• How It Is

    By Ezra Nobody's going to like me for saying this, but Michael Froomkin is 200% correct here : The Bush administration has an admirable record of appointing African-Americans to top posts. And despite the occasional strange incident, I don't think it is a racist administration. Rather, it's thoroughly classist. Kleptocratic even. For as far as I can tell, what George Bush -- and his team -- don't care about is poor people. All poor people. No sympathy (in the sense of a sympathetic or shared understanding) at all. The one thing to remember, though, is that Bush is happy to exploit racism in favor of kleptocratic ends. He didn't, for instance, run for president to screw over black people, but he did win the South Carolina primary by embracing Bob Jones U., home of the nation's most racially regressive dating policies. Intentions-wise, it's not quite the same, but it ends up looking awfully similar. Nevertheless, when you evaluate Bush, it's helpful not to mix up his opportunism with...
  • When Life Gives You Lemons, Throw Them at Republicans

    Neil the Ethical Werewolf Shakes and Ezra are talking about impeachment, and there are a couple things I'd like liberals thinking in this vein to keep in mind. The first is that Bush has only 3 1/2 years left as an elected official. Certainly, there are benefits to damaging him personally, especially insofar as this makes it hard for him to enact the right-wing agenda over the next 40+ months. But the causes we care about will reap much more benefit from long-term damage to voter perceptions of the Republican party than from damage to Bush's personal reputation. Those two things are definitely linked, but right now the biggest focus shouldn't be on going after Bush himself, it should be about eroding positive stereotypes of Republicans and deepening negative ones. For example, the point needs to be made that Republicans aren't interested in fiscal responsibility or cutting spending -- really, they just want to borrow lots of money and hand it over to big corporations. That's a fiscal...
  • Impeachment?

    By Ezra I would say, in response to Shakes and for those attracted to the impeachment idea, that even if we did get there, we'd be left with President Cheney, which is potentially less palatable than Bush. (As an aside, I always thought the Cheney selection was very good as a survival strategy. Anyone who'd possibly be interested in assassinating George would be horrified at the thought of installing Dick. Cheney, then, is life insurance for Bush. But I digress.) But ignoring that for a moment, I still think it a bad idea, and we need only look at the Clinton template to see why. One thing to remember about the Republican attempt to impeach Clinton is that, annoying as it was, it failed utterly. The impeachment overreach destroyed Newt Gingrich's career and handed the Republicans the worst elections results for an opposition party since Johnson crushed Goldwater in 1964. Think about that -- getting so close to destroying the President ended with Republicans getting the worst whupping...
  • Hair Like That Cannot Lose

    By Ezra For those interested in events beyond our own borders, the Washington Post has an interesting article on Junichiro Koizumi, Japan's Prime Minister, who recently dissolved his own party to eject the hardliners and has embarked on an ambitious -- to say the least -- program of privatizing most everything in Japan, starting with the Postal Service, which, through some mechanism I don't understand, seems to act as the nation's largest bank. And then he had breakfast. No, not really. Koizumi doesn't eat breakfast. He's too sweet for breakfast. In any case, the clash is hurtling towards a vote this weekend, which'll either send Koizumi to the unemployment line or leave him leader of a wholly reworked party. Impressive stuff. In addition, he's been sending "assassin" candidates against his enemies -- female celebrities, corporate raiders, and other attention-getting asskickers. It's political theatre on a pretty grand scale, albeit political theatre that I don't quite understand. So...
  • Question: How Tough Should Dems Get?

    Shakes here... Regarding Ezra’s post yesterday on the increasingly appalling poll numbers Bush is getting these days, and the quite evident widespread dissatisfaction with his performance, I’ve noticed that the words resignation , impeachment , and recall are starting to pop up more and more frequently. Brad DeLong has started ending many of his posts with “Impeach George W. Bush. Impeach him now.” Last night, Bill Maher suggested a “California-style” recall election. ChrisJ at MyDD posted an open letter to the president, asking for not only his resignation for “gross incompetence, negligence, lack of compassion and demonstrable policy failure,” but also those of Cheney, Rice, Chertoff, and Brown. And there are plenty of rumblings elsewhere—some half-humorous, and some deadly serious.
  • Royal Family, Part I: The Brits

    By Pepper Americans, particularly the middle classes, have always had a certain fondness for British royalty. We love them so much that we put them on our magazine covers, celebrate their second marriages on the cable-news channels, and worry about the state of society if they dress in offensive costumes. We love Diana so much that Houston has devoted an entire exhibit to her - at their Museum of Natural Science . We love the royals so much that some Americans felt we had to have a royal family of our own. And we've got one - right down to a president who has ears exactly like Charles'. (Wondering why we let this happen after the jump ...)
  • Most Outrageous Katrina-Related Statement

    Posted by Nicholas Beaudrot of Electoral Math Let's play a game: try to find the most unbelievably callous, bone-headed, thing that anyone has said about Hurricane Katrina and it's aftermath. We'll have two divisions; the "elected offical" division and the "conservative pundit/news personality" division. I nominate this gem from Tom Delay : The congressman likened their stay to being at camp and asked, "Now tell me the truth boys, is this kind of fun?" They nodded yes, but looked perplexed. Yeah, kids, just think of this as an adventure. It'll all be over soon. Okay, then.
  • You're Doing a Heck of a Job, George

    Via Singer , the latest AP poll shows the American people waking up, grumpily rubbing the sleep from their eyes, and telling Bush to get the hell off their lawn: Overall, do you approve, disapprove or have mixed feelings about the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President? Strongly Approve 20 (23)
Somewhat Approve 11 (10)
Lean Toward Approval 8 (9)
Lean Toward Disapproval 14 (13)
Somewhat Disapprove 5 (5)
Strongly Disapprove 40 (38) Wow. What's most amazing though is the strength of the feeling on the "strong disapproval" side compared to the tepidness of those with favorable opinions. Think about this for a sec: right now, more Americans strongly disapprove of the president than approve of his job in any capacity. Total rage at his actions is outpacing all degrees of support. Heck of a job, George. Heck of a job.
  • Message: I'm In Charge

    FEMA Chief Michael Brown is leaving to spend some more time with his family/the horses/people who like him. He'll be replaced by Thad Allen, the Coast Guard Vice Admiral who's been overseeing Katrina relief efforts.
  • State of Iraq

    The NY Times has released their new State of Iraq chart and oh what little difference a year makes. This one compares across Augusts (so August 03, August 04, August 05) on a variety of markers. Some of the findings: • Of the three Augusts, 05 was the deadliest for US troops. Last month had 90 fatalities, 25 more than August 04, which in turn had 29 more than August 03. Major combat operations might be over on our side, but the insurgency is ramping right up. • Happily, the number of troops wounded dropped significantly, 283 fewer than in August 2004, but August 2004 had 710 more than August 2003, so we're nowhere near post-war levels. • Things are, as expected, getting worse for Iraqi civilians. August 05 had 600 being killed, a year before the number was 550, a year before that only 225. • Estimated foreign jihadists is shooting up -- 100 in 03, 500 in 04, 900 now. • Oil production is still 300,000 barrels below pre-war levels, but the GDP has increased above 2002's number. I'd like...