Artur Davis: A Moderate’s Constitution

Judge Harvie Wilkinson of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals could easily have been Justice Harvie Wilkinson of the Supreme Court. He was short-listed for vacancies in both 2005 and 2007, and his brand of conservative jurisprudence and judicial restraint bears more than a passing resemblance to John Roberts.

His essay last week in the New York Times is a thoughtful, elegant scolding of both liberals and conservatives who are bent on using the Constitution as the last resort when politics takes too long.

As Wilkinson notes, both the left and right have spent an inordinate amount of time on their own versions of judicial activism—liberals famously so in the context of abortion but increasingly in the context of same sex marriage as well. Liberals favor a robust vision of constitutional privacy over the shifting, ambivalent state of public opinion on both issues.  Conservatives, meanwhile, are a week away from urging the court to overturn the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that individuals buy health insurance or risk a fine. If they win, it would be the first time since the thirties that the Court invalidated a major domestic statute.

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Artur Davis: A Moderate’s Constitution

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Laughter

The Politics of Laughter

“I’m gay too!” [New York Times]

Failure [gif]

A cautionary tale of cheering too hard. [gif]

What a delightful product. [picture]

Can’t argue with that logic! [picture]


John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Being Profound

Have you ever tried to say something profound but weren’t able to think of the words?

Because there was no profound thought to fit the words into?

And really never had been. Just some assorted near-clever ideas from time to time….but nothing achieving “profound” status.

And so you decided you’d wait and try to say something profound another day instead?

That just happened to me.

Krystal Ball: Chances of a Brokered Convention Are Small

The chance of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich forcing a brokered convention has become quite small. At this point, it is starting to come down to math, so forgive me for a bit of tedious delegate allocation arithmetic. After Illinois, Romney is estimated to have 560 delegates in his column, putting him about halfway to the 1,144 delegates he needs to win the nomination outright. While it is still theoretically possible for Santorum to do well enough to deny him that number, Governor Romney has a few things working in his favor.

First, the remaining states on the whole are more favorable to Romney. New York and California have large numbers of delegates at stake and are both very likely to go for Romney.

Other good Romney states like Maryland, Connecticut, and New Jersey are also among the remaining contests. Second, Romney’s key states tend to allocate their delegates using a winner-take-all method allowing him to quickly rack up delegates, while Santorum’s tend to use proportional allocation (and Gingrich’s key states are nonexistent).

For example, California’s 172 delegates are allocated using winner-take-all while the large state most favorable to Santorum, Texas, uses a proportional allocation process. Other potentially favorable Santorum states using a proportional allocation method include North Carolina, Arkansas, and Kentucky.

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Krystal Ball: Chances of a Brokered Convention Are Small

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of the States

The effort to recall Wisconsin governor Scott Walker has lead to an influx of campaign cash into that state.

After a lengthy (if unintentional) hiatus, the Politics of the States is back. Without further ado, the Badger State.

Wisconsin’s long-running recall nightmare has a new twist. With a recall election for Governor Scott Walker coming up this summer,  money is pouring in from all sides– pro-Walker forces including Americans for Prosperity are spending massive amounts of cash on ads from the right, while his opponents on the left are being funded by labor groups. Small, passionate donors are caught in the middle. [The Washington Post]

Ending an unnecessarily long saga of redistricting, a federal court last week set in place new congressional district lines for the state of New York. After endless months of wrangling, the state finally produced new state legislature lines a few weeks ago, and only through the judiciary’s intervention was a new Congressional map drawn. New York lost two seats in the most recent round of reapportionment, and redistricting had become wildly contentious in the state. [Albany Times Union]

More redistricting drama in Florida, where the state Democratic party has filed a lawsuit after the state supreme court rejected a Republican, legislatively-drawn map that critics alleged was not constitutional. The Democrats’ map has 11 Democratic districts, 13 Republican, and 3 swing, while the current map favors Republicans 16-9-2. Additionally, this new map proposes 7 minority majority districts, most south of the I-4 corridor. [The Tampa Bay Times]

Because it’s California, a Sacramento-area candidate may have just set himself up to endorse another candidate– while he’s still in the race. Andy Pugno, a lawyer running for State Assembly, pledged to support whichever Republican gets the most votes in this June’s Republican primary for the seat. The catch? Under 2010’s Proposition 14, California has a non-partisan blanket primary, meaning that the top two vote-getters advance, regardless of party, and in the heavily-Republican 6th district, it’s entirely feasible that Pugno and incumbent Beth Gaines will both be in the runoff. Leaving Pugno having pledge to endorse his competitor. [Sacramento Bee]

Katie Moyer: Lexington Hemp Seminar a Huge Success

I want to personally thank Senator Joey Pendleton and Ag Commissioner Comer for continuing to fight the good fight in the attempt to legalize this amazing crop.  We are picking up speed thanks to you guys taking the discussion to Frankfort on behalf of the 77% of Kentuckians who want to see this crop legalized.  And thank you to all the volunteers and pioneers who have been the backbone of this political movement!  Without you guys, this seminar would have never happened!

The seminar was amazing; it was the most gorgeous venue, and perfect setting, at the Red Mile Horsetrack on the outskirts of downtown Lexington.  It was a beautiful day, borderline hot, and the atmosphere was electric.  Guests of the seminar started rolling in just before 5 P.M. and continued to swarm the place until we had a crowd of at least 50 people.  There were drinks served by the finest bar manager in Lexington, who is a farmer himself (and now thinking about hemp.)  And when you stepped into the Round Barn, you felt like you went back in time about 100 years.  There were antique carriages and a gorgeous three-story chandelier hanging over a hemp brake designed by Thomas Jefferson himself.  It was the perfect setting to talk about a plant that’s just as much a part of Kentucky’s history as horses and horse racing.

Former Treasurer Miller, the wide-eyed liberal

Among our guests were several very key individuals in the hemp movement.  Jonathan Miller, former KY State Treasurer and webmaster at has been a vocal supporter of industrial hemp, and has even written an article for the Huffington Post supporting the cause.  He did a wonderful job of being the emcee, as several other key individuals surprised us by showing up.  Jonathan rolled with the change in plans, allowing us to seamlessly introduce several other speakers.  State Senator Robin Webb, who signed on as a co sponsor to HB 100 back in 1998, came in and gave an impromptu speech, as did State Senator Damon Thayer, who is still on the fence about hemp, but is making great strides as he learns more about the crop.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Parent/Child Conversations

How do you know the parent-child relationship has changed?


Think of those sweet conversations. Explaining the mysteries of where God lives; of how TV marketing works; reading Catcher in the Rye and smiling knowingly together at the bad words; chatting up sports and politics –as you, the parent, realize he’s closing in on you.

And then one day, there’s a small crack in the universe, and your role as big “P” parent to the little “c” child is whisked away.

For me it was a conversation in our kitchen yesterday.

Child: “So Dad, have you gone through a mid-life crisis yet?”

Parent: “Well…ummm. Well. I guess. I think I have.”

Child: “Think? Uh, it usually happens in your early 40s and your 48”

Parent: “Yeah. No…I uh…I have. Yes. I was in my ….probably late 30s. I was precocious (Laugh)”

Child: “Do you know why you went through a mid-life crisis?”

Parent: “Yeah. I mean…not really. I mean I do from a spiritual standpoint. I mean…look, when you get to mid-life it’s depressing. You either haven’t achieved your dreams so you are depressed. Or you have achieved them and they haven’t brought you the happiness you expected, so you are depressed. And so, you know, you recalibrate your goals and values for the second half of life.”

Child: “No, that’s not why. That’s an interesting explanation but the real reason is menopause.”

Parent: “Male menopause?”

Child: “No! Female menopause. There is a high correlation between when wives go through menopause and when men go through mid-life crisis. You are good with psychological theories but that’s the scientific explanation.”

Parent: “Well, but I had mine and mom hasn’t…I mean. What is menopause anyway? Exactly? I mean, I know …sort of but….the exact, precise, scientific definition of menopause?”

And that’s when the universe cracked.

The RP’s Weekly Web Gems: The Politics of Fashion

Politics of Fashion

And the trend for Spring is…. [The Cut]

Check out this interview with Project Runway All Stars winner, Mondo Guerra. He’s pretty adorable. [The Cut]

A magazine created and designed by Carine Roitfeld will be coming to a newsstand near you. [The Cut]

The Hunger Games phenomenon has captured the beauty world. [Fashionista]

Artur Davis: Where Have All the Moderates Gone?

I’m half admiring and half-critical of Rule and Ruin, Geoffrey Kabaservice’s exploration of the decline of moderates as a political force in the Republican Party.  On the admiring side, he dusts off an important, and mostly forgotten, phase in the turbulent sixties, when centrist Republicans simultaneously rescued civil rights legislation and fashioned a critique of bureaucratic liberalism that has held up well over the last four decades.  Not only is it a vivid account of the era’s characters, it’s a valiant reminder that the unrestrained growth of both government and the safety net can be criticized for reasons that don’t contain a racist or hard-hearted foundation.

Click on book jacket to review

On the critical side, an elegant narrative that is balanced and reserved in its political assessments for about 300 pages turns rushed and simplistic in its last hundred pages.  Kabaservice on the post-Nixon era buys and re-sells the stock line that Reagan Republicans pulled the GOP away from its moorings to a right-wing fantasy-land, and that intemperate ideologues have refashioned the party in a way that has steadily erased any moderates or even thoughtful conservatives.  It’s hardly wrong to fault the philosophical intolerance that does exist on the Right, but Kabaservice’s frustration with it leads him to minimize other large factors: first, the book has too little to say about the numerous centrifugal forces in American life that have pulled both the left and right away from the middle, including the surge of grassroots, cause based fundraising; the aggregation of special interests on both sides; and the explosion of a cable culture that profits off polarization. Any one of these developments is a book-length project, and the limited attention Kabaservice gives them puts too much weight on the machinations of politicians and kingmakers at the expense of forces much bigger than they were.

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Artur Davis: Where Have All the Moderates Gone?

The RPs Debate the 2012 GOP VP — The RP Nation Weighs In

We’ve had a busy day debating the merits of the various men and women who’ve been discussed as potential nominees by the GOP for Vice President.

Get a degree in Journalism and learn the dying art of objectivity with these online college classes.

Click here to follow the full debate thread.

Our readers, the RP Nation, had a lot to say about this controversy — we’ve received dozens of emails and comments.  We list some of the better responses below:

Jonathan, you claim to be bi-partisan politically, but come near (but just this side of civil) to speak with a hint of animosity about the University of Louisville.  WATCH IT!!!!!   I’VE GOT MY EYES ON YOU.

Love, M.A, Louisville, KY


As a Saturday Night Live fan, I like Michelle Bachman or a comeback by Sarah, who should have a lot to say about reproductive health.

C.U., Hartford, CT


I agree with Portman who can swing Ohio. Yes, Rubio brings Florida and more of the Hispanic vote. I love Huckabee, but Arkansas is tiny and he is old news. Portman can legitimately run on a balanced budget platform, more so than anyone else.

S.C., Miami, FL


How about Kentucky’s head basketball coach, John Calipari?

B.M., New York, NY


Nope, it is Rubio.

T.W., Indianapolis, IN


I will be traveling on business through Wednesday morning, March 28th, with only limited access to email. If you need help immediately, please contact [Name omitted]. I look forward to being in touch as soon as possible.

D.H., Washington, DC

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The RPs Debate the 2012 GOP VP — The RP Nation Weighs In

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