The Weekly Wrap

by Zack Beauchamp

Friday on the Dish, Patrick went another round with Dreher (supporting arguments here and here), I corrected a popular misinterpretation about a poll on Syria and guessed at an explanation for the Democratic about-face on Guantanamo, and Chris weighed in on the women in combat controversy. Santorum led nationally (!) seemingly in part because he was the anti-Romney, Rick's ultimate victory became an actual possibility, Mitt overdid it at CPAC, and Paul had a shot at Maine. One jobs report was purported to be critical to the election, people overrated the NRA's influence in election years, the primary was probably going to go on for a while, a reader pushed a third party candidate, and some things were worth losing elections over. Ad War Update here.

Obama (arguably) meep-meeped on the contraception issue, Dems started parodying the GOP's extreme culture initiatives, and the Komen debate got a coda. Arming the Free Syrian Army still wouldn't help, Egypt faced the possibility of becoming Pakistan, al-Qaeda looked to Somalia to survive, Germany scared Europe,  and rubber duckies explained the Greek crisis. The GOP failed at pop-culture and abandoned the mandate for unclear reasons. The atheism debate raged on, McMansions were on the wane, Jeremy Lin's story was extraordinary, life got better, and online activism got smarter. Malkin Nominee here, Creepy Ad here, Hathos Alert here, AAA here, Tweet of the Day here, FOTD here, VFYW here, and MHB here.

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Thursday on the Dish, Patrick slammed Maggie Gallagher's closemindedness on marriage equality and defended his position against criticism while Chris deepened our understanding of Gallagher here and here. I kept up the the God debate and criticized the idea that ridiculous levels of defense spending were necessary to stop genocide. We discovered Romney could very well fall short of the winning delegate total, found the roots of his "flexibility" in his business background, saw him on thin ice in the culture war debate. Santorum created real problems for the GOP and Ron Paul snuck away a fair number of delegates. A third party candidacy was not viable, the longer primary was damaging the Republicans, and marriage equality and Obama's legacy were at serious issue in the campaign.

We surveyed the ongoing debate on the contraception mandate (which might not be the best issue for the GOP), discovered an extraordinary speech (above) on marriage equality from the Washington fight, wound up the "Power of Pink" thread, noticed that the Constitution was going out of style, and declared it "Best CPAC Ever!" A new film smelled like propaganda for the Navy SEALs, analysts debated arming Syrians against the regime, and a fatwa got sent over Twitter. "Europe" had similar income distribution to the US, the profit incentive hurt the financial sector, privatization had risks, an adorable child explained logos, and the Prius fallacy/rebound effect got scrutinized. Being a patient was traumatic, good pain doctors were in short supply, power explained male violence, and waking up was scientifically fascinating. AAA here, Yglesias Nominee here, VFYW here, MHB here, and (an awesome) FOTD here.

Wednesday on the Dish, I threw my hat into the ring on the birth control debate and Patrick explained why the Birthers aren't going after non-white Republicans. We compiled reax to Santorum's hat trick, insta-explained the impact on the race, tried to see if Romney could spin this (probably not),  wondered if Mitt was losing his narrative, saw the aura of inevitability waning, and thought that regaining it might cost him the general. Santorum started to be taken seriously by some while Pawlenty was pitied. The enthusiasm gap reversed, the "Obama independents" became a thing, and there's a new Ad War Update here

Sympathetic liberals opposed an intervention in Syria, Egypt's junta waged war on NGOs, and American novelists shirked from war. We found more Prop 8 reax, secular marriage sustained assault, and the Komen discussion continued. America's mobility problems were spotlighted, shifting from communism was hard, energy efficiency wasn't solving sustainability issues, and self-driving cars were a ways away. Opponents of pot legalization hallucinated and readers pushed back on the defense of doping. Your childhood made you fat, human attachment to reality got dissected, auteur theory was (debateably) bunkum, and a gorilla played the recorder. View from your Airplane Window here, Hewitt Nominee here, Yglesias Nominee here, Hathos Alert here, Chart of the Day here, AAA here, FOTD here, VFYW here, and MHB here.

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Traverse City, Michigan, 11.55 am

Tuesday on the Dish, Patrick called the primaries a huge loss for Mitt, Chris worried about the aftershocks of the Komen war during an election year and lowered the curtain on the Dish's operating procedure, and I tried to nail down the atheist/theist divide, didn't buy that Russia's veto over Syria was payback for Qaddafi, and argued that Ron Paul wasn't a fair test of libertarianism's appeal among young GOPers given his serious weaknesses on social issues. We profiled the crazy, irrelevant Missouri primary, hunted for Romneymaniacs, counseled Romney to speak up about his Mormonism, noted the distinctly non-dead "Not Romney" vote, saw more problems with women for Gingrich, told Newt to drop out, pooh-poohed the Santorum surge, marked Obama's turn towards SuperPACs, shined a light on the field's misperception of Reagan, and ferreted out some of the press' own biases in covering the race

On the "Prop 8 is unconstitutional" front, we posted the 9th Circuit's ruling against Proposition 8, corralled a few reax to the decision, spotlighted to pop-culture's influence on the ruling, and wondered if the Supreme Court might refuse to hear it. Rich people dominated marriage, single people had it rough, Charles Murray's definition of American "closemindedness" about values was odd, our prison system horrified, and the Komen debate continued. Israel wasn't slouching toward theocracy, France's election mattered, global censorship went private, and the war debate had gatekeepers. MIA's middle finger got overblown, Clint Eastwood declared it "Halftime in America" at halftime, doping found a defender, and vegetarianism was almost certainly better for animals than eating meat (and yes, Chris, that video was definitely gross. You got me.) Moore Award here, AAA here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Monday on the Dish, Patrick explained why he thought Romney had wrapped up the race and Chris was creeped out by Pete Hoekstra's "China took our jobs" Super Bowl ad. We questioned Romney's appeal in the Midwest, linked his campaign strategy firmly to the economy, noted Gingrich's money problems, were unsurprised by Newt's difficulties with women voters, smelled a Santorum surge in the offing, and wondered if Ron Paul's strategy was working out. GOP turnout continued to flag and movement conservatism faced a policy crisis. 

We offered two possible explanations for Russia and China's defense of Syria at the UN and examined if whether there was anything we could do to end Assad's murder spree. We also used some statistical magic to predict whether new Arab democracies would stay that way, found growing fear among Christian communities in majority-Muslim countries, and  worried about the Greek economic crisis.  The Super Bowl got some uncharacteristic play – the decision to let the TD in and the linebacker who caught the game-changing interception both saw the spotlight.

On the culture war front, the internet took credit for reversing Komen's decision to defund Planned Parenthood, readers blasted Komen's original decision, and the organization both crassly commercialized cancer (follow-up here) and took focus away from broader issues. A reader deepened the contraception and coercion debate, homophobia killed, economics complicated the abortion debate, and Obama caught some chutzpah-riffic flack. The stimulus promoted transparency, squirrel meat found a champion, lazy mornings helped your brain, and 3-D printing sounded awesome. Cool Ad here, Yglesias Nominee here, AAA here, Quote for the Day here, VFYW here, FOTD here, and MHB here.