Archive

  • CONDI VISITS THE "NEW MIDDLE EAST."

    CONDI VISITS THE "NEW MIDDLE EAST." The State Department announced last week that Secretary Rice would be visiting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Israel, with the aim of engaging what she characterized as "moderate" Arabs. And here she is, in the region for the first time after the pointless war in Lebanon, which saw U.S. standing in the region plunge to new depths. Her deputy, Philip Zelikow , had hinted earlier in remarks at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy as to what this trip is about: What would bind that coalition and help keep them together is a sense that the Arab-Israeli issues are being addressed, that they see a common determination to sustain an active policy that tries to deal with the problems of Israel and the Palestinians. We don't want this issue doesn't have the real corrosive effects that it has, or the symbolic corrosive effects that it causes in undermining some of the friends we need friends to confront some of the serious dangers we must face together. In...
  • CT SEN: LIEBERMAN TO KEEP SENIORITY?

    CT SEN: LIEBERMAN TO KEEP SENIORITY? The Hill reports today that Sen. Joe Lieberman , who left the Democratic Party in August to run for the Senate under a banner of his own making, may be able to keep his seniority in the caucus after all. Sen. Joe Lieberman, the longtime Democratic senator from Connecticut running for re-election as an independent, says the party leadership has assured him he would keep his seniority if he returns to Congress. Local Democrats are responding with irritation, political opponents voice disbelief, and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) denies making a decision. Jim Manley , a spokesperson for the Senate Minority Leader, said the party can wrestle with these questions after the Nov. 7 election. In the meantime, however, the rumors about assurances to Lieberman will be disappointing to party activists, who believe Lieberman should face some consequences for taking on the Democratic nominee, and just as importantly, should garner some criticism...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE DREAM-KILLER.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE DREAM-KILLER. Matt explains why war with Iran is a far more serious possibility than many seem to think, and why understanding this is "especially important for liberals hoping to think creatively about the future of American foreign policy: a war with Iran would, in essence, render all of our grand schemes moot." We all know what damage the invasion of Iraq has done to the international system and America's standing in the world, but the damage caused by a second war in the Persian Gulf -- even one not involving a land invasion -- would be incalculably larger. Unlike in the Iraq case, there isn't anything even vaguely resembling a case for American action under international law. This war would be unilateralism on steroids, leaving the United States utterly isolated in the global community. The international agenda, as a consequence, would shift largely to one dominated by the question of how to contain, constrain, and control American military power...
  • LOOSE PEDOPHILIA TALK.

    LOOSE PEDOPHILIA TALK. Except for the swipe about the gay left and street hustlers, I agree with Jonah Goldberg here . --Sam Rosenfeld
  • HILLARY'S TREASURE. ...

    HILLARY'S TREASURE. Looks like Big Business is betting on a Big Future for Hillary Clinton . According to the Center for Responsive Politics , she's now the #1 recipient of cash from over 27 different industries. Telecommunications, accounting, health care, Hollywood, restaurants, publishing, tourism, architects...the list goes on, and offers little in the way of coherence or committee assignment connections. Rather, Hillary's fundraising operation is simply so disciplined, determined, and sophisticated, that they've begun sucking up money few would even imagine lay on the table. And because her name looms so large and her future shines so bright, rare is the lobbyist who doesn't advise his clients to ante up. Whether any of this will actively influence her public policy decisions or predict her ideology is unclear. But it's certainly discomfiting to those of who think business wields too much might in public polciy decisions already. --Ezra Klein
  • UNCIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS.

    UNCIVIL MILITARY RELATIONS. Andrew Bacevich has a nice discussion of the dysfunctional state of civil-military relations during Donald Rumsfeld's term at Secretary of Defense. State of Denial has served to turn over a nasty log in Washington. Donald Rumsfeld's tenure as Secretary of Defense has two achievements worth remembering. After the Clinton years, someone needed to bring the military to heel. Uniformed active duty officers were, publicaly and privately, questioning the moral character and leadership ability of the president of the United States, something that ought not happen in a context of healthy civil-military relations. It was appropriate and necessary for Rumsfeld to knock some heads when he took over as SecDef. Unfortunately, Rumsfeld and his lackeys went beyond a sensible policy of re-establishing civilian supremacy and adopted an attitude that rejected not only the political pretension of the military leadership but also the practical expertise that senior officers...
  • SPOTLIGHT ON DENNY.

    SPOTLIGHT ON DENNY. The Washington Times editorial is bad enough, but the real sign that things are beginning to fall apart for the House leadership is this new John Boehner interview in which the majority leader makes it very, very explicit that this is all on Hastert. "I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of. And, and, and my position is it's in his corner, it's his responsibility." There's one superficial factor that makes this all even more treacherous for the GOP than the mere, damning facts would have in any case: As many have known for a while but we've all been seeing in painful real time over the past few days, Hastert the avuncular behind-the-scenes leader is truly dreadful on television or speaking extemporaneously. He's the absolute last person you'd want trying to delicately extricate his party from a scandal or effectively push back against attacks. And loyalties to him seem to be running thin. UPDATE: Boehner's been on a real candid-on...
  • GOTV FOR YOU...

    GOTV FOR YOU AND ME. With the GOP engaged in an implosion so total that one imagines it must be purposeful (did Bill Frist really call for rapprochement with the Taliban? I mean, he's actually right, but yikes), there are few refuges left for electoral pessimists like myself. But of those remaining, the GOP's vaunted GOTV advantage looms largest. As the story goes, their deployment of corporate marketing techniques -- merging different databases to identify Republican voters within Democratic strongholds, or microtargeting -- combined with their 72-hour program offers them a nearly unbeatable advantage on election day. Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallstein 's One Party Country -- the bible for electoral pessimists -- argues that the Republican Party's microtargeting abilities have grown so great that traditional polling is almost useless in predicting voting outcomes. The GOP can turn many, many more of their voters out to the polls, so even if both parties have 49 percent of the...
  • HUMANITARIAN.

    HUMANITARIAN. I think Yglesias goes too easy on Eric Posner's Washington Post op-ed attack on humanitarian intervention. Posner invokes Somalia, Kosovo, and Iraq as evidence that "experience shows that humanitarian war is an oxymoron." This can fairly be argued of Iraq 2003, but I'm unaware of any compelling evidence that the intervention in Somalia in 1992-3 failed to increase living standards for Somalis, at least for as long as the United Nations forces stayed. Certainly, the intervention failed to establish a state or resolve the problems of Somalia in the long term, but this is a different thing than saying it failed. The success of an intervention must be measured against the likely course of events in the absence of action, not in reference to whether it permanently solves a problem. In the case of Kosovo, Posner's argument is even weaker. Posner writes "the Kosovo intervention, although regarded as a success in some quarters, has cost billions of dollars, required a seven-year...
  • Economists on Drugs

    One of the favorite examples of economists who argue that the consumer price index (CPI) is missing quality improvments in new goods and services, and therefore understating the increase in living standards, is the great new drugs that have been developed in the last quarter century. That is why it is interesting to read an article in the Washington Post reporting on a study showing that the new generation of antipsychotics (price tag $10 billion a year) is not better than the old drugs that they replaced. It sounds like the CPI has been overstating the increase in living standards. -- Dean Baker

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