Archive

  • THE PROCESS OF...

    THE PROCESS OF POPULISTS. I don't know, Mark , I always got the feeling that 1974 represented the zenith of process-oriented, good-government liberalism. My read on 2006 is that we're seeing the opening salvos of a populist turn in the Democratic Party. This obviously isn't true straight across the board, but the Testers, Browns, Webbs , and even Lamonts of the world represent something distinct and resonant, more reminiscent of 1994's class of true believers than 1974's class of hard workers. My understanding is that the Campaign for America's Future and Stan Greenberg (he's everywhere, no?) have reams of polling data backing this up and ready for release on November 9th, but, alas, we'll have to wait till then for hard numbers. Even in their absence, I think various economic trends and forces (inequality, wage stagnation, union decline, death of the corporate welfare state, etc) render a resurgent populism an absolute inevitability in American politics and, fairly or not, I'd guess...
  • SO MANY TYPES...

    SO MANY TYPES OF SANTORUM. But Scott , the Santorum strategy isn't merely to deny that he's a conservative, it's also to affirm that he's a conservative ! And a libertarian ! And a progressive ! Given the breadth of the coalition such a uniter could theoretically muster, Bob Casey must be one helluva candidate to remain so far out ahead. In the final analysis, I think this multiplicity of personas doomed Santorum. He had elements of a new, Christian Democrat progressivism, but he was too much of a pro-business conservative to embrace its economic imperatives, and too much of a social conservative to gain centrist credibility from it. Unlike, say, Sam Brownback , Santorum was traditionally ambitious, and rose to the leadership of the Senate Republicans, requiring him to be a Senate Republican, not a peculiar ideology unto himself. So anything new he brought to the table had to be palatable to the old guard already arrayed around it. But you can't simultaneously blaze a new trail and...
  • IT'S NOT 1994!

    IT'S NOT 1994! Stan Greenberg and James Carville titled their Democracy Corps strategy memo this morning, "Re: 1994." The Wall Street Journal focuses on the 1994 Republican Revolution and what's become of it. I feel obligated to call your attention to an article of mine in this fine publication from exactly a year ago (or more precisely, a year ago from election day) in which I argued that 1994 was not a good model for Democratic ambitions this year . And it still isn't. This year is much more like 1974. And that's much more promising for the possibility of sustainable Democratic majorities and a turn toward progressive policies. The Republican achievement in 1994, for all of Newt Gingrich 's bombast, was actually pretty simple: There were many dozens of districts in the South, West, and Midwest that had been voting reliably Republican at the presidential level for decades, but still elected Democrats to represent them in Congress. In fact, even though George H.W. Bush won only 37...
  • WHO READS THE RIGHT?

    WHO READS THE RIGHT? I must admit that, unlike many of my Tapped colleagues, I don't generally read right-wing blogs anymore. I used to consider it important to engage with the opposition, but most have become too detached from reality. I especially do not read the dreaded Corner . My time and patience are limited. Am I missing anything? --Blake Hounshell
  • COLLINS: SHOCKED, SHOCKED....

    COLLINS: SHOCKED, SHOCKED . One of the more grotesque spectacles in recent years has been the dependably ginned-up outrage (with no willingness to point fingers at the clear culprits) we see from GOP moderates every time their party hoodwinks them, and the American people. Case in point: The New York Times reports today that hidden in a huge military spending bill recently signed by the president is a provision to terminate the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction. According to the Times : The clause was inserted by the Republican side of the House Armed Services Committee over the objections of Democratic counterparts during a closed-door conference, and it has generated surprise and some outrage among lawmakers who say they had no idea it was in the final legislation. Really, surprise? This kind of sneaky tactic has been the Republicans stock in trade, especially in the House, for quite some time. But somehow moderate Republicans continue to be shocked,...
  • AND DON'T FORGET...

    AND DON'T FORGET -- HE'S A LIBERTARIAN TOO! Shorter Verbatim Peggy Noonan : Most of [Rick Santorum's] own impulses -- protect the unprotected, help the helpless, respect the common man -- have not been conservative in the way conservative is roughly understood, or portrayed, in the national imagination. If this were the JFK era, his politics would not be called "right wing" but "progressive." He is, at heart, a Catholic social reformer. Bobby Kennedy would have loved him. Call me historically ignorant, but I don't recall reading about Bobby Kennedy 's plan to privatize Social Security . I think that the magic dolphins might actually be writing her columns at this point. It does say something encouraging that the new strategy for propping up the campaign of one of the staunchest conservative ideologues in the Senate is to deny that he's a conservative at all. -- Scott Lemieux
  • ON TED.

    ON TED. So we've seen Pastor Ted Haggard 's (alleged) Field Guide To The Seven Deadly Sins released by dribs and drabs over the last couple of days. But just to make it clear that people like Haggard should be treated with nothing less than the absolute pie-in-the-face ridicule they so richly deserve, see this clip of him from a while back , prior to this week's festivities. This isn't religion. This is a psychological cargo cult that provides a marvelous environment for fakes and charlatans to act out twisted psychological problems in a fashion that would have embarrassed the boys in Led Zeppelin. This isn't a minister of the gospel. The man is a medievalist loon. "Personal relationship with his Lord and Savior," my aunt Fanny. If he has one, it's pretty plainly dismal and dysfunctional. And, remember, the president of the United States takes advice from a guy who believes that Gandhi is in hell. And people laughed at Nancy Reagan for hiring an astrologer, and Hillary Clinton for her...
  • CHAPTER 9,472.

    CHAPTER 9,472. I am afraid that this is going to become something of a recurring theme over the next couple of years, but have I mentioned that there isn't an important issue these days on which John McCain won't pander to the worst instincts of the Haggard Base of the Republican party? Thanks, John. You can play a bigot on TV for a week. (Tip o' the cap to the AmericaBlog folks.) --Charles P. Pierce
  • DISMAL DEMOCRACY. ...

    DISMAL DEMOCRACY. Oh no. We're about to ruin Britain. Writing in The Guardian , Paul Harris surveys the American political landscape and decides his side of the pond needs ... more referenda: It is hard to argue that this is not a healthy thing for democracy. There is little doubt that watching most American politics, the issues are the last thing that ever get discussed. It is all about personality or the familiar litany of simple-sounding hot button issues -- abortion, Iraq, terrorism, tax cuts -- that result in slanging matches instead of reasoned debate. A referendum has a tendency to cut through the politics. It removes the middle man (the politician) and takes the issue straight to the public. In an era of low turnouts and widespread disillusionment with politics, special ballot initiatives almost always have the effect of getting more people to the polls. Yes. To vote against them, as in California, where voters turned out in 2005 to reject eight separate referenda. And it's...
  • NUCLEAR WINTER.

    NUCLEAR WINTER. Now that's the Republican Party I know and love! Hill GOPers and The Weekly Standard have long been on a crusade to declassify captured Iraqi documents in the hope that somewhere, there's a pony -- some sort of evidence of WMD programs -- amidst the manure. So now the Republicans in Congress, fresh from alleging on the basis of no evidence that the reason the CIA hasn't found WMD is because it's in league with al-Qaeda , lean on the intelligence community to do so, right before the election. What happens? But in recent weeks, the site has posted some documents that weapons experts say are a danger themselves: detailed accounts of Iraq�s secret nuclear research before the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The documents, the experts say, constitute a basic guide to building an atom bomb. Last night, the government shut down the Web site after The New York Times asked about complaints from weapons experts and arms-control officials. The IAEA is worried the documents, which go beyond...

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