Andrew Sullivan, unreliable narrator.

A mostly political Weblog.
Jan. 29 2007 5:39 AM

The 'Excitable Embedder'

Plus--How "comprehensive immigration reform" is like the Iraq war!

I'm stunned by Deborah Orin-Eilbeck's death. I didn't know she was fighting cancer. She sent me an email only a couple of months ago cheerfully and sensibly disputing something I'd written arguing that Gov. Vilsack's candidacy would let Hillary skip the Iowa caucuses. (She wrote: "If Vilsack is running at the bottom of the Iowa Poll, as he was, he isn't a replay of Tom Harkin and doesn't give anyone a pass out of Iowa, methinks. ... And besides, Hillary being Hillary won't get a pass anywhere.") Orin was almost certainly right, as usual--where did Hillary spend last weekend, again? ...

I only met Orin-Eilbeck a few times--mainly through the hospitality of her friend Mary Louise Oates, in whose house she was surrounded by Democratic friends. I'd heard she had a rep as a driven, badger-her-sources reporter, but everytime I met her she was funny and warm and sharp. Also: beautiful dark eyes!  Her New York Post writing was almost hygienically unaffected by whatever wishful, respectable (and typically liberal) CW was blowing around Washington. Her pieces were also typically short, pointed and (therefore) fun. Like most good political reporters, she pursued the latest political intelligence with a relentlessness hidden to the outside world, including to most bloggers. I was just thinking Orin would be the perfect person to ask a prickly question I've been avoiding--did the immigration issue really hurt the GOP in 2006? If she'd have said yes, the answer is yes.

None of us will know her thinking on that or any other issue in the coming two-year presidential fight. That's a narrow concern, I know. But it will be hard to make sense of it all without her.

Lucianne has a tribute thread. 1:34 A.M.

Unionism Is Too the Problem: Labor costs--and specifically work rules--are part of what's killing all the unionized auto manufacturers while their non-unionized competitors thrive building cars in the U.S., according to CNN Money. The famous $1,400/car health care burden is only a piece of it:

Other labor costs add to the bill. Contract issues like work rules, line relief and holiday pay amount to $630 per vehicle - costs that the Japanese don't have. And paying UAW members for not working when plants are shut costs another $350 per vehicle.

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Sorry, Comrade Kuttner! [via Autoblog ] ... P.S.: I guess we need to abolish secret ballots--requiring only a card check--in order to help bring Detroit-style productivity and business success to America's other industries. It can't be that workers look at how the UAW--a relatively clean, democratic union--has poisoned its industry and decide they don't want to organize. It must be "employer coercion." ... 2:17 A.M.

I didn't realize that Andrew Sullivan also broadcast his misinformation about that British video--i.e. that it showed Iraqi troops beating "civilians"--on the Chris Matthews Show,on national television. ... P.S.: The Matthews producers seem to think that gathering five journalists who all agree about Bush, the "surge," and pretty much every other topic makes for a lively dialogue. ... 7:05 P.M.

U.S soldiers watching as their Iraqi Army colleagues - Shia - brutally beat Sunni civilians to near-death, as U.S. soldiers hoop and holler in support.

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