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29 Feb 2012 01:54


Politics: Is partisanship the problem? Or is our political system the problem?

  • Snowe’s retirement will have many lamenting the endangered moderate and wondering how we can turn back the clock. But we can’t. About that, Snowe is right. Polarization is with us now and will be with us for the foreseeable future. The question is whether we will permit it to paralyze our political system and undermine our country or whether we will accept it and make the necessary accommodations.
  • Ezra Klein • Arguing that the problem with congress isn’t partisanship, or ideological polarization, but rather that the institutions and procedures codified in our political system aren’t well-equipped to handle a polarized congress. Klein’s prime example is the filibuster, which as we’ve seen the past couple of years, is absolutely crippling when the two parties in the Senate don’t agree on anything. “Our system, as any historian will tell you, was built by men who hated parties and anticipated their absence from American politics,” Klein says. “But as the two parties have polarized, we’ve learned that a system built for consensus is not able to properly function amid constant partisan competition.” source

27 Feb 2012 16:03


Politics: Ron Paul hasn’t attacked Romney once during the debates

  • Ron and Mitt, bosom buddies: A lot has been made of the mysterious affinity between Ron Paul and Mitt Romney. In addition Romney offering his private jet for Paul’s use, many note that, despite sharing almost none of the same policy positions, the two rarely go after each other during debates. ThinkProgress analyzed the forums, and its findings seem to confirm this: During the 20 Republican forums, Paul hasn’t attacked Romney once. We’d like to learn more about their methodology before drawing any hard conclusions from this (what counts as an “attack?”); we’re also curious as to why candidates like Jon Huntsman and Herman Cain weren’t included in the analysis [Edit: Herman Cain is actually represented on the chart; thanks to robajob for pointing that out]. Nevertheless, it is a rather odd phenomena, with explanations ranging from “they’re just friends” to “Romney promised Ron Paul’s son the VP slot” (which seems rather far-fetched, but not altogether impossible). It’s nice to have some numbers to back up the observation, and it’ll be interesting to see how the two handle Virginia’s primary, where they’re the only two candidates on the ballot. [many thanks to ThinkProgress, both for the analysis and the image] source

27 Feb 2012 15:20


Politics: Reports: In boon to Democrats, Bob Kerrey will seek old Senate seat after all

  • Bob’s Back: After previously saying he’d sit 2012 out, it looks like former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey will run for his old Nebraska Senate seat after all (it’s currently held by Democrat Ben Nelson, who’s retiring). Kerrey’s decision to run is significant, as Republicans would almost certainly take the seat if he opted out, due to a rather weak Democratic bench in the Cornhusker State. However, Kerrey is generally regarded as a strong candidate, and his candidacy is perhaps Democrats’ best shot at retaining control of the seat . In an election year when Democrats have to defend 23 Senate seats, versus only 10 for Republicans, every little bit counts. [Author’s note: Apologies for using the word “seat” so many times in this article]. source

08 Feb 2012 01:53


Politics: Santorum won big tonight, yes. But there’s a catch…

  • yes…Rick Santorum swept tonight’s nominating contests, winning Colorado and Minnesota’s caucuses in addition to Missouri’s primary. He’s now won more states than Mitt Romney.
  • however…No delegates were awarded tonight, so these victories–as well as all victories to this point–are significant primarily from the standpoint of public perception and media narratives. source

30 Jan 2012 14:56


Politics: Obama to take interview questions from YouTube, Google+

  • Maybe this is just a result of having been born in the 80s, but every time we hear the word “virtual,” regardless of the context, we always think of low-tech virtual reality gaming from the mid-90s (Dactyl Nightmare, anybody?). Here, we’re imagining a poorly-rendered 3D version of Obama, moving awkwardly against a cheap Oval Office background and glitching out every couple of seconds. Anyway, this “fully virtual interview” will focus on the content of the President’s State of the Union address, and will likely constitute the majority of Google+’s lifetime web traffic (don’t get us wrong; we love G+, but sometimes we feel like we’re the only ones). source

20 Dec 2011 22:47


Politics: Supervillain? Or Newt Gingrich?

  • “Celebrating our next president’s best ideas:” This wonderful little website presents you with a proposal, and then asks you to guess whether it came from Newt Gingrich, or a supervillain from a movie/comic book/etc. It’s harder than it looks; we follow Gingrich pretty well, and we only scored 50%. source

08 Dec 2011 19:29


Politics: Donald Trump-moderated debate will be a lonely affair

  • 2 GOP candidates will attend the Donald Trump debate source
  • » It only takes two to tango: The Newsmax-hosted, Donald Trump-moderated Republican debate later this month will feature only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, as Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann have all declined to attend. This is somewhat embarrassing for Trump and Gingrich, although Santorum could stand to benefit from going toe-to-toe with this month’s frontrunner. Question: Was Gary Johnson, who always complains about not being invited to these things, invited?

05 Dec 2011 15:09


Politics: Trump-moderated debate gets first RSVP

  • YES Santorum will attend the Donald Trump debate source
  • » That makes it a Santorum-Gingrich affair. No one else has RSVP’d yet; Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have both declined the invite, and Karl Rove, who has a bit of influence in Republican circles, has discouraged all the other candidates from attending. Gingrich said he’ll be going “just for the entertainment value,” which is, well, strange.

28 Nov 2011 13:25


Politics: Newt Gingrich’s favorite new word is “aggressive”

  • 6 times Gingrich uses the word “aggressive” in this YN interview source
  • » But what should we be aggressive about? Here’s the tally. Twice, Gingrich was describing how we should approach the war on drugs (“We ought to be much more aggressive about drug policy”); once, he was describing how the US went about supporting non-communist trade unions in Poland in the 1980s (“…we when we aggressively supported Solidarity”); and on three occasions, Newt was talking about US-Cuban relations (“I think we need a very aggressive model”). Oddly, he didn’t once utter the words “fundamental” or “profound,” although he did use another Gingrich fallback, “logical,” on two occasions, and busted out “totally” once.

01 Nov 2011 22:06


Politics: Cain’s accuser received one years’ pay in exchange for silence

  • $35k paid by the NRA to one of Cain’s accusers source
  • » That’s the National Restaurant Association, by the way, not the National Rifle Association. The amount was one years’ worth of pay for the woman in question (who, you’ll recall, is one of two women who received severance agreements from the NRA in exchange for silence regarding sexual harassment claims against Cain).