Ezra Klein

DNC Chair -- Dean Triumphant Edition

Dean's got enough vote commitments to take the position . Rosenberg's dropped out and endorsed him. Text after the jump.

More Later? Please?

Josh Marshall has the bad habit of mentioning something ultra-interesting and then shunting it off with a "more later...", though anxious readers checking back later rarely discover more. Unfortunately, it seems his buddy Steve Clemons has seen Josh that trait and raised him a "thermonuclear exchange". In context of a post on presidential speaking fees, Steve writes: Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage* $25,000 *(TWN Note: Armitage is worth much more as he is the guy who really did stop a thermonuclear exchange between Pakistan and India about 90 minutes before the missiles began to fly. . .no joke) You uh, want to elaborate on that one, Steve? Suddenly the speaking fees seem a smidge beside the point.

Beinart's Book

So Peter Beinart is taking a leave from TNR to expand his article "A Fighting Faith" into a book. You guys remember the piece , it called for a return to hawkish liberalism and a party purge of "softs" like Michael Moore. It pitted Democrat against Democrat and liberal against DLC'er. It did, one might say, what an article is supposed to do -- inspire debate, arouse passions, and challenge assumptions. I didn't agree with everything he wrote, but it was a good, timely piece that provoked an important, if overly vitriolic, discussion. But he should have left it at that. Beinart's original tract was 6,000 words, precisely as much as it could sustain. The idea, after all, was simple -- the venerated Democrats of yesteryear purged Communists and ended up on the right side of history, which helped them dominate the presidency until Kennedy's assassination and the Vietnam war closed the era. Today's Democrats should heed the lesson, boot out the doves, and commence the rhetorical ass-...

Wolves and Sheep

Wow . Strickland is either writing the epitaph of the extremist Republican leadership or the honorable Republicans in Congress. Check back in a few years to find out which.

From The Mountain

Sen. Reid's statement on Gonzales is eloquent and inspiring. It sits after the fold, and you should read it.

That's Right, Charlie Brown

Sue's post about goat singing, laughing uncontrollably, and doing so at inappropriate times is hilarious . What's not so hilarious is when I do it. Mainly, that I seem to always do it. I don't think I've attended a Yom Kippur or Rosh HaShanah service where a significant chunk of my time wasn't spent convulsing in laughter, desperately trying to calm myself by reading biblical genealogies and hoping my Grandfather wasn't about to yell at me. At least I only do it around my family though, right? Wrong. This year I spent Christmas in Kansas with my girlfriend and her family. As a Jew, it was all new to me, and as a boyfriend, I'd never spent a holiday with folks not my own. But this year I was in Kansas and it was all going well, good presents, lots of food, Chiefs game on Christmas day...and then we went to services. And not just any services, this was the midnight candle service, the somber, serious, reflective one. At this Church, preacher was a transient position, with one after the...

Huh

From Today's Papers at Slate : The Wall Street Journal does a "lessons learned" from the roughly 20 countries that have partially privatized their state pension systems. One: Don't give workers too many choices; they'll screw it up. Another: Going private can add lot of debt, helping to explode the economy. (See Argentina and Bolivia.)

Just Isn't True

A few days ago, I responded to a QandO post accusing the Democrats of being all opposition, no ideas. The folks over there have issued their latest missive, amending their argument to admit yes, the Dems have ideas, but they don't have any good ones. So, sure...you've got ideas. But while you're designing yet another website to detail those ideas, you might ask yourself why, for quite a few elections in a row now, the public has been so uniformly unimpressed with them? The (very general) answer, I think, lies in the fact that the Republicans have grasped both sides of the coin. ▪ Republicans have come to grips with the reality that the electorate likes Leviathan. They really do. They like subsidies; they like price controls (that benefit them); they like being Paul when Peter is robbed. They like government spending--health care, welfare, defense, arts, education, etc--that aligns itself with their values. ▪ Democrats, on the other hand, have not come to grips with the fact that the...

Ethical on the Inside

Chew on this : Timed as it was to get lost in the hullabaloo of the State of the Union address, the Tuesday night/Wednesday morning purge of the House Ethics Committee was still a pretty audacious move. It's been known for some time that the now-outgoing Chairman of the House Ethics Committee , Rep. Joel Hefley (R) of Colorado was going to get canned for his various offenses related to the Ethics Committee's handling, be it ever so gentle, of Rep. Tom DeLay (R) of Texas. The only mystery was just when the ax would fall. But in this case, Speaker Hastert seemed to be channeling Michael Corleone in one of his less appealing moments. As we noted back on November 19th, three of the five Republican members of the House Ethics Committee turned out to be in the Shays Handful. Or putting it more prosaically, three of them voted against the DeLay Rule. The three were Hefley, Rep. Kenny Hulshof (R) of Missouri and Rep. Steven LaTourette (R) of Ohio. Hastert axed all three. The two who toed the...

Preach It, Sister

You're not going to find a better SOTU wrap-up than Shakespeare's Sister has penned : I had the notion that I would do a thoughtful analysis of the State of the Union speech, and maybe I still will, but now, immediately afterwards, my feeling is: What's the point? It was all just bullshit wrapped in the rhetoric of freedom. Freedom around the world! And end to tyranny! Liberty and justice for all! Not so fast, faggots... How can a speech riddled with references to freedom and equality contain a call for a federal marriage amendment denying rights to a sizable portion of the American public? Or a demand to make tax cuts favoring the wealthiest permanent? Or a recommitment to funding faith-based initiatives over those which, in a country where freedom to practice or not practice religion as one sees fit, do good works in the name of humanity instead of God? Read the whole thing . As for me, sorry for the lack of posts this morning. Chalk it up to post-SOTU hangover. As the drowsiness...

Site Questions

• Quick query for the techies in attendance -- do RSS feeds deliver hits? By that I mean my RSS feed refreshes itself every 30 minutes, is every site it pings notching up a hit every 30 minutes? Or is it completely ignorant of RSS aggregators and thus missing all the folks (again, like me), who read blogs from the relative comfort of NetNewsWire? • Do you guys like the font here? Is it too big? Would you prefer it smaller? Inquiring minds want to know.

SOTU Live Coverage and Open Thread

New commentary up top. Your commentary in comments. Let's play ball. 7:26 -- Why do Dems need to have their leaders give the rebuttal? Our congressional heads have a lot of roles and talents, but oratory is not necessarily among them. Is there a reason we can't have, say, Biden and Tim Ryan offering the response? Anyway, I need dinner. Been fun, though. 7:23 -- Pelosi's a markedly ineffective speaker. Her facial expressions are off, delivery monotonous. She's definitely making Reid look good here. And us bad. Or at least boring. 7:19 -- Reid just compared the President's speech to Groundhog Day. Now he's hitting privatization. Problem is, Bush is talking about how Social Security is going to destroy our economy, and Democrats are explaining how Bush's Social Security plan will destroy our economy. They need to explain why something being floated as a fiscal plan is actually profligate. 7:14 -- Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi are giving the response. Reid is in full Mr. Rogers mode, talking...

Are We Gonna Get Sinclair'd?

Over at MoJo , they're finding that the revealed thrust of Bush's Social Security plan isn't matching the pre-SOTU leaks on what it'll be. Full of good intentions, they try and reconcile the two and have some trouble, but I fear it might be simpler than that. Sinclair simple. You remember them, of course. After getting crucified for a couple weeks over an obvious attempt to smear John Kerry, they came on air with a balanced, calm portrayal of the issue. No one following the controversy believed that had been their intent, but no one could prove it, either. Bush has spent the past month watching his hypothetical plan get shredded and he along with it. He's watched the Democrats mock it and the Republicans abandon it. But, he's still not released his proposal, in fact, he's been conspicuously refusing to release it, meaning he can emerge with a populist document that'll shame his critics and cement his compassionate conservatism. As Ed Kilgore notes , it's all part of Bush's pattern:...

Outrageous, etc...

Blah blah blah Orwell blah blah blah : Outgoing Attorney General John D. Ashcroft forcefully defended some of his most controversial policies and statements yesterday, arguing that aggressive law enforcement and intelligence gathering were "expansions of freedom" that helped prevent terrorist attacks on the United States.

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