Political Animal


May 13, 2013 5:57 PM Day’s End and Night Watch

By Ed Kilgore

What a fine day of noise and hysteria! Watching Republicans deal with today’s “stories” was like watching a python try to devour two alligators at once. Here are the final items du jour:

* Here we go: House Ways & Means Committee schedules first hearing on IRS “targeting” of non-profit political groups for this Friday.

* Kermit Gosnell convicted of first-degree murder. In celebration, Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) goes into wild hate-rant claiming “Democrats worship abortion with the same fervor the Canaanites worshipped Molech.”

* Obama uses one of my favorite expressions, saying “there’s no there there” with respect to the latest Benghazi! claims.

* At Ten Miles Square, Erik Voeten critiques Jason Richwine’s “shoddy work” on race, immigration and IQ.

* At College Guide, Richard Vedder explores the wild disparities in compensation for college presidents.

And in non-political news:

* LAX-JFK flight makes emergency landing in KC to disembark passenger who refused to stop singing Whitney Houston songs.

So that’s it for today. To change the mood a bit, here again is The VLA performing “So Romantic.” I half-expected them to end the song by muttering “Little lamb….”


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.


  • jjm on May 13, 2013 7:40 PM:

    Josh Marshall at TPM notes that the DOJ is investigating who leaked classified information about the CIA's operations in Yemen, endangering our agents there.

  • T2 on May 13, 2013 8:43 PM:

    By now you'd expect the President would understand that no " there" is required for a GOP inquiry....Just a few dozen crazy congressmen and a pliant news media.

  • exlibra on May 13, 2013 8:44 PM:

    Teahadist to IRS: Taxed Enough Already.
    IRS to Teahadist: No, you ain't.

    Don't tell me that promoting the TEA (taxed Enough Already) message is not political. And, if it's political, then an organization pushing the message does *not* deserve a non-profit status (benefiting from everybody else's taxes, yet!).

  • Francis Bacon on May 13, 2013 10:35 PM:

    one of my favorite expressions, saying “there’s no there there”

    Ugh, seriously? It's right in there with "it is what it is" and "own your own business" as an awkward ball of grammar and logic. Actually it's worse since there's an implied scare quote in there. See, that was a sentence that actually needed two theres.

    Why couldn't he just say "there is nothing there"? Isn't that perfectly clear?

  • IAmGumby on May 13, 2013 11:57 PM:

    There's a sense in which you are right there, Francis. (Love the name, BTW. Big fan.) But the execrable copies don't mar the pristine original. Which, as I'm sure you know, appeared in Gertrude Stein's autobiography. Stein's significance--stop me if you've heard this one--lies in her experimentation with radical subjectivity in language; which, if successful, would have either proved Wittgenstein right or seriously pissed him off. People who use the phrase now are necessarily misusing it, because they believe that it makes some sort of sense. But the only sense it makes is the kind that isn't. Which makes sense when you read it in its nonexistent context. Or, as Stein herself explained, "The sash is not like anything mustard it is not like a same thing that has stripes, it is not even more hurt than that, it has a little top."

    Bunting yellow fishcakes,

  • Fritz Strand on May 14, 2013 8:53 AM:

    Chris Hayes had a great segment last night (5/13) on the background issues on the IRS investigations. He pointed out that it is the law that the IRS has to look into groups wanting the 501c status and how this groups have exploded since SCOTUS Citizen United decision throw a hand grenade into our electoral system.

    Let's see if the Congressional investigations addresses that issue. On the other hand, why do I bother even to ask the question?

  • Francis Bacon on May 14, 2013 10:55 AM:

    But the execrable copies don't mar the pristine original.


    Though I am not a great fan of Stein my criticism is only in the present use of the phrase, which like the others is a lazy regurgitation devoid of real meaning. It insults both the person saying it and the listener. When i was younger, I would play a parlor game and try to get blowhards to latch on to stupid phrases like this (or overwrought words) and use them at parties. "vis-a-vis" was nearly always a winner.