Jindal had a few funny lines, but he too often sounded like a guy trying to calm down an aggravated parrot: sing-songy, every sentence soothingly the same, the delivery totally unmatched to the content. And the mantra "Americans can do anything," repeated at least five times, reminded me of nothing so much as a cassette tape given to me by a child therapist I (briefly) visited when I was eight. It was called the "Affirmation Tape," and it repeated banal self-esteem or joy-of-life boosters like "You can do it!" and "You love eating meatballs!" over and over.
"And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it." Huh? The Germans invented the internal-combustion-engine automobile. Our own government agrees: The Library of Congress answers the question, "Who invented the automobile?" with the answer, "Karl Benz." Attributing the automobile to the Americans sounds a little like the old Soviet claim that the Russians invented baseball. --Eve Fairbanks
McCain, sitting in the audience for Obama's first State of the Union, has a surprising -- and lovely -- proud look on his face, like a proud daddy. Judd Gregg looks sour. Lieberman has a slightly bored, ruminative look, like he's chewing on his cud; John Boehner appears over-moisturized and on the verge of falling asleep. Mitch McConnell has a slightly goofy, befuddled look, like he isn't quite sure exactly why he is where he is: "Who, me?" Actually, McConnell kind of always looks like that -- doesn't inspire much confidence. --Eve Fairbanks
HuffPo's excellent Ryan Grim debunks one of the most frustrating myths in Washington: that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a big weenie for failing to force Republicans to "actually" filibuster bills they don't like. I like the filibuster as a concept, but it ought to be hard for the minority party to pull off. It should be reserved for situations when the minority feels very, very strongly about a bill, and so there need to be strong disincentives to filibuster; i.e., you ought to have to read from a phone book all night long. But that's not how it works.
While looking into my piece on the McCainification of the GOP, I came across a speech, "The Steamroller of Socialism," that Republican rising star Paul Broun delivered during the House's stimulus debate. There's a lot to love in this neglected piece of Websterian oratory -- neologisms, metaphors, antithesis -- and one particular section deserves reprinting for your enjoyment: Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I stand here today because Americans face a fork in the road. One path leads to socialism, and the other path leads to freedom. This non-stimulus bill is the road to socialism.
What to make of our hometown paper's new Sunday Outlook section? As Max Fisher explained on The Plank a few weeks ago, the Washington Post shuttered its (seriously hit-or-miss) stand-alone book review section, Book World, and folded it in to the Post's version of Week In Review, moving the editorials and op-eds back to the A section. This is only the new Outlook's debut week, but I can't say I think the new product works.
Roll Call reports that Roland Burris "has not considered resigning," because [t]he Senator believes he has been honest and above board, but feels he is suffering in part because of a faulty communications strategy in relation to how he has dealt with this latest scandal. Hey, can we put a total moratorium on this lame, euphemistic, cynical and increasingly ubiquitous "faulty communications strategy" excuse?
Jason, you said of the Roland Burris follies that "something's got to give." Well, something gave -- his press secretary, who just abruptly quit. There's a little bit of the pathetic Shakespearean bumbler-villain in Burris, what with yesterday's offense against eloquence in his "I am the real Roland" monologue to today's mutinous and depressing abandonment by his sidekick. --Eve Fairbanks
Throughout history, political movements have often developed informal social headquarters alongside their official central commands. The eighteenth- century London Tories had a pub called Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. The 1930s French rightists had the Cafe de Flore. George W. Bush’s polo-shirted young Republicans had Smith Point, a preppy bar in Georgetown.
Throughout history, political movements have often developed informal social headquarters alongside their official central commands. The eighteenth-century London Tories had a pub called Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. The 1930s French rightists had the Caf? de Flore. George W. Bush's polo-shirted young Republicans had Smith Point, a preppy bar in Georgetown.