January 16, 2013

1. I completely agree with Ross Douthat: Anyone who believes that the 2012 election results are part of a long-term, stable, electoral “lock” of Republicans always winning the House and Democrats always winning the presidency is fooling themselves.

2. I continue to believe this is going to fizzle out, but Pennsylvania Republicans are still moving ahead, at least a bit, on their plan to rig the electoral college, as Ian Millhiser reports. Yes, it’s a really remarkably anti-democratic effort. Pathetic, too.

3. On gun violence: James Downie on how opposition to gun safety is of a piece with other conservative attacks on science.

4. A disconcerting point from Atrios about that reprehensible NRA ad:

One doesn’t have to travel very far on the internet to find some very angry slightly unhinged people for whom gun ownership and fetishization is a major part of their identity. I do not think bringing the president’s daughters into this conversation in any way was a good idea.

5. Also, what Ed Kilgore says:

It’s kind of important to recognize that distinction between people arguing against gun control from the perspective of the Constitution and political system we have, and those claiming authority for the very different Constitution and political system they want.

6. Brad Plumer asks experts to assess the president’s initiatives.

7. An important reminder from Brendan Nyhan: Presidents have both limited powers and very limited ability to sway public opinion, on gun violence or anything else.

8. Which in turn leads to a CNN poll showing a bit of a slip for support for gun control since the immediate aftermath of Sandy Hook.

9. Interesting: Via a Josh Marshall tweet, the Democrats have opened up a large lead in the generic Congressional ballot. Don’t read too much into it, and we’re obviously a long way from November 2014, but it’s something.

10. David Roberts looks for a road forward on climate.

11. On the debt limit: Ezra Klein rounds up several conservatives warning House Republicans against a confrontation. Greg’s been doing a lot of good work on this, and it’s starting to look as if he may be right.

12. And White House petitions are so popular that they’ve decided to raise the threshold on signatures necessary for a reply. Obvious response: It’s a trap!