Bloggers jump on the chance to be nonchalant about Hillary Clinton's announcement that she is running for president. They react skeptically to President Bush's proposal to tax employer-provided health benefits, and violently to a California assemblywoman's proposal to make spanking a crime.
She's In: With Sen. Hillary Clinton's utterly unsurprising announcement that she's forming a presidential exploratory committee, bloggers take a moment to consider how Hillary has changed since 1992 and whether she could be elected.
M.J. Rosenberg liked the style of her announcement, done on her Web site rather than at a press conference or late-night show. "Whoever came up with HRC's announcement strategy deserves real kudos," praised Rosenberg, who works in Washington on Israel-Palestine issues, at TPM Café. "I like the way she downplays the whole thing. No drum rolls. No Bill. Nothing flashy. Just her on a couch talking to the people. … I've always been skeptical of her chances but things are changing."
Ed at conservative Captain's Quarters was less impressed by the senator's vocal stylings. "No one seriously thought she'd take a pass, and all this does is confirm what everyone already knew. It's interesting that she committed this early, though. … The early announcements … by people like Barack Obama may have forced her into an early commitment."
Liberal Matthew Yglesias urges the blue masses to steel themselves against the GOP insult-o-rama that is about to kick into gear. "[B]efore Kerry was super-lame, there was Al Gore and he was . . . super lame," he writes. "And now here I am catching up on my Corner reading and look how personally unappealing Hillary Clinton turns out to be. … No matter who it is the Democrats nominate, that person is going to wind up mocked as obviously the wrong the choice; obviously just an absurd person who absurd primary voters picked over dozens of more appealing choices."
As far as whether she can win, Kevin Drum at lefty blog Political Animal thinks she's got at least one big advantage: "She has nowhere to go but up. Seriously. Every nasty thing that can possibly be said about her has already been said. … Rush Limbaugh will spew his usual swill to the dittoheads, but for the most part all the old attacks will seem, well, old."
Read more about Hillary's first steps toward the presidency.
No tax left behind: In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Bush will outline his idea for a "revenue-neutral" plan that would make employer-provided health insurance taxable and would use that revenue to give a tax break to those who buy insurance for themselves.
Conservatives like Optimistic Patriot wonder what the president is thinking by proposing a tax on working people. "Does he think raising taxes is a good way to bolster his flagging popularity?" he asks at New England Republican. "His plan is to raise taxes on the 200 million or so Americans with employer sponsored insurance to help offset the costs of the 40 or so who don't. Giving up your steadfast support for lower taxes is not going to improve your administration's prospects, Mr. President."
D-Day, a TV and film editor in Santa Monica, thinks the tax code is bearing too much weight: "The tax code is a blunt instrument, not a laser. … This would amount to a tax on the middle class to pay for the health care of the poor, with the winners in our society absent from the exchange."
On the left, Ezra Klein, who writes frequently on health-care issues, finds himself defending the president's plan. "Bush is taking a tentative first step towards a traditionally progressive end: Making the health care system more equal, and untethering it from employers," he writes at the blog of the liberal American Prospect, TAPPED. "… If employer benefits cease being so subsidized, and their true cost and inefficiency comes clearer, the case for reform will strengthen."
Read more about Bush's proposed health-insurance plan.
Spare the rod! A Democratic assemblywoman in California has proposed a law that would make spanking young children a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or a $1,000 fine.
The Artist at Art of the Blog, a libertarian Texan, wants to strike a deal with the two parties: "the Nanny Left can have this law. Go ahead. Make spanking illegal. In return you have to let the Nanny Right have a law. Maybe it's sex before marriage is now illegal. … How can either side not see that trying to run people's lives like this is anathema to everything America stands for?"
At Summa Philosophiae, a site devoted to philosophy and the Scriptures, Susan comments that spanking is too quickly defended. "Many Christians will quote the 'spare the rod' verse, or 'all discipline seems painful..' and so on and will justify spanking very young children with all sorts of rules and qualifications…," writes the mother of three. "When it comes right down to it, and if parents are honest, most spanking happens in the heat of the moment when the parent is annoyed. This is nothing more than selfishness on the part of the parent and this is what the child learns: If you are annoyed with someone's behavior, strike out at them."
And Glenn Reynolds, the law professor at InstaPundit, blogged for libertarians everywhere with his assessment: "I'd have more confidence in the California legislature's ability to run people's lives if it were better at running California."
Read more about California's proposed spanking ban.