TALKING ABOUT THE WAR. Good for the Democrats. Yesterday's congressional leadership letter on Iraq doesn't really break any new ground, policy-wise. It does, however, break new ground in terms of the Democrats trying to instigate debate on the Iraq War rather than trying to avoid the issue until forced to respond to Republican attacks. This is the right way to go. The politics of Iraq are a bit tricky for the Democrats, but at the end of the day the war is unpopular and substantively disastrous -- it's something the opposition party ought to be on the offensive about.
WHEN DEMOCRATIC CONSULTANTS GO BAD. I was all set to blast Matt Stoller and Markos for putting their agendas before the facts. Carter Eskew may be cashing checks from Big Pharma, but his memo to Democratic candidates that the polling shows solid support for Medicare Part D is fully factual. Indeed, it's inarguable -- I looked into the numbers myself. And believe me, no one is more depressed by that polling than I.
AFTER FIDEL. With Fidel Castrotemporarily ceding power to his brother Raul while he undergoes surgery, it's worth asking what happens when Fidel eventually dies. There often seems to be a sense in the United States that the regime will simply die with its founder, but there's no particular reason to believe that's the case. Jonah Goldberghopes "this administration has a good plan to take advantage" of Castro's death if it happens.
OVERESTIMATING AIPAC. My friend Ari Berman's new Nationpiece on AIPAC gathers some insightful quotes and makes a valid point in the last paragaph about the gap between the moderately high level of public support for Israel and the exceedingly high level of congressional support.
COULTER WATCH. Twelve years of Catholic education. Four years of the best the Society of Jesus had to offer. I have seen the May Procession, ladies and gentlemen. I have heard the Trappists sing at dusk and I have served on the altar during the old Good Friday liturgy, the one that seemed to last eight days and was the closest thing that the church of my birth had to a Ken Russell film -- except, of course, The Devils, which actually was a Ken Russell film. I have read my Aquinas and my Augustine and my Teilhard.
CONSTITUTION, SCHMONSTITUTION. Some days it's difficult to remain part of the good fight -- not just because it too often feels like it's on the verge of being lost, but more so because it's on the verge of being lost and so few seem to care.
Take the Constitution, which Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is looking to throw down the sewer of a secret court (I don't find anything about secret courts in Article III), while the rest of the world is caught up in making wagers on whether or not we're living the End of Days, or whether one boring Connecticut Democrat or the other will play against the other team in November's Senate race.
ON PARENTING. As a childless twenty-something, I've been really enjoying the Corner's weeks-long debate over whether or not parenting matters. In the "cranky bugger" corner, with the impressively hiked-up grandpa shorts, has been John Derbyshire, who's argued that parenting matters very, very little, and peer influences, genetics, and culture are the real determinants. His primary assailant has been Jonah Goldberg, a proud parent determined to prove he matters.
GIVE ME DIGNITY OR GIVE ME EMPLOYMENT! This weekend's New York Times had a fascinating piece on the growing number of middle-aged men who are jobless by choice. It's always hard to discern if the anecdotes and quotes chosen for these articles accurately reflect the trends, but assuming they do, it's worrying stuff. The basic outline is that many workers from blue or gray collar jobs who lost their positions in layoffs and bankruptcies are finding it nearly impossible to find subsequent positions offering the same level of dignity and challenge.
OHIO SWIFTBOATING NOT SO SWIFT. The Ohio Republican Party has fired �social conservative coordinator� Gary Lankford, the operative responsible for last week�s e-mail suggesting that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland and his wife are gay. Lankford�s effort to discredit Strickland proved even too embarrassing for the shameless Ohio GOP, and chair Robert Bennett gave him the boot.