Archive

  • Takings: NPR Gets Taken

    National Public Radio (NPR) did a piece today on a series of ballot initiatives in western states that would prohibit regulatory �taking.� �Takings� in this context are defined as government regulations that reduce the value of property. This could happen, for example, if the government limited development on a plot of land in order to prevent congestion. NPR bought the right-wing story on this one hook, line and sinker. The piece portrayed the issue as a tough moral call between the rights of the individual and the interests of the larger community. I hope they got a big contribution from the takings crew. Let�s get back to reality. The government takes actions all the time that both decrease and increase the value of property. It builds airports and roads that make the property accessible. It constructs schools, parks, and streetlights that have the effect of making property desirable and safe. The rugged individualists in the takings story are not sending checks to the government...
  • IRAN: IRAQ DEJA VU?

    IRAN: IRAQ DEJA VU? I've got to agree with The Nation �s Ari Berman on Bush 's speech to the United Nations today. Following on the heels of retired General Sam Gardiner 's statements on CNN last night that we are already dispatching forces to Iran, the administration's continued hardline approach toward Iran does seem to suggest they may already have designs -- beyond mere contingency plans -- for military strikes. This catches Democrats in quite a bind. They want to keep the focus on Iraq for the midterms. At the same time, as focus on Iran grows, they will be caught in a 2002 redux: to acquiesce to aggressive action or risk being painted as dovish. More on Iran can, of course, be found at Matt �s site . --Ben Adler
  • JUST REMEMBER.

    JUST REMEMBER. Every time McCain does something that Richard Cohen likes, his chances of winning the GOP nomination decrease. So, rather than get upset when center-libs throw themselves at McCain, you folks ought to rejoice, because every instance of such makes it that much less likely that the R�s most formidable man will gain his party�s support. --Michael Tomasky
  • HELP EZRA HELP US ALL.

    HELP EZRA HELP US ALL. 'Tis the season for liberal magazine fundraising drives. This month we've been running a donation campaign through our weekly email subscriber list to raise funds for our writing fellow program and other projects here at the Prospect . And we wanted to make sure Tapped readers got a chance to kick in some dough as well, if they're so inclined. You all know who our current writing fellow is. It's Ezra . Check him out, determined and focused, spreading liberal light at his usual million-words-per-minute clip: To be frank, Ezra doesn't get paid much. He's here because he cares. And the Prospect isn't a money-making juggernaut. We absolutely depend on reader donations to keep the magazine, the website, and our various projects -- like the writing fellow program -- going. Only a portion of our money comes from subscribers. For the rest, we rely on you. Alumni of the writing fellows program include Nick Confessore , Mark Greif , Chris Mooney , and most recently Matt...
  • WHY DO LIBERALS...

    WHY DO LIBERALS HEART MCCAIN? That more liberals are showing their support for John McCain publicly may be frustrating, but should also come as no surprise -- liberals have been for some time his single strongest group of supporters. This was well-documented by the Pew Research Center report Beyond Red and Blue in May 2005. The Pew Center found that liberals -- defined as people who were "the most opposed to an assertive foreign policy, the most secular, and take the most liberal views on social issues such as homosexuality, abortion, and censorship....strongly pro-environment and pro-immigration" -- were twice as supportive of McCain as any GOP sub-group: Sen. John McCain is extraordinarily popular among Liberals, drawing a positive rating among this group that is actually a bit higher than among Republicans generally (66% vs. 61%). However, his favorability ratings among GOP typology groups are significantly lower than Giuliani's or those of the president and other administration...
  • ONE-AND-A-HALF CHEERS FOR WARNER.

    ONE-AND-A-HALF CHEERS FOR WARNER. Okay, he�s trying to fashion himself the common-good candidate, so naturally I hold a soft spot in my heart for Mark Warner . So take that for what it�s worth as I offer an alternate theory of the case to Ezra �s . Here, to me, is the big 2008 picture (assume for the moment no run by Gore ). You have Hillary . You have Edwards , who is now, by dint of a primary calendar that is so incredibly Edwards-friendly that I find it hard to understand why the other campaigns let it happen, a sort of co-front-runner. They�re your Jordan and Pippen , if you don�t mind a metaphor that exposes how long it�s been since I closely watched professional basketball. After them, your card is full of indistinguishables -- at this point. But one of the B-level players will distinguish himself. Why? Because there will be concern (or, is concern) that HRC is not electable for personal reasons, and that Edwards is not electable for ideological reasons. So the Graham Greene...
  • A STARTLING ADMISSION.

    A STARTLING ADMISSION. From President Bush 's address to the United Nations: "Freedom by its nature cannot be imposed. It must be chosen." That he thinks so is news to me, although I couldn't agree more. --Ben Adler
  • FRUSTRATING SUPPORT FOR MCCAIN UPDATE.

    FRUSTRATING SUPPORT FOR MCCAIN UPDATE. I'm afraid we may have to make �Liberals for McCain � a regular Tapped feature, a la Ezra 's Gorewatch. Jonathan Chait and Jacob Weisberg pioneered this trend, then Nicco Mele of EchoDitto joined the chorus, and today so did Richard Cohen in The Washington Post . Their rationales vary -- in fact, they conflict. Chait and Weisberg pursue the "he doesn't really mean all those rightwing votes he casts" argument, while Cohen uses a logic more like Mele's: He's a man of principle, and though I disagree with him and X on Y, he'd make a great president. Here's Cohen: [W]hile the Democrats are awash in potential presidential candidates, they have nobody who even remotely approaches McCain's stature. I say this not because I agree with McCain across the board -- not on abortion, for sure, and not on Iraq, and not with his bellicose statements regarding North Korea -- but because he embodies a quality for which the country yearns: integrity. He is a man of...
  • MEDICARE MEETS MEPHISTOPHELES....

    MEDICARE MEETS MEPHISTOPHELES. I spent last night at D.C.'s best bookstore/coffee shop, Politics and Prose, reading through David Hyman 's new book Medicare Meets Mephistopheles . Hyman is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute, and his book, as you may have guessed from the title, takes as its conceit that Medicare is a demonic program sent to encourage all manner of deadly sins and, eventually, bring down the American republic. Spending so much time in the blogosphere, where libertarians are over-represented, I occasionally forget that libertarianism is a distinctly fringe ideology. Seeing them (jokingly) suggest that the massively popular and successful (if deeply in need of reform) system of health insurance for the elderly has Satanic origins helpfully reminds me of that fact. That said, the book is actually quite good. I'd happily recommend it to anyone with a basic grasp on health care and a desire to learn a bit more about Medicare. Hyman is a felicitous and fun writer, and...
  • CHECKING IN ON WILLARD-MITT.

    CHECKING IN ON WILLARD-MITT. Hey, it's Primary Day here in the Commonwealth (God save it!). Three decent Democratic candidates have been vigorously belaboring each other for the right to face Republican Lieutenant Governor Kerry Murphy O'Faolain O'Flaherty Maud Gonne Healey in the general election. (There is also an Independent candidate named Christy Mihos , and he's probably the happiest candidate since Hubert Humphrey bubbled off this mortal coil, but he has less chance of being governor than he does of swimming to Greenland.) Now seem like a good time to check in on the only governor we actually have, Willard Mitt Romney . What's he up to? Well, he's out there being an idiot. As you know, Willard Mitt wants to be president, but one of his biggest problems is that he's a high-rent Mormon, and an awful lot of the folks around the country were raised to believe Mormons had two heads and both of them pagan. Willard Mitt needed an issue to reach these folks and, since all the...

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