Archive

  • More on Gore

    I'd just like to welcome Matt , Marshall and Atrios to the Gore 08 party (and how many parties do both Duncan Black and Marshall Wittman attend together? Not many. That alone should make Democrats take Gore seriously -- Ed) . We've been slumped over at the bar here since early May . After I wrote my original post on it, I was e-mailed some fairly dispiriting information on Gore's feelings towards another candidacy, but the truth is, until he echoes Sherman, the door remains open. Gore, if anything, starts in a better position than Hillary. Already defined as a credible candidate, there's nothing Republicans can do that'll make him look unfit to lead (the country, indeed, already voted for him once). If he can keep his recent speaking style, boring won't apply, at least not so much. His credibility with the left-wing of the party is massive and real. Unlike Hillary, who inspires a fair amount of distrust, Gore's endorsement of Dean and his alliance with MoveOn have turned the ultimate...
  • What Medicare Isn't

    With the Washington Post, the New York Times, and certain New Democrats jumping on the Medicare's-a-mess bandwagon, it's worth knowing why Medicare's in bad shape and who, in fact, is probably to blame. That's where Matt Holt comes in: Medicare and to a smaller effect Medicaid are extremely complex programs that don't give a direct benefit to their "members" but instead allow an entire industry (in fact many industries) to deliver goods and services to those people with the government picking up the tab. Yup, Medicare is closer to defense spending than anything else, and within it there's the same level of complexity, fraud and bad behavior as in that sector (and I never mentioned Halliburton once. Dang, just did!). In fact as Medicare sets the tone for almost all health care spending, but there are hundreds of payers rather than just one big one, health care is probably more complex, fraud-ridden, and inhabited by murky characters than defense... More importantly the defense...
  • Leave No Special Interest Behind

    Looks like Bill Frist, legislative leader extraordinaire, has decided to do away with the namby-pambly mollycoddling of the past few years, and start demanding the Senate address this nation's real problems: Until lawmakers vote on a top-priority gun rights bill, nothing else happens in the Senate. And that includes Congress' prized monthlong vacation. That's the way Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has toughened up his style in the final days before the August break was to begin, learning from last year to leave no room for gun control advocates to derail legislation limiting lawsuits against the gun industry. Some folks, when running for president, vie for glory by competing to pass as much major legislation as possible. Others attempt to champion a cause important to voters but ignored in Congress. Bill Frist? He's decided to suck the toes of every interest group who could possibly affect a primary. So the Christian Right gets a long back massage and a judicial standoff. The pro-...
  • CAFTA Passes

    CAFTA just passed , 217-215. 15 Democrats voted with the bad guys, while 20 Republicans joined the angels. A few things: • Odds are this wasn't really a tied vote. David Sirota is telling us to think of each dissenting Dem as the deciding defection, but it's more likely that the Republicans had a few more last-case yes's who were allowed to vote no so long as their "aye" wasn't needed to pass the bill. If DeLay can pass the bill while exempting weak Republicans in trade-decimated areas, all the better. • Nevertheless, screw those Democrats who defected. • This is, even with passage, a sign of serious weakness for the right. That a run-of-the-mill trade bill cleared with a mere single vote despite the easy Republican majority shows how much weaker party discipline has become in their caucus. That it passed with only 15 Democratic defections is a sign of how much stronger our caucus unity has gotten. • It also proves Sam's argument that the right consciously crafts bills that won't...
  • Elections Have Consequences

    Jonah Goldberg's latest column is, well, kinda good. Very good, in fact. He takes as target Arnold Schwarzenegger and, as background, Gray Davis. And while his ultimate point is to slap around us kooky Californians, he's actually right about doing so: I was against the recall on the grounds that the people of California elected Gray Davis and therefore they deserved to be punished. Seriously. Democracy isn’t merely about “the people” getting what they want, it’s also about the people getting what they deserve. Mobs get what they want every time. Citizens make informed choices and then live with — and learn from — the consequences. Those lessons inform how we view not merely candidates but parties and philosophies. “We gave those guys their shot and they blew it, I won’t be voting for that crowd again,” is an indispensable reaction in democratic politics. ... I’m sympathetic to the substance of Schwarzenegger’s agenda. But the last thing California needs is more populism. What it needs...
  • Random Things

    • I think Jeff Gannon is reading my blog. How else do you getting a hit from this search ? • Richard Blair is doing great work to try and get the oh-so-liberal media to cover a young, pregnant woman who's been missing for nine days. Should be easy, right? What if I told you she was black? Go help out -- if the so-called liberal media won't get on it, at least actual liberals can pitch in.
  • From MK to GTA

    Kevin Drum asks (and answers): What effect has the videogame "Grand Theft Auto" had on actual thefts of autos? "The national carjacking rate has dropped substantially," reports Steven Johnson in the LA Times today. ... It strikes me as a bit degrading, actually, that Hillary has to pretend to oppose violent videogames as a means of gaining heartland social values cred, but I suppose that's the world we live in. If I were running for president I might do the same. And I guess the upside is that a few speeches denouncing the evils of "Grand Theft Auto" is unlikely to do any real damage. True 'nuff. But then, what effect will Hillary Clinton denouncing GTA have on "Grand Theft Auto"? My hunch is none whatsoever. Indeed, it may create an uptick in sales thanks to the added publicity. That's why I can never get bent out of shape about this stuff. If parents wary of a violent, sexualized culture want politicians to recognize their fears, then politicians should do that. The denunciations of...
  • A Housing Agenda

    Nathan Newman's got a very strong post on the primacy (or puzzling lack thereof) of housing issues on the progressive agenda. And he's right on it. Employees of all incomes and occupations know how little they like living in zip codes wholly unconnected to their workplaces just so they can afford a roof for their children. The commute, the lack of flexibility, the total disruption of everyday life -- it's crushing. In addition, many of these folks are becoming Republicans, either in reaction to the urban areas that banished them or as simple result of becoming property owners. It shouldn't be that way, and speaking to the everyday hardships of their commute and conditions would, if nothing else, prove Democrats are on their side as much as the city's. Kevin Drum likes to say that the divide isn't red vs. blue, it's urban vs. rural. But it's more than that: it's urban vs. rural/suburban/exurban, it's urban vs. everyone else. Affordable, well-planned, high-density housing that would let...
  • Bad Habit

    It's one thing to have Dan Savage and the liberal intelligentsia mocking you mercilessly, it's wholly another, however, to have nuns writing letters to the editor rhetorically rapping your knuckles for setting a bad example for your children: As a teacher for the Diocese of Pittsburgh for 14 years, one important lesson I learned was that no matter what I said to the child, whatever the parents said superseded my message. What parents say and how they live sends a message stronger than any teacher's voice no matter what the issue. Sen. Rick Santorum and his wife have taught their children a powerful lesson on civic responsibility by refusing to pay any tuition money to the Penn Hills School District for their children who attended the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School ("Penn Hills Loses Bid to Charge Santorum," July 12). Released from that payment on a technicality shows that even an upstanding, moral gentleman like Sen. Santorum teaches his children the following lessons: 1) Take...
  • Asking for Hope

    Jesus. I caught this off a BlogAd at Roxanne's site but...Jesus. If the stem cell debate sometimes seems like just another match-up between right-wing fundamentalists and exasperated, empirical Democrats, this letter will prove to you why it's so much more...

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