Archive

  • BUYER'S REMORSE.

    BUYER'S REMORSE. This gloriously frank piece is getting a decent amount of blogo-buzz this morning, and it's got me to thinking that the current buyer's remorse among "principled" conservatives makes me want to vomit. I am not really having any fun attacking my old friends -- but I don�t know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election. I don�t know how to deal with people who think savaging a man with Parkinson�s for electoral gain is appropriate election-year discourse." Hey, John . Michael Dukakis was a decent man. Al Gore was a decent man, and so was John Kerry . Max Cleland and Tom Daschle were decent men. Newt Gingrich , a supremely indecent man, made his career attacking decent men. Going back further, because I'm old enough to remember that vicious closet-case Terry Dolan and his NCPAC campaigns, Frank Church and George McGovern were decent men. It's not enough to decide that the tactics that empowered...
  • DON'T FORGET KATRINA....

    DON'T FORGET KATRINA. With all the mudslinging and war talk that has dominated this mid-term campaign, the Bush administration's Gulf Coast debacle has been forced into the background, except for the occasional use of the name "Katrina" as a synonym for ineptitude (as in John Kerry 's description of the president's "Katrina foreign policy"). Yet Katrina is not simply the story of incompetence; it is many stories, stories of race, class, heritage, and abandonment. And while the failure of the Republican Congress to address devastation wrought by disaster, incompetence, and indifference should indeed be a serious campaign issue on a national scale, we may all find ourselves staring hard at our shoes when it is brought to our attention that most of us have forgotten the Gulf, as well. In today's New York Times , a jarring reminder comes in this article by Adam Nossiter , which describes the fate of high school students living virtually on their own, separated from parents who have found...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: ALLEN'S OPTIONS.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: ALLEN'S OPTIONS. In a Prospect exclusive, Garance Franke-Ruta reports on new information concerning Xybernaut, the beleaguered tech company on whose board George Allen served in the late nineties. On October 20, 2000 -- just 18 days before former Virginia Governor George Allen was elected to the U.S. Senate -- Xybernaut, a Virginia-based technology company, on whose board Allen served, held an early annual shareholder meeting and awarded Allen a tidy bonus of 50,000 stock options. Allen was granted the stock as part of his re-election to the board at a time when polls showed him to be the favorite in the impending senate election against Democrat Chuck Robb, and when it was clear that he would have to resign his board seat if and when he became a senator. Senate rules forbid members from serving on corporate boards. The issuance of these options, whose existence is confirmed by the Form Five filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that The...
  • "HIS AMBITION HAS...

    "HIS AMBITION HAS MADE HIM A COWARD." I like how you put that, Charlie . I know that ambition corrupts, and absolute ambition corrupts absolutely, but I'm still a bit shocked and awed at the depths to which McCain has dropped. Put aside his faux-ideological independence, his disheartening ability to pass off traditional conservatism as modern centrism. The one thing McCain always retained, and always seemed serious about, was an elevated expectation for politics. He seemed to believe that campaigns should be about something more than decontextualized votes and misleading attacks. He'd intervene even when the negative ad, judged by the standards such things are judged, was an average attack. He bristled to see the patriotism impugned or character attacked. That was his virtue: He convinced the country that he was above politics by, at times, being above politics. And yet here he is, doing all the worse, and he must knows it. It's hard to look at this situation and not pity John Kerry...
  • YOU'VE GOTTA LOVE POWERPOINT.

    YOU'VE GOTTA LOVE POWERPOINT. A fun slide from a presentation at Central Command finds its way to the New York Times , upshot being that the situation is worse now than it ever has been before. The presentation was given to President Bush and SecDef Rumsfeld on October 18; maybe it helped spur the "We are not stay the course, we have never been stay the course" charade? By itself it's not all that great of a slide, as it attempts to boil down a dozen different variables into a one dimensional representation, but I suppose that you have to speak at a level your audience can understand. I wonder, though, how long it will be before the right-wing blogs start screaming for blood, since allowing that the Islamofascists are doing well is objectively pro-Islamofascist... In other news, I'm not sure what I think about the decision to withdraw from the blockades around Sadr City. Maliki clearly made the correct call from the Iraqi point of view, as furthering the disintegration of Baghdad's...
  • A PROPOSAL.

    A PROPOSAL. If we're going to play by Mark Halperin 's rules of mindless balance, then every news item about John Kerry 's hamfisted way with humor should be followed by a sentence something like this: "This is not the first time an important politician has been caught in what observers say is an act of disrespect for our troops." Which would then be followed by a description (in print) or the actual footage (on TV) of this . But this will not happen, because Halperin's a salon-sniffer with all the sincerity of a man who sells potions out of a wagon, and because an awful lot of the people you hear yukking it up on that video are the ones playing Don't Get The Joke from their fainting couches today. It's step-up time today, boys and girls. Are you going to play along with the bullshit controversy du jour or are you going to do your actual jobs? By all means, let's talk about Iraq for the next six days. --Charles P. Pierce
  • FEVERED.

    FEVERED. Someone please show me a single act of public political courage undertaken by John McCain since he won the New Hampshire primary in 2000 that he hasn't hedged, trimmed, or walked back completely. The Bush campaign trashed his wife and daughter, and he's spent the years since trying to get a job as the pool boy in Crawford. He gave a brave speech about the danger of political preachers, but he'd walk on his knees across broken glass to get himself blessed by Jerry Falwell 's direct-mail people. But yesterday might well be the purest day of opportunistic sycophancy in the history of the Straight Talk Express. First, he jumps on the idiotic controversy du jour, lining up with the usual chickenhawk suspects to trash his "good friend" and fellow veteran John Kerry . But he does so at this thing , an event in support of a man who recently threw the term "cut-and-run" at Tammy Duckworth , who lost both legs in Iraq. Ho-ho. Now that's some straight-talkin' for you. Presidential fever...
  • Consumer Confidence: A Con Job?

    I have railed in the past about the uselessness of the consumer confidence index. It basically gives us a measure of where the economy is today and tells nothing about where it will be tomorrow. For this reason, I was not especially impressed by the news that the index had fallen slightly last month . It is worth noting that the drop was driven by a substantial decline in the current conditions index, from 128.3 to 124.7. This component, which does tell us about how people are feeling today, tells us that people are becoming more pessimistic, in spite of the drop in gas prices. --Dean Baker
  • BENEFITS WITHOUT COSTS....

    BENEFITS WITHOUT COSTS. As a follow-up to Tom 's point , I think it's critical, when discussing potential outreach to religious voters, to consider the potential negative consequences of such strategies. One thing the journalist Peter Boyer has been guilty of is asserting benefits that would come from running more anti-choice candidates that completely ignore the costs of such potential shifts. It is true, for example, that the sudden politicization of the abortion issue in the 1960s has caused a significant number of Catholic voters to align with the Republicans rather than the Democrats. But supporting abortion criminalization has hurt Republican candidates as well. What keeps presidential elections close in a political context that generally favors Republican is that Democrats have the large, expensive to campaign in, and traditionally Republican states of California and New York in their pockets before spending a dime (and if these states were even competitive, the Democrats would...
  • GOP MIDTERM CRAPITUDE WATCH.

    GOP MIDTERM CRAPITUDE WATCH. How to outspend your opponent 24-to-1 and lose ground. --Sam Rosenfeld

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