Like a lot of people, I spend a great deal of time noodling around the Internet.
Unlike a lot of people, I get to take a few notes and call it work. Viz:
• Who's the real conservative here? One of the hottest links on the liberal side of the Internet leads to an article posted on the website of The American Conservative. And it is being done without any irony or sarcasm.
The conservative credentials of the author, Bruce Bartlett, are or should be unimpeachable. He worked for Jack Kemp, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, The Heritage Foundation and The Cato Institute. In his essay, "The Revenge of the Reality-Based Community," he describes how his star began to fall in the conservative firmament when, during the George W. Bush years, he felt increasingly uncomfortable with a supposedly conservative administration doing such things as adding a hugely expensive drug benefit to Medicare without any thought of how to pay for it.
When he wrote about, or was quoted by others as expressing, his unease with the younger Bush, he found himself shunned by such conservative outlets as Fox News. He was also stunned to discover that many of his conservative friends were upset to find out that Bartlett had been known to try to find out what other people were thinking by reading such publications as, gasp, The New York Times.
This self-imposed thought force field other conservatives had built around themselves, Bartlett concluded, is precisely what led to the failure of the Mitt Romney presidential campaign.
• Also outside the bubble. Blogger extraordinare Andrew Sullivan, who considers himself a proper conservative of the Burkean bent, also had a lot to say about the intellectual poverty of the so-called conservative side of American politics. (He's also a big Jon Huntsman fan.)
His recent keeper, "Fox and unfriends," concludes, "Roger Ailes (head of Fox News) has helped kill conservatism in America, by never allowing it to criticize itself. When journalism puts power above truth it isn't, to coin a phrase, 'actual journalism'. It's propaganda."
• Required reading for policy wonks. Anyone who cares at all about real policy, not just which party is up and which candidate is down, must have Ezra Klein's Washington Post Wonkblog in his bookmarks.
Among his recent gems are an interview with journalist Chrystia Freeland, a writer who specializes in the doings of the filthy rich, about how so many members of that class were blind-sided by President Obama's victory over their favored Mitt Romney.
Calling Romney "the worst Wall Street bet since the subprime" mortgage market is just a reminder that these folks are not nearly as smart as they want us to think they are, and probably need to be regulated a lot more closely, especially when they are not playing with their money (campaign contributions) but with ours (federally insured deposits and too-big-to-fail banks).
Other useful posts include the projection that spending a few billion on extending unemployment insurance is good for the economy actually creating jobs because it keeps more money in circulation. Another finds statistical fault with the idea that high taxes on high incomes causes millionaires to flee the country or state that levies them.
• Good news for Romney fans. Another Washington Post-based blog, The Fix, has posted an essay entitled, "What Mitt Romney did right." For example: He raised a lot of money, acquitted himself well in the debates and held intra-party feuding to a minimum.
And he got invited to the White House for lunch.
George Pyle, a Salt Lake Tribune editorial writer, provides links to these and other interesting sources and essays at sltrib.com/blogs/debate.