That Wedge Looks Like a Boomerang: Isn't there a bit of an obvious problem with the Democratic strategy, outlined by Howard Fineman, of tracing all the Bush administration's troubles to the evil Cheney in order to sow division in the White House? After all, Bush might want Cheney to step down in a few months anyway, simply to allow Bush the anointing of a successor. If the Democrats' "inside wedge" campaign works, and everything's blamed on Cheney, then if he goes a lot of Bush's troubles go with him, no? The classic scapegoat-lightning rod move--followed by a fresh start with Vice President Romney, Allen, or McCain. ... How does that help the Democrats? ... Just askin'! 7:03 P.M.
Anti-gerrymandering reform lost in both California and Ohio. You might say it's time to take the fight to the courts--and there are valid constitutional arguments to be made, along Baker v. Carr lines, against partisan or pro-incumbent gerrymanders. But isn't it kind of difficult to argue that the courts need to intervene to make democracy fair after the voters, in a perfectly fair, non-gerrymandered state-wide election, have rejected the idea? This doesn't seem like a case of minority rights, where the majority's opinion shouldn't count. The vast majority of California voters are denied the chance to cast an effective ballot because they live in manipulated districts where the incumbent can't lose. They don't seem to care! Who are judges to tell them they should?
In this sense, the pro-reform movement is arguably worse-off than if the voters had never been asked. ... P.S.: I'm not suggesting the attempt to reform redistricting democratically--through referenda and legislation--should stop. I'm suggesting the opposite: The alternative route to reform, through the courts, is now more difficult than before, so reformers have no choice but to keep trying to convince voters. ... Update: John Rosenberg suggests that existing voting rights law would let the courts intervene. ... But he thinks existing voting rights law is wrong! ... 2:46 A.M.
TimesErase: Pursuing a Mercedes-like policy of continuous improvement, Nicholas Kristof has apparently rewritten the weaselly semi-correction he posted about the errors in his initial columns about Joseph Wilson, according to Tom Maguire of JustOneMinute:
Mr. Kristof's paragraphs on the question of whether Wilson told him that he had debunked forged documents, and whether Wilson could have done so, have been extensively re-written - the bits I excerpted and criticized have disappeared, so Mickey Kaus and I appear to be discussing a different entry from the one currently on offer. Well, that is one way to stump the critics.
I hope Kristof kept the line where he said it's "possible" that what he reported was correct, but "that seems to me unlikely." That one was a keeper! And the ludicrous sentence about how criticizing Wilson was "distasteful" because he's just a "private citizen" ... P.S.: I bet Kristof wishes it were that easy to rewrite his Hatfill column! ... P.P.S.: I'm not saying bloggers should never revise after hitting "publish." Maybe they shouldn't, but I rewrite sentences all the time--if an emailer makes a good objection or I just have second thoughts. But it does become Orwellian at some point--i.e. when you redo a column after you've been publicly attacked for some stupidity to make it look as if there was never any stupidity to attack. ... P.P.P.S.: Luckily, I have a printed-out hard copy of Kristof's original, presumably dumber,** version, which I will mail to anyone who wants it for only $49.95.! Call it TimesSelectClassic. ... You have to hand it to the NYT web management team--they keep discovering new revenue opportunities.
**--kf cannot verify that the old version is dumber, because according to Maguire Kristof has added additional dumbness in draft #2--lamenting that Valerie Plame's "career at CIA has been destroyed," though he'd called that claim "hyperbole" in a column two years ago. Removing all evidence of that earlier column will be more difficult, involving as it does a visit to every library in the world armed with scissors and Liquid Paper. ... 1:52 A.M.
Time-Pressed Reporters Taking Shortcuts: It'll do if it fits the CW! Time's Joe Klein reports on a White House attempt to "destroy" Brent Scowcroft, quoting "a prominent Republican," who tells Klein that the White House sent out talking points "about how to attack Brent Scowcroft" after Jeffrey Goldberg's recent New Yorker profile.