in which i praise rick santorum...

...for being the only candidate to answer this kid's question with an ounce of creativity, and in a way that I think honestly reflects what he considers most important.


qotd (a couple days late)

I missed this one from Thoreau over the weekend:

When Leon Panetta says that the cost of the Iraq War was “worth it”, he’s saying that a six digit civilian body count is acceptable to the United States. And yet we dare to tell ourselves that it’s the Arabs who have a strange savage culture that does not value human life? Look in the mirror, Leon. Every Arab out there right now is justified in asking “Where are the moderate Americans who condemn this violence?


gary johnson to seek lp nomination

Good for him! If he gets it, he'd be the best Libertarian candidate since...well probably ever.

newt gingrich said something i agree with!

"I asked [Gingrich] if he’s elected, how does he plan to engage gay Americans. How are we to support him? And he told me to support Obama," said Scott Arnold, an associate professor of writing at William Penn University.

Story here, though you've already got the meat of it. (via)

In other election news, Ron Paul is now ahead in Iowa. Get ready to hear about those newsletters, again...

UPDATE--Well, that didn't take long, did it?

For the record, I don't think Ron Paul is a racist, but I have a hard time mustering sympathy for him on this. He really fucked himself (and by extension, his supporters) by not taking the Atlantic piece in 2008 more seriously. He should have thrown "whoever" it was that wrote that stuff (cough, cough, Lew Rockwell) under the goddamn bus, and moved on. At a minimum, he should have gotten out in front of it when he realized he was going to run for president one more time.

There's a good chance he's going to win in Iowa, and a not trivial one that he could pull out an upset in New Hampshire. When that happens, the rest of the GOP is going to bury him. And he will have handed them the gold-plated shovel with which to do it.


If I write for another 50 years, and produce a single sentence worthy of Christopher Hitchens' pen, I will consider it one hell of an accomplishment.



peak gingrich?

Have we hit it? A lot of people seem to think so.

Revisiting this post, you can look at the update of the same data set here.

To me, it looks like Gingrich has hit an inflection point, and that Romney's trough was shallower this cycle than any of the previous ones. This is no doubt partially attributable to Herman Cain dropping out completely (i.e., the votes are split among fewer candidates.) Still, if I'm Mitt Romney, I'm optimistic. (Naturally, I am neither.)

Footnote: I feel compelled to point out that this post (and more importantly, its title) went up six minutes before this one did. (My posts are timestamped in PST, his in EST. Not that you care. But sensitivity to attribution is sort of hammered into me in my profession.)


read this

"And I see in Paul none of the resentment that burns in Gingrich or the fakeness that defines Romney or the fascistic strains in Perry's buffoonery. He has yet to show the Obama-derangement of his peers, even though he differs with him. He has now gone through two primary elections without compromising an inch of his character or his philosophy. This kind of rigidity has its flaws, but, in the context of the Newt Romney blur, it is refreshing. He would never take $1.8 million from Freddie Mac. He would never disown Reagan, as Romney once did. He would never speak of lynching Bernanke, as Perry threatened. When he answers a question, you can see that he is genuinely listening to it and responding - rather than searching, Bachmann-like, for the one-liner to rouse the base. He is, in other words, a decent fellow, and that's an adjective I don't use lightly. We need more decency among Republicans."

Andrew Sullivan, officially endorsing Ron Paul for the GOP nomination.

The entire piece is excellent, and well worth reading in its complex, thoughtful entirety.

Paul Constant disagrees.


this week in campaign lulz

Did you hear the one about where Mitt Romney sees a couple of old guys in a NH diner, one of whom is wearing a "Vietnam Veteran" hat, and slides in to the booth with them for a chat-cum-photo-op? And it turns out the other guy is the vet's husband? Classic!

OK, it was actually a pretty low-key encounter, though I really do love seeing genuine discomfort on the faces of politicians when they have to actually talk to real people. Savage writes:

"Let's pause for a moment to appreciate that we live at time when older gay couples in small-town coffee shops aren't afraid to get in the faces of bigoted politicians and out themselves to the national media in the process. It has gotten better."

I think calling Romney bigoted is a bit unfair. Being a bigot requires that you actually believe in something.


a sentence upon which i cannot improve

"If Newt Gingrich becomes president, we all deserve to die in purifying fire."

--Will Wilkinson


credit where credit is due dept.

Kudos to the St. Louis Police Department for dismantling their Occupy encampment without violence. If you are going to do that, this is how you get it done.

I remain ambivalent about Occupy; while broadly sympathetic to (a lot, but not all of) their grievances, I question the effectiveness of tent cities as political speech. All the more so when they occupy a place like Seattle Central Community College (a few blocks from my apartment), which is not exactly a citadel of the elite.

In any case, I have no desire to watch this resolved in a street battle below my window.