A “Handful of Things” Are “Probably OK”

That is what Senator Mitch McConnell said about the Affordable Care Act in an interview with Corbin, Kentucky TV station WYMT. Talking Points Memo points out that in a normal political environment this would not qualify as news. But we are in times that philosopher Blaise Pascal nailed over three hundred years ago: “Two extravagances: to exclude Reason, to admit only Reason.” We have the crazies, still crazy after…well, it just seems like a lot of years. And we have President Obama, who does often make a truth-telling prophet out of another Frenchman, Michel Foucault, who (as Jonathan Israel has paraphrased him) saw the Enlightenment insistence on the primacy of reason as another mask for the exercise of power. Yesterday’s blog post, for example, was about Obama’s denial last Friday of any ulterior motive or interest in either himself or the NSA vis-a-vis surveillance of American citizens’ emails. C’mon, you’re not anonymous, we can see through.

Senator McConnell’s reelection campaign manager, on loan from Rand Paul, thought he was speaking privately when he was caught on tape saying he would be holding his nose the next couple of years working for the non-crazy, non-true-believer, pre-embalmed old turtle McConnell. But what he said is no surprise: it is obvious where the Republican passion is these days. It says something that he has not yet lost his job.

Hillary Clinton is likely to have a wholly different challenge in ’16 vs ’08: not laughing out loud at the nutty things that Republicans will say about how the world ought to be. If she just counts to three and then says how she sees things, she should be in.


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