On Friday, we mentioned Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) bold refusal to cancel the Senate run he hasn’t announced yet just because Karl Rove wants to stop him. Obviously, no stopping will be done by Rove personally. Unless a cupcake is rolling into the storm drain, Rove prefers to work through organizations. His newest, the Conservative Victory Project, is a joint venture with the American Crossroads Super PAC designed to ensure that more electable candidates win Republican Senate primaries. To hear Charles Blow tell it, it’s also an anti Tea Party.
A useful idea from economic theory is commodification, the process by which things that were previously not sold become accepted objects of economic exchange. Commodification is kind of a weird concept for contemporary Americans, since pretty much every aspect of our lives has been commodified already. Consider, though, the commodity that is clothing; for centuries, most people made their own, until rising incomes and better manufacturing in the early 19th century made it easier to buy them from somebody else. Degree of commodification is a good measure of the development of an economy. During the middle ages, for example, Europeans did not buy or sell land—one reason their economy stagnated for a millenium. Compared to those assholes, our economy is fantastic. Just last month, for example, a Florida legislator submitted a law drafted by corporate lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council, word for word, without remembering to delete ALEC’s mission statement from the top.
I don’t know if you heard about this, but there there was kind of a conservative resurgence in the last election. Normally, Montana is resistant to such broad national trends—see also: real estate collapse, Trader Joe’s, prohibition against sweatpants in public—and in this case, the notion of the median political position moving to the right seemed almost statistically impossible. Those of us living in Missoula tend to forget, but Montana is one of the redder states in the union, as a quick trip down (and, abruptly, further down) any public roadway will indicate. Yet, like Frankenstein slowing down as he gets older, the Montana legislature has managed to become even more conservative. The other week, we talked about their plan to adopt the most restrictive voter registration requirements in the country. On Friday, they’ll vote on repealing the so-called Missoula Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, and on adopting a law that would ban similar nondiscrimination ordinances across the state. Somewhere in that busy agenda of protecting freedom by outlawing various actions, they’ve also found time for House Bill 438, a law that would require couples to complete ten hours of marriage counseling before they can get divorced.