Jonathan Chait

Math Whiz

Ari Fleischer has an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal. That's right: It's the perfect storm of dishonesty--the world's most dishonest flack meets the world's most dishonest forum. How long will I have to read through the op-ed to find a lie? I'm guessing two sentences. Let's see ... . Nope, I was wrong. I didn't have to go any further than the headline ("The Taxpaying Minority"). Wow, Fleischer is arguing that only a minority of workers pay taxes? That's a pretty startling claim. Well, no, it turns out, he's not.

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Extreme Makeover

What causes lefties to turn into conservatives? Conservatives are fascinated with this question, repeating, often for years on end, their stories of deliverance from liberal hell to conservative heaven. Several such testimonies can be found in a new volume, Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys. Most of the journeys described are short ones--from apolitical child of (generally) conservative parents to conservative young adult.

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The Big Chill

Last year, the National Journal asked a group of Republican senators and House members: "Do you think it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made problems?" Of the respondents, 23 percent said yes, 77 percent said no. In the year since that poll, of course, global warming has seized a massive amount of public attention.

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What causes lefties to turn into conservatives?Conservatives are fascinated with this question, repeating, oftenfor years on end, their stories of deliverance from liberal hell toconservative heaven. Several such testimonies can be found in a newvolume, Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom ConservativesChronicle Their Political Journeys. Most of the journeys describedare short ones--from apolitical child of (generally) conservativeparents to conservative young adult.

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Jonathan Chait is the new author of TRB, having inherited the job from Peter Beinart. Here, he talked with TNR Editor Franklin Foer about the role of a column and the challenges of writing one.

The Big Chill

Last year, the National Journal asked a group of Republican senators and House members: "Do you think it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the Earth is warming because of man-made problems?" Of the respondents, 23 percent said yes, 77 percent said no. In the year since that poll, of course, global warming has seized a massive amount of public attention.

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In any tightly contested Republican presidential primary, the rivalcampaigns will inevitably get to smearing each other as secrethomo-lovers, gun- haters, or abortion-coddlers. The convenientthing about this particular GOP primary is that they don't evenhave to lie. It's all true. In the contest between Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain,flip- flopping is the coin of the realm. Romney was the chiefvictim at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference,with "Romney flip-flops" being handed out and Flip Romney thedolphin making an appearance.

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Death Star

"This is not Luke Skywalker here," said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), discussing his friend and Senate colleague John McCain's second run for the presidency. "This is a totally different campaign." Graham was looking for a way to reassure his fellow conservatives that they no longer had anything to fear from McCain. His choice of metaphor is one of those windows into the fundamental cultural gap that separates hard-core conservatives from the rest of humanity.

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Death Star

"This is not Luke Skywalker here," said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), discussing his friend and Senate colleague John McCain's second run for the presidency. "This is a totally different campaign." Graham was looking for a way to reassure his fellow conservatives that they no longer had anything to fear from McCain. His choice of metaphor is one of those windows into the fundamental cultural gap that separates hard-core conservatives from the rest of humanity.

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Left Sank?

David Brooks's column in yesterday's New York Times tries to wedge TNR into a larger theory of the change in American liberalism. He has some kind words for us, and his theory is at least somewhat correct, albeit shallowly rendered, but the evidence he musters actually subverts his own point. The really weird part of the column is the first paragraph. He begins by citing a 1981 Michael Kinsley article called "The Shame of the Democrats." This article, he writes, "began the era of neoliberalism," which is now dead, because it is the sort of article TNR has stopped publishing.

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