ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SHUT WINDOW.Nir Rosen on how America missed the window of opportunity when withdrawal might have improved the situation on the ground in Iraq -- and why it should leave, anyway:
I supported a withdrawal certainly until 2005. In my articles, I was saying that an American withdrawal would prevent a civil war from happening and would force Sunnis and Shia to step up and take responsibility and to co-operate. And it would allow Sunnis to participate in the government.
PRIZES FOR POVERTY.The Wall Street Journal has an interesting report on the anti-poverty innovation sweeping the nation: Prizes. According to the paper, "[i]ncentive-based programs have sprung up in recent years in large part because they are more politically palatable than traditional welfare benefits, and because advocates say such programs offer a better chance of changing some of the behaviors tied up with poverty. But incentives aren't safety nets.
BUSH FLIRTS WITH LIEBERMAN. One of the more puzzling moments in George W. Bush's interview on Larry King last night was when he was asked whether he would endorse Joe Lieberman for Senate should he lose the Democratic primary and run as an independent. Bush dodged that as follows:
G. BUSH: First, the Democrats have to sort out who their nominee is going to be, and that's going to be up to the Democrats. And the rest of it's hypothetical.
KING: But he said he would run as an independent, if he were...
G. BUSH: He also has said he's going to win his primary.
MORE FOR CHUCK TO CHEW ON. Earlier this week, I noted in a post that Chuck Schumer had benefited from Democratic post-primary unity in New York in 1998 when his defeated opponents rallied to his side, and he went on to beat Al D�Amato. The idea is that now, as head of the DSCC, Schumer should learn from his own example and that the party ought to rally around the primary winner in, to pick a random state, Connecticut, let�s say.
The lead headline of the Washington Post this morning was "Mexico Vote Tally Gives Free-Trader a Narrow Victory." Wrong! Felipe Calderon, the candidate who is now ahead in the vote tally to be Mexico's next president is not a free-trader. He has supported increasing copyright and patent protection and shown no special interest in removing protectionist barriers that obstruct free trade in the services of highly paid professionals (e.g. doctors, lawyers, accountants).
The Washington Post does not own the term "free-trade." If they want to identify Calderon by his trade position, they can call him pro-NAFTA. It is more accurate and saves 2 letters.
Remember the good old days when newspapers didn't just unquestioning print what the powerful tell them? (Okay, maybe they never existed.) Anyhow, a Timesarticle this morning reports that Petrobras, the Brazilian energy company, has invested $50 billion in Bolivia.
BEING THERE.Matt's dig at Michael Ledeen reminded me that I wanted to highlight this Ross Douthat item from a few weeks back about how Ledeen has never actually been to Iran, the country on which he claims unparalleled expertise:
I don't want to resurrect my ancient feud with Michael Ledeen or anything, but I was a little gobsmacked by this comment he just made:
REAL RAGE. Far be it from me -- very far be it from me, Moons Of Freaking Neptune be it from me -- to be perceived as defending NewsMax, but I think Ezra's a little glib in dismissing the story about John McCain's temper. It is a very real, and very startling, and very important part of his personality and, unless the campaign press corps spends more time in the tank than Shamu, it's going to be an ongoing story in the 2008 campaign. In 1998, I wrote a long profile on the senator for Esquire, and his volatility was very much an issue ever then, particularly with people back in Arizona.