A CONSENSUS, FOR WHAT IT'S WORTH.Kevin Drum is optimistic about the emergence of a new consensus encompassing most everyone "outside of the neocon crazies and the rabid partisans." Sadly, the governance of the country has been entrusted to neocon crazies and rabid partisans.
END OF AN ERA? It looks like Toyota is on track to pass GM as the world's largest automaker next year, and last month, they passed Ford to become America's second leading car company. Their second quarter income rocketed up 39.2 percent, and their July sales increased by 12 percent. GM and Ford, meanwhile, saw sales drop by 23 and 24 percent, respectively.
WHAT MORTAL DANGER? "I do not see that one can fairly oppose the Israeli campaign against Hezbollah," writesLeon Wieseltier, "without asking a state to acquiesce in a mortal danger to itself." A shockingly large number of Israel's supporters seem to have convinced themselves this is true, but there's just no way Hezbollah's sporadic pre-war rocket launches and cross-border raids can be construed as a mortal danger to Israel.
TRIFECTA. It was a big -- and, oddly enough, good -- night in the Senate, as Democrats rejected the mutant estate tax/minimum wage hybrid and passed pension reform. Props, of course, go to Harry Reid for asserting that working folks don't need to deprive the government of $750 billion in revenue that'll shore up Medicare and Social Security in order to get a slight pay hike. Of course, one of those pesky anonymous Republican aides chortled, "We won the last 2 elections and beat Tom Daschle by campaigning against Democrat obstructionism. This could be the gift we were looking for." Don't bet on it.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DEMOCRATIC DILEMMAS. Liberals cheered the passage of the Voting Rights Act extension last month, but Columbia political scientist David Epstein, who's done research on race and redistricting, makes the case for feeling some ambivalence. At issue is the interplay of majority-minority districting and Republican dominance in the South, a dynamic that has vexed progressives for many years now:
ARE NEWSPAPER READERS LEARNING? This isn't really my thing, but there's something absurd about Carl Hulse�s writeup of yesterday's Senate action on the estate tax cut and minimum wage bill for The New York Times. Hulse covers this kind of thing professionally and has been writing about this specific bill for a while and presumably isn't some kind of moron.
When it comes to Social Security, the Washington Post editorial page and the truth never enter the same room. The editorial page is probably the country�s main promoter of the �entitlement� problem. This is the trick in which Social Security is lumped together as an entitlement, with Medicare and Medicaid, and then pronounced a huge problem.
COW STEREOTYPES.Ezra keeps mentioning that Jonah Goldberg has an interesting mind. Okay, I'm willing to be convinced. However, this kind of crap is, ah, not doing the job. I could take this far more seriously than it deserves to be taken and point out how thoroughly those "rugged cowboy types" -- Gooey! Dripping! Steaming! as Frank Zappa once opined -- depend on the largesse of the federal government and its grazing policies.