Archive

  • THE GINGRICH WHO...

    THE GINGRICH WHO STOLE FREE SPEECH. Gene Healy has an elegant, and important, takedown of Newt Gingrich 's craziness, which is too often forgotten these days. It's sort of a problem: Democrats and media types are so happy to see a conservative who's serious about policy that they appear willing to overlook the fact that he's a nutball loon. Healy, helpfully, reminds . --Ezra Klein
  • THE SPIRIT OF...

    THE SPIRIT OF HOHO. I disagree with Badler that you can attribute Bayh and Warner 's exit from the campaign to "a presidential run gets longer, more expensive, and more personally invasive every cycle." Both of them were among the top non- Hillary fundraisers in the race, so neither left for lack of cash. As for longer and more invasive, well, that's certainly a detractor, but they knew that when they started testing the waters. I've trouble believing they would've exited if the race thought it would end in the Oval office. As for the involvement of Howard Dean in all this, the Democratic Party is now one that he and his movement created. Dean was, of course, little more than a vessel for the base's eruption of anger at the party establishment, but the influence his ascendance had on presidential primary strategizin' is incalculable. That, plus the disastrous trajectory of Iraq and the Donkey's 2006 performance, has convinced most observers and strategists that the base aches for, at...
  • THE POWER OF...

    THE POWER OF BAD MEDICAL METAPHORS. Kevin Drum 's post about George Packer 's New Yorker piece on the conceptual error contained in the phrase "war on terror" and how it distorts our counter-insurgency thinking -- for example, by keeping us from treating terrorism as a social network problem rather than a military one -- reminded me of a concern I have about the the metaphor of Islamic terrorism as cancer, which is something I've been hearing commentators say for years ( here's one blog round-up of some instances ). What if Islamic terrorism isn't like cancer at all, but rather like eczema ? That is, what if the proper treatment for the condition is not surgical excision, but rather, an anti-inflammatory to calm things down? The idea encoded by the metaphor of cells that grow malignant and out of control and which must be eliminated is very different from the one behind the notion of highly-irritated cells that cluster and rash up at, say, the site of a mosquito bite. Cancer requires...
  • HOT OFF THE PRESSES: THE JAN/FEB PRINT ISSUE.

    HOT OFF THE PRESSES: THE JAN/FEB PRINT ISSUE. The latest print issue of the Prospect has come out; you'll want to take a look. Ezra 's cover story profiles three of the new progressive Dem governors voted into office in November and poised to push serious and consequential liberal reforms at the state level: Ohio's Ted Strickland , New York's Eliot Spitzer , and Massachusetts' Deval Patrick . Elsewhere in the magazine: Robert Borosage traces the growing electoral isolation of conservatives and the Republican Party they control. Brad Plumer reports on the push by arms manufacturers to weaken federal controls on armament exports. Ann lays out the political significance of new findings that RU-486 might be used to treat cancer. Sasha Polakow-Suransky reviews Jimmy Carter 's hot-potato Israel-Palestine book. And Mark Schmitt explains why November's elections proved that Karl Rove was � right after all! Also included is a special report on sustainable urban living and, free to non-...
  • THE REAL REASON NO ONE RUNS

    THE REAL REASON NO ONE RUNS : Not to take anything away from Howard Dean , but I'm not sure where Ezra -- himself a former Deaniac -- finds the causality between Dean's campaign and the progressive tilt of possible Democratic candidates in 2008. First, I think a couple notes of caution are in order: the only major prospective candidates who opposed the Iraq War from the start, Obama and Gore , have not declared and may still not run. It's true that even if they do not run, two of the major candidates who are more certain to run, Edwards and Kerry , have found their voices in opposing the war. But they have done so more strongly after the 2004 campaign, suggesting to me that they were influenced not by Dean but by the deteriorating situation in Iraq and the public's losing patience with it. I think Ezra's observation about Warner and Bayh , that with the party moving to the left they saw no significant niche to Hillary's right, is astute. But I also think one could as easily attribute...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: BARE NECESSITIES.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: BARE NECESSITIES. Graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi 's latest is the tale of her great-uncle, a famed musician who loses his beloved instrument and his will to live. Writes Noy Thrupkaew : Plums is Satrapi's most structurally daring narrative, and perhaps her most subtle in its depiction of her hotbed homeland, Iran. In her past three works, Satrapi has made a name for herself by braiding together intimate, memoir-ish narratives with Iranian history. In Plums , a eulogy to the death of pleasure, Satrapi works on both the personal and political scale once again. Her references to Iran are more allusive than in her previous works, but just as haunting. Read the whole thing here . --The Editors
  • THE POST-DEAN PRIMARY....

    THE POST-DEAN PRIMARY. Evan Bayh 's decision to forego the 2008 campaign is an interesting one. Bayh joins with Mark Warner and Russ Feingold as serious candidates who, in an open year and facing a broad field, decided to ease off the trigger and unload the gun. And the three of them make for an illuminating bunch. Warner and Bayh were both supposed to uphold the New Democrat consensus, the triangulating Southern moderation perfected by Bill Clinton . Feingold, on the other hand, was supposed to play the insurgent, the serious lefty in a field Hillary had tilted right. But a funny thing happened on the way to the caucuses. In presidential primaries, "space" is the definitional attribute. Niches get filled, interest groups sated, and constituencies satisfied. And so it has happened in the Democratic primary. Hillary has settled on the center, while all of the excitement and other candidates have veered to the left. Obama, Edwards, Gore -- say what you will, but this crew currently...
  • SMELLS NICE.

    SMELLS NICE. Via Drum , see this American Footprints rundown on the Iranian elections, which did not go well at all for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies. The post makes an important point at the end: "The results will certainly please Western capitals. Not that we should expect any major shifts in Iran's foreign policy, which in any event isn't controlled by Ahmadinejad." Meanwhile, was Ahmadinejad's list of allied candidates really called the "Sweet Scent of Service" coalition? Is that alliterative in Farsi? --Sam Rosenfeld
  • W STANDS FOR...

    W STANDS FOR WOMEN WAHABBISM. During the build-up to the Iraq war, you may recall various Bush apologists who have less than no interest in women's rights domestically using women's rights in other countries as a prop to advance the administration's foreign policy (often spiced up with dishonest claims that American feminist groups ignore violations of women's rights in Islamic countries). Exactly how the Iraq War was supposed to improve women's rights was unclear, and not surprisingly replacing a brutal secular dictatorship with a quasi-state beholden to Islamic radicals for social control has made things even worse : Life has become more difficult for most Iraqis since the February bombing of a Shiite Muslim mosque in Samarra sparked a rise in sectarian killings and overall lawlessness. For many women, though, it has become unbearable. As Islamic fundamentalism seeps into society and sectarian warfare escalates, more and more women live in fear of being kidnapped or raped. They...
  • IRAQ: GROTESQUER AND GROTESQUER.

    IRAQ: GROTESQUER AND GROTESQUER. Sam sounds a powerful call in his last post : While Reid's line on this, taken word for word, is quite logical and in keeping with his call for withdrawal, I too must admit to yearning for a cessation of all deliberate ambiguities and bank-shot calculations in Democrats' stated reactions to the president's Iraq plans, now that the policy direction under discussion is set so squarely in the face of overwhelming public opinion, as well as basic humanity. Of course I'm sympathetic to this. But I don't want to see the right succeed at hoisting the albatross of the lost Iraq war around the left's neck. That will get us two, three, many Iraqs. It goes a little something like this (hit it): Democrats take over Congress in 2007. Bush begins a troop increase, allegedly in the name of bringing the war to a desirable conclusion. It has all sorts of anticipated ill effects: increased deaths, increased chaos, mounting strain on the military. Bush demonstrates no...

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