It sometimes felt to Mark in these moments like his grief was still deepening, like the worst was yet to come. After the gunfire, the funerals, the NRA protests and the congressional debates, they were finally coming into the lonely quiet. They were coming to the truth of what Newtown would become. Would it be the transformative moment in American gun policy that, in those first days, so many had promised? Or another Columbine, Virginia Tech, Gabby Giffords, Aurora — one more proper noun added to an ever-growing list? The FBI had closed its temporary Newtown office. Politicians in Washington were moving on to other issues. Scariest of all to Mark, he was starting to forget little things, too, losing pieces of Daniel to the recesses of his mind, so he had started a journal to log memories before they disappeared.
Who else would publish an essay in The American Economic Review exploring the “overproduction of opinionated opinion,” questioning the value of having strong opinions, and emphasizing the importance of doubting one’s opinions and even one’s tastes? Hirschman thought that strong opinions, as such, “might be dangerous to the health of our democracy,” because they are an obstacle to mutual understanding and constructive problem-solving.
- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) @SenAlexander You explored running for president twice. I hope you do again on a bold “pro-Columbine” ticker
An aluminum company moving to Fort Wayne, Indiana asks for a tax break on its new building; the NFL asks for tax breaks and for the public to construct its buildings. Most nonprofits exist to promote a social good; the NFL exists to promote a brain-mushing, body-destroying activity that increases our collective health care costs. If the league was in the business of farming corn, it would probably ask Congress for: a) increased ethanol subsidies; b) a federal law specifically exempting its employees from paying sales tax on Fritos purchases.
It was Wills who saw, long before it became accepted dogma, that Richard Nixon, the bête noire of American liberals, was himself the “last liberal,” ferociously clinging to the national myth of “the self-made man.” It was Wills who cleared away the nostalgic mist surrounding John F Kennedy and exposed him as the originator of the modern “insurgency presidency,” addicted to reckless “covert actions” that paralleled his illicit bedroom adventures. “For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why Wills hates Kennedy,” a political scientist and adviser to Kennedy once told me. “Then I got it. Wills is the good Catholic, and Kennedy was the bad Catholic.”
A good Catholic who nonetheless has declared war not only on church elders but on the Vatican itself. When the sex abuse scandals erupted a decade ago, and others writhed in torments of apology or denial, Wills coolly explained that what seemed like desecrations of the faith were in reality outgrowths of its most hallowed rituals. “The very places where the molestation occurs are redolent of religion—the sacristy, the confessional, the rectory… The victim is disarmed by sophistication and the predator has a special arsenal of stun devices. He uses religion to sanction what he is up to, even calling sex part of his priestly ministry.”
This approach is disastrous both politically and economically. Progressives like myself believe strongly in the potential role of public investments to address society’s needs - whether for job skills, infrastructure, climate change, or other needs. Yet to mobilize the public’s tax dollars for these purposes, it is vital for government to be a good steward of those tax dollars. To proclaim that spending is spending, waste notwithstanding, is remarkably destructive of the public’s trust. It suggests that governments are indeed profligate stewards of the public’s funds.
Yet it’s even worse on the economic front. Spending is not spending. The U.S. needs productive public investments, not wasteful spending. We need to modernize our infrastructure, retool our energy system, make our cities more resilient, and help to train a new productive labor force. All of that is hard work. It requires careful government programs, working alongside the private sector, and good coordination with state and local governments. It requires facing down vested interests in both parties all too happy to continue the wasteful ways.
…the political analyst Charlie Cook gave a sober presentation about current demographic trends, demonstrating that the Party was doomed unless it started winning over Asian-Americans, Hispanics, and younger voters. He also noted that forty per cent of the electorate is moderate—and Republicans lost that constituency by fifteen points in 2012. Thanks to congressional redistricting, Republicans were able to hold on to the House of Representatives, and Cook said that the Party could probably keep it for the foreseeable future, but he warned that the prospects of winning back the Senate, and the White House, would require dramatic change. There are only twenty Republican women in the House, and Kellyanne Conway, a G.O.P. pollster, gave the overwhelmingly white male audience some advice: stop talking about rape.
I guess I hope so…..
The difference between these two episodes speaks volumes about D.C.-based access journalism and the highly toxic, incestuous variant of it that Politico has perfected. Or to put things a bit more baldly: in all likelihood, David Catanese and Joe Williams suffered divergent professional fates because the leaders of Politico are more concerned about losing access to the Romney campaign than they are about losing access to victims of rape.