Early Returns

Worried About Refugee Screening? You're Not a Bigot

Jonathan Bernstein's morning links.

1. At the Monkey Cage, Sam Power has a useful comparative perspective on corruption and campaign-finance reform.

2. Dan Drezner at the Washington Post is unimpressed with Chris Christie’s courage.

3. At Mischiefs of Faction, Seth Masket has a story of real political courage from World War II.

4. Barack Obama explains how he came to understand just how little influence presidents have. Vox’s Andrew Prokop gives the background, including quotes from Richard Neustadt, the late presidential scholar, and from some of Obama’s predecessors. The president is the single most powerful actor in the U.S. political system, but it’s a system of shared powers, meaning no single person “runs” the nation. Great quote from Obama.

5. Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick on Justice Kennedy and choice.

6. Here at View, Paula Dwyer looks at Wall Street money and Hillary Clinton.

7. Dan Larison at The American Conservative isn’t thrilled with Jeb Bush’s “strategy” on Syria.

8. Also at Slate, Jamelle Bouie looks back at the history of the U.S. and refugees.

9. And I agree with Kevin Drum: Liberals should stop mocking worries about refugees (see also his follow-up). Why shouldn't people know about how refugees are screened before they are admitted to the U.S.? Why shouldn’t their initial impulse be to want to play it safe? Stereotype-filled thinking at such moments doesn’t mean someone is a hardcore bigot; it means he or she is human.

Acting on such thinking is another thing, as is embracing it rather than resisting it. And supporters of letting refugees in should not give up. But treating all opposition as yahooism and bigotry isn’t correct, and what’s more important is it won’t change anyone’s mind.

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    Jonathan Bernstein at jbernstein62@bloomberg.net

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