Archive

  • Freedom From Fear

    If you read nothing else today, make it Mark Schmitt's piece on merging the security theme Democrats are finding in Social Security with opportunity. I've been beating this drum for awhile (and others have been pounding on it long before me), but it couldn't be more important. The Democrats are currently trapped in a war of outdated critiques. Will we move towards an archaic populism that pretends we can stop outsourcing, or will we embrace a Republican-lite philosophy of corporate cronyism? We've apparently settled on a weird state between the two, and so we spend a few months after every election yelling at each other over the incoherence of our position. There is, as Joe Klein would term it, an information age (or post-industrial) populism ready to be assumed by the first party to grab it. Better yet, it fits perfectly with the current priorities and crusades of the Democratic party. Simply put, the government exists to reduce risk to the worker so they have more freedom to take...
  • Parties Matter

    Responding to me, Matt writes : the politics of security are largely about image (the politics of everything are), but the important thing to note is that you can't just whip up some issues and an "image" cooked to order when it comes time to run a presidential campaign. You need to have some idea of what it is you're trying to market, and some experience with various people actually trying to market it. And perhaps most important of all, one key element of "image" is not looking uncomfortable discussing these topics, and one easy way to do that is to actually be comfortable and confident that you know what you're talking about and understand where you want to take the country. That's absolutely correct. One reason it's so much easier for Republicans to be judged tough on security is that any of them can do it, no experience required. Ronald Reagan was a former actor and Governor of California who was elected during the height of the Cold War. His foreign policy background didn't...
  • Globalization Express

    Emptywheel calls in with a hell of a post on the people who act as globalization's foot soldiers. A must-read.
  • Condi and Karen

    During today's press conference , Bush said something striking about Karen Hughes' new position: I applaud Secretary Rice's decision to include Karen in the process. I thought that was very wise of her to call upon Karen's talents. This could be nothing more than his usual M.O of pretending total ignorance over everything that happens in government (I still love watching him talk about the privatization plan he doesn't have right before he defend the plan he's put forth), certainly wouldn't be the first time he acted like newborn babe stunned by the strange workings of Washington. But assume he's being honest, that Rice actually did generate the idea to bring Hughes into the fold. Pretty fucking smart. I'd take that as evidence that Rice is making determined moves to consolidate her power in the administration. Bring Hughes in, treat her well, and suddenly you have the only force able to counterbalance Karl lined up on behalf of Condi's proposals. It'd make intra-administration...
  • Announcement

    Finals suck. That is all.
  • Tax Reform -- Now With 50% Less Yawning

    I'm going to second Matt on this one -- the Center for American Progress's brand-spankin-new tax proposal is really very good, even to an untrained eye like my own. Those of you wanting the full rundown can find it here (warning: 32 page PDF), but most will probably opt for the two page executive summary . Democrats would be smart to find themselves a few days lull during the Social Security fight and switch gears to blitzing for tax reform. Our tax reform. Because CAP has released a proposal that is, in fact, very good politics. Most Americans would love to see the SS portion of their payroll taxes eliminated, with Social Security now being funded through a guaranteed 2.25% allocation of GDP and a removal of the payroll cap on the employer side. Very smart politics, and very relevant to the current battles. And by changing the subject from Social Security and to tax reform, Republicans can no longer accuse us of lacking a plan, but the subject switch will help bog down the...
  • Wolfowitz

    Bush is nominating Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. Wolfowitz. Sorry, just have to say that a few times to make it feel real. Wolfowitz. A guy who knows nothing about economics. Wolfowitz. A guy who's detested by Europeans as a main architect of our foreign policy. Wolfowitz. A guy who licks his comb. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. They want John Bolton to become Ambassador to the UN. He's philosophically opposed to the very idea of it. They want down-home communications guru Karen Hughes to become central in remaking our image in the Arab world. She knows nothing about Islam. As a friend of Steve Clemons' said , "Maybe Bill Kristol should be nominated as successor to Kofi Annan, or Richard Perle. And James Woolsey should get UNICEF." Steve tries, in his post, to explain that this isn't just another outrage in a long and distinguished line of them, it's the marker of something very different, very radical. "A period of major, dramatic, discontinuity". That sounds about right. This...
  • Bits and Pieces

    • Before 9/11, all the Neocons could talk about was the coming confrontation with China and the need to stick steadfastly by our blood-buddy Taiwan. And, if 9/11 hadn't happened, yesterday might've been the first step towards that confrontation. With China passing a (largely redundant) law that authorizes attack if Taiwan seeks independence, a strong America acting in concert with the Neocon philosophy would have made this a showdown, hoping to send the red dragon slinking back to its cave. Not so. With our forces tied up in Iraq, perceptions of America's military might at their nadir, our economy entirely dependent on the whims of Asian bankers, our spending only sustainable through the kindness of Chinese bond-buyers, and our dollar convulsing every time an Asian leader opens his mouth, we've got less influence than a congressional Democrat. So China was testing us to some degree, proving to themselves that we'd recognize reality and let them move further towards regional hegemony...
  • Rock 'em Sock 'em Reid

    True to form -- and God I love saying that in this context -- Reid spent the day leading the Democrats in the fight to defeat "the Nuclear Option". The entire caucus assembled to hear him give the Democratic response (watch it here ), and they followed him to deliver a letter to Bill Frist. It was a powerful show of unity, and a warning that Democrats are unafraid to make a media circus of the issue. If I were Frist, I'd be a bit concerned right now. As Luntz should have already alerted him, nothing called "the nuclear option" is going to sound like a good idea to Americans. The image that Republicans will detonate the Senate if Bush doesn't get every last one of his judges approved is a nasty one, which they'll find out as soon as they began talking about it on the shows and seeing their poll numbers plummet. More to the point, I'd like to see Reid take a page out of Bob Dole's 1992 playbook and realize he's representing a majority. As many remember, Dole welcomed Clinton's election...
  • Pandagonette

    Amanda from Mousewords is assuming my old spot at Pandagon. She's a great choice for the site -- anyone who followed her excellent guest-blogging stint last week knows what a good job she's going to do. So, while I doubt I have too many readers who don't trawl Pandagon as well, those remaining outside the overlap should head on over .

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