Quick Takes

* Long-time friend of the Washington Monthly and former Political Animal blogger Kevin Drum has written the most courageous article I’ve read in a very long time. It is titled: My Right to Die: Assisted Suicide, my family, and me. I’m not going to attempt to summarize, comment or pull quotes from it. I’ll simply suggest that you click on the link and read the whole thing. Godspeed, Kevin.

* The big news today for insider political junkies is that Chris Hughes, publisher and chairman of the New Republic, announced that the publication is up for sale (interesting that he made the announcement on Medium, not at his own web site). For some background about Hughes’ short tenure at the publication, I’ll simply point you to an article John Judis wrote a year ago.

* Paul Krugman thinks there is a lesson for Republicans in The Obama Boom.

From a conservative point of view, Mr. Obama did everything wrong, afflicting the comfortable (slightly) and comforting the afflicted (a lot), and nothing bad happened. We can, it turns out, make our society better after all.

* Supreme Court watchers saw some troubling signs for public sector unions from the justices review of a case today.

The justices appeared divided along familiar lines during an extended argument over whether government workers who choose not to join unions may nonetheless be required to help pay for collective bargaining. The court’s conservative majority appeared ready to say that such compelled financial support violates the First Amendment.

* People who know Attorney General Loretta Lynch don’t seem surprised that she’s kept a pretty low profile. According to Marin Cogan, that’s how she rolls. Apparently she shares another personality trait with her boss.

Her agenda would be ambitious even if it weren’t coming amid what amounts to a national freak-out about public safety — whether the fear is directed toward guns, the police, terrorists, or the government itself. “I understand people are concerned. I understand that they’re afraid. It’s human to feel that fear and that concern. People want to be safe — I understand that—that’s why I’m here. That’s my job,” she says. But as she’s watching the country flip its collective gourd, she’s concerned, she says, “that people, out of understandable fear and concern, are falling into this trap, are falling into a rhetoric and a dynamic that our enemies want us to have. I always resist that.” In that way, Loretta Lynch is much like her boss: She refuses to freak out.

* And finally, as we approach tomorrow night’s state of the union address, Kevin Freking writes that the after the speech, the show might be coming to a town near you.

Cabinet members will be traveling around the country in the coming days to help promote President Barack Obama’s State of the Union proposals.

The White House says the “road tour” is geared toward highlighting pressing issues facing the country such as climate change, health, criminal justice and access to opportunity. It will come after Obama gives his State of the Union address Tuesday night outlining plans for his final year in office.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .