, racist or not, would have found that jarring; after all, Lee Atwater apologized for Lee Atwater. Contra Bouie, its quite possible that many many listeners, none of them racists, would have found that particular effort pathetic in its groveling.

      I could understand if that was Paul's calculation. So he shouldn't have been trying to calculate at all.

    3. CSH, I don't think there's anything Paul could have said that wouldn't have drawn harsh criticism from the left... but that's just politics for you.

      After watching the full speech, I don't think there was much wrong with it, but it could have been better. He should have spent less time dwelling on the GOP of the past and more time talking about why his vision for the future is worth considering.

    4. Also, in fairness, there is a certain amount of appreciation for Rand on the left, including this interesting TYT commentary from the other day:

    5. Looks like Rand addressed a bit of the Republicans' "welfare queen" baggage when speaking in Kentucky:

  2. If Rand Paul doesn't want to have to apologize for the history of the Republican party as it relates to black Americans, he shouldn't go around telling them about the grand and glorious history of the Republican party as it relates to black Americans.


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