Yesterday at the Center for American Progress, John Podesta spoke with SEIU President Andy Stern about his new book on The Power of Progress. I got the chance to ask them both about health care and the energy crisis.
The first thing you notice out in the early pages of Bob Woodward's The War Within are the showy indictments of President Bush, who leans on poor General George Casey, Jr. like a fraternity pledge-master disappointed with his charge. Casey, who's something of an academic (he studied IR at Georgetown and the University of Denver, and he'd never been in combat) accuses Bush of focusing on body counts, an attitude that Casey identifies with the "Kill the bastards!
I highly recommend reading David Frum’s sharp and provocative analysis in the New York Times, on the “Vanishing Republican Voter,” who is, despite other ideological underpinnings, falling prey to the siren call of Democratic economic policies.
How did it play politically? Will it energize the base? Will it make swing voters swoon? As usual, your guess is as good as mine--or any of the pundits you see yapping on the television right now. Until the focus groups and polls come in, we're all just speculating. But I can register a verdict on substance. If this was McCain's answer to voter anxiety about the economy, it wasn't too impressive. As you've been reading--or, perhaps, as you've noticed on your own--economic policy has not been a big theme this week in Minneapolis.
You've probably heard of Walt and Mearsheimer, the rabidly anti-Israel loons embraced by the left. But did you know there's a rabidly pro-Israel right-wing loon and his name is: Walton Mearsheimer. I kid you not. (Unless this is some kind of hoax.) Bizarro-world Mearsheimer has a new book entitled "Obamanable!
One reason this country has never mustered the will to enact universal health care is that most Americans have felt their own insurance arrangements were adequate. They sympathized with the plight of people who couldn't pay their medical bills, but couldn't imagine themselves in that situation. A new report released Wednesday suggests that may be changing. The report, called "Losing Ground," comes from the Commonwealth Fund (which has underwritten some of my own research) and is based upon survey data the Fund has collected over the last few years.
Some 38, maybe 39 years ago, I received a phone call from someone I had vaguely known. She was frantic. "Biafra," she cried, with reason enough, I agreed, to be frantic. "Poets, poets, we must save the poets of Biafra," she went on. Which is where she lost me. After the birth of our son in 1968 I had become involved in what was loosely called the Biafra movement. The provoking moment for me was very simple: we were on our bed with three-day old Jesse and there on the tube were three, four, five year olds, gaunt in face, bloated in belly, starving.
It's a typical summer night in the Cohn household, which means the Red Sox are on television. McCain has been advertising pretty heavily on the New England Sports Network (NESN) for the last few weeks, usually with some version of his "celebrity" ad, presumably to reach the heavy New Hampshire audience. Obama, meanwhile, has run far fewer spots--and what I've seen has been relatively tepid. (It's an unscientific sample, yes, but I catch most of the games, so I have at least some basis for making this judgment.) Tonight, though, the NESN broadcast included an Obama contrast ad.
At least the ignorance of others is strength. The ignorance of the West, or its disinterest in other peoples' lives, is the strength of...oops, I almost typed "the Soviet Union." No, it is old imperial Russia, quite vulnerable actually, like the Czar's Russia.
In the August/September issue of Policy Review, Stanley Fish has a long essay explaining why teachers should not strive to "fashion moral character or produce citizens of a certain temper." Instead, the goal of educators should be to "equip those same students with the analytical skills — of argument, statistical modeling, laboratory procedure — that will enable them to move confidently within those traditions and to engage in independent research after a course is over." Fish is much more concerned by classroom advocacy than seems warranted (although admittedly he probably has his ear pretty