Politics Round-up July 25 2013


In a post about Ted Cruz, Jonathan Bernstein defends George McGovern who lost 49 states against Richard Nixon in 1972.

Beyond that, it’s not clear that reputation for ideological extremism was McGovern’s main problem that year. The Democrats really were fundamentally split; Nixon’s sabotage made it worse, but the divisions were real and painful. There’s nothing remotely like that on the Republican side right now; there’s no significant group or faction that might walk or sit out the campaign if Cruz wins the nomination, so that nominating whoever the GOP ’16 version of Muskie or Humphrey would prevent it. And then there’s the campaign’s troubles beyond ideology, including the chaotic convention and the disaster with the VP slot.

Again: I definitely think that reputation for ideological extremism cost McGovern and Goldwater (and Reagan). But the 1972 and 1964 elections weren’t primarily about the out-party candidates.

One of the jurors in the George Zimmerman trials has been making the rounds, discussing her belief that she allowed a murderer to go free, but that was what the law called for. A guest on Al Sharpton’s show wasn’t pleased about that interpretation, making the odd claim that you can’t respect a verdict while calling for a change in the laws.

The Dilbert Guy publishes a letter with a provocative point on racial profiling.

When I buy a can of Coke, I see the label, and I know what to expect.

Stereotypes are wrong of course. But brands are good.

So if there are a bunch of people that dress a certain way, and act a certain way, they are creating a brand for themselves.

There’s a nerd brand. There’s a metro-sexual brand. There’s a jock brand, a cheerleader brand, a gothic brand… I can go on but of course you know what I mean.

Then there is a gangster brand.

This may be shocking, but if you dress like a gangster – talk like a gangster – and ride around in a car like a gangster, people are bound to pick up on the brand you’re showcasing.

I suppose it could be related to race – but I don’t think so. I can have the above stereotypes in any race – no problem.

If you want to be treated like a nerd, dress like a nerd. You want to be treated like a gangster, knock yourself out, and dress and act like a bad-ass.

But when you do, don’t get upset when people react to the brand you’re pushing.

The Census Bureau’s website shows the demographics of every congressional district.

Due to the ways the parties have advantages in upcoming elections, it seems unlikely that Democrats or Republicans will get a supermajority in the Senate any time soon.

Lindsey Grudick notes that Wendy Davis got much more coverage than Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist whose crimes were used to justify Texas’s antiabortion legislation.

Dahlia Lithwick laments changes in North Carolina voting law.

Robert Gordon made the argument that the country has peaked.

Ta-Nehishi Coates ponders liberal morality and why he doesn’t like Anthony Weiner.

But the problem that I suspect a lot of people have with Anthony Weiner is not that he had an affair, but that he does not seem particularly good at the job of politics. Part of being good at politics is being good at pitching your arguments. Part of pitching your arguments is your public image. We know this. Those of us who are partisans do not examine “favorable and unfavorable” ratings in our polls simply for amusement. We examine them to see who might make the best pitch for the policies we endorse. The actual reasons why some people are viewed favorably and others are not may not always strike us as intelligent. But they are real. Politicians know this and thus guard their image accordingly.

Anthony Weiner is a politician who relished antagonizing the opposition. His appeal was singular and tribal — in an age of seemingly vacillating, gun-shy Democrats, Weiner took on whoever may come. You never once got the feeling that he was ashamed to be a liberal. He must have known that this made him a target for conservative activists. A wise man in Weiner’s position would be watchful. But Weiner is not a wise man. It is not his desire to get off that offends, it is the thick-wittedness of sending nude selfies on Twitter. It is the incomprehensible silliness of handing your opponents a gun and saying, “Please shoot me.” Repeatedly. It is wholly sensible that those of us who believe the liberal project is about more than embarrassing Republicans would not want Anthony Weiner as a pitchman.

About Thomas Mets

I’m a comic book fan, wannabe writer, politics buff and New Yorker. I don’t actually follow baseball. In the Estonian language, “Mets” simply means forest, or lousy sports team. You can email me at mistermets@gmail.com
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