CONSERVATIVE CASE FOR REPUBLICAN DEFEAT. The new issue of the Washington Monthly has a truly inspired collection of conservative arguments for a Republican defeat this November. The highlight is surely Christopher Buckley's piece, which expresses the libertarian scorn for George W. Bush's "compassionate" conservatism. Buckley coins a new term for it, "incontinent conservatism," which seems particularly apt given his list of grievances ("bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief.")
TO FIRE, OR NOT TO FIRE? It looks, rather surprisingly, like John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Warner are readying to take substantive stands against the Bush administration�s attempt to torture by another name. The nut of the disagreement is over Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibits "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." The Bushies, through some complicated legal footwork, are trying to invalidate that prohibition.
The deficit hit another record in July. It's now running at an $820 billion annual rate, more than 6 percent of GDP. Of course, I'm talking about the trade deficit, not the budget deficit. All the bad outcomes of large budget deficits are also true of large trade deficits, yet the media barely notice a trade deficit that is now more than 3 times as large as the budget deficit. (Even if we add in the money borrowed from Social Security the trade deficit would still be almost twice as large as the budget deficit.)
WHY EMANUEL HATES DEAN. In a funny bit of intra-Democratic news from this week, the burgeoning rapprochement between Rahm Emanuel and Howard Dean included an agreement on how much the DNC would spend in 2006, and almost contained a "good behavior" clause in which the DNC would donate more money if Emanuel stopped bashing them to the press.
WYNN WINNING. A while back our boss Bob Kuttner (assisted by wunderkind intern Asheesh Siddique) put some real thought and effort into actually discerning who were the most indefensibly sell-outish Democrats in the House. Among the "faithless fifteen" they came up with was Maryland's Al Wynn, who's of course garnered blogospheric attention more recently for his anti-net neutrality shenanigans and faced an extremely serious primary challenge yesterday from Donna Edwards.
IT'S NOT A CRUSADE; IT'S AN AWAKENING.The Washington Post's Peter Baker today reports some mind-blowing remarks made by President George W. Bush on the subject of America the Good versus the collective Great Satan known as the Islamo-fascists:
President Bush said yesterday that he senses a "Third Awakening" of religious devotion in the United States that has coincided with the nation's struggle with international terrorists, a war that he depicted as "a confrontation between good and evil."
A DIFFERENT LOOK AT 9-11. The leading lights of conservative thought labor through the day to produce enough big fish to fill enough small barrels. A woman casts herself wistfully as the Mrs. Miniver of World War III (or IV.) The editor of Commentary wallows in existential dread and can't keep it from between his toes. A suburban dad is baffled as to why he -- and his local Best Buy -- are not living their lives in a garrison state, and is even more confused about whether or not that's a good thing. The second generation of the Pipes family looks around for another threat to which he can attach the family helium bottle.
GOREWATCH.Pat Buchanan, no stranger to insurgent candidacies, is arguing that Al Gore is well-placed to defeat Hillary Clinton and take the Democratic nomination. Most of his points are, I think, perceptive and convincing, but his final grafs falter. "Hillary," Buchanan writes, "has the option of waiting much longer to decide when and whether to get in. Gore must decide soon after November."