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  • AND KEEP ALL...

    AND KEEP ALL HANDS IN THE HUMVEE. Fred Kaplan on the Democrats' clich�-filled, but nevertheless sound, "Real Security" strategy : The list may seem obvious, like those "Do not use in water" tags that come with electrical appliances�except that Bush & Co. have been spinning fan blades in bathtubs around the world the past four years. This is the advantage that the Democrats hold at the starting gate: The Republican administration has violated so many precepts of International Relations 101 that clich�s take on the air of wisdom. It may be that the Dems don't need to put forth their own agenda; promising to pull the plug out of the socket might be sufficient. Here, at The American Prospect , we don't even take baths; quick showers at the gym are about all we can afford. You can change all that by subscribing , though! --Ezra Klein
  • THE LIBERTARIAN WEST....

    THE LIBERTARIAN WEST. I see I've earned a mention in this David Sirota blog item /blast e-mail and want to respond because he actually makes a very good point about the politics of the Patriot Act. When I said that Chuck Schumer "knows what he's doing," I meant that listening to his "marginals" and following their lead at their pace on certain controversial issues is the right way to go, because it respects that senators from red states know their own local environment better than he does. It would be totally inappropriate for a senator from New York to act as if there were not significant differences in the political environment around the country, or to take them lightly. That said, Sirota is quite right that there is an opportunity in the western and western mountain states which have a strong tradition of rugged individualism and libertarian suspiciousness -- as I noted in this February item about reactions to the NSA wiretapping -- to take a more aggressive stance against the...
  • DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH....

    DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH. Say what you will about Tom DeLay , I don't think you can get around the fact that there's something honorable about the way -- contrary to almost every relevant aspect of the American tradition and the basic structure of our political institutions -- he built an effective, disciplined legislative caucus. Of course, at the end of the day the effective caucus he built was twisted and evil, but that's another matter. Future progressive legislative leaders still have some lessons to learn from his successes. Besides future progressive legislative leaders, progressive magazine bloggers could learn a lesson or two as well -- everyone seems to have forgotten about this week's TAPPED subscription drive . On a DeLay-led blog, those failing to mention the urgent need to subscribe to The American Prospect would no doubt be facing dire consequences as we speak. Writers would groan under this oppressive yoke, but at the end of the day we'd all be stronger for hanging...
  • THE HAMMER DROPS....

    THE HAMMER DROPS. Today's big news , besides my winning the Prospect NCAA office pool, is, of course, Tom DeLay 's withdrawal from his re-election race and announced plan to step down from office in a matter of weeks. Former aide Tony Rudy 's guilty plea last week -- with Ed Buckham almost sure to be next on the roster -- clearly provoked DeLay's decision. As The Washington Post reports today, DeLay will be able to convert his remaining campaign funds -- hundreds of thousands of dollars -- to his legal expenses, which are likely to shoot up over the remainder of the year. For a round-up of links and some interesting initial reactions, including helpful speculation on the coming special election to replace DeLay, see Charles Kuffner 's post here . ( Midterm Madness also will no doubt be gaming out the electoral situation in the 22nd District today.) As for Time magazine's exclusive scoop on this story last night, as a major Mike Allen fan it pains me a bit to point out this error from...
  • THAT'S A FIRST....

    THAT'S A FIRST. Not to pick on Matt Stoller , but as TNR 's Michael Crowley notes in response to Stoller's MyDD denunciation of Chuck Schumer as "the most extreme version of a Reagan Democrat" and a "center-right Beltway" type: "Man, tough crowd!" That's gotta be the first time anyone's ever referred to the former Brooklyn congressman as a Reagan Democrat. I know there's a movement afoot in some parts of the blogosphere to try to change the rhetorical and interpretive frames governing our politics, but doing so credibly means more than just shifting the goal-posts willy-nilly and acting as if liberal Democratic New Yorkers were secretly from Macomb County. The exchange was kicked off by Ryan Lizza 's typically excellent story (can I get a macro for that?) on Schumer in New York magazine. I just want to highlight the bit about Schumer trying to take care of his "marginals": Part of the reason Schumer took the job is that he was able to join Minority Leader Harry Reid�s Senate...
  • SAME OLD, SAME...

    SAME OLD, SAME OLD. At the end of last week, former American Prospect intern Rob Anderson pointed to an item by Matt Stoller on MyDD and asked whether it meant that "Obama's honeymoon with the liberal blogosphere is over." It's a fair question, as Barack Obama has come in for occasional criticism on various liberal blogs, most recently for his opposition to Russ Feingold 's censure resolution and his support of Joe Lieberman . Indeed, one of the greatest risks for Obama, as for Bill Clinton before him, lies with the quality that has made him so appealing a political personality thus far -- the sense that he contains multitudes, if you will, allowing all kinds of disparate groups to look at him and feel themselves represented. When multitudes consider a politician one of their own, multitudes can just as easily feel betrayed when that politicians stubbornly persists in being an individual or hews to a course other than the one a particular faction would like him to take. Clinton, as...
  • I CAN SEE...

    I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW. For months, I�ve been assuming that The West Wing would conclude with Arnold Vinick , the moderate GOP California senator played by Alan Alda , taking the presidency over Jimmy Smits � Matt Santos , a Democratic Congressman from Houston. It has seemed to me all season (and, out of step with my fellow countrypersons, I didn�t even watch the show regularly until this season) as if the writers, a couple of whom I know a bit -- both had high-level Democratic jobs in Washington -- had filled the Vinick character with more elan and a more appealing story line: A pro-choice Republican from California wins the presidency and reels his party back in from winguttia and into the land of reasonable, Howard Baker conservatism. Just the kind of Republican to whom Democratic writers would be willing to hand the presidency! But now, with last night�s plot twist (SPOILER: John Spencer �s Leo McGarry , Santos� veep choice, died in last night�s episode, which took place on...
  • HIATT TARS DEMS....

    HIATT TARS DEMS. Fred Hiatt 's Washington Post column today slams the Democratic Party's "Real Security" plan . His chief objection appears to be that it's way too short on platitudes for his liking. Hiatt writes: The first thing you might notice is that the Democrats implicitly reject almost everything the Bush administration says about how Sept. 11 changed the world, or our perception of it. President Bush believes that the United States "is in the early years of a long struggle," according to his own national security strategy released last month, against "a new totalitarian ideology." (Emphasis added.) Castigating the Dem plan for failing to match such grandiloquence, Hiatt continues: ...they also reveal a different world view, one that is far more cramped and inward-looking...what is the vision? What does bring security? (Emphasis added again.) To Hiatt, the Democrats' woeful tendency to focus on the practical and the attainable shows a lack of "vision." It's worth pondering what...
  • FEELING GREEN. The...

    FEELING GREEN. The Center for American Progress partnered with The American Prospect this morning to host a discussion on forming and implementing policies for a post-petroleum society. The event was an offshoot of a recent Prospect special report that featured articles on several facets of the issue, from environmental health to farm subsidies to the possibility of a populist political movement fueled by the growth of renewable energy. Former Senator Tom Daschle (who also wrote a piece for the Prospect report) served as moderator for the discussion, which centered on an issue near and dear to the folks in his home state of South Dakota: ethanol production. Panelist David Morris , vice president of the Institute for Local Self Reliance, proposed changing part of the federal ethanol tax exemption to a direct-payment to ethanol producers, in a way that would incentivize local ownership of bio-refineries and account for fluctuations in the price of ethanol�s main competitor, gasoline...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP: THE TCHOTCHKE ECONOMY. Robert Kuttner explains that while electronics and other consumer goods have become more affordable, the costs of housing, college education, and health care are rising. You know what else is affordable? A subscription to The American Prospect . It�s just $19.95 for 12 issues. --The Editors

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