The Weekly Wrap

Feb 3 2012 @ 10:33pm

Oyster Hunt from Garreth Carter on Vimeo.

Friday on the Dish, Andrew exploded false accusations of bigotry after the “Mormon Mask” post and explored the issue with the help of Mormon readers. We wondered why Romney’s message was so vacuous, compared him with various Democrats, debated whether he’d be beholden to the GOP base, predicted he couldn’t win if there was a full economic recovery, watched him take American exceptionalism too far, found his argument on Afghanistan wanting, and thought the Donald would be nothing but trouble for Mitt. Polling data dried up for lack of money, Obama’s numbers spiked for a number of reasons, and defeat probably wouldn’t change the GOP. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also explored, in detail, the terrifying intimacy of reality television and the “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” horror in particular. We grabbed reax to the pretty job numbers and surveyed the web’s thoughts on the Susan G. Komen vs. Planned Parenthood fiasco (follow up focusing on other problems with Komen here). The world left Afghanistan – but not without depositing poisonous detritus first, nation buidling seemed over, Palestinian Christians did, in fact, exist, and monogamous societies worked better than their polygamous fellows. Tax reform was important, Facebook’s IPO was extraordinary (follow-up here), online piracy was possibly the new radio, and a minimum age to buy sugar was silly (pile-on here). The health care system shaped the birth control and religious liberty issue, glitter bombing didn’t advance gay equality, and class perceptions constructed “snobbery.” Reader discussion and debate went forward on ebooks, pot, and abbreviations. Chart of the Day here, VFYW here,  MHB here, and FOTD here.

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Thursday on the Dish, Andrew wrote a paean to Obama’s handling of the withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan in an election year and tracked the conservative crackup over, respectively, Romney’s “very poor” comment and Obamneycare. We followed the broader reaction to the former, wondered if Romney was too perfect, marvelled at his endorsement from the Donald, and (reality) checked his polling against Obama. Romney jumped ahead in Nevada while Paul looked in position to land a second-place place. Ron’s segment of the GOP might have become critical to the party’s hopes (certainly if the online primary is any guide), Newt had an awkward history with Paterno, Santorum entered the Bad Lip Reading contest, and veep speculation began. Self-deportation remained ridiculous, Super PACs conquered the election, Presidential races weren’t worth your money, and it didn’t look like killing bad guys helped the President much. Ad War Update here.

Off the campaign trail, Andrew slammed the absurd legal regime and institutionalized hypocrisy surrounding marijuana in NYC and DC (follow-up here). Assad’s grip on power slipped, the Muslim Brothers betrayed the revolution, our money hurt Afghanistan, NATO enlargement got debated, global war wasn’t coming, and aliens complicated global politics. American history hamstrung our bureaucracy, interest in tinkering with Obama care might (fingers crossed) have been piqued in the GOP, Eric Cantor shielded congressional insider trading, new voter ID rules hurt disadvantaged inner-city blacks, and segregation may (or may not) have declined. The power of the state over religious institutions proved contentious, vegetarianism felt passe (to some), college went global, Groundhog Day got a detailed treatment, Parks and Rec was all over abbrevs. VFYW here, FOTD here, and MHB here.

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Miami, Florida, 6.15 pm

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew peeled off Romney’s “Mormon Mask,” fit the “I don’t care about the very poor” comment into a broader pattern of ineptness, flagged the clearest explanation of Bain yet (from Jon Stewart, natch), dove into the fundraising disclosures, copped to his love for the Newt candidacy, raged at the GOP’s inability to reckon with the Bush years, and experienced some nasty flashbacks after watching the Game Change trailer. We grabbed reax to Romney’s Florida primary, spotted cracks in his dog-on-the-roof story, watched the first Mittpression of the campaign season, followed up on the  morning’s very poor gaffe, and saw Romney take the top national spot from Newt. We also grimaced at signs the GOP wouldn’t change after a general loss, explored their SuperPAC advantage, noted a (Romney-specific?) base turnout problem, thought the party decided the primary, and wondered what Sarah was playing at. Compilation of Florida primary coverage here.

Andrew sounded a warning about a slippery slope to war with Iran and explained his “poetic free association” in the shrooms discussion. Syria escalated (in a number of ways), bullets got smart, and international relations scholars already used LARPing to understand the world. Libertarianism needed to stay away from partisan politics, marriage equality won with the next generation, the Fast and Furious scandal got a serious look, and another horrific scene from the drug war came to light. Government work paid well for the less educated and entrepreneurship wasn’t actually that risky. We unearthed the most annoying Tweet imaginable, noticed people living alone, found a way to get people off elevators, and countered the “music is on the decline” perception. Readers sounded off on ebooks, pain pills, and teenage abbrevs. Quote for the Day here, FOTD here, MHB here, and VFYW here

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By Evan McMorris-Santoro

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew liveblogged the resounding Romney victory in Florida, explained why the panhandle was a key indicator of future performance, cautioned against premature declarations of victory in the primaries, and pondered Mitt’s inscrutable persona. We also bet the margin of Romney’s victory would be important and saw legal trouble on the horizon when it came to delegate allocation. Romney displayed his awkwardness (twice), his electability and “businessman” pitch were scrutinized, and both his new tax loophole for the rich and involvement in a Medicare scam caught flak. It wasn’t clear which candidate sensible Republicans should root for, Chris Matthews psychoanalyzed Newt, there was reason for Gingrich to keep running, and the long primary contined to hurt the GOP. Ad War Updates here and here.

In non-election coverage, Andrew connected shrooms to our spiritual lives and defended Obama’s long-game strategy against a partisan liberal critique. Our Iran strategy showed promising signs, Libya muddled through, Israel unravelled further, and the US was advised against starting more land wars. Joe Paterno received a Chutzpah-riffic defense, Miss Piggy went rogue, and the housing bubble didn’t actually provide people, er, homes. Other people deserved pain pills, brains worked like waistlines, and circumcision might have decreased risky sex.

The world of seals amazed, teenagers used silly abbreviations, cabin porn went on display, and cities greened the earth. Malkin nods here and here, Map of the Day here, VFYW here, the latest VFYW winner here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Monday on the Dish, Andrew set the record straight on Obama and bin Laden, waded in to the “Israel Firster debate,” bashed Jonathan Franzen’s rant against e-books, updated you on his Angry Birds progress and the latest research on its beneficial effects on your brain, noted Newt’s money problems, told the guy not to quit after Florida, confessed to loathing Romney, saw an uptick in Obama’s (Rasmussen!) numbers, and agreed that mocking people for their physical appearance is “just dickish.” Newt’s fate was up to the elderly, the press hoped for more primary drama from the former speaker, his campaign was fundamentally, historically underwritten by one rich donor, and he appeared to have been down with the mandate in 2009. Romneycare worked, its eponymous progenitor’s jobs claims didn’t hold up, Paul crept up on the race, foreign policy hurt the candidates, and Intrade’s value was debated.

An Iran war seemed like to hurt the one in Afghanistan, nuclear weapons were ambiguously calming, debate raged over American (non) decline, LARPing explained international relations, and the State of the Union may have been less xenophobic than previously thought. The Buffett Rule had hypothetical downsides, space exploration cost a pretty penny, snow economics were tricksy, and the Queen’s job record impressed. Dogs were super malleable, phenotypically speaking, and adorable at dog parks. Conservatism didn’t correlate with age, the Salem witches took a bunch of datura, the internet binged on television, and Hollywood’s treatment of race continued to be a hot topic.

Quotes for the Day here and here, Cool Ad here, Correction of the Day here (counter-correction here), Yglesias Nominee here, FOTD here, MHB here, and VFYW here.

- Z.B.