Archive

  • LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE.

    LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE. This cannot be a good thing. The single most important televised moment in human history and they can't find the tape? The people who made Tom Hanks out of duct tape and got him home from out by the Moon somewhere, and nobody there can file something properly? Hell, TV Land can find every damn episode of Three's Company that ever aired, and NASA can't lay its hands on Neil Armstrong 's big entrance? And I don't even want to think about what's going on right now in the various paranoid precincts of the Internets. I suggest NASA get on the stick and find this damn thing because I still know where my VHS copy of this film classic is. --Charles P. Pierce
  • THE MESSAGE IS THE MESSAGE.

    THE MESSAGE IS THE MESSAGE. I watched the DSCC ad Adele mentioned below, and what I'll say is that the great thing about the spot is that it doesn't really make any kind of argument or logical sense. Rather, it simply has a clear emotive message -- if you find yourself increasingly frightened by the world situation, blame the guys who've been running the country . That's crucial. Ever since 9-11, Bush has been locked in a �heads I win, tales you lose� dynamic where if people feel reassured they're supposed to credit him, but if people feel frightened they're supposed to . . . turn to him for comfort. Simply put, Democrats are going to have a very hard time winning elections fighting from within that framework. The ad is a great step toward changing it. --Matthew Yglesias
  • BATTLE OF THE CORNER STARS.

    BATTLE OF THE CORNER STARS. It's J-Pod versus Andy McCarthy in a five round battle to the death . As in the Iran-Iraq War, one only wishes both sides could lose. --Matthew Yglesias
  • SO THAT'S THEIR...

    SO THAT'S THEIR SECRET. Matt likes to argue that large swaths of today's right are "motivated more by a distrust of leftwingers" than by anything else. I happen to think he's right, and so I took particular pleasure in seeing Bill Kristol prove this thesis in his latest editorial . There, he notes that "Lamont is pro-carrot," which is to say Lamont believes you can achieve more abroad through incentives than punishments. This makes him, in Kristol's eyes, "an appropriate spokesman for what one might call the Bugs Bunny caucus that now dominates the Democratic party." Clever, no? The real fun comes a couple grafs later, though, when Kristol lays down a new North Star by which Bush can guide his foreign policy: Here's a suggestion for the president: When the State Department asks him to embrace the path of diplomacy-�ber-alles, he should ask himself this question: What would the Bugs Bunny Democrats think? If they would approve, then the president should kill the initiative. So there it...
  • GEORGE ALLEN'S MONKEY-GIRL....

    GEORGE ALLEN'S MONKEY-GIRL. The Washington Post this morning reports that Sen. George Allen 's campaign has apologized for calling an Indian-American Jim Webb campaign staffer "macaca": Virginia Sen. George Allen (R) apologized Monday for what his opponent's campaign said were demeaning and insensitive comments the senator made to a 20-year-old volunteer of Indian descent. At a campaign rally in southwest Virginia on Friday, Allen repeatedly called a volunteer for Democrat James Webb "macaca." During the speech in Breaks, near the Kentucky border, Allen began by saying that he was "going to run this campaign on positive, constructive ideas" and then pointed at S.R. Sidarth in the crowd. "This fellow here, over here with the yellow shirt, macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great," Allen said, as his supporters began to laugh. After saying that Webb was raising money in California with a "bunch of Hollywood movie...
  • IT'S THE ECONOMY,...

    IT'S THE ECONOMY, STUPID. I think the bursting of the tech bubble that Matt identifies as kickstarting upscale populism is actually pretty good evidence for Noam Scheiber 's argument that the wealthy are fickle allies for the progressive movement, and that whatever support they currently provide will dissipate as soon as political/economic conditions become more favorable for moderates. That said, the heyday of the DLC Democrats was not during the tech bubble of the late '90s, but during the collapse of old-school liberalism in the late '80s. The shift away from interest group politics and towards market-oriented programs was a savvy electoral strategy for a moment when a Democrat's success relied on sparking a media narrative declaring them separate from those old, bad liberals. It well predated Silicon Valley's eminence, and if the two eventually entered into an alliance, it was one of convenience, brought on by Clinton 's occupation of the White House during the boom. That said,...
  • MACAQUE THIS. ...

    MACAQUE THIS. Ryan Lizza makes a great point on George Allen �s "Macaque" slur . As of now, it's a weird term that few of us know, and Allen is seeking to capitalize on it by claiming that "I don't know what it means." Why'd he use a word he doesn't know? Because it sounds vaguely like "mohawk," a word that doesn't describe the target's haircut , but sounds enough like "macaque" that the Allen campaign has decided to make it the alibi (left unexplained is why Allen didn't just use the word "mohawk"). Here's the thing, as Lizza notes: Allen is one of the few people who actually would know the term "macaque." It's a French slur for North Africans. Allen's mother is French Tunisian -- yes, a North African -- and Allen speaks French. You stay classy, George. --Ezra Klein
  • LOSE CHANGE. ...

    LOSE CHANGE. I've just watched the new scare-mongering television ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), and I can't say it makes me feel terribly cheerful. While I do think it's high time that the Dems played the security issue to their advantage, this thing has an icky feel to it, especially with its implication that the Democrats will be tougher on illegal immigration than are the Republicans. I'm no expert in these things, and I imagine that this thing was focus group-tested to death, but the tagline, "Vote for change," strikes me as more anxiety-provoking to the general public than inspiring. Fear of change, I believe, is exactly why we're living this right-wing nightmare; people tend to long for authoritarianism -- and stoop to scapegoating -- when the world around them is subsumed by the sort of change that flies in the face of everything they were taught to believe: America is invincible; women belong in the home; homosexuality is sin; hard work reaps...
  • AFTER THE NEW ECONOMY.

    AFTER THE NEW ECONOMY. In updates to the argument over the allegedly paradoxical phenomenon of upscale populism, Jonathan Cohn and Noam Scheiber kick around the influence of the "great risk shift" on public attitudes. Missing so far in the conversation is a point that I strongly suspect is relevant -- the big technology/stock boom of the late-1990s and its bursting. Airy forms of excitement about the rise of a "new economy" were very influential on the thinking of a broad elite at the time. Capitalism seemed to many -- especially those with college degrees -- to have all sorts of heretofore unknown liberating possibilities. So perhaps one still believed in the need for a strong state to protect the environment and help out the poor, but one was unlikely to want to go in for business-bashing rhetoric or to question the consensus view of professional economists. Then came the crash and all of a sudden the market looked a lot more like the God that sucked . A lot of surveys indicate that...
  • NEWSWEEK ON A...

    NEWSWEEK ON A ROLL. Gerson is one thing , but this piece on Joe Lieberman by the magazine's religion columnist truly has to be seen to be believed. As M.J. Rosenberg put it , " Newsweek should be ashamed for publishing a Jackie Mason joke and calling it a column." --Sam Rosenfeld

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