GALBRAITH. It's not the biggest deal in the world, but I'm a little disturbed that neither Robert Rubin, Peter Orszag, or Jon Chait appeared to know where John Kenneth Galbraith's concept of Countervailing Powers comes from. Rubin appears to think it's from a book called Countervailing Powers, which doesn't exist. No one else even heralds a guess.
RIGHT UP TO YOUR FACE AND DIS YOU. National security adviser Steve Hadley is in Iraq today to deliver a message to the disobedient administration of PM Nouri al-Maliki: He wishes "to reinforce some of the things you have heard from our president." That being, in general, "Can't you just do as we say? You know, be a 'leader'? Disband the militias? Secure the country? Let us get some soldiers home, or at least announce something by, say, November 6?"
MORE ON RELIGIOUS VOTERS.Amy Sullivan and Addie Stan know more about the religion issue than I do, so I�d like to get their opinions on the risks of going for the evangelical vote -- it strikes me that even the smartest, most heartfelt attempts to lure evangelicals away from the GOP to the Democrats are not without risks. First, it will be hard and rather costly to try to break them away. In 2000, Southern Baptists voted 88 percent against the Southern Baptist candidate, Al Gore. That doesn't strike me as attributable to Gore�s lack of religious identity or facility in talking about his faith.
NO REALLY, WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? On the heels of yesterday's discussion of religion and the Democrats comes this fascinating New York Timesarticle on outreach to evangelicals in Ohio by Democratic candidates Ted Strickland (in the gubernatorial race) and Sherrod Brown. After years of longing, I have finally heard from Strickland, an ordained Methodist minister, words of faith I had prayed to hear from a Democratic candidate:
CNN POLLS FIVE KEY SENATE RACES. With just a week to go before the midterm elections, CNN released a new poll this morning on the five states political observers are watching most.
* Missouri -- Sen. Jim Talent (R) and state Auditor Claire McCaskill (D) are right where they've been all along, tied at 49 percent support each. However, the CNN poll showed that expanding the field to registered voters (instead of likely voters) shows McCaskill ahead, 51 percent to 43 percent.
Not one of the "Blue Chip" 50 economic forecasters saw the coming of the 2001 recession in the fall of 2000. How could 50 intelligent informed observers make independent assessments of the economy and fail to see a major event that was right in front of their eyes. The obvious answer is that forecasters do not make independent assessments. They try to make sure that their foecasts are consistent with the rest of the forecasts. This way, if they are right, they can be happy. And, if they are wrong, well, who could have known?
ABRACADABRA. Having tracked the religious right's rise over the last two decades, I must say that, unlike Scott and Sam, I find the argument, rendered via Amy Sullivan, over whether or not the religious right is a tool of the man, or poised to become the man himself, largely irrelevant; either way, we wind up with law written by self-appointed religious sages.