One of the rewards of being a loyal Wall Street Journal subscriber is that one gets to read things one might not see anywhere else.
Now we know what the doomsayers feel like when the decreed day of judgment passes by without thunderbolts or second comings. Americans Elect, which was going to save our benighted political system with the ultimate deus ex machina—a bipartisan, third-choice presidential ticket borne from an online nominating process funded by leveraged-buyout tycoon Peter Ackerman and other deep-pocketed centrists—announced at midnight that the savior has not yet made his or her appearance.
Amid all the hoopla over President Obama’s gay marriage announcement last week, there were a few cautionary head shakes from the wise old men (and wise young old men) of the punditocracy: Obama may be basking in the glow of history now, they said, but his strategy of trying to elevate social issues to the Democrats’ benefit, and thus distract voters from economic issues, was a dubious one.
Not long ago, I argued that Democratic candidates ought to be trying to make transportation infrastructure an issue in areas where voters care about such things and where Republican anti-spending dogma was undermining projects, such as New Jersey, where Chris Christie rejected the new tunnel under the Hudson River.
Pity Dick Lugar. Not only was he resoundingly rejected by Republican voters in the state he had served for decades, but he has not received anything close to the kind of valedictory from the Washington establishment that one might have expected for one of his reputation. Consider: when Evan Bayh announced that he would not run for reelection in 2010, the conservative Democrat from Indiana inspired all manner of Beltway laments.
Most of the time, I have very little patience for reflexive cries of liberal bias in the media.
Jason Horowitz's long piece in the Washington Post about Mitt Romney's prep-school years is an absolute must-read, not least because of its revelation, confirmed by several fellow Cranbrook Prep graduates, of the the time that Mitt led a posse of students in pinning down a gay classmate and cutting off his bleached-blonde locks -- an episode the student, who died in 2004, decades later told a fellow classmate had been "horrible" to experience.
Who knows what calculations went into Barack Obama’s decision to “evolve” back to where he’d started on gay marriage in 1996. The timing is striking—after Joe Biden’s blurt on Sunday, there were a lot of pundits and activists arguing that Obama was now behind not only his vice president but most of the country on this issue. Yet he decided to make his move the day after an election, in the swing state of North Carolina, that showed to what extent this is far from a settled issue in many parts of the country, whatever the polls might say.
You could practically hear the guffaws emanating from Twitter last night over the 41 percent vote share that Keith Judd, a federal inmate in Texas, managed to win in the Democratic presidential primary in West Virginia. And sure, there’s humor to be had in an incarcerated man winning a bunch of counties against the incumbent president of the United States. But was this outcome necessarily as telling and disastrous for Obama as the twitterati snark was making it out to be? Not exactly. As is so often the case, the punditocracy was willfully ignoring regional context.
My colleague Jonathan Cohn has the goods in explaining why Mitt Romney’s new attempt to drive a wedge between Barack Obama and the more centrist Democrats nostalgic for Bill Clinton fails as a matter of policy reality. But it’s also worth noting, with only a smidgen of facetiousness, why it actually makes some sense for Romney to praise Bill Clinton, apart from the blatant political gamesmanship at work. First, consider that when Bill Clinton was president, Mitt Romney was...kinda liberal! Heck, he even voted for Clinton’s rival Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Massachusetts Democratic primary!