Political Animal


June 19, 2012 1:51 PM Lunch Buffet

By Ed Kilgore

My wife has wisely banned me from eating anywhere near the fine new computer she bought me, so I’ll abstain for the moment, but here are some safe virtual goodies:

* PPP survey of Colorado shows Obama lead shrinking from 13 points to 7 (he’s still up 49-42).

* TAP’s Jamelle Bouie explains firing of UVa president Teresa Sullivan as reflecting big donor anger at her resistance to “corporate-style governance.”

* Romney refuses to ask supporters to stop heckling at Obama events.

* At College Guide, Daniel Luzer reports on Duquesne University’s unsuccessful effort to claim “religious freedom” means it is exempt from labor laws.

* TPM’s Benjy Sarlin reports on first steps taken by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And in non-political news:

* Walgreen buys big stake in European retailer Alliance Boots, creating world’s largest private purchaser of Rx drugs.

Back after I get the requisite ten feet from the iMac and consume a snack.

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.


  • Ron Byers on June 19, 2012 2:01 PM:

    Romney won't tell supporters to stop heckling the President. That Romney was a bully in private school and he is a bully now. The President is lucky he has secret service protection or we would expect Romney to hold the President down and shave his head, or something.

  • Linkmeister on June 19, 2012 2:01 PM:

    Keep that coffee/soda cup away from it too! ;)

  • T22 on June 19, 2012 2:48 PM:

    where are the polls asking:
    Which plan for the economy do you favor- Romney or Obama?
    Which plan for healthcare do you favor -
    Which plan for immigration do you favor-
    Which plan for.....well, anything?

    No polls like this because Romney has no plan for anything. How long is he going to get away with that? The "I'll tell you when I win" line needs to be getting a little more scrutiny, don't you think?

  • thebewilderness on June 19, 2012 2:51 PM:

    I do not think the problem is the Romney supporters heckling Obama so much as it is the Romney campaign staff harassing the people who come to hear Obama.

  • Ron Byers on June 19, 2012 3:10 PM:

    Romney supporters = Romney campaign staff. :)

  • bluestatedon on June 19, 2012 3:25 PM:

    Mitt Romney is the moral and ethical inverse of his father.

  • jjm on June 19, 2012 3:34 PM:

    How chilling is the firing of the U of Va's president is. But it seems like the corporations cannot stand to have any institutions independent of their control, their power and their way of doing things: not universities, not governments, not scientists, etc. (She was also seeking to raise faculty salaries-- a huge corporate no-no).

    And what does their way of doing things add up to in the long run?

    So some few people get gigantic profits somewhere in the world, preferably not locally, and prevent creative, thinking, innovative people from functioning anywhere.

    I've recently read ads for university teachers stating explicitly that the professor is to remain in his or her office from 8-5 every day, except during teaching hours. Obviates all research and original thinking, no? Also they are now mandating so many corporate style 'evaluations' and 'self-evaluations' that professors have complained to me that most of their work week is taken up with these exercises in sterility.

    Just to make the whole world a boring, predictable source of profits -- and ultimately warring monopolies trying for their last scraps.

  • T2 on June 19, 2012 4:01 PM:

    most state universities are governed by a Board of Regents, who are typically appointed by the reigning Governor of the State. It's a plum job used to repay heavy campaign contributors in most cases. In turn the Regents act as surrogates for the Governor in reflecting the policies the Governor sees as important. If the Governor is a Republican, as is the case in many states, you can see a very Conservative approach to operating Universities, especially in how they relate to studies or research that might not suit the Conservative "mindset"....such as studying Global Warming, etc., or Minority quotas.
    University presidents work for the BOR, and if they don't see eye to eye - out goes the Prez.

  • SYSPROG on June 19, 2012 4:13 PM:

    OH THE IRONY one more time! The UVA Prez won't give into to corporate governance? Up on the hill overlooking the campus, Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave!

  • DRF on June 19, 2012 4:53 PM:

    I've been following the UVa story some in the press, and I must say that Bouie's lead paragraph is misleading. It makes all the most negative inferences in a situation where, as yet, very few facts have been made public. Just for examplez; Bouie says the firing of Sullivan took place with "little deliberation". In fact, it is presently unknown how much deliberation there was, since all of this took place in secrecy. I've seen no suggestion that this was not thought through and discussed among members of the Board. Bouie also claims that the Board Members were excluded from the decision. According to news accounts, there were 3 individuals, known to be supporters of Sullivan, who claim to have been excluded. If this is true, it still doesn't suggest a lack of deliberation; the Rector of the board has claimed that the Board was overwhelmingly supportive, and this may well have been true. It appears that there was a good deal of discussion about Sullivan and the direction of the school, with 3 members known to dissent from the dominant point of view. I ahve seen nothing to suggest that, contrary to the implication of the first paragraph of the article, the decision was made without the approval of the board.

    All of the above is merely to point out that the article doesn't seem to reflect any objectivity. I suspect that this was an improvident decision, pushed by a faction of the board and, perhaps, the corporate funding community, that have a very unfortunate view of how academic institutions such as Uva should be run and what their role is. But at this point very little is known about why Sullivan was forced to resign and what the Board is looking to do. A little more fact-finding, and a little less speculation, is in order here.

  • jjm on June 19, 2012 5:20 PM:

    To DRF: according to published reports in the NYT, the Rector of the board claimed the board was overwhelmingly supportive, but she interviewed them all one by one separately and then made her claim. There was no meeting, no discussion, just her report of the 'vote.'

    I was in a department once with a not overly well liked chair, who was due to be termed out. The Dean, who was very partisan for this chair, interviewed each of us department members separately, then announced (same phrasing as this Rector) that "by an overwhelming majority" the department wanted the chair to stay on. A colleague came to see me and I expressed how depressed I was by the thought of more three more years under this chair, when he said, "You didn't vote for him? Neither did I. I'm going to investigate this." So he interviewed the others in the department and nearly all of them had been negative about extending the chair's tenure.

    The Dean had to apologize and rescinded the action, though he gave the chair an extra 'grace' year.

    So you can see how that goes...

  • bluestatedon on June 19, 2012 5:45 PM:

    So, not only was Tim Kaine a largely ineffective tool as head of the DNC, he's also responsible for nominating that snake Dragas to her UVa post. Nice record...

  • bluestatedon on June 19, 2012 5:57 PM:

    "A little more fact-finding, and a little less speculation, is in order here."

    "According to news accounts, there were 3 individuals, known to be supporters of Sullivan, who claim to have been excluded. If this is true, it still doesn't suggest a lack of deliberation;..."

    You're either engaging in a bit of speculation yourself, or else you have a rather odd notion of what "deliberation" means in the context of public institutions.

  • bluestatedon on June 19, 2012 6:26 PM:

    Since the specific reasons that Dragas has offered for Sullivan's ejection are vague, and since Dragas is a very wealthy CEO with ties to many similarly wealthy people, my gut instinct is that there has to be some personal financial reason that she has a bug up her ass about Sullivan. The issue of Sullivan's purported refusal to back an online education initiative makes me suspect that's where Dragas's financial interest lies. I'll be surprised if she doesn't have some sort of direct connection to people who would profit from such an initiative.

  • bluestatedon on June 19, 2012 6:35 PM:

    More interesting UVa speculation here: