Fred Barnes channels Dick Morris: They sneered a month ago when Peggy Noonan suggested that Bush "hit refresh and anoint a successor by having Cheney resign. Now someone from the very belly of Twenty-first Century Bushism, Fred Barnes, has proposed the same thing (and much, much more, including the replacement of most cabinet secretaries by men named Hubbard). ... Barnes' WSJ piece is bizarrely convincing, but 1) What about McCain? If Bush anoints Rice, does the front-runner just stand aside quietly? Doesn't he run against her (and maybe beat her)--or shift to a powerful third-party candidacy? 2) To what end? If Barnes had said his proposed shakeup was designed to win the midterms and preserve Bush's Iraq policy, it would be more appealing than suggesting it's a scheme to let Bush be "empowered to return to old initiatives such as Social Security reform and his faith-based initiative." The Bush Social Security plan is still a loser, and his faith-based initiative is still relatively trivial. ... 12:58 P.M.
Demron: Fannie Mae has found "additional errors" in the government-ordered review of its Franklin Raines-era accounting, according to Business Week, and will miss the regular deadline for filing its financial report. ... [via newsalert] 5:36 P.M.
I hadn't been following the "Roe for Men" issue--the question of whether to allow men to opt-out of their paternal obligations in, say, the first trimester of a pregnancy they'd helped produce. If you need to catch up on this cable-ready issue as well, you can start with last year's Meghan Daum column, then move on to Cathy Young and most recently Anderson Cooper and his many commenters. ... 1) My first reaction is that the plan would be a disaster for the underclass, with ne'er-do-well men abandoning paternity by the tens of thousands. But, then, the existing paternal obligation doesn't succeed in extracting much from unwilling, impoverished fathers, does it? A more voluntary regime would at least strip away the illusion and put women on notice. ... 2) My second reaction is that the idea founders on the issue of which men you want to let opt out. Do you want to explicitly let men double-cross women, claiming they want to be fathers until they bail on their obligations in the first trimester? If not, then how are the men going to prove that they weren't double-crossers--e.g. that they never wanted to have children (and that they made it clear to their partner they never wanted to have children)? You could allow them to introduce evidence of pre-pregnancy conversations, which would risk turning every paternity suit into an elaborate what-he said-what-she said trial. Or you could require that before conception the man sign some sort of affidavit clearly declaring his non-intention to be a father, and disclose it, which would certainly warn potential partners. It might also severely limit the scope of the rule. And if it didn't, that would probably be because men conned or cajoled women into ignoring it--a sign, perhaps, that the law shouldn't add to their bargaining options. ...
P.S.: The evidentiary burden would be even greater if, as at least one mens' rights advocate suggests, the "opt out" would be limited to instances in which "neither partner had desired a child." [Emph. added] ... And if that's the standard, would the issue be simply whether the man reasonably thought the woman didn't want a child, or whether the woman really didn't want a child? Short of pre-sex affidavits all around, it looks like a mess. ... 2:36 A.M.
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