"Shuggie" - Foxygen
My neglect continues -- travel, Amtrak's incredibly bad wifi on Friday, the lad came to town for the weekend (to attend some conference that featured Yglesias) and I had to pull a few hours time at the old firm on Saturday. So I feel a little out of it.
- I've been watching a little bit of the new netflix production of House of Cards with Kevin Spacey. I am afraid it pales in comparison to the original British series from 1990 with the incomparable Ian Richardson. (If you have not seen it, by all means do so -- all three seasons of it are superb.) There are two problems I see with the series -- one is that Spacey's Francis Underwood lacks the humor and joire d'evil that made Richardson's Francis Urquhart irresistible. The other is that what works in a parliamentary system -- the idea of a skilled legislative maneuverer rising improbably to power -- just does not really translate into the American system of government. It is not unusual for someone to rise to Prime Minister in a parliamentary system without facing the voters as the party standard bearer -- think of John Major, Gordon Brown, and Julia Gilliard for example. All simply needed to convince enough members of their caucus that they were the ones to lead their government going forward. In the U.S., legislative skill have seldom translated into capturing the presidency. (No one could have ever imagined Tom DeLay becoming president.) Other than Lyndon Johnson, I can't really think of someone who was a major leader in Congress capturing the presidency. (I guess Gerald Ford's unique path to the top could also be considered, but Ford was never really a powerhouse as the head of the GOP minority.) I am trying to think who else managed to obtain the presidency after being a major congressional power? Maybe James Madison, but his service was short in the House and it was hardly his claim to fame. Other than him, I can't come up with anyone.
- I enjoyed reading this article in the New Republic about the GOP as the party of white people, but found its attempt to intellectualize the racism that has driven a great deal of the Republican Party's electoral strength over the last fifty years to be a bit much. I don't think it was John Calhoun's ideas of limited federal power that appealed to the new conservatives.
- And please read this New Yorker piece by Jill LePore on the defense budget that bbw pointed out to me. It's really well done and has a very informative historical aspect to it.
Alright, time to call it a night. Hope all of our New England friends have dug out.