• Bold Solutions? Why Can't the Columnists Talk About Them?

    New York Times economic columnist David Leonhardt seems to do a Jekyl and Hyde routine, alternating insightful analysis with painful renditions of the conventional wisdom. Mr. Hyde is out in all his glory today . First, he talks about the solution to the Social Security crisis (while correctly noting that Medicare poses a much bigger problem). Well, who told him that it's a problem? Yes, the projections show that we will have to do something in the next 40 years to change the program to fully fund projected benefits. But, it really isn't that hard to sit down and make up modest shortfalls, the Greenspan commission figured out a solution in less than a year back in 1983. There is no obvious reason that we can't put off these decisions for 20 or 30 years when we have a better idea of what the future looks like, After all, the country does have real problems today. Second, he goes through the story about health care costs requiring restrictions on expnesive drugs and procedures. In a...

    EXHIBIT A. Before the "Democrats Only Won Because They Ran A Bunch Of Republicans" meme gets set in stone, people should realize that the result in Tennessee pretty much obliterates a good piece of that theory. Harold Ford makes Bob Casey look like Emma Goldman , and he got handled pretty well by the nebbishy Bob Corker . (And the voters down there should be ashamed that the odious TV ad worked as well as it did.) Ford talked about Jesus, guns, and his own heterosexuality, and he lost to a guy so nondescript that he has no shadow. --Charles P. Pierce

    "THE VOTES ARE IN AND WE WON." Spencer is happily prescient. Conservative Democrat or not, it's nice to have a Democrat in a crucial race who understands politics . In a recount, you have to seize the initiative and establish the right narrative: Webb did it. Good for him. --Scott Lemieux

    A QUESTION FOR BUSH'S PRESS CONFERENCE TOMORROW. "Mr. President, you said last week that 'However they put it, the Democrat approach in Iraq comes down to this: The terrorists win and America loses.' Did the American people just vote for the terrorists last night?" --Spencer Ackerman

    THE BIG ISSUES. CNN's election coverage has been really superb. Smart, fair, informative analysis that managed to keep the focus on actual results without tumbling into constant political speculation or prophesizing. And the War Room style worked well, with Wolf Blitzer and Company wandering around a massive set rather than sitting at a table. Visually, that worked far, far better than the traditional seated set-ups of the other networks. It also allowed the anchors to take up less visual room, and give more to the giant screen and its sweet, sweet election results. --Ezra Klein

    WEBB NEEDS TO DECLARE VICTORY. Jim Webb needs to take a page out of Bush 's 2000 playbook and declare victory now . I was in Austin on election night 2000, and the second that Bush confidently told supporters he won, the momentum changed entirely. Bill Daley was left pleading that the race was an open contest, and for the next excruciating 36 days, Al Gore was painted as -- you all remember Sore Loserman. Webb is a Marine through and through. He has to know the value of seizing the high ground, whether or not he actually occupies it. Please, Senator Webb: speak to your supporters, and thank them for providing you your victory. Force George Allen and Dick Wadhams to whine about your premature announcement. Do it loud, do it proud, and reclaim the Senate. --Spencer Ackerman
  • WHOA. Just...

    WHOA. Just watched George Allen 's not-quite-a-concession speech. Did he seem drunk to anyone else? --Ezra Klein

    SERIOUSNESS. Hey, Lynn Swann , nice Super Bowl. Thirty years ago, you millstone you. Took down a whole state al most by your lonesome. Ohio used to be fun, too, didn't it, boys? Has anyone seen Ken Blackwell 's pants running down the street by themselves yet? Meanwhile, Don Sherwood seems to have choked late in the campaign, while Rick Santorum 's career has gone to the dogs. I'm sorry. Carville and Begala -- and the rest of y'all here -- can put on your Serious People Of Purpose masks and try to stifle the giggles. I'm in for a big old helping of some full-throated schadenfreude this evening. Hey, Jim Leach , you sweater-wearing fud, you don't think I remember that you were one of the first people to grandstand on Whitewater? And John Sweeney , I hope John Lewis walks by your office and spits on the packing boxes piled up there in memory of your thuggish moves down in Florida in 2000. The Gingrich Revolution -- born in spittle and rage, wounded by chronic corruption and reckless...

    WHAT'S RIGHT WITH KANSAS. In addition to retaining the governorship under the able leadership of Kathleen Sebelius and the third district under Dennis Moore , Kansas Democrats picked up the second district and, even more satisfyingly, kicked out the attorney general, Phill Kline . Kline was a particularly loathsome politician who, in an effort to wrest the social con crowd, subpoenaed the records of women who'd had late term abortions. He was beaten by Johnson County's DA, Paul Morrison . --Ezra Klein

    EVEN SOUTH DAKOTA HAS POSTIVE NEWS : Not only is the draconian aboriton ban heading for defeat , but the ridiculous initiative to impose retrocative legal liability on judges is going down by an 80-point margin. --Scott Lemieux