Campaign finance is dead. Long live campaign finance


The Mitch McConnell campaign—which refers to itself by the parody-proof name “Team Mitch”—posted this video on YouTube last week. As you may have noticed, it contains no diegetic sound. There’s a weirdly contemporary electropop soundtrack, but at no point to do events in the video sync up with a particular element of the soundtrack or even narrative. It’s just footage of McConnell signing papers, turning alarmingly to the camera, shaking hands with a man in a tam and goatee whose vote cancels out yours, et cetera. You can dub whatever sound you want over this video, which, as The Daily Show has pointed out, makes it hilarious. It also makes it a free source of McConnell footage for whatever 501(c)4 organizations might want to produce ads to support him—but not coordinate with his campaign, since that is forbidden by law.

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Friday links! Obliviousnessery edition

We’re in the city!

“Everything that exists without my knowledge,” remarks Judge Holden near the end of Blood Meridian, “exists without my permission.” A whole bunch of stuff that we don’t know about it happening out there, and the more we learn about it, the more we extend our authority. Another way to put that is “the more we extend our responsibility,” and sometimes—as in the photo above—innocence is only possible through ignorance. That doesn’t work once you introduce a third party, of course. Once you know about someone else’s ignorance, their innocence evaporates—but then you’re offering their behavior a Holdeneque permission. It’s a damn thicket, is what it is. Today is Friday, and the internet has made it harder to remain ignorant than ever before. Won’t you expand the scope of your indulgence with me?

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DeMint to block all remaining legislation

Amazing photo courtesy of Politico

On Monday, Senator Jim DeMint (R–SC, net worth $40,000?) announced that he would personally place holds on all Senate legislation not submitted to his office by Tuesday night. Typically, the Senate passes several bills by unanimous consent in the days leading up to the October recess, which will begin at the close of business Friday. Citing concern for our federal deficit, DeMint’s office circulated a memo reading, “If there are any bills you would like cleared before we go out, please get them to the Steering Committee staff … by close-of-business on Tuesday.” The Steering Committee, of which DeMint is the chair, is a group of conservative Republicans that meets to discuss legislation but has no official authority over what comes to the floor. At least it didn’t, until DeMint realized that one man could use procedural rules to obstruct the Senate indefinitely. If that sounds unfair to you, you’re not alone. “Who’s running the Senate, Minority Leader McConnell or King DeMint?” said a spokesman for Harry Reid’s office.

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McConnell says he’ll block any tax package without cut for top 2%


Shortly after House Republican leader/medium-market weatherman John Boehner signaled his willingness to consider an extension of the Bush tax cuts that excludes the wealthiest 2% of Americans, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he’ll block any such package. Speaking on the floor Monday, he opined that “only in Washington could someone propose a tax hike as an antidote to a recession.” Like much of what the senator from Kentucky says, that statement is technically honest. Under current law, the Bush tax cuts will expire in 2010. Letting them lapse—either by not voting to extend them, voting to extend them for everyone but households making over $250,000 a year or, say, filibustering the vote to extend them—would therefore constitute a tax hike, in that some or all taxes would become higher than they are now. Of course, by that reasoning, McConnell is proposing a tax hike as an antidote to the possibility that his party might compromise with a Democratic President. Only in Washington, indeed.

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Close readings: Unemployment extension defeated in Congress

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, presumably saying "yea" very quietly.

Late Thursday night—while the rest of us were having a dream in which we go to the bank and the teller says “Your account has accumulated substantial interest, Mr. Brooks,” before opening a vault full of zombies, zombies—Congress did not pass an unemployment benefits extension. Already we enter the realm of subjectivity. In strict, learn-about-it-in-high-school journalism practice, one is discouraged from constructing stories around what did not happen.* The headline on the AP story—Congress fails to pass an extension of jobless benefits—has the word “fail” right in it, as if passing the bill to postpone expiry of unemployment benefits for one million Americans were something the legislative branch meant to do and just couldn’t put together. In some sense, that’s kind of accurate. The Senate voted 57–41 in favor of the bill, but a Republican filibuster derailed it during procedure. Those are the facts. What happened depends on what news you read.

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