David Mastio has a good idea for New York Times Book Review editor Sam Tanenhaus. ... 12:52 P.M.
Is McCain Blowing It, Part III: Pat Buchanan says yes! He would. But it's a tightly-argued column. 12:23 P.M.
The Last Hundred Days ... : The New York Times on the successful Senate filibuster of a bill to fully repeal the estate tax ("GOP Fails in Attempt ..."):
Republicans are now debating whether to give up on their goal and attack Democrats in the coming midterm elections as obstructionists on a measure that they say has considerable support, or settle for a bipartisan measure that would stop short of eliminating the tax entirely.
Senator Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, said he would continue to meet with Senate leaders and crucial Democrats to discuss options for compromise. But there were few signs on Thursday of any new deal.
There often aren't signs of a deal until there's a deal! Read the NYT story yourself and see if you don't agree that the array of forces points to some sort of partial repeal deal. Specifically, 1) Republicans would like to take some legislative accomplishments to the voters. 2) They know they'll be weaker in the next Congress than they are in this one. ...
P.S.: A recent Kyl partial-repeal proposal, the Times says, "failed to win over more than two or three Democrats." Hmm. Isn't that close to being all Kyl needs? The Senate was only three votes short of cloture on full repeal, remember, though some of those may have been posturing votes that would evaporate if they really mattered. ...
Update: According to BNA Daily Tax Report [$] Sen. Kyl's GOP compromise estate tax proposal would exempt $10 million per couple and tax the rest at 15 percent, eventually rising to 30 percent. The Dem proposal would exempt $7 million and tax the rest at "increasing increments topping out at 35 percent." ... $10M vs. $7M, 30 % vs. 35%. Do those sound like incommensurable difference of principle to you, or the sort of routine numerical haggling that negotiators could clean up while waiting for change at the soda machine? ... Suggestion: $8 million and 32%. There, we've done it! ... [Thanks to reader R.] 3:05 A.M.
"Narrow Victory by G.O.P. Signals Fall Problems": Cocooning-- nobody does it better! Adam "Caterpillar" Nagourney triumphantly returns to regain his title as the best at his profession--the profession of telling gullible Democrats that this time they really have the Republicans on the run! [Nagourney's piece seemed on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-handiish. What, exactly, did he miss?--ed
1) Nagourney talks about "Republican institutional advantages" but misses the key, substantive advantage Tuesday's election revealed, namely the power of theHouse GOP immigration "enforcement" position to mobilize core Republican voters.
2) Instead, Nagourney says the pro-enforcement vote "highlighted divisions within the [Republican] party" between get-tough House members and President Bush. But it's Republican House members who are in the ballot in November, and it's their Democratic opponents who are likely to adopt President Bush's pro-legalization position. If we're talking about Signaling Fall Problems, why doesn't the centrality of the immigration issue Signal Fall Problems for the Dems, as opposed to the GOPs?
3) Nagourney, says, of the victorious GOP candidate,
Mr. Bilbray's failure to break 50 percent was striking.
But, as the LAT's Brownstein and Hook have the honesty to note,
Bilbray ran behind Bush mostly because two conservative independent candidates siphoned off about 5% of the vote.
Nagourney's failure to mention the conservative appeal of the independent candidates is ... striking.
4) "This was never considered a truly contested district," declares Nagourney. Two paragraphs later he says it was on a list of "the 10 most competitive races for House seats now held by Republicans, as identified by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report." Huh? Sounds like it was considered contested by Cook! ...]
Update: Taranto notes that editors at the Times' Paris-based International Herald Tribune failed to draw the correct conclusion from another, more condensed Nagourney report, giving it the headline: "Republicans prove they're tough to beat." 1:55 A.M. link