And my immediate thought was Louie Gohmert, then I second-guessed myself and said it was Steve Stockman. Shoulda trusted my instincts! Also acceptable guesses: Steve “Esteban” King, Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul. (2 comments)
There hasn’t been much on the radar since Olympia Snowe retired and Dick Lugar lost, but today had a double-dose of centrist Republican angst that would make Jeff Daniels’s character from The Newsroom go weak in the knees. Steve B. is unimpressed with Rep. Hanna’s complaints about Republican extremism:
Where were the Republican moderates during the debt-ceiling crisis, when their party threatened to crash the economy on purpose unless Democrats accepted non-negotiable demands? They were silent. Not one was willing to step up and say, “What we’re doing is wrong.”
Where were the Republican moderates during the repeated threats of government shutdowns? Where were the Republican moderates when the House voted 32 times to destroy a moderate health care reform law?
Where were the Republican moderates when President Obama pleaded with Congress to engage in some bipartisan policymaking? Where were the Republican moderates when GOP leaders prioritized abortion over job creation? Where were the Republican moderates when the GOP decided it was against its own proposals on immigration, energy, health care, and the economy?
These centrists have been a non-entity because they’ve chosen to go along with an extremist agenda, sitting on the sidelines and voting how they’re told to vote.
If they’re frustrated about the radicalization of their party, maybe they should have spoken up sooner.
And Steve K. is somewhat kinder toward retiring Rep. LaTourette.
I think there are two components to this, one of which I’m a bit skeptical of, one of which I’m not. On the one hand, defying the leadership and the bulk of the party would require real courage, especially considering that primary challenges from the right remain a significant threat. And you know what Sir Humphrey Appleby would say about political courage:
The other angle to this is that, ultimately, moderate Republicans often decline to behave in their own best interest. If ever there was an issue for moderate Republicans to be vocal on, it would be on the fraudulence of “voter fraud” arguments as a way of disenfranchising people. The more that moderates and Democrats vote, the more essential the moderate wing becomes to the GOP. And with a legitimately bipartisan opposition and a fractured GOP, the optics of the issue would be very different. It’s absolutely insane to me that moderate Republicans aren’t united and loud in their denunciations of this issue, but so far only Michigan Governor Snyder has spoken out against them. While it’s likely that a Republican crossing party lines on high-priority issues to the base (climate, taxes, etc.) would be ending his career, I doubt that would be true of lower-priority issues. But one sees no signs of assertiveness there.
What strikes me about these two guys’ complaints (and the complaints of Lugar and Snowe) is that Republican moderates seem to share one quality in particular with Democratic moderates (e.g. the Blue Dogs): entitlement. It hasn’t occurred to any of these four that power is built, not given, and that holding moderate views does not entitle you to wield decisive control over your party. I blame this trait on the centrist Washington culture, which assumes that moderate voices are inherently more reasonable and deserve more attention. Moderates who live in this world seem to be unable to bear the realities of political party life, in which on-the-one-hand reasoning and careful hedging to ensure both sides are at fault doesn’t take you quite as far. I suppose it’s no shock that the lazy centrism of D.C. culture encourages similarly lazy centrist politics, and subsequently frustration when they don’t get what they think they deserve. It amuses me because, well, gaining power involves the same process regardless of your politics, and remaking a party in a centrist fashion is an achievable goal. Just ask Nelson Rockefeller, or Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. But these guys never give me a sense of that, it’s just more in sorrow than in anger complaining about how the rest of the party isn’t like them.
Also, I guess I don’t really buy LaTourette’s excuse that he’s leaving because of extremism–his departure will inevitably result in a more conservative Republican taking his place. He’s probably more angry about getting shut out of a committee slot. At least Snowe got another lame, publicity-hungry moderate to pick up her mantle after she’s gone.
You really can make anything into a fast-paced, loud trailer:
Incidentally, I would advise you all to watch <i>2001</i> again. I gave it a try on a whim a few months back, and was surprised by how moved and stimulated I was by it. I mean, this was the movie that I didn’t care for as a teenager because not all that much happened, aside from a few cool parts with HAL. But rewatching it as an adult really made me see it differently. I could appreciate how the film introduced and developed its ideas in an accessible way, and the film’s legendary slowness I actually appreciated as inevitable and appropriate due to the enormous distance and emptiness of space. It’s definitely a minimalistic film, but a masterful one too, and arguably one of the few science-fiction movies that can even be argued to be hard sci-fi, along with the original Solaris and not too many others. It’s just a way different experience than contemporary sci-fi films.
I don’t spend enough time going through the all-time classics that I should. But often when I do, I find the best ones really do change with me. The way I appreciated the film when I was a teenager is probably a fair approximation of where I was at that time, and I can only wonder how I will respond to it ten years from now.
(h/t: A.V. Club)
Well, sort of fun. This here is the third album by Wire, 154:
I say sort of because, while it’s hypnotic and compelling and occasionally darkly humorous, it’s got a bit of emotional weight to it. 154 is an album about people and relationships, of which it takes a generally skeptical view. What I like most about it is the variety–the approach ranges from the opaque (“The 15th”) to completely specific (“The Other Window”), perspectives differ on each song, and the realizations hit home to me more than any of their other albums. A lot of the punks and post-punks were known to have gone to art school, but not many of them were genuine artists who worked on all these different levels. Plus, not for nothing, there are hooks, and “Map Ref.” is actually just a great pop song. You’ll remember it.
I do respect the hell out of these guys, because they could have gone in so many different directions but didn’t. They could have made a legitimate go of things as a pop act, they showed a number of times they had the chops for it (generally 1 song per album could have been a big radio hit if they’d wanted it to be). After all, that is basically what U2 did, going from post-punk to pop, and look at them now. But Wire didn’t do it. Could have, but didn’t. They didn’t play requests at concerts, they didn’t even play anything old. They didn’t want to be one of those alternative institutions, a la Fugazi, who had this loyal following that sustained them. They didn’t care, and didn’t try to exploit or even maintain such a following. They basically decided not to have a career, taking years to release new material, and doing everything in their power to keep the focus on what they were doing. Now that’s uncompromising.
Via TPM: “Romney managed to insult his British hosts, knocking their management of the Summer Olympics in comparison to his run with the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.” Prime Minister Cameron is none too pleased.
I have no doubt we’re getting a glimpse of Mitt’s foreign policy in advance. Romney has taken some heat both for what he’s said and what he hasn’t on the subject, but there has been some debate about whether he’s just saying it to please the base or whether he believes it. After this incident, it seems pretty clear that Romney just doesn’t have much interest in diplomacy at all. Romney has committed a number of gaffes in this campaign, but typically they’re gaffes where he goes overboard trying to ingratiate himself with whatever target he’s aiming for. Saying that you ran the Olympics better than the current team furthers his campaign’s bizarre belief that his running of the Olympics matters to voters, and insults a long-time ally that he’s supposedly trying to befriend, but there’s no pandering element to it that I’m aware of. My instinct would be to say that Romney’s “credential-burnishing” tour is probably intended to give Mitt plenty of opportunities to be rude to foreign leaders that conservatives don’t like as some sort of weird nationalist play for their affections (which would be sort of a natural follow-through after Romney’s silly VFW speech), except conservatives don’t hate Britain or Cameron. So I don’t make this as pandering to them. Then what? Romney’s gaffe here is one of burnishing his own ego, not of pandering to the group he’s in front of. Which leaves only the interpretation that he doesn’t care about handling foreign policy, outside of the red meat nationalistic parts that he can use to make conservative voters happy. It wouldn’t have taken much effort for Romney not to say this, but he did.
What is deliciously ironic about this is that Romney frequently talks about how President Obama has insulted American allies, which isn’t true of him, but now is true of Romney. Nobody outside the wingularity cared about returning Churchill’s bust or whatever, but to my knowledge no UK leader has never slammed Obama in this kind of way. All the more proof that we ought to expect a Romney Administration to have a foreign policy similar to the one he’s outlined, perhaps combined with some of the fictitious criticisms he’s made of Obama. No wonder he wants to increase military spending!
So saith Markos:
Now NBC is very specific that this was the first modern Republican candidate in their polling to have a net-negative favorability rating. So that suggests a Democrat has been there before, I’d guess Walter Mondale and probably Jimmy Carter. I decided to look up John Kerry’s numbers, since I assumed he would’ve also been underwater.
It turns out that Kerry, according to NBC polling, never had a net-negative favorability rating. At this point eight years ago, he was 42/35. Even after his September 2004 Swiftboating, he stayed above water 43/42, and was 44/43 right before the election.
For all the comparisons with 2004, that’s one big difference—Kerry was far better liked than Mitt Romney. And Kerry wasn’t exactly beloved.
Republicans are putting together quite the ticket—the least beloved Republican ever, alongside the most boring white guy they can find.
Can you feel the excitement?
Indeed. And this isn’t a puzzle. The 2004 election was mostly about foreign policy, and Kerry had reasonably good credentials to run on that issue. What he didn’t have was any sort of strong critique of Bush. Romney has even less of a critique against Obama than Kerry had against Bush, and while Kerry could point to his war record and his years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as reasons for voters to trust him, Romney seems to be losing those reasons as the campaign moves onward. His gubernatorial record is off-limits, apparently, and one wonders just how he’ll be able to approach his experience at Bain going forward. The ridiculous distraction of the “you didn’t build that” comment Obama made is a blatant attempt to distract from the fact that his primary selling point for the campaign has been decimated, though much more successful than prior attempts like dangling Condoleeza Rice as his running mate. Where does he go to next? If his case transitions into being all about the Olympics, then he’ll have entered even greater heights of irrelevance and self-parody (and, if this is true, he might have more questions to answer on that topic as well).
Of course, the two men do have things in common. Both became nominees out of entirely pragmatic calculations–Democrats were afraid of Howard Dean, Republicans of Rick Santorum, and both times a vanilla pick was picked by the elites. Kerry did manage to earn the trust (if not excitement) of the rank-and-file in a way that Romney has entirely failed to. Both Romney and Kerry relied to a large extent upon public dissatisfaction with the leadership rather than bold new visions. Romney is luckier in that he’s running in an economy where public dissatisfaction with the leadership is much higher than it was when Kerry ran, but you could argue that Kerry played a worse hand better, at least going by what we’ve seen to date. At the very least, he managed to keep above water when it came to favorability.
OF COURSE. I BUILT KNEW.AS A TALK STATION. ONE AD CZAR IS BLOCKING MY RETURN-STRICTLY FOR POLITICAL REASONS. MY SHOW WAS GROSSING SEVERAL MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR ON KNEW. THIS LUNATIC IS COSTING CLEAR CHANNEL A FORTUNE BY TERRORIZING MANAGEMENT. CLEAR CHANNEL SHOULD FIRE THIS AD IDIOT. I AM HEARD ON OVER 300 STATIONS ACROSS THE U.S.. MY SHOW IS THE #2 SHOW ON THE \INTERNET!.” YOU CAN QUOTE ME.
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