October 21, 2007
Kinsley On The Amt
Michael Kinsley channels Jon Chait in making the case for keeping the Alternative Minimum Tax: The Republicans controlled Congress and the White House for six years; they could have made government as lean as they wished and no one could have stopped them. They didn't. It used to be that when they proposed irresponsible or phantasmagoric tax cuts, Republicans at least went through the motions of coming up with some theory about how they would pay for themselves. Supply-side economics--tax cuts would generate new taxable economic activity--often played this role.
October 19, 2007
Why Do People Dislike Hillary?
Andrew Sullivan, who really seems to be angry about Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, approvingly quotes from (and links to), this Peggy Noonan column. Here's the bit that Andrew excerpts: "Who, of all the powerful women in American politics right now, has inspired the unease, dismay and frank dislike that she has? Condi Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein? These are serious women who are making crucial decisions about our national life every day. They inspire agreement and disagreement; they fight and are fought with. But they do not inspire repugnance.
The Afternoon News
I'm Your Man: [Liz Sidoti, AP]: "Leading Republican presidential candidates, all flawed in the eyes of influential social conservatives, sought Friday to convince the restive group they will carry the torch for the right flank -- and Rudy Giuliani won't." Youth Group: [Ben Adler, Politico]: "Democrats are heading into the presidential election year with uncommonly high hopes for under-30 voters, whom they expect to emerge as a force that could shape national politics well beyond 2008." Big Spender: [Kevin Bogardus, The Hill]: "Rivals say presidential hopeful Mitt Romney (R) is preparing for
Friday, Republican candidates Fred Thompson, John McCain, Tom Tancredo, and Duncan Hunter tried to woo restive evangelicals at the Family Research Council's 2007 Values Voter Summit. Here's a look at how each appealed to the flock. Fred Thompson explained his shifting stance on abortion: "I can only say that after, for the first time in my life, seeing a sonogram of my own child, I will never think the same exactly again. I guess, more appropriately stated, I will never feel exactly the same again, because my heart now is fully engaged with my head.
Desire and Deceit
How good it is to know that Ang Lee is in the film world, working away. It's not only his range that attracts, amazing though it is, with films of a chef in Lee's native Taiwan, of a Jane Austen novel, of the American Civil War, and others. Lee's range is more than versatility. Each milieu is plumbed in its essences. Underlying his extraordinary gifts is, we feel, a belief that film exists in order to embrace varying humanities. Lee's new film supports this view in an odd way, because it is not set in a country or culture far removed from his own.
Niki, Not So Fine
The narrow victory of Democrat Niki Tsongas in a special congressional election in Massachusetts offers warnings to both Republicans and Democrats for 2008. Her victory speaks to the continuing unpopularity of President Bush and the war in Iraq. But her less than robust margin over Republican Jim Ogonowski--she won 51 percent to his 45 percent, with minor party candidates taking the rest--tells Democrats they cannot assume that Bush's low standing will turn the road to next year's elections into easy street.
October 18, 2007
The Afternoon News
Early Exit: Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin, [Politico]: "Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) is bowing to realism and plans to drop out of the presidential race on Friday, Capitol Hill and campaign sources said. ... Brownback, who is expected to run for Kansas governor in 2010, has a following among Christian conservatives that will make his endorsement eagerly sought by the remaining GOP presidential candidates." Tug of War: Alan Fram, [AP]: "Giuliani and Thompson are each backed by about one-fifth of conservatives, with an equal share undecided and the rest spread among other candidates.
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A Noble Nobel
Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor that has been bestowed on many without merit: For example, Yasir Arafat, charlatan and killer, and Rigoberta Menchú, simple populist fraud. But this award, voted by five members of the Norwegian parliament, does not bear any such onus. In one sense, it is an election by the democratic elite of a mature free society, acting soberly and seriously in behalf of the concrete interests of mankind.
Reviewing The American Presidency
The voice of the civics teacher is cheerful and patient. Unlike an ordinary citizen, he takes real joy in the arcane rules by which we govern ourselves, and he tries to use his enthusiasm to get his fellow Americans to pay attention, for democracy depends on their informed participation. Unlike a historian, he thinks this complex system has a life of its own, stretching backward and forward, independent of its operators. In a period when cheer and patience are notably absent from political discourse, Charles O.