Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Uh-Oh. I May Have Done a Bad Thing

This evening at Happy Hour, my blog was mentioned- partially by me, partially by a friend who I mentioned it to last week. And now they'll be stopping by and wanting to read the latest.

This is a problem. Currently, the 'latest' is nearly a month stale. And I can't claim to have anything I am itching to say. But the public wants a show, so it is a show we will give them.

First, it should be said, the archives are superior to my more recent work. For what that's worth.

I do wish I had something fresh and ready. I've dabbled with a post on lobbying, campaign money, and corruption for a few days now. But I can't get it right. I want to work through the implicit taint that campaign cash carries (why else would you return it?), but the coherent argument escapes me. Maybe that means I'm wrong. Or maybe, much like you can't be a little bit pregnant, you can't be a little bit tainted- which is explicitly what I don't want to argue at this point. (I'm leaning toward the idea of a co-carcinogen- not cancer causing on its own, but in the company of bona fide carcinogens its bad news- but I haven't been able to boil the idea down concisely)

Similarly, I have been playing with a review of Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson's recently released Off Center. I bought the book, read it, reviewed their article in the Times Magazine (scroll to, 'the center does not hold'), and their 'book club' discussion at TalkingPointsMemo Cafe. I was excited about the book, until I read it. Reading it only disappointed me. In some respects my feelings are similar to those held by Brad Delong- "every night I think I should say something intelligent about it. But so far no luck." Why no luck? Because the book- while clearly articulated, focused, and wise- is somehow a jumble. They use long term, historical language to describe events over the past 5 to 7 years. They insist that their analysis is not personality driven- but focus on the roles Delay, Norquist, and Rove. Not their institutional roles so much as the acts and effectiveness of the men themselves. They brush over too much and make too much of too many events. After much struggle, I realize I agree with the book, but not its placement. It may well be prescient, but presently Off Center feels slightly off base. Off Center is an excellent warning of what is coming if we're not careful. By all means, read it- but with an eye toward the future rather than the present.

As you can see, I've got some interesting things brewing, but nothing to really say at the moment. By all means, enjoy the archives. By the time you're finished there will be something fresh if not fun for your eyes.


At 9:37 PM, Blogger Chinahand said...

Allright grandmaster flash, I'll posit you this challenge: don't draft your posts. Just write them. No using Word or spell check. Just write it and at the end you can either publish, or save the draft, but you can't really sit on it. It's how I stay entertained.


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