The other obvious hack speculation: Hillary tanks in Iowa and N.H.. Obama, Edwards too liberal and inexperienced. Electability. Late entry. Exciting convention. Gore. Take it away. ... 6:20 P.M.
Ayes of Newt: The normally sound Tom Edsall contrasts Speakers Gingrich and Pelosi and finds that Pelosi, "strangely enough, has won enactment of more legislation than her flamboyant predecessor." He notes that Pelosi's achievements include:
an increase in the minimum wage, lobbying and ethics reform, Gulf Coast reconstruction assistance, and substantial expansion of college financial aid.
I concede that the minimum wage increase is an achievement. The others are yawners. Meanwhile, by the end of Gingrich's first two years as Speaker, 1) the budget was heading toward a surplus after years of deficits; and 2) a once-in-a generation welfare reform had been signed into law--a big attempt to tackle the "underclass" problem, the first time a federal entitlement had been repealed, in a bill that also included substantial changes in child support enforcement, immigrant benefits, and social security disability for children. ... Oh, and the minimum wage got increased under Gingrich too, also before his first two years were up. ...
The situations aren't comparable, of course. President Clinton was inclined to find common ground with Gingrich. Gingrich had a united party. Pelosi is trying to block a president's foreign policy, and events on the ground haven't been going her way lately. Gingrich was (is?) an infantile megalomaniac who was easily manipulated and overplayed his hand. Still. The achievements aren't comparable either. At least not yet. ... 5:42 P.M. link
Sometimes an NPR show can upend your expectations and convince you that ordinary Americans can be brilliant observers and even entertainers. StoryCorpsis not that show, I think. Every story I've heard on it has been lame. When do the grants run out? ... 2:51 A.M.
Giuliani, the New Ideas Candidate? Sara Mosle recently reminded everyone of a key, overlooked moment in Giuliani's career: after his prostate cancer diagnosis, he decided to employ New York City's trademark Comp Stat policing technique to "aggressively recruit greater numbers of uninsured children for coverage under two existing government-run programs: Medicaid and Child Health Plus." Mosle--and later Sara Kershaw of the NYT--used this incident to paint Giuliani as a hypocritical candidate. It seems to me it shows why he's a formidable candidate.