Waiting for the outrage

The Trent Lott story is still huge in the blogosphere (see Jeff Cooper’s summary, with links) and dead outside it. The right blogosphere is at least as angry as the left. If anyone is defending what Lott said, I haven’t seen it. But the mainstream media is eerily silent. Glenn Reynolds is almost as puzzled about the weird silence as he is angry about Lott’s mouthing off . Make that two of us.

Keven Drum offers what seems like the right answer to Glenn’s question about why the right-bloggers seem angrier than the left-bloggers: they’re surprised and hurt, and we aren’t really surprised (except that Lott said what we already mostly thought he believed) and aren’t hurt at all.

And just in case you’re tempted to swallow the line that Lott’s comment was a joke or an ad-lib, Kevin has posted a link to the tape. (It comes at about minute 33.) Lott is clearly following a script — he even leaves in one of those “X was a friend of mine and you’re no X” lines after Dole has already used it. The camera cuts away to Thurmond as Lott delivers the line, but when it cuts back there’s no hint of a smile.

Matthew Yglesias wants to know why Northeastern Republican moderates don’t form their own regional party and hold the balance of power. Good question. But I think the answer is easy: they couldn’t get elected on the “Bull Moose” ticket. The regular Republicans would run candidates against them, splitting the right-of-center vote, and the Democrats would win. In the short term, they could caucus as a third party, bargaining over which party gets to organize the Senate and demanding their own allocation of committee assignments. But they’d be in big trouble come election time. Money would be hard to raise, and they might not be able to win Republican primaries against the conservative opposition they’d be sure to draw. Ask Dick Riordan.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com