Archive

  • ELECTION DAY PARANOIA -- PART XIV.

    ELECTION DAY PARANOIA -- PART XIV. If somebody in the extended Lamont campaign family had anything to do with crashing Weepin' Joe Lieberman 's website today, then they are dumber than a box of rocks. Period. However...If I were running behind, and my entire campaign over the past three weeks had been based on the theme "Crazy Bloggers Are Eating My Leg!," and if I had been fairly successful in getting the media Bigfoot class to repeat my theme, and if I'd made a big deal out of a tasteless piece of Internet art, and if one of my most prominent Establishment spokescritters this very morning had published a piece in The Wall Street Journal that meretriciously conflated bloggers with their anonymous commenters, then, I dunno, creating an Election Day feeding frenzy over an arcane Internet issue that not half the campaign press corps could be expected fully to understand on the fly might be just the kind of thing I'd try. Just sayin'. Sometimes, I think growing up around Massachusetts...
  • EQUIVALENCE AND PRAGMATICS.

    EQUIVALENCE AND PRAGMATICS. Noam Scheiber responds to my post on Israel's attack on Lebanon as a preventive war, and offers up two observations that I think are red herrings. One is that -- as I'll happily agree -- it made perfect sense for Israel to deploy some level of retaliatory force to try and discourage Hezbollah from a repeat of the cross-border raid that launched the current round of fighting. Another -- as I'll also concede -- is that "I don't think you can regard all preventive wars as morally equivalent." Clearly not. Different situations are different. That said, the core notion that Israel's preventive war is, in this case, essentially the same as one aimed at preempting an imminent attack seems bizarre. Sure, Hezbollah has expressed an intention to destroy Israel. That and a pony will get Hezbollah a pony. The group was hardly on the verge of obtaining parity with the IDF. Which is where we get back to the enormous practical problems with preventive war. By shifting the...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: NO END TO IDEOLOGY, ROUND 2.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: NO END TO IDEOLOGY, ROUND 2. Scott Winship 's article about the netroots and ideology attracted a flurry of responses. Winship has now stepped up to engage his critics -- in two parts. Over at the Democratic Strategist blog, he takes on the critiques offered by Chris Bowers and Sterling Newberry , and things get a wee bit heated. ("It seems that Newberry needs a guide to rhetoric, which I�m happy to provide here. The belief that his TPMCafe photo is pretentious, for instance, would be an opinion . The major arguments in my essay would be supported factual claims , even if we might disagree about the extent to which they are adequately supported.") Here at TAP , meanwhile, Winship now offers a (very thorough!) response to critiques made by Ezra , Matt , and Mark Schmitt . Anyone who's interested in this debate should take a look . --The Editors
  • ON THE GROUND.

    ON THE GROUND. On judgment day, the mood at the Lieberman headquarters in the Hartford suburb of Rocky Hill is surprisingly upbeat. Young volunteers loaded up cars with signs and placards, heading out with directions and walk-lists in hand. Inside, people were dialing voters. I had dropped by to get a sense of how the Lieberman team feels about their election-day ground prospects. As I walked down the hall to find campaign manager Sean Smith , I overheard a conversation among a few top staffers who were excited by reports that the Lamont campaign had thus far shown a limited presence around the state. That discussion may have been one part electoral uncertainty, one part false optimism -- or maybe one part truth. Whatever the case, the Lieberman folks did not seem particularly worried. Smith then sat down with me for 20 minutes to provide candid answers to some probing questions about their own field operation, all but a couple of which were shared on the record. Before moving to the...
  • JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CROSSING BORDERS.

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: CROSSING BORDERS. This week, as war rages to Israel's north, the World Pride gay rights festival comes to Jerusalem after a long, frought journey. Sarah Wildman reports . --The Editors
  • THE NEW DIPLOMACY.

    THE NEW DIPLOMACY. There's a kind of impenetrable air of absurdity wafting throughout this paper I found on the AEI website advocating the formation of a Washington-Jerusalem-Baku axis aimed at countering the rising Persian Menace. Nevertheless, this passage is an intriguing and refreshingly honest look at contemporary diplomacy: The United States. The U.S. government also remains a player. Baku cooperated with Jerusalem in the hope of improving ties with Washington. Not too long ago, U.S. policymakers considered Azerbaijan to be, at best, irrelevant and at worst, a nuisance. In 1992, the United States Congress passed the Freedom Support Act promising economic and humanitarian aid to all the former Soviet republics except Azerbaijan. Muscled through by the Armenian lobby, Section 907 of the act legislated that Washington would not give aid to Azerbaijan until the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. As a result, Azerbaijan received no economic aid from the United States in the...
  • WHAT ABOUT YOUR...

    WHAT ABOUT YOUR GUY? There�s some very bad news for incumbents in today's Washington Post poll. Not only are the public's views of Congress typically dim, but people finally seem to be souring on their own members of Congress. Normally, everyone hates "Congress" but loves their representative, so nothing changes. Currently, though, "55 percent now approve of their lawmaker, a seven-percentage-point drop over three months and the lowest such finding since 1994, the last time control of the House switched parties." --Matthew Yglesias
  • The Problems of Public Pensions

    Mary Williams Walsh has a nice piece on the unbooked libailities of public sector pension funds in today's NYT. Supporters of defined benefit pensions and public sector provision of public services are not helping the cause when they ignore bad accounting.
  • COHEN'S CLARITY.

    COHEN'S CLARITY. Richard Cohen has his good days and his bad ones, but bloggers tend to only quote him on the bad days. Today is a good one : I share the concern of what would happen to Iraq if the United States pulled out precipitously. I share the concern over what will happen if the United States stays. I share the concern of those who say that no matter whether it stays or goes the outcome will be the same. I especially share the concern of those who say that the Bush administration does not have a plan to disengage and that rather than confront the immensity of its mistake -- I pity Donald Rumsfeld if he should ever lose the gift of denial -- it thinks that this or that adaptation to new conditions will somehow change the outcome. It will not. The end was set at the beginning. It is better that it come sooner rather than later. It's tragically difficult to get even people who think the right things about this to remember from moment-to-moment that this tragic farce is playing out...
  • NOT A LIE IF YOU BELIEVE IT.

    NOT A LIE IF YOU BELIEVE IT. Let's return to the subject of Robert Kagan 's odd column accusing people who changed their mind about Iraq -- or even, in Al Gore 's case, people who didn't change their minds about Iraq -- of dishonesty. Commenting on the article, Eric Alterman , like Jon Chait , was particularly distressed about this because both of them thought of Kagan as a decent, honest exponent of the other side's views. I think this sort of misconstrues the situation. The whole value of reading honest adversaries like Kagan is that you get to see the genuinely ridiculous elements of their worldview. If that business had been in a Hugh Hewitt column, I would just dismiss it as typical partisan propaganda. But that's not Kagan's style -- he must genuinely think that if a person is hawkish about some stuff, or hawkish some of the time, he has a duty to be hawkish about everything, all the time . Think back to Kagan's book, Of Paradise and Power: America Versus Europe in the New World...

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