Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Read Stuff, You Should

Happy Birthday to Alan Rudolph, 70.

Travel day yesterday, so I hardly saw any good stuff, but there are these:

1. Andrew Sprung, as usual, listens to Obama better than most of us.

2.  Keith Bentele and Erin O’Brien track black voting and restrictions on voting.

3. And really, no more (blogging) Dan Drezner?


  1. Well, you missed your chance at an epic "Oy Fournier" post, but Sully and Kilgore, among many others I'm sure, filled the breach.

  2. I will always be thankful to Alan Rudolph for the movie "Choose Me"

    1. If you like "Choose Me" and haven't seen "Trouble in Mind," I recommend it.

  3. On Sprung, has anyone compiled more systematic evidence of whether this is a universal trend with presidents? We have the "they keep their promises" literature, so there's that. But, what I'm interested in is whether folks aligned with presidents are constantly calling for him to do....what he's doing.

  4. How was the travel?

  5. Hey, speaking of indirect efforts at disenfranchisement, I had an insight yesterday about the endless debate about why our political environment is failing us: a Madisonian, norms-based system only works if the people are united around a common theme, in particular a common adversary. Think of that famous Reagan speech about us being reflexively earthist if aliens attack - you could think of 'alien' many ways.

    For example, when did our current problems begin? Reagan's Presidency saw TEFRA among many other effective bipartisan efforts. Clinton's saw failed health reform among other bipartisan disasters. Did anything important happen between 1986 and 1992 that denied America a unifying enemy?

    Its been mostly downhill for our politics since the Berlin Wall fell, no? There was a brief revival in the period immediately following 9/11, but the islamofascists turned out to be a poor menace, and whatever was scary about them was more than handled by the NSA. Back to divisiveness we went.

    Or consider the last two Presidential elections, both of which were won by a guy whose race was, 50 years ago, openly disenfranchised in a way that didn't require tricky, second-order voting restrictions. Expanded civil rights are certainly a desirable thing, though white apartheidniks who otherwise had nothing in common, now...have nothing in common.

    And the losers in those elections? One was a guy whose most compelling public narrative was an act of treason (trading military intelligence for surgery when a POW). His VP had a spouse, and chief advisor, who was a card-carrying member of a virulent separatist party. In the other election the opponent was a leader in a church that 150 years previously had a mythical nation extending from North Dakota to San Diego, the peeling back of which was highly contentious, and the equity of which is still widespread within that candidate's church. Does America have common enemies anymore?

    A bit long-winded, but says here there's the failure of your Madisonian system: norms require goodwill, and goodwill is not natural to us, especially if we are not united in opposition to a common enemy.


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