Quick Takes

* Is Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in trouble when he even loses Ken Starr?

Ken Starr, the former Reagan administration appeals court judge who spent years investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton, thinks Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should hold hearings and a vote on President Barack Obama’s choice to succeed Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court…

But Starr also granted Garland a ringing endorsement to fill the conservative jurist’s vacant seat.

“He’s superbly qualified,” said Starr of Obama’s nominee.

* I know it’s still too early to pay much attention to general election polls. But jeeze…this is Georgia we’re talking about.

* While no one seems to pay much attention, John Kasich is racking up a ton of gaffes on the campaign trail. Jonathan Chait noticed this one:

John Kasich’s travels in New York brought him yesterday to a Jewish bookstore, where he met students of the Talmud. Having thus met people who spend their entire day scrutinizing religious texts, Kasich’s reaction was to ask them if they were aware of facts about those texts that they probably knew as very small children. “They sold [Joseph] into slavery, and that’s how the Jews got to Egypt. Right? Did you know that?” For those who never attended Sunday school, this is a bit like visiting MIT, wandering into a physics lab, and asking people if they ever heard of this guy named Isaac Newton.

* If you remember, North Carolina Republican legislators called a special session and passed the odious bill allowing discrimination against LGBT Americans in one day. Gov. Pat McCrory signed it the same day. Democrats walked out of the special session in protest after being given about five minutes to read the bill. But as Kerry Eleved says…”NOW McCrory wants a dialogue?” Of course, now that his state is losing millions of dollars from boycotts. Here’s what McCrory said during a recent interview:

What we need is dialogue, instead of threats. […] I see at the national level with presidential politics, I see even with this issue with the threats and the letters and the boycotts—I don’t see conversation. I don’t even see people reading things before they threaten to boycott. Why don’t we have a conversation?

* A couple of days ago, I posed the question: Is uncertainty a liberal value? A reader sent me a quote from Saul Alinsky’s book, Rules for Radicals, that leaves no doubt about where he stands on that question.

This book will not contain any panacea or dogma; I detest and fear dogma. I know that all revolutions must have ideologies to spur them on. That in the heat of conflict these ideologies tend to be smelted into rigid dogmas claiming exclusive possession of the truth, and the keys to paradise, is tragic. Dogma is the enemy of human freedom. Dogma must be watched for and apprehended at every turn and twist of the revolutionary movement. The human spirit glows from that small inner light of doubt whether we are right, while those who believe with complete certainty that they possess the right are dark inside and darken the world outside with cruelty, pain, and injustice. Those who enshrine the poor or Have-Nots are as guilty as other dogmatists and just as dangerous. To diminish the danger that ideology will deteriorate into dogma, and to protect the free, open, questing, and creative mind of man, as well as to allow for change, no ideology should be more specific than that of America’s founding fathers: ‘For the general welfare.”

* Finally, I can’t even begin to express how much I love this PSA from the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.