“We’re Americans,” Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu told me two weeks ago in the Russell Senate building in Washington, D.C. “We don’t eat our dogs, and we don’t eat our horses.” She had just finished delivering a speech to a rapt audience of two-dozen bright-eyed teenage girls, a handful of congressmen, top members of the ASPCA and Humane Society, and Lorenzo Borghese, star of the ninth season of the reality television show The Bachelor.
A Tale Of Two Indiana Centrists
May 11, 2012
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.
How the Media is Enabling the GOP’s Rightward Drift
May 11, 2012
Richard Lugar’s loss in Tuesday night’s primary has been heralded by commenters on both sides of the aisle as a harbinger of doom for moderate Republicans. The conventional wisdom has quickly congealed: Lugar lost because he voted for Barack Obama’s Supreme Court candidates, worked with Obama on an arms control treaty, and was generally not partisan enough for a GOP dominated by the Tea Party. That interpretation is plausible. But it’s not the only, or even the most likely scenario.
Putting Manufacturing in Its Place(s)
May 10, 2012
American manufacturing is basically the same everywhere. It’s an albatross around the necks of places that depend on it, preventing them from attracting the “creative class,” which drives economic development today. Except in a few very high tech industries, such as pharmaceuticals, manufacturers are looking for lower costs above all else. That’s why, if they’re staying in the United States at all, they’re moving to low-wage locations. Metropolitan areas, with their higher costs, offer manufacturers no special advantages. These beliefs about the geography of manufacturing in the United States
Who Ever Said Dick Lugar Was a Moderate?
May 10, 2012
In 2010, John Danforth, a former Republican Senator from Missouri, was asked about the possibility of a GOP primary challenge to Indiana Senator Richard Lugar. Danforth pointed out that Lugar was a six-term Senator, one of the Senate’s most respected members, and its leading authority on foreign policy. He warned that “If Dick Lugar … is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.” Many commentators will draw precisely that message from Lugar’s defeat Tuesday night by his Tea Party-aligned challenger Richard Mourdock.
The Man Who Beat Lugar Is—Gasp!—Right
May 09, 2012
If you were trying to get a handle on what the Senate will look like over the next decade or so, you could have done worse than watch Richard Mourdock and Joe Donnelly make the rounds on television Wednesday morning. Mourdock is, of course, the man who just ousted Indiana’s longtime eminence, Dick Lugar, from the Senate. Donnelly is the Democratic congressman he’ll be facing in November. Mourdock fulminated against everything Lugar stood for—namely bipartisanship and civility in politics, but also the auto bailouts that saved tens of thousands of Indiana jobs.
When Governor Jan Brewer signed S.B. 1070—Arizona’s notorious immigration law—in 2010, she didn’t just enact what was, at the time, the harshest immigration regime in the United States; she also inspired copycat bills in a number of other states. But with the Supreme Court set to consider the constitutionality of Arizona’s law—oral arguments for Arizona v. United States will be heard on Wednesday, and the Court’s decision is expected by the end of June—there’s a lot more at stake than the fate of S.B. 1070 and its imitators.
Barack Obama, Heir To The Confederacy
April 11, 2012
Florida Rep. Allen West, the Tea Partier notable for being one of two African-American Republicans in the House freshman class, is making headlines today for his dead-serious assertion that “about 78 to 81” House Democrats “are members of the Communist Party.” But I’m surprised that there hasn’t been more said about another recent comment with a historical tinge—the declaration by Richard Mourdock, the conservative challenging Sen. Richard Lugar in the Indiana Republican primary, that Barack Obama and today’s Democrats are the true heirs to the Confederacy.
March 30, 2012
Paul Krugman has a nice shoutout to my "Crankocracy" TRB on his blog and points out that crankocrats long ago seized control of conservative think tanks. This is an important point I wish I'd included. "[W]hat the money of rich cranks does," Krugman observes, "is ensure that bad ideas never go away—indeed, they can gain strength even as they fail in practice again and again." Quite so. Krugman writes that even the cranks themselves end up suffering from the bad ideas they promote, but that they're too cussedly ideological to recognize this. That's true.
If X, Then Why?
March 29, 2012
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention By Manning Marable (Viking Press, 594 pp., $30) I. When Malcolm X died in a hail of assassin’s gunfire at the Audubon Ballroom in February 1965, the mainstream media in the United States was quick to suggest that he reaped the harvest of bloodshed he had brazenly sown.