Archive

  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: NO MIDDLE GROUND. As Spencer promised below, here's his take on the Iraq Study Group's confused report -- and why Heidi Klum could teach this commission a thing or two. --The Editors
  • WHY, BAYH? ...

    WHY, BAYH? Luckily for Evan Bayh, John Judis 's savage recounting of his role in the 2001 Bankruptcy Reform bill has been obscured by the release of the ISG. But it really deserves a bit more publicity: Feinstein offered a very mild amendment to the bankruptcy bill. It capped the debt limit on credit cards for minors at $2,500 unless they could obtain parental consent or proof of financial independence. Dodd 's amendment was somewhat tougher. Companies could only sign up minors if their parents co-signed the credit card agreement or if the minors could prove financial independence or agreed to take a financial management course. Both amendments lost--Feinstein's by 55 to 42 and Dodd's by 58 to 41. The great majority of Democrats voted for these amendments, but not Bayh. He joined the credit card companies and the Republicans in opposing both. Bayh, during this period, was 10th in the Congress for credit company donations. But forget merely voting for their reprehensible bill, Bayh...
  • MORE IMPORTANTLY?

    MORE IMPORTANTLY? I spent my morning at the Iraq Study Group's press conference on the Hill. (I'll have a piece for TAP on all this imminently.) Many bizarre things were said, but one that revealed the ISG's midset particularly well was this, courtesy of co-chair Lee Hamilton : "We have one last chance at making Iraq work, and, more importantly, one last chance to unite this country on this war." Jigga what? Why is it more important to rally the country behind a war that has only "one last chance" to it? Why is it important at all? What's the virtue of uniting behind a mission that's crashing and burning? And, if you believe that it's really important to "win" (or, at least, "not lose") the war, why would you possibly think that uniting the country behind that objective is even more important than the objective itself? --Spencer Ackerman
  • WHAT IF WE...

    WHAT IF WE JUST ASK NICELY? Matt , whom we all miss terribly, has a terrific summary of the ISG report. As he notes, there's a somewhat sad dynamic underlying all this, which is that even good policy and competent leadership can't obviate the fundamental tensions and rivalries powering the annihilating devolution of Iraq. We all want, on every issue, to be able to craft the right set of policies and programs to fix systemic problems. Problem is, in government, as an occupying power, we only have access to certain levers and buttons. And in Iraq, none of them control the relevant actors and forces. So we can craft all the enlightened policy we want -- without a way to make the Sunnis, Shi'ites, and Kurds stop hating each other, we'll not get anywhere quick. Iraq lives or dies on grounds of national reconciliation, and despite the reports frequent calls for Iraqis to pursue it and Iranians to force it , nobody relevant seems sufficiently interested in achieving it by methods more...
  • FOR "GROUP THINK."

    FOR "GROUP THINK." Elle Reeve has a diarist up today in TNR tut-tutting the tendency of young Washingtonians to screen their roommates for political leanings. She writes, Julie puts her political orientation in her ad because she's "part of an interracial couple and my housemate is gay, so we like to put this up front so that no NRA white-supremacist homophobes [will] think they might want to live here." (Otherwise, presumably, she'd have to beat back the hordes of gun-lovers desperate to live with her in this handgun-free city.) But someone could obviously be an NRA member, or an NRA lobbyist, and live in Washington. More to the point, Julie's focus of concern clearly wasn't gun control policy, but racism and homophobia. I think it's quite reasonable for Julie to take the position that her gay roommate should be spared living with someone who doesn't recognize his or her equal rights under the law. Reeve completely avoids this serious concern and goes for an irrelevant side point,...
  • MORE POST SELF-PARODY...

    MORE POST SELF-PARODY -- AND BETTER! Ok, scratch what I said before, Ruth Marcus has nothing on Broder . --Sam Rosenfeld
  • DON'T TELL CHENEY....

    DON'T TELL CHENEY. It's something less than revelatory to suggest the Bush White House doesn't exhibit the level of harmoniousness and constructive self-criticism one might hope. Still, I found this bit on the genesis of the Baker-Hamilton Commission depressing: To bring Bush aboard, Solomon, Hamre and Abshire approached the one person in Bushland who still had a reputation for realism and who could command the President's ear, alone: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice . Would she propose the commission to the President? After some hesitation, Rice agreed, but she made one request: the commission had to look forward, not backward, in part because she knew the dysfunctional Bush foreign policy operation, tilted as it was so heavily along the Cheney-Rumsfeld axis, would not permit, much less sustain, scrutiny. As the trio departed, a Rice aide asked one of her suitors not to inform anyone at the Pentagon that chairmen had been chosen and the study group was moving forward. If Rumsfeld...
  • MORE HIDEOUSLY TWISTED...

    MORE HIDEOUSLY TWISTED LOGIC FROM MCCAIN ABOUT TROOP INCREASES. This has passed unnoticed, but it's definitely worth a look. Yesterday John McCain used his questioning of Defense Secretary nominee Robert Gates at the confirmation hearing to push his politically-calculated demand that more troops be sent to Iraq. This was predictable enough, but it's interesting to look at what he actually said. Check out this passage from a transcript of McCain's remarks : MCCAIN: Do you agree that, at the time of the invasion, we didn't have sufficient troops to control the country, in hindsight? GATES: Well, I had to deal with hindsight in some of the decisions that I've made, Senator McCain, and sometimes it's not very comfortable. I suspect, in hindsight, some of the folks in the administration probably would not make the same decisions that they made. GATES: And I think one of those is that there clearly were insufficient troops in Iraq after the initial invasion to establish control over the...
  • STOP TALKING CRAZY....

    STOP TALKING CRAZY. From the excerpts of the Iraq Study Group's report : ''If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq's government and a humanitarian catastrophe. Neighboring countries could intervene. Sunni-Shia clashes could spread. Al-Qaida could win a propaganda victory and expand its base of operations. The global standing of the United States could be diminished. Americans could become more polarized.'' Yeah, sure glad none of that's happened. --Ezra Klein
  • CALL THE WAHMBULANCE....

    CALL THE WAHMBULANCE. Sounds to me like Congressman Jack Kingston wants another job... --Ezra Klein

Pages