Weekend Links

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Come to me, my delicious blanketed friends! By William F. Yurasko (Flickr: finished product) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
We’re going out to my parents’ house for the Super Bowl this weekend. I think the Carolina Panthers will beat the Denver Broncos by a touchdown or more, but I have no gambling or rooting interest here and will hope for a good, close game instead. Living in China, I don’t get to watch much football and that gets me down sometimes. Maybe my body mass doesn’t, but I really miss the classic American snack foods that are part of the ritual.

Some links for the weekend:

  • Josh Marshall ponders Ted Cruz’s collapse in the New Hampshire polls. Go read his theory, which builds up to this great conclusion:
    • If that’s true, his continuing decline in New Hampshire is no mystery. It’s just the natural reaction to seeing Ted Cruz.

  • Erik Loomis at Lawyers, Guns & Money flags this piece by Alex Pareene, in which he points us to a moment during this week’s debate when Hillary Clinton bragged about receiving a compliment from Henry Kissinger. This small anecdote helps explain why she’s still having trouble with the Democratic Party’s left wing. Pareene’s a great and funny writer so go read his piece, but the main point, which I agree with, is that for Clinton and her peers, the left appears silly and unserious when it says Kissinger is an amoral war criminal. Except, you know, he is an amoral war criminal. The left is a growing bloc within the Democratic coalition, and the faster Clinton realizes that the left is trying to make a new world in which Kissinger-types are not respected elder statesmen anymore, the better chance she’ll have of putting down Bernie Sanders’s challenge. Really, go read the rest, but here’s a quote:
    • Bernie Sanders’ critique of Clinton is not that she’s cartoonishly corrupt in the Tammany Hall style, capable of being fully bought with a couple well-compensated speeches, but that she’s a creature of a fundamentally corrupt system, who comfortably operates within that system and accepts it as legitimate. Clinton has had trouble countering that critique because, well, it’s true. It’s not that she’s been bought, it’s that she bought in.

  • More good Gawker writers, this time Tom Scocca on the logical trap in which Jeb Bush finds himself.
  • Steve M., a writer I really like, finds a piece in the The New York Times that gives many of us flashbacks to the 2000 election. I touched on this in my post yesterday. To make the point explicit: in 2000, a lot of reporting and opinion pieces during the general election focused on personality rather than policy, as you can see in this great Vanity Fair piece from 2007. Many of us believe this contributed to Al Gore’s defeat, with George W. Bush made out to be the affable frat dude we all want to party with and Gore made out to be the egghead know-it-all that needs a wedgie. I’m only half-joking here man – if 2016 is a replay of 2000 with Marco Rubio in the Bush role, I’ll be moving back to China. (OK, I’m entirely joking, but remember New York TimesWashington Post, etc. – every time you write personality-driven nonsense about the election, you make Benjamin Franklin cry in heaven.)
  • Steve M. appears to have a new writing gig at Crooks and Liars. I’m not sure what I think about his piece on the purity tests going on in the Democratic contest. Steve M. argues that we need to focus on the practical policy implications of candidates’ proposals and that debates over ideology threaten to make the Democratic nominee look like a crazy socialist that many Americans will have difficulty voting for. Generally I agree. But look what’s happening on the right. It’s difficult to keep your most motivated supporters’ passions in check. Now, I’d argue that the loudest on the left are at least making sense of the world while the loudest on the right are off their rockers. But that’s the problem, right? Democrats arguing over whether Clinton is progressive enough or not looks reasonable to me, someone who shares most of the goals and is sympathetic to the different ideologies, but to an “independent” voter? I’m afraid they might be thinking “Go back to the USSR you pinko commies!”
  • For a profane and funny Super Bowl preview, check this out by Drew Magary.

Enjoy the weekend!

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