[with contributions from Matthew O'Brien and Darius Tahir]
E.J. Dionne today points out that the Republicans have no agenda to create jobs in the short term, summarizing their credo as "Don't just do something, stand there." It's the latest in a series of terrific, hard-hitting columns that he has written about the Republicans. And that's worth pondering for a moment.
If you've ever seen E.J. on television or heard him on the radio, you've probably gotten the impression he is polite and reasonable to a fault. That impression is correct. It's the way he conducts himself in person (he's a friend) and it's the way he conducts himself on the job. He's always been a liberal, for sure. But he's distinguished himself over the years by taking conservatives seriously—and finding common ground with them on issues like religion and national service.
But lately he has been on a tear, blasting Republicans and their enablers, week after week. It's not because he's changed. It's because the world around him has. In this way he's a lot like Paul Krugman, Joe Klein, and other prominent writers, who, during the 1980s and 1990s, criticized the left as eagerly as they criticized the right—but now spend most of their time criticizing the right. They are reasonable people dealing with an unreasonable situation. They are responding as they should.
Anybody But Romney: I've been bullish on the Romney candidacy for as long as anybody I know. I've always thought his experience would be the difference—that it was only a matter of time the flaws of alternatives became apparent. But the latest poll numbers, with Herman Cain out front, give me pause. Like my friend Jon Chait keeps saying, the Republicans just don't like him. I still think it's Romney's race to lose, but it wouldn't shock me if another candidate stages a late comeback.
Number of the Day: 17: the number of clemency petitions Obama has granted while in office. From Graham Rayman, of the Village Voice: "Obama took nearly two years to issue his first pardon and has granted a total of only 17—nearly all for old, relatively minor convictions—and either rejected or ignored every single clemency petition that has been filed. Last May, with one stroke, he denied some 2,000 clemency petitions without explanation. Is it really possible there wasn't one valid clemency petition out of 2,000?"
Somebody Wake Up Rick Santelli: Even a conservative like Marty Feldstein is making the case for mortgage principal reductions.
Enron, Ahead of Its Time: Scientific proof that accounting fraud has likely skyrocketed over the past 30 years.
Romney's Repeal Plan: Jennifer Haberkorn at Politico has the scoop. It's must reading. And, yes, we'll have more to say on this soon.
Tweet of the Day: From @jamesfreedman: "Got an iPhone? Turn it into a virtual Blackberry by enabling airplane mode."
Bush v. Perry: My colleagues Alec MacGillis and Noam Scheiber discuss why this Texas governor running for president is having tougher time than the last one did.
Reader Comment of the Day: Reader "cspencef" reacted to the story in yesterday's Daily Deadline about Topeka's decision to stop prosecuting domestic violence cases to save money for the local budget: "Well, there's a new spin on 'what's the matter with Kansas?'"
Sports Note of the Day: My football team (the Dolphins) is an embarrassment. My baseball team (the Red Sox) is in full meltdown mode. So I've decided to go all-in on the Detroit Lions and Tigers. Doesn't that violate my rules against bandwagon-hopping? Yes, but I'm amending the rules, so that it's acceptable when (a) your own teams, to which you remain loyal, are no longer in contention (b) the bandwagon teams are in your home town (c) your home town team is a long-suffering, but loveable underdog, looking to capture just a little of its past glory. In short, this is a one-time exception that applies only to rooting for Detroit teams this year. Hey, if the Supreme Court can make rules that don't have value as a precedent, I can too.
Video of the Day: For Mitt Romney, on his ongoing quest to convince more than 25 percent of Republican voters he's their man.