Political Animal


December 14, 2012 1:52 PM Lunch Buffet

By Ed Kilgore

Still only sporadic details about the massacre in Connecticut. So as we await more news, here are some distractions:

* Kevin Drum makes the case that the administration’s strange handling of the Rice withdrawal reflected the desire to give GOPers a “scalp” so future nominations might go more easily.

* For now, Obama using the “not a priority” dodge to deal with questions about federal prosecution of legal pot smokers in Colorado and Washington.

* ProPublica reports Crossroads GPS promised IRS its election activities would be “limited.” Yeah, “limited” to at least $70 million.

* Seth Michaels has nice complilation of Boehner/McConnell lies about the debt limit.

* At TNR, Matt Katz reports on local antagonism to Newark Mayor Corey Booker and his big ambitions.

And in non-political news:

* At the New Yorker, Paul Simms imagines what the comment thread would have been like had God done a blog post on the Creation.

Back after a switch in blogging venue.

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.


  • esaud on December 14, 2012 2:26 PM:

    Re Rice: If Rice's withdrawal was a "scalp" for Republicans (and please, why can't Obama and Rice come out and tell us so we don't have to play silly guessing games?) than I think it is a mistake, because getting a "scalp" will only embolden them.

    Remember how the Obama administration threw Shirley Sherrod and Desiree Rogers under the bus? Obviously that didn't help gain any cooperation from the GOP.

    I am so completely, utterly, entirely exhausted of the entire Republican party. You can't come up with a thimblefull of intergrity in the entire lot.

  • CharlieM on December 14, 2012 2:30 PM:

    The only "case" that Kevin Drum is making is for his own naivete.
    Giving Republicans a scalp now will ease future nominations? This is laughable.Throwing them Rice is just putting blood in the water. Just encourages Repubs to trump up some other "-gate".

  • Samuel Knight on December 14, 2012 3:22 PM:

    Giving the GOP a scalp has been such awesome strategy so far! What a great idea Kevin!

    You know I'd also think that:
    - Washington Post is really interested in understanding deficits and what drives them so we should consider their reaction in policy matters.
    - Andrew Sullivan can always be relied on to understand and explain facts accurately, so go to him on assessing a movie's torture message - when you haven't even seen the movie.
    - Agreeing to a really idiotic policy proposal like raising Medicare ago or SSN changes would be a good idea politically for a Democrat.
    - Explaining the "culture" of DC politics when you've lived in California for years. etc.

    Obviously these are sarcastic.

    The general point is the Kevin is really good at looking data in interesting new ways. But he's absolutely hopeless and naive with big picture reasoning mainly because he makes these insane non sequitors.

  • Doug on December 14, 2012 5:09 PM:

    Between the Republicans' faux outrage, one should also consider Ambassador Rice's husband (Canadian, I understood) and their investments (largely in petro-chemicals, as in really dirty tars sands and shale petro-chemicals).
    The first alone wouldn't have sunk her nomination, but how many Democratic Senators might have bolted over that last? Was it worth the risk? I find it hard to believe there's not another person as qualified to be SoS as Amb. Rice.
    As ANY nominee by President Obama will be the cause of fainting spells and cries of outrage by the Republicans why not do as someone on another blog suggested (probably jokingly) and nominate Colin Powell?
    If only for the entertainment value...

  • N.Wells on December 14, 2012 8:27 PM:

    Powell and My Lai: http://old.disinfo.com/archive/pages/dossier/id803/pg1/
    Colin Powell lying to the UN: http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2008/02/un-deception-what-exactly-colin-powell-knew-five-years-ago-and-what-he-told-world

    1) Republicans have been lock-step pig-ignorantly wrong about so many things for so long that they do not deserve plum appointments. Any Republican who did not quit the GOP in disgust and shame during the Bush years is evidently unfit to be in government. 2) There are perfectly fine Democrats out there who were right about Iraq. Ask Al Gore or Russ Feingold or Ron Wyden if they're interested. And even if there weren't any great candidates, we could give some valuable on-the-job-training to some Democrats who have proven competent in other areas (Ted Strickland maybe?), so that Democrats become the obvious go-to group for international problems in 2016. This would be entirely justified on the grounds that it would be difficult even for a neophyte to do worse than the supposed best of the Republicans over the last 3 decades. 3) Lastly, as far as I recall, Republicans lost the last election. To the victors go the spoils.