The All or Nothing GOP

Michael Tomasky on the all or nothing approach of the GOP.  Politically productive; policy-wise (for them) a disaster:

From the base to Congress to the members of the Supreme Court, it’s the same mentality. Everything or nothing. Well folks, on health care, and on the stimulus, and on financial regulatory reform, and a handful of other things, you got nothing. When might you bother to stop and think about whether this strategy is paying off? You won’t, because it’s not a strategy. It’s a primal instinct, driven by rage. And in addition to being bullheaded, it qualifies for another adjective that applies so readily to today’s GOP: stupid. Keep at it, folks.

Too busy?

Never too busy to blog.  A number of FB friends of mine commented on this NYT essay quite favorably (it argues that we are all over-scheduled and need to scale back), but it really rubbed me the wrong way.  Slate’s Bryan Lowder captures exactly why:

Where I lose Krieder, however, is in his suggested speed-bump for our “endless frenetic hustle.” Instead of offering realistic solutions like, say, the institution of a Spanish-style siesta for everyone into the workday afternoon, he glibly praises his ability to beg off work for an entire day dedicated to “chilled pink minty cocktails” or, better yet, to decamp completely to an “undisclosed location” (according to an author bio, a country house somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay), as if these were steps we all could take if only we were brave enough to do so.

While both sound like lovely ways to relax and focus on writing, respectively, the likelihood that most readers will be able to join Krieder in his charmed indolence is low; so low, in fact, that his waxing romantic about the spontaneously chill life smacks of a kind of obnoxious classism which unfortunately undermines an otherwise provocative point.

As Krieder himself admits, his own “resolute idleness has mostly been a luxury rather than a virtue,” even if he did “make a conscious decision, a long time ago, to choose time over money.” Regardless of Krieder’s own personal financial situation (which I know nothing of), the pleasantly open schedule that he advocates is almost never possible without a healthy stack of family money or generous institutional grant.

I resent the implicit assumption of Krieder’s piece that anyone—from a soybean farmer to a New York blogger—could disappear for a retreat or fizzy drink in the middle of the day if only we wanted to escape our silly self-imposed bonds badly enough. Most of us need a stable income (hello, student loans), and moreover, the ongoing nature of assignments in many jobs means that as much as we might like to dedicate only morning hours to “the work,” we do, in fact, need to be connected for much of the day.

Yeah, so basically pretty obnoxious.  Even to somebody who often has almost has much control over his schedule as Kreider.

Photo of the day

Hilarious gallery (via NPR Shots) of reporters racing out of the Supreme Court with the  health care ruling:

We’re not #1!

So, turns out the space bar on the laptop is hardly working.  Did you realize you need the spacebar after every word?  This will definitely keep this week’s blogging to a minimum.  That said, this story (yes, CNN!) about all the ways America is not #1 and why was really good.  Read it:

If we wanted to follow the path of other countries, it wouldn’t just take effort and money. It might take something even harder to put a price on, a soul-searching sense of what America is, which is at the very heart of the debate over “American exceptionalism.”

Given the country’s polarization, it’s not an issue that will be settled easily, says Villanova’s Wheeland.

“I see ideology as a driving force in national politics now,” he says. “It seems the way to mobilize your core constituency in order to get them out in primaries and ultimately turn out in a general election. In American politics now, you have legislative institutions that are really drawn or created in a way to filter out people of more pragmatic, more centrist, more moderate, more problem-solving approaches, and you get the most ideologically oriented people elected today.”

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