Archive

  • LIBERTARIAN SWINGERS. ...

    LIBERTARIAN SWINGERS. Via Andrew Sullivan comes this bit from Cato's new report on the next big swing group: "Libertarians preferred George W. Bush over Al Gore by 72 percent to 20 percent, but Bush�s margin dropped in 2004 to 59-38 over John Kerry...The political party that comes to terms with than can win the next generation." Maybe so, but while losing ground amongst the electorate's most important new swing group, didn't George W. Bush uh, increase his share of the vote? It's generally not a good thing when the concessions needed to attract a certain swing group swing the rest of the electorate away from you. More generally, in an era of close elections, it's easy to vaguely word a couple poll questions and conclude that your cohort is 5 percent of the electorate, more than enough to push any party over the edge. But moving to dominate one interest group necessarily means shifting away from others. To own libertarians, for instance, Democrats would have to abandon, well, everyone...
  • "I'M WITH FUZZY."

    "I'M WITH FUZZY." Great things are happening in my onetime adopted home state of Wisconsin. First of all, there was Russ Feingold with the new Air America Morning Zoo crew this morning, talking about how the Democratic senatorial caucus talks big in public, and then folds in private, usually on the advice of consultants "with connections to the previous Democratic administration." And, well, snap , as the kids say. Even if Hillary Clinton doesn't run herself, the internal fight between people who believe that Bill Clinton was the template for Democratic success, and people who believe that he was sui generis, and that Clintonism has proven to be less a governing philosophy than a cult of personality, is going to the presiding dynamic of the next two election cycles. If the Democrats don't capture either house of Congress this time around, the Clinton side will come back with a vengeance. If the Democrats do manage to gain a working majority in either house, some very famous TV pundits...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CENTER-LEFT FOREIGN POLICY RUMBLE.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CENTER-LEFT FOREIGN POLICY RUMBLE. In the October print issue of the Prospect , James Lindsay reviewed two new books purporting to offer alternative foreign policy visions to both neoconservatism and "liberal hawk" interventionism -- Michael Lind 's The American Way of Strategy and Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman 's Ethical Realism . Today, the authors of those books respond -- vigorously -- to Lindsay. Be sure to read both Lieven/Hulsman's response and Lind's . --The Editors
  • HUH. Word...

    HUH. Word on the street is that Mark Warner will make a surprise announcement at 11am ruling out a presidential run. Stay tuned... -- Ezra Klein
  • EXPORTING AMERICAN VALUES.

    EXPORTING AMERICAN VALUES. Today in Baghdad, according to the Associated Press, gunmen stormed a Sunni television station and killed 11 people. "It was the second attack on a television station in the capital in as many weeks," reports AP writer David Rising . No need here for some sardonic, smart-ass comment about the success of Iraq's democracy experiment. Suffice it to say that whatever they've got by way of 1st Amendment-style protections in the vaunted Constitution of theirs are, in the present situation, pretty meaningless. Of course, once President George W. Bush gets around to signing the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which as already passed both houses of Congress, whatever we've got, in that vaunted U.S. Constitution of ours, by way of 1st Amendment protections will be rendered pretty meaningless. The president has already reserved for himself the right to declare anybody -- citizen or not -- an "enemy combatant," a category the president claims to lack standing for...
  • YOUTUBE THROUGH THE AGES.

    YOUTUBE THROUGH THE AGES. There's an interesting piece by Sam Howe Verhovek in today's L.A. Times about trackers, those (typically young) campaign staffers tasked with carrying audio or audio-visual equipment to their opponents' public events and taping their every utterance. Their goal is simple: Trail after opponents in hopes of catching them saying something contradictory, stupid or malicious -- or trifecta: all three! S.R. Sidarth stands as America's most famous tracker, at least for the moment. But he's certainly not alone. Thinking about trackers made me wonder how history might have turned out in the days before electronic media if, instead, there had been YouTube and videocameras. In 1860, for example (as Richard Hofstadter noted in his classic book, The American Political Tradition ), Abraham Lincoln 's speeches in pro-slavery parts of the country would have been easily and perhaps fatally contrasted with sentiments he expressed in abolitionist regions. Presumably, a...
  • Old Europe vs. the Great American Jobs Machine

    Everyone knows that the dynamic U.S. economy generates new jobs at a much faster pace than the sclerotic economies of "Old Europe." Well everyone is wrong . Since 2000, Old Europe (the EU-15) have generated jobs at a 0.9 percent annual rate compared to a 0.7 percent rate in the U.S.. This follows a decade in which job creation was considerably more rapid in the U.S. than Europe, but for at least the last half decade, Old Europe has been winning the job creation race. --Dean Baker
  • AMERICAN POWER. ...

    AMERICAN POWER. Responding to a relatively unobjectionable Tom Friedman column calling for "Russia and China [to] get over their ambivalence about U.S. power", Matt notes that "ambivalence about U.S. power is a natural thing for Russia and China to feel." More than that, particularly for China, concern over US power is a natural way to feel. After all, it wasn't that long ago that some nobody named Paul Wolfowitz drafted a document for then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney arguing that "America�s political and military mission in the post-cold-war era will be to ensure that no rival superpower is allowed to emerge in Western Europe, Asia or the territories of the former Soviet Union." In other words, US foreign policy should be explicitly aimed at stopping other large countries from becoming competing superpowers. Do you think China, with four-and-a-half times our population, thinks America should be the most powerful and dominant country in the world, forevermore? Or Russia, with their...
  • LIBERTY SUNDAY.

    LIBERTY SUNDAY. The crazy train is coming to town! I'd like to thank Governor Willard-Mitt Romney (R-Chameleon) for inviting these fine folks to gather right in the heart of that part of town where secular American democracy was birthed, especially now that his national party is attempting to put out a sexual bonfire at least partly by smothering it with the party's gay officials and constituents. I'd also like to thank him for demonstrating to every thinking American that he plans to run for president firmly on the Australopithicine end of the ticket. Since his Lieutenant Governor seems to think that lawyers should be held to account for the clients they are dutybound to represent, it seems only fair to inquire if she'll be waving her arms and answering the altar call of Republican Jesus . --Charles P. Pierce
  • LOST BEFORE TRANSLATION....

    LOST BEFORE TRANSLATION. This is the sort of statistic that I simply cannot understand: Five years after Arab terrorists attacked the United States, only 33 FBI agents have even a limited proficiency in Arabic, and none of them work in the sections of the bureau that coordinate investigations of international terrorism, according to new FBI statistics. Counting agents who know only a handful of Arabic words -- including those who scored zero on a standard proficiency test -- just 1 percent of the FBI's 12,000 agents have any familiarity with the language, the statistics show. There is, of course, a why here, which has to do with the hiring protocols of the FBI: Gulotta and other officials said several factors limit the number of foreign speakers who can become agents at the FBI. Special agents, for example, must be U.S. citizens. They also must undergo background checks that are much more difficult to pass if the candidate has relatives or friends overseas. I once met a professor who...

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