In the summer months when the pace inside the Beltway slows (and Interstate 66 is mercifully uncrowded), you see a lot of trial balloons, speculation about future races and political theorizing. Most of these notions go nowhere, but here are some things I really, really could do without:
A rehabilitation run for the Senate for Sarah Palin. No. Please. She’s not interested in serious politics (we trust), and the party doesn’t need a three-ring circus to put Alaska out of reach. Moreover, is Palin capable of some contribution or in possession of some quality that the country and the GOP pine to have?
A presidential run by Scott Brown. Again, did we miss him? Did he command such respect in his brief tenure in the Senate that the party craves? I am unaware of it.
A discussion of birth certificates. On Monday Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) released his birth certificate, which was both unnecessary and irrelevant. Except for a right-wing talk show host or two (maybe that is what drives Cruz), no one was demanding he produce it. Moreover, the issue — which is a nonissue — is whether his birth in Canada to a naturalized America citizen mother is “good enough” to meet the requirement that the president be a “natural born citizen.” If there is an issue, it is a constitutional one, which the courts — not a birth certificate — would resolve. This is just Cruz being Cruz. Again.
An automatic association of every move with presidential ambition. Texas Gov. Rick Perry goes to California for an appearance at a GOP gathering. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signs a bill outlawing gay “conversion” therapy for children. Anyone goes to Iowa. And bam! We’re off to the races. Is this a clever ploy, a mistake that will cost so-and-so the election, a sign the race is on? Well, is it?! Politicians sign bills. Politicians travel. Some later run for the presidency, and some don’t. But that doesn’t really fill the pundits’ bill for summertime “news,” does it?
A raft of 2016 presidential polls. I said this in the run-up to 2008 and to 2012, and I’ll say it again: These are meaningless for a very, very long time.
Another discussion of the state of journalism. Be it the future of The Post or the newspaper biz in general or the network evening news, nobody knows anything, as William Goldman said of Hollywood. (The latter was true, for how else to explain World War Z?)
Any discussion of a constitutional convention. God forbid. Talk about opening up a can of worms. If put to a vote, a lot of what is in there (e.g. free speech) might not get through the media and popular gauntlet. The last convention was in the 18th century (pre-blogs!) and held behind closed doors. Goodness knows what our Constitution would have looked like if the debate was publicized by 140-character Tweets. (BFranklin sleeping again #boredwithdrafting)