Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Tired of the GOP Primaries…?

Well, settle in, there’s still a lot more to come. Saw this pie chart on Maddow yesterday, and it’s depressing how early we still are in the Republican primary process:


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Front Page: WaPo Win

I know it’s been cropping up in a few places, but I thought I’d share this with everyone who reads, without comment (does it really need one?):


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Romney Follows in Perry’s Footsteps, with his own “Oops” Moment…

The clip really speaks for itself, so doesn’t need much from me. One thing for sure, though, is that Rachel Maddow is absolutely right – the Democrats’ ads for the general election are being written for them by the Republicans, and definitely if Romney wins the nomination (although, there are plenty of moments for a Gingrich nomination as well). This scenario further reinforces my belief that Romney is somewhat disconnected from reality, to go alongside with his absolute political tone-deafness.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Huntsman Bows Out, Endorses… Romney…?


“Today I am suspending my campaign and supporting the candidate who is best-equipped to defeat the president and return conservative leadership to the White House: Governor Mitt Romney.” – Jon Huntsman

Ok, I know American political primaries always end up doing something along these lines, but… This disappointed me a little. President Obama did the same thing – during the Democratic primary, he, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden went after each other with gusto (themselves, or through proxies, as is the way), and yet Senator Biden became Vice President Biden, and Senator Clinton became Secretary of State Clinton (especially confusing after then-candidate Obama went after Clinton on foreign policy…).

I like Governor Huntsman, I really do (I remember writing about him in January 2009, actually, thinking he’d be a great candidate for 2016…). A good friend worked for his campaign in the North East, too, but I’ve only just recently spoken to him about it. But I think the way the Republican Party is right now is anathema to his type of politics, temperament and so forth. He could never win in this political environment, even though he is the type of politician we need in America – regardless of what you think of his politics, his demeanour and comportment is exactly that of a statesman. As Paul Waldman put it in an American Prospect online editorial,

“In order for Huntsman ’16 to have any chance, the party is going to have to move to the center between now and then or at least be open to somebody who is neither a fire-breather like this year’s other also-rans, nor the kind of panderer who will gladly don an entirely new set of ideological robes if that's what the base seems to want, as Romney has done.”

Anyway, here’s a clip from Rachel Maddow’s show last night about Huntsman’s bowing out and endorsement of Romney:

Here’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s take on Huntsman’s Romney endorsement (only the first half is specifically about Huntsman, before the story moves on to Santorum and Gingrich):

While I’m on the subject of Huntsman, here’s his interview with Stephen Colbert, from the October 24th episode of Colbert Report:

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jon Huntsman
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive

I watched this with Alyssa, and both of us were confused. Is it me, or does Governor Huntsman seem to forget that he’s a Republican? He sounds almost like a Democrat…


Photo Credit: Eric Thayer/Reuters

Sunday, 15 January 2012

“SOPA” – Stop Online Piracy Act

“Up! with Chris Hayes” segment on SOPA

I must admit, I’m still not entirely clear on what the issue is over this legislation, or why there’s so much push-back from a really diverse swathe of the American political and celebrity ranks. It is this push-back that’s of particular interest to me..

If what Rick Cotton says is correct – if this legislation targets only those foreign (i.e. non-US) websites who are “wholesale” devoted to peddling IPR-infringed content (for example, Pirate Bay) – then how is this a bad idea?

Cotton is very clear about who the legislation is targeted against, which leads me to suggest that there’s a little bit of shrill exaggeration coming from people who oppose the bill (born from the “any attempt to legislate anything on the internet is evil” reaction), and maybe also opposition bred from the fact that Rupert Murdoch is pro-SOPA. It seems very strange that there’s so much push-back for a bill that does, apparently, explicitly state that it’s only targeting foreign websites wholesale-devoted to the distribution of copyright-infringed data.

What have I missed?

Friday, 13 January 2012

Rolling Stone, the Generals, “The Operators”…

First off, I should state that I do really want to read The Operators – it’s a book I’ve been waiting for ever since I read the Rolling Stone article it grew out of (it was inevitable). It was an interesting and very well-written article, and certainly useful for my US foreign policy PhD. That being said, I think the reaction to the article was completely overblown. Mainly because the storm of fallout started to swirl in the US media before the general public was actually able to read the article in question. When I finally managed to get hold of the article… Well, ok, so the generals were frustrated by the execution of the war and the role of civilians in the military and armchair quarterbacking – how is this news? Even the supposed slurs against Vice President Biden, while ill-advised, were not even close to being the worst I’ve read/heard. Maybe I’m missing something, I don’t know. Regardless, it’s an interesting story, and I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into the book.

What’s interesting is the apparent difficulty in getting this book published – I could be wrong, but I’ve seen a number of publishers attached, before seeing it change or be listed as “out of print” on Amazon. I’ll do my best to get this reviewed ASAP.

The Operators is available now from Blue Rider Press (a division of Penguin).

Friday, 6 January 2012

Thomas Frank on Maddow, GOP Economic Policy, etc.

I have just bought Thomas Frank’s new book, Pity the Billionaire, so I’ll try to get it read and reviewed as soon as possible. I’ve liked his previous books (What’s the Matter With Kansas and The Wrecking Crew), so I’m confident I’ll like his latest as well.


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Update: More from Thomas Frank, this time on UP! With Chris Hayes

I still think Chris Hayes has a way to go before he settles down into the role of host – like Melissa Harris Perry, he has a tendency to try to emulate Rachel Maddow’s style (both have stood in for Maddow in the past) – but the show’s getting better and usually features some good content.