Archive

  • Complacency Kills

    As successfully as the Democrats seem to be repelling Bush's assault on Social Security, we still show no conception of how to turn our defensive entrenchment into a powerful counterattack. We cheer when one of our number tags privatization as an attack on Social Security's legitimacy, but what about on the legitimacy of government? For twelve years this Nation was afflicted with hear-nothing, see-nothing, do-nothing Government. The Nation looked to Government but the Government looked away. Nine mocking years with the golden calf and three long years of the scourge! Nine crazy years at the ticker and three long years in the breadlines! Nine mad years of mirage and three long years of despair! Powerful influences strive today to restore that kind of government with its doctrine that that Government is best which is most indifferent. For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up...
  • Bad Democrat!

    Regarding Biden and his potential vote for the atrocious bankruptcy bill, Jon Chait writes : The trouble here is that the relationship each Democrat has with his home-state business interests is the relationship every Republican has with every business interest. The bankruptcy bill enjoys unanimous GOP support in the Senate. It's a familiar pattern: Noxious laws enjoy support from a coalition of all the Republicans plus a rotating handful of Democrats who have ties to interested parties. Almost all the Democrats are on the side of the angels on almost every issue. But it doesn't take many Democratic defectors to give the Republicans a majority. Just so. Worse, these little hook amendments are often inserted precisely so this or that Democratic will glom on to the porkish bit in the abhorrent whole. That's fine for some folks, Senator Ben Nelson, for instance, has gotta do what he's gotta do to keep his job. But unless Biden is caught in bed with a live boy or a dead girl, his seat is...
  • Bad Move

    There's really nothing more counterproductive than leaks on Iran. It's not so much that I'm against strengthening the opposition there, but that saying we're going to do it ensures it'll never work. This is a society where the politics regularly refocus on a coup we carried out half-a-century ago. This is a government that routinely calls us "the Great Satan". This is a place where dissidents are tortured -- where bloggers are imprisoned ! -- and the reform movement has collapsed through the cowardice of the entirely ineffective Khatami. And, finally, this is a nation that is dangerously close to developing nuclear weapons. Now, I tend to think that, considering the paltry funds ($3 million dollars? Are they going to get the opposition a midsize home in Los Angeles?) discussed in the article, the whole thing is a sop to neocons antsy over our newfound cooperation with the European negotiations. But the success of those talks is contingent on the Iranian regime's belief in their own...
  • Soul Train

    This bit of horseshit comes from a report of a meeting between industry reps and the White House: Karl Rove stressed the importance of Social Security reform on the President's domestic agenda. He said that the President felt in his soul that Social Security reform is vital for the future of the United States. I remember the last time we relied on Bush's soul-based intuitions: "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue...I was able to get a sense of his soul. He's a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that's the beginning of a very constructive relationship," Mr Bush said. Putin's behavior, of course, didn't quite comport with Bush's soul-reading. I have a feeling Social Security privatization would prove George's connection to the spirit world no more accurate.
  • Smart Man

    Brad Plumer's got a modest proposal .
  • Non-Taxing, If Possible

    Could anyone recommend a good, readable book on the fundamentals of tax policy?
  • Greenspan Hackery Watch: Democratic Leadership Edition

    Harry Reid don't suffer no fools : "I'm not a big Greenspan fan -- Alan Greenspan fan," Reid said when asked about the Fed chairman's testimony this week urging Congress to deal quickly with the financial problems facing Social Security and Medicare. "I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington." Reid said that when Bill Clinton was president, Democrats had confronted the deficit problem by enacting a tax increase in 1993, which helped bring about a balanced budget and strong economic growth later in the decade. "Why doesn't he respond to the Republicans and tell them the big problem here is the debt that this administration [has] created?" he said. "We had a $7 trillion-dollar surplus when Bush took office. Now we have a $3 or $4 trillion-dollar deficit. That's, in fact, what Greenspan should be telling people." Update: Don't underestimate the power of this move. It looks a bit intemperate, and it'll certainly be...
  • National Security Numbers

    Brad and Matt are arguing over what the poll numbers mean for Democratic chances to pull even on national security. As Brad notices, Americans disapprove of the president's foreign policy, 44%-48%. But that's basically the same result as the poll got before election day, which was 45%-49%. More importantly, these same voters are loving Bush on terrorism, 61%-33%. And while these numbers are a tad contradictory, but I wouldn't read too much into that. They don't really reflect how much voters like Bush's foreign policy. They're more about how capable voters judge Bush on foreign policy. It's a heuristics thing. The president has gone to great lengths to paint himself a rough, tough, brash, and simple cowboy. Foreign policy, which evokes images of subtle diplomatic maneuvering and sly manipulation of international bodies, is antithetical to the Bush image. So he gets bad marks on that because poll respondents, who really have no idea how well our foreign policy is working, or even how...
  • Silly Santorum -- Social Security is for Democrats!

    Poor Rick, he can't even hide on his own website. Screenshot below the jump, look at the poll:
  • Sick

    What the fuck has happened to our country? The man we stripped naked, beat the hell out of, and let freeze to death was "probably associated with people who were associated with al Qaeda"? Did we really build this city on a hill so we could throw innocents off the ramparts?

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