THE NEW DIPLOMACY. There's a kind of impenetrable air of absurdity wafting throughout this paper I found on the AEI website advocating the formation of a Washington-Jerusalem-Baku axis aimed at countering the rising Persian Menace. Nevertheless, this passage is an intriguing and refreshingly honest look at contemporary diplomacy:
WHAT ABOUT YOUR GUY? There�s some very bad news for incumbents in today's Washington Post poll. Not only are the public's views of Congress typically dim, but people finally seem to be souring on their own members of Congress. Normally, everyone hates "Congress" but loves their representative, so nothing changes. Currently, though, "55 percent now approve of their lawmaker, a seven-percentage-point drop over three months and the lowest such finding since 1994, the last time control of the House switched parties."
Mary Williams Walsh has a nice piece on the unbooked libailities of public sector pension funds in today's NYT. Supporters of defined benefit pensions and public sector provision of public services are not helping the cause when they ignore bad accounting.
NOT A LIE IF YOU BELIEVE IT. Let's return to the subject of Robert Kagan's odd column accusing people who changed their mind about Iraq -- or even, in Al Gore's case, people who didn't change their minds about Iraq -- of dishonesty. Commenting on the article, Eric Alterman, likeJon Chait, was particularly distressed about this because both of them thought of Kagan as a decent, honest exponent of the other side's views. I think this sort of misconstrues the situation.
REVISIONIST HISTORY AND WEEPIN' JOE. Two years ago, at the NCAA Final Four in St. Louis, I spent a delightful evening in the company of Lanny Davis, the former Clinton lawyer. My old pal's performance on Meet The Press Sunday, where he tried to spin Weepin' Joe Lieberman's hamfisted involvement in the Schiavo case doesn't get his candidate into the Dance, I fear. Yes, neither Joe nor any other Democratic senator opposed the Schiavo resolution.
WHO RULES? A whole bunch of people died yesterday in Iraq. More surprising is the second paragraph of the AP rundown of the latest violence: "The attacks came a day after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sharply criticized a U.S.-Iraqi attack on Sadr City, the area of Baghdad that's the stronghold of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia."
DEMOCRACY-PROMOTION.Spencer Ackermancalls the Bush "freedom agenda" a "fiasco." Michael Rubinhas his doubts, asking "isn�t it terrorism and militias, rather than democracy, which are the problems in Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon?" He plugs this op-ed by Stephen Cook that urges us not to �Blame Democracy Promotion" and works through the typical sleight-of-hand of redefining "democracy" to mean something like "growing strength of pro-Western liberal politi
LIVE, FROM NEW HAVEN.Lieberman spokeswoman Marion Steinfels took a few minutes to answer some questions about last-minute campaign developments here in Connecticut. My paraphrased questions and her answers follow:
1. Did the latest poll [showing Lieberman down only 6 points, instead of the earlier 13-point deficit] give the Lieberman camp a lift?
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."