Archive

  • DEMOCRACY IS IN...

    DEMOCRACY IS IN THE STREETS. Kenneth Baer and Matt Yglesias are also digging into the question of whether or not Democratic presidential candidates should or will take the military option off the table when discussing Iran. What I'm not seeing from any of the candidates, though, is one of the most compelling arguments against military action and saber-rattling, and the one that most clearly hoists Bush on the petard of his own rhetoric: Taking military action against Iran is the surest route to destroying the organic pro-democracy movement in Iran and strengthening the mullahs against it. Far from quickening regime change, U.S. military action would rally Iranians around their present leaders, and lead to even stronger crackdowns on dissent. "We need to be able to give the democrats room and space to be able to maneuver," National Iranian American Council president Trita Parsi said yesterday . "Nothing has hurt the pro-democracy movement more" than the present stand-off. "The more the...
  • WEAK OR WRONG?...

    WEAK OR WRONG? Tom writes that, "the 2002 war vote, instead of making [ Hillary ] look tough on defense, makes Hillary look like somebody too weak to stand up to a president and, thus, perhaps, too weak to be one." I think that's rather wrong. First, I think as a general rule (I know Tom doesn't mean it in a gendered way), "weak," with a woman candidate, is a word sort of like "articulate" with a black one, and we should be careful with it. A lot of Democrats voted for that war, and no one is calling Ben Nelson , or John Edwards , or Joe Lieberman , or Richard Gephardt, weak. Meanwhile, I don't think Hillary was weak, I think she was wrong. All evidence suggests that she's a fairly genuine liberal interventionist type, rather hawkish on issues of intervention and military deployment. That's fine. And her current unwillingness to say she was wrong comes, one might imagine, not because she's weak, but because she doesn't think she was wrong. As she's said very clearly, knowing what she...
  • 5000?

    5000? Make sure to read the NYT article on the slides generated during planning for the Iraq war. The slides themselves are available from GWU. Hilzoy has good commentary. The story, incidentally, is written by Michael Gordon, well known arrogant stenographer and best friend of the administration ... --Robert Farley
  • HILLARY AND WEAKNESS.

    HILLARY AND WEAKNESS. In the past week alone, four columns in the Washington Post have raised the issue of Hillary Clinton�s 2002 Iraq war resolution vote, and the problems it is causing her and her campaign: Following Clinton around New Hampshire, Ruth Marcus concludes that, �Democratic primary voters don�t want Kerry esque parsing. �Let the conversation begin,� Clinton�s banners proclaim, but she�s not saying what many of them want to hear -- words like �mistake� and �sorry.�� Bob Novak adds , �What�s wrong with Clinton was demonstrated by the Feb. 4 performance on NBC's 'Meet the Press' of a competitor, former senator John Edwards , who displayed the qualities she lacks. He took firm positions and admitted error, in contrast to Clinton's careful parsing.� Admitting his own errors in supporting the war, Richard Cohen says he does not �condemn Clinton [and other Dems running for president]�for voting for the war because I would have done the same. I fault them, though, for passing...
  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: A NEW HAMPSHIRE GHOST.

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: A NEW HAMPSHIRE GHOST. Harold explains why Hillary Clinton might become the Ed Muskie of 2008. --The Editors
  • THE IRAN OPTIONS....

    THE IRAN OPTIONS. I spent much of the day at the National Iranian American Council/New America Foundation conference, "US-Iran Relations: collision, stand-off, or convergence?," about which more tomorrow, so am just getting around to Ezra 's item . I'd like to agree with the commentator who argued that it would be a politically disqualifying act for any presidential candidate to take military action off the table in dealing with a country that is a potential regional threat, and that it would be folly for any group on the left to demand this of them. There are basically three options for handling Iran: 1) Engagement. As was recommended by the Iraq Study Group, talks could potentially begin over security questions involving Iraq, and move from there to other issues, such as Iran's nuclear aspirations. Democrat Jane Harman of California, the conference's luncheon speaker, recommended this approach, as well as economic sanctions. 2) Containment. Conference speakers noted that, in...
  • FALSE NOTES FROM GUILANI'S HOUSE ORGAN.

    FALSE NOTES FROM GUILANI'S HOUSE ORGAN. During Rudy Giuliani 's tenure as mayor of New York City, the conservative periodical City Journal , associated with the Manhattan Institute, functioned as a sort of house organ. They justified Giuliani's policies with a neoconservative critique of the welfare state and urban underclass social norms, while helping to churn out the policy ideas he implemented. (Indeed, they boast in the first paragraph of the "About" page of their website, "During the Giuliani Administration, the magazine served as an idea factory as the then-mayor revivified New York City, quickly becoming, in the words of the New York Post , 'the place where Rudy gets his ideas.' The Public Interest goes further, calling City Journal �the magazine that saved the city.�) So it should come as no surprise that they are now flacking for Giuliani's nascent presidential campaign. There is a very long article by Steven Malanga in the new issue of City Journal , claiming that Guiliani...
  • POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: V FOR VENDETTA.

    POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: V FOR VENDETTA. It's a veritable Valentine's Day massacre as conservative outfits mobilize to protest "V-Day" productions of The Vagina Monologues today. Ann discusses what these groups are really objecting to, and what they're really advocating. --The Editors
  • KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS.

    KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS. The WaPo humorously pointed out today that while the House debates the non-binding resolution on the troop surge, Bush scurried to a seemingly more friendly YMCA, where a little boy ruined the photo-op with a peace sign. Bush told him to, "Put your hands down." In the last line of the story, one kid said, "My favorite president is President Obama ." --Kay Steiger
  • WHY AMERICAN HEALTH...

    WHY AMERICAN HEALTH CARE COSTS SO MUCH. The nonpartisan McKinsey Group has released a study called "Accounting for the Cost of Health Care in the United States." The idea, as the title suggests, is to figure out, in a rigorous and methodical way, why we pay so much more than any other developed country. To do this, McKinsey constructed the Estimated Spending According to Wealth (ESAW) index, which adjusts cross-national health spending for increases per capita earnings (you would expect, after all, that a country which makes more money would pay more for care) and creates a clean baseline for comparisons. On this metric, we overpay to the tone of $477 billion per year, or $1,645 per capita. The question is why. ( Note: From here on out, most numbers refer to the amount we spend above what ESAW would predict ) The very short answer is that we pay more for units of care. McKinsey estimates that it is not higher disease prevalence. Differences in health account for only about $25 billion...

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