URLs du Jour


your heaven is a dangerous place to play

■ We continue our backward march through Proverbs with Proverbs 16:1:

1 To humans belong the plans of the heart,
    but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.

AKA: "Man proposes, God disposes." Very similar to Proverbs 19:21. But the same advice applies: don't let this deter you from maxing out your retirement fund contributions.

Reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward has thoughts on Why It's So Hard to Get Pervs Out of Politics.

Politics is a high-stakes, winner-takes-all game with irresistible appeal to a certain kind of low-quality human being. There are typically only two viable candidates in any national race, and voters have a lot invested in the idea that bad things will happen if their guy loses.

That means that if their guy turns out to be, say, an unrepentant pedophile, there will be plenty of voters who pause for a minute and wonder whether having an unrepentant pedophile in office who will consistently vote the way they want is worse or better than having a non-pedophile who will consistently vote in a way that they believe will undermine the American experiment. Partisan duopoly creates powerful incentives to wear blinders about the flaws of your preferred candidate, and to make excuses for failings too glaring to deny.

It's interesting that "naked lust for sex" will get politicians in trouble, but "naked lust for power" (arguably more dangerous) will get them applauded and rewarded.

■ Oprah Winfrey gave a big speech at the Golden Globe Awards, and suddenly… @kevinNR asks the musical question: Why Not President Oprah?

Of course she is categorically unqualified for the office. But have fun imagining Republicans making that case in the shadow of Donald J. Trump, Very Stable Genius™. Oprah’s formal educational attainments are modest, whatever political ideas she has seem to be largely undeveloped, and she has an obvious and regrettable weakness for quacks and cranks of sundry sorts: anti-vaccine nuts, Dr. Oz, doctors who use Tarot cards to diagnose thyroid problems, etc. She is a one-woman public-health menace.

At the same time, she more than embodies the virtues attributed to President Trump: She’s a real billionaire, a self-made one at that, a woman who started with nothing and became wildly successful with bupkis to go on but her own grit and shrewdness. President Trump loves to talk about ratings. You want ratings? Oprah has ratings.

I can honestly say that I've never watched an entire episode of Oprah, and of course I skipped the Golden Globes entirely, so I am blissfully ignorant of her appeal. But I can imagine a lot of Americans asking Kevin's question: After Trump, yeah, why the hell not?

■ Virginia Postrel states it clearly: Oprah Is the Living Symbol America Needs Now. But there's a twist…

Forget Oprah Winfrey for president -- for all the reasons cited by my Bloomberg View colleague Jonathan Bernstein. We don’t need another political newbie in the Oval Office. But the response to her eloquent Golden Globes speech demonstrates a craving, and not just on the left, for skills she’s already mastered.

She knows how to represent the country in a unifying and inspirational way. Note the numerous shoutouts to men, from Sidney Poitier to TV executive Dennis Swanson to “some pretty phenomenal men,” in a speech that could easily have become male-bashing.

She’d make a terrific head of state. And we need one.

Unfortunately, there's no Constitutional niche for "Head of State". The Founders kind of dropped the ball there, failing to anticipate that we'd start looking at the President for inspiration, hope, and other general bullshit.

Ms Postrel footnotes that Oprah relies heavily, and unusually, on non-disclosure agreements to keep her privacy. Would that continue to work in a presidential campaign?

■ The Babylon Bee perceptively notes the Nation’s Progressives Suddenly In Favor Of Electing TV Personalities As President.

Moments after Oprah Winfrey gave a rousing speech at the Golden Globe Awards Sunday night in what some claimed to be the soft launch of her 2020 presidential bid, the nation’s progressives declared they were now in favor of TV personalities running for president.

Millions of Democrats who denounced Donald Trump for his lack of experience throughout the 2016 race announced they had changed their minds overnight and are now fully supportive of a television star running the country.

Well, good luck with that.