I follow three people on Twitter: Ben Fowlkes, Iowa legislator/general nutjob Kim Lehman, and Sarah Palin. Yesterday, SarahPalinUSA directed me to Facebook for a “statement on 2012 decision.” The statement is that she isn’t running. She cites the same reasons that have been drifting through her various word-clouds for the last month: that she wants to help other conservatives get elected, that she doesn’t need a title to “restore” America, that no one who owns a TV or has heard of America would even briefly consider putting her in charge of it. That last one is implied, I guess, but the upshot is that even Sarah Palin knows Sarah Palin can’t be President. Most of her announcement is what you’d expect, except for the first paragraph. That’s actually a work of considerable nuance, or at least insinuation, and it’s the subject of today’s Close Reading. Primary source after the jump.
It’s a disorientingly beautiful day in Missoula, where the sun and light breeze and 71-degree forecast almost distract me from the roaring of the creek, which has gone from eight inches deep to about eight feet. In this way it resembles the Clark Fork river, another usually placid body of water that has decided to erupt in rage and have its way with everybody’s basement. It’s like my father used to say: this whole thing could fall apart at any time. It’s summer now, everything is awesome, but all it takes is one driving mistake or subprime lending crisis or month of heavy rainfall and boom—everything sucks. This week’s link roundup is all about stuff going catastrophically wrong very quickly. You’d think that’d be depressing, but don’t worry: it’s stuff going wrong for other people. Fun, right? I’m sure we personally will be fine.
Good news for the drunk ghost of John C. Calhoun: the state of Florida, previously known as the place that combines the hypersexual narcissism of California with the bugs of Nicaragua, is now also the new hot spot for nullification. You remember nullification, right? The 19th-century political theory that reserved for individual states the right to declare federal laws unconstitutional? Originally used to protest the so-called Tariff of Abominations of 1828 and 1832? Jesus, it’s like none of you is currently enrolled in sophomore history. It’s also like no one in the Florida state legislature is doing that, either, since the senate just proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would exempt Florida residents from the Affordable Health Care Act’s individual coverage mandate. Don’t worry; it passed. Props to Ben “Bang!” Gabriel for the link.
It’s been a long time since we last caught a glimpse of the teddy bear’s picnic inside Michele Bachmann’s head, but we can now triangulate one more point in that extradimensional manifold. Inside Michele Bachmann’s head, the Revolutionary War began in New Hampshire. Speaking to that state’s Republican Liberty Caucus on Saturday, Bachmann observed that “What I love about New Hampshire and what we have in common is our extreme love for liberty. You’re the state where the shot was heard around the world in Lexington and Concord.” Of course, that was not true. Massachusetts is the state where the shot was heard ’round the world, or rather the world is the place where the shot was heard et cetera, and Massachusetts is the state where it was fired. It can be tough to remember, so I encouraged my students to use the following mnemonic device: the Battles of Lexington and Concorde took place at Lexington and Concorde, which continue to be located in Massachusetts, you stooge. It’s better if you can hear the song.
While I was languishing in the airport yesterday, beacon of vigilance Ben Fowlkes sent me the most recent Daily Kos/Research 2000 poll of registered Republicans. It is disturbing. It starts off okay, with a healthy number of respondents expressing their intention to vote in the 2010 congressional election and their reluctance to settle on a candidate for president in 2012. It’s disappointing to see Sarah Palin in the lead—and terrifying to see Dick Cheney in third—but three years ahead of the actual election, name recognition is pretty much all there is. Things start to get a little crazy with question three, in which 39% of Republicans opine that President Obama should be impeached. Exactly what crime he has committed goes unspecified, but perhaps respondents were rushing to get to the next question, in which nearly two-thirds of those polled agree that the president is a socialist. Thus begins a series of money shots, in a barrage of insanity that leaves the reader crouched numbly on the floor like a Japanese girl on the internet. If this poll is to be believed, 73% of Republicans think homosexuals shouldn’t be allowed to be schoolteachers. Seventy-seven percent want the Biblical account of creation from Genesis to be taught in public schools. Thirty-one percent want to outlaw contraception. And fully 23% of Republicans believe that their state should secede from the United States of America.