HMM.Hey, Sid. You're happy. I'm happy. All God's children -- well, most of them anyway -- are happy, but what's the deal with this sentence?
Reagan drew his raw material for "morning again in America" from an idealized viw of his boyhood in Dixon, Ill. where his father was the town Catholic drunk, rescued at last only by a federal government job.
Does every little Illinois town have a Catholic drunk, a Methodist drunk, and a Unitarian drunk? Or is "Catholic" Sid-speak for "Irish"?
RAHMBO. I think Ryan Lizza more or less has the goods in his rejoinder to Rick Perlstein's piece, which had played down Rahm Emanuel and played up the netroots in assessing who should get the lion's share of credit for the Dems' House gains. Lizza points out that most of the candidates Perlstein cites as examples of netroots-backed and largely DCCC-ignored campaigns actually received plenty of financial and strategic support from the DCCC.
ROVE, MANDATES, AND POWER. I agree with Matt and Garance (who has a new blog) regarding Karl Rove -- 2006 should finally put to rest the idea that having a better record running national elections than Bob "Losing Pitcher" Shrum makes you some kind of super-genius.
VIEW ON GATES FROM INSIDE THE CIA. I just talked with someone we'll call a former senior intelligence official about the end of Rummy and the era of Bob Gates at the Pentagon. He's not very keen. Asked about Gates's rocky relationship with Dick Cheney, the ex-official comments, "That's for sure, with Cheney. Each time you think Bush realizes that Cheney doesn't give him the best advice, he just takes it. It's hard to see anyone defeating Cheney for Bush's mind."
So what does that mean for changing course? Not going to happen. "The hope what's going to happen with Congress -- gridlock, and that's not such a bad thing. You know, when you're in a hole, stop digging."
GATES AND THE UNDEAD. Sometimes, I bore the youngsters with tales of the Iran-Contra scandal, and I scare them with stories of how the Undead -- Abrams, Negroponte, etc. -- from that festival of criminality still walk the earth. Because its crimes went largely unpunished, it's in Iran-Contra where we clearly see not only the embryonic stages of the rogue authoritarian Executive, but also the very worst ways of dealing with it.
WHAT NOW?William Arkin has some of the smartest comments I've seen on what the Democrats' victory should mean for foreign policy:
There is not going to be an immediate pullout from Iraq. It will take time, and there will have to be a plan for what happens the day after. A stubborn administration will have to be convinced -- and then forced -- to accept the war's over. The Democrats will have to take responsibility for the consequences of their demand to end the war.
THE DISENTHRALLING. The new Democratic congressional majority has no job more critical right now than forcibly disenthralling the national Republican party from its worst instincts, and from its reliance on the worst in American politics as its primary enabling mechanism. It has fouled the national discourse. It has blighted the national politics. It created the conditions that made the current Executive cargo cult not merely possible, but inevitable. (It's hard to know where to begin, but it might help if important government officials stopped taking these folks seriously.)
FREE AT LAST. Having listened all day yesterday to the bleatings on wingnut radio, I was struck by the let's-make-lemonade-out-of-all-this-Santorum happy talk bubbling forth from the superstars of Radio Wingnuttia. They were happy -- nay thrilled -- not to have to defend any more the boobs, hucksters, and ideological turncoats of the Republican congressional majority. Neil Boortz was overjoyed, and Rush Limbaugh sounded like he was only eight milligrams short of religious ecstasy.
It just keeps getting worse. The NYT's "Economic Scene" is giving advice on investment based on the assumption that income tax rates may increase by 80 percent (that's percent, not percentage points) in the future. What is the basis for this projection? The basis is deficit projections that assume that per capita health care costs rise to 4 or 5 times the level in countries like Canada and Germany.
While this is not impossible, the best investment advice to give people planning retirement under such circumstances is to move to a country with a working health care system. Arghhhh, why does the NYT print such nonsense?
The NYT told readers today that reducing the alternative minimum tax (AMT) would "involve a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue." Hmmm, where could we find that money?
Actually, they meant hundreds of billions -- that's what the bill would be over a ten year budget horizon. Depending on the exact fix, you're talking in the neighborhood of 1-2 percent of projected revenue.