What was the deal with Pa. Gov. Tom Corbett?

One-term Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett. (AP photo by Gene J. Puskar)

Pennsylvania’s electorate contradicted itself yesterday. If it was right to reject Tom Corbett, then it was wrong to reinforce the Corbett agenda by increasing the Corbett majority in the state legislature. If it was right to strengthen the Republican hold on the state legislature, then it was wrong to vilify Tom Corbett. [Read more...]

Libertarians, ‘moralism’ and the ‘Corrosive Politics of Virtue’


“Moralism” isn’t a list of social issues. Moralism is about drawing lines and assigning blame. It’s about separating the “deserving” from the “undeserving.” And, above all, it’s about identifying the immoral Other who can be blamed for all the ills of society. [Read more...]

Neo-Bircher apocalyptic politics harms the people who embrace it


Tim LaHaye’s major “contribution” to dispensationalist ideology was his grafting in of old John Birch Society legends, simply replacing their dishonest paranoia about a Communist one-world government with fears of an Antichrist one-world government instead. This is the main difference between the tea party of the 21st century and the Birchers of the 1950s and ’60s. [Read more...]

Empathy, entitlement and leadership: Why you should never vote for someone who drives like a jerk


It’s very easy to imagine that someone could be an incompetent driver and still become a good governor. It is impossible, for me, to imagine that someone could be a total jerkwad driver and still become a good governor. [Read more...]

50 years later, the ‘Fright-peddlers’ are still peddling fright


“I speak of another danger we confront, not as dread or as foreboding, but equally offensive and evil to all reasonable, rational, free American citizens. It is the danger of hate and venom, of slander and abuse, generated by fear and heaped indiscriminately upon many great Americans by another relative handful of zealots, in the ranks or clutches of self-styled ‘I am a better American than you are’ organizations.” [Read more...]



“Just imagine being an 18-year-old woman reading that, an 18-year-old high school senior reading that. … When he talked about what it means to be a man. Imagine being a kid being bullied in high school by people who are beating him up saying the same thing.” [Read more...]

The Madman Theory and the threat of default

I don’t think they’re acting. I think they’re actually inspired, like Strangelove himself, by “a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead.” Congressional Republicans like Ted Yoho, Joe Barton and Rand Paul seem to find calamity terribly exciting. And economic calamity is the only excitement left now that Iraq and Afghanistan have sapped all the fun out of starting wars. [Read more...]

A post-mortem on post-election post-mortems


Hand-in-hand with the Republican Party’s brief period of post-election introspection came a parallel process among the establishment institutions of white evangelicalism. They, too, briefly recognized the election as a sign that they were swimming against a demographic tide that spelled their impending obsolescence. The white evangelical post-mortems were eerily similar to those of the political party to which they had bound themselves. [Read more...]