FROM THE SEPTEMBER PRINT ISSUE: THE RISE OF THE REPUBLICRATS. The Bush era has signalled the death of small government conservatism. What comes next for the GOP? Ezrareads the tea leaves:
...[T]hree longer-term factors have deprived [small govenrment conservatism] of both intellectual legitimacy and popular support: structural changes in the GOP�s coalition, accelerating economic insecurity, and the empirical failure of supply-side economics.
NOW HEAR THIS: I AM NOT A TERRORIST. Today Eric Lipton of The New York Timesreports on the Bush administration's latest effort to leave no stone unturned in its quest to terrorize the American people:
A proposal by Homeland Security Secretary Michael
Chertoff would allow the United States government not only to look for known terrorists on watch lists, but also to search broadly through the passenger itinerary data to identify people who may be linked to terrorists, he said in a recent interview.
No big deal, you say? Well, it could be for someone like me -- or maybe even you.
WHEN THE OP-ED PAGE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT THE NEWS PAGE IS DOING... Yesterday's Washington Post op-ed page had a very sensible column from education writer Jay Mathews. He argues that the media sensationalism surrounding over-worked, over-pressured high-schoolers is totally misplaced. Media elites regurgitate this story because their own children attend fancy suburban public schools or urban private or magnet schools, where students have too much work, too many extracurriculars, and too much pressure to get into Dartmouth.
POSITIVE REENFORCEMENT. Check this out in the Times:
�What matters is that in this campaign that we clarify the different points of view,� Mr. Bush said from the press secretary�s lectern in the White House conference center up the street from the Oval Office. �And there are a lot of people in the Democrat Party who believe that the best course of action is to leave Iraq before the job is done, period, and they�re wrong.�
BILL'S MISREMEMBERED BIPARTISANSHIP. Far be it for me to criticize Bill Clinton (or, for that matter, Hillary), but his op-ed today is just nuts. Celebrating welfare reform's better-than-expected results, he generously concludes that "[r]egarding the politics of welfare reform, there is a great lesson to be learned, particularly in today�s hyper-partisan environment, where the Republican leadership forces bills through Congress without even a hint of bipartisanship.
BLING-BLING VERSUS RING-RING. As a piggyback on Matt�s observations yesterday about Juan Williams� rather superficial analysis of the problems of bling-bling in the black community, I am reminded of the point Michael Harrington famously made in The Other America more than four decades ago: Consumer commodities (e.g., clothes and jewelry) are distributed by markets, whereas many of the most important community assets are allocated based on political power.
SPANISH BOMBS. Yesterday, new Corner blogger Mario Loyolatook to task "the hippies . . . the Howard Dean left" for ignoring their historical roots among "the European and American leftists who, during the Spanish Civil War, went to Spain to fight the rise of a fascist dictatorship," a moment said to have been "their finest hour." This strikes me as confused on several levels, but since when did this become the conservative line on the Spanish Civil War? I recall that a couple of years ago some right-winger or other managed to convince me that this particular sacred cow of the left was worth slaughtering.
ROUGH TIMES FOR SPECTER. And you thought Arlen Specter was having a rough decade, what with all the rolling over, fetching, and mock outrage he's been required to perform in his role as chairman of the kabuki Judiciary Committee of a rubber-stamp Senate during a lawless administration. Now, here come some guys in smocks from a cutting-edge lab, casting doubts upon the great triumph of his youth.