Archive

  • Evaluating O'Connor's Evaluation

    Kate's outrage over the Washington Post's feminist assessment of O'Connor strikes me as well-placed. The article, which tries to illustrate the chilly relationship between the women's movement and one of their most emancipated, ceiling-shattering members, starts by probing O'Connor's reasons for retiring. Her husband is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. She's leaving to spend time with him during these dimming years of sentience. And it's this decision the Washington Post uses to frame their article, because it's this decision they've coaxed a feminist into critiquing come the third paragraph. It's articles like this that make feminism seem a heartless, frigid ideology populated by hordes of Hillary-clones, and we're talking Hillary in the Ed Klein context. Any movement that honestly felt room for outrage when a 75-year old woman retires to spend time with an irreversibly ill husband would be heartless beyond imagining. Feminism, of course, isn't. Quite the opposite. It's...
  • Is Liberalism in Trouble?

    Wil Wilkinson has a fairly puzzling response to Jon Chait's article on the bankruptcy of the liberals-lack-ideas claim. He writes : He's right: if "ideas" mean novel projects for the technocracy, then liberals are chock ful of them. I think the real complaint here is that there is nothing to be found that is not a specification of "use state power to make things better, according to our peculiar standards of better." The problem for liberals is that if that if they give that up, then they'll stop being who they are. But that's what the voters, the stupid, stupid voters, aren't resonating to. So what we've really got here is a crisis of identity -- the threat that integrity is equivalent to obsolescence. That's a fairly interesting question. Is the use of state power to achieve socially desirable ends what the voters aren't responding to? In Wil's favor, after the election, Bush bounded out with his new mandate, which seemingly stretched from Iran all the way to pension reform and...
  • Ideas

    In a piece full of very good parts, this has to be my favorite of Jon Chait's many perfect paragraphs knifing the Democrats lack ideas meme: A related assumption is that new ideas are better than old ones. This meme has gained particular currency during the Social Security debate. For instance, conservative privatization advocate Peter Ferrara dismissed liberal foe Robert Ball as a "well-meaning gentleman who hasn't had a new idea in 40 years." The accusation resonates with many liberals. The Democrats' economic policy, as labor leader Andrew Stern told Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine, "is basically being opposed to Republicans and protecting the New Deal. It makes me realize how vibrant the Republicans are in creating twenty-first-century ideas, and how sad it is that we're defending 60-year-old ideas." I can't tell you the enjoyment I get from watching professed followers of Edmund Burke demand that Democrats stop protecting old ideas and realize the many virtues of newness...
  • Rove Knows...

    It may not be bigger news than O'Connor, but it's certainly better : I revealed in yesterday's taping of the McLaughlin Group that Time magazine's emails will reveal that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. I have known this for months but didn't want to say it at a time that would risk me getting dragged into the grand jury. ... Since I revealed the big scoop, I have had it reconfirmed by yet another highly authoritative source. Too many people know this. It should break wide open this week. I know Newsweek is working on an 'It's Rove!' story and will probably break it tomorrow. That's Lawrence O'Donnell talking, and he's plugged in enough to break something like this. I wish it wasn't coming over 4th of July weekend and right on the heels of a Supreme Court vacancy, but what can you do? Moreover, if the timing is bad for us, it's worse for Rove. Having a story about his vindictive deshrouding of a CIA agent hit at a time when all news organizations will still introduce him as, "Karl...
  • Sandra Day O'Connor

    It's been a long day of perfunctory paeans to Sandra Day O'Connor's many virtues. Some corners named her prudence and moderation, smarter corners lauded her "mainstream conservatism", but few said much about her. So before we all move to the looming battle for her seat, it's probably worth listening to Ogged and talking a bit who she is and what made her important (full disclosure: the biography aspects are taken from wikipedia and much of the judicial analysis comes from Rehnquist Justice ): O'Connor's a Texan, but she spent her childhood on a cattle ranch in Arizona. From there, she nabbed a B.A in economics from Stanford, and continued on in their law school. She graduated in two years, rather than the three favored by most mortals. Third in her class, she came in only two spots behind the valedictorian, one William Rehnquist. Not a bad record (and one beautifully retold in Dahlia Lithwick's article on O'Connor's many firsts). Bad time, however, to be a female lawyer in America...
  • Give Us Money

    I've been meaning to respond to Greg Anrig's post asking how the progressive agenda can be sexed up to appeal to 20-somethings. As a semi-prominent, politically involved 20-something, I run into this a fair amount, and even get TV/article/radio engagements to answer it, which is a pretty sweet deal. Problem is, though, that I routinely disappoint my hosts. You could slap a bikini and breast implants on every education subsidy on earth and the vast majority of 20-somethings wouldn't care (on that note, it's worth remembering Matt's distinction between 20-somethings in age, which encompasses young married families as well as college slackers and thus can't really be seen as a group, and 20-somethings in electoral theory, which mainly means youngish, relatively educated, highly mobile people). This isn't about issues. Hell, even older demographic groups, save maybe seniors, don't vote on issues. The young certainly don't. The best answer I can give is that your average 20-something, no...
  • McCain's True Colors

    Looks like McCain's signaling his intentions: Of course, Mr. McCain said, President Bush's nominee will be a conservative. "He campaigned for re-election and made no bones about the fact that it would be a conservative nominee," Mr. McCain said. "Elections have consequences." Indeed they do. More to the point, upcoming elections have consequences. And let's not forget how McCain's principles worked in 2000 (from the May 30th New Yorker ): McCain beat George W. Bush in New Hampshire, in a nineteen-point upset, but the storybook campaign ended when the Bush machine retaliated, in the infamous South Carolina primary. McCain had hoped that South Carolina's large veteran population would help him win there; but the Christian Coalition, deeply entrenched in the state, became the decisive constituency. Somewhat surprisingly, McCain had the support of Gary Bauer, the social conservative, who had dropped out of the race by that time. "I wanted a commitment from either George Bush or John...
  • The Gameplan

    I'm with Digby on this one. Brad's proposed trajectory for the Supreme Court fight -- Bush nominates lunatic, Democrats filibuster, Bush withdraws lunatic, nominates crazy, Democrats celebrate bipartisanship -- strikes me as wrong. Bush doesn't want to lose round one of this fight. Maybe if he was still riding 58% approval ratings he'd give it a shot, nominating the nuttiest necromancer he could find, but at 43% he's going to try and stroke his base while wedging Democrats into an impossible position. How do you do that? Nominate a hardline conservative wrapped in an electorally important minority. Hence, Emilio Garza .
  • Supreme Court Chances

    So here's a question: can we actually block anyone that Bush wants? The last heroic victory was the rejection of Robert Bork, and that was pulled off by a 55-45 Democratic majority. I guess we can filibuster, at least assuming the nuclear option can be blocked, but what, realistically speaking, is the plan here? Make a judgment call, shut down the Senate over Luttig, and hope we win the aftermath? With party loyalty as strong as it is in this era -- even Janice Rogers Brown got confirmed, contrary to Graham's predictions that she wouldn't -- do Democrats have any possible chance of winning this without a filibuster?
  • Nothing. Nothing Is The Matter With Kansas.

    Democrats are really off track with this "What's the Matter With Kansas" game. Andrei Cherny's new iteration of it just proves how much. Road tripping through the state, he stopped off in a small city, heard a story of a desperate women, and caromed off into ruminations about how we've failed the natives there. Why? First off, what is the matter with Kansas? Particularly as opposed to, say, Arkansas, or Tennessee, or Oregon. Kansas has middling unemployment (that's better than the presumably right-thinking California), a per capita income firmly in the nation's middle (Arkansas, incidentally, has the lowest), a female Democratic governor, and a poverty level 2.1% below the national average. So tell me again, what's the matter with Kansas? Because though we keep making the state sound like it's crammed with abortion-hating hicks too stupid to mark the ballot that'd help pull them out of poverty, none of that's actually going on. Instead, the real problem seems to be that the state just...

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