The Emerald City

I don’t think Conor will be discussing fictional cities all that much at his Atlantic cities blog, but one in particular deserves attention: The Emerald City of Oz, or at least the one elaborated upon in Gregory Maguire’s Wicked and subsequent novels. Maguire’s Emerald City is not only the capital of Oz, but the seat…

Once More into the Liber-al-tarian Breach

Erik’s post today gives me a good excuse to better define and clarify what I’m talking about when I talk about liber-al-tarianism and the notion that the intermediate-term future of libertarianism lies more with the Left than the Right.  I think Erik’s analysis in that post is pretty much right on the money, but I also…

Arizona passes the nation’s strictest – not to mention silliest – immigration law

Sometimes I’m embarrassed to be an Arizonan. Indeed, I think I would be a far more vociferous defender of state’s rights were I a citizen of some other state. Today is one of those days: Arizona lawmakers on Tuesday approved what foes and supporters agree is the toughest measure in the country against undocumented immigrants,…

Tennis-track versus wrestling-track Democrats

Dividing Dems into “wine-track” and “beer-track” voters is one of the most annoying cliches of the past few election cycles, so I respectfully suggest we turn to this breakdown of sports fans’ political affiliations for replacement terminology. The relative popularity of professional wrestling, tennis, and basketball among Democrats roughly correlates to the party’s appeal to…

Markets in everything ctd.

I think Jason and I disagree less than his critique of my post would suggest.  He is correct that my rather brief treatment of markets (and the purpose of markets) leaves a great deal to be desired.  I was not intending to write a piece explaining the many benefits (or limitations) of markets per say…

Friendship and civic virtue

Patrick Deneen has written a fascinating entry on friendship, politics and civic virtue. Excerpting doesn’t do the post justice, but here’s the crux of his thesis: The real relationships of people in their localities is to be replaced by rationalized and approved “programs” – “justice” is to replace “friendship. Much of the domestic politics of…

Liberaltarianism is dead

“I don’t want to say that liberaltarianism is dead. But is it endangered? Sure. It deserves to be.” ~ Jason Kuznicki I think the hopes placed in the Obama administration by libertarians have been fairly well dashed at this point.  On civil-liberties issues and on economic issues, the President has not gone nearly far enough…

There’s more than one way to skin a moderate

[Updated] Writing of Evan Bayh, Ross Douthat opines: America needs politicians who stake out interesting, politically-courageous positions on important policy questions. What it doesn’t need is politicians who occupy the safest possible ground on the great issues of the day, shift slightly left or slightly right depending on the state of public opinion, and then…

Should Democrats pass the healthcare reform bill?

Via Andrew, Jonathan Bernstein thinks the Democrats should pass the bill regardless of the public’s distaste for the process: Reconciliation is thirty years old, and there’s nothing at all wrong with using it to pass legislation.  What’s more, pass and patch (or pass-then-patch) involves passing health care reform through perfectly normal, regular, procedures — and…

An unsettled dogma

Jonah Goldberg has a very smart response to Jim Manzi’s reflections on “liberty-as-means” libertarians vs. “liberty-as-goal” libertarians.  I want to focus on Jonah’s post here, but you should read Manzi as well.  Jonah writes: My own view is that the Right is intellectually healthier and more creative because its dogma remains unsettled (yes, I’ve written…

The Boss Tweed-ization of national politics

“Reformers should be focusing on lifting limits on the flow of money from parties to candidates and restoring the role of the parties as the funders of campaigns. Instead of Candidate Smith asking Donor Gonzalez for money – and Donor Gonzalez asking for a favor in return – party chairman Robinson will ask thousands of…

“Politics as Lived” versus “Politics as Is”

(cross-posted from my blog) Writing in praise of Halperin and Heilemann’s Game Change, Marc Ambinder predicts that political scientists won’t find much to love in the book’s depiction of politics: Political scientists aren’t going to like this book, because it portrays politics as it is actually lived by the candidates, their staff and the press, which is to say — a…

culture is everything (well, mostly everything)

“In short, liberals and conservatives refuse to see the areas in which they have common ground because far too often they simply cannot get past the cultural markers that prevent them from even listening to the substance of what their cultural opposites are saying.” ~ Mark Thompson In this post Mark is responding to what…

Sacrificing Ideology at the Altar of Culture

Jamelle writes: “In a lot of cases, the aim of liberals isn’t necessarily to massively expand the reach of government as much as it is to add some intentionality and rationality — as well as make explicit — the ways in which wealready intervene in the economy (health care reform is a perfect example of…

Community as safety-net

One of the most common arguments against my call for better, more effective state-provided safety nets is that these safety nets somehow replace those provided by families and close-knit communities.  Apparently if people are provided with health insurance by the state they will no longer have any need for families or their neighbors, and their…

Taxes: Where Political and Constitutional Expediency Collide

I’ve been out of pocket from the political realm for a week and a half, but President Obama’s claim that a health insurance mandate is not a tax strikes me as marginally good politics and absolutely terrible lawyering.  I think Jason Kuznicki (also here) and by extension Will, are absolutely, 100% correct that an individual mandate…

How North Carolina got its reputation for moderation in the civil rights era.

I’ve been reading Rob Christensen’s The Paradox of Tar Heel Politics, a book that I started a while back but didn’t pick up again until recently. I’ve just finished the section on North Carolina’s major politicians in the fifties and sixties: Senator Frank Porter Graham, Governor Kerr Scott, Governor Luther Hodges, Senator Sam Ervin Jr.,…

You say Obama, I say Osama

I read this post over at The Dish and quite honestly thought it said “Obama” and not “Osama.”  Which changes everything, of course.  Read the following passage substituting the word Osama with Obama: Paul Cruickshank thinks that if Osama is ever captured we should put him on trial: It would be nothing short of a watershed…

Friedersdorf v. Hawkins: Round 2

Round 2 of the debate on the future of the American Right between John Hawkins of Right Wing News and Conor Friedersdorf is up.  It is again quite civilized even as both participants remain unapologetic and honest about their positions.  Hawkins opens with a couple of haymakers, but also throws some straw men into the…

The Evolution of Blogging: An Interview with Charles Johnson

Few bloggers have had quite as controversial a career as Little Green Football’s Charles Johnson.  Johnson began blogging in earnest back in 2001 after the attacks on the twin towers, and continues putting out content at a furious pace nearly a decade later. He is perhaps best known for playing a key role in the resignation…

Why I Voted For Daggett

While I don’t think Corzine’s been as bad for New Jersey as most people seem to think (the Dems in the Assembly and Senate being a much different story), there was never any chance I was going to vote for him this year on divided government grounds.  Since I’ve become something of a proud proponent…

On duplicity, fairweather conservatism, and the art of war

Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent’s fate. Confront them with annihilation, and they will then survive; plunge them into a deadly situation, and they will then live. When people fall into danger, they are…

“Taking responsibility” again.

Conor Friedersdorf has posted another entry in the “sprawling, muddled debate about the state of the right, the role dissident conservatives should play, and the wisdom of attacking talk radio hosts” that’s been playing out recently, with Conor and Rod Dreher on one side, and fellow Gentlemen Freddie, Mark, and E.D. on the other, with…

Connecting to the base ctd.

Mark says it all too well: Conservative wonks simply aren’t doing their jobs.  What they are doing is picking apart liberal proposals, picking apart conservative proposals, attacking the low-hanging fruit of conservative extremism, and occasionally making suggestions to liberals on ways of either improving liberal proposals or making those proposals more palatable to conservatives.  What they are…