NEW YORK—The gloves are off at the head of the pack in the GOP primary, with Gingrich and Romney trading blows on the campaign trail yesterday. And things are getting fun! Romney called on Newt to return the $1.6 million the latter earned doing history for Freddie Mac, which: yes! But then? Newt responded by saying he’d entertain this if and only if “Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he’s earned bankrupting companies and laying off employees over his years.” Which: also yes!! You guys just keep on being you, Newt Romney.
But! This is all beside the point of course, because we’re entering that stage of the silly season when candidates start talking about how all they want is a Positive Campaign and how the party can’t win the general if the candidates Go Negative and newspapers start asking readers how they feel about Negative Attacks. Moral of the story: *rolls eyes*.
The Supremes have agreed to hear arguments in Arizona’s controversial immigration law—but look, we just did that thing that everyone always does, calling this terrible thing “controversial,” a word that suggests both sides of the debate here hold water. Which of course is ridiculous, because this thing isn’t very controversial at all, just plain stupid. But anyway! The court’s decision to hear arguments on this will only further politicize their docket in advance of the 2012 election, a docket which already includes hearings on the Affordable Care Act. Prepare to hear even more about nine (or eight, depending!) unelected and unaccountable justices legislating from the bench.
Occupiers staged a west coast port shutdown yesterday, successfully stopping business at ports in California and Washington. Across the country, Baltimore city police moved in this morning to evict Occupiers from McKeldin Square. Reports suggest the eviction went as peacefully as these things can go, which is nice. Though media outlets have now officially run out of opportunities to refer to the McKeldin Park occupation as Hamsterdam (we’re divided on whether this would have been amazing or awful).
President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met in Washington yesterday to talk postwar stuff, and we just want to say what a nice thing it is to be regularly hearing this word “postwar,” however qualified it may be.
Now even though the war in Iraq is “over” that’s not going to stop Blackwater—the private security contracting firm and PR disaster formerly known as “Xe,” recently rebranded to “Academi”—which evidently wants back in after the Nisour Square shootout (massacre? massacre.) left seventeen civilians dead. Blackwater’s made a few big hires of late, including former Attorney General John Ashcroft and, in the role of CEO, Kellogg Brown & Root veteran Ted Wright. As Spencer Ackerman points out, asked yesterday, “Notice a pattern? All have deep experience with crisis management… All of those hires either worked in senior government positions or worked closely with those who did. That signals confidence in the company’s traditional business — getting big government contracts to protect diplomats, aid workers and even the military in dangerous places.”
So, LOL: FOX News head honcho Roger Ailes is writing a memoir! As Gabriel Sherman notes at New York, “Ailes’s decision to write an autobiography could have serious implications for both Fox News and the future of the Republican Party… The fact that Ailes is working on a book suggests that he may be thinking of stepping down following this presidential election, when his contract expires in summer 2013.”
And it looks like the Times got self-aware today: “Millionaires on Food Stamps and Jobless Pay? G.O.P. Is on It” reads today’s story on the GOP plan to subsidize a middle class tax cut by denying foodstamps and unemployment benefits to millionaires. We can’t wait to see what will happen when @NYTOnIt tweets about it.