Editors' Blog

Can You Spare Us One Moment?

We kicked off our Prime membership drive on three weeks. And so far so good. But we need a lot of people who've always thought, "Yeah, I'll sign up at some point" to take a couple minutes right now and join our club, our team. It's not much: just a touch more than a pricey cup of coffee each month. ($50 annually; $4.99 monthly) As I noted, there are lots of features and site enhancements you get by joining Prime (more details on that here). But the best and most important reason is that it's critical to the future of TPM - because TPM is that rare thing, a truly independent publication. There's no big corporation behind us, no VC money, no generous philanthropist or foundation. We need to balance the books the old fashioned way. And to do that, we need a significant amount of our revenue to come from our readers. So can you stop for a moment, right now, and sign up? Just click right here. And from all of us, thanks.

Poll of the Day

Who do you think will win the Republican presidential nomination?

Since July we've been running an Insight Poll asking people who they believe will win the Republican nomination. As I've noted before, these are polls of center-left voters who rank as 'opinion leaders' or 'influencers' by a variety of metrics. In a sense, they're the last people you'd look to for insight on who's going to be the GOP nominee. But their opinions are valuable because, unlike Republicans, they have no dog in the fight. Since few if any of them are Republicans, they're not biased by who they'd like to see win. For people who closely follow politics, they're as close as you get to disinterested observers.

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Divine Comedy

Freedom Caucus member Trent Franks (R-AZ) here lists off a number of 'Valley Forge Americans' who could take the reins as House Speaker. Notably, they include hard core conservatives and Paul Ryan. For good measure he includes Newt Gingrich - remember, you don't actually have to be in the House at all to be Speaker, though the idea has never before been seriously considered.

What's notable here isn't so much the list but this harrowing, 'their finest hour' phrase "Valley Forge Americans", as though the US were Britain after the Fall of France or well ... the US facing the early death of the republic at Valley Forge.

Quite simply they've actually convinced themselves that they're in the midst of some grand world historical moment when in fact they're just floundering in derp.

We keep hearing how the Speakership is a thankless job and all the rest. Two hundred and twenty five years and no one has ever thought that. It's always been a job people have spent years, even decades striving for. It's always been wanted. Until now. It's comedy. Also, Valley Forge Americans ... We all know individuals like this. It's known as Borderline Personality Disorder. It's a clinical diagnosis. Not sure if there's a parallel for political parties.

Okay, It's Gonna Be Ryan

I was just watching MSNBC run through the Speaker scenarios which they define as 1) Paul Ryan caves 2) Boehner takes retirement mulligan and stays Speaker through January 2017 or 3) Miscellaneous freaks who can't possibly unite the caucus or be ready for prime time run. Then I saw Rep. John Mica (R-FL) being interviewed on CNN who said that Ryan has to become Speaker for the good of the country and that he himself had just told him that in person. So he can't refuse, says Mica.

The whole situation is comical. But the alternatives are just so ridiculous and the desperation of the House Republicans so manifest that I'd bet Ryan caves and becomes Speaker, possibly even with the Freedom Caucus telling him in advance they'll depose him. I just doubt there's any way he can resist the pressure.

Live Chat with Counterterrorism Expert J. Dana Stuster, Oct. 13th, 2 PM Eastern

We’re excited to announce that J. Dana Stuster, a counterterrorism expert and journalist, will be joining us in the Hive (sub req) for a live chat. Dana is a policy analyst at the National Security Network, and he’s written about the Middle East for publications including The Atlantic, Foreign Policy and Defense One.

He’ll be stopping by at 2 PM on Tuesday October 13th to answer your questions about the Iran nuclear deal, U.S. counter-terror policy, drone warfare, and the lingering effects of the American invasion of Iraq. Please drop there here at or before 2 PM on Thursday, and check out some of Dana’s articles below.

— Joe Ragazzo

Is Paul Ryan the Unicorn?

Clearly from everything we're hearing, basically every Republican is hoping, begging, pleading with Paul Ryan to run for Speaker. And it seems clear he has the votes and then some. But here's what's not clear to me. The premise of the Ryan boomlet or avalanche is that he has so much heft and power - or popularity which means power and heft - that the Freedom Caucus and associated folks will essentially say, Okay, cool no shutdowns or debt default hostage taking.

And that seems like a very questionable proposition.

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Can Facebook and Apple Kill the Internet? Part 1

Over the years, as I became more and more of a publisher and small business owner, and devoted more and more time to those roles, I sometimes thought that I'd write a better blog about Internet publishing than politics since so much of my headspace was necessarily involved in everything that goes into publishing. I've had to learn quite a bit about it because the success of TPM has depended heavily on that knowledge and being able to act quickly on it. At the same time, if you're interested in the future of the U.S. economy, technology, and how it all plays out in our economic and civic lives, there's no more important and frankly fascinating topic than the long-term struggle between a three-way nexus of companies fighting over the future of technology, telecommunications, and what we awfully but now inevitably call "content" - songs, articles, images, everything that minds devise and want to share with others, almost always for money.

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