Archive

  • A Rare Moment of Praise

    I think Jonah's both right and funny on this .
  • Iraq Oddities

    Look, I'm not entirely sure what the story is with this, but when 50 to 120 armed men enter Baghdad's city hall during a dust storm, depose the old mayor, and install their own guy, it seems fairly obvious that freedom is not marching, crawling, or even twitching a whole lot. Too many antsy guys with guns are standing in front of it. What's becoming clear is that stability in Iraq might be in a zero-sum struggle with freedom. This Shi'ite thug is probably going to remain mayor of Baghdad, but, on the bright side, that may invest him and his group in the political process. As Larry Diamond says : If we do not pursue a political strategy that seeks to divide and peel away part of the violent resistance, by bringing them into the political process and assuring them that we are going to leave—and completely—within some foreseeable time (even if it is three years from now), then the insurgency will keep burning But if we do follow his recommendation, we end up injecting a lot of regressive...
  • On Sheehan

    And, as an addendum to my post from Monday on leftist essayists, Lance Mannion doesn't always do politics, but when he does, there's nothing but scorched earth and body parts for miles. His post on Cindy Sheehan leaves no hackish counterattack alive: Forget the illogic of invoking the old "so and so is turning over in his grave" cliche in this case. The behavior meant to be shamed would not be necessary if that so and so was alive to condemn it. If Casey Sheehan was alive to scold his mother for camping out in Crawford she would not be camping out in Crawford. Forget also the childishness of it, the way talking about Casey Sheehan as if he was alive saves them from having to face the fact of his death, of Death itself. Soldiers don't die, they just take up residency in Vallhalla. We don't have to mourn them. We don't have to question why they died. They're happy there! They want to be there! O Death where is thy sting, and mommy, leave the light on, please? And forget the narcissism...
  • NARAL Redux

    As coda to last night's post on NARAL, a few things: Brad, who should know he can never outstay his welcome at chez Klein, so long as he promises to call it chez Klein, has a fuller rundown of his argument at his place . Read it. I think the basic disagreement comes over how well you think Democrats stand up for choice. Kos and I think pretty well, Brad and DaDa Head are less impressed. Fair enough. Brad in particular points out that, in 1976, a Democratic Congress passed the Hyde Amendment, which restricted federal funding for abortion, and in 1993, 98 Democrats crossed the aisle to help pass a weakened Hyde amendment. This seems one of those perfect v. good arguments. Democrats aren't perfect, but compared to Republicans they are very, very good. And the playing field in 1976 was different than the playing field now. NARAL, back then a small group, had only been around for seven years, and choice wasn't as important an issue within the Democratic constituencies because it wasn't as...
  • NARAL'S Request

    Gotta say, Kos is all sorts of right on this. NARAL's exhortations to tell bloggers that choice is a real issue that affects women's lives is somewhat invalidated by the fact that bloggers seem to have a better understanding of what the political landscape affecting choice looks like. Helping to drive out Langevin, attacking Casey...A Democratic Congress, no matter the beliefs of a few pro-choice members, would not create an anti-choice judiciary. A Republican Congress has . And, sorry, but NARAL doesn't do the Democratic party much, indeed, any good (as this poll proves). If the party wanted to make a political calculation for more votes, it'd Sister Souljah NARAL and focus on economics. But we won't. Because we want what NARAL wants. Because we believe in choice. The Republican party doesn't. And so long as pro-choice Republicans vote for anti-choice speakers, that's all that matters. Kos gets that, NARAL, at least publicly, doesn't. Update : Oliver gets it . Update 2 : Is this...
  • Looking For Two of Three

    Scott Lemieux has a good time mocking Michael Lind's request that all Democrats stop being social liberals and focus solely on the butter, please: So let's get this straight. Democrats can't win because "populists" don't like Democratic positions on abortion (odd, since the Democratic position on abortion is far more popular than the Republican one. Lind also has an interesting definition of "banned," which apparently means that "you can only be the most powerful Democrat in Congress if you oppose abortion rights.) Populists were burned by Clinton. The electorate was so upset about it that in 1996 Clinton won by 8 points, and in 2000 they voted for Al Gore by a margin of a half million votes. Scott is, as usual, right. And Lind is fairly unprincipled for suggesting we give up on equality, choice, and everything else in order to win some votes. But there is a deeper, more interesting point lurking around his analysis: Democrats, as a party, are defined as much by our social stands (pro...
  • True "Nuff

    Well, this is certainly the weirdest parody of Kafka's Metamorphosis that I've ever seen: It would be a frightening thing, to wake up one morning and discover that you were National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). Man, would it ever! If I got out of bed and, instead of feeling my limbs hit the floor, realized I was a widely dispersed set of brick-and-mortar structures, staff persons, liquid and non-liquid assets, and so forth all dedicated to protecting a constitutionally guaranteed right, I'd be totally tripped out.
  • Proofreading: It's Not Just for Kids

    Seems to me that Pirro could use an editor : ''When Mrs. Clinton first came to us and said she wanted to be a New Yorker, she asked New York to put out a welcome mat, and we did," she said in a statement. ''But now she wants us to reelect her, even though she won't promise to serve out her term and wants to use us as a springboard to the presidency. She's asking us to become her doormat." So is New York a springboard or a doormat? Some sort of springy doormat? A springmat? A Doorboard?
  • Worse Than Good

    I think Cindy Sheehan is proof that the White House's much-vaunted political operation isn't an ounce as savvy as we've been led to believe. If these guys were smart, they wouldn't let the grieving mother of an Iraq veteran camp out in a tent at the Crawford gates while fielding a thousand media interviews; it's a public relations disaster. They'd have gotten her cold drinks, a hotel room, and promised a meeting two days hence. Then they'd have had some freed Iraqis whose children Saddam had tortured and murdered as punishment for chewing bubble gum fly out. The Iraqi parents would be immediately shuttled to CIndy where, with quivering voices and many tears, they'd try to tell her that her son died so others could live, that her son died so others could live free . But no, this stubborn group is just letting her roast in the Texas son, furious that the woman would dare invade Bush's vacation sanctum and try to force him into feeling personal pain over the loss of her son. Whether they...
  • Squandered Communications Strategies

    What always leaves me a bit shocked with the Bush administration's handling of Iraq is how unwilling they are to pursue courses of obvious political and military worth. Nobody in the White House thinks this war is playing well in the country, none of them are missing the polls or being blinded to the attitude shift. Back in the day, Don Rumsfeld's "behinder" memo proved he understood what was happening on the ground. And yet, aside from some weird leaks here and there, there's no effort to assure Americans that we have strategy for leaving, no move to convince Iraqis that we don't want to stay, and no sign that the Administration even knows what it's objective is. Larry Diamond, the Stanford democracy advisor who returned from Iraq and wrote Squandered Victory , is doing a book club over at TPM Cafe . His suggestions for the Bush administration had been a public disavowal of long-term designs (i.e, no 14 permanent military bases), a timetable for withdrawal tied to certain benchmarks...

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