THE INVISIBLE RIGHT HAND. It's a hoary truism that markets favor Republican rule, though one that, till now, lacked much evidence. Stock prices, after all, have consistently done better under Democratic administrations than Republican rule. But Justin Wolfers at the Wharton School of Business and Erik Snowberg and Eric Zitzewitz at Stanford University found a more telling methodology for testing the preference: They researched how markets performed during the 48-hour period starting when the American people were actually voting for president.
BUSH: BLACKWELL IS A �NUT.� The Toledo Blade pointed out yesterday that buried on page 347 of Bob Woodward�s State of Denial is this not so flattering Bush remark about Ken Blackwell, who other Republicans -- including the President�s brother -- have touted as a rising GOP star:
One infuriating feature of business reporting is the constant cheering for a higher stock market. I have nothing against a higher market, but I know of no general public interest in a high stock market.
In principle, the stock market represents the discounted value of the future profits of corporate America. If the value rises because the economy can now be seen as growing more rapidly, then this is certainly good news. But, if future profits are projected to be higher because of lower wages or lower corporate taxes (e.g. a higher tax burden on workers or fewer public services), why should the mass of the population, who own little or no stock celebrate?
SPEAKER BOEHNER. Via Josh Marshall, check out this article reporting that Dennis Haster may "have just one or two days to turn the affair around -- or quiet it -- or face being forced to step aside." Assuming the latter development for a moment, what would happen next? In the event of Hastert's resignation, John Boehner is the favorite to step up to the Speakership, and presumably his former rival for majority leader, Roy Blunt, would take over his current role. Incidentally, this paragraph from the U.S.
AL-QAEDA WANTS THE U.S. IN IRAQ.Marc Lynchasks why so few in the media seem to have mentioned this. In a letter purportedly from a top al-Qaeda leader to the organization's Iraqi branch, the author writes:
Indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest, with God's permission.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: ALONG CAME A SPIDER. As Christopher Moraffreports, the U.S. isn't merely continuing its longstanding opposition to international efforts to ban landmines -- it's actually reviving an active landmine program of its own.
RETURN OF THE LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRATS. Writing in this month's Cato Unbound, Markoslays out the case for Libertarian Democrats -- a socially libertarian, fiscally moderate ideology he's been formulating over the past couple of months. Reading the essay, it would seem we could as easily be talking about Technocratic Democrats, or Silicon Valley voters, or some fraction of the electorate completely driven by upwardly mobile, white collar concerns. His primary examples of the market's magic are how Google outraced Microsoft, and how Indians have ascended to high positions in software development.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: STONE COLD UNTRUTHS.It'sAlterman on Berman on McPherson on Stone. Eric Alterman was angered by Paul Berman's review essay about I.F. Stone in Sunday's New York Times Book Review, and he's written a rejoinder. Take a look.
BAI ON DEAN.Matt Bai's piece in The New York Times Magazine about Howard Dean's tenure at the Democratic National Committee bodes well for Bai's upcoming book on the Democrats, the lead time on which I do not envy him, since I can see about three perfectly valid, if mutually exclusive, premises for such a project all going completely up the spout in the next three weeks. The magazine feature was nuanced, subtle, and, for the first time in a long while, treated Dean as someone who might actually know what he's doing.