DOES THE NEW POVERTY AGENDA UNDERMINE THE MIDDLE-CLASS MESSAGE?Elizabeth Warren lays out some provocative food for thought over at The Democratic Strategist:
When I talk with families about politics, I often hear a variation on this theme: "Democrats care most about the poor. They tell me I'm better off than the poor, and that I should give up more of my money to help the poor. Well, I'm stretched to the breaking point, and I just can't do it any more." Whenever a Democrat stands up and says, "I'll help every child go to college," then cuts off benefits at $20,000 a year, the message just burns deeper.
YOUR SATURDAY MORNING. Cancel your plans. Set your alarm. Make tonight an early night. I'll be on C-SPAN starting at 7:45 a.m. Eastern time tomorrow to chat about politics, the weather, whatever. It'll go until 8:30 a.m., and I have a hard time imagining you have better things to do at the crack of dawn than roll out of bed and enjoy my sonorous soliloquies.
POVERTY WITHOUT RACE. I'm intrigued by E.J. Dionne's column today because it strikes me as such a clear example of the latest trend in liberal anti-poverty writing and thinking, which is to talk about the poor without any reference to race. Writes E.J.:
All manner of politicians and columnists said in Katrina's wake that this was the time to revisit the problems of the destitute. The anguish of the people of New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward would have at least some redemptive power if the country took poverty seriously again.
COCOON, THE RETURN. In TNR's new Open University blog, Cass Sunstein has a post describing ideological amplification -- the tendency of likeminded people to reinforce and intensify ideological positions when dissenting viewpoints aren't included. David Greenbergfollows up, applying the notion explicitly to the blogosphere and mentioning Sunstein's old book Republic.com, which had warned that the internet would encourage cocooning and ideological echo chambers that would produce extremism and damage serious deliberation.
AMERICA: CHILD NEEDING BABYSITTER, REVISITED. I know that I have a president who has speechwriters. They write speeches. So, is it too much to ask that they somehow arrange it so that, here in the middle of World War Whatever It Is, as the existential boogedy-boogedy reaches high tide and we confront the threat from Islamo-nazified-fascistic wha-dee-doo-dah, that the president of the United States not sound like a 12-year-old babysitter speaking to a room full of toddlers? From Wednesday night:
CUZ WHO WANTS TO CURE CANCER? Over at The Wall Street Journal, Sharon Begley has an important column on the underfunding of the National Institute of Health and all the promising research that's falling by the wayside. She tells the story of Dan Welch, a molecular oncologist who discovered a molecule that suppresses metastases (and thus, cancer's progression) and sought to test whether it could be switched on to fight the disease. But when he went to the NIH, they said he needed to gather preliminary breast cancer tissue from hundreds of women, a project he simply lacked the funding for.
SOON ENOUGH, HE'LL BE "THE" MATT YGLESIAS. As Mattembarks on his sabbatical to write the great American foreign policy manifesto, we here at TAP thank him for the years of terrific contributions, steadfast indulgence, and inspiration. So much as you know Matt as a relentlessly provocative and sharp writer, we know him as a cubicle mate, where he's that guy, only more so, and at a higher decibel level. The office won't be the same without him, and we'll all be anxiously reading his new, consolidated blog to get our fix. You should too. Even the basketball blogging.
WHERE'S THE EXORCIST WHEN YOU NEED HIM? In the small town of my birth, we had an official called a "fence walker." The office was a vestige of the days in which my town grew crops instead of cherubic suburban children, and I always thought the office still existed because nobody ever noticed it. I feel the same way about the fact that the Vatican apparently has an official exorcist. However, I sort of wish the guy would keep a lower profile than this. In the first place, the Vatican should avoid any publicly uttered sentence in which the names Pius XII and Hitler bump up against each other.
THE GEEZER VOTE. Is it possible that all the thundering rhetoric accompanying the public relations counterattack orchestrated by the White House -- and in particular their comparisons of the war on terror to the fascist and communist threats of the previous century -- is something more than an attempt to try to rescue Bush�s approval ratings and put Democrats on the defensive in time for the 2006 midterms? Specifically, is it a generational ploy to appeal to senior voters heading to the polls in two months?