Wiretap: Remembering George Michael, understanding Putin and why the right is falling in line

GOP addicts

As Tea Partiers and mainstream Republicans fall in line behind Donald Trump, fiscal conservatism — the all-consuming ideology in the Obama era — seems to be falling away. The only possible answer, writes Ezra Klein for Vox, is that partisanship is one hell of a drug.

Puzzling it together

Nate Cohn thinks he’s solved the puzzle of how Hillary Clinton lost to Trump. It wasn’t just James Comey or Wikileaks, he writes. Before either came on the scene, he says, Clinton was already losing hold of the Obama coalition and she never got it back.

Take it back

The Clintons turned  the Democratic Party over to donors. Can Democrats now get the party back? Via the Guardian.


How did Michelle Obama get from the “whitey” tape to being one of the most popular political figures in recent memory? Via the New Yorker.

For how long?

After the United Nations resolution condemning Israeli settlements, can Netanyahu still be both pro-settlements and pro-two-state-solution? Via the New York Times.

Inherit the earth

It’s not just the Supreme Court that is set to undergo a big change. Trump will inherit 103 federal court vacancies — double the number that Obama inherited from Bush. Via the Washington Post.

How to elect a president

Two anti-Trumpists debate, in separate columns, on whether the Electoral College is the right way to elect a president. E.J. Dionne says there’s no reason why the presidency should be the one office not subject to direct democracy. George Will writes that, yes, two of the last five presidents lost the popular vote, but the only people who consider that a scandal are those who “make a fetish of simpleminded majoritarianism.”

Stop right there

From the National Review, did some on the left really believe that in the Republican National Committee’s Christmas greeting, they called Trump the “new King”?

Out of sight

To understand how Putin operates, all you have to do is read the Russian media and note the news Russian readers never see. Via the Atlantic.

Last Christmas

George Michael dies at 53. Rolling Stone writes that he went from teen “pretty boy” to “outspoken pop force.” Here are twenty essential songs.
Photo credit: MandyJC72, Creative Commons, Flickr