The Kerry Mystery Challenge.

A mostly political Weblog.
Dec. 2 2002 1:25 AM

Kerry Mystery Contest

Plus: Raines Remains Silent, Day 6!

(Continued from Page 1)

Does this mean what it logically seems to mean -- that Reich would deny food stamps to people who don't work? After all, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is only available to people who earn a certain amount of money every year -- indeed, one reason it's so popular is that it only goes to workers.  Meanwhile, the major "complicated categorical programs" for "low-income people" are food stamps and Medicaid. Right now, despite various attempts by Congress to impose a work requirement on food stamps, both are in practice widely available to people with low incomes -- especially to mothers with young children -- even if they don't earn anything.  Applying the EITC's rules to these programs would presumably mean applying the EITC's  "work test" -- something that makes sense to many conservative Republicans, and to me, for food stamps, though the Democrats' left vehemently opposes it. Great idea!

I'm sure Reich, confronted by objections from the left, would say that's not what he meant at all. But what does he mean then? Does he actually, contrary to what his language suggests, want to make the EITC more like food stamps by eliminating the EITC's earnings requirement - turning it into a welfare program? That wouldn't "expand" the EITC -- it would destroy it. (Reich could change the name to Unearned Income Tax Credit.)  Or did Reich give this paragraph as much careful thought as I think he gave it?

You don't like his quick-baked ideas as much as I do? Wait a week. He'll have more! ... 1:09 A.M.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Did you know David Frum had a blog? It's as excellent as you'd expect (i.e. it's excellent). ... 9:35 P.M.

Blogger David Weigel's  assessment of Gore campaign flack Chris Lehane  seems sound, especially the "jerk" part. ...What's worse, the other Gore spokesperson quoted in WaPo's Reliable Source seems to feel that Lehane's high-schoolish sneering ("Bush should like the Gore picture book -- with all the photos, it is right up his alley") is brilliant. These guys think this is the way the game should be played! ... To be sure, it's impossible to say if Gore would have won if he'd had a more adult, sophisticated McCurryesque press secretary, and not Lehane. ... Actually, I take that back. Of course Gore would have won if he'd had a better press secretary than Lehane. He lost (if at all) by a few dozen votes. That means every mistake he made cost him the election. ... It's doubly revealing that at this late stage, after a mid-term drubbing, the Gore people think it's smart to ridicule Bush as stupid. ...   2:46 A.M.

What? Was Robert McNamara Busy? Henry Kissinger? The head of the 9/11 inquiry needs to be trustworthy and credible, so his or her report isn't suspected of being a whitewash. Kissinger may be many things, but trustworthy and credible aren't the virtues that leap immediately to mind. This is a man whose recent op-ed on the Iraq war was such a jumble of hidden agendas and Machiavellian bargains that nobody could figure out if he was dissenting from from the Administration's policy or supporting it. .... Even if Bush wanted a whitewash, he could've picked a better whitewasher than Kissinger -- at least if Bush wanted a whitewash that's actually believed. ... McNamara might have been a better choice! He's repeatedly been arrogant and wrong, with calamitous consequences for the nation and the world. But he's at least (compared with Kissinger) been transparently and straightforwardly arrogant and wrong. ...P.S.: Christopher Hitchens makes a somewhat more detailed case  against Bush's pick. ... 1:54 A.M.

John Gorman of the Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll supports Tapped's point that Bush's "reelect number" is surprisingly -- maybe even shockingly -- low, given his high job approval ratings. ... In Fox's poll, only 44 percent said they'd vote for Bush "if the 2004 presidential election were held today." That's not the aberrantly low 32 percent figure Tapped gleaned from an eccentric NYT/CBS poll question -- but it's still under 50 percent, and Tapped is right that it should give Democratic candidates hope. I withdraw the charge that Tapped was simply "cocooning." ... 12:17 A.M.

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

The New Yorker claims it's now making a profit. The N. Y. Post's estimable Keith Kelly notes the industry skeptics who doubt that so much ground could have been made up so quickly in the middle of an economic downturn. (The magazine "as recently as 2000 was losing over $11 million," Kelly reports.) ... Now, maybe the skeptics are wrong. Maybe Wall Street is so locked into the "Kausfiles profitable, New Yorker unprofitable"mindset that it's missing a paradigm shift here. But put me down as a skeptic. ... Why? Pick up the December 2 issue. Weigh it in your hand. It's a few weeks before Christmas -- if the magazine's really raking it in, this issue should be fat with ads. At 120 pages, it's not thin. But it's not fat either. ... So who are you going to believe -- Conde Nast's Steven Florio, or your own eyes? That one's easy. (Click here, and search for "exaggerating.") ...3:44 A.M.

Hate Me, Please! My hate e-mail has all but disappeared, which is vaguely disconcerting. For the past two years (ever since the Florida recount) I've gotten at least two, sometimes 200, abusive missives a day -- until about three months ago, when the stream of vitriol seemed to dry up. Other bloggers still complain to me that they're oppressed by offensive correspondence. I join in the griping, not daring to tell them the truth. ... Does the link at the bottom of the page not work anymore? (No, it does.) Is nobody reading kf? (No, the stats look healthy.) Has the Web suddenly become more civil? Were all the nasty e-mails orchestrated by obscure talk shows and sites like Media Whores Online  -- so that if you're not on their radar, you don't get flamed? I'm at a loss. ...Update: Now, that's more like it! Thanks to all the kf readers who came through with vicious calumny and opprobrium. You hate me. You really hate me! Have a good Thanksgiving! ..  3:03 A.M.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Adam ("Six Feet Under") Nagourney buries the ledeagain. Drudgeunburies it. ("CBSNYT POLL: GORE HOLDS 19% FAVORABLE RATE...") ... Update:Tapped claimsNagourney buried an anti-Bush lede, namely the news that what Tapped calls Bush's "re-elect rating" is only 32 percent. (Click on "Complete Results" on Nagourney's poll-story page and scroll down to Question 15.) ... Maybe Tapped is right, and Nagourney buried two ledes! Bush's "reelect" rating has been surprisingly and ominously (for him) low before. But the question cited by Tapped is not the classic "If the election were held today..." query that yields the traditional "reelect number." It was a looser inquiry -- about who respondents would "probably vote" for in the future -- and it produced a gigantic (47 percent) "don't know" response. ... And Tapped doesn't mention that the Democratic "rating" on Question 15 was even lower than Bush's -- 18 percent. ...  A recent Gallup poll that did ask the traditional question found Bush's rating (as of around 11/9) at a not-unhealthy 55 percent. (Anything less than 50 percent on the standard "reelect" question is considered a sign of trouble. Clinton's reelect number, at this point in his presidency, was in the low 40s, though that obviously didn't stop him from getting reelected.) ... Tapped seems to be counting on its readers confusing the NYT's Question 15 number with the traditional "reelect number." Isn't it a bit early after a jarring Dem defeat for Tapped to be reweaving the Democratic cocoon, looking desperately for positive news that isn't really there? ...  1:29 P.M.

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