Political Animal


February 20, 2012 5:59 PM Day’s End and Night Watch

By Ed Kilgore

This hasn’t exactly been a huge news day, but here are some items I didn’t get around to mentioning in today’s Lite Blogging:

* At College Guide, Daniel Luzer meditates on the nexus between student loan debt and the actress who played the Asian-American heavy in Pete Hoekstra’s racially-tinged Super Bowl ad.

* Public Policy Polling shows Romney having a three-point lead over Santorum in Arizona, which like Michigan votes on February 28.

* Joanne Kenen suggests 2012 could be year of “birth-control mom,” mobilized by Republican attacks on access to contraception.

* David Mayhew compares and contrasts historic presidential elections in terms of their actual significance.

* E.J. Dionne says GOP presidential candidates doomed to be hypocrites.

* Dave Weigel surveys new GOP pessimism about 2012.

And, as a sign of the season: CNN provides slide-show of photos from Carnival celebrations around the world.

I’ll be back with the regular frenetic blogging schedule tomorrow, despite the temptations of Mardi Gras.


Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Roger Keeling on February 21, 2012 3:54 AM:

    I cannot imagine, Ed, why you flagged David Mayhew's piece in the Washington Post for special notice. I found it remarkably substance-less, with only a couple of interesting historical tidbits in the first two pages. But far worse, I was compelled to snort and close out of it midway through because of a thoroughly idiotic (and actually offensive) comment: when Mayhew says we might guess, but can't really know, how U.S. foreign policy in the aftermath of 9/11 might have differed (or if it would have differed at all) had Al Gore become president.

    That's just flapdoodle on stilts! It is with considerable certainty -- almost total certainty! -- that we can guess Gore would NEVER have invaded Iraq. NEVER! That was GWB's special project, one he spoke about not only before 9/11, but even before the 2000 election.

    Gore would probably have never much considered such an invasion to begin with. And even if he had, he'd never have been so stupid as to imagine Hussein and bin Laden being allies ... he'd have seen the absurdity of claims that Hussein had anything to do with 9/11 ... he'd have never ignored the ocean of evidence against claims that Hussein had nukes in the fire ... and he'd have never imagined that we could walk into a country as complex and divisive as Iraq to be cheered as liberators. And since he wouldn't have ignored all those things, so I can't see how anything would have convinced him to go into Iraq.

    G.W. Bush put the invasion onto the table. No Bush, no invasion. And with no invasion of Iraq, there would have been a massively different U.S. history since then. But Mayhew, in the grand tradition of the obsessively "moderate" voices that the Post favors, just can't say that. No, he blithely conforms to their standard all-purpose-utility pose of rigid equality: both Parties are the same, more or less; both would make the same mistakes, or at least equally bad mistakes. Since no one can today claim with a straight face that invading Iraq was anything less than a catastrophe, to suggest that Gore wouldn't have done so is to suggest that there really ARE differences between the two sides and (worse) the Democrats might actually be better than the Republicans in a substantive way. And that's just not acceptable! So Mayhew just blows by the Bush v. Gore issue with the most obscenely anodyne and meaningless comment.


    So really: what in God's name did you see in his article?

  • Daryl McCullough on February 21, 2012 9:11 AM:

    I don't intend this in a mean way, but there is nothing that makes me more optimistic about the future than when Republicans feel pessimistic about it.