• 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...
  • James Dobson is Bad For My Soul

    What does it say that every time Dobson opens his mouth, I begin to blaspheme? Whenever he appears on my television or computer screen, I take the Lord's name in vain. This can't be good. Or can it? If James Dobson knew he was driving, say, half the country to sin, you think he'd stop? Anyway, this isn't just a random Dobson rants. John Cole noticed he's put out the warning signs of a child becoming one of the gays. and they're fairly funny. So if you're son is "different" from other boys, cries constantly, pretends he's female, only hangs out with girls, gets teased by other boys (particularly called "queer" -- 10-year olds have very perceptive "gaydars"), walks/talks/dresses like a homo, and insists he's a girl, he might be gay. Well, yeah, that does seem possible. But by the time I got to the end of his list, I was totally distracted by the uber-hot, multiracial women exhorting me to join "Focus on Your Child". So now I was lusting in my heart. That settles it. James Dobson is bad...
  • Where, O' Where, Have My Essayists Gone?

    Jay Tea, over at Wizbang , is getting some attention for a silly post wondering why the right holds all the intellectual firepower in the blogs. I went to some of the "thinkers" he mentions and found, not rigorous thought, but remarkable word counts. Fair enough. Dylan offered him some left-wing thinkers (a list on which he kindly included me), but Jay Tea, in his comments , was non-plussed. None of us wrote long enough pieces for him. I would caution, as Jesse has, that length is no substitute for thought, but if what Jay Tea wants are lengthy essays, I figure a few others might also be in the market for a prose stylist. So here are a few I know of:
  • Screw Me? Screw You!

    Jack Shafer dives deep into a Pew Report and surfaces, gasping, with this self-contradictory tidbit: Over the last two decades, the Pew people have plotted a steady decline in the credibility of newspapers among its survey respondents. In 1985, 84 percent said they could believe most of what they read in their daily newspaper, but by 2004 that number was down to 54 percent....Over nearly the same interval, survey respondents gave consistently favorable marks to their own daily newspaper! In 1984, 88 percent of those familiar enough with a daily newspaper to give it a rating gave it a favorable grade. In 2005, 80 percent still did. Decades of Republican attacks have done a Dirty Harry on the abstract concept of journalistic credibility, but they haven't done much at all to pry Americans off of their daily newspapers, to get them away from the television, to rip the radios from their cars. NPR has 20 million listeners, Fox News, for all its success, is a joke compared to the audience...
  • Tough Times for Liberals

    Ouch, they've really got us dead-to-rights .
  • And We're Sure Andy Kaufman is Dead?

    I just want to make sure I'm getting this right: The New York Times really has given a regular perch to a guy who thinks we should accept global warming because it'll increase ecotourism to the Arctic, right? This isn't some sort of metacolumn, or parody spot, or ill-directed attempt to eat in on The Onion's audience, at least so far as we know? At least so far as we know. I'm sticking with that.