Opening Act: Etch

Alexander Burns, who’s quickly becoming the bard of the Stupid Voter, looks at how the campaigns invent ridiculous nonsense.

One campaign’s cheap shot is another campaign’s moment of self-revelation. Sometimes those labels get swapped in only a matter of days. It was Stewart, Santorum’s press secretary, who declared Wednesday afternoon that Fehrnstrom’s quote “confirms what a lot of conservatives are afraid of” about Romney.

It was Gingrich — last seen groaning loudly about the unwillingness of the “elite media” to foster a substantive, positive debate — who claimed Romney’s team had sent a grave warning about how they’d behave if Republicans are “dumb enough to nominate him.”

Bill Maher calls for a truce in the umbrage wars.

The answer to whenever another human being annoys you is not “make them go away forever.” We need to learn to coexist, and it’s actually pretty easy to do. For example, I find Rush Limbaugh obnoxious, but I’ve been able to coexist comfortably with him for 20 years by using this simple method: I never listen to his program. The only time I hear him is when I’m at a stoplight next to a pickup truck.

When the lady at Costco gives you a free sample of its new ham pudding and you don’t like it, you spit it into a napkin and keep shopping. You don’t declare a holy war on ham.

Brad Plumer, meanwhile, is reporting from the front of the solar wars.

It’s hard to predict how tariffs might affect innovation. At the moment, low Chinese prices are spurring some U.S. manufacturers to experiment with new technologies, like thin film, that helps drive down prices even further. Would that innovation continue with less competition from China? Or do U.S. companies that are breaking in with innovative new ideas need higher prices, driven by tariffs, to gain a foothold in the market?

Yesterday gave us one of the most aggressively silly news cycles of the campaign. Hurry up, Thursday.