Reihan Caves? No, Reihan Moves

Andrew linked to this post and noted,

He also hasn’t responded to this comment:

She didn’t tell the congress anything about building or not building the bridge, but she kept the earmark money and Alaska built an approach road to where the bridge was going to be. So she supposedly said, “I don’t want your stinking money for the bridge, we’ll build it ourselves. Oh by the way, that only applies to the bridge, we’ll take your money to build the approach road.”

She does seem to have scaled back on earmarks, but she was very very earmark friendly earlier in her administration and as mayor of Wasaillia. Again, all this is available in news reports and on video.

Reihan, you are the last person I thought would be engaging in partisan spin. I thought you wanted a new party.

First, I’ll just note that it’s an honor to be linked by Andrew.

It’s very rare that I respond to comments. I actually didn’t even read the comments to that post, but I’m very glad Andrew flagged it for me. He is a careful and attentive reader, which is why he is so indispensable to the blogosphere. I happen to disagree with the thrust of the comment in question — I find the characterization I linked to reasonable and persuasive, which is why I linked to it. It’s not clear to me that cw, one of our favorite commenters around these parts, read Professor Ramey’s take. My summary was pretty crude. Zeroing out the project as governor was a big deal.

As for engaging in partisan spin, I’d submit that Professor Ramey was trying to add context — he acknowledged that Palin’s remarks are misleading, for example. Andrew writes that I’m defending Palin’s massive public lie. I wonder if this is an example of selective scrutiny. Was Obama lying about his views on preferential trade agreements during the primary campaign, for example? No. But as Obama acknowledged in an interview with Nina Easton, his views became overheated and amplified during the course of the campaign, which happens a great deal in campaign rhetoric. Palin’s role in rolling back the Bridge to Nowhere has clearly been “overheated and amplified” for purposes of political advantage.

But I had another reason for not responding: I was moving today. I’ve moved from the house I’ve lived for two and a half years to an apartment a few blocks south. I had the help of two really cool professional movers, one of whom is one of the masterminds behind T-Shirt Insurgency, a little company that makes great lefty T-shirts. (I particularly like “Do You Trust Your Children Alone with High Fructose Corn Syrup?”)

Daniel Larison also has a forceful, smart take here, which Andrew links in his post. Daniel also has a follow-up here, which uses my remarks as a jumping-off point. The nice thing about Daniel is that he consistently, rigorously applies his high standards of honesty and integrity to both campaigns. That’s not true of all critics of the presidential candidates.

Do I regret referring readers to Professor Ramey? Nope. I really do think “lying” isn’t the right way to characterize what’s happening here — flip-flopping, however, clearly is fair, and that’s been, to his credit, a key part of Obama’s critique of Palin. Palin’s approach to the Bridge to Nowhere smacks of rank opportunism, not unlike the use by some basically pro-trade candidates of harsh anti-trade rhetoric.

I have to say, anarchism is looking pretty good to me these days.

I mean crunchy anarchism, Malagasy style. The following is drawn from Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, by David Graeber.

While people made rhetorical reference to Malagasy as equal and united “like hairs on a head,” ideals of economic equality were rarely, if ever, invoked; however, it was assumed that anyone who became too rich or powerful would be destroyed by witchcraft, and while witchcraft was the definition of evil, it was also seen as peculiarly Malagasy (charms were just charms but evil charms were called “Malagasy charms”). Insofar as rituals of moral solidarity did occur, and the ideal of equality was invoked, it was largely in the course of rituals held to suppress, expel, or destroy those witches who, perversely, were the twisted embodiment and practical enforcement of the egalitarian ethos of the society itself.

I think I’m going to curtail hasty political blogging, comrades.