Archive

  • Exhibit A in the Case Against Brooks

    If you've ever wondered why I give David Brooks such a hard time, today's column should be filed in your records as Exhibit A. It's a perfect, almost archetypal example of everything he does wrong. The Republican party, he'd like us to know, is a great party full of transformational thinkers and lofty idealism and a creamy nougat center. But perfection and virtue, sometimes, are not enough for the American people. The American people, you know, are stodgy and small-minded. They like evolution -- not the darwin kind! -- rather than transformation. Take Terry Schiavo, where "Republicans charged boldly forth to preserve her life", or Social Security where they offered Americans chances to control their retirement accounts (benefit cuts? What benefit cuts?). Despite the right's wings and halos, the American people opposed their plans because, well, they were too good, too brave, too virtuous. Ever had a rich chocolate cake that you couldn't finish because it was just so damn good and...
  • We Stand As One

    Ever wondered what would happen if Lisa Frank and Peggy Noonan collaborated on a music video? Wonder no more . Via Greg .
  • Hence the "Imaginary Center"

    Matt misinterprets my post from this morning (although I do like the constant blog wars we're having). Terming it "fuck the center" isn't quite correct, it was much more "fuck the imaginary center" (hence the title: "The Imaginary Center"), the point being that this magical land of moderation exists only in the mental landscape of the pundit class. That, of course, accounted for my foray into what Matt calls "polling literalism". Policies supported by the American people lay far outside what one would assume centrist politics allows -- they profess to want government-run health care, a hyper-progressive tax system, etc., which proves, I think, that achieving "centrism" isn't as binary and simplistic as some assume. Of course, we do have a representative democracy, so if Americans really wanted these things, they wouldn't keep voting in the schmucks who demagogue the bills aimed at achieving them. That's why I didn't recommend that Hillary fight for single-payer health care or a...
  • The Gay Front

    Pam and Shakespeare's Sister are right. Nothing shows how completely unprepared America is to fight a war better than our willingness to kick heroic homosexuals out of the service. Doesn't matter if they know Arabic, doesn't matter if they're the real-life manifestation of Rambo, doesn't matter if they shoot lasers from their eyes and make things explode through mental effort, if they prefer dudes to chicks the Army doesn't want them. And it doesn't need them at the exact same moment that it desperately needs more troops. During Vietnam, the thirst for bodies superseded the country's casual bigotry and dudes in dresses were sent as surely as the conscripts who showed up in fatigues. We were fighting a war. Presently, we're forcing perfectly good, able, and willing fighters from advancing the national interest because they pursue a lifestyle that is in no way illegal. That point can't be overstated. Being gay is no less legal than being brown-eyed, or long-limbed. The Supreme Court, in...
  • More on Arnold

    There's a lot of justified celebration among progressive California watchers today. Arnold's invulnerability has finally cracked, and now he's scuttling away from pension reform as quick as his musclebound legs can take him. As a victory, it's more important than we might expect -- CALPERS has been an enormous force for corporate responsibility, throwing their cash behind companies with good practices and using their shareholder pull to spur reform in those that failed. But I wouldn't jump too high. Arnold's back-off is pure calculation. He's got a herd of semi-popular, hyper-controversial ballot initiatives up for vote. Unlike his bond measure, which posed the no-brainer of whether or not Californians would like to bury their children in debt so they didn't have to add a cent to the sales tax (YES!), it's going to be an uphill climb for the governator come the next ballot. Stepping out of the gate with every public sector employee, every family member of a public sector employee,...
  • Great Moments in Political Theory

    From my political theory professor today: "You can't impregnate all future autonomous decisions through your actions with a first autonomous decision. You have to make love to each autonomous decision separately." Heh.
  • The Imaginary Center

    Via Political Wire , pollster Scott Rasmussen, annoyed at his post-2004 election irrelevance, has created the Hillary Meter, an enormously useless waste of webspace tracking, twice monthly, how close to the political center Americans think Hillary is. The obsession with centrism is, to me, the single most puzzling thing about presidential politics. It's as if the strategists and pollsters and commentators all sat down over Scrabble one night, decided the work they did was too hard, and unanimously agreed that, from then on, the middle would be the ideal and everybody could simply work off that. Then the pollsters would know what to poll, the strategists would know what to strategize, the commentators could pen their critiques, and everyone could hit the bars by seven. They did all this in a century where none of the great and effective leaders were middle-of-the-road kinda men. FDR, Kennedy, Johnson (got an enormous amount done), Reagan -- there was no obsession with moderation...
  • Polls

    Via Atrios , it looks like Arnold ain't doing so well : Swept into office in an unprecedented recall election in 2003, the Republican's approval rating fell to 43 percent from 59 percent in January, according to a Survey and Policy Research Institute poll released on Thursday. That's a bad approval rating for a Republican in a Democratic state, and it's coming at a bad time for Arnold. The past few weeks have seen challengers enter the race for governor, public employees mount an almost-armed uprising against him, and forced him to cave to the pressure and eliminate "pension reform" from the agenda. Arnold looks -- dare I say it? -- vulnerable. Speaking of polls, the WSJ/NBC released one (warning: PDF) that asked whether the Democrats should help Bush pass his proposals in bipartisan fashion or oppose the right to keep them from going too far. The answer? Oppose the right, 63%-30%.
  • More Lakoff

    Lindsay Beyerstein has a thoughtful response * to my post on Lakoff from a few days back. Yes, I said from a few days back. Which is kinda important because blog posts have the lifespan of fruitflies** -- come each dawn, the bell is tolling for all those words you wrote the day before, which kinda sucks. So it's nice to see one achieve some shelf life. But I digress. She takes issue with my lashing of Lakoff's "nurturant parent" model which, she explains, isn't meant to be a frame so much as a way of conceptualizing how the two parties view themselves. Fair enough. But that doesn't, as I see it, much change the critique. Whether it's the wellspring our frames emanate from or the frame itself doesn't much matter; in the end, whatever emerges will always be pointing to the nurturant parent v. strict father choice, a a match-up we'll lose. That's because, in the the American polity, the idea of the strict father is stronger than the idea of the nurturant parent. That's how Republicans...
  • End of the Powerline

    With the Schiavo memos proven to be from a Republican source and Powerline not apologizing for their truthless innuendo and slander, it's time to break out the popcorn and see if Big Trunk and Hindrocket can clear the shark. Odds are on massive carnage, but they might just end up laughing stocks. For that, see August Pollack on "Powerline-was-completely-fucking-wrong-gate" (Best. Gate. Ever.). It's not just that they have no shame, it's that they once met shame on a street, beat the shit out of him, rolled him up in a carpet, and threw him off a bridge. And don't even ask me about the nightmare they put truth through. To paraphrase Marv in Sin City, after what they did to poor honesty, hell must have seemed like heaven. Powerline, we must begin to understand, has no fucking idea what they're talking about at any given moment. Once upon a time, some GOP operative sent by the Ghost of Nixon got something right for them in the Free Republic comments section, and ever since then the homo-...

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