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  • TIME AND AGAIN...

    TIME AND AGAIN (AND AGAIN!) K-Lo with an assist from David Pryce-Jones unleashes a dispatch from the Gamma Quadrant: "He calls Zarqawi�s demise both a 'collassal morale boost' for all of us but says it also has 'big operational significance.' 'When you get rid of a leader, it�s very hard to replace him.' The Israelis have proved this time and time again." The Israelis certainly have proven a lot of things about the tactical/operational aspects of counterterrorism time and again. And, indeed, again. And again. They've proven them so often, for so long, that one might almost conclude that tactical counterterrorism accomplishes very little absent resolution of the underlying political conflicts. --Matthew Yglesias
  • TURNING POINT! TURNING...

    TURNING POINT! TURNING POINT! Look, it's great that Zarqawi 's dead , and it's certainly too bad the Bush administration chose not to kill him when they had the chance years ago, preferring to keep him alive since it was useful to bolstering the set of deceptions they used to launch a war in which tens of thousands of innocent people have been killed, but let's not kid ourselves here. Zarqawi's importance to the tactical situation in Iraq has always been overstated, and I doubt he has any significance at all to the strategic situation. Many less-trivial turns of events that provoked outbursts of optimism -- Saddam 's capture, the Iraqi elections -- have proven to be wildly overblown, and it would be honestly moronic to make a big deal out of this (naturally, they're making a big deal over at the Corner), which even the President seems to at least semi-recognize. We kill people associated with the insurgency in Iraq all the time, and have been doing so for years. The problem hasn't...
  • TRIUMPH OF HOPE...

    TRIUMPH OF HOPE OVER EXPERIENCE. I'm really eager to be convinced that Jacob Weisberg is right and that the gay marriage issue won't work for the GOP this time around. But man oh man am I not convinced by his reasoning: A second reason the issue won't work again is that Democrats have by now figured out how to handle the issue. It is reasonable to assume that a great many of them would, in their heart of hearts, like to see gay marriage legalized. But they recognize that pressing the case nationally is likely to set back the cause as well as their prospects for retaking Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. So, Democrats have honed their talking points on the subject: Marriage should be an issue for states (the federalist position usually espoused by Republicans); the amendment is discriminatory and would also ban civil unions, which most people favor (this is an unsettled question); and why tinker unnecessarily with the Constitution, especially while the Defense of Marriage...
  • WHO COULD HAVE...

    WHO COULD HAVE GUESSED? What's that you say? A covert CIA operation backfired and accomplished roughly the reverse of what was hoped for? Stuff like that never happens. Except, you know, it happens all the time . For some reason, though, nobody ever seems to catch on to the idea that the odds of success in these kinds of efforts are just very, very, very low. --Matthew Yglesias
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: A MAN IN FULL. Garance Franke-Ruta notes that Al Gore �s new movie has turned his criticized qualities into critical ones. --The Editors
  • LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRATS. ...

    LIBERTARIAN DEMOCRATS. On the eve of YearlyKos, Markos himself has penned possibly the first full account of his personal political philosophy. He is, he says, a "Libertarian Democrat." It's a style he's stealing from the Western Democrats like Brian Schweitzer , Jon Tester , Jim Webb , and Paul Hackett and hoping to popularize as a "progressivism for a new century" in an upcoming book. According to Kos, libertarians believe only two forces can impinge on personal liberty -- individuals, and government. "The Libertarian Democrat understands that there is a third danger to personal liberty -- the corporation." So too, it seems, can personal liberty be checked by lack of access to health care, or exploitation in the workplace. So the Libertarian Democrat believes government should step in to prevent such limitations of freedom. Sometimes. Kos also says that the Libertarian Dems' "first proposed solution to a problem facing our nation shouldn't be more regulation, more government...
  • COURTING THE BLOGS...

    COURTING THE BLOGS -- PARTY AT THE STRATOSPHERE. Former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner will be the main attraction at the first ever Daily Kos convention, Yearly Kos , that will be held in Las Vegas this weekend, and he's got plans to welcome the bloggers with open arms. Warner is one of several possible '08 presidential candidates speaking at the convention; New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack will also make appearances. So will some Democratic leaders: Former '04 presidential contender Gen. Wesley Clark , DNC chairman Howard Dean , House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi , Sen. Barbara Boxer , and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada. This line-up reflects the connections of the Kos community, more than any preferences they may currently have for '08 -- Kossaks routinely favor Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin in straw polls, rather than the governors who will be attending the conference. Still, with Warner's PAC having hired MyDD.com founder Jerome Armstrong , a...
  • PRE-K BLUES. While...

    PRE-K BLUES. While universal pre-k enthusiasts mourn yesterday's defeat of Rob Reiner 's awesome California initiative, Gene Sperling reminds us that, at the federal level, the Bush administration and congressional Republicans have "allow[ed] Head Start to have lower enrollment in 2005 than it did in 2002, and give[n] Head Start its first outright funding cut in 19 years." Gotta pay for the estate tax repeal somehow. --Sam Rosenfeld
  • CORRUPTION, BLEH. Markos...

    CORRUPTION, BLEH. Markos makes an important point about the Bilbray-Busby race outcome and what it all means : The "culture of corruption" is a nice secondary theme to weave into our broader narrative, but it can't be the message on which we pin our 2006 hopes. "We're better managers" won't inspire our troops to head to battle. I'd have to agree. People don't really care all that much about corruption. Congressional corruption, like corporate corruption, is the ultimate "people somewhere else doing something complicated to other people somewhere else" issue. It is intangible and not something voters can see and feel in their daily lives, like immigration or gas prices. Tangible issues will always beat intangible ones. That most voters already think that congresspeople, of both parties, are kind of crooked means that the corruption and lobbying scandals also lack the essential ingredient of newness. My '06 prediction: Corruption will be an issue that moves voters most in those races...
  • THE HARD TO...

    THE HARD TO SPLIT DIFFERENCE. Jacob Sullum notes an abortion prohibitionist going off-message in Louisiana . "I had a strong belief that we could finally protect the innocent life of an unborn child," said state Senator Ben Nevers . "This is about the U.S. Constitution granting every person the right to life." It's politically inconvenient for all concerned, but the implication here that the pro-life goal should be a nationwide, judicially enforced blanket abortion ban seems correct to me. I'm not a fan of judicial review as an institution. But, obviously, it's an institution we have in the United States. Under the circumstances, if a fetus is legally a person, then I think permitting abortion is pretty clearly unconstitutional and not something that can be "left up to the states." We wouldn't let California pass a law saying murder is illegal unless the victim is Mexican. Mexicans are people (someone should tell Lou Dobbs ) so they're due the equal protection of the laws. If fetuses...

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