A DEEPLY FOOLISH CONSISTENCY.Jon Chaitflags the core oddness of Robert Kagan�s view that changing your mind about something in light of events and new information is a form a dishonesty. The super-weird part, however, concerns Al Gore, who never favored the invasion of Iraq but stands condemned as a "one-time Clinton administration hawk" who "turned on all those with whom he once agreed about Iraq and about many other foreign policy questions."
New data from the Fed show that credit card debt rose at a 9.8 percent annual rate in June after increasing at an 11.0 percent rate in May. This extraordinary two-month rise is consistent with the story that homeowners are finding it increasingly difficult to borrow against their home � presumably because prices are no longer rising. If you need to borrow, and borrowing against the home is not an option, credit cards may be the next best alternative.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: TONGUE-TIED.Eric Rauchwaydelves into the early-20th-century history of immigration politics in the U.S. to help explain why liberals' efforts at discussing the issue have so often been fraught and unsuccessful.
WHAT ABOUT BOB? I had been hoping to do a short, humorous item for our print magazine this fall about how amidst all the "culture of corruption" hype this year, the two most flamboyantly corrupt pols of them all, Ohio's Bob Ney and Louisiana's William Jefferson, were actually both poised to win re-election assuming November rolled along before their indictments did. Tragically, as Steve Benendiscusses over at Midterm Madness, Ney has finally forfeited his race against time (and pending legal action), and is calling it quits.
FLAT-FOOTED JOE. The recent news that Joe Lieberman is abandoning some portions of his late-campaign field effort seems like a stunning, late-game admission of defeat. What it is, rather, is an admission that Lieberman got caught flat-footed by the Lamont insurgency much earlier than this week.
SOUTH ASIA: THE NEXT MIDDLE EAST? Given the turmoil in the Middle East, the mounting nuclear-tinged tensions in South Asia have been largely ignored in the United States, even after India and Pakistan each withdrew their diplomats from the other country last week, just two days after the House approved a nuclear assistance package for India. The technology transfer is being sold as a peaceful-use energy deal.
THE NEW MINIMUM WAGE CONSENSUS. Bloomberg's got a good article on the wide array of prominent economists coming around on the minimum wage. While the profession as a whole used to be basically unified in opposition, research emerging in the early '90s broke that consensus, and strong job growth after the Clinton increase further calmed their fears.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: LEARNED AGGRESSIVENESS.Ezraexplains why less is at stake in tomorrow's outcome in Connecticut than people realize, because the truly significant achievement on the part of netroots and activists has already been won.
HILLARY HATING: IT'S NOT JUST FOR REPUBLICANS ANYMORE. �Lying b**** . . . shrew . . . Machiavellian . . . evil, power-mad witch . . . the ultimate self-serving politician.� So said the grassroots Democrats who were part of New Hampshire pollster Dick Bennet's focus groups. And this is New Hampshire, Hillary's strong primary state, not Iowa, where she's already trailing John Edwards in the polls.
RICE ON IRAQ. In an awesome bit of goalpost-moving, the secretary of state can now claim for Iraq that it won't be Iran:
Iraq is not on track to become another Iran despite the disconcerting images last week of Iraqis burning American flags and chanting "Death to America," Secretary of State Rice said yesterday.
"I have no doubt that this is an Iraqi government and an Iraq that is going to be a fierce fighter in the war against terrorism, because they themselves are experiencing the effects of terror on their population," Ms. Rice said. "I have no doubt that this is going to be a government that is on the right side in the war on terror."