Archive

  • Responding to Democracy

    Wesley Clark's contribution to the Washington Monthly's Democracy in the Middle East forum is a great, great read, much better than the title made it sound. On one level, the essay is the surprisingly adept effort of a 2008 presidential candidate to account for hopefully signs in the Arab world. Clark does so by leveraging his Reaganite past and demanding humility from the Bush administration: The administration has generally responded to these openings by adding to the pressure, calling for withdrawal of Syrian forces and for democracy. But like the rooster who thinks his crowing caused the dawn, those who rule Washington today have a habit of taking credit for events of which they were in fact not the primary movers. Many of them have insisted, for instance, that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was largely the consequence of President Reagan's military policies. As a military officer at the time, and a Reagan supporter, I would be happy to give the Gipper that credit. In truth,...
  • Nominating Our Worst Nightmare

    When researching George Allen yesterday, I saw him regularly described as the Democrats' worst nightmare. Not so. Our worst nightmares aren't nominated in Republican primaries, but in our own. To understand that, a more critical look at John Kerry is in order. So for those who haven't absorbed Thomas Frank's latest 21-gun salute to populism , there's no time like the present. His election retrospective in the latest New York Review of Books is certainly one of the best I've seen, and even if he hits the same notes he always does, he's done a much better job constructing the rhythm to match the election's ebbs and flows. Frank has been marginalized as a single-idea commentator, a pundit whose work can be safely assumed sans reading. Not so. In fact, Frank's weakest area is, unfortunately, what everyone seems to focus on in his books and columns. His solution, that a renewed emphasis on class warfare -- a term I don't use pejoratively -- and protectionist populism will blunt the GOP's...
  • Gore 08?

    This isn't exactly a novel observation, but I'm pretty impressed by Gore's recent actions. The amount of liberal goodwill he gets bathed in every time he delivers a stemwinder under MoveOn's auspices is really quite impressive, particularly for a candidate so damned by faint progressive praise last time he ran. It's nothing less than a reinvention. Now, I don't know if Gore's thinking of running in 2008 -- I've heard some rumors for and some against -- but he'd start in a really interesting position: an established, mainstream, well-known candidate with a deep base among liberals and a reputation for saying what others only think. His work with MoveOn, his endorsement of Dean, and his sustained criticism of Bush would offer him some powerful fundraising opportunities out of the gate, and having captured most of the liberals willing to throw in with an establishment candidate, he'd be able to compete with Kerry, Clinton and Edwards for the rest of the primary electorate while freezing...
  • PBS: Fair, Balanced, and Funded

    Jesse , incensed by PBS's new effort to imbue their network with that "fair and balanced" goodness, is offering cookie-making robots to anyone able to force the media into "screw balance" week. Sounds like a plan. But before getting to the baking AIBO's, it's worth looking a nit closer at the PBS situation. Just like with Social Security, there is no crisis . NPR is not biased, PBS does not swing left. In an electorate where easy majorities believe their news channels want merely to gut punch some unlucky ideology, 55% believe PBS's programming is "fair and balanced", while 79% bestow the same dubious designation on NPR. Not only that, but public broadcasting has an 80% favorable rating and a majority consider PBS more trustworthy than ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and CNN. So while liberal gremlins with "PBS" tattooed on their chest surely dance around Brent Bozell's head, the rest of the country -- you know, the folks Congress is supposed to be legislating for -- have happily resisted the...
  • Google Bomb Me

    Is there anyway to Google bomb my own site? When you search me on Google you get, in order, Brad DeLong talking about me, Pandagon, and my original blogspot site. This site doesn't show up for pages, I haven't even gone far enough through to find it. So is there any way to change that, to make it so searching my name will find my current home on the internets? I don't really know how Google works, but I've heard about metatags or something. Anyway, help appreciated. Update : The title was just a joke, though many thanks to those who actually did Google bomb me. Turns out Typepad was hiding the site from the google bots, and now, thanks to some intrepid html sleuths who helped out in comments, that's over with. You all rock.
  • Treating an Oil Addiction

    John Cole's got a sensible post on the need for a new energy strategy, but I think he forgets that he doesn't have a sensible party: It never ceases to amaze me how silly many on the left are about the prospect of drilling in ANWR. Any reasonable solution to our dependence on foreign oil should include: 1.) Domestic drilling 2.) Research for alternative fuel sources 3.) Increased Cafe standards 4.) Radical improvements to clean Coal 5.) Nuclear plant construction and research in storage of nuclear waste 6.) Tax credits and incentives for fuel efficient vehicles, energy efficient appliances, energy efficient homes 7.) Increased refining capacity 8.) Increase oil exploration and smart extraction policies 9.) Conservation campaigns Exactly right. But here's the problem -- Bush's energy strategy doesn't include that. If Bush stepped forward with that energy strategy -- particularly an increase in CAFE standards -- I'd kill the goddamn caribou myself to help it pass. But he's not. There's...
  • George Allen

    Ever since the National Journals Insiders Poll -- a poll of various Washington bigwigs, heavyweights, and wise men -- reported that George Allen is the favored 2008 nominee of the Republican establishment, I've been trying to get a feel for what he's about. This isn't, by the way, the first time I've heard of him. A buddy of mine who's a pretty astute political observer has been talking up his danger for a few months now, arguing that he's a more genial, more authentic, and smarter incarnation of the Bush formula. So we've got some buzz. So who is George Allen? Shakespeare's Sister did some spadework here, finding that the guy's got a hard conservative voting record, which is true. But he's a bit more interesting than that. Allen grew up in Palos Verdes, California, until his father moved to Virginia to coach the Washington Redskins. In 1982, he won a seat in the VA House of Delegates, in 1991 he won a seat in Congress, and in 1993 he got himself elected Governor, mainly by uniting...
  • How John Brown Helped the Terrorists Win

    The latest New York Review of Books offers up an excellent essay on John Brown's legacy. Excellent, at least, until page four, when it jukes you out and begins dashing off in the oddest direction an essay on a long-dead abolitionist can run in. After spending three and a half pages vividly recapping Brown's life, the Harper Ferry raid, and the war it led to, the author, James McPherson, deploys the only rhetorical weapon that could possibly make John Brown's story more dramatic: 9/11. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the few black civil rights leaders who refused to pay homage to Brown, whose methods contradicted King's commitment to nonviolence. This issue raises troubling questions. In 1859 many Northerners separated Brown's means from his ends and disapproved one while approving the other. But in the post-9/11 world, it's not so easy to separate means from ends. The essay, until you reach the end, hums along great. And then you trip and fall into a time-warp and end up stuck on 9/...
  • Why Is This Column Different From All Other Columns?

    David Brooks knows something you don't: Bill Frist should have taken the deal. Last week, the Senate Democratic leader, Harry Reid, made an offer to head off a nuclear exchange over judicial nominations. Reid offered to allow votes on a few of the judges stuck in limbo if the Republicans would withdraw a few of the others. But there was another part of the offer that hasn't been publicized. I've been reliably informed that Reid also vowed to prevent a filibuster on the next Supreme Court nominee. Reid said that if liberals tried to filibuster President Bush's pick, he'd come up with five or six Democratic votes to help Republicans close off debate. In other words, barring a scandal or some other exceptional circumstance, Reid would enable Bush's nominee to get a vote and probably be confirmed. Brooks thinks Frist should've taken the deal. Hell, so do I. If Reid offered to unilaterally lay down arms no matter how crazy-insane Bush's nominees were, Frist should've jumped. If he could've...
  • News About News

    According to Singer , the leading lights of the right-leaning blogosphere are setting up some sort of professional news service. And believe you me, Matt's not the only one anxiously awaiting dispatches from the Iraq correspondent stationed in Toledo, Ohio. More exciting yet will be the Social Security expert who spends half the year on Chile's website and the political columnist reporting directly from Peggy Noonan's hypothalamus. That sound you hear? That's the AP's knees knocking...

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