March 12, 2007
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.
March 05, 2007
Congress is debating a measure to change the way workers can form a union. Instead of holding a secret-ballot election, a union could be formed if a majority of employees sign a card indicating they want a union. The House passed the bill Thursday. However, the Senate will probably filibuster it, and if that somehow fails to happen, President Bush will certainly veto it. But it shows, despite conservative bluster about Big Union goons, just how modest the contemporary labor agenda is. The conservative objections to a "card-check" plan certainly have some merit.
February 12, 2007
THERE ALMOST SEEMS to be a conspiracy dedicated to convincing us that Hillary Clinton is the inevitable Democratic nominee for president. She’s certainly made the inevitability of her victory her primary campaign theme. (Her announcement began, “I’m in. And I’m in to win.”) The press regularly suggests she’ll win. (The Washington Post: “Clinton begins the long campaign as the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination.”) Even her most bitter enemies, giving voice to their horror fantasies, say it.
Flat-Earth economics: Equality Bites
January 29, 2007
If there is one trend in American life that most irks economic conservatives, it is probably rising inequality. It’s not the inequality itself that bothers them, as most will happily admit. It is the perception of inequality and, worse, the constant discussion of inequality that is so irritating. It offends their view of capitalism, helps justify all sorts of nefarious government interventions, and makes the conservative economic agenda (most of which tends to increase inequality) appear unfair. They would very much like for it not to be true.
Kiss Me, Cato
December 25, 2006
Chait: No, progressives shouldn't.
Buzz off, Ayn Rand.; Kiss Me, Cato
December 25, 2006
One price we liberals have had to pay for the Democrats' drearyelectoral record over the last few decades is regular lectures abouthow we have failed and must rethink everything. I had hoped that,after the 2006 elections, the demands that we sweep away ourcalcified doctrine would come to a halt. (At least until the nextDemocratic electoral debacle.) But no. In the December 11 issue ofThe New Republic, Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute argued thatwe are in dire need of a new ideological synthesis with thelibertarian movement (see "Liberaltarians").
November 11, 2006
In 1993, mere months into the Clinton era, the new administration went to war with itself. Liberals in the Cabinet argued that the central problem of the U.S. economy was the vast middle class that was not seeing its income improve--a problem, they said, that could only be addressed through massive public investment. Moderates, including Robert Rubin, then the chairman of the National Economic Council, replied that the central problem was restoring economic growth, which could only come about by slashing the budget deficit. The moderates won.
Were Clintonites wrong about the economy?; Freakoutonomics
November 06, 2006
In 1993, mere months into the Clinton era, the new administrationwent to war with itself. Liberals in the Cabinet argued that thecentral problem of the U.S. economy was the vast middle class thatwas not seeing its income improve--a problem, they said, that couldonly be addressed through massive public investment. Moderates,including Robert Rubin, then the chairman of the National EconomicCouncil, replied that the central problem was restoring economicgrowth, which could only come about by slashing the budget deficit.The moderates won.
The SecDef cult.
October 23, 2006
Neoconservative doyenne Midge Decter was dining one night on a terrace overlooking Central Park with a friend--"a handsome, elegant, and well- connected member of the city's cultural and artistic community"--and the topic of Donald Rumsfeld came up. Decter recounts the way her dining companion suddenly melted: "`Oh, Rumsfeld,' she practically cooed, `I just love the man! To tell you the truth, I have his picture hanging in my dressing room.'"As you can probably guess, this account is not a recent one.
Katherine Harris, still crazy.
September 11, 2006
Not very long ago, the term conservatives most often used to describe Katherine Harris was "rock star." Writing in The Weekly Standard, John Podhoretz praised her as "a local official in Florida who looked to the letter of the law for guidance at a time when we needed the law the most." Among conservatives, this was one of the more measured assessments. In the eyes of her admirers, she was Mother Teresa, Marie Curie, and Joan of Arc all rolled into one--passionate, deeply moral, and honest as the day is long. Not only that, she was also smart as a whip and a looker to boot. ("In person, Mrs.