PRIZES FOR POVERTY.The Wall Street Journal has an interesting report on the anti-poverty innovation sweeping the nation: Prizes. According to the paper, "[i]ncentive-based programs have sprung up in recent years in large part because they are more politically palatable than traditional welfare benefits, and because advocates say such programs offer a better chance of changing some of the behaviors tied up with poverty. But incentives aren't safety nets.
BUSH FLIRTS WITH LIEBERMAN. One of the more puzzling moments in George W. Bush's interview on Larry King last night was when he was asked whether he would endorse Joe Lieberman for Senate should he lose the Democratic primary and run as an independent. Bush dodged that as follows:
G. BUSH: First, the Democrats have to sort out who their nominee is going to be, and that's going to be up to the Democrats. And the rest of it's hypothetical.
KING: But he said he would run as an independent, if he were...
G. BUSH: He also has said he's going to win his primary.
MORE FOR CHUCK TO CHEW ON. Earlier this week, I noted in a post that Chuck Schumer had benefited from Democratic post-primary unity in New York in 1998 when his defeated opponents rallied to his side, and he went on to beat Al D�Amato. The idea is that now, as head of the DSCC, Schumer should learn from his own example and that the party ought to rally around the primary winner in, to pick a random state, Connecticut, let�s say.
The lead headline of the Washington Post this morning was "Mexico Vote Tally Gives Free-Trader a Narrow Victory." Wrong! Felipe Calderon, the candidate who is now ahead in the vote tally to be Mexico's next president is not a free-trader. He has supported increasing copyright and patent protection and shown no special interest in removing protectionist barriers that obstruct free trade in the services of highly paid professionals (e.g. doctors, lawyers, accountants).
The Washington Post does not own the term "free-trade." If they want to identify Calderon by his trade position, they can call him pro-NAFTA. It is more accurate and saves 2 letters.
Remember the good old days when newspapers didn't just unquestioning print what the powerful tell them? (Okay, maybe they never existed.) Anyhow, a Timesarticle this morning reports that Petrobras, the Brazilian energy company, has invested $50 billion in Bolivia.
BEING THERE.Matt's dig at Michael Ledeen reminded me that I wanted to highlight this Ross Douthat item from a few weeks back about how Ledeen has never actually been to Iran, the country on which he claims unparalleled expertise:
I don't want to resurrect my ancient feud with Michael Ledeen or anything, but I was a little gobsmacked by this comment he just made:
REAL RAGE. Far be it from me -- very far be it from me, Moons Of Freaking Neptune be it from me -- to be perceived as defending NewsMax, but I think Ezra's a little glib in dismissing the story about John McCain's temper. It is a very real, and very startling, and very important part of his personality and, unless the campaign press corps spends more time in the tank than Shamu, it's going to be an ongoing story in the 2008 campaign. In 1998, I wrote a long profile on the senator for Esquire, and his volatility was very much an issue ever then, particularly with people back in Arizona.
JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GROVER. On June 23, Grover Norquist met with a bunch of liberals for a Prospect-sponsored breakfast here in Washington. Grover expounded on the structure of the two major political coalitions in America; the politics of Iraq, gay marriage, and immigration; the philosophical link between the inheritance tax and Jim Crow; anti-Mormonism and Big Love; the complete innocence of Grover Norquist and Americans for Tax Reform in this whole Abramoff-Indian tribes brouhaha; and much more. Here he is handicapping the Democratic presidential contenders for 2008:
MCCAIN'S TEMPER. For an interesting preview of the coming smear job on John McCain, check out Newsmax's article questioning whether McCain has the temperament to be President. It warns that, "to insiders who know him, McCain has an irrational, explosive side that make many of them question whether he is fit to serve as president and be commander in chief." Ooh -- scandal!