JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: RAMALLAH STIRS. Writing from the city that houses the Palestinian government, Jo-Ann Mortreminds us of the conflict that remains the core issue in the region, and documents glimmers of potential forward movement:
THE GIULIANI MIRAGE. If you're interested in a little pure political analysis, I really recommend Kate O'Beirne's National Review article on exactly how dim Rudy Giuliani's odds of winning the GOP presidential nomination are. If you compare the views of New York City residents, where Bush got a pathetic 24.7 percent of the vote in relatively conservative Queens, with the views of Republican presidential primary voters, it's just inconceivable that anyone could win a majority in NYC and also be a viable member of a national Republican ticket.
AND NO, I'M NOT WEARING A TINFOIL HAT. In the course of an extremely snarky review of the latest books from David Sirota and George Lakoff in this past Sunday's New York Times book section, there was this remarkable bit of analysis from one Tobin Harshaw, who is identified as "an editor with the Ope-Ed page of the Times." And, yes, it would be just as snarky of me to point out that accusing Sirota of "wafer-thin allusions to popular culture" is not a charge that should be idly thrown about by someone whose day-job m
WHY COLLEGE? To follow up on Matt's points below, it's worth noticing that the obsessive focus on college education bespeaks a certain cowardice and calculation in Democratic circles. College is a cost that primarily affects the middle class and the well-to-do but, particularly in the private context, is hefty enough that it can be burdensome for both. Talk of making it more affordable, while ostensibly aimed at subsidizing the poor, is really a poll-tested way to speak to the politically potent middle- and upper-income quintiles -- it's a way for the Democratic Party to speak up the income ladder, where the votes are.
FLEXING THE MAGISTERIAL MUSCLE. Any politician in nearly any corner of the United States will tell you that, in the world of secular politics, the Roman Catholic Church is a force to be reckoned with. But in Missouri, that's an understatement.
WHY MORE GRADUATES? All right, let's follow up since commenters never agree with my college-skepticism. For starters, let me say I have no objection to increasing the number of college graduates in the United States. One thing I do worry about, though, is this. Right now a hefty proportion of kids do go to college. When you try to increase the number of college-goers by subsidizing college attendance, the tendency is for the vast majority of the subsidies to accrue to families that would have sent their kids to school anyway rather than to the marginal families who otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford it.
WOULD THAT IT WERE. I fear Tom is looking deeper into the Clinton-Lieberman rally than is really needed. Word around here is that Holy Joe forced Hillary Clinton into something of a confessional on the floor of the Senate. Hillary, you'll remember, was the first major Democrat to throw Lieberman's independent candidacy under the bus, promising to back whoever the eventual nominee is. While that was the politically pragmatic move for her, it was painful to Joe and she didn't like doing it. So when he buttonholed her and asked if she could airlift in Bill to generate some good press, she readily agreed.
REALITY CHECK. So how bad are those vicious Canadian waiting times? Well, it turns out not so bad. StatCanada -- a government body somewhat similar to the U.S. Census Bureau -- just released a report on the time Canadians spend in medical purgatory, and it turns out limbo just doesn't last that long. Median waiting times for all specialized services are between three and four weeks, and 70 to 80 percent of patients found their wait "acceptable." And remember: Most everyone can receive care, and very few need to fear its affordability. Looking at this data, even though I'm no fan of the Canadian system, it nevertheless seems to offer a tradeoff I'd accept.
DID BILL STRIKE A DEAL? As we all know, Joe Lieberman called in Bill �Big Dog�
Clinton to Waterbury yesterday to help his ailing re-nomination effort. It was all hugs and kisses with the predecessor to the other president Lieberman has been known to embrace. In the Post�s report, David Broder writes:
DEMOCRATS BEHAVING BADLY. It seems to me that the Senate Democratic caucus have started playing a small-but-destructive role in our Iraq policy. It started with the demagogic denunciations of Nouri al-Maliki's perfectly reasonable amnesty plan for Iraqi insurgents. Such a plan would be a necessary component of any Iraqi national reconciliation scheme, but Democrats saw in it a good way to score political points. And they turned out to be correct, successfully pressuring Bush into pressuring Maliki to drop the plan. Which is a neat victory, except lots of people will die as a result. Today, my inbox includes this press release from Harry Reid's office: