Archive

  • LIEBERMAN'S DECLARATION OF...

    LIEBERMAN'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. Mike Tomasky explained it best last week. Just read the whole thing -- or if you read it already, read it again . Greg Sargent , for his part, writes this about a potential independent Lieberman candidacy: if I understand this dynamic correctly, any success Lieberman has in portraying the Dem at the top of the ticket as too far to the left will likely complicate efforts by down-ticket Dems -- such as these House candidates -- to win over moderates, independents and centrists. Which raises the question: Even if Lieberman is resoundly defeated in the primary and -- unlikely as this may now seem -- withdraws from the race, wouldn't the same line of attack be available to the Republican Senate candidate? In the most recent poll I've seen, Lamont wasn't running much further ahead of Republican Alan Schlesinger in a head-to-head matchup (17 points) than Lieberman was running ahead of him (15 points) in the primary. Those look like a solid leads in...
  • THE WISE BILLIONAIRE...

    THE WISE BILLIONAIRE MYTH. James Fallows , liveblogging the Aspen Ideas Festival, talked to a pollster who's effusive about third party opportunities: Who were the people who could win the presidency on a �let�s cut the shit� platform? He said there might be ten or so possibilities, but the no-brainers were Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. They could afford the $1 billion or so of their own money the campaign would cost, and everyone would understand that this actually represented a significant sacrifice on their part. Obviously the sacrifice is so great that neither man would ever consider it. (Press conferences? Sitting through the negative ads? At least they wouldn�t have to hold fund-raisers.) But it�s a nice thought. Why exactly is it a nice thought? Warren Buffett is a good investor, Bill Gates an able computer programmer and philanthropist. What makes anyone think these guys would positively rule at foreign diplomacy? Or show wise judgment about wars? Or ably adapt to an...
  • FOUNDATIONS. Matt...

    FOUNDATIONS . Matt writes that "foundations with liberalish sentiments are actually significantly wealthier than the rightwing foundations created to counter them. The difference is that the right's foundations focus on politically efficacious giving, while a huge proportion of liberalish giving is dedicated to fairly ineffective efforts at direct amelioration of problems or efforts to identify 'best practices' that go duly ignored by the political system." All true. But it's not just mistaken tactics that separate the two sides, it's identification. As Chris Hayes wrote in his excellent article of the left's funding dysfunctions: "for the progressive movement, the single largest source of funding comes from institutions that don�t consider themselves part of the movement itself. This means that organizations are caught between pursuing their political objectives and pleasing their apolitical funders." The left's foundations aren't accidentally focusing on "direct amelioration of...
  • THE POLITICS OF...

    THE POLITICS OF RESENTMENT. Writing on global warming, a Jonah Goldberg correspondent wonders "If Al Gore were to be convinced that global warming WAS a natural phenomena, would he be so worked up about it?" before answering his own question, "I don't think so, yet the consequences would be the same." Jonah says this has been nagging at him for a while and comments: What if science could prove 100% that the earth was warming dangerously but that this was 100% natural (i.e. from sunspots or some such)? I suspect this would scatter the current environmental coalitions and antagonists in all sorts of interesting and unexpected ways. To be sure, many environmentalists would still be concerned. But, I think, a large amount of the passion would be gone in certain quarters once the fun of blaming capitalism and mankind was out of the equation. I think the reluctance on the part of some on the right to fix the problem would evaporate while the reluctance to "tamper" with nature would cause at...
  • JUST POSTED ON...

    JUST POSTED ON TAP ONLINE: JERRY'S KIDS. President Gerald Ford gave us Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld . He also gave us John Paul Stevens . Harold Meyerson muses over a minor president's surprising legacy. --The Editors
  • THE MIDDLE-CLASS PUNDIT...

    THE MIDDLE-CLASS PUNDIT CLASS. Newbie media critics like to point to the big-shot opinion-makers on television as a way of dismissing the entire "pundit class" as a wealthy elite that's out of touch with America. But in so doing they reveal their ignorance of the pay dynamics of print journalism, where newspaper columnists remain a middle-class bunch, according to a new survey. Presented Saturday at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists conference by the University of San Francisco's J. Michael Robertson , the survey of 124 columnists found that : Respondents have been a columnist for a median of seven years. Median salary for the full-timers is $50,000 to $60,000, and median pay for each freelance column is $50. Freelance columnists, on average, make only 10% of their income via their columns. [Link added.] Pay at this level is not just characteristic of smaller papers in out-of-the-way places. Most left-of-center opinion magazines pay writers roughly at the same level, if not...
  • CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS....

    CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS. If you've been looking for someone to criticize Peter Beinart 's book for going too far in the direction of abandoning liberal hawk orthodoxy, look no further than George Packer 's review of The Good Fight . The more interesting part of the review, however, is actually addressed at Francis Fukuyama , who writes in his book that "Before the Iraq war, we were probably at war with no more than a few thousand people around the world who would consider martyring themselves and causing nihilistic damage to the United States. The scale of the problem has grown because we have unleashed a maelstrom." Packer thinks this outlook is mistaken, and that "although the Iraq war wasn�t inevitable after September 11th, a global polarization along religious lines probably was . . . the battle lines were already forming well before shock and awe and Abu Ghraib." Why? Well, because he "was in Somalia during the Afghanistan war, and even Western-oriented Muslims there saw the...
  • CLASH OF THE...

    CLASH OF THE INTEREST GROUPS. The Hill doesn't draw this out in its reporting, but the juxtaposition of a couple of articles in today's edition shows the emergence of real power struggle within the Democratic Party between old and new interest groups in key races this fall. Alexander Bolton reports : At least seven of the most vulnerable House GOP incumbents have been endorsed by unions, environmental activists or other Democratic-leaning advocacy groups. So have at least three of the most vulnerable Senate Republicans. Organized labor has also poured tens of thousands of dollars into the campaign accounts of highly vulnerable Republicans, in several instances surpassing the amount given to Democratic challengers. Rep. George Miller (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the Education and the Workforce Committee, has disclosed that at least one of his House colleagues has said that, if Democrats fail to capture the House, labor will be partly to blame.... Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) is endorsed...
  • MORE ON LIEBERMAN....

    MORE ON LIEBERMAN . According to John Byrne , senior DSCC officials are confirming that they won't support Joe Lieberman if he doesn't win the Democratic primary. That doesn't mean they'll support Ned Lamont or yank the leash to keep Democratic donors from supporting an independent candidate, but they're not going to publicly fight their own base. --Ezra Klein
  • MORE ON HOUSING...

    MORE ON HOUSING FIRST. On Friday, I talked a bit about the Bush administration's Housing First program, a legitimately worthwhile policy initiative where the toughest homeless cases are given permanent, private housing without any expectation of behavioral modification. These are the toughest, most stubborn cases, the ones who've been in treatment six or more times, yet continue to live on the streets, using heavily and racking up enormous health and crime costs. The question for policymakers is always whether they can bear offering something for nothing, opportunity without responsibility, even if it'll be cheaper and safer for the community. Today, The New York Times reports on Seattle's interpretation of the program, and it's worth the read. This is bleak stuff, but it's better and cheaper than the alternative. What a shame, then, to hear that the local bloviating talk show hosts are calling it "Bunks for drunks -- [a] living monument to failed social policy, [that's] aiding and...

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