Political Animal


February 25, 2012 12:45 PM Cocktail Hour

By Matthew Zeitlin

It’s the early evening here in Evanston, and if you’re sticking around tonight, here’s some of the best stuff on the web.

* BuzzFeed asks if did Mitt Romney steal the idea for his $10,000 bet from Richie Rich?

* Mitt Romney goes after Santorum for flip-flopping and supporting pro-life politicians. Yes, I didn’t get the names mixed up.

*Excerpt of Behind the Beautiful Forevers in the New York Review of Books.

* Sam Tanenhaus goes long on the Tea Party.

* Ezra Klein gives us some tax policy lessons from the OECD.

* How Jeremy Lin became Jeremy Lin.

* A few management consultants have some ideas on college affordability.

* Political Animal Ed Kilgore writes in The New Republic that the GOP campaign only goes right.

* Dave Weigel reviews The Iron Lady.


  • Kurt Rex Cooper on February 25, 2012 7:06 PM:

    If I were a parent with kids, I would be infuriated at the cost. One has to have a college degree to get anywhere these days, and in fact a Masters is preferable. Assuming an educated population is good for the country... Oh f*ck it... Any one who reads this column knows what I am about to write. it's just a tragedy that the Republicans ecided the über rich needed tax educations more than their populations needed to be educated.

  • Daryl McCullough on February 25, 2012 9:09 PM:

    Don't you mean "pro-choice" politicians?

  • Glenn Melancon on February 25, 2012 11:09 PM:

    I just read the "A few management consultants have some ideas on college affordability."

    That had to be the stupidest article I read all weekend. It offered the usual fairy dust and said nothing at all. Do you know why college was affordable when I was in college just 20 years ago? Taxes paid for college. It's that simple. College has become like everything else. We have to find the hardest way to do something because the simplest way upsets conservatives.

    Instead of states picking up 70% of the tab, states only pay 40%. What does this do? It transfer the burden from those best able to "pay backward" to those least able to "pay forward."

    Why does the conservative revolution correspond to a massive build up of public and private debt?

    I don't visit this blog for policy nonsense. Please stop the stupid. It hurts.

  • Cha on February 25, 2012 11:24 PM:

    Thanks, Matthew, for the links. Skoal!

  • Glenn Melancon on February 26, 2012 1:41 AM:

    My "anger" wasn't directed toward Matthew. I apologize if it appeared that way. I just remember sitting in a faculty meeting with a college president bragging about the ability to raise tuition in the face of shrinking state appropriation. He couldn't understand how this was "bad."

  • R on February 26, 2012 8:31 AM:

    Notice how the "management consultants" don't offer the obvious: thin the management ranks. For just one example, Philip Baruth at Vermont Daily Briefing pointed out that in 2002, the University of Vermont had two (2) vice-presidents. Now there are 26. This is the story at many public and private colleges and universities. Matthew, what's the student/administrator ratio at Northwestern? Don't forget all those assistant/associate VPs and deans.

    Then there's this: "Rio Salado College and Western Governors University rely on self-paced online instruction for the introduction to basic course material, use flexible adjunct faculty and student mentors, and are able to deliver instruction at least 50 percent more efficiently than peers." Translation: exploit those employees to whom you offer no benefits and student workers desperately trying to afford college. Measure efficiency by how well you "deliver" instruction (you know, like pizza), and ignore recent research on how people actually learn.

  • Danp on February 26, 2012 8:53 AM:

    I'm with Glen Melancom on this one:

    1) The article measures the cost of education in such a way that the more people who drop out or take more courses than necessary, the more expensive a degree is. Giving out easy degrees would solve that problem.

    2) The article actually suggests giving out easy degrees by giving students credit for out of school experience. But a college degree should be more than a measure of how much knowledge you've accumulated. It should certify that you have learned the discipline of learning.

    3) It even advocates giving financial incentive to give out easy degrees.

    4) Slim down non-instructional costs? Sounds good, but these are often incentives for students to pick a specific school. It's like saying cars would be cheaper if automakers didn't spend money on advertising.

    5) New ways of teaching? That should always be a goal, but the article's prime example is NCAT, which essentially turns 101 courses into on-line courses. That's fine for learning facts, but it's not a great way to learn to think critically.

  • DAY on February 26, 2012 9:28 AM:

    College is mostly useful for the like-minded people you meet- who can introduce you to older like-minded people, who can give you a leg up in "The System".

    Not too different from the Longshoreman's Union, or the Union League.

    "It's not what you know, it's who you know." For evidence, take a look at Congress. . .

  • Rita Miller on February 26, 2012 5:02 PM:

    Matt Zeitlin, above you mentioned an article "Mitt Romney goes after Santorum." I think most your articles should be titled, "Matt Zeitlin goes after Obama." Really don't know whose side your own, but I think it's not Obama's. No wonder I miss Steve Benen so much.