Mickey Kaus explains why he’s afraid of debating Ezra Klein. I also earn Kaus’ praise, which probably won’t endear me to my netroots fan base. To regain anti-Kaus street cred, let me note that he reads a New York Times story that he thinks is unduly favorable to John McCain calls it liberal bias. There’s no doubt that the press has, for years, suffered from a pro-McCain bias. It may even have been somewhat plausible in 2000 to chalk the McCain love up to liberalism (but then how to explain the press’ hatred for Al Gore) but as time goes by don’t you eventually need to just recognize that reporters like John McCain?
Zbigniew Brzezinski attacks the phrase. Increasingly, I’m inclined to agree that it’s a problem. Peter Beinart, for example, has a very good column in the current Time that winds up striking a false note at one point. “While Nixon promised to end the war in Vietnam, McGovern promised to end the cold war itself,” he writes, “He called for cutting the defense budget 37% and withdrawing troops not only from South Vietnam but also from South Korea.” This is an important point, and Beinart is correct to note the contrast with contemporary political debates, but he winds up expressing it like this: “While many conservatives see anti-Iraq Democrats as McGovern’s spawn, they’re a very different breed. Pelosi and Reid aren’t against the war on terrorism.”
Is this new? Is it a nightmare? Is Michael Ledeen really trying to impose a new transliteration system on the world?
Then there is the sudden cancellation of Ahmadi-Nezhad’s trip to the UN . . . Ahmadi-Nezhad might be afraid that Rafsanjani could steal a beat on him, and so A-N had better . . . a couple of months ago A-N promised a major announcement
Really? Ahmadi-Nezhad? Next will we be doing it in the Farsi alphabet ? Like so — محمود احمدینژاد — I dunno if that HTML will work, but look at his Wikipedia page.
UPDATE: There’s no such thing as a “Farsi alphabet” — you use a somewhat modified version of the Arabic script.
On March 14, 2007, principal associate deputy attorney general William Moschella insisted that he pursued changes in the Patriot Act — that allowed the President to unilaterally install U.S. attorneys — “on his own, without the knowledge or coordination of his superiors at the Justice Department or anyone at the White House.” But as TPMmuckraker notes, new e-mails “suggest that he discussed the need for proposed changes with other Justice Department officials on Nov. 11, 2005, around the time when the bill was being drawn up.”
“The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved on Saturday new arms and financial sanctions against Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment. The package of sanctions, aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program, targets the country’s arms exports, its state-owned Bank Sepah and the elite Revolutionary Guards. The 15-member body would suspend the sanctions if Iran halted enrichment.”
to all our readers who submitted questions for the candidates at the New Leadership on Health Care 2008 Presidential Forum. Keep checking back to Think Progress to see highlights of the event.
I have to say that I don’t totally understand the causal mechanism this article is describing, but apparently some provision of a Medicaid law passed before the election is causing birt h control prices to skyrocket on college campuses. That’s, um, bad and hopefully the new congress will change it back.
“I can’t ever let my health insurance expire, or I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to get it again.” That’s what a friend remarked to me last night, not in the midst of a conversation about health care policy, but just talking about life. This is, I think, one important point missing from Tyler Cowen’s discussion of health care in the US and France. I’m not personally in that particular situation, but it’s a major, major drawback of the American system. It’s absurd to live in a country where people with some medical history feel they need to live without ever having a bigger-than-COBRA-sized gap in their employment history. It’s bad for the economy, and it’s bad for society. There’s also, as I suggested yesterday, the small matter of justice, equity, etc.
To me, this is the starting point — a strong, potentially defeasible, presumption that the American health care system is unjust and plagued with deleterious systematic effects on our economy and society. Now, obviously, one could also point out that the distribution of luxury cars in our society is pretty inequitable. But on the flipside, one could produce clear and convincing evidence that non-market auto-distribution methods produce unsatisfactory results. Similarly, if it were clearly the case that moving to an alternative health care model would have a devastating impact on American public health or inevitably cause a budgetary meltdown, I might need to revise my view. At some level, these debates about international comparisons start to get very hair splitty. Whatever you make of them, however, they clearly don’t show that. They also indicate that very few countries have attempted to pump American levels of money into a health care system, so it’s hard to know which factors are creating the differences in health care (I’m not sure how we’re supposed to speculate as to what UK health care would look like of the NHS budget were tripled) and we do know that health care per se has a pretty small impact on public health.
They say this is a political town, but . . . .
Woman reading the paper sipping coffee: “What does Valerie Plame do?”
Boyfriend: “What, the actress?”
Woman: “I don’t think so.”
Boyfriend: “Well, which one?”
Woman: “I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking what she does.”
Boyfriend: “Well, I don’t know.”
Woman: “We should go to Paris.”
And, in fact, they probably should — Paris is great.
Garance put up a post yesterday evening that I thought was a bit of a low blow, suggesting that Sam Rosenfeld, Ezra Klein, and I all just don’t like Hillary Clinton because we’re men. I don’t want to get into that, but I think it’s a good entry into what I think is the very most crucial part of our argument: Nobody’s entitled to a presidential nomination. The vast majority of Democrats will not be the presidential nominee in 2008. Even if you restrict yourself to the universe of current Democratic Senators and Governors the vast majority will not be the presidential nominee in 2008. The vast majority won’t even run. This group of people who won’t be the nominee includes Democrats I admire greatly, Democrats I find somewhat problematic, Democrats I know nothing about, etc. It doesn’t, however, suggest any particular animus against these people to reach the conclusion that the conventional wisdom is correct and these people shouldn’t be the nominee.
Rather, to reach the conclusion that someone should be the nominee, you need to have some strong affirmative arguments in their favor. In Clinton’s case, you would need to convince me that there are some important issues where she’s likely to make a better president than would the available alternatives, and/or that she has some clear electability edges. And I don’t really see it. I don’t think she has any obvious electoral strengths vis-a-vis Obama or (especially) Edwards. On domestic issues, I think she’ll mostly be fine but her instincts and those of her political team seem to lie squarely in the camp that thinks Democrats should try to govern from a defensive crouch. On national security policy I think she’s shown less inclination than Edwards or (especially) Obama to substantially overhaul the Bush administration’s grand strategy rather than putting it under new management.
In a perfect world, I would not like to spend very much time criticizing a politician who fits that profile. Lots of Senators, from Patty Murray to Jack Reed to Ken Salazar and beyond have their flaws. I don’t, however, obsessively harp on those flaws unless circumstances push those flaws to the forefront of the public agenda. Clinton, however, obviously thrust herself and her merits and flaws to the forefront of the national agenda by announcing her presidential campaign. What’s more, as the front-runner by a substantial margin, there’s really nothing to be done except point out those flaws. Which, I think, is too bad. She’s been subjected to a lot of frankly demented criticism over the years, a lot of unfair news coverage, a lot of misogyny and tons of other stuff I don’t care to be associated with. I’m very glad that she beat Rick Lazio. I think it’s quite possible that had she not entered that race, either he or Rudy Giuliani would have won that Senate seat which would have been a much worse outcome. And she seems to me to have a better grasp of policy than most of her Senate colleagues. All good things.
But, still, it doesn’t make sense to just set up a presumption that she should be the nominee and then start wondering what’s wrong with everyone who won’t get on board.