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Thursday, March 1, 2012

The morning roundup

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 6:44 AM

Some odds and ends:

* WEDGE ISSUES: It's all about wedge issues for Republicans. Always has been. And I was struck last night by some Rachel Maddow reporting, though it was obvious in retrospect, on the ever-increasing rigid ultra-conservatism of the Republican Party. It makes messaging simple. Republican = God, guns, (anti) gays, tax cuts. This leads, however, to concoction of some created wedge issues, NY Times notes today, as candidates attempt to demonstrate how one is even more extreme than the other. Some Republicans are worried about it.

The uniformity of views this year — forcing candidates to distinguish themselves by showing rigid fealty to conservative ideology — strikes some veteran Republicans as misguided and electorally dangerous.

“It is not true that there are big differences between these candidates,” said Vin Weber, a Washington lobbyist and onetime House Republican ally of Newt Gingrich who now backs Mr. Romney. “And it’s not true that the philosophical purity of the candidate is the key to beating Obama."

Maybe. But the tent for the primary is VERY small.

* INJUDICIOUS: The chief federal district judge in Montana, a Bush appointee, admits he e-mailed a "joke" suggesting President Obama was sired by a dog. Not racist, he said. Just a measure of his dislike for Obama. Oh. OK, then.

* CLARKSVILLE REMAINS X-RATED: Because of a pending state Supreme Court appeal, a judge has stayed an order closing the X-Mart in Clarksville for sale of sexually oriented items in violation of a zoning ordinance drawn to put the store out of business.

WANTS CRACKDOWN ON DISSENTERS: Lance Hines
  • WANTS CRACKDOWN ON DISSENTERS: Lance Hines
* MISSING MICHAEL KECK: Lance Hines, the successor to consensus-builder Michael Keck on the Little Rock City Board, has apparently decided his first signature issue should be making something out of the little Occupy Little Rock camp downtown. He wants them gone, he tells the Democrat-Gazette. If people really are looking hard at it after they cross the I-30 bridge, as Hines suggests, they aren't driving safely. It's a low-profile tent camp and hard to spot for more than a split second at 60 mph. It's caused little by way of problem. City expense is tiny — nothing, even cumulatively, compared to what's required for days like a Razorback football game. I suspect what really riles Hines and his similarly inclined Republican WLR constituents is the very idea of people demonstrating quietly against the growing inequality in the U.S. — not just in wealth but in the ability to meaningfully participate in the system. (See the City Board's at-large seats.) It makes the haves a bit uncomfortable. Which is the idea. Kudos to Joan Adcock for telling the Democrat-Gazette that they aren't bothering anyone (except Hines and similarly uptight authoritarians who value order and THEIR values above all other). You want a bad impression of Little Rock, then let's have a big ol' nasty crackdown on this tiny band of idealists.

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