Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Scott Brown Comes Out for a New Hampshire State Healthcare-Insurance Public Option. In the Name of Freedom. Cool!**

[Annotation added below.]

I’ve written here on AB, extensively now, about the invidious co-opting of the word “freedom” by the political far-right.  I’ve addressed this mainly in the context of the conservative Supreme Court justices’ neat trick of disconnecting the word from any relation to actual physical freedom as long as it is a state court (in criminal cases and in a variety of civil cases, e,g. adult-guardianship and conservatorship cases, as well) or a state or county prosecutor’s office rather than the federal government that violates federal constitutional rights in order to remove physical freedom.  This is done in the name of federalism as allegedly envisioned by James Madison.

And on Saturday, I addressed it in the context of the Cliven Bundy matter, which includes the support he’s received from the likes of Nevada Senator Dean Heller.  The immediate occasion for that post was to note that this bizarre appropriation of the word “freedom” to justify doing whatever the invoker of “freedom” wants to do–which, for the Supreme Court’s invokers, includes obsessively requiring that state courts, but not state legislatures, be entitled as “sovereigns” to violate individuals’ federal constitutional rights; I really can’t stress this enough–is finally, thanks to Bundy, being recognized by actual professional pundits. Specifically, by New York Times columnist Gail Collins in her Saturday column.  Paul Krugman used his bi-weekly Times column this morning to highlight it.

Richard Milhous Romney Gets Specific, Says He’ll Cut Out All Programs That Aren’t Worth Borrowing From China For

Yup. All those farmers in Iowa and Nebraska who’ve been waiting for the Farm Bill to pass are as nervous tonight as Richard Nixo … er … Mitt Romney was this evening during the debate, but their problem is different than his was.  Instead of babbling incoherently while wearing a frozen, glassy-eyed smile, the farmers are spending the night tossing and turning while trying to figure out whether the program that they rely on so much is much is worth borrowing from China for. 

Maybe tomorrow they can put in a call about that to Ohio senator and Romney “surrogate” Rob Portman, and ask him.  Portman, according to a very serious-faced CBS reporter Jan Crawford (of Clarence-Thomas-is-an-intellectual-leader book fame), told her immediately after the debate ended that Romney we’ll be “repeating” the “specifics” of his economic plan throughout the next five weeks.  Just as he did tonight!  Oh, and be just as confident in his manner as he was tonight!

As a Democrat, I surely hope so.  And once those farmers find out, specifically, whether the Farm Bill subsidies are worth our borrowing from China for them, the can call Portman back and verify that massive tax cuts for the wealthy are worth borrowing from China for. 

Seriously … do these folks really think that if they call this stuff “specifics,” people will think that Romney’s incoherent gibberish included specifics and they (the viewers) just sorta missed them?

And seriously … at least Richard Nixon was coherent.  I’ve seen the black-and-white clips of parts of that first 1960 debate.  Yes, he was obviously nervous.  But he was coherent.  And specific.  As the dictionary defines that word, not as Sen. Portman defines it.