Archive

  • FROM KATRINA TO...

    FROM KATRINA TO 9-11. It seems I've returned from New Orleans just in time to be called, in the tradition of Nazi sympathizers, an appeaser to the evil forces in the world. This campaign on the part of the Bush administration -- to tar critics of the Iraq War with a brush worthy of the abdicating Duke of Windsor -- builds each day as the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaches in this midterm election year. Lurching from memories of one catastrophe to the next, I asked myself, now, what do these two events have in common? Why, it's the contractors, silly. While in New Orleans, I heard locals and workers grousing about the alleged fleecing of the American people by Phillips & Jordan, Inc., which was awarded a debris-removal contract, under a no-bid program, by the Army Corps of Engineers. As it turns out, Phillips & Jordan is doing little, if any, of the work itself, and has instead farmed it out to four subcontractors for significantly less than the prime...
  • FINALLY. It...

    FINALLY. It looks like someone tipped off The Washington Post to the existence of a major primary in Rhode Island, as they sent Ruth Marcus to cover hyperconservative Stephen Laffey 's attempt to dethrone Lincoln Chafee . Most polls show him within spitting distance of succeeding -- a far more significant act than anything Ned Lamont pulled off, as a Laffey victory will almost certainly flip the seat to the Democrats. But the Laffey campaign isn't fueled by blogs, and Markos Moulitsas has nothing to do with it, so Chafee's looming defeat has attracted nearly no media attention. That's a shame because the fall of the most prominent Rockefeller Republican would be significant, and the victory of the Laffey campaign, which relies on a "Time to Change Washington" slogan, would be further evidence of the vibrant anti-incumbent sentiment rippling through the electorate. And that doesn't even get into the potential importance of Laffey's populist message -- he claims Teddy Roosevelt as his...
  • WHERE'S THE MONEY FOR WEBB?

    WHERE'S THE MONEY FOR WEBB? Michelle Cottle 's great profile of Jim Webb in this week's New Republic reminds me of a point Alec raised last month, during the Connecticut primary: Wouldn't the fundraising energy the bloggers lavished on Ned Lamont been better spent funding challengers seeking to defeat actual Republicans? Come November 8th, would they rather see Joe Lieberman looking hangdog or George Allen staring shellshocked? Like Lamont, Webb won the Democratic primary in an upset fueled in part by the bloggers� support. But a distaste for fundraising has left him with merely $500,000 on hand while his incumbent opponent, George Allen, sits atop $6 million. So, as Cottle points out, Webb may be catching up in the polls right now, but he lacks the funds to sustain the rally. What happens when Allen deploys his war chest to make Webb into a baby-eating gay marriage counselor? No progressive, no matter how much they hate Joe Lieberman , can reasonably claim that he's nearly as odious...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DON'T LOOK BACK.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: DON'T LOOK BACK. Matt weighs in on some of the issues being hashed out in this week's Rose - Mishel debate, and argues that the question in dispute is the wrong question to be debating. Third Wayish prescriptions are lame even if the centrist analysis of middle-class prosperity is roughly accurate, and liberal economic and social policies deserve touting on their own terms -- doing so doesn't require painting a doom-and-gloom picture of the modern economy. --The Editors
  • ROLE PLAYING.

    ROLE PLAYING. Every now and again I give the president the benefit of the doubt, try to see things from his side, walk a mile or so in his manly brush-clearing workshoes as it were. So, I'm George W. Bush , right? I have launched a war that I have repeatedly said is a critical response to an existential threat to Western civilization that is as serious as were those of Nazi Germany and the Soviet empire. Things have not gone well. And most of the country doesn't trust me when I tell them why I'm doing what I'm doing. (Most of the country doesn't trust me if I tell them the sun rises in the East, but that's a whole 'nother mile in them workshoes.) Nevertheless, the threat is real and it is growing and I can't get the country to see it. Why, then, do I give all my speeches to captive audiences of people who either already believe what I believe or who get paid to serve under my steady hand as commander-in-chief? Doesn't the seriousness of the threat, and the requirements of my job,...
  • AHMADINEJAD JOINS STUDENTS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM.

    AHMADINEJAD JOINS STUDENTS FOR ACADEMIC FREEDOM. What do Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and David Horowitz have in common? Hint: It's not their views on Israel. Give up? They both want to fire liberal, secularist professors perverting the fragile minds of college students. According to AP: Iran's hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Tuesday for a purge of liberal and secular teachers from the country's universities, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported in another step back to 1980s-style radicalism. Well, at least Iran is finally catching up to us in something besides nuclear technology. --Ben Adler
  • OH YEAH? ...

    OH YEAH? YOU AND WHAT ECONOMY? Because TAP loves you and wants you to be rich, we're hosting an argument between eminent economists Larry Mishel and Steve Rose over whether the economy is eleven types of awful or seven styles of awesome (all numbers gleaned through counting bullet points). Mishel is arguing that the economy is getting worse, while Rose is declaring that, for the median American, it's still pretty good. Rose thinks Democrats need to focus more on the relatively prosperous middle class; Mishel thinks the economy requires fundamental reform to curb inequality and encourage broad growth. Well, I'd need to see Mishel's solutions to evaluate his argument; as of now, it's little more than a snapshot of economic trends. Rose, however, offers a more interesting challenge as well as, I think, a fundamental error. He's firmly planted in the DLC tradition that accuses Democrats of forsaking the middle class to focus on the poor. And his case, to be sure, is strong. But his...
  • LINCOLN DEMOCRATS.

    LINCOLN DEMOCRATS. E.J. Dionne �s column today on how the �North will rise again� on the strength of nascent �Lincoln Democrats� is a recognition (finally) of what a lot of us have been saying for months: that the Democratic revival is going to come in the quadrant of states formed by linking Dover (NH), Dover (DE), Des Moines and Duluth. If Lincoln is too antiquated, �Rockefeller Democrats� might be a better, or least more current, moniker. Whatever the labels, this �Northeast strategy� (or, more precisely, the �Northeast-Midwest� strategy) is the key to building Democratic majorities in the Congress, and turning the purple portion of the Midwest to blue would be sufficient to put a Democrat back in the White House. And if one wishes to broaden the focus fully, throw in the interior West for good measure. In January 2001, there was not a single Democratic governor in any of these eight states. Today there are four, three of whom -- Arizona�s Janet Napolitano , New Mexico�s Bill...
  • PLAME REVEALED. ...

    PLAME REVEALED. According to David Corn and Michael Isikoff , Valerie Plame was neither a paper-pusher nor a lowly overseas agent at the time of her outing. Instead, she was the operations director for the clandestine Joint Task Force on Iraq, meaning she was in charge of the efforts to flip Iraqi scientists and gather information on Hussein 's weapon programs. Over and over, the JTFI would turn a higher-up, only to run into denials of any WMD project whatsoever. The few Iraqis who came forward with evidence to the contrary were found to be fabulists or embellishers, some of whom were sent by Ahmed Chalabi 's organization. The JTFI was right, but it had trouble believing its results. Nevertheless, as the war started, their results showed no WMDs and nothing but discredited informants. Valerie Plame and her underlings had gotten it exactly right. A few months later, she was outed, effectively ending her career at the CIA. What bitter irony: She was one of the few officials involved in...
  • THE SPECTRUM OF...

    THE SPECTRUM OF PUBLIC OPINION. It is often said, correctly, that the spectrum of acceptable public opinion about Israel's actions is much broader in Israel than in mainstream U.S. publications. This Ha'aretz op-ed by Gideon Levy , who is known for his criticism of Israeli policy, is fairly typical of the sort of coverage you�d find in the Israeli press but never on a U.S. editorial page: Gaza has been reoccupied. The world must know this and Israelis must know it, too. It is in its worst condition, ever. Since the abduction of Gilad Shalit, and more so since the outbreak of the Lebanon war, the Israel Defense Forces has been rampaging through Gaza - there's no other word to describe it - killing and demolishing, bombing and shelling, indiscriminately.

Pages