Jonathan Chait

Commentary's Alana Goodman defends Rick Perry against the "anti-sharia community": The back-and-forth within the anti-sharia community about whether or not Rick Perry is a “fifth columnist” candidate continued this week, with Center for Security Policy’s Dave Reaboi and Ace of Spades both coming to Perry’s defense. At Counter Contempt, David Stein also analyzed the “controversial” Muslim history curriculum Perry helped coordinate in Texas, and skewered the idea that it’s a pro-Sharia program. Without delving deeper into the details here, I am prepared to agree with Goodman that Perry has not

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Pew's monster public opinion survey really captures the complexity of the political dilemma facing President Obama. You have a public extremely unhappy with everything, blaming Republicans more than Democrats, but with President Obama finding his popularity sucked down along with everybody else.

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Ann Marlowe, reporting from Libya for the Weekly Standard, is apparently calling in airstrikes: I helped call in my first NATO strike yesterday. We were being shelled.

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David Brooks' column today appears dedicated to the proposition that other people should start criticizing Rick Perry: He does very well with the alternative-reality right — those who don’t believe in global warming, evolution or that Obama was born in the U.S. So, yes, it is time to take Perry seriously as a Republican nominee and even as a potential president. ... It’s more likely that sooner or later Romney is going to have to prove his own toughness by taking Perry on directly.

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&c

-- A depressing preview of Bernanke’s Jackson Hole speech tomorrow. -- Tweets outrace quakes.  -- Dick Cheney and spontaneous combustion.  -- Rick Perry: progressive education hero.  

I was not in the room for Marco Rubio's address at the Reagan Library last night, but having read the text, I came away with a different reaction than T.A. Frank, who wrote a dispatch for us. Tom came away impressed with rhetoric like this: There were moments when he dared to offer a gram of risky honesty and an ounce of real ideas. On the honesty part, for example, he admitted, obliquely, that George W. Bush had raided the nation’s piggy bank and subsequently beaten the piggy to death. “I know that it's popular in my party to blame the president, the current president," Rubio said.

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Yale Literature professor David Bromwich has a column in the Huffington Post that's primarily an attempt to push the meme "Bush-Obama Presidency." It does persuasively argue that President Obama has continued many of President Bush's policies in foreign affairs.

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Mitt Romney used to unequivocally believe that the world is warming: "I believe that climate change is occurring — the reduction in the size of global ice caps is hard to ignore." Now straightforward climate science skeptic Rick Perry has overtaken him, and Romney is less sure: "Do I think the world's getting hotter? Yeah, I don't know that but I think that it is." This hedge is worth pondering in light of a debate I've participated in over science, empiricism and climate change.

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Jennifer Rubin has a post, entitled "Obama's Dismal Economy," arguing that the economy is bad, it's Obama's fault, and that Republicans are making the economy better with wise fiscal stewardship: The Wall Street Journal reports: "The Congressional Budget Office projected a deficit of almost $1.3 trillion for fiscal 2011.

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I have mixed feelings about movie stars who get involved in political causes. On the one hand, it's a little sad that people need a movie star to make them interested in politics. Nobody should care what movie stars think. On the other hand, given the reality that people care a lot about what movie stars think, it's a moral good for movie stars to use their fame to direct people toward what they consider worthy causes.

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