• Get a Job

    From here on out, I'll be doing a biweekly column for the folks at Campus Progress called "Get a Job". The idea came from all of you who e-mail me wondering how to break into writing/think tanks/government/etc. The way it'll work, basically, is that I'll interview and profile cool young progressives in good jobs so you can see how they got there, and maybe figure out how to follow along. First one's up today, and it focuses on Matt Yglesias. I'm still kinking out the style, so don't be too harsh in the eval. But go read it anyway.
  • Think Big

    Matt's right . The DeLay scandals are cresting too quick, little would be worse than watching the right sacrifice their figurehead, install Roy Blunt Jr., and move forward untainted by ethical issues. On the other hand, I'm not sure this is in the power of "liberal advocacy groups" anymore -- the press smells the blood and I get the feeling that they're circling on their own, no one's having to herd them. The only thing liberal groups can do now is try and widen the attack, to demand that the press pay attention to the larger issues of Republican corruption and pay-to-play ethos. This moment is as good as it gets, with the press already nailing Delay for transgressions, they're as likely as they'll ever be to pick up on stories implicating the whole caucus and it's way of doing business. The front room lobbyists, the corporate cronyism, the breathtaking shamelessness with which industry shills form legislation -- those are the real scandals, it's not just one bad apple, it's a caucus...
  • Blair

    I agree with basically all of this . And it's one of the things I find most galling about Blair's support for Bush, and Bush's complete unwillingness to moderate key policies to help Blair. Tony has been one of the left's brighter lights in recent years, leading a resurgence of Labour and creating a clear and compelling model for liberals. And then he went and threw it away on our unconcerned leader and his incompetent and immoral wars. Now, with election coming, he's battered and bloodied because he tried to be a liberal hawk in a neocon war and got burned for it, and so, I fear, will the left. Now, I've no reason to believe that Blair's support for Iraq was anything but sincere. Some backed the war on gut, anti-tyranny grounds, and right or wrong, their convictions led them. Blair seems to be one of these. But he's destroying his government and derailing his agenda by refusing to admit the mistake, and he's isolating himself from ideological allies by allowing the Iraq War to define...
  • What's in the Water?

    Saul Bellow has died . Just a day or two after Prince Rainier of Monaco. Who passed just after the Pope. Who faded right after Terry Schiavo, whose feeding tube was pulled not long after a host of other luminaries and bright lights were extinguished. Maybe it's just me, but I can't remember so much death dotting the news ever before. I can't pull up the morning papers without seeing the Arthur Miller or Susan Sontag or Ronald Reagan have passed on. It's unbelievable. Why all the death?
  • A Bit More on Taxes

    Kevin and Duncan * both point out that the VAT (see post below) is somewhat regressive. True 'nuff. So why do it? Mostly because it's safer than the alternatives. Reasoning below the fold.
  • Bartlett Speaks, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the VAT

    Movement conservative Bruce Bartlett has penned one of those responsible Republican op-eds Democrats are coming to know and love; and he's written a real one, not a Brooksian poison pill. He argues that Republicans have neither the will nor the desire to seriously shrink government spending, in fact, they've proved themselves as bad as Democrats. With that known, he says, the idea of starving the beast is dead, the gig up, the game over; now we need to figure out how to deal with the coming health care crunch, mindful that politicians haven't the courage to slash health care. To that end, he recommends the Value Added Tax. A bit of background: The VAT is used by every industrialized nation save America. It's essentially a sales tax levied on manufacturers during each step of the production process. As an example (stolen from Taxing Ourselves ), assume this simplified life cycle of bread: A farmer grows and grinds wheat, then sells the resulting flour to a baker for $1. The baker makes...
  • Is Arnold In Trouble?

    Judging by the size and ferocity of these protests , it looks like he just might be. Via Singer .
  • Is This Thing On?

    Is there a reason comments have been so dead the last two days? I mean, the hits are doing just fine, but you're all keeping silent. You guys take a vow or you just feeling quiet?
  • Sez Sage Brooks

    Unlike some others , I don't see much to laud in Brooks's column this morning. From my vantage point, it's just another trite outing in which Sensible David explains that it's not lockstep ideological rigidity combined with top-flight institutions that has made conservatism the handsome superforce it is today, but a long process of healthy intramovement argument and deep study of their philosophical forebears. In other words, more on how wonderful Republicans are and why Democrats should take off their horns and copy their opponents. The column ends with one of those now overused conclusions that most liberals, sad to say, probably couldn't tell you their favorite philosopher if you asked them to. That, of course, is what's wrong with the Democratic party. Bush can name Christ, Brooks can name Burke, but leftists don't think quick enough to say Rawls. But which Democratic party has Brooks been watching? Because I've certainly missed the incarnation he noticed, with its painless...
  • One More Time, With Feeling

    Matt's response to me in his latest Prospect column bears a read, and a reply. He's right that we should be lauding the congressional leadership for their recent triumphs and successes. And indeed, this whiny liberal has done so, making more than a few jokes about my personal altar to Harry Reid. But he's wrong to offer a broadside against criticism and shaky in his read of the Pew Poll . His central argument is that Democrats are doing only marginally worse among the general public than Republicans and a lot worse among their own partisans. This leaves room for growth and optimism because it should be easy to convert Democrats to our side. That's correct, so far as it goes. Any time your public opinion polls are at 37%, there's room for growth. But the important thing, as any good pollster will tell you, are trend lines. In the last year, the Democratic leadership has dropped 7% among Democrats, while the Republican leadership has dropped 2% among Republicans. The general public...