The Weekly Wrap


By Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Friday on the Dish, Andrew gleaned Obama's true feelings on striking Iran from that fantastic Jeffrey Goldber interview, reflected on Breitbart and Matt Drudge, flagged a podcast discussion with Johann Hari, decided the President wanted to keep tax rates stable for the middle class, and reminded us that it wasn't too long ago that a Catholic and a Mormon competing for the GOP nomination would be inconceivable. We analyzed Super Tuesday's importance, discovered Mitt's religion was his only portal to the world of the working class, declared his tax plan unworkable, wondered how Romney planned to appeal to the moderate vote, and continued the discussion of "electoral tribalism." Ad War updates here and here. Not to forget the controversy du jour – Rush Limbaugh's bullying nastiness towards Sandra Fluke – we hoped that Rush had gone a bridge too far and thought he was hurting the GOP.

Andrew also assessed Chris Christie's veto of marriage equality in New Jersey, recalled Clinton's betrayals on the subject, and applauded the Human Rights Campaign's new hire for the top job. We aired Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's Catholic defense of marriage equality, noted Breitbart's comparatively positive attitude towards gays, debunked the idea that Obama killed him, and saw the culture war ruining everything (including the Weekly Standard's covers). The Gaza blockade created a mess, Syria entered a new phase, Libya got better, American soldiers handing out Qu'rans in Afghanistan was proposed and subsequently shot down, Americans failed to understand the world's points of view, and Britain weathered its own type of scandal. Posthumous baptism offended some (including Andrew), gun ownership declined, degrees were valuable, and law professors struggled to teach legal codes surrounding sexual assault. A man explained his vasectomy, a woman feared almost all food, Yiddish produced the word "meh," and the internet was a dog park for cat owners.  

Hathos Alerts here and here, AAA here, Quote for the Day here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.


West Yellowstone, Montana, 5.35 pm

Thursday on the Dish, Andrew appreciated the late Andrew Breitbart in spite of left-wing nastiness (medical details here), responded to some reader dissents on the topic (Frum's thoughts here), and rethought his Romney/Huckabee idea. We profiled Romney's Virginia edge on Super Tuesday, looked at historical evidence that his favorables weren't likely to get much better, pegged Mitt as the "candidate of the 1%" with some quantitative support, watched him play Newt, aired a rebuttal to the "demographic catastrophe" thesis about the GOP, and noted both the incompetence of the GOP electoral establishment and the coolness of President Obama. Ad War Update here.

Andrew also floated a new Urtak poll on the Cannabis Closet, lambasted Limbaugh's sexist crassness (follow-up gross here), was infuriated by "the sickness on the right," poured cold water on the idea that airstrikes could guarantee a non-nuclear Iran, found evidence that Israelis weren't all that supportive of an attack, and flagged a foul proposal to turn Iran into North Korea. We parsed the signs that might suggest war wasn't coming, sparked debate about Tehran's cabs, worried about Syria after the fall of Baba Amr, discovered that war hurt the earth, explained the importance of the Russian vote, and located Americans firmly in the global 1%.

Maryland joined the marriage equality ranks (perhaps for reasons predicted by Dan Savage), the tax-breaks-for-children debate raged on, ignoring Obamacare's rules ceded power to the feds, the economy seemed capable of surviving high gas prices, the war on medical pot killed, and spending food stamps for soda created controversy. Technology caused panic, HBO stayed offline, and the jury duty thread continued. Malkin Nominee here, Hewitt Nominee here, Quote for the Day here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Wednesday on the Dish, Andrew guessed at the significance of Romney's Arizona and Michigan wins, looked forward to Ohio, and declared Netanyahu a bigger threat to Obama than any of the GOP candidates (follow-up here). We put together our patented reax to the night's events, checked the calendar to pinpoint a spot where Romney might be dealt a serious blow, questioned whether Mitt could make any real policy shifts in the general, decided Romney and Santorum weren't all all that substantively different, questioned whether Rick had ever won the Catholic vote, and placed the odds of no candidate getting a majority of delegates at around 20%. The RNC screwed the pooch by creating this extended primary calendar, the GOP's youth problem got put in stark relief, Olympia Snow gave Obama a lovely electoral present, and readers pushed back against the suggestion that Obama's deep resevoir of black support was a consequence of his ethnicity.

Andrew also explained how temporary defeats ultimately strengthened the movement for marriage equality, if recent polling data is any guide. We looked to Libya to help understand Obama's foreign policy doctrine, noted the importance of military thinking for humanitarian intervention, heard Tehran's taxi system weas an anarchistic mess, charted a slow path to reform in Egypt, and wondered if the Chinese government (populated by the world's wealthiest lawmakers) could survive without its own reformation process. Anti-"sharia" crusader Frank Gaffney got on his high chutzpah, readers responded to Andrew's essay on the "messy pursuit of what might be happiness," debate sprung up over tax credits for having childern (follow-up here), and America needed an immigrant infusion. Tragedies were tweeted, legacy media withered post-internet, and so did the "classic" porn star. Whaling collapsed, printing organs became possible, norms panoptically powered traffic laws, readers resented jury duty, and a handy video elucidated the reasons behind leap years. AAA here, Yglesias Nominee here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.


By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Tuesday on the Dish, Andrew liveblogged Romney's triumphs in Michigan and Arizona, wondered if Romney had already lost the war, slammed Santorum's class warfare, connected his version of Catholicism to extreme Christianism, and remembered what a formidable orator Obama was. We kept you up-to-date on the Michigan polling (here, here, and here), broke down the state's Republicans, looked at the Democratic effort to muck up the primary, previewed Romney's clear victory in Arizona, predicted a "long slog" for Mitt, pinpointed his gaffe blindspot – wealth, checked out the Christianist gap between the Mormon and the Catholic, and continued to speculate about a Romney/Paul alliance. Obama won Citizens United and 2012 continued to be a rearguard action for the GOP. Ad War Updates here and here.

Andrew lambasted Obama's Simpson-Bowles calculation (follow-up here) and meditated on the shifting American family and the possibility of a bottom-up social conservatism. He also spotlighted an email from the Palin docu-dump, posted a bit of her dada poetry, and recalled the history of sane conservatism's exile from the Republican party. Putin's engineered reelection looked set to create a political crisis (already having generated a Creepy Ad), cyberwarfare wasn't a certainty, and WikiLeaks' latest steal was a snore. Colonialism created AIDS, vaccination mattered, and humanity appeared to be improving. Brevity potentially explained Pinterest's success, a spam bot made everyone bust out laughing, and Bully's R rating remained contentious. AAA here, Yglesias Nominee here, VFYW Contest Winner here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

Finally, the stats on our Twitter feed and Facebook page revealed great success, with a VFYW tumblr soon to come. Go check them out!


By Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

Monday on the Dish, Andrew wrote a long assessment of how Santorum's ascendancy (and the above outburst) reveals the theo-political core of today's GOP. On a follow-up note, we tracked the backlash against Rick's Kennedy comments, noted Santorum's "honesty probem," and assessed his labelling Obama a "snob" for wanting people to go to college. We also watched Romney's Michigan lead expand and then narrow, decided the auto-bailout made Michigan a no-go for the GOP in the general, and saw every candidate but one alienating Michigan Muslims. Mitt jumped hard right, had difficulty going positive, and received support from hypocritical bishops, while Paul won the military-industrial vote and voted like a fiscal conservative. The meaning of the delegate count got broken down, sanity about the race sometimes required punny headlines, and Republican ideological rigidity might have paid off. Geoffrey Kabaservice's book on the collapse of GOP moderates got reviewed here and here, and Chait predicted the party's downfall here.

Not to be distracted by the campaign, Andrew kept the focus on Obama's war on medical marijuana. We hoped that Assad could be brought down without devastating escalation, found no evidence that unemployment created insurgents, psychoanalyzed the neoconservative mind, and were fascinated by Jerusalem Syndrome. The Oscars created a proud moment for Iranians and weren't quite as special as one kid hoped, while the MPAA still prevented children from seeing an important film about bullying. Identity politics got criminally crazy, NPR innovated on journalistic approaches to the truth, and everyone hated jury duty. Mapping the Amazon helped save it, cash withered away, people failed at risk assessment, insect eating got assessed by the EU, and the morality of killing zombies was more complicated than you think. AAA here, Tweet of the Day here, Yglesias Awards here and here, VFYW here, MHB here, and FOTD here.

– Z.B.