Fodder. 2016-04-04

Each week in this space we will have a post compiling a few things we have been reading, watching, and digesting that week that have helped us process our political moment. It will be everything from news stories and op-eds to poems and creative non-fiction. Enjoy the first post of Fodder!

The Primary That Disqualified the Qualified – Robert Draper, The New York Times Magazine

“Whether anyone noticed it at the time, the electoral outcome of the 2013 shutdown would have direct implications for the 2016 Republican presidential field. As Republican anger over Obama’s perceived inability to lead both at home and abroad gave rise to the summer, fall and winter of Trump, it became harder for the candidates in the establishment lane to extol the virtues of sensible governance….Besides, as Trump’s ideological waywardness would attest, Republican voters did not seem to be fixated on whose portfolio was the most conservative. They wanted to know who was spoiling for a fight.”

Changing Positions: A Meditation for Campaign Season – Richard Chess, Image Journal

A poet’s reflections on the current campaign season. “I want to believe a politician can grow a heart wider and deeper than the heart he was born with, the heart she has borne for decades. I want to believe that a narrow and hardened vision can be replaced with a vision of a nation moving toward tenderness.”

Why People Are Confused About What Experts Really Think – Derek Koehler, The New York Times

“Government action is guided in part by public opinion. Public opinion is guided in part by perceptions of what experts think. But public opinion may — and often does — deviate from expert opinion, not simply, it seems, because the public refuses to acknowledge the legitimacy of experts, but also because the public may not be able to tell where the majority of expert opinion lies.”

The Obama Doctrine – Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic

(note: this piece is a long one, but is very worth the time commitment if U.S. foreign policy is important to you)

“If you are a supporter of the president, his strategy makes eminent sense: Double down in those parts of the world where success is plausible, and limit America’s exposure to the rest. His critics believe, however, that problems like those presented by the Middle East don’t solve themselves—that, without American intervention, they metastasize… George W. Bush was also a gambler, not a bluffer. He will be remembered harshly for the things he did in the Middle East. Barack Obama is gambling that he will be judged well for the things he didn’t do.”

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