Archive

  • NATIONAL I.D.

    NATIONAL I.D. To follow up on Ben 's post , I see Kevin Drum makes a similar critique of the GOP legislation, but also comes out in favor of a universal I.D. given to everyone in the country. This is an idea that Boston bossman Bob Kuttner proposed in 2004. I remember finding his old column on the subject highly persuasive -- it's worth a read. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • DEMOCRATS FOR REPUBLICANS?

    DEMOCRATS FOR REPUBLICANS? In his latest piece , Jacob Weisberg addresses the question of whether the party that loses the midterms will, as a result, actually win in the long run. Although I think he takes the silly proposition a little too seriously, he admits that the right answer to this is the "boring" one: "the real winner in the November election will be the winner." While Weisberg raises some good points to support that position, there are a few others worth noting. First, the main premise of the "Dems should win by losing" line is that they will do better in the 2008 presidential election by being completely out of power, and therefore be able to run against the Bush administration's incompetence without any constraints. But given that the 2008 Republican front-runner is the MSM�s favorite son, John McCain , who has carefully distanced himself from Bush at times, and the Democrat's prohibitive favorite is the wildly unpopular Hillary Clinton , the Dems would be unwise to make...
  • WAL-MART...GOOD? Some...

    WAL-MART...GOOD? Some of my right-wing readers may think this'll make my head explode, but Wal-Mart's embarking on a new initiative to use its size and weight to bargain down the prices on generic prescription medications. In other words, the company I always accuse of acting like a monopsony is now going to use their might to act as consumer advocates on health care -- which will be good for consumers and bad for Pharma. Hooray! It's worth saying, though, that this is exactly what I and most Democrats are always calling for the government to do, and it's precisely this apparently unfair tactic that the Republican Party barred Medicare from using in the 2003 Modernization Act. It's rather weird that Congress felt the need to outlaw Medicare from bargaining down pharmaceutical prices, but thinks Wal-Mart should run wild. -- Ezra Klein
  • THERE MAY NOT...

    THERE MAY NOT BE ROOM, BUT THERE'S CERTAINLY MONEY. The Big Bossman and I had slightly different interpretations of Mark Warner 's admonition that Democrats shouldn't alienate the wealthy by opposing their tax cuts the other day. I viewed the move as politically unhelpful anti-populism of the type favored by influential elites but harmful to the progressive project, while Mike saw the effort as a substantively insignificant move that would project electability and centrism and allow Warner space to push the progressive line on other subjects. Maybe we're both wrong. Writing in the New York Observer , Jason Horowitz details Warner's hunt for funds among rich Democratic donors unconvinced about Hillary Clinton 's viability. It may indeed be that if Warner sees an opening on Hillary's right, part of that opening contains megawealthy funders unnerved by the renewed populism of many in the Democratic Party. Signaling that he'll be a centrist, incrementalist executive in the pro-wealth,...
  • I.D., PLEASE.

    I.D., PLEASE. Much like how the PATRIOT Act included a host of provisions that had been on the right's wish list for years before 9/11, House Republicans are using the current uproar over immigration (which they themselves have stoked) as an excuse to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters. From The Los Angeles Times : Republicans pushing for tougher means to stem illegal immigration got a boost Wednesday when the Senate agreed to consider a bill that would build a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border and the House approved a measure that would require voters to show photo identification at the polls. Republicans in both chambers said the steps were necessary to protect the United States from illegal immigrants entering the country or trying to corrupt the voting process. The Reps seem uninterested in offering much evidence for the alleged epidemic of illegal voting. ("We have 12 million illegal aliens in this country," said congressman Dan Burton . Many of them, we believe,...
  • MISLEADING POLLS. ...

    MISLEADING POLLS. I tried to run through this data yesterday at The Blog I Shalt Not Name , but I did a really crappy, confusing job of it (and remember: donate to my awesomeness!). So let's try again. A fair amount of attention is going to the new NYT/CBS poll , which has pretty encouraging news for Democrats: Congressional approval is down, Bush's ratings are down, the proportion who want to reelect theirrepresentative is down, and so forth. But like in many of these polls, voters don't appear to blame their representatives. When asked "How about the Representative in Congress from your district? Do you approve or disapprove of the way your Representative is handling his or her job?" A full 53 percent approve of their representative, and 29 percent disapprove. This number has remained generally steady throughout the last year, and it's often brandished as evidence that voter discontent won't translate into congressional changes. Voters would vote against Congress if they could, but...
  • ALLEN AND HIS MOM.

    ALLEN AND HIS MOM. I believe the innocent possible explanation for this would be that Allen 's mom thought he�d be mad because she had kept this a secret from him for so long, and he had been saying publicly what he thought was true -- that she wasn�t Jewish. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • WHY WOULD A...

    WHY WOULD A MAN STOP LOVING HIS MOTHER OVER SUCH A THING? George Allen 's mother recalls the moment , last month, when she told her son that she was raised Jewish: "When I told Georgie, I said, 'Now you don't love me anymore.'" To his credit, Allen replied "Mom, I respect you more than ever." But is it not somewhat weird that Mrs. Allen would initially assume that her son would stop loving her over this? Makes you wonder. -- Mark Leon Goldberg
  • POVERTY HEARTS NYC....

    POVERTY HEARTS NYC. All the way out there in New Yawk City, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is apparently getting serious about poverty. He's giving pay-for-responsibility policies a serious try, creating obvious and immediate financial incentives positive behavior among the poor. So folks will get paid for showing up to school, making medical appointments, getting good grades, and all the rest. It's an approach with pretty genuine promise and a long and successful track record. Richer folks, for instance, use it all the time. But they call it an allowance , and no one bats an eye. Heather Mac Donald , however, has apparently forgotten this, and has a rather pessimistic take on Bloomberg's plans, praising them for finally admitting that the poor are at fault, but fretting that: It will inevitably set up an expectation among the underclass that they have a right to cash for simply conforming to the norms of civil society. The list of responsible behaviors for which bounties will be offered will...
  • "ARCANE."

    "ARCANE." Ritual disclaimer: Keith Olbermann is a friend of mine, has been for years, ever since we were baby reporters in Boston and all the way through my ill-fated attempt to be hepcat enough to get hired by the embryonic ESPN 2. Last night on his show, he hosted Dana Milbank of The Washington Post for one of his regular state-of-the-pols chats. The topic was the ongoing bipartisan debate between a Republican president and a Republican Congress over what sort of authoritarian powers the president should have. Milbank resolutely stuck to the argument that this debate is a good one because it shifts the political debate away from the ongoing debacle in Iraq to the president's war on the evil terrorists, and that's to the White House's advantage. At one point, I believe that Milbank used the word "arcane" to describe the details of the fight over what kind of torture we'll allow. Olbermann, ever the gracious host, seemed a bit stunned by this. I'm not gracious. So I'll say it. Dana...

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