Everyone loves a good counter-intuitive story, but Washington loves one sort in particular: the kind that assures us all that something we’ve been led to believe was a worrisome problem is, in fact, not all that big a deal after all, thus allowing us to return to watching “Veep” or “The Newsroom.” Yesterday’s New York Times Magazine offered a classic of this form, a Matt Bai piece arguing that the Citizens United ruling of 2010 is not nearly as responsible for the boom in campaign spending by outside groups as those whiny goo-goo types make it out to be: The oft-repeated narrative of 2012 goe
Regardless of whether Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum comes out ahead in Ohio later today, Super Tuesday already promises to make at least one growing segment of America’s political class gleeful: caucus skeptics. Of the ten events scheduled for today, only those in North Dakota, Idaho, and Alaska will tally votes by means of a caucus rather than a primary election, and most attention will be elsewhere. But, even if it’s temporarily pacified, the anti-caucus sentiment that has been burgeoning in the wake of the various vote-counting follies in Iowa, Nevada, and Maine is sure to crop up again.
“Being a jerk is not a felony”—this was the consensus among pundits within days of John Edwards’s indictment for violating campaign finance laws by inducing two political donors to pay the living expenses of his mistress, Rielle Hunter, and their child, while a former campaign aide posed as the child’s father. It’s still hard to absorb the magnitude of Edwards’s moral offense, and “jerk” hardly does it justice, but let’s assume that Ruth Marcus of The Washington Post, quoted above, and election law professor Rick Hasen are right that funneling money to a presidential candidate to cover up his
Just how screwed is John Edwards? On Friday, the Justice Department indicted the former senator on charges of conspiracy, perjury, and campaign-finance-law violations. No laughing matter. But to hear Edwards’s lawyers tell it, the government’s case is absurd. Here’s Greg Craig: “The government’s theory is wrong on the facts and wrong on the law. It is novel and untested. There is no civil or criminal precedent for such a prosecution.” Is Craig right? Is the Edwards indictment really so ridiculous? The short answer, say campaign-finance experts, is not necessarily.
Today's opinion in the DC gun-ban case is getting all the headlines today, but Phillip Carter makes a compelling case that its practical impact will be limited--there just aren't that many gun laws out there nearly as restrictive as DC's draconian version, and Justice Scalia's opinion (pdf) goes out of its way to emphasize its compatibility with more tempered efforts at gun control (assault weapons bans, waiting periods, etc.). It's also worth paying attention to the Supreme Court's decision (pdf) in Davis v.