Read Stuff, You Should: Republican Choices

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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Happy birthday to Andres Torres, 37. That’s a five-win season in 2010, seemingly out of nowhere. I continue to think that it wasn’t a total fluke -- he was a quality player for whom things didn't quite go right the rest of his career. I could be wrong. Anyway, one of my favorites.

New week, new good stuff:

1. Seth Masket at Mischiefs of Faction argues that parties can help save state legislatures. I suppose so. Still, it isn't ideal, though it’s better than atrophied legislatures or legislatures in the pockets of interest groups (and I like interest-group influence -- just not as the only influence). Extra-legislative parties are likely to be national these days, not state-level in scope, thus forfeiting the advantages of federalism by implementing one-size-fits-all solutions. And, even worse, only being aware of national-level problems. Anyway, good post.

2. Also at Mischiefs of Faction, from Jason McDaniel: Very nice analysis of the Republican presidential nomination process, focusing on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

3. At the Monkey Cage, Andrew Wolff looks at the foreign policy portions of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

4. James Pethokoukis at National Review makes the case for Senator Marco Rubio. Wishful thinking (about Rubio as a policy entrepreneur), perhaps? Maybe, but better than talking about the “establishment” and “insurgents.”

5. I was unkind to The Fix's Chris Cillizza on Friday, but he does a very good job handling Sarah Palin’s non-campaign for the presidency. (The context is that, over the weekend, she claimed to be seriously interesting in running, which she isn’t.) Yes -- taking her seriously is insulting to the real candidates; Cillizza might add that it’s also insulting to Republicans.

6. Good reporting from National Journal’s Sarah Mimms about Jeb Bush’s lack of presence on Capitol Hill. More of this sort of coverage, please.

7. And Martha Derthick, a scholar of federalism and public policy, has died. Paul Nolette at The New West has an appreciation.

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To contact the author on this story:
Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

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Max Berley at mberley@bloomberg.net