JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DON'T LOOK BACK.Mattweighs in on some of the issues being hashed out in this week's Rose-Mishel debate, and argues that the question in dispute is the wrong question to be debating.
ROLE PLAYING. Every now and again I give the president the benefit of the doubt, try to see things from his side, walk a mile or so in his manly brush-clearing workshoes as it were. So, I'm George W. Bush, right? I have launched a war that I have repeatedly said is a critical response to an existential threat to Western civilization that is as serious as were those of Nazi Germany and the Soviet empire. Things have not gone well. And most of the country doesn't trust me when I tell them why I'm doing what I'm doing. (Most of the country doesn't trust me if I tell them the sun rises in the East, but that's a whole 'nother mile in them workshoes.) Nevertheless, the threat is real and it is growing and I can't get the country to see it.
AHMADINEJAD JOINS STUDENTS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM. What do Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and David Horowitz have in common? Hint: It's not their views on Israel. Give up? They both want to fire liberal, secularist professors perverting the fragile minds of college students. According to AP:
Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Tuesday for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported in another step back to 1980s-style radicalism.
OH YEAH? YOU AND WHAT ECONOMY? Because TAP loves you and wants you to be rich, we're hosting an argument between eminent economists Larry Mishel and Steve Rose over whether the economy is eleven types of awful or seven styles of awesome (all numbers gleaned through counting bullet points). Mishel is arguing that the economy is getting worse, while Rose is declaring that, for the median American, it's still pretty good.
LINCOLN DEMOCRATS.E.J. Dionne�s column today on how the �North will rise again� on the strength of nascent �Lincoln Democrats� is a recognition (finally) of what a lot of us have been saying for months: that the Democratic revival is going to come in the quadrant of states formed by linking Dover (NH), Dover (DE), Des Moines and Duluth. If Lincoln is too antiquated, �Rockefeller Democrats� might be a better, or least more current, moniker.
PLAME REVEALED.According to David Corn and Michael Isikoff, Valerie Plame was neither a paper-pusher nor a lowly overseas agent at the time of her outing. Instead, she was the operations director for the clandestine Joint Task Force on Iraq, meaning she was in charge of the efforts to flip Iraqi scientists and gather information on Hussein's weapon programs. Over and over, the JTFI would turn a higher-up, only to run into denials of any WMD project whatsoever. The few Iraqis who came forward with evidence to the contrary were found to be fabulists or embellishers, some of whom were sent by Ahmed Chalabi's organization.
THE SPECTRUM OF PUBLIC OPINION. It is often said, correctly, that the spectrum of acceptable public opinion about Israel's actions is much broader in Israel than in mainstream U.S. publications. This Ha'aretzop-ed by Gideon Levy, who is known for his criticism of Israeli policy, is fairly typical of the sort of coverage you�d find in the Israeli press but never on a U.S. editorial page:
"EVERY STINGRAY IS A VERY REAL AND PRESENT DANGER." It was just last week, in his speech to the American Legion, that Donald Rumsfeld likened appeasement to "feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last." Then famed crocodile hunter Steve Irwin died -- in a tragic, fluke run-in with a stingray. The Corner's Cliff Maywasted no time in switching gears to draw the proper stingray-as-Islamofascism metaphor.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE BUSY SEASON. After five years during which Congress has abetted the president's power-grabs in the name of fighting terrorism, recent court decisions have forced the legislative branch finally to take action -- for better or worse. Jonathan Hafetzoffers a primer on the issues, including surveillance and detainee policy, that Congress will be confronting this fall, with the opportunity either to check the executive's claims of power or grant them official sanction.
TALKING ABOUT TALKING ABOUT. I'm basically agnostic on whether Democrats should welcome a national security debate this fall. If the Democrats weren't such a bunch of fools and knaves, a rollicking, high-intensity discussion over George W. Bush's failing war, bin Laden's surprisingly successful game of hide-and-seek, and the unpreparedness for disaster that Katrina exposed would be a welcome additive to the GOP's anxieties. But the Democrats often are a bunch of fools and knaves, so who knows how it'll wash out.