BFF. To follow-up on Matt's point that the Bush administration not only missed, but actively subverted our opportunity to withdraw from Iraq, it's really worth stating the implications of this clearly. For years, the sector of the left concerned with the appearance or existence of imperalist tendencies was mocked and pilloried -- remember Zell Miller foaming over hearing our troops called "occupiers" rather than "liberators"? But they were right.
EVANGELICALS FOR MITT? After noticing an incoming link yesterday from Evangelicals For Mitt, I headed over to the advocacy site to take a look for myself. Unfortunately, the place is barred and shuttered, password protected and closed to the masses. Yet it has been built -- Feedster picked up plenty of text behind the wall, including active links. In my experience, few personal web pages are locked until they're ready, but most all official political organizations keep their door tightly shut until the last possible moment. So I'd guess -- though on the basis of rather flimsy evidence -- that this is a professional site, either sponsored by the campaign or operatives near to it.
A DESERT WIND AND A PERVERSE DESIRE TO WIN. For a while over the weekend, it looked like the Bush administration stumbled into a golden ticket out of Iraq -- a draft national reconciliation plan written by Iraq's prime minister that, among other things, called on the United States to develop a timetable for withdrawal. Rather than embrace this opportunity, however, the administration worked to water down the reconciliation proposals, including the requests for the United States to withdraw.
ASSYMETRICAL WARFARE. I wanted to highlight something Ezrapassed along from the breakfast with Grover Norquist: "The left, he argued, shouldn't seek to simply mimeograph the right's structure -- CAP for Heritage, Media Matters for Media Research Council, etc. 'You don't have to have the same weapons in politics because both aren't structured the same.'" When you think about it, this seems both obvious, important, and unduly neglected.
For reasons that I will not pretend to understand, newspaper editorial boards are huge proponents of trade agreements as a remedy to world poverty. They endlessly promote these agreements on their editorial and oped pages. Papers like the New York Times and Washington Post are as likely to print an oped critical of recent trade agreements, as Pravda would have been to print an anti-communist diatribe back in the days of the Soviet Union.
Since there have been some interesting comments on two separate posts from last week, I thought I would pull them together. To get up to speed, NPR ran a piece last week which decried (slight exaggeration) the low pay of doctors. I also commented on the failure of reporting on a minimum wage hike to note the extensive research showing that modest increases in the minimum wage (like the ones being debated) have no significant effect on employment.
The responses have raised issues about the appropriate wages for doctors and people who work at the type of jobs that get the minimum wage. The point that I wanted to make is that these two are linked. The wages of people working at low paying jobs are a cost to doctors, and doctors' pay is a cost to those earning low wages.
IN DEFENSE OF HRC.Hillary Rodham Clinton, lately keeping us safe from burning flags and Grand Theft Auto, gets one right in a big way with this speech. In a general way, defending privacy is the most important issue in domestic politics, both in and of itself, and as a way to attack the Human Growth Hormones that John Yoo execrably injected into the Executive Branch by dressing Alexander Hamilton up as one of the Plantagenets. People like privacy.
A METAKOS MOMENT. Though part of me thinks Matt treated the outbreak of open war between TNR and Daily Kos with the appropriate level of seriousness (for now) below, there's still some actual points to be made, rather than scored, about what's been happening over the past few days as this flamewar writ large has escalated. Two analytic points made by other bloggers over the past few months come to mind.
A MAN, A PLAN, A CANAL, IMPERIALISM. I hate to ruin a good suggestion about political messaging with a lefty observation that Democrats should arguably refrain from making, but I think Josh Marshall is mistaken about this:
Let's work through a bit of this. If the president had a plan for success he would say, 'I plan to get X, Y and Z done and then we're going to bring American troops back home. I expect those three things will be accomplished by the middle of 2007.' Or maybe he'd say 2008 or the beginning of 2009.