• Old Europe -- Just Like the New Country

    A week after Koizumi deployed his lipstick assassins to win a landslide victory for reform in Japan, we were supposed to see the same in Germany. Angela Merkel, an American-style economic reformer who promised free market solutions and a reigning-in of the welfare state was slated to crush Old Europe's Gerhard Schroeder. But a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box... Merkel's campaign was inept, self-contradictory, uninspired. Schroeder was canny, quick, and crucified Merkel as a uncompassionate conservative, slicing her lead in the polls and leaving election night a nailbiting affair. When all was said and voted, Merkel's Christian Democrats had won a plurality with 35.2% while Schroeder's Social Democrats got 34.3%. And then Schroeder did something very American: he claimed victory. The argument? That his surge shows the German people didn't want to replace him. Apparently German elections run not on majorities and pluralities, but on momentum and buzz. And since neither...
  • Budget Tragedies, Budget Statistics

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf As Democrats know and Republicans try to forget, this Administration has turned the record budget surpluses of the late 1990s into unprecedented budget deficits. We've gone from a surplus of $236 billion in 2000 to a $412 billion deficit in 2004. Among the causes are tax cuts, the Iraq War, corporate welfare, and general mismanagement. The Bush Administration hasn't paid any serious political price for its fiscal nihilism. When there's a war on, nobody can be brought to care about bloodless matters like deficits. Furthermore, there's a level at which you pay no additional political price for pushing the deficits higher. You'll have the fiscal conservatives (all five of them, perhaps!) against you with the same intensity whether you run deficits of $112 billion or $412 billion. So once you've stuck yourself with deficits, there's no reason not to let them run out of control.
  • Arnie at the Carny: Or, the Tale Too Bold for the Enquirer

    By Pepper I thought about titling this article "Why Ah-nold Won't Win" in honor of the salon Neil started explaining why Hillary won't win. But I've got my eye on Ah-nold now that he plans to run again. In its heyday, the National Enquirer used to trash everyone, the bigger the better. I first caught wind of Gary Hart's Monkey Business and Clinton's Gennifer Flowers through the Enquirer (yeah, I had a subscription - wanna make something of it?). Then their publisher - AMI - wanted Schwarzenegger for their muscle magazines, and the Enquirer sheathed its claws for the Republican big boy . Per the LA Times : "Soon after Arnold Schwarzenegger entered the 2003 recall campaign, a tabloid publisher that was recruiting him as a consultant tried to suppress a risque 1983 Playboy video starring the future governor." Now its time to satisfy all those inquiring minds who want to know. The video, "Carnival in Rio," is available all over the web, and we should wield it as a weapon since Ah-nold is...
  • Why Russ Could Win

    Shakes here, doing the salon thing with a follow-up to Neil’s post on Why Hillary Will Lose . I agree whole-heartedly with Neil’s assessment of Hillary, and his conclusions. Americans on the Left and the Right, any who aren’t blind ideologues, have a natural distaste for disingenuous rhetoric clearly designed to appeal to a crowd they haven’t previously; it’s the worst kind of artificial politicking, that which helps no one but (ostensibly) the person who’s doing it. If you need any evidence, try to find anyone who enthusiastically supported Hillary’s devolution into culture vulturism to take on the makers of Grand Theft Auto. That said, I’m not sure that Russ Feingold’s liberalism will have as limited appeal as it might seem at first blush. It’s true that Feingold is now ranked the most liberal Senator (tied with Boxer) in the Senate, which would likely be, under typical circumstances, a liability. But with the opportunity having presented itself to hold accountable not just the Bush...
  • This Won't Hurt a Bit

    Posted by Jedmunds Doug Lederman of Inside Higher Ed reports that the Department of Defense is enforcing the Solomon Amendment, which bars federal funds to universities who prohibit military recruiting on campuses usually due to enforcing a non-discrimination policy against gays, against New York Law School and possibly two other law schools that are also unaffiliated with larger universities. Yale Law School, which successfully won an injunction against enforcement of the Solomon amendment in the third circuit will also continue to bar military recruiters from campus, but interestingly, the Department of Defense has indicated no interest in penalizing Harvard who's Law School has also announced it will bar military recruiters, but is not located in the third circuit, and so is still subject to the heavy penalties the Solomon amendment imposes. Because it bans all federal funding except financial aid for students to law schools in violation as well as any DOD funding in terms of...
  • Why Hillary Will Lose

    By Neil the Ethical Werewolf The old CW on Hillary's presidential aspirations was that they'd be crushed under her liberal reputation. The "socialized medicine" attacks on her health care reform plan stuck to her more than they stuck to Bill. And while Bill's upbringing and red-state governorship made him acceptable to Southern regionalists, Hillary's Chicago roots and New York Senate seat marked her as someone from the strange liberal cities that many small-town folk still regard as foreign to their way of life. The new CW is that she's moving to the center and leaving the old liberal reputation behind. She supports the Defense of Marriage Act, repositions herself on abortion, and has an incomprehensible position on flag burning that allows her to vote for a ban. But I doubt that she's actually gained any lasting political support through these moves. A candidate just coming onto the political scene might use these positions to get a genuine reputation as a moderate on the issues,...
  • Trailer Sweet Trailer

    By Pepper In his big Katrina speech, it looked like George II would pull a magic trick and fade his blue torso right into a blue background. But it seems like he really does want to whip up a magic trick by rebuilding the Gulf Coast into a bigger, better place without having to pay for it . Bush and economics have had an uneasy relationship. Now, the nation has three choices when it comes to paying for the Katrina disaster: 1. Raise taxes; 2. Go into increased debt; or 3. Do the job on the cheap. Bush has clearly does not like the first option and is in denial regarding the second : "[Rebuilding is] going to mean that we're going to have to make sure we cut unnecessary spending. It's going to mean we've got to maintain economic growth, and therefore we should not raise taxes." Therefore, the third option is the way to go for Bush and Co. And the solution is the trailer park, for why have a home when you can have a trailer?
  • On Not Being a Good Democrat

    Posted by Jedmunds I’d like to begin my inaugural post here by thanking Ezra for inviting me to join his weekend crew. It’s an honor to join such a great cast that includes some of my favorite bloggers. I hope to prove a worthy addition to the team and that I am somehow able to pull my weight among such a talented group. Now with the smooches out of the way, as sincere as they are - and they are sincere – I’d like to discuss the role and viability of the “single issue” group in today’s political climate, specifically “single issue” groups that are considered part of the larger progressive movement. Kos of dailykos , who you may have heard of, has long argued that “single issue” groups are outdated and even counterproductive in this contemporary political environment of conservative ascendancy. I disagree, for reasons I’ll go into detail below.
  • Cheney To Go Under the Knife

    Shakes here... Nothing to worry about. Just a little aneurysm . In his knee.
  • Duck, And Something That Rhymes With It

    Says O'Reilly: O'REILLY: The secular progressive movement would like to have marriage abolished, in my opinion. They don't want it, because it is not diverse enough. You know, that's what this gay marriage thing is all about. But now, you know, the poly-amorphous marriage, whatever they call it, you can marry 18 people, you can marry a duck, I mean -- LIS WIEHL (co-host): A duck? Quack, quack. O'REILLY: Well, why, you know, if you're in love with the duck, who is the society to tell you you can't do that? I think Bill is spending too much time in front of the VCR. He seems to have mixed up support for civil rights with a Woody Allen flick: In any case, this strikes me as a good time to link to the article I wrote, or at least collected, on O'Reilly. Awhile back I went through his court records to collect the, err, juicy parts. And for someone scared of duck sex, Bill has some fun kinks of his own. So here you are: Bill Gone Wild .