YOU COULD HAVE IT SO MUCH BETTER. My colleague Harold Meyerson has analogized the current Mideast crisis to the crisis set off by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in late June 1914: "Nobody wanted global conflagration, yet nobody knew how to stop it, and the American president (Woodrow Wilson, who was not yet a Wilsonian) did nothing to help avert the coming war." Rich Lowryretorts "that this significantly underestimates Germany's drive to war." He quotes from Michael Lind's
COUNTDOWN TO CONSTITUTIONAL MELTDOWN. It's hard to avoid the temptation to begin counting the days in which H. Marshall Jarrett, director of the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), manages to remain in that post, especially since his objections to administration intervention in an inquiry he was conducting were made public earlier this week. OPR is the internal affairs office of the Department of Justice (DoJ).
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: I LOVE THE '90s.Greg Anrig liked Robert Wright's concept of "progressive realism" as a foreign policy doctrine, and thinks it would be a useful rubric to apply to domestic policy as well. He makes the case for reviving a Clintonian appeal based on effective government after six years of conservative failure.
REPUBLICANS AND CIVILIAN DEATHS.Here's the roll call for today's House resolution on the Mideast crisis. What Israel lobby?
Snark aside, despite the monolithic quality of the final vote there actually does appear to have been a bit of behind-the-scenes wrangling over some of the language in this resolution. At her weekly press conference today Nancy Pelosi was asked why she removed her name as co-sponsor of the resolution:
JUST POSTED ONLINE: POWER PLOY. To continue with the theme of the day, Marc Lynch of Abu Aardvark fame explains why pro-American Arab regimes are criticizing Hezbollah and Iran in such an explict and public fashion during this crisis. (Hint: shockingly, it's not because they're expressing the sentiments of their citizens.)
WHAT'S WRONG WITH SAMUELSON. To add to Tom's more ideological critique of Robert Samuelson's latest column, let me just point out that this is an excellent example of what irritates me about Samuelson: He's a policy writer who doesn't appear to know very much about policy. The whole column is about our lower-than-expected deficits and how stinky Republicans are for celebrating it. At no time does Samuelson see fit to mention why we have lower-than-expected deficits. Indeed, in no place does he signal that he even knows. And that's the problem.
TWO CHEERS FOR THE ALL-POWERFUL STATE. Some may disagree, but I say liberals should probably celebrate today's ruling that the Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) supersedes the Maryland law forcing Wal-Mart to pay into a health fund. ERISA allows for uniformity across a single company's nationwide benefit plans so employers don't have to face down new regulations in every state. The Wal-Mart bill, according to the court, violated that legislative intent.
"SPECTACULAR CHALLENGE," VAGUE SOLUTION. Okay. I don't really want to revisit the mean-spirited blog-feuds of yesteryear. Nevertheless, I've read The New Republic's editorial on the Israel/Lebanon/Syria/Iran situation, and I don't understand what it's trying to say about American policy:
CONVENIENT EXPLANATIONS. Has Bob Samuelson been asleep the past five years? In his column today, Samuelson puzzles at the fact that the Bush administration is "shamefully" (a) claiming that this year�s $296 billion deficit is an achievement; and (b) attributing said "achievement" to Bush�s tax cuts, and celebrating accordingly.
IRANIAN OPPOSITION ACTIVISTS SPURN INVITATION TO WHITE HOUSE. Leading Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji is sitting on something many people would only dream of: a personal invitation to the White House today to meet with top U.S. officials overseeing the United States policy toward Iran, including the National Security Council�s Elliot Abrams and State Department�s Iran nuclear negotiator Nicholas Burns. It's even been dangled before him that President Bush may drop by the afternoon meeting of Iranian opposition activists. But Iran's most famous former political prisoner, who arrived in Washington earlier this week for a month long U.S. tour after six years in Iranian prison says, while tempted, he's not going to accept the invitation.