MORE ON FEELINGS AND STUFF. See, I read Brooks� column yesterday in a kind of light spirit, which I thought he intended (while recognizing, of course, the subtle conservative subtext, which David always sneaks in toward the end of such ruminative columns). Now, Linda H.comes along to remind me that there�s nothing light about these questions at all, that I�ve fallen into Brooks� well-sprung trap, and am only demonstrating that, when it comes to the phrase �male liberal,� the first word is fated always to pulverize the second.
CLOSING THE GAP.Jim VandeHeireported in yesterday's paper that, based on figures released so far, the fundraising gap between the GOP and the Democrats is much smaller this year than in past cycles. Considering that the importance of raising money isn't exactly a secret, these numbers tend to get weirdly neglected in a lot of punditry. It should be obvious that one important reason that we can have a whole series of close elections that all break toward the Republicans is that the Republican base has a lot more money than the Democratic base and, consequently, the Republicans usually wind up with a lot more cash to spend on campaigns.
SACRIFICING LIBERTY FOR THE SAKE OF THE GAME. They�ve almost grown tiresome, the relentless complaints that center on the conspicuous lack of public and political outrage over the manifest evidence that this administration seems to consider the Bill of Rights to be a bathmat. Where, I wonder, have these people been living for the past 25 years or so? The popular culture -- most notably, television and the movies -- have worked overtime to convince Americans that the Bill is little more than a series of loopholes through which dive criminals, fakes, and mountebanks, usually played by James Rebhorn. More recently, and especially on FOX's admittedly compelling 24, the Bill is the magic portal through which scary terrorists land in our midst.
ASSIMILATION NATION.Tyler Cowen and Daniel Rothschild have an op-ed in the Post on Latino immigrant assimilation making the point that "Latino immigrants, like generations of immigrants before, are entering the mainstream of life in the United States. Ours is the best country in the world at assimilating immigrants. This should be a badge of honor, and one that we wear proudly." It's nothing we haven't hashed out previously on TAPPED, but give it a read if you're interested in the topic.
TWO HATS.Elisabeth Bumiller's profile of White House Iraq aide Meghan O'Sullivan is another reminder that, though it's impolite and possibly politically counterproductive to say so, the man in charge of this country seems to be a bit dimwitted. His Iraq briefing memos are only three pages long and "written in the crisp, compelling style that the president prefers." O'Sullivan is praised for her ability to "distill a complex mass of developments into something more penetrable" and for being "succinct, unpretentious, full of facts and cheerful � exactly what Mr. Bush likes."
DAVID BROOKS MAKES MY DAY. AGAIN. Just one day before my book exhorting women to aspire to full humanity is due in the bookstores, my favorite conservative, David Brooks, came right out and said it in the op-ed pages of The New York Times. Forget being part of humanity, girls. Women are a different species. What makes humans human, above all things, is, of course, our brains.
"Experts" get away with saying almost any nonsense they like when it comes to talking about the stock market and the economy, but I think that we may have hit a new high today. A Times article today quotes Mark Cliffe, global head of financial markets research at ING Group in London, saying that the U.S. stock market has fallen 5-6 percent this year. The expert adds that if it falls another 5 percent, it could affect consumer spending and "â€˜Joe-Six' could start to cut back his stock portfolio."
OHMIGOD, SOMEONE HAS MIXED ME UP WITH JUDITH WARNER. I just read Garance�s post in response to my week�s writing and to Judith Warner�s dreaded reappearance on The Times website. Although Garance made the linkage, I don�t think this is her mistake -- because she has been following my writing since I published �Homeward Bound� in the Prospect last December.
A DISAPPOINTING RETURN. To the great consternation of many of my friends, I am a hockey fan. This comes from my father, who was a high school hockey coach whose team used to win the championship of Central Massachusetts every couple of seasons, thereby earning the right to go to the state tournament in Boston and get wasted by some squad made up primarily of players who would go on to join either a) the Boston College Eagles, or b) the Winter Hill mob. Or, occasionally, both.
PRC VERSUS DA VINCI CODE.Here's a fascinating tale. Some time ago, the Chinese government created something called the Catholic Patriotic Association, designed to run the Catholic Church in China. The Vatican, naturally, has long objected to that, insisting that the Catholic Church should run the Catholic Church in China. This medieval-style political controversy was bopping along in obscurity until the release of The Da Vinci Code in China, which both the Vatican and the CPA found objectionable.