Ezra Klein

Bush Gets it Right

I know this question is becoming trite, but what the hell is Friedman talking about?

There will be a lot of trial and error in the months ahead. But this is a hugely important horizontal dialogue because if Iraqis can't forge a social contract, it would suggest that no other Arab country can - since virtually all of them are similar mixtures of tribes, ethnicities and religions. That would mean that they can be ruled only by iron-fisted kings or dictators, with all the negatives that flow from that.

Dem-On-Dem Violence, and Why I Love It

Well this is nice to hear:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.) was asked at a CATO conference in Washington yesterday whether he had persuaded any Democrats to back his plan to rescue Social Security from its financial troubles...A questioner from the audience, stressing his own Democratic credentials, said he believed Ryan's plan should attract members of his own party and wondered whether the Wisconsin lawmaker had secured any Democratic sponsors. Ryan said he had been working with friends on the "other side of the aisle" who were favorable toward his solution, but he faced an enormous problem: intense pressure on his colleagues from the minority leadership.

Finish Him!

I am all about Kriston's proposal for Pundit Kombat. Suggest appropriate match-ups in the comments.

To Fight or Not to Fight?

I've not been particularly interested in the Cole/Goldberg slapfest (the only surprising thing was Cole wasting time on him, which seemed to me a defeat at the outset), but the argument over advocating war without fighting it is certainly worth engaging. Unfogged started it (read the comments too) and Yglesias picked it up, and now I'll throw my pennies into the fray.

Eat The Old

As Brad notes, moving from wage-indexing to price-indexing would result in a huge benefits cut. Had someone retiring in 2005 chosen a price-indexing system, his benefits would be 60% less than his fellow retirees, and his gas bill would go unpaid. So we should certainly oppose it on those grounds.

Your Political News for the Day

• Al Franken is running in Minnesota.

• In a presidential head-to-head, Hillary Clinton beats John Kerry 51-34%. In Massachusetts. That's gotta hurt.

Sign Me Up

The Training Wheel strategy makes a lot of sense to me. Maybe somebody should appoint Justin Logan to something and let him try and implement it.

I should clarify this though and say it only makes sense in context of the constraints Bush has already placed on himself. It's self-evident that we need to set conditions of, and an expected date for, withdrawal. If the insurgent's attacks appear to be keeping us in the country, it'll sap their support among Iraqis so quick their skullcaps will spin. Thanks much to Bush, then, who has ruled this out. Let's hope he voted against it before he votes for it.

Get Any Sleep?

Not only is Bush a cold-hearted, callous dolt whose idealistic fog can't even be penetrated by a woman working three jobs, he's also wrong. He calls that uniquely American? Bullshit. I live in California and can assure you it's at least partially Mexican.

By the way, I like Greg's game: choose your own answer to Bush's snappy parting remark, "get any sleep?"

"Not really. Do you also find it weird that you run the entire country yet have time to read in the evenings and exercise in the mornings, while I work three jobs and can't even see my kids?

Being The Great Satan

Early in Bush's first term, a friend of a friend had, through family connections, gotten a few minutes in the Oval Office with the guy. Bush, he said, was exactly as you'd expect. When he found that his guest was Californian, he leaned back in his chair and sighed, "You know, i just don't get that state. Everything I touch there turns to shit."

One More For Privatization

Dude, seeing surveillance photos of your kids at school is a pretty convincing rationale, if you ask me.