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 6)

Ed Koch agrees (with kf, not Pelosi) ... 2:27 A.M.

Suddenly, it's 1983! Wait, I've lived through this already.  Defeated Democrats need "ideas,"  says Michael Waldman. And make it snappy! (Get Gary Hart! Didn't he have "new ideas"?) .. I respect Waldman -- his politics are close to mine, and he wrote a good, entertaining book about the Clinton Presidency. But 1) "ideas" aren't like a crop of wheat you can reliably grow if you just put enough think-tank farmers on the case. It's fair to say that if Democrats can't say immediately, off the top of their heads, what they believe in that's different from Bush, the Brookings Institution isn't going to tell them; 2) Nor is it just a question of new neoliberal, market-oriented "means" to traditional liberal "ends." The Democrats' problem may be that some of the old "ends" -- the ones they would give you off the tops of their heads -- have been grokked and rejected. Like what? Like the relentless pursuit of "more" economic equality. 3) So what's a new, more acceptable Democratic end? Off the top of my head: Affirmative government to insure social, not economic, equality -- in part by guaranteeing health care to all (not a new "idea"!); 4) Waldman says Democrats should "look squarely at welfare reform and crime, and instead of kvetching about Republican plans, offer some of their own, proposals that do not undo the social progress made under a Democratic administration." Right. But what if Bush's proposals are the ones that don't undo the social progress made under Clinton? On some level, Waldman seems to want the Dems to come up with an alternative just for the sake of having an alternative.

The possibility he (and Peter Beinart) don't seem to want to face is that of ideological convergence -- on many big issues, Democrats and Republicans actually agree, and attempts to create strategic contrasts are artificial. The remaining differences (like Beinart's sensible criticisms of Bush's failure to rebuild Afghanistan or "secure loose nuclear materials") are often arguments you'd normally expect to have within a party. Or else they're personal (Bush is dumb, Bush stole Florida, Bush is helping his oil buddies, etc. -- but Powell's OK!). They're not what we've come to think of as the defining ideological differences between the parties. ... (Caveat for Robert Wright: In time, we may need a party that favors international structures that police WMD disarmament, and the environment, and trade, and there may be a deep, ideological gap between that "international" party and the pro-sovereignty Republicans. But for the moment, promoting world government doesn't seem like the basis for building a Democratic majority. It's the basis for building a party that's out of power for 20 years and then finally triumphs, Reagan-like. Not that there's anything wrong with that!) ... 1:49 A.M.

At least the NYT -- or the Associated Press story it runs, anyway -- now mentions welfare reform as a possible cause of the sharp rise in teen marriages that left "researchers ... surprised." ...This good news may surprise "researchers," but it doesn't surprise many of welfare reform's supporters. ... [Link via Sullivan ] 1:01 A.M.

Instapundit has already commented on Cass Sunstein's spectacularly weak op-ed on the dangers of conservative judicial activism -- noting that Sunstein writes as if any court decision that overturns an act of Congress is dangerous activism, at least if it's an act of Congress that has bipartisan support. But surely there are some bipartisan acts of Congress we might want the courts to overturn -- "the flag-burning bill had bipartisan support," Instapundit notes. The constitution isn't a wet noodle, and some of its provisions actually protect valuable rights! Surely whether it's dangerous for a court to overturn a particular piece of legislation depends at least in part on what the Constitution actually says about the subject.  ... Yes, Sunstein's piece is that dumb! Or he thinks his readers are that dumb.... There's another sense in which Sunstein writes as if his audience is easily conned. He's trying (he says) to convince "Republicans who now control Congress" that they should be worried about the substantive impact of conservative judicial activism. What laws should they worry the courts might overturn? Well, "campaign finance legislation. ... affirmative action programs  ... gun control" ... consumer protection laws .. the "1994 Violence Against Women Act."  Huh? These are all laws that most of the "Republicans who now control Congress," and certainly most conservative Republicans, would be happy to have the courts make disappear. Does Sunstein really believe he can fool right-wing readers into thinking they liked John McCain's campaign finance bill?  Or is Sunstein really speaking to the left -- trying to reassure the NYT's readers that by opposing Bush's judicial nominees they are really taking a "bipartisan" stand? ... .P.S.: I'm worried about conservative judicial activism too, but not that worried, for the reasons given here. ...12:51 A.M.

    

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Links

Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--Escapee from American Prospect. Salon--Better click fast! Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! Washington Monthly--Includes "Tilting at Windmills" Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. The Liberal Death Star--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko's MediaNews--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh --Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman -- Always annoying, occasionally right. Joe Conason -- Bush-bashing, free most days.  Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk.