Apparently, I am not sufficiently awed by Karl Rove. I fail to see how being willing to say and do anything to win an election makes a person a tactical genius. That seems like a strategy just about anyone could cook up, provided they lack any semblance of morality.

  • Speaking of Republican paragons of virtue and moral values, there’s not much left to say about the Bernard Kerik implosion, but the inimitable James Wolcott found something:

    “I’m glad the press is having a dance party with this, because God knows the Democrats are frozen at the steering wheel. I just saw a segment on MSNBC (which has been all over the Kerik story today, bless Rick Kaplan’s cyborg heart) pitting a Republican strategist against a Democratic one, and the Democratic spokesman–who goes by the name of Michael Brown–seemed to have washed down his weeny pills with warm Ovaltine. Instead of kicking Kerik and Giuliana between the uprights for three points, Brown fretted that vetting process for cabinet candidates was “going to far,” and that we were in danger of discouraging people from public service. Oh no, we wouldn’t want to discourage philandering, pocket-lining, deadbeat no-show bully-boys like Bernard Kerik from having the opportunity to muck around with our civil liberties in the name of “national security” and hold bigshot press conferences. I mean, if that sort of thing were to continue happening, people might start mistaking the Democrats for an opposition party and thinking that the press has an adversarial role to play, and we don’t want that to happen, it might actually lead to signs of life in that mausoleum we call the nation’s capital.”

  • Did you see that, back when “we” invaded Iraq and – I believe it was Rummy who explained it at the time – had to secure the Iraqi oil ministry and fields instead of the hospitals and ancient treasures, we apparently weren’t even doing that?
  • How can we make everyone in the country read Paul Krugman’s exposure of the Social Security Crisis fraud? Especially now, while Bush is holding his Rich White Guys summit and telling scary stories about Social Security solvency…
  • Three good articles urging Democrats against “centrism” and back to economic populism: Rick Perlstein, David Sirota, and Arianna Huffington. All three articles also show why, as Arianna’s says, we should care about the next DNC chair. Add Matt Taibbi to the their voices on that particular topic:

    “…unless something is done about it, this unelected bund of corporate pawns is once again going to end up writing the party platform and arranging things to make sure that no antiwar candidate is allowed to compete for votes in the primaries. It will push one of its own – probably Harold Ickes, or (Donna) Brazile – in next year’s election for the chairman of the Democratic Party. And when that person wins, the tens of millions of Democrats who opposed the war will have to get used to people like Will Marshall referring to them as ‘we’ in front of roomfuls of reporters — Marshall, who this year wrote, in Blueprint, an article entitled ‘Stay and Win in Iraq’ that offered the following view of the progress of the war: ‘Coalition forces still face daily attacks but the body count tilts massively in their favor.’ Uh-huh. And Michael Moore and Hollywood are the problem with the Democratic Party.”

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    1. Re Social Security, Sebastian Mallaby (amazingly enough) actually wrote a reasonable column in today’s WashPost. He opines that it’s just possible that folks don’t want the current system to change. Here’s the summary of his reasoning:

      “The fact that freedom triumphed over the totalitarian systems of the 20th century should not be read as proof that people want all freedom, all the time. The East Europeans who overthrew communism were escaping from an anti-choice extreme. But the American system, which features more risk and inequality than any other advanced society, is over at the opposite end of the spectrum. It shouldn’t be assumed that Americans want to embrace individualistic risk more than they do already.

      “It follows that pro-market, government-cutting schemes cannot be justified by a presumed moral superiority. When it comes to their retirement, most Americans probably want a mix of a government safety net and the opportunity to accumulate their own savings. The current system, featuring a government program that guarantees a pension equal to about a third of the average worker’s salary, plus a variety of tax-favored opportunities to save individually, may already be quite close to most citizens’ sense of the right balance.

      “In the absence of the moral-superiority claim, a reform that adds to the stresses of the modern world must hold out the compensating hope of more prosperity. There’s no case for Social Security privatization unless it brings a serious economic payoff.”

      Since Mallaby trashed the organization that employs me (International Rivers Network) in his new book, I’m not a big fan of his. But in the super-heated atmosphere that the president is attempting to create around this issue, I thought M’s comments were worth considering.


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