Archive

  • AND THE AWARD GOES TO JOE BIDEN.

    AND THE AWARD GOES TO JOE BIDEN. Give the man credit. It's only August of 2006, and we've already heard the single dumbest thing a Democratic presidential candidate is going to say prior to the 2008 election? Come on down, Joe Biden (D-Finance Charge). So he goes on FOX News and, like so many people recently, accidentally drinks out of Ollie North 's water-cooler. (They simply have to mark that thing better.) He then steps before the cameras and produces one of the most stunning pieces of bafflegab imaginable. I know that, among the various nominal Democrats with whom Biden feels most comfortable, there's a feeling that the party has no future until it sponsors a car at Talledega. And I bow to nobody in my respect for embattled Southern progressives. But this is triangulation covering itself in grits and running amuck down the boulevard. Hell, in George Allen , we already have one Civil War re-enactor running on the other side and, even if we didn't, is there a reason why Biden...
  • THANKS KATHERINE.

    THANKS KATHERINE. A big hand goes to colleague Greg Sargent for finding this little bit of nonsense . Personally, I don't think poor l'il Katie 's "Some of my best friends are in the IDF" alibi is going to hold much water, and the real grace note in the piece is where it was that she happened to commit this latest episode in her ongoing attempt to disgrace her opposable thumbs. If "Talking Religion at a Gun Show" isn't the best definition of the modern Republican base ever contrived, then you can swell my head and call me Newt . Without this crazy woman, none of it would have happened. We should remember that. --Charles P. Pierce
  • THE SHRINKING SOUTH.

    THE SHRINKING SOUTH. Ben Adler and Jason Zengerle both note Joe Biden 's odd theory as to why he can do well in the South as a presidential candidate: You don't know my state. My state was a slave state. My state is a border state. My state has the eighth-largest black population in the country. My state is anything from a Northeast liberal state. Atrios also chimes in . In Biden's semi-defense, the article is a little unclear, but I think that was in answer to a question about whether or not Biden thought he could win primary elections in the South against the region's native sons. Biden is arguing that the electorate in Democratic primaries in Dixie is heavily African-American and that, in light of Delaware's large black population, he has experience with appealing to that demographic. Three further points. One is that if Biden genuinely thinks he's going to be president some day, he's seriously deluded, but that sort of delusion is widespread in the Senate. Second is that Atrios...
  • WAL-MART: ROUND 2....

    WAL-MART: ROUND 2. Sebastian Mallaby 's obtuse column about anti-Wal-Mart sentiment among Democrats offers me an opportunity to expand on some comments I made last week. Then, referring to a Jonah Goldberg column on the same subject, I said that "how to handle Wal-Mart is among the two or three most important issues facing the country." A lot of folks ceased reading right there and began accusing me of not taking "Islamofascism" and health care seriously enough. Yes, if only I paid more attention to health care. Here's the point: It's not about Wal-Mart. Many on the left and the right make to believe this is primarily about how much H. Lee Scott pays his cashiers. It isn't. Rather, Wal-Mart is setting the norms and standards for the coming service economy. Where GM and Ford played this role for the manufacturing sector -- and the unions forced them to use their power to create the American middle-class -- Wal-Mart is assuming primacy as manufacturing's successor, and doing so without...
  • IT'S ALL ABOUT...

    IT'S ALL ABOUT THE R'S IN '08. Bloggers and journalists focused on the Democratic presidential primary contest in '03 and '04 because there wasn't one on the Republicans side, and there still seems to be a bit of a hang-over from that reporting that leads people to pay more attention to possible '08 Democratic contenders than Republican ones. This really needs to end. The most common questions about the '08 contest in my experience involve Hillary Clinton : Will she run? Can she win? etc., etc. But the answer to such questions cannot be found by looking at Clinton's history or the political landscape alone. Clinton's electability will be entirely a function of who the Republican '08 candidate is, as will any Democrat's electability. This straw poll of Republican bloggers (via a Jerome Armstrong post at MyDD) reminded me of this and of just how different Republican bloggers are from the mainstream of the Republican Party. There's been a surge of support among Republican bloggers for...
  • MORE ECCODITTO.

    MORE ECCODITTO. GFR makes some good points below regarding EccoDitto, the company's founder, and John McCain . That said, I don't think my non- Mele friends at the firm would forgive me if I didn't draw attention to this post on the company's blog from Chief Operating Officer Harish Rao : Nicco's recent post about his support for Senator John McCain has caused quite a lot of ruckus. We at EchoDitto disagree with his decision. While Nicco does not work for Senator McCain, his support for a possible McCain candidacy runs contrary to many of our core beliefs at EchoDitto. . . . Everyone in this world has to follow their own heart. Nicco has agreed to, effective immediately, take a leave of absence from our company. We hope he takes some time to re-consider his position. I am assuming Nicco's responsibilities for the duration of his leave of absence. That said, the Dean /McCain nexus is an interesting one. They have similar images as hard-charging straight-talkers and, in a sense, come...
  • HORSE'S MOUTH PSA.

    HORSE'S MOUTH PSA. We're happy to announce a guest who'll be supplementing Greg 's work at The Horse's Mouth until Election Day: Brendan Nyhan , of Spinsanity and All the President's Spin fame. We expect great stuff from Brendan, and Greg will still be contributing regularly as well, so be sure to check in on the site. --The Editors
  • NICCO & MCCAIN....

    NICCO & MCCAIN. Alright, I have to weigh in on this . First of all, I should say that I consider Nicco Mele a friend. And now that it's been revealed publicly that Nicco has been talking to Sen. John McCain 's campaign, it seems the whole Democratic Internet community is upset or at the very least saddened to see one of their favorites cross over to the other side. But if you look at Nicco's business, this move is not really as much of a shock as some people are making it out to be. My sense is that in the wake of Howard Dean 's campaign, the Dean campaign technologists moved to Washington and started two companies, EchoDitto and Blue State Digital , which have increasingly diverged over time. Blue State Digital, led by Joe Rospars , has increasingly focused on Democratic campaign and candidate work -- they have the thankless task of improving the DNC's web and database operations -- while EchoDitto has worked with a few politicians, such as Barack Obama , but primarily developed...
  • Yet More Whining About Entitlements at the Post

    Okay folks, get your checkbooks out. The people who pledged a CEPR contribution for every Post article/column whining about entitlements owe us money. This one is from Bob Kerrey and Warren Rudman, the co-chairs of the Concord Coalition. In addition to conflating Social Security and Medicare as �entitlements� that will pose problems, the column also has a few other standard scare tactics. For example, it projects a rise in spending from approximately 20 percent of GDP at present to 40 percent in 30 years. The biggest part of this rise is due to a rising interest burden. See, if we run larger deficits, and Congress never responds by either raising taxes and/or cutting spending, then we get a rising interest burden. Silly trick, but this is the Post . And of course, the article never discusses health care reform as something that should be on the national agenda. Do the authors not know that the U.S. spends more than twice as much per person on health care as the average among other...
  • Falling Wage Shares

    The NYT had a good story on the falling wage share of output and the growing concentration of wage income among high wage earners (e.g. doctors, lawyers, CEOs). While the basic story is accurate, there are a couple of points that should be treated with more care. The article notes that the sharp drop in the wage share of GDP over the last three decades, from 53.6 percent in the first quarter of 1970 to 45 percent in the first quarter of 2006. While most of this drop is attributable to an increase in profits at the expense of wages, part of it is attributable to an increase in depreciation (the share of GDP that goes to replace warn out equipment and obsolete capital goods). The share of GDP going to depreciation has increased by almost 3 full percentage points over this period. This would imply a fall in the wage share of GDP, even if there was no redistribution to profits. The moral is just use national income or net national product (NNP) as the denominator. The point about...

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