**--See, e.g,, his December 2 Stephanopoulos interview ("I also have a record of being in the private sector, not only in small business, but being involved in the human work of touching people's lives from the cradle to the grave ..."). 2:02 P.M.
School Me (a new feature in which I advertise areas in which I'm embarrassingly ignorant, in the hope that readers will fill me in faster than I could fill myself in by, say, making phone calls): Back in June, Ron Brownstein wrote that in California "liberal interests and labor unions ... hate the idea" of an "individual mandate" requiring everyone to buy health insurance. Does that "hate" hold true nationally? Is it grounded solely in the sentiment Brownstein alludes to--that "they consider it unfair to working families"? Or does it also have a more cynical, institutional grounding, namely unions' fear that an individual mandate would undermine employer-provided insurance and the role of unions in negotiating for that insurance? ... American labor has been relatively selfless, it seems to me, in lobbying for government programs (e.g. OSHA) that partially remove the very need for unions by providing directly, through government, what unions otherwise provide through collective bargaining. This would be an exception to that tradition. ...
Most important (for campaign purposes) does this mean that on the domestic policy issue where Obama is most conspicuously more "conservative" than Hillary Clinton, he's not telling voters "what they need to hear," good-government style, as advertised in his J-J speech--he's telling powerful liberal interests "what they want to hear," New Deal-hack style? ... 12:44 A.M.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I was relieved to see that Juan Cole's "Why Bush's Troop Surge Won't Save Iraq" doesn't say Bush's troop surge won't save Iraq. It says what you've heard before--that "there have been some relative gains in security recently," yet on the political front "Iraq is still beset with problems." It asks, "How much longer can Iraq limp along as a failing state before it really begins to collapse?--but doesn't try to give answers. ... "Iraq ... beset with problems" sounds a whole lot better than what we were looking at a year ago. ... P.S.: The June version of Cole's catastrophism ("Surging toward disaster in Iraq")--which foillowed a brief U.S. offensive in Baquba--declared that
the operation clearly committed the United States to one side in a civil war. ...
Which side? The Shiite side. "In practical terms, the U.S. military was helping a Shiite government and a Shiite security force impose itself on a majority Sunni population." Given what we now know about the Sunni-empowering aspects of the surge--including the Sunni "tribal Awakening Councils on the U.S. payroll"--that does not seem like an eerily prescient characterization of the surge's actual effect. ... 11:47 P.M.
Saturday, December 8, 2007