The Weekly Wrap

Friday on the Dish, Andrew pinpointed Romney's achilles heel on taxes, pronounced the primary "not yet over," and reacted to the bombshell report that Paul edited his racist newsletters (follow-up here). He also excoriated Grover's plan to impeach Obama over taxes, lauded Corey Booker's defense of marriage equality, explained the sense in sexuality was like religion, inveighed against circumcision, and opened up about his first theatrical role.

Newt appeared to be gearing up for a vicious ad campaign, got defended on the bucket weirdness, continued to employ Alinksyite tactics, wanted to legalize medical pot (in 1982), and might have been suffering from narcissism-induced stress. Romney lied about "blind" investments and may well have packed the debate audience, Santorum appeared to have supported the individual mandate, Obama polled well enough on clean energy that it ought to be a campaign issue, and SuperPACs were arguably not all that scary.

We collected reax to the meh GDP numbers, decided manufacturing jobs were gone for good, debated the US-to-Europe comparison on social mobility, worried the government couldn't fix the housing market, and found a Grand Bargain inevitable if the US wanted to fix its deficit woes. Many of the uninsured were the unemployed, the mandate's unpopularity theoretically rested on the possibility it might be undone, Israel wasn't America, and defense wonks had an obligation to explain the truth about defense cuts. Mickey D's was chichi in France, American elites were culturally out of touch, a new photo of Earth amazed, and "Pink Triangle" was super ironic. Readers debated JoePa's legacy and race in Hollywood. Correction of the Day here, Von Hoffman nominee here, Yglesias nominee here, Cool Ad here, Ad War update here, VFYW here, FOTD here, and MHB here.


By Patrik Stollarz/AFP/Getty Images

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew liveblogged Romney's triumph at the Jacksonville debate (insta-fact check here and reax here), explained why it was so critical to the primary, named something he would appreciate about a Romney presidency, picked out Dole and Drudge's parts in the establishment anti-Newt backlash, pitted Newt's cultural populism againt Obama's economic populism, and demolished Mitt's "Obama is a European socialist" line. Andrew also hoped Obama could buck his party on tax reform, loved his defense against the class warfare canard, saw his economic fortunes rising, examined homosociality, and found former RNC chair Ken Mehlman out-front on the marriage equality debate.

Debates might have been a bad way to vet candidates while tonight's was heavily anticipated. Romney retook the lead in Florida, Frum issued an apologia for Mitt's lying, and corporate taxes likely didn't up his tax rate to 50%. Gingrich took us to the moon (twice), obsessed over Saul Alinsky (despite their similarities), owed his success to Citizens United (and the press), terrified GOP elites (though they might not be able to stop himengaged on the Reagan debate, and looked EXACTLY like Dwight Schrute. The GOP was whitewashing the 50s and the general shaped up to be nasty.

Calls for intervention in Syria kept coming, brinksmanship with China was (possibly) counterproductve, and the internet spread lies. A man married a lesbian and the origins of heterosexuality were uncovered. A venture capitalist (quixotically) went after Hollywood, an industry that condescended on race. Finally, readers sounded off over Paterno's legacy and the morality of the 1%. Yglesias Nominee here, Malkin Nominee here, Quote for the Day here, Ad War Updates here and here, MHB here, VFYW here, and FOTD here.

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew reexplained his disappointment with Obama's failure to tackle tax reform and still didn't like the tax breaks that were in the State of the Union, but took back his harsh broader characterization from last night and recognized that he got meep-meeped. Andrew also agreed with the RNC about the SOTU, defended the claim that male and female sexuality were different, "enjoyed" the life of the one percent, and posted his Colbert appearance with a bonus spot the underbloggers game. Bloggers had more to say about the SOTU, got angry about the speech's moral blindness, and noticed a distinct lack of health care discussion as compared to previous years. Readers hated Daniels' response but loved seeing Andrew think and write in real time. Roundup of last night's coverage here.

Newt was the narrow 538 favorite in Florida, pushed for the Hispanic vote there, had some absurd ideas (a shock, I know) about the debate schedule, seemed likely to produce great TV in the general, faced ballot access issues, and constantly invoked Reagan even though he trashed the president when he was in office. The myth of a Mitch Daniels candidacy was – again – debunked, it wouldn't have mattered much even if someone like Daniels had been running, self-deportation got explained, and the February debate schedule was mercifully light. Obama's record was defended on both libertarian and pro-Israel grounds.

America failed to decline and our moral understanding of war crime failed to be clear. The 1% found a champion, reblogging had market value, and the future of cars was considered. Readers debated the SAT and teacher intelligence, homeless shelters with alcohol succeeded, and science accounted for night terrors. Ad War Update here, Tweet of the Day here, FOTD here, VYFW here, and MHB here.

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew developed a blueprint for Obama to attack Romney and save the country in the State of the Union (hint: tax reform), expanded on its political importance, prepared for disappointment in the actual speech after a chat with the White House, liveblogged it, preferred Daniels' response to Obama's speech, and clarified his disappointment. Your take on SOTU here, here and here. Blogger reax here.

Earlier in the day, Andrew knew hope about the future of marriage equality, flagged a particularly incisive piece on Romney's taxes, heralded a small victory for beards at Disney, spotted a gayer YouTubed version of his Newsweek piece, and recapped coverage of last night's debate. We grabbed blogger reax to Romney's 13.9% tax rate, scored some hits on Romney's electability argument, noted Mitt's vulnerability to free market populism, found out his tax rate depended on the election results, and fact-checked him on the size of the Navy. Newt's campaign was a book tour gone wrong, the man had grandiose albeit totally silly ideas, and today's candidates seemed to be calling Adam Smith a socialist. Pundits guessed at the SOTU message (occasionally by parsing the guest list), prepared for a lackluster address, wondered if Daniels' response would wreck his "fantasy candidate" status,  thought the speech was worthless. Also, the campaign got awesomely autotuned.

Hamas' purported moderation was questionable at best and defense spending (protected by the GOP) retarded strategic growth. Readers sounded off on Obama's birth control decision, Chris Christie seemed afrad to veto marriage equality, baby-kissing went way back in American politics, Paterno's tarnished legacy cast a new light on our own lives, and church groups took the largest chunk of charity. Dating shifted spending habits, regulations upped the rent, small colleges handled diversity better than big state schools, and some kinds of teachers were (debatably) smarter than others. Fantasy novels put women in absurd positions, the relationship between intelligence and alien life was complex, and a chart broke down the streaming/DVD availability of 2011's top films.

Chart of the Day here, FOTD here, Hewitt Nominee here, Yglesias Nominee here, VFYW here, VFYW contest winner here, MHB here, Quote for the Day here, and Correction of the Day here.


Havana, Cuba, 8 am

Monday on the Dish, Andrew pronounced Gingrich the favorite in Florida, liveblogged the (somewhat off-kilter, no?) Republican debate with reax herediagnosed the ailment in the GOP that allows Newt to flourish, blasted the politics of his bankroller Sheldon Adelson, and advised him to grow a beard. Andrew also defended the Newsweek piece against Hot Air's critiques on taxes and health care, flagged some criticism from the left, ran down the article's readership, continued to emphasize Bain's importance to the campaign, didn't think the tax issue was played out, and enjoyed the Romney meltdown.

We compiled reax to the South Carolina victory (weekend coverage here), saw evidence of a lead in Florida, tracked another two rounds of "full unconcealed panic" about Newt in the GOP, thought Romney's blitz could kill Newt in Florida, pinpointed Newt's appeal, marvelled at his chutzpah, wondered why he didn't call Bush a "food stamp president," and dug up his crazy views about pot and Iran. Romney was given free advice, people disliked him for reasons other than his wealth, the GOP was not and will not be saved by a late entry, its current candidates ran for President of red America, and managed to alienate hispanic America in the process.

Beyond the campaign, Egypt's new parliament began working, Bosnia pulled itself apart in its educational system, and morality didn't sink with the Titanic. Gabby Giffords retired with class, Obama pushed for birth control coverage, the defeat of SOPA had interesting political implications, and the construction industry needed fixing. Animals trained people, our conception of what people in stories are created the uncanny valley, and we also liked to smell each other. Reality check here, Quotes for the Day here and here, Ad War update here, VFYW here, FOTD here, and MHB here.