Archive

  • POVERTY & THE...

    POVERTY & THE DEMS -- AN UPDATE. A couple of weeks ago, during one of the rounds of the blogosphere debate on poverty, I cited Elizabeth Warren 's article from The Democratic Strategist , where she said: 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. Several bloggers questioned the existence of a program backed by Democrats that cuts off aid at this level, so I wrote her and asked for clarification. As it turns out, Warren was thinking of the federal Pell Grant system, which preferentially provides grants to those who come from families earning less than $20,000 per year, and which...
  • BEYOND RECRIMINATIONS.

    BEYOND RECRIMINATIONS. Perhaps not surprisingly, I second what Matt said about Jon Chait 's column on the incompetence dodge and don't have an enormous amount to add. (I should at least say that I very much appreciate Chait establishing the grounds of the debate pretty accurately and arguing in good faith.) Noam Scheiber 's intervention today does help to underscore one point worth emphasizing. Scheiber says that "Yglesias and Rosenfeld set the bar on themselves too high." To show that blaming Bush-administration incompetence for the Iraq disaster amounts to a "dodge," you don't need to prove that the Iraq project was impossible to pull off under any circumstances -- something I don't believe. You just need to show that the administration's mishandling of Iraq was extremely easy to foresee, which in fact it was. The administration basically advertised that it intended to botch post-war Iraq during the run-up to the war. Scheiber elaborated on this point in a piece last year, and I...
  • A BELLWETHER BLOWOUT?...

    A BELLWETHER BLOWOUT? More trouble is brewing for Ken Blackwell �s gubernatorial bid in Ohio. Last week, three prominent Ohio Republicans publicly denounced Blackwell as being outside the mainstream of the Republican Party and announced their support for his Democratic opponent, Ted Strickland . Might Karl Rove , John McCain , and the editor of Human Events , to name a few , be out of touch with what real Americans, real Ohioans -- and even real Republicans -- want? Leading the charge was Charles �Rocky� Saxbe , a well-known Columbus attorney, former member of the Ohio House of Representatives, and one-time Republican candidate for state attorney general. Saxbe�s father , William Saxbe , is a powerhouse in the Ohio Republican Party, having served as Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, Ohio Attorney General, a member of the United States Senate, and Attorney General of the United States in a political career that spanned four decades. I caught up with Saxbe this morning, who...
  • GORE SPEAKS. ...

    GORE SPEAKS. Around the time Al Gore 's movie came out, a number of conservatives criticized the film for not advocating for a carbon tax. By obscuring the necessity of that policy choice, he was making his case look too easy and the solutions artificially simple. But whether or not he acknowledged it the film, Gore has long been a lover of carbon taxes, and today he came out in favor of one (and basically every other pro-renewable policy you can think of) in a major speech at NYU. The address is an enormously detailed look at global warming and the myriad ways in which America could respond, so I urge interested readers to take a look at the whole thing . For now, however, I want to comment on the most buzz-worthy of Gore's proposals: He wants to eliminate all payroll taxes (including those for Social Security, unemployment, and Medicare) and replace the revenue with pollution taxes. The proposal would be revenue neutral, which is to say that total revenue would be precisely the same...
  • FLACK WATCH. If...

    FLACK WATCH. If ever a blog cried out for a snarky, anonymous author, it's this one . But, alas, the new Potomac Flacks blog, dedicated to the "comings and goings of D.C.'s spokesguys and spokesgals" and penned by former Joe Lieberman '04 spokesguy Adam Kovacevich , maintains the decorum one would expect from the Assistant Vice President at Dittus Communications, the title that Adam now holds. With an open comment policy, however, I suspect the snark won't be far behind...or hard to find. --Garance Franke-Ruta
  • YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA....

    YOUR LIBERAL MEDIA. Real Clear Politics has entered a content deal with Time magazine, and will now have their blog hosted on Time's servers. "TIME.com hosts a diverse chorus of political voices," said Josh Tyrangiel , the editor, "and we're excited to add the Real Clear Politics blog to the mix." Except that's not true. Real Clear Politics is an unabashedly conservative site. It's a very, very good one , and there's no conservative commentary I prefer to read, but it's happily and totally right-of-center. A glance at Time 's other blogs shows no more "diverse" voices. They have Andrew Sullivan , an occasionally heterodox conservative; Mike Allen , a political reporter; and then a smattering of health, science, and television blogs. Those may all be good blogs, but they don't represent a "diverse chorus of political voices." The chorus lacks, for instance, a single left-of-center voice. Sort of a large oversight, it seems to me. --Ezra Klein
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: SCHOOL'S OUT.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: SCHOOL'S OUT. You may have caught the new round of debate over the efficacy of homework. Conor Clarke explains both why the homework critics may indeed be correct, but also why this debate, just like most other arguments over education policy as such, matters less than one might think. --The Editors
  • WHY DO THEY...

    WHY DO THEY TORTURE? Ron Suskind , writing in last week's Time , details the path of the al-Qaeda 14, the captured terrorists whom Bush based his appeal for torture on, and provides a good look into the politics of torture within the Bush administration. As he tells it, there were two operating paradigms in the immediate aftermath of Afghanistan. The first belonged to the FBI, which had found "al-Qaeda members assumed their jailers would dismember them. When instead the interrogators presented a tough but very human face, the detainees were confused. Small amenities -- an FBI agent's knowledge of the Koran, unlimited videos and even an operation for an al-Qaeda member's child -- were the kinds of things that eventually turned them." On Bush's other shoulder, wearing horns and a cape, was the CIA, "bursting with urgency and a taste for "whatever's necessary" improvisation." That's the direction Bush took: A directive was issued ordering that top-level detainees would go to the CIA...
  • THE TRUE SPIRIT OF '94.

    THE TRUE SPIRIT OF '94. Over the weekend, the Post began its (premature) obituary for congressional Republicans with an electoral advisory issued by none other than Joe Scarborough . I�m happy to give Joe credit for showing, both in the Post and in his Washington Monthly piece , the courage to wonder aloud about how the supposed revolution swept in by the 1994 election has so quickly collapsed, as he did in the opening sentences yesterday: I can't help but feel sorry for my old Republican friends in Congress who are fighting for their political lives. After all, it must be tough explaining to voters at their local Baptist church's Keep Congress Conservative Day that it was their party that took a $155 billion surplus and turned it into a record-setting $400 billion deficit. How exactly does one convince the teeming masses that Republicans deserve to stay in power despite botching a war, doubling the national debt, keeping company with Jack Abramoff, fumbling the response to Hurricane...
  • THE BULLY IN CHIEF.

    THE BULLY IN CHIEF. Back in the 1990s, we were treated to all manner of stories regarding how Bill Clinton , his wife, their marriage, and his presidency were all coming unglued at once. When they were sourced at all, they were sourced as well as the average story concerning Ferris wheels on Mars. The crack pipes on the White House Christmas tree. The tossing of the vase -- or was it a book, a globe, or a bust of Grover Cleveland ? Inquiring minds wanted to know. Somehow, though, it all stayed behind closed doors -- and within the lurid imaginings of people like Gary Aldrich -- since Clinton himself remained capable of sailing through press conferences and interviews by drowning them in wonkish minutiae. No Nixon -shoving- Ziegler moments for him. This all came back to me because, quite frankly, I think the president of the United States is getting ready to slug somebody. And, based on several recent on-camera performances, all of them readily available to anyone who wants to watch,...

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