Political Animal


September 13, 2012 6:16 PM Day’s End and Night Watch

By Ed Kilgore

News slowed down this afternoon, but we’re all worried about what happen in the Middle East tomorrow when anti-American demonstrations are likely to accompany Friday prayers. Here’s what left from today’s news:

* At TAP, Harold Meyerson has long, passionate plea for liberals to help labor movement survive.

* Todd Akin, back to within 6 points of McCaskill in Rasmussen poll, adds his nonsense to foreign policy debate: “Obama doesn’t like America.”

* Greg Sargent fingers Romney policy director Lanhee Chen as likely source for quote confirming campaign seized on Egyptian embassy statement because if fit their “narrative” of Obama apologies.

* At Ten Miles Square, Andrew Sabl argues “constitutonal conservatives” ought to know effort to destroy post-1930s jurisprudence politically suicidal.

* At College Guide, Daniel Luzer discusses pros and cons of limiting Pell Grants to those attending schools with specified completion rates.

And in non-political news:

* Poynter study says 16% of all internet users now use Twitter, with not much of a gender gap, and with young folks and old folks showing the highest levels of participation.

Back bright and early tomorrow.


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.


  • Freudian slip on September 13, 2012 6:51 PM:


    "...What three apology experts say

    To explore whether the statement represented an apology, we sent it to the four experts we interviewed for our previous fact-check on Romney's claim about Obama's apology tour. Here are the comments of the three who responded:

    •John Murphy, a communications professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies presidential rhetoric and political language, said Romney was wrong to label it an apology.

    "First, the statement does not use the word ‘apology’ or ‘apologize’ and does not use any synonym for that word. There is no statement here that says, ‘We are sorry.’

    "Second, the grammar of the statement condemns the actions of a third party. An apology, to be pedantic, is when the first party says to the second party, ‘I have offended you and I am sorry.’ This statement condemns a third party -- misguided individuals -- that does not officially represent the United States. The term ‘individuals’ dissociates them from the U.S. Therefore, it's impossible to say that this is an apology from the U.S. to anyone.

    "Third, the statement does not apologize for the right of free speech; it affirms it. It condemns those who abuse the right of free speech, but it claims that this is a universal right, as is religious toleration. So, the statement does not like what the misguided individuals said and did, but recognizes they have a right to do it."

    "It's a condemnation," Murphy said, "not an apology."

    • Lauren Bloom, an attorney and business consultant who wrote The Art of the Apology, said that Romney is "once again allowing his emotional allergy to apology to interfere with his judgment."

    Bloom said that "if there's anything more central to American values than respecting each individual's right to worship as he or she pleases, I'd be hard-pressed to say what it might be. The statement that ‘respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy’ not only is true, but is as clear an expression of one of our most cherished values as I can imagine."

    She said the embassy statement is "not an apology -- quite the contrary, it's a confirmation that the American people recognize the right to worship freely and will not accept religious bullying in the name of free speech. To say that someone who deliberately insults others in the name of religion has acted wrongly isn't an apology -- it's simply a recognition that those insults go too far."

    • Rhoda E. Howard-Hassmann, a professor who studies international human rights and maintains the website Political Apologies and Reparations, a database of documents on apologies, said the statement is "not an apology."

    Rather, she said, "it is a condemnation of ‘abuse’ of the universal value of free speech. A condemnation is not an apology. … The Embassy statement also reaffirms two American values: the American value of respect for religious beliefs and the American value of democracy."

  • Give us an answer Mitt on September 13, 2012 7:47 PM:

    MSNBC's Chuck Todd has been giving some great journalism.
    I like him. On Chris Matthew's show, as to foreign policy chops, Chuck said Romney didn't have an answer when he asked him if he would have pushed Musahrik out.
    Real impressed, I am. Reporters are asking great questions. Good thing for Sara Palin that she is out of the mix.

  • Labored day on September 13, 2012 8:51 PM:

    A nice review of editorials about the Mitt, which makes me sleep more soundly, knowing it isn't just us noticing Romeny's blunders....


  • Joe Friday on September 13, 2012 9:35 PM:

    Obama opening up leads in key swing states in latest NBC News/Marist Polls of likely voters:


    49% - Obama
    44% - Romney

    * OHIO

    50% - Obama
    43% - Romney


    49% - OBAMA
    44% - Romney

    Chuck Todd calling it the "Clinton Bounce".

  • T2 on September 13, 2012 9:50 PM:

    McCaskill must be a really sorry candidate. I stipulate that there must be a bunch of really Fu*ked up people in Missouri.......but if you can't beat Akin then you probably shouldn't be a Senator.

  • j on September 14, 2012 7:01 AM:

    The man who made the film that caused many deaths, of
    people so far and will probably cause more, is now getting police protection.
    I think it would be better for him to be given a plane ticket to the middle east so he can have a debate with moslems about his differences with them'
    Why is he a sniveling coward and under taxpayer protection.

  • Crissa on September 15, 2012 5:31 AM:

    I seriously doubt 16% of all internet users use Twitter.

    I base this upon past experience - about twenty years worth - online. Less than 10% of users will ever engage in broadcast chat like Twitter in any broad pool of users.

    Most social networking web 2.0 things use really spurious methods to count participation. You really think there's a billion users of Facebook?