November 18, 2008
The Right Kind Of Right
WASHINGTON -- There is a second transition under way over which President-elect Barack Obama has no control--the transition of conservatives to minority status. How they do this will have a powerful impact on the new presidency. If you doubt that, ask Bill Clinton. Clinton was elected in 1992 with only 43 percent of the vote while Republicans gained seats in the House. The right felt empowered to treat Clinton as a not fully legitimate minority president and moved into unrelenting opposition.
Two Wrongs, No Right
WASHINGTON--When both sides have a point in a war, you know you are in deep trouble -- in deciding whom to help, whom to blame, or whom to punish. That's the case in Congo, where the Rwanda-backed rebel force led by Laurent Nkunda is fighting a combination of government troops and the exiled Rwandan Hutu militia known by its acronym FDLR. In the last few weeks, Nkunda's expansionist push in large parts of eastern Congo's North Kivu province has chased 250,000 civilians out of their homes while the government's troops looted, raped and shot their way in retreat.
Crash and Burn
Normally, the Pearl River Delta, a manufacturing hub in southern China, whirs with the sound of commerce. Alongside massive new highways, clusters of factories churn out toys, electronics, and other consumer products for the world; in Pearl River cities like Guangzhou, nouveau riche businesspeople cut deals at swank hotels. But in recent months, the Delta has started to seem more like Allentown, circa 1980s. As the global financial crisis hits Western consumers’ wallets, orders for the Delta’s products have dried up. And angry factory workers, many owed back pay, have taken to the streets.
For what it's worth, sources working closely with the transition on health care tell me Tom Daschle is heavily involved in the effort and that they expect him to become the White House point man on the issue. Though, who knows, maybe that changes if Hillary turns down secretary of state. Update: Okay, close enough for horse shoes and transitions: Roll Call is reporting that Daschle has been offered--and has accepted--the job of HHS secretary. Second update: CNN is reporting that Daschle is set to become both HHS secretary and health care czar.
Hillary used to tout her husband's globetrotting credentials as an asset to her presidential campaign. But now that she's being vetted for Secretary of State, Bill's financial and philanthropic entanglements abroad could prove to be more of a liability.
Dueling Socialisms, Ctd.
David Boaz takes friendly issue with my post, in response to George Will's column, suggesting that "insofar as there are two kinds of spreading the wealth around, 'rent-seeking' (which we can all agree is bad) and 'socialism' (which Will implicitly concedes is less bad), conservatives are relatively more friendly to the former and liberals are relatively more friendly to the latter": I suppose if you think of the Bush administration as “conservatives,” then you have a good case. And Orr may be too young to remember actual conservatives back in the days B.G.W.B. But I’m not.
Waxman-dingell: The End Is Nigh
House Democrats are likely to vote this week on whether John Dingell or Henry Waxman should chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. We've covered this dispute here and here, but here are two more links for junkies: First, Politico has a good piece today on how both congressmen have tried to cultivate their younger and more vulnerable colleagues. On the surface, it looks like Dingell's done a more thorough job of it, giving nearly five times as much to the DCCC and tossing more money at Democrats in competitive districts.
Neocons For Clinton
Anyone who thought neocons' love for Hillary Clinton was purely a product of the presidential campaign should read this analysis from the recently-returned-to-the-womb Michael Goldfarb, who makes an atypically smart point about why conservatives might benefit from Hillary going to Foggy Bottom: Though it would be extremely entertaining, we probably wouldn't see Madame Secretary working to undermine an Obama administration with recalcitrance and rogue diplomacy.
Is The Sachs Appeal Wearing Off?
Given the drilling he’s taken over the last few weeks, Hank Paulson may come to regret his decision to leave Goldman Sachs for the Treasury. But his erstwhile employer may also soon regret sending so many of its top executives to Washington. Grumblings about “Government Sachs” have been echoing ever since Paulson took office. But the latest and potentially most significant backlash came late last week, when Sen.
November 17, 2008
The propriety of giving paid speeches has been a subject of debate for many years. Readers may wonder whether appearing before a group biases a writer towards the group’s point of view--or whether writers are tilting their work in ways to generate more speaking income.