Along with the usual New Year’s resolutions about exercising, getting more sleep, and being more patient with the kids, progressives should add better communications to their list. We have an historic opportunity to frame the public debate this year in terms of social justice, human rights, and opportunity for all. more »
religiondispatches.org — Ross Douthat wants you to have more babies. And he wants you to be married when you have those babies. And not just any babies. He wants you to have American babies—though, if you’re an immigrant, he’ll take your babies, too, because that’s really the only reason to allow immigrants to be here. And he wants you to hurry up and have those American babies, because if you don’t, we’ll run out of workers, and if we run out of workers the United States will get “knocked off its global perch.” Because that’s what’s at stake, ladies and gentlemen—American domination. So, my (heterosexual) compatriots, take off your clothes, take off your condoms, take out your IUDs and diaphragms, stop swallowing your birth control pills, have your vasectomies reversed, quit it with the rhythm method, and do the hard, hot, steamy work your country needs you to do: reproduce. And then do it again. It’s your civic duty.
Game on. President Obama delivered a fierce speech yesterday, calling out the radical nonsense of the Republican budget, and defining the themes of the choice Americans will face in the Fall. The speech was long, detailed, and unrelenting. more »
prospect.org — The other day I rather superficially raised the issue of whom Mitt Romney might choose for his vice presidential nominee, and said it would no doubt be some boring white guy, in keeping with Mitt's risk-aversion. But after thinking about it some more, I've decided this may turn out to be more complicated than it appears. I'm assuming, of course, that Romney will be the nominee. Most presidential candidates have one problem they want to solve with their choice. Sometimes it's the relatively inexperienced outsider choosing the old Washington hand. Sometimes it's the need to shore up your base. You can bring in the youthful, good-looking running mate to give your campaign some verve. Or you might go for geography, picking someone to give you a boost in a swing state (though this hasn't really worked in the past). Mitt Romney's problem is that he'll have not one but two problems forming the horns of a real dilemma, one forged by his inability to put this race away.
thedailybeast.com — How long can this go on? Pretty darn long. Take a look at the calendar. The only date resembling a potential firewall for Mitt Romney is more than a month away, but even that Tuesday also features Pennsylvania, which presumably Rick Santorum will carry. The delegate math might ultimately be there for Romney, but by then he will have lost more than 20 states — to a candidate who was a joke four months ago. He is without question the shakiest frontrunner in recent American history. Let’s go through the dates. He’ll have lots of time to fix things up, if he is the nominee. But think back about how your own view of Mitt Romney has changed in the last six months. Half a year ago, I’d say most people thought: successful, smooth, maybe a little too smooth, but formidable. Now? He’s a punch line. And a punching bag. And the calendar shows that he’s going to continue to be both for a while yet.
truthdig.com — We may never know what drove a U.S. Army staff sergeant to head out into the Afghan night and allegedly murder at least 16 civilians in their homes, among them nine children and three women. The massacre near Belambai, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, has shocked the world and intensified the calls for an end to the longest war in U.S. history. The attack has been called tragic, which it surely is. But when Afghans attack U.S. forces, they are called “terrorists.” That is, perhaps, the inconsistency at the core of U.S. policy, that democracy can be delivered through the barrel of a gun, that terrorism can be fought by terrorizing a nation.
politics.salon.com — First, the good news for Mitt Romney: Last night may have been a psychological disaster for him, but it wasn’t a delegate disaster. In both Mississippi and Alabama, Romney finished in third place, but he, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were so tightly bunched that they’ll share the 90 delegates up for grabs almost evenly. That means Romney, thanks to wins in Hawaii and American Samoa that few are talking about, could still end up the night’s net delegate winner. So technically speaking, his grip on the GOP nomination may be more firm today than it was yesterday. But it sure doesn’t feel that way, and that’s just the point. Last night’s results are the latest demonstration of the cultural and demographic barriers that have continually thwarted Romney’s efforts to generate momentum.
On the eve of Tuesday’s Alabama and Mississippi primaries, Newt Gingrich referred to Mitt Romney as a “weak front-runner.” Romney should have let it go. Instead, he tried to zing Gingrich back. “If I’m a weak front-runner, what does that make Newt Gingrich?” Romney replied. “Because I’m well ahead of him.” On Tuesday night, in the primaries where he tried to “close the deal,” Mitt Romney was behind Newt Gingrich. And he was far behind Rick Santorum. The devastating defeats for Romney on “Southern Tuesday” were made all the more painful by the fact that Mitt tried to do Dixie. He really did. “I am learning to say ‘y’all’ and I like grits and things,” the candidate announced on what is likely to be the last trip he will ever make to Pascagoula, Mississippi. Romney may actually like grits. But Southern Republicans like authentic conservatives. And Mitt Romney doesn’t meet the standard.