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January 08, 2013 1:43 PM Lunch Buffet

By Ed Kilgore

If I haven’t grossed you out with the last post discussing such phenomena as….Congress: here are some mid-day news nuggets:

* Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski digs up Chuck Hagel’s 1996-vintage extremist position on abortion. We can expect a lot of this sort of thing going forward.

* Despite Jennifer Rubin’s campaign to convince us Chuck Hagel is an anti-semite who wants to wipe Israel off the map, AIPAC has decided to “sit out” fight over his confirmation.

* Interesting tidbit: AIPAC’s spox is now Marshall Wittmann, the legendary Moose, who has had more political affiliations than John C. Calhoun.

* It didn’t entirely escape notice that Obama’s nominees for State, Defense and CIA were all white men.

* Charles Emmerson makes case at Foreign Policy that world in 2013 eerily similar to world in 1913. True, the Czar and the Kaiser have been restless of late, and the Entente is irresolute.

And in non-political news:

* Wildfires spread in Australia as peak temperatures reach 113 Fahrenheit. Nope, still no global climate change.

Back after some chores.

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.

Comments

  • Linkmeister on January 08, 2013 2:31 PM:

    Wittman? Really? Wow. He's the Andy Messersmith of public relations flacks.

  • JoanneinDenver on January 08, 2013 2:33 PM:

    In discussing Hagel's abortion position, it is critically important to note the difference between being against abortion and being against federal funding of abortion. The positions are not necessarily interchangeable.

    Remember:
    1) The Republican platform has been against abortion for decades. Hagel may have been just reflecting his party's position 15 years ago.
    2) The problem with allowing military service women to pay for their own abortions in a military facility is two fold. First of all, federal funding can not go to support abortions except in the cases of rape, incest, and life of the mother.
    Even if the woman is willing to pay for the service, the service would have to be performed in a federally funded facility and that is a problem. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there may not be military doctors available and willing to perform the procedure. It also could be very upsetting to other medical staff and patients.

  • T-Rex on January 08, 2013 3:04 PM:

    The difference between the U.S. and Australia is that in Australia it is political suicide for a politician of any party to deny global warming.

  • Geds on January 08, 2013 3:54 PM:

    Charles Emmerson makes case at Foreign Policy that world in 2013 eerily similar to world in 1913. True, the Czar and the Kaiser have been restless of late, and the Entente is irresolute.

    That's quite the interesting link, Ed. I've been rereading John Darwin's magnificent After Tamerlane: The Global History of Empire Since 1405 and just yesterday I hit Darwin's quick recap of the state of economics and global culture between 1880 and 1914. It struck me that the way British merchants talked about free markets as a benign force for liberation all over the world sounds exactly like how we heard the "job creators" talk these days. Darwin's discussion of European surety that they were the best and destined to rule the world because of their intelligence, technology, and the fact that women were women and men were men sounded exactly like the modern day American culture warriors.

    That said, I doubt we're in danger of a repeat of World War I. There is simply no analogy to the political landscape at the end of the 19th Century where there are several equal powers all jockeying to avoid war while building forces to defend and conquer. There is no real forseeable Franz Ferdinand moment. Agitation on the level of Sun Yat Sen in China or the the Japanese nationalism that led to the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars is quite possible. I'd also say that we're ripe for a new string of Communist Revolution-esque upheavals.

    It would, of course, be much preferable if we skipped the repetition of 1914 through the Great Depression, and went straight to some sort of new New Deal.

    But, in general, it's fascinating to see how the public debate of the privileged, in America especially, mirrors that of the public debate of the privileged in Britain a century ago. It's also fascinating to see how the privileged willfully ignore the root causes of the agitation from those at the bottom. It was a combustible mixture than and I see no reason to think it's not going to be combustible now.

  • Juanita de Talmas on January 08, 2013 4:32 PM:

    Obama’s nominees for State, Defense and CIA were all white men.

    And...?