Archive

  • Allen and the Theocrats

    Rob Garver's piece in the American Prospect examining George Allen's pre-presidential embrace of Pat Robertson doesn't go far enough, I think. Allen isn't some moderate do-gooder bowing to the realities of the Republican party and forcing himself to slobber on some theocrat's rings, he's been playing this game for a long, long, time. His ascendence to the governor's house in Virginia was wholly and totally a function of his ability to unite the state's CHristian Right around him rather than another candidate. Since then, he's always remembered to dance with them that brought him, and Pat's going to be no different. If Mark Warner (VA's current governor) steps up to the plate and challenges Allen's seat in 2006, George is going to have a very, very tough race on his hands. Winning that race will require evermore religious mobilization, evermore evangelical volunteers, and evermore pandering to the hard right. So don't blame Allen for bear-hugging Robertson and don't be surprised when...
  • Where's Sam Brownback When You Need Him?

    The U.N. Relief Director has hit the newspapers in an effort to drum up some political pressure for American help on African crises. Apparently, our compassionate conservatism is not quite being compassionate enough. I've excerpted a portion of his interview after the jump, you really need to read it to understand how bad things are getting (not to mention why putting the Ten Commandments in schools won't save us, and may in fact bring about some of the worst horrors on memory). Unfortunately, his interview also shows his problem. From what he's saying, there's currently an urgent humanitarian crisis in Sudan, Chad, the Congo, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Togo, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Uganda, among others. Think about that -- a pressing crisis in at least 14 countries. The world is remarkably slow, inept, and reluctant to deliver aid and avert catastrophes, so what do you think our chances are of responding effectively 14 times...
  • Tafted

    Political Wire reports that Bob Taft has the lowest approval rating of any governor in the nation . His approval rating is 19% , which is remarkably, terribly awful for a governor in a state where he has no major scandal, no major initiatives, no major...anything. He's crossed the boundary from nonentity to nega-entity. The fact is that Taft is just...well, a pointless politician, if such a construction makes sense. He's a conglomeration of three branches of Ohio Republicans - the religious, the economic, and the gun. The problem is, he's not really motivated by any one of those branches. If the Republican majority is held together by skillful interweaving of seemingly disparate goals without their subsequent accomplishment, Taft's leadership is viewing that network, the power it holds and its ability to accept failure through ideological eyes...and then heading off to the can to finish up the latest James Patterson novel. For four years.
  • You Read, I Work

    Campus Progress just posted an article of mine exploring those home-schooled, deeply religious youngsters who keep getting publishing contracts and syndication deals despite a lack of noticeable talent (save maybe Ben Ferguson, who seems reasonably on top of things). I'm pretty happy with the piece, which also covers Michelle Malkin, Ward Connerly, and all the other conservatives who get trotted out in front of the cameras when their skin tone is needed to to sell a policy. Go read it. Speaking of talentless youngsters getting ahead in life, this morning, The American Prospect offered, and I accepted, their fellowship position. There's no doubt that the main reason I got the job was this blog and all you folks who read it. So thanks very, very much. It's a hell of a birthday present. (and come out to the bar tonight! Details below!) (and read my CP piece ! It's got a money back guarantee!)
  • Blog Night at the Bar

    For LA readers, Jesse and I will be hanging at Maloney's in Westwood tonight, starting at about 9. C'mon down if you're interested. The address is: 1000 Gayley Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90024 You can find a map here . E-mail me if you have any questions.
  • Fila-Bust-A-Bus

    Bill Frist is setting up to use the nuclear option on Priscilla Owen, according to the Washington Times . The entire judicial nomination fight is an example of insider politics taking over real-world consideration - Democrats haven't paid for opposition to or obstruction of judicial nominees, largely because the nominees held back are in positions that have little to no direct relevance to most Americans' political understanding. They're not high-profile in a publicity sense, and after they're confirmed, they're about as likely to be seen on TV again as Cop Rock . Frist, on the other hand, is playing really bad politics to attempt to score a much, much larger pragmatic victory - but this handful of judges isn't permanent, even if the appointments are lifelong, nor are they the sole determinant of federal interpretation of law. For what he gets, the seventh-grade-civics realization that Republicans just killed some old and not-really-understood portion of the government doesn't quite...
  • First DeLay, Now Ney

    So it looks like Tom DeLay may just be the first scalp Jack Abramoff can hang on his jail cell's wall. According to the Prospect , Bob Ney was on the take as well. Interesting stuff. If the Republicans were smart, they'd create the toughest, sharpest-toothed Ethics Committee the House has ever seen and turn the suckers loose on anyone with a whiff of scandal. Because if Ney goes the way of DeLay, the media is going to smell blood in the water, and soon enough everyone's lobbyist ties and shadowy junkets are going to be front page news. Republicans, were they smart, could kick out DeLay, get their new majority leader to go on a public offensive against corruption, make sacrificial lambs out of a few Republicans (promised golden parachutes in return for their complicity, of course), and clo0se the whole thing down. As it is, the scandal's simply widening... Props, by the way, to the DLC's Marshall Whittman, who, months ago, said the Abramoff scandals had the potential to bring all these...
  • Stupid Jews

    So speaketh Dennis Prager, in part XII of his written-for-eventually-remaindered-publication book, "Judeo-Christian Values". Now ask any Jew, religious or secular, "What is the Jewish mission?" and the most likely response will be: "What do you mean?" Most religious Jews rarely talk about a Jewish mission. Rather, they are preoccupied with survival: of the Jewish religion (observance of religious laws) and of the Jewish people. Most non-religious Jews who identify as Jews are preoccupied with survival of the Jewish people. And most Jews with a weak or no Jewish identity identify with no Jewish mission or with a secular one. In fact, the only large body of Jews with a mission are the Jews with the least Jewish religiosity. Such Jews have been disproportionately involved in secular ideologies such as Marxism, socialism, feminism, environmentalism, gay rights, animal rights and every other ideology of the Left. You gotta love the juxtaposition of causes - let's start with Marxism and...
  • I Care for Health Care

    QandO shows us what being a libertarian is all about: Let's talk about health care for a minute. Health care is certainly a need, but it is not a right. And all the high sounding rhetoric in the world that says otherwise is baloney. And just like that, the right to health care is disproven. Except, in Western Europe, health care actually is a right, no matter what QandO says. It's a right because the citizens and government have decided it's a right, easy as that. Whether McQ and his libertarian brethren are so callous as to keep a straight face while denying the transcendental importance of health care is their own issue, but this flip dismissal of "high sounding rhetoric", which is to say, compassionate speech, is simply, obviously, wholly, wrong. From there, McQ argues for taking health care away from employers and out of the government's purview: The immediate benefits of making health insurance an individual responsibility? 1. Portability. It now no longer matters where you work...
  • Where's My Liberal Conspiracy?

    I'm not one to buy into the smug pronouncements Jonah Goldberg hands down venerating the deep philosophical roots of conservatism and the Vulcan mind-meld each young Republican performs with Burke and Kristol, but, if nothing else, it's certainly true that the conservative ideology is treated as a topic more worthy of study than its liberal counterpart. While browsing Amazon last night, I stumbled upon a whole galaxy of books detailing the movement's intellectual evolution: The Conservative Intellectual Movement in America , The Right Nation, The Conservative Mind: From Burke to Eliot , A Time for Choosing , and so forth. Believe me, that's barely a partial list. Meanwhile, nothing similar seems to exist for the liberal side of the divide, with the closest analogue I could find being James Weinstein's lonely exegesis of American socialism, The Long Detour . So what's going on here? Rawls, Dewey, Niehbur, Schlesinger, Locke...there's a plenty long development to track, but nobody seems...

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