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Reconciliation

By Dylan Matthews

Today, Ezra compared the risks of the "top kill" and of climate change, I argued that freezing federal wages hurts the regulatory state, Jonathan looked at why libertarians are portrayed as extreme, and Kate outlined the economic benefits of pricing carbon.

1. Commenters (correctly) pointed out that the Fair Elections Now Act lacks matching funds, meaning it's not as vulnerable to a constitutional challenge as the Arizona law. My mistake, but this underscores a weakness of the proposal.

2. Keith Hennessey on defined benefit pension plans.

3. CBO estimates the impact of the stimulus.

4. Length of unemployment across the country.

5. How hard is it to say you support the Civil Rights Act?

Dylan Matthews is a student at Harvard and a researcher at The Washington Post.

By Jennifer Abella  |  May 27, 2010; 6:30 PM ET
 
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Comments

Jon Ralston: "Do you think the Civil Rights Act should apply to private businesses?"

Sue Lowden: “It’s a simple question, but it’s a ‘gotcha’ question...."

Only a "gotcha" to a person who would answer that question with anything other than an emphatic yes.

Has Palin endorsed Lowden yet? Sue's certainly proven herself to be nutty enough to earn the Palin endorsement.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 27, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

I bet she loves Rand Paul about now.

The correct answer is. "Of course, but what an incredible partisan, irrelevant question. When was the last time you asked a Democrat where or not the still opposed the Civil Rights Act, like Bill Clinton's hero and mentor, William J. Fullbright. Or sitting U.S. Senator Robert Byrd? Or Al Gore's father, Albert Gore, Sr.? When was the last time you asked a Democrat if they supported hard working Americans getting to keep the money they earn so they can feed, clothe, and house their family? When was the last time you asked a Democrat if they thought parents should have a say in how their children are taught? When was the last time you asked someone if they had stopped beating their wife yet?"

Or, before answering the question, say: "Are you serious? Are you seriously asking me that question? Yes, of course I support the Civil Rights Act. But what in the world are you asking me about that for? Are you more interested in 'gotcha' questions than the real issues affecting Nevadans right now?"

The upside for Sue Lowden and others is that, except to very liberal people who already have a Snidely Whiplash, mustache-twirling picture of conservatives, such questions come off as remarkably tone deaf, and as partisan, gotcha questions.

While the question allowed Rand Paul to shoot himself in the foot, Sue Lowden's response is not nearly as "out there", and attempt to make it so may backfire. Might not. Might work.

But, in the case of Lowden, it's clearly an attempt to trip a candidate up, rather than extract useful information. Otherwise, there is no reason to ask Sue Lowden that question.

Perhaps Ralston is a tea-party operative, trying to get Sharron Angle the nomination?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | May 28, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

"The upside for Sue Lowden and others is that, except to very liberal people who already have a Snidely Whiplash, mustache-twirling picture of conservatives, such questions come off as remarkably tone deaf, and as partisan, gotcha questions."

Really Kevin? When there has just been a storm of news about another Republican Senatorial candidate who carries philosophical objections to the CRA, it is off limits to put the same question to another Republican Senate candidate? Especially when that candidate has made news herself by her goofy discussion of "bartering" as a solution for health care?

Here on Earth, the CRA question is not a gotcha, it is a softball.

But then again, certain Republicans treat a question like "What newspapers to you read to stay informed?" as a "gotcha."

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 28, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

"Really Kevin? When there has just been a storm of news about another Republican Senatorial candidate who carries philosophical objections to the CRA, it is off limits to put the same question to another Republican Senate candidate?"

I don't think it's off limits, I just don't think it sounds the same to all listeners. Maybe it does.

"Especially when that candidate has made news herself by her goofy discussion of 'bartering' as a solution for health care?"

Point taken.

"Here on Earth, the CRA question is not a gotcha, it is a softball."

I suppose. Actually, I'd call it a softball 'gotcha'. Real softball questions are of the, "What's it like to be so handsome, and yet so intelligent?" variety. Or, "Your mother was very special to you. Tell me more."

It's a gotcha question, but one with a very easy response. One that starts with "Of course, the Civil Rights Act was important legislation, which is why Republicans fought for it" and ends with "Seriously? That's the kind of questions your asking me?"

"But then again, certain Republicans treat a question like 'What newspapers to you read to stay informed?' as a 'gotcha.'"

Yes, because Republicans are not just traditionally stupid, but willfully ignorant.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | May 28, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

"It's a gotcha question, but one with a very easy response. One that starts with "Of course, the Civil Rights Act was important legislation, which is why Republicans fought for it" and ends with "Seriously? That's the kind of questions your asking me?"

Hi Kevin,

It is a pure softball lobbed right down the middle of the plate, with no gotcha, just an easy answer, which is: "Of course, the Civil Rights Act was important legislation, which is why Republicans fought for it." Quit right there, and the candidate sounds mainstream, rational, and minority voters might even be impressed. The question is the biggest gift horse the interviewer could have given to the chicken lady.

Add the part about "Why would you ask me...?" ~after the Rand Paul story has been all over the news~ and you sound willfully ignorant.

Refuse to answer the question (in two separate interviews), and then finally release a press release after a reasonable inference can be drawn that you don't want your answer to the question to be known, and you sound beyond traditionally stupid.

Posted by: Patrick_M | May 28, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

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