Opening Act: Judgment Day

A fact you did not need to know: The “Judgment Day” in the Terminator films, when Skynet went acting and started nuking the bejesus out of its creators, was actually fifteen years ago. In reality, computers connected the world in a massive internet, and we used it to send each other gifs of cats. Also, I am basically back from my mandatory, invigorating “Fresca” leave. First drafts of a multi-part prog rock series are in. Back to politics – on such a slow day, too. Democrats burn up with outrage over Pennsylvania Rep. Mike Turzai bragging about Voter ID laws. “Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania. Done.”

The Republican leader’s comments were seized upon by state Democrats and political bloggers on both sides of the spectrum.
This was said at a state GOP convention, so the way I hear it: “We’ve finally stanched the fraud, which was the only reason we ever lost Pennsylvania in close races.” Conservative grassroots belief in voter fraud is widespread and intense, and home runs like James O’Keefe’s ballot-prank videos reinforce that belief. Plus, this is Pennsylvania, where two assholes in New Black Panther garb at one polling place became the national symbols/evidence of dark Obamaian threats to white voters. (I’ve been to that polling place, by the way. Almost entirely black voters.) Matt Taibbi talks about Tom Friedman the way that an Arcade Fire fan in 2004 talks about them when they win the Grammies.
Reality shows are popular because Americans love freaks – they love people who eat testicles or drop unexpected newborns in their sweatpants or get so awesomely obese they become fused to their chairs for years at a time, not even getting up to go to the bathroom. They love cable news shows for the same reason – the freak spectacle of an ostensibly college-educated person pretending to have a serious opinion about some news event he heard about eight seconds ago.
I guess where I’m going with this is that from the standpoint of the news commentary business, Friedman has eaten more testicles and squeezed out more unexpected babies into his mtaphorical sweatpants than all of the rest of us pundits combined.
Funny enough, Friedman is one of the few columnists that people quote to you when you leave the beltway. A year ago I was at the Aspen Ideas festival, watching Friedman speak to an overflowing ballroom of wealthy people, wowing them with ideas like Bowles/Simpson running on the Americans Elect ticket.