Tenthers, Precedent, and the Conflict of Interpretations

by Kyle Cupp Writing at ThinkProgress, Ian Millhiser explained and ridiculed what he and others have taken to calling “tentherism,” the interpretive framework of the “tenthers.” Their label brings to mind birthers, truthers, and possibly scruffy-looking nerf herders. I’d bet a nerf or two these associations are intended. Radley Balko called the label a smear…

Revisiting Millman’s Taxonomy

Unlike Lisa, I’m hesitant to describe populism as a complete ideology. The characteristics of American populism she identifies – evangelism, a healthy skepticism towards meritocratic achievement, a reverence for the “ordinary” – are certainly distinct, but they don’t imply a coherent set of political positions. A person can be skeptical of meritocratic achievement and embrace…

Rumors of liberaltarianism’s death are greatly exaggerated

Tim Carney thinks liberaltarianism is dead following the departure of Will Wilkinson and Brink Lindsey from Cato. He asks if there are any real life liberaltarians in politics, pointing out that the the only truly libertarian members of Congress are also social conservatives. He writes, "maybe there’s something about the socially liberal agenda that draws…

Caricatures of libertarianism

I’m not a libertarian but I do share many beliefs in common with libertarians. That’s one reason I find this piece by Amanda Marcotte so incoherent. Leaping onto the anti-Koch bandwagon, Amanda comes to this conclusion about libertarianism: But what all this points to is a very serious problem for libertarianism, whether Christian or secular. …

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…