god's man in the race

It will come as a surprise to exactly no one that I don't think much of one Mr. Perry of Texas.

Electoral politics is always a matter of choosing what one can accept in exchange getting (some) of what they want. Or at least think they want. It is absurd to pretend otherwise, which is why I find (purely) partisan triumphalism as puzzling as it is irritating.

Nonetheless, partisan flock and flow is the rule of the day in these United States, and though they by no means hold a monopoly on it, this is particularly true among Republicans. (Democrats are more fickle because their base consists of a disparate coalition--minorities, labor, social liberals--that really don't necessarily have much to do with each other except being historically sort of represented by the Democratic party.)

This is why Rick Perry's performance in recent polls actually scares me a little bit.

My liberal friends too often express hope that the GOP will actually nominate a Perry (or a Bachmann), a fringe candidate that could not possibly win in the general election, ushering in a second term for Mr. Obama by a comfortable margin. Though I think such cynicism is entirely justified (and occasionally laudable) in electoral politics--remember all the Republicans licking their chops at the idea of a Hillary nomination four years ago?--I think they give the American electorate's supposed aversion to the fringes a bit too much credit.

Which is to say, I think a dominionist could be the next president of the United States. And everybody who thinks this is just more of the same boilerplate political evangelicalism really needs to take a good look at what that entails. Because this isn't merely a broadly social conservative platform, but theocracy dressed in conservative drag.



Haven't done this in a while...

--Politico on the dearth of smart Republican candidates. I would have called this "The Southern Strategy Comes Home to Roost".

--Brendan Kiley makes the case that just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean that they aren't watching you.

--My perennial sparring partner Foxfier and I (but mostly her) revamp Social Security disability benefits over at Gino's place.

--The president has good taste in books, and some asshole at The National Review says dumb things about it. Does anybody remember when The National Review was staffed by literate, intellectual conservatives?


the grownup in the room

I would like to endorse pretty much everything Paul Constant has to say about Jon Huntsman, here, but especially this part:

The vision that Huntsman has for America—one in which Americans are free to live their lives the way they want, in which everyone has a shot at prosperity, in which government is there to help us out when we run out of choices—should be the baseline, the American concept that every candidate believes in. The argument should come in how we reach that goal.


the state of the field

If you bracket Gary Johnson (effectively ignored by the media and party establishment) and Ron Paul (less effectively ignored), because they are really libertarians rather than "conservatives" whatever the hell that means anymore...the only GOP candidates whose religiosity I don't find somewhere between repugnant and terrifying are the two guys rocking the magic underwear*.

*I can't tell you how happy it makes me that this entry is the #1 Google hit for "magic underwear". I like to think I had something to do with that.


the problem with republicans, cont'd

I had better things to do than watch last night's debate. Which is to say, anything.

But I have scanned through a couple of dozen reactions and summaries, and this one jumps out at me, from Mr. Friedersdorf:

The most noteworthy and damning moment of the GOP debate in Iowa Thursday was when the moderators asked the candidates to raise their hands if they would walk away from a deal that cut ten dollars from the deficit for every one dollar in tax increases. Every last person on stage said they'd reject that deal.

The only hope that lies therein, is that candidates can rarely be expected to keep promises made in debates. Because if this is actually true...if the alleged party of fiscal responsibility would actually dismiss out of hand something that is already too radically slanted towards spending cuts to ever pass...ladies and gentleman, we are fucked.


it's like mike mcginn meets joe arpaio

I don't have it in me to blog about the debt ceiling deal, except to ask congress, "What do you want, a cookie?"

So instead, here's the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania dealing with cars illegally parked in bicycle lanes:

It's probably staged, but I still think it's pretty funny.