Archive

  • "T+1": OR HOW...

    "T+1": OR HOW A BIPARTISAN IRAQ STRATEGY MIGHT EMERGE. From the proverbial well-informed correspondent: The story in the NYT today about Gates bringing in old advisors and critics of Rummy/Iraq policy and cleaning out the 'E Ring' seems to be more evidence that the administration is using the [Gates] nomination to signal and provide a down payment on a change in course. It looks like the administrations plans to meet with the [Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG)] next week (then the Dems will meet with them), and that the ISG will be the focal point for a new strategy, which increasingly looks like it may involve (at least informal) talks with Iran. We'll see how much these meetings actually SHAPE the ISG findings that will be released next month. In other words, it looks like the following process is unfolding: at time 't' the ISG meets with Bush/Dems, floats a few ideas, gets feedback, and integrates the feedback into its sense of what kind of bipartisan strategy is possible; then...
  • NPR on the Democrats on Drugs

    One of the items on the Democrats' "100 hours" agenda is reforming the Medicare prescription drug bill. The bill passed by the Republican Congress prohibited Medicare from offering its own plan. This denied seniors the benefits of Medicare's lower administrative costs (@ $5 billion annually, or $200 per enrollee, according to CBO) and it means that drugs cost almost twice as much as if Medicare bargained directly with the industry and secured the same prices as the Veterans Administration or the Canadian government. The Republicans also added a seemingly gratuitous clause that explicitly prohibited Medicare from negotiating prices with the industry. During the campaign, the Democrats had promised that they would reform the drug bill to allow Medicare to offer its own drug plan. On NPR this morning, it was reported that the Democrats now are just planning to remove the gratuitous clause prohibiting Medicare from negotiating prices with the drug industry, while not allowing Medicare to...
  • Do Small Businesses Care About Profits? Not According to NPR

    In a short piece on the Democrats' top agenda items, one of their reporters discussed their plan to raise the minimum wage. In noting the objections of small businesses, he said that they are worried that a higher minimum wage would raise costs and force them to lay off workers. Well, maybe they are concerned about having to lay off workers (a large body of economic research shows little or no employment impact from modest increases in the minimum wage), but it is reasonable to believe that they are also concerned about the prospect of lower profits. Is it too radical on National Public Radio to say that small business owners care about profit? --Dean Baker
  • A FEW GOOD...

    A FEW GOOD INTERNS. The Prospect is looking for interns for Winter/Spring 2007. Any Tapped readers out there who are interested in (or who know someone who might be interested in) spending a semester in our DC office, helping out with the magazine and the site, should definitely apply . It's a fun time, and a rewarding experience in every sense of the word except the one that means getting paid money. Check it out . --The Editors
  • GUESS WHO�S BACK?...

    GUESS WHO�S BACK? So with President Bush begging for a new spirit of bi-partisanship in Washington, he re-nominates the next-most-divisive administration official after Rumsfeld : the recess-appointed ambassador to the UN John Bolton . One has to wonder what the president is thinking -- or what tricks he has up his sleeve. In the Senate, Republican support for Bolton has always been lukewarm. Indeed, his nomination died this fall because Republican Lincoln Chafee refused to support moving the nomination from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to the Senate floor for a vote. And almost as soon as the Bolton re-nomination was announced by the White House, Chafee called a press conference restating his opposition to Bolton. In other words, Bolton�s re-nomination is DOA. There are only two ways that Bolton could remain on the job -- and both are of dubious legality. Under option A, the president would select Bolton for a post not requiring Senate confirmation, then move him laterally...
  • RAHMBO REDUX.

    RAHMBO REDUX. OK, this whole business about who's allowed to spike the ball in the end zone gets to last until midnight tonight and then we all hold hands and sing together. On Rahm-v.-netroots, I'm more on Perlstein 's side than Lizza 's here -- and I think Sam makes a critical mistake by minimizing the fact that the DCCC's support in many cases came, as he put it, "relatively late." That, it seems to me, is understating what actually happened. As recently as the summer of 2005, when I was working on a piece for The Boston Globe Magazine about Howard Dean 's chairmanship of the DNC, it was a ludicrously open secret that Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC believed that a nationwide strategy of the kind Dean was proposing likely would prove not only futile, but catastrophic, and a lot of them were already measuring the space on the wall where they'd hang the Doctor's head. They believed neither in the strategy nor, especially, in the guy pushing it, and any of them who says they did is simply...
  • WHEN "CHARACTER" WAS...

    WHEN "CHARACTER" WAS KING: As Donald Rumsfeld is finally thrown under the bus, it seems appropriate to return to Jon Chait 's recent account of the Rumsfeld-worship of the early Bush era. (The nadir was probably Midge Decter 's book , which seems to have been expanded after Seventeen rejected her initial article because it was too puerile and starry-eyed.) Here's one characteristic example: To plunge back into the conservative idealization of Rumsfeld, given what we know today, is a bizarre experience. You enter an upside-down world in which the defense secretary is a thoughtful, fair-minded, eminently reasonable man who has been vindicated by history--and his critics utterly repudiated. The pioneering specimen of the genre was a National Review cover story from December 31, 2001, by Jay Nordlinger, cover-lined "The Stud: Don Rumsfeld, America's New Pin-up," with a cartoon portraying the defense secretary as Betty Grable in her iconic World War II image. The central premise of the...
  • KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE MIDTERMS.

    KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE MIDTERMS. Here's an abridged version of an election wrap-up memo I've been sending around: The prevailing geographic trend for 2006 was a Rust-Belt realignment in which a cohort of Rockefeller-Ford GOP moderates was ousted by progressive Democrats who ran to their left. A major consequence of this mini-realignment is that both parties will be more ideologically and regionally coherent and, perhaps, more polarized as a result. The irony of this transformation is that conservatives who pushed an agenda that included the Iraq war, deficits, and social issue interference from the beginning of life (stem cell bans) to the end of life (Schiavo), have mostly survived, while their more moderate brethren suffered the casualties. This provides a potential opportunity when the newly-entrenched and embittered minority overreaches, as it did even when the moderates were still around to act, in theory, as a �check.� About 85 percent of Democratic gains at every level came...
  • LITTLE CHANGE IN...

    LITTLE CHANGE IN EVANGELICAL VOTE. I hate to go around puncturing blue balloons, but let's get this hype about a big shift in the white evangelical vote out of the way right now. When the Associated Press reported yesterday that "nearly a third" of white evangelicals voted for Democrats in Tuesday's elections, Dems got all excited, spinning this as something new. In fact, the percentage appears to be about the same as voted Democratic in the 2002 mid-terms (see the link). The spinners are getting milage out of comparing the evangelical vote in the 2004 presidential election to Tuesday's mid-terms. Apples and oranges, kids -- apples and oranges. --Adele M. Stan
  • BEYOND IRAQ.

    BEYOND IRAQ. A nice piece by Matthew Stannard in the San Francisco Chronicle lets panda-hugger Thomas Barnett raise a point hitherto overlooked in excitement at Rumsfeld's departure: his leaving heralds a positive change of direction on China policy. Says Barnett: "The fixation on China, which was strong with this administration when it came in and certainly remained strong with the China hawks under Rumsfeld and with Rumsfeld himself became the excuse for over-feeding the war force and starving the occupation force," he said. "The Air Force and the Navy probably get happier than they need to be ... and the Army and the Marines are left hanging." Shifting Pentagon thinking to a more realistic view of China -- as a potential opportunity rather than a strategic threat -- is closely related to the idea of reducing the Bush emphasis on the military as a tool of U.S. foreign policy. A lot of defense contractors with a vested interest in the outdated China-as-enemy approach might be unhappy...

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