a note on SMO

May 13, 2009

Steal My Opinion is still publishing! We just aren’t posting previews as often as we used to. If you want a preview of a week’s topics, or a few opinion sheets, just email us.


the specter manifesto

April 28, 2009

It’s an important point that Arlen is representing a state that, three years ago, was represented by two Republicans, one of whom was Rick Santorum. Specter’s evolution from centrist Republican to centrist Democrat is, if anything, an accurate reflection of the political make-up of the state. This isn’t New York or Massachusetts we’re talking about; it’s Pennsylvania. For every Philadelphia voter there’s plenty of rural, even suburban voices who don’t deserve to be marginalized entirely, regardless of how progressives in urban areas think about them. At the same time, 200,000 Pennsylvanians changed their registration from Democrat to Republican in 2008. They aren’t liberals; why can’t Arlen be one of them?

It’s disingenuous to suggest that Specter’s ‘flexibility’ on certain issues, usually ones that are red meat for his party that he doesn’t personally care about, or rhetorical crap that means little outside the campaign season, means he’s a valueless conman. Don’t we always bemoan the primary system that marginalizes moderates in both parties and polarizes the debate in this country? Specter made a great point today when he pointed to Chafee, Wilson, and others who were moderates forced out by right-wing ideologues. He could have just as easily mentioned Lieberman, who was able to overcome the problem thanks to the lack of a sore loser law in Connecticut. His dashes to the right are because he wanted to remain a senator. There’s nothing wrong with people having a centrist viewpoint and wanting to remain a senator. There is something wrong with a system that doesn’t let centrist incumbents remain centrist come primary time. Specter’s lucky that he has enough popularity in Pennsylvania to be able to make the switch and land on his feet. Young centrists should be so lucky.

Adding centrist Democrats to the party ranks, especially at the expense of centrist Republicans, can only be good for party building. Would you rather a caucus meeting be a war room, where like-minded folks all tried to figure out the best way to stick it to the enemy, or would you rather our elected officials be forced to have real debates about the best way to enact the agenda they believe is best for the country? The United States is definitely not a center-right country, but, if anything, it’s center-left, and that’s what we have now.
Pennsylvania’s Class III Senate seat is a sure win for Democrats in 2010, and the best argument against welcoming Specter into the caucus with open arms now is that the party could find a much more suitable candidate. That’s almost certainly true, and would make Pennsylvania a reliable source of two progressive votes for the first time ever, and, assuming demographic trends hold, it would remain so for the foreseeable future. Still, what’s wrong with a gradual transition? Especially a transition like this. It shows that the Republican party, after becoming a clear minority party, are still hemorrhaging members – and moderate members at that! The Democrats are going to be in power for a long time as long as this trend keeps up, and remaining attractive to moderates will put more D’s in the seats. To complain about a switch like this is not in the long-term interest of the party.

If Congress hadn’t grown so acrimonious lately, cloture wouldn’t be so important, the Senate would look outrageously liberal, and Specter’s defection would be meaningless. As it stands, Specter’s switch is a protest against the very system that makes 60 senators a requirement to pass an agenda. Specter will play ball with the Democrats’ agenda because he knows if they abandon him, his career is over. But let’s hope he uses his voice in the caucus room to build a stronger, more developed party that will retain power and relevance for a very, very long time.


Steal My Opinion: Week 11 Preview

March 12, 2009

Amidst the hand-wringing, wailing, and rending of garments, a voice of wisdom emerges. Want it to be your voice, but don’t feel like acquiring the wisdom on your own? Check out what’s on offer from Steal My Opinion this week, and you can be wise without trying.

As always, the full weekly edition of Steal My Opinion is only a buck a week, and is sent every Thursday afternoon, just in time for the cocktail party circuit.

THIS WEEKS TOPICS
Current Affairs
Republicans Demand a Spending Freeze: Is this the right move?
Pork and Earmarks: Putting aside the colorful terms, why should I care?
The Chas Freeman Affair: First off, who is he? Second, was this the right outcome?

World Affairs
Tragedy in Harare: What will Morgan Tsvangirai’s accident mean for the future of Zimbabwe?
Pope Admits He Should Have Googled Wichard Williamson: What on earth is going on over there?
School Shooting in Germany: Is no one really talking about this? Are we not human?

Business & Economics
Madoff Sentenced: Is this over?
Mark-to-Market: What is the deal there? Who is right?

Arts & Life
Jon Stewart vs. CNBC: Who’s right in the smackdown?
Bill Kristol’s Replacement at the NYT: Who on earth is Ross Douthat?

This post is a promotion for Steal My Opinion, a weekly e-mail newsletter that gently suggests what and how people should think. We promise not to mobilize our readership to take over the world, as long as you promise not to share the contents of our e-mails with non-paying subscribers. It’s your opinion, anyway, so why would you want to share it? To sign up for Steal My Opinion, email steal.my.opinion@gmail.com.


Steal My Opinion: Week 10 Preview

March 5, 2009

On the edge of the apocalypse, here’s ten more handcrafted opinions. Incidentally, one of them addresses whether or not it’s actually the apocalypse.

As always, the full weekly edition of Steal My Opinion is only a buck a week, and is sent every Thursday afternoon, just in time for the cocktail party circuit.

THIS WEEKS TOPICS
Current Affairs
Health Care in the Budget: Is it enough? Is it the right time?
Tax Increases Now??: Isn’t that crazy?
The Housing Plan: Good or bad?

World Affairs
Omar Bashir Indicted: What should happen now?
Gordon Brown Goes to Washington: Some trip, huh?
Global Stimulus Packages: Who’s good, who sucks?

Business & Economics
Stock Market Super Slide: What is going on and when is this ending?
Immigration and the Stimulus: What were they thinking?
AIG: When will it end?

Arts & Life
Watchmen: Worth watching?

This post is a promotion for Steal My Opinion, a weekly e-mail newsletter that gently suggests what and how people should think. We promise not to mobilize our readership to take over the world, as long as you promise not to share the contents of our e-mails with non-paying subscribers. It’s your opinion, anyway, so why would you want to share it? To sign up for Steal My Opinion, email steal.my.opinion@gmail.com.


Steal My Opinion: Week 9 Preview

February 26, 2009

The State of the Union That Wasn’t following up The Week of Steal My Opinion That Wasn’t. Hope you didn’t miss us too much during the off week; Team SMO took a much needed retreat where we all did trust falls and stole eachother’s opinions. Speaking of which, here’s ten more handcrafted opinions to boost your image.

As always, the full weekly edition of Steal My Opinion is only a buck a week, and is sent every Thursday afternoon, just in time for the cocktail party circuit.

THIS WEEKS TOPICS
The Presidential Address
President Obama Delivers: Why did this speech matter?
Health Care Reform: Do we really want this to happen now?
Education Policy in the Speech: Did he say the right things?
The Single Best Line in the Speech: What statement sent us off our chair?
The Republican Response: Besides the hilarious, what did it tell us?

World Affairs
Pakistani Supreme Court Denies Sharif: Is there any hope for the country?
Drug War in Mexico: Is the United States moving in too late?

Business & Economics
Allen Stanford: The new Ponz, same as the old Ponz?
Night of the Living Dead Banks: What’s up with stress tests, and why do the banks matter?

Arts & Life
The New Season of 24: A disaster for popular perceptions of Africa? Is it accurate?

This post is a promotion for Steal My Opinion, a weekly e-mail newsletter that gently suggests what and how people should think. We promise not to mobilize our readership to take over the world, as long as you promise not to share the contents of our e-mails with non-paying subscribers. It’s your opinion, anyway, so why would you want to share it? To sign up for Steal My Opinion, email steal.my.opinion@gmail.com.


Steal My Opinion: Week 7 Preview

February 12, 2009

Want your valentine to think you got smart just for her? Want to woo away someone else’s with your impressive command of the facts on the issues of the day? Here’s ten more handcrafted opinions to help you do either this weekend.

As always, the full weekly edition of Steal My Opinion is only a buck a week, and is sent every Thursday afternoon, just in time for the cocktail party circuit.

THIS WEEKS TOPICS
Current Affairs
Peanut Butter Tragedy: Are these people villians?
Bill Gates’ Mosquito Stunt: Point made or pointless?
Fareed Zakaria’s Show on CNN: Is this the best current affairs programming ever?

World Affairs
Israel’s Election: Who won and are we happy?
al-Bashir Ordered to The Hague: Did the ICC do the right thing?
Zimbabwe: Will it ever get better?

Business & Economics
Stimulus Reconciled: A bill we can live with?
TARP 2.0: What is going to be different, and will it actually work?

Sports & Life
A-Rod Tested Positive: Can we admit that all sports are filthy dirty?
A 10-year-old Takes Westminster: Did Stump deserve it?

This post is a promotion for Steal My Opinion, a weekly e-mail newsletter that gently suggests what and how people should think. We promise not to mobilize our readership to take over the world, as long as you promise not to share the contents of our e-mails with non-paying subscribers. It’s your opinion, anyway, so why would you want to share it? To sign up for Steal My Opinion, email steal.my.opinion@gmail.com.

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Steal My Opinion: Week 6 Preview

February 5, 2009

The groundhog may be predicting six more weeks of winter, but I’m predicting 47 more weeks of handy-dandy opinions hand-crafted by our opinionated research team. They read and think so you don’t have to!

As always, the full weekly edition of Steal My Opinion is only a buck a week, and is sent every Thursday afternoon, just in time for the cocktail party circuit.

THIS WEEKS TOPICS
Current Affairs
Tom Daschle Withdraws: Should he have gone?
Taxes, Taxes, Taxes: What’s with all the problems?
Peanut Butter Follies: What’s the matter with our food-safety system?
New Contracts for DC Teachers: What does this mean for tenure?

World Affairs

Iraq’s Election: How’d that work out?
The Pope’s Un-Excommunication: Why does it matter?

Business & Economics
Limits on Executive Pay: Is this anything more that a populist reflex?
The Stimulus: Is it progressing in the right direction?
‘Buy American’ in the Stimulus: Good Idea?
Crappy Economic Numbers this Week: Will it never end?

This post is a promotion for Steal My Opinion, a weekly e-mail newsletter that gently suggests what and how people should think. We promise not to mobilize our readership to take over the world, as long as you promise not to share the contents of our e-mails with non-paying subscribers. It’s your opinion, anyway, so why would you want to share it? To sign up for Steal My Opinion, email steal.my.opinion@gmail.com.