By Jonathan Bradley
I never tire of art based on maps of America, so picture of the week is this 2007 work by artist Paula Scher. Appropriately, it's called "USA."
- Some Republicans are nervous about Rick Perry's reckless pronouncements, reports Politco:
House Republicans from heavily suburban districts were particularly uneasy about the Bernanke remark and Perry’s refusal to say whether President Barack Obama is a patriot. These members, some of them facing potentially tough reelection campaigns next year, urged the White House hopeful to stick to core issues of jobs and spending.
- The left should be excited about the Obama administration's new immigration policy, writes Adam Serwer
Not just for the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who won’t be ripped away from their homes and families, but because it stands as a good example of the White House responding constructively to criticism from the left — and doing the right thing in political and policy terms as a result.
- Gawker is counting down, in order, the Worst 50 States in America.
- Rick Perlstein considers the political conditions that favour Democrats or Republicans, and advises the President on how to take advantage of them:
It concerns the two major axes upon which major national elections get fought. Sometimes they become battles over the cultural and social anxieties that ordinary Americans suffer. Other times they are showdowns about middle-class anxieties when the free market fails. Normally, in the former sort of election, Republicans win. In the latter, Democrats do — as we saw in 2008, when the tide turned after John McCain said “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.”
- Chart of the week is this handy Venn diagram by Nate Silver, which breaks down the Republican field's strengths and weaknesses.
- Nate Silver ponders Rick Perry's electability:
Over all, Mr. Perry has won his three elected terms with an average victory margin of 13 percentage points. That’s certainly not a disaster, but it lags the 19-point margin for other Texas Republicans running in those years. In the most recent two elections, Mr. Perry was losing quite a few voters who were voting for Republican for almost every other office.
- Michael Agger explains why the Internet likes President Obama so much.
Obama also benefits from his blackness and perceived coolness. Successful memes often approach sensitive subjects, like race, but stop short of being offensive. Many of the positive memes surrounding Obama emphasize his decisive, almost Shaft-like authority.
- Vogue profiles Jon Huntsman:
But when Huntsman speaks, he doesn’t act like he’s pinned down behind enemy lines or tailor his explanation of why he’s running to the audience. He says he’s running on his record as a “conservative problem-solver” in Utah and on his grasp of America’s economic challenges.
- The Daily Beast has a neat infographic listing every book Obama has read while in office.
- Social Studies DC has produced this handy guide to the stereotypes defining different Washington neighbourhoods.
- Sean Fennessey thinks Mitt Romney is utterly compelling:
It wasn't what he was saying—the hybridized big-business conservative rhetoric dancing awkwardly with East Coast liberalism leaves me cold, bored, and sometimes revolted. It's how effortful and cheerily programmed he seemed. It was as if he had never had an actual conversation with a human before, though he had been hardwired to assume the tendencies of someone who had. It was cyborgian.
- Damon Young outlines the phenomenon he calls "Eating while black":
From a race perspective, a manifestation of this mindset is you wondering if all things that happen to you are somehow related to you being black; a too heightened racial awareness that makes it increasingly difficult to discern between legitimate racism and race-based discrimination — both of which definitely still exist — and mere happenstance.
- Conor Friedersdorf suggests what CEO recruiters might ask the Republican presidential field:
[T]he focus among political candidates is often on what they'll endeavor to do if elected, whereas a CEO candidate, brought in for an interview, is inevitably pressed not just on what he or she would accomplish, but how it would be accomplished.
- Song of the Week is from country singer Miranda Lambert's new project, a band called the Pistol Annies. This is "Hell on Heels," and is as fiery as the title suggests.
22 August 2011