John Hagee, Pillar Of Tolerance
July 26, 2010
Last January, Jennifer Rubin wrote a lengthy story for Commentary lamenting the failure of American Jews to appreciate the greatness of Sarah Palin.
The Value Of Internal Criticism
June 25, 2010
TNR's new in-house critic blog, where smart critics to our right and left rebut articles on our site, struck me as the kind of thing nobody could dislike, but Matthew Yglesias finds a way: I think this is an idea whose spirit one can’t help but applaud, but that doesn’t really make a ton of sense. After all, there’s nothing currently stopping Jim Manzi or Michael Kazin from offering criticism of TNR content on the websites of publications they’re already affiliated with.
Orszag And The End Of The Dream
June 23, 2010
Ezra Klein summarizes Peter Orszag's tenure as budget director by, appropriately, focusing on Orszag's central accomplishment of pushing for ways to make health care more efficient: Where most people assumed that controlling health-care costs would eventually mean confronting the dread specter of "rationing," Orszag, taking his cue from reams of research showing that states that spent a lot of money on per capita Medicare spending didn't have better outcomes than states that spent much less, argued that a substantial portion of each dollar we spend on health care is wasted.
Okay, I'm Not Surprised
June 03, 2010
Earlier today I expressed my amazement that conservatives disdain the only proven method for reducing the size of government. Matthew Yglesias comments: I think this is just another example of a situation where you have to judge political movements by what they do and not what they say. Progressives generally care a little about the deficit, though they’re happy to put it aside to advance other goals. Conservatives, by contrast, appear to have no concern whatsoever about either the budget deficit or the extent of government spending.
The Rasmussen Problem
May 25, 2010
Daniel Foster at National Review trumpets a decline in President Obama's approval ratings: Obama Approval Index Hits New Low Rasmussen has Obama's approval index — strong disapproval subtracted from strong approval — at -20, its lowest point to date. Obama's overall approval/disapproval split stands 42/56, dragged down by poor grades on the economy and the handling of the BP oil spill. Are Obama's approval ratings falling? Well, yes, according to Rasmussen. No, according to everybody else: Rasmussen polling occupies an odd place in the political culture.
The Rise Of Naderite Conservatives
May 04, 2010
Conservatives continue to insist that stepped-up financial regulation is actually a huge favor to Wall Street. Here's the normally-sensible Christopher Caldwell in the Weekly Standard: [E]very time the president accuses Republicans of trying to “block progress” or of defying “common sense,” as he did that night, he is executing a dangerous tightrope walk. His party’s electoral fortunes depend on his making forceful calls for reform of our banking laws.
Conservative Radio Silence On Financial Regulation
April 22, 2010
Yesterday I commented on the miraculous nature of the sudden revival of financial reform. One other key element in this upsurge is the intellectual disarray on the right. Conservatives do not know what to say or think about this. A few of them are calling for breaking up the big banks. A few more are following the Frank Luntz line that regulation is a big favor to Wall Street. But mostly they're saying... nothing. It's almost a non-issue at the National Review and Weekly Standard blogs. You can see why the issue would pose problems for the right.
The Day In Epistemic Closure
April 14, 2010
Conservatives are finally striking back in the great epistemic closure debate! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, let me explain. Libertarian-ish blogger Julian Sanchez has been writing about the conservative movement's descent into epistemic closure, or a hermetically-sealed mental world in which only information provided by organs of the conservative movement is trusted.
Economic Growth And The Democrats
April 12, 2010
Matthew Continetti at the Weekly Standard argues that faster economic growth won't help the Democrats' political fortunes: Democrats believe that once the economy returns to normalcy the Tea Party will disappear and Obama's approval rating will climb. They're wrong, because while the economy contributes to Obama's unpopularity, it doesn't explain everything. The Tea Party isn't primarily motivated by unemployment and lackluster GDP growth.
Why We Can't Reduce The Deficit
April 09, 2010
I hope the deficit reduction commission works, but I've been highly skeptical of its success, because the Republican Party remains firmly in the grip of supply-side dogma. Here's Newt Gingrich the other day: America needs to know that Republicans say ‘yes’ to balancing the budget by growing the economy and reducing spending, not by raising or creating new taxes. And here's the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti: No amount of tax revenue will stop a politician from spending the additional dollar, and a VAT doesn't stop politicians from making promises they cannot keep.