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  • POLARIZATION WHY? Howard...

    POLARIZATION WHY? Howard Kurtz reports that "a group of political strategists who have spent years firing heavy artillery at each other came together at the Hay-Adams Hotel yesterday, put aside their weapons, decried the polarized state of debate in America and vowed a new approach to peaceful coexistence." My first instinct is to say that any Democrats (and, for that matter, Republicans) who have any of the strategists in question working for them ought to fire them all immediately. Obviously, there's absolutely no place for people who don't like partisanship running partisan political campaigns . It'd be like hiring a soccer coach who thinks the World Cup is boring -- whether or not he's right, you don't want him anywhere near your team. That said, it always strikes me as remarkable that nobody ever seems to wonder if there might be actual structural reasons for the rise in political polarization that can't be overcome through a website. When you think about it, after all,...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: STEAL THIS COLUMN. Pierce on Coulter . --The Editors
  • HERE�S ONE DIFFERENCE....

    HERE�S ONE DIFFERENCE. I have quite a few thoughts about Noemie Emery �s piece in the current Weekly Standard arguing that Bush is Truman , today�s neocons are the heirs of HST, and so on. But let me start with this side note. I remember reading, either in Dean Acheson �s memoir or in James Chace �s biography of Acheson, the following anecdote. One night, the Trumans and the Achesons were having dinner. For some reason, Central Asia and the Caucasus came up. Truman suddenly launched into a long and very informed disquisition on the history and culture of this �stan and that one. Mrs. Acheson was blown out of her shoes. She asked how he knew so much, and Truman said words to the effect, �I just started reading about it one day in the library when I was young, and I was fascinated. So I read everything I could on the region.� The point here isn�t simply to bash Bush as an intellectually incurious dullard who would never in a million years have chosen to auto-didacticate himself -- as a...
  • The "Social Security and Medicare" Syndrome

    Many of the stories on the reduction in the 2006 budget deficit have correctly focused on the fact that the long-term deficit picture still looks pretty awful. However, they have badly misled readers about the reason for the deficit problem. The standard line is that "Social Security and Medicare" costs will explode as the baby boomers retire (e.g. this NYT piece ). This is incredibly misleading. Social Security costs will rise modestly -- the projected increase in SS measured as a share of GDP from 2005 to 2030 is less than the increase from 1960 to 1985. The real culprit in the story, as every serious reporter knows, is Medicare. And the reason that Medicare costs are projected to explode is that the U.S. health care system is broken. In other words, the deficit stories should be talking about how the exploding cost of the U.S. health care health system will devastate the budget and the economy. People should demand that the reporters get this simple point right and stop telling...
  • NYT MISSES THE...

    NYT MISSES THE POINT. Today's New York Times profile of Keith Olbermann as the great hope of MSNBC misses the most interesting aspect of his ascent. It focuses entirely on the humorous side of Olbermann's beef with Bill O'Reilly and the accusation that Olbermann is picking fights with O'Reilly to boost his ratings. The article never considers whether Olbermann may actually be going after O'Reilly's statements because Olbermann is legitimately offended by statements like this: [O'Reilly's] declaration last year (in jest, Mr. O�Reilly said) that a resolution passed in San Francisco to ban military recruitment in schools was so un-American that he was inviting Al Qaeda to blow up Coit Tower. Can you imagine how O'Reilly would react if a liberal pundit endorsed terrorist attacks on South Dakota for passing their draconian abortion ban? Nor does The Times even consider that Olbermann's increasing popularity is not merely a result of his provocative criticism of O'Reilly, but stems from the...
  • A REFRESHER FOR...

    A REFRESHER FOR SNOW. Kevin Drum already beat the facts out of this little nugget on his blog, but Tony Snow 's performance at his press briefing on Monday deserves another couple of kicks. Snow made a sneering little reference to Bill Clinton 's approaches to the "Dear Leader." Well, there were those of us who were at the delegate breakfast when then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card told the world that the President looks upon the people of this country the way that he would look upon 10-year-old children who need protection. Here's a link for Tony to follow. Given this, the spokesman for the ongoing cargo cult in the White House ought not to be so cavalier regarding world leaders who infantilize their subjects. Leave the snarkitude to the professionals, Anchor Boy. --Charles P. Pierce
  • FRANK ZEIDLER, R.I.P....

    FRANK ZEIDLER, R.I.P. An awful lot of my personal politics were formed in Wisconsin and not just because that's where I went to college. I grew fascinated by a cultural mix that could produce both Battlin' Bob and Tailgunner Joe . The legacy of the LaFollette progressive wing was what won my heart, and one of the best evenings I can recall in Milwaukee was spent in the home of one of my professors, listening to Frank P. Zeidler talk about government. He is the last Socialist who ever will be mayor of an American city, and he talked about politics in a kind of good-government sense that had a lot more to do with clean water and good schools than it did the creation of the industrial bourgeoisie. His whole career -- and that of his family -- was a tribute to an open and diverse political culture that resisted easy labels and glib stupidity. Anyway, Frank died last week, and you can read more about him here . And you should. -- Charles P. Pierce
  • INCIDENTALLY. . ....

    INCIDENTALLY. . . . No day is complete without at least one Corner-centric post, so cast your eyes hither where Michael Ledeen is musing on the merits of killing people rather than taking them prisoner and then after three grafs of that tosses off this aside, "But one thing I do know: I would insist that my soldiers have the right of 'hot pursuit' into Iran and Syria, and I would order my armed forces to attack the terrorist training camps in those countries. And I'm quite sure I'd go after the terrorist training camps in Pakistan, too." He'd launch wars with three new countries? What's going to happen after lunch? Does the rest of the National Review gang endorse this plan? --Matthew Yglesias
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: A CANTERBURY TALE. The Anglican Archbishop has proposed a schism in his own Church following the ascension of a female, pro-gay bishop to the top leadership post in the U.S. Episcopal Church. Adele Stan describes the brewing fight and reaches some stark conclusions about the fate of the religious left in America: The dream of a progressive religious movement that could match the political potency of the Christian right was "always dubious," argues Stan, "and the recent turmoil within the Episcopal Church should put it to rest for good." --The Editors
  • PLANNED 'IMPROVEMENTS' AT...

    PLANNED 'IMPROVEMENTS' AT RFK. From today's Washington Post sports section: "We're doing what has to be done," Kasten said. He said that also includes planting flowers and improving the landscaping outside the stadium, steam-cleaning the concourses, adding banners outside the ballpark and staging races between innings around the perimeter of the field by costume characters resembling former U.S. presidents. Zachary Taylor vs. Chester Alan Arthur : That oughta be a good one. --Harvey Meyerson ( Harold 's cousin, Washington resident, devout baselball fan)

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