TIP'S WAY. Of all the reasons for Democratic politicians to remain pessimistic about the midterm elections, one of the most telling to me is the fact that Nancy Pelosi is apparently telling everyone she can tackle that impeachment is "off the table" should her party manage a majority in the upcomings. This strikes me as, at best, precipitous and, at worst, cowardly, as though she sees some numbers somewhere that indicate the public needs to be assured that the Democrats won't behave like drunken Ostrogoths if they get some power back.
The Washington Post reports that a trade agreement with the United States is a major issue in Ecuador's presidential campaign. It repeatedly refers to the proposed agreement as a "free trade" pact. Of course the agreement would not create free trade. It would largely leave in place the protections that ensure high wages for doctors, lawyers, accountants, economists and other highly educated professionals in the United States. It would also increase protectionism by requiring more stringent rules in Latin America for drug patents and copyrights. So, why not save a word and just call it a "trade" agreement?
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: RISK ASSESSMENT. Per Ezra's post below, Jacob Hacker's new book, The Great Risk Shift, is getting some attention -- in it, Hacker argues that increased risk is the central economic issue for working Americans, one that provides progressives new opportunities for shifting the political tide. This week, Ezra and Matt will be discussing the book with Hacker, who kicks things off today with an explanation of his basic argument.
SO ABOUT ISRAEL. First Ehud Olmert launched an immoral war against Lebanon in response to Hezbollah's aggression against Israel. Then the war embittered nearly the entire country against Olmert, making his hold on power tenuous only months after his massive electoral victory. Now, the once-centrist leader has, in a single blow, decimated his ties to the center by entering into a coalition with the extremist Yisrael Beiteinu party. What Avigdor Lieberman's merry men advocate is, to be blunt, ethnic cleansing: as the creepy name (which translates into "Our Home Is Israel") suggests, Yisrael Beiteinu believes the million-plus Arab citizens of Israel must be expelled.
RUNNING MAN. Back in my misspent youth, which was so long ago that track and field still mattered to well over 200 American sports fans, Jim Ryun was a bona fide star. In 1966, when he was 19, he smashed the world-record in both the mile and the half-mile, and he was named Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman Of The Year." In 1967, he ran a 3:51.1 mile, a world record that laster nearly a decade. He was snakebitten in the Olympics, though. In 1968, he got run down by Kip Keino of Kenya and, four years later in Munich, he got tangled up with another runner and fell.
NOTHING INEVITABLE ABOUT IT.Roger Lowenstein's review of Jacob Hacker's The Great Risk Shift in this weekend's NY Times was a surprisingly myopic and -- in the old, populist sense -- elitist piece of writing. His review is hampered, to be sure, by fundamental misreadings of Hacker, but the most glaring deficiency is a blase, even bored attitude towards the woes and worries of those below him on the income ladder.
HOT OFF THE PRESSES: THE NOVEMBER PRINT ISSUE. There remain too many Tapped readers out there who aren't subscribers to The American Prospect. That's a problem. The release of our November print issue might provide a nice occasion to reconsider this unfortunate state of affairs.
TALKING TO IRAN AND SYRIA. The momentum is building for the U.S. to start talking to Iran and Syria over the fate of Iraq. The latest: apparently the British Foreign Office backs the Baker-Hamilton Commission (a.k.a. the Iraq Study Group) in talking to the Iranians and Syrians. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is also on board. There is more at play here than just Iraq, however.
THE DOUG FEITH WING OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. From Mike Rubin and Andy McCarthy over at The Corner and Eli Lake of The New York Sun comes word of a truly bizarre NRSC NRCC attack on a Democratic candidate for the PA-10, Chris Carney.