UNITER, OR ANOTHER DIVIDER? There�s a good column from E.J. Dionne today handicapping the coming wars in the Republican Party. Dionne surveys the GOP's 2008 landscape and notices that there are a series of real choices staking out territory, each of which would portend something radically different for the Republican Party's future. I agree with him particularly in his assessment of Mitt Romney, who Dionne writes is "his party's most interesting new voice, [and] could be expected to run in part as a problem-solver who worked with Democrats in Massachusetts for a bipartisan approach to health care.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: JUST ADD MISSILE DEFENSE.Mattruminates on the loony and seemingly indestructable id�e fixe of right-wing security policy: a non-functioning shield against non-existent missiles. What's significant -- and scary -- is that conservatives really seem to believe in this thing:
GOOD NEWS. The Bush administration plans to start following the Geneva Conventions. I expect conservatives everywhere who've written on this in the past to now denounce the President for his evil, appeasing ways. Today's laugh-or-cry moment: "Unlike four years ago . . . the debate now seems certain to include the views of the military�s most senior uniformed lawyers, whose objections were brushed aside earlier." Asking the military's lawyers about the legality of military policies -- what a crazy idea. I can't believe it only took them four years to come up with it.
INFORMATION! RUN! HIDE! I was kind of skeptical of the whole concept underlying The Democratic Strategist when it first launched, but Scott Winship's blog posts are rapidly becoming a vital -- and all-too-unbloggish -- source of actual empirical information. For example, during various recent blog wars it had occurred to me to hypothesize that both the Netroots and its enemies on the center-left were dramatically overstating the former's potential to influence things in the real world, as opposed to its salience in the media.
The initial reports on the Fed's release of consumer credit data for May focused on the slow 2.4 percent annual rate of growth reported for the month. This reporting misses the boat.
There are two major components to consumer credit. The non-revolving component is primarily car loans. This component fell at a 2.0 percent annual rate, reflecting weak car sales.
The other component is revolving credit. This is primarily credit card debt. This component rose at 9.9 percent annual rate in May. This is a sharp acceleration from earlier this year, when revolving debt was actually declining.
SWM ISO BIG IDEAS.Andrei Cherny and Ken Baer's latest op-ed on the power of ideas makes me want to bang my head against a wall -- which isn't a new idea, but an old one that should probably be implemented more often.
THE POLITICS OF DISLIKE I was going to let the latest Jon Chaitcolumn on Lieberman pass, as I think enough pixels have been spilled on this point, but I'm just baffled by his defense of the piece, which seems to take the weakest parts of the original document and exaggerate its flaws.
NO MUSIC FOR YOU. So you know how if you're listening to the radio you're allowed to record what you're listening to onto a tape? So, seemingly, if you're listening to digital radio, you should be allowed to record what you're listening to onto a digital file. So, at least, that�s what XM and Sirius Radio believe. But Bill Frist and the RIAA feel otherwise and are pushing a bill to ban such devices:
THE NORQUIST FACTOR. After being wrong about a couple of things, Jon Chait's post winds up getting to the heart of the problem with the Netroots -- the admiration for their image of what Grover Norquist has done and the desire "to replicate on the left the comintern-like apparatus he has constructed on the right." As Chait writes: