I'd forgotten a perverse set of facts that suddenly seems relevant: Hillary Clinton was almost certainly in favor of the 1996 welfare reform law while Rudolph Giuliani opposed it. ... That could mean Giuliani is more liberal than people realize, and less likely to undergo the program of "learning/repositioning" that conservatives like John Derbyshire look forward to. Or it could mean that Giuliani is more opportunistic than people realize and therefore more likely to reposition himself. ... My guess: Both, but definitely the latter. Giuliani was a genuine welfare reformer, after all. His opposition to the key reform bill, in retrospect, looks like a stunt to cultivate stature in the national press.** ... [Triggered by Ramesh Ponnuru at The Corner ]
**--It should be said that bill did contain some gratuitously nasty provisions denying benefits to existing elderly legal immigrants. President Clinton had pledged to remedy these provisions, which were in fact softened. In retrospect--and in prospect--they didn't constitute a sound reason for opposing the bill, the core of which instituted large, once-in-a-generation changes in the basic cash welfare programs for poor Americans (allowing states to condition benefits on work, even for single mothers). ... 12:27 AM. link
Monday, February 26, 2007
"Viewer Discretion Advised: This diavlog contains grotesque images." 10:38 P.M.
Staples-- 'Yeah, We Don't Got That' (Update): My email is running 8-1 against the idea that Hewlett-Packard may have run afoul of the antitrust laws by getting Staples to take its competing store-brand refilled ink-jet cartridges off its shelves. I'm not convinced but don't have the motivation to figure out why beyond that a) it seems clear to me HP is already getting monopolistic prices for its cartridges, once consumers like me have been "locked in" through the purchase of a printer; and b) this action was taken to remove a rising competitor and protect this HP semi-monopoly (perhaps by bribing them with a share of the monopoly profits). One counterargument, made by emailer D.L., is that Staples could in theory use its bribe to lower prices for consumers of HP cartridges. Those prices were not in evidence on my recent visit, however. ... P.S.: If the U.S. Department of Justice isn't interested, there's always that wacky Jerry Brown, now California's Attorney General. In the meantime I'll take several emailers' advice and shop at Office Depot. ... Supplemental Reading: Here's a relevant case. ... 9:40 P.M. link
What song? I hope they're not exposing the Libby jurors to "Tennessee Plates." ... Report from the field: "Your Dad Did" ... 1:50 P.M.
John Derbyshire, an opponent of the McCain-Kennedy "comprehensive" immigration reform, explains why he's for Giuliani even though Giuliani's position on immigration looks an awful lot like McCain's. It's semi-convincing. (Derbyshire anticipates a Giuliani "learning/repositioning" experience.) 1:41 P.M.
How low can you go? A flyer compares Hillary to John Kerry. It's a smear campaign! ... 10:31 A.M.
Hillary's Doomed Taboo: Anne Kornblut describes a more plausible, but depressing, rationale for Hillary Clinton's seeming anti-Geffen overreaction than some of the takes offered last week. Kornblut argues the Clinton camp was trying to
[declare] her husband's impeachment in 1998 -- or, more accurately, the embarrassing personal behavior that led to it -- taboo, putting her rivals on notice and all but daring other Democrats to mention the ordeal again.
Questions: 1) Does Hillary realize that this taboo-enforcement strategy plays into the worst aspect of her public image--the dogmatic PC enforcer whose loyal aides seem, at least in public, to live in zombie-like fear that too much candor could incur her wrath? I don't think it's too much to draw a line from Hillary's attempt to suppress the speech of her fellow candidates to a general, instinctive distaste for the tumult and self-expression inherent in democracy itself. One thinks of Clintonite Roberta Achtenberg's seeming tolerance, as a HUD official, of her agency's intimidating investigations of local opponents of group homes for the handicapped. (Defending the investigations, Achtenberg told the NYT, "These are very difficult judgments that have to be made." No they're not, at least if you have any feel for democracy.)