Archive

  • MCCAINIACS.

    MCCAINIACS. On behalf of the rest of American journalism, I'd like to apologize for this . The profession lost its mind in 2000, with very unfortunate consequences. There was the War on Gore , which I witnessed first-hand when the vice president got heckled and booed by some of the people watching him on TV in the press room at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner in Iowa. (Oh, yes, you did, kids, just the way you did in Hanover later on.) I remember telling a veteran reporter who was as agog as I was that this was the kind of behavior that literally would get you ejected from any press box in any American stadium. Then there was the ongoing novelization of that trust-fund cowboy, George W. Bush . The only galloping hallucination remaining from that year seems to be John McCain , Centrist Hero, and its giggling acolytes apparently have it primed for another lap around the country. Oh, and I'd like to apologize for the John Mark Karr Donkey Show, too. --Charles P. Pierce
  • THE NEW IMPERIALISM.

    THE NEW IMPERIALISM. Via Robert Farley , William Stuntz explains in The Weekly Standard why we must continue occupying Iraq: On the other hand, if American forces were to leave Iraq now, the likely result would be an escalating civil war that would radicalize Iraq's Shiites, leaving Sadr and his ilk in control of either the whole country or its Shiite-majority region--along with most of its oil. That would give Ahmadinejad's Iran a chain of likeminded governments stretching from Afghanistan's western border to Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. A jihadist Shiite superpower with nuclear capability at the head of such an alliance is a truly terrible outcome, comparable in world-historical terms to Hitlerite rule over Europe. It is well worth fighting to prevent this--indeed, it is worth fighting harder than America has fought to date. First off, note that the rationale for the war has switched once again. Rather than worrying that Osama bin Laden will take over Iraq if we leave, we're supposed to...
  • Rewritten History on AIDS

    The NYT applies a large does of whitewash in its discussion of President Clinton�s current efforts to promote the treatment of AIDS in developing country. While the article notes in passing that Clinton �conceded that his administration fought too long to protect the patent rights of pharmaceutical companies against countries trying to make or import cheaper AIDS medicines,� this lone sentence hardly does justice to Clinton�s work on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry during his tenure in the White House. Clinton was the person who allowed the pharmaceutical industry to use the power of the U.S. trade office to get the TRIPS provisions into the 1995 Uruguay Round agreement of the W.T.O. These provisions will limit the access to generic drugs for billions of people in the developing world, in some cases raising the price of AIDS drugs by several thousand percent. Even in his last years in office, Clinton harassed the South African government over its efforts to issue compulsory...
  • MORE ON VIRGINIA.

    MORE ON VIRGINIA. Adding to our earlier discussion on whether Virginia is following in Delaware�s and Maryland�s historical footsteps, reader David Weigel writes in to point out: Gov. Tim Kaine isn't a native to Virginia or the South. He was born in St. Paul, MN, and grew in the Kansas City area (the Missouri side) before he went to Harvard for law school. I think this adds some evidence to your concept. In 4-10 years, I think Virginia's politics will look more like Pennsylvania's, with the DC burbs playing the part of Philly and its suburbs. At the very least Democrats are going to start picking up the northern VA congressional seats now held by Tom Davis and Frank Wolf. Indeed, that seems to be where the long-term trend is going. Furthermore, just double the number of years and, with all the Northern retirees flocking to Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and the rest of the Research Triangle Park area, North Carolina may be in exactly the place Virginia finds itself now. The more...
  • ALWAYS LOW SALARIES,...

    ALWAYS LOW SALARIES, ALWAYS. Jonah Goldberg accuses me of ducking his criticisms -- which would be true, only I, uh, didn't see his criticisms. Amazingly, I don't actually read the Corner on Saturdays, and was only responding to those, like Glenn Reynolds , who answered me during the week. But since I now do see that Jonah answered, it gives me time to be confused. In what must be the most revealing few sentences he's ever written, Jonah promised, "I'll make Ezra a deal. I will forthrightly deal with the progressive case against Wal-Mart, if he explains in simple and straightforward language which issues he considers to be less important than Wal-Mart." Read that again. Jonah will bring an ounce of intellectual honesty to the table if I accept his demands. He's holding good faith debate hostage, and in doing so, admitting that his Los Angeles Times column was nothing but a smear job, one in which he didn't deal with the opposing arguments forthrightly. I applaud the honesty, but can't...
  • DEBUNKING THE SOUTHERN MYTH.

    DEBUNKING THE SOUTHERN MYTH. If I may add a footnote to Charles � post below, I am particularly sensitive to the pervasive �conventional wisdoms� about Democrats and the South. One of the most annoying of these analyses -- so common that I wonder if it�s one of those cut-and-paste paragraphs journalist pre-write and insert into their stories about the South -- closed the very piece Charles links to: �The last three Democrats to win the presidency--Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and Lyndon Johnson--came from the southern states of Arkansas, Georgia and Texas, respectively.� That statement is true, of course: All three came of age and made their political chops in Southern states. But Clinton is different from Carter and Johnson in a fundamental way: He won his ticket to the White House outside the South. Here come the numbers, folks: Carter�s margin over Gerald Ford in 1976 was 9.5 points higher in the South than his margin over Ford in the non-South (which Ford carried narrowly). Just...
  • SINKING FAST. ...

    SINKING FAST. A new Rasmussen poll shows Ken Blackwell trailing Ted Strickland by a whopping 25 points in the Ohio gubernatorial race While I typically spend more time handicapping Armageddon than elections, it�s hard to see how even Blackwell could come up with voting rules draconian enough to keep more than 25 percent of the electorate from voting. While the gap may be explained by Republicans falling out of favor nationally and in particular in Ohio, one might also read into these poll results a growing disgust with the self-righteous political proselytizing of Blackwell and his friends on the theocratic right. (For more on that, see Paul Hackett �s new blog, We United Ohio .) According to the poll, 55 percent of Ohio voters view Blackwell unfavorably, with 35 percent viewing him very unfavorably. In a move so desperate you can practically see Blackwell groping for his life jacket, his campaign has launched a new blog , Tell The Truth, Ted, which purports to �fact-check� the voting...
  • EARLY START.

    EARLY START. Those people who get exercised when the commercials pushing the Time-Life Treasury of Christmas come on shortly after Labor Day will be happy to note that idiot season apparently opens in August these days. Will your national media fall for this crapola again? And in an election year? Stay tuned to hear Bill O'Reilly sing "Good King Wenceslaus" while accompanying himself on marimba. --Charles P. Pierce
  • CAN'T ARGUE WITH RESULTS.

    CAN'T ARGUE WITH RESULTS. Writing in The New York Times , David Leonhardt and Stephen Greenhouse have the crispest, clearest description of how sick our economy has become that I've yet seen: The median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation. The drop has been especially notable, economists say, because productivity � the amount that an average worker produces in an hour and the basic wellspring of a nation�s living standards � has risen steadily over the same period. As a result, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation�s gross domestic product since the government began recording the data in 1947, while corporate profits have climbed to their highest share since the 1960�s. UBS, the investment bank, recently described the current period as �the golden era of profitability.� And let's not fool ourselves into believing that the difference is made up in benefits; increases there have failed to keep place...
  • ALLEN FALLING.

    ALLEN FALLING. I think Matt is onto something with his observation that Virginia may be evolving into a non-Southern state. In addition to the election of two successive moderate Democrats as governors (the first, Mark Warner , being a non-native to Virginia or the South), the latest Wall Street Journal /Zogby poll in the '06 Senate race gives Democrats some reason for hope. It shows challenger Jim Webb dead even with incumbent George Allen . This is a dramatic shift from a few weeks ago when Allen led by double digits. Observers who thought that Virginia had conquered its Confederate demons were disappointed that Ryan Lizza 's expos� on Allen seemed to matter not a whit to the average Virgninian. But apparently Macacagate has taken its toll on Allen. Whether it's Allen's xenophobia per se or his crass bullying that is turn-off to Virginia voters remains unclear. --Ben Adler

Pages