Just casting around with the old noggin....
--As bored political journos and commentators start talking 2012 GOP Presidential chances, we've seen a bunch of back-and-forthing about whether Mitt Romney can lay claim to the critical perception of "next in line" for the nomination, and about just how critical that perception is. I've written about this before, but I want to reiterate an important aspect of this debate. Many Republican strategists -- and definitely Romney strategists -- argue that deference to the "next" candidate holds particular sway among Southern Republicans. This would indeed be critical, because, as I have long argued, Romney is a very tough sell among Southern Republicans. Personally, I doubt that Romney can win Southern party contests anyway, but his chances of doing so rest enormously on this tendency holding true.
--Here's something I'm thinking about recently. I've been saying for some time that the influential members of what I call the "conservative movement marketplace" have a clear financial incentive to help get and keep a Democrat in the White House. Being in the opposition is way better for ratings, book sales, and contributions. This will almost certainly be reflected in their support for unelectable Presidential candidates and unpopular policies. (And on the flip side, condemnation of electable candidates and moderate or conciliatory policies.) But probably the most important things that can help Obama win re-election -- and keep him around as their punching bag -- are an improving economy, and public perception of an improving economy. So, will any of the conservative marketplace leaders be brave and creative enough to find ways to push Republicans to help pass economy-boosting measures, and/or to talk up signs of recovery? How might they do it? Seems to me there's a lot riding on it for them; it's hard to imagine FOX News or Regnery Publishing thriving under, say, President Pawlenty or Romney the way they do under President Liberty-Killing Black Muslim America-Hater.
--Not to take away from the legitimacy of the concerns about the new TSA air-passenger screening proocedures, but am I sensing more than a little latent homophobia creeping into the conversation?
--This is more international than national, and I realize that to many it's just the expected attitude at this point, but surely it's worth public condemnation when a major world leader -- Pope Benedict XVI -- declares that it's OK for male prostitutes to protect themselves against AIDS, but not females?
--Best interpretation I've seen of Benedict's new stand (I'm paraphrasing): "If you're on the road to hell, I suppose it doesn't matter if you wear a jacket on the way."