TAPPED

THE PROBLEM WITH...

THE PROBLEM WITH HILLARY. She has done precious little to convince me that Timothy Garton Ash�s nightmare vision isn't, in fact, rather plausible.

--Mark Leon Goldberg

THE SHIFTING BUSH...

THE SHIFTING BUSH C.W. Peggy Noonan has a very interesting column up on The Wall Street Journal website offering her take on George W. Bush's approach to the presidency. It's interesting, primarily, because it's exactly the sort of thing you heard all the time from liberals about two or three years ago -- Bush doesn't listen to dissent, combines disengagement and dogmatism in an unproductive way, doesn't talk to a sufficiently wide range of people, etc. Since the Bush administration, long a giant substantive failure, is now looking destined to be a political failure as well, I think we can expect this kind of narrative to spread more in conservative circles.

GLOBALIZING THE WOMB....

GLOBALIZING THE WOMB. Thanks to an eye-opening Los Angeles Times article yesterday, you can add "reproductive tourism" to the list of words you never thought you'd hear yoked together. It's not just call centers going to India -- now American couples are apparently turning to Indian women to act as surrogate mothers, and at a cost that's a fraction of what they'd pay in the U.S.

--Garance Franke-Ruta

JUST POSTED ON...

JUST POSTED ON TAP: DON�T DO IT. Matt makes the case against war with Iran.

--The Editors

THE POLARIZATION PROBLEM....

THE POLARIZATION PROBLEM. Washington Post reporter Juliet Eilperin's new book Fight Club Politics: How Partisanship is Poisoning the House of Representatives is the subject of TPMCafe's book club this week. The thesis is pretty much there in the title.

MORE GLOBAL WARMING...

MORE GLOBAL WARMING PESSIMISM. I wish I shared Matt's optimism. John Quiggin's post, and Matt's, largely focuses on the ease of heavily reducing CO2 emissions within America. And on that point, Quiggin's right: to paraphrase Rob Schneider's character in nearly every Adam Sandler movie ever made, we could do it!

CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS...

CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS -- FUN AND EASY. I don't think Ezra should be so quick to concede the infeasibility of big reductions in carbon emissions. The notion that this would require earth-shattering economic sacrifices is the product of an unfortunate conspiracy between regulation-averse right-wingers who don't want us to do anything about the problem, and the modernity-averse faction of environmentalism that wants us to overreact. See this post by John Quiggin for the long form of the argument. He concludes that the requisite changes would cost "between 1.5 per cent and 3 per cent of GDP.

PARTY IN SEARCH...

PARTY IN SEARCH OF A NOTION. Our fearless leader Mike Tomasky wrote the new cover story for the May print issue of the Prospect, a piece that offers a lengthy rumination on the lingering "philosophy gap" between the left and the right and a prescription for closing it. Mike delineates the two basic liberal traditions -- one emphasizing individual rights, the other emphasizing collective obligations and the common good -- and argues forcefully for a revival of the latter strand as a means by which Democrats can win the country back.

A REAL WHITE...

A REAL WHITE HOUSE SNOW JOB. Unless President Bush wants to face headlines cracking jokes about "snow jobs" and "getting snowed" for the next three years, selecting FOX News' Tony Snow to be the new White House spokesman doesn't seem like the best idea. I don't particularly think the identity of the White House spokesman matters all that much given how the job is constructed under Bush, but I do think Snow would be flash-point for controversy, given his roots on FOX and his rather vehement, self-confident style.

COOL TO GLOBAL...

COOL TO GLOBAL WARMING. I'm fairly puzzled by the emerging conservative line on global warming. Realizing they've lost the debate on whether it will happen, they've begun turning to the difficulties of stopping it. Pushing that line today is Ross Douthat, who's frustrated by Al Gore's insistence on energizing the issue and adamant that "the kind of economic reforms necessary to do anything significant about the accumulation of carbon dioxide would be immediately and decisively disastrous."

VOTER TARGETING VS....

VOTER TARGETING VS. MOVEMENT BUILDING. One of the peculiarities of this moment in progressive movement building is the way progressive interest groups are being asked to put aside their interests in favor of building a smooth, unified political party that can win elections at the very moment that some rather compelling evidence has begun to emerge arguing for the enduring political utility of defending those interests. For example, Jonathan Singer argued over the weekend, the Republican assault on choice may well have begun to backfire in a way that opens up new opportunities for Democrats to win by defending it.

FIRE EVERYONE, HIRE...

FIRE EVERYONE, HIRE LA TIMES COLUMNISTS INSTEAD. Max Boot offers up the right-wing version of the incompetence dodge -- Don Rumsfeld should be fired for his mismanagement of the war, and the professionals in the officers' corps should be slammed for their own mismanagement of the war. Apparently, the only people fit to run the U.S. foreign policy are neoconservative journalists. Boot repeats the canard that "the president and his top aides blundered by not sending enough troops," though, in fact, we sent all the troops that we could send consistent with a long-term deployment.

WHICH MCCAIN IS...

WHICH MCCAIN IS WHICH? Jon Chait has responded to my criticisms of his liberal McCain meme. As befits two folks who disagree, he found my rebuttal unconvincing, and I found his defense similarly so. Reading Chait, it seems that his case rests on two primary pieces of evidence: 1) McCain felt out a party switch in 2001-2002. 2) McCain was notably liberal during those years. And that's true enough.

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH....

IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. If you're interested in getting a taste of the burgeoning grass-roots support for a quasi-fascist understanding of American politics, take a gander at this email sent to Jonah Goldberg. It starts with the sentiment that "Analyzing a war, especially publicly, right in the middle of the fight is a terrible thing to do," and continues from there. Can you imagine that -- analyzing a war, and not just analyzing it, but doing so in public not after the fight, but while the war is happening! Why, it's almost as if we're living in some kind of "democracy" wherein policy decisions are subject to criticism and debate.

HECKUVA JOB, SCOTTIE....

HECKUVA JOB, SCOTTIE. One thing you can say in George Bush's favor is that he's exactly the sort of boss you'd like to use as a reference when you look for your next job. Scott McClellan's tenure as White House press secretary has been objectively disastrous -- a giant step down from the psychopathically smooth lying of Ari Fleischer who's turned the briefing room into a perennial train wreck. Liberals and conservatives really ought to be able to agree on this -- there's no policy implications whatsoever. So McClellan steps down today and Bush remarks, "I thought he handled his assignment with class, integrity.

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