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All I can say about this kind of stuff is that, whenever one party starts to adopt softer, more moderate stances that are closer to the other party’s, it means the party is losing on that issue. It’s really not complicated.
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So once again it’s freedom bombs and training “vetted” insurgents for us. I would make a joke about how foreign policy elites have no new ideas but this is so pret-a-porter that it’s hardly necessary.

So I’ll just ask these questions:

  1. Does anyone think this actually “fixes” Iraq?
  2. Does anyone actually think ISIS actually has any sort of staying power? The Nazis could never have ruled a multinational empire with their ideology for any length of time, but they posed a real threat to the West. ISIS does not.
  3. If not 1 and 2, what’s really at stake here? More “missionaries with machine guns” type shit, or is it just about oil? Both? It’s likely Obama sees this in legacy terms but to my mind he’s effectively blown his by getting back into the vicious cycle.
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I’m traveling for the next couple days, so posting will be light. From what I can tell, the main things going on are panicking over November with little new information and escalating the ISIS thing to ridiculous proportions, in a move that would make W and LBJ proud. Stuff that does annoy me, for sure. But I have to hold off for now.


I’ve been following the coverage of the Bob and Maureen McDonnell saga (boy does it merit that term), and while the trial seemed like an endless disaster for them, it probably says something about the state of American justice that it never occurred to me they’d be found guilty. Great job, Virginia! At least we’re not completely lawless yet.

What a difference four years makes:

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a clip that included his amazing ersatz-State of the Union entrance. In any event, probably one of the best SOTU rebuttals, because he realized he had a hopeless task and cheesed it up, tongue in cheek. After all that came out in the trial, it’s fun to imagine him going home after that and gently touching his new Rolexes, while his wife sexted with the CEO of Star Scientific and then gave him an icy stare as he walked in the door. Which is apparently not much of an exaggeration.

It’s interesting that in two separate races today, Democrats in red states dropped out to aid independent candidates. In the Alaska Governor’s race and the Kansas U.S. Senate race, no Democrat will appear on the ballot. Instead, the state party orgs will back separate indy options.

This definitely makes two races less safe for Republicans. What’s interesting is the change over the past decade in Democratic philosohpy. During Howard Dean’s tenure atop the DNC, he was famous for the “50 State Plan” which basically said, we compete everywhere, we build everywhere, we’re proud Democrats everywhere. Which bore real fruit in 2006–Democrats had the House and Senate, and all sorts of red-state legislative chambers like the Indiana House, the Oklahoma Senate, both chambers of the Montana legislature, etc. But this was formed in the crucible of Bush’s disastrous second term, 2010 basically erased all that, and increased polarization and Koch money has made these kinds of gains much more difficult. So the Alaska and Kansas moves can be seen as a reversal of the previous thinking: ditch hopeless fights and the unhelpful branding in situations where it can hurt Republicans. And in both races it certainly can. On the other hand, the agents of these broader changes (the conservative media, the Kochs and their imitators) like to fancy themselves as independent and nominally nonpartisan, due to the awful reputation of the contemporary Republican Party as well as to their own self-image. So Republican Party self-identification plummets as “independents” increase, but in conservative areas, Democrats are not in a position to take advantage.

Enter the independent candidate. Perhaps some conservative people vote for him because the goddamned RINO won the primary and they don’t want to support that guy. Perhaps some moderate Republicans prefer a more moderate choice than the official candidate. Maybe some people just want to vote for the spoiler. Add in the rump of Democrats, and maybe you can get a less-awful Kansas Senator for a few years at least. I have no doubt Republicans will make the point that these are de facto Democrats, but in these cases where an existing third party candidate does better than the Democrat, there’s no real reason not to try. And it creates a different dynamic that Republicans will have to deal with.

Lev filed this under:  
It’s interesting that the GOP’s 2028 presidential candidate sounds…reasonable on climate change. Sort of like many of them sounded in 2008, actually. Ted Cruz seems to think that the party is going to party like it’s 2011 permanently. I guess we’ll see which one moves farther.

i.e., that regime change never implies that what comes next is going to be any better. Per TPM:

Bezos declined to comment to the Post on the reasons behind the switch, but the Amazon founder had been looking to expand the Post’s editorial staff with a focus on its digital side.

Ryan told the Post in an interview that he planned to keep executive editor Marty Baron and editorial page editor Fred Hiatt on board.

The only real hope I had for Bezos was that, as someone from the Other Washington (i.e. the state), he’d be willing to shake up the odious “cool kids club” ethos by which the same overrated hacks constantly get to air their ideas on altogether too many platforms since he lacks the social and professional ties that keep that particular world turning. You know, the reason why Bill Kristol and Erick Erickson keep falling into mainstream media jobs despite severe problems with both of their types of commentary (including a lack of interest among non-RWers), the only slightly rotating cast of Meet The Press, David Brooks publishing books and teaching university courses, etc. Lots of marginal talent getting treated like first-raters there. And I’m not even talking about stocking the WaPo op-ed page with liberals–I’d love to see Washington types have to grapple with a hypothetical op-ed page that included Ramesh Ponnuru and Dan Larison. (Not that I really expected this to happen to that degree…) Anyway, this is a clear enough sign that this won’t happen, and the paper will continue to struggle between being a serious paper of record and a D.C. fanzine while the rest of the world yawns.

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