alien & sedition.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
  Seriously, This is a Big Deal

Vernon Lee further considers the fact that progressives have been out-storytold by the right:
How Democrats haven't figured this out is quite a mystery. From the right, we have ludicrous inventions such as the imaginary family farm that went under because of the "death tax" that nonetheless manages to eclipse the combined trillions of net worth the estate tax actually protects. We have the gruesome Terry Schiavo spectacle and not one personification of the results of 45 million Americans who have no health insurance.
Spot on. How in God's name have we failed to beat the right into total submission simply by telling the stories of people suffering for lack of universal health insurance? How monumentally incompetent have we been that the most effective personification of the health care debate was made by the insurance industry in an anti-universal care ad?

It goes beyond boggling the mind. It boils the mind.

Labels: , ,

  Pure Psychic Automatism at the Corner

Above: An NRO Foreign Policy Roundtable

Don't look now, but there's an extremely silly debate going on at the Corner over diplomatic engagement with Iran. It was triggered by this Frank Gaffney piece, in which the author displays the most spectacular ignorance about diplomacy in general, and Iran in particular. Ultimate Warrior Andy McCarthy gives it a "huzzah!" which prompts Andrew Stuttaford, The Last True Tory, to weigh in with a little reality check:
Talking to Iran and Syria is, of course, absolutely the correct, cynically self-interested, thing to do. The idea that sitting down with the representatives of a country's regime either somehow "legitimizes" that regime or will be perceived (by anyone who matters) as some sort of reward is nonsense. [...]

Will anything good come of it? I've no idea, and nor does anyone else, but we won't know until it's been tried.

Speaking more widely, it strikes me as thoroughly perverse that those who like to argue that "nothing" should be off the table when it comes to Iran and Syria find a little diplomatic conversation as something too ghastly to contemplate.
This, of course, does not sit well with the Fighting Keyboarders of the NRO. Michael Rubin opines that "it's been tried before," and anyway, Yassir Arafat. McCarthy, meanwhile, shoots a white-hot bolt of pure stupidity into the mix:
While we're at it, let's get bin Laden, Zawahiri and Mullah Omar to the table. Maybe we can get this whole thing settled.
He follows this up with a descent into what appears to be a form of rhetorical dadaism:
Re my suggestion that we include bin Laden in the talks, readers are pointing out to me that this is ridiculous because Michael Ledeen has pointed out that Osama has probably gone off to that Big Orgy in the Sky. This strikes me as terribly insensitive.

The dead, after all, have their point of view. And what about putting yourself in the other guy's shoes — Rule One for the successful negotiator? Won't we all be dead someday? Wouldn't it just be another case of unilateral American cowboy arrogance to refuse to negotiate with someone just because he's, er, vitally-challenged?
Whether the Cornerites are some sort of avant-garde experiment in political performance art, or just drunk, you've got to feel a little empathy for Stuttaford and his pointless efforts to reason with them.

Labels: , ,

  Enlightened Self-Interest: A Global Conspiracy?

Kevin Drum points out this WSJ piece, which discusses moves by American energy trade associations to get behind the idea of some sort of carbon emissions limits:
The shift by the groups, which include the Edison Electric Institute and the American Gas Association, underscores their belief that Congress is in a mood to pass some form of mandatory emissions controls, perhaps before the next election in 2008. "We want to be at the table" during the debate, said Paul Wilkinson, a vice president of the American Gas Association, which represents 200 utilities that distribute natural gas throughout the U.S.
Drum calls this "good news" but points out that it mainly indicates that energy companies are "tacking in the wind," given the multiplicity of bills in Congress - as well as state-level efforts - to limit emissions. Industry leaders realize they need to be on board with the idea of emissions limits if they are to have any hope of keeping them relatively watered-down.

Interestingly, the energy associations don't seek to challenge the "cap-and-trade" approach planned by almost all of the various bills - despite the advice of some conservative intellectuals. They do, however, seek to include "safety valve" provisions that would set limits on the cost of emissions credits.

Meanwhile, some conservatives are crying betrayal over such moves. See for instance Mike Franc of the Heritage Foundation, who is shocked at the idea that businesses may be acting out of financial self interest:
Conspiracy theorists believe those splits aren't accidental and point to efforts by left-leaning foundations such as the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, which has convinced 42 large corporations -- including Intel, Alcoa, Georgia-Pacific, Sunoco, Lockheed Martin, Weyerhaeuser and Toyota -- to embrace ambitious global-warming legislation. Pew's president, Eileen Claussen, has even boasted about this divide-and-conquer strategy: "The whole objective was to split the industry so you could get people who were progressive to begin to do something" to advance global-warming legislation.

But the companies climbing aboard are hardly motivated by altruism. "We also believe," Pew's website states, "that companies taking early action on climate strategies and policy will gain sustained competitive advantage over their peers."

Indeed, some of these companies want to force their competitors to shoulder costs they have already borne.
Thus is revealed the Pew Center's secret plan for total world domination.

Labels: ,

  Right-Wing Think Tank Review - 2/28/07

American Enterprise Institute (Sourcewatch profile here)

Deja Vu: Repeating Past Mistakes with North Korea
By Nicholas Eberstadt and Christopher Griffin
Pub. 2/26/07; orig. pub. in the San Diego Union-Tribune 2/25/07.

The authors condemn the recent six-party agreement in Beijing, which will provide North Korea with fuel oil and other assistance, in return for the communist state's promise to begin dismantling its nuclear programs. This accord, says Eberstadt and Griffin, "was a strategic blunder masquerading as a diplomatic triumph."

According to the authors, this "capitulation in Beijing" represents a retreat from Washington's previous insistence on "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization," and it is likely to create a wedge between the United States and its partners. While the Koreans consented to freezing their plutonium program at Yongbyon, they refused to discuss their highly enriched uranium (HEU) program - "the discovery of which sparked the current round of North Korean nuclear brinkmanship." Moreover, the agreement fails to address the nuclear weapons already manufactured by North Korea. Yet the Koreans may have conceded just enough to string the process along, so that "only the most blatant breach of faith is likely to rupture the six-party talks in the near term" - otherwise, "international pressure" will "keep the agreement alive." Thus any attempt by Washington to strengthen the terms of the accord will be met with resistance from Seoul and Beijing. Meanwhile, by failing to resolve the issue of Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents, the agreement may end up alienating America's most reliable ally in the region.
How can Washington recover from this self-inflicted setback? As a first step, when North Korea presents its list of nuclear programs in 60 days, the Bush administration must be prepared to reject any document that does not include a complete accounting of the HEU program... Only American pressure can keep the issue alive.

The United States might also make any move toward removing North Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism contingent upon the satisfactory resolution of the abductee issue. [...]

Looking beyond the six-party framework, Washington should consider a policy that leverages U.S. strengths against North Korean weaknesses. As North Korea depends on international extortion to survive, the United States should follow Japan's lead and refuse to support the failed North Korean economy until Pyongyang delivers real progress on denuclearization and other issues. Cooperation with Tokyo to increase pressure against Pyongyang's proliferation and counterfeiting activities is a vital measure. And pushing Beijing to facilitate the flow of North Korean refugees though its border along the Yalu River would deliver both humanitarian and strategic dividends.
The pact has been criticized from both right and left, though a number of observers have noted that, given Washington's weak bargaining position, the agreement was the best that could have been expected. The larger problem, as this article explains, is that hardliners like Eberstadt and Griffin have weakened the American position by pushing an approach that has backfired repeatedly. Indeed, there might be no need for this "defeat without a war" - or for similar concessions that may have to be granted to Iran - had neoconservative ideologues not encouraged American policies that have only given "rogue states" incentive to withdraw from negotiations and build up nuclear arsenals as protection from American attack.

Table Talk
By Michael Rubin and Danielle Pletka
Pub. 2/21/07; orig. pub. in the Wall Street Journal, 2/21/07.

Rubin and Pletka are leading neoconservative hawks who have been pushing for confrontation with Iran for some time. Their article, written in anticipation of last week's deadline for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, condemns those calling for dialogue with Tehran - arguing that Iran uses "engagement" as cover for advancing the interests of the hard-line clerical leadership. European negotiations with Iran, say the authors, failed to slow the pace of Tehran's investment in nuclear and conventional arms, nor its export of weapons to terrorist groups. No amount of effort to identify and strengthen "reformists" within Iran will change this basic fact, they say:
Western efforts to game the Iranian system, in short, misunderstand the nature of politics in the Islamic Republic. Politicians rise and fall, but the supreme leader’s authority remains supreme. Rhetoric notwithstanding, the president is more figurehead than commander. Factional differences add color to the Iranian scene, and there are nuances in economic and social policies. But politicians do not alter the regime’s ideological underpinnings.
The article seems clearly aimed as a rebuttal to those who have pointed out that Iran's hardliners stand to benefit from any American attack. On the contrary, say Rubin and Pletka, there is no substantive difference between Tehran's "reformists" and hardliners, and anyway, "dialogue and the attendant relaxation of U.N. sanctions will strengthen and validate the Ahmadinejad regime." The authors are eager to abandon engagement, and they argue that more dialogue will only get in the way of tougher sanctions:
Those eager to sit down with Tehran say that dialogue does not mean abandoning sanctions. This is hardly serious. Washington has already offered and delivered inducements to the regime--a clear path to World Trade Organization accession and spare aircraft parts--in exchange for behavior modification. In response, Tehran has offered no confidence-building measures. All that remains are direct talks, and even there, Washington has dropped the price from ending Iran’s nuclear program to a temporary suspension of enrichment.


To change course now would signal the impotence of international institutions and multilateral diplomacy. History shows that when the supreme leader believes Western resolve is faltering, Iran will be more defiant and dangerous. Now is not the time to talk. If Washington and Europe truly believe in the primacy of multilateralism and diplomacy, now is the time to ratchet up the pressure.
The authors do not explain why, as in North Korea, "ratcheting up the pressure" would not merely add to the incentive for Iran to develop nuclear weapons as quickly as possible. Nor do they acknowledge that the "inducements" Washington offered in June 2006 were not rejected out of hand, but because they ignored the security questions at the heart of the Iranian negotiating position. Essentially, Rubin and Pletka conflate the idea of engagement with the Bush administration's current incoherent Iran policy, then offer a false dichotomy between this and a strategy of "ratcheting up the pressure," clearly intended to push the United States and Iran closer to war.

The Heritage Foundation (Sourcewatch profile here)

Don't Count on the Security Council to Curb Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
By James Phillips
WebMemo No. 1370, pub. 2/26/07.

Phillips offers a look at what "ratcheting up the pressure" might mean:
The United States must push hard for stronger sanctions against Iran, not only at the Security Council but also directly with European and Japanese allies, who have considerable untapped leverage over Tehran. Relying solely on U.N. sanctions, which are likely to be diluted and delayed by Russia and China, will be to too little, too late. Unless the European Union and Japan agree to withhold foreign investment, strategic trade, and technology from Iran, there is little chance that Iran's nuclear ambitions will be stopped, short of war.
The article was written after it had become clear that Tehran had ignored the Security Council's February 21 deadline to suspend nuclear enrichment. Phillips argues that the new sanctions under consideration at the UN, while "long overdue," are "far from sufficient to convince Iran's radical Islamic regime to change its behavior." The primary problem, says Phillips, is that China and Russia are likely to use their veto power to limit the strength of any sanctions passed through the Security Council:
Washington cannot depend on the U.N. to take decisive action. Both Moscow and Beijing have a vested interest in protecting Tehran from sanctions that would disrupt their growing economic and military ties.
Thus, argues Phillips, the US should organize efforts to "exploit Iran's Achilles heel, its faltering economy." Specifically, American policy should target foreign investment, loans, and technology and trade deals - as well as imposing a travel ban on Iranian leaders. This would be coupled with "public diplomacy programs to explain to the Iranian people the growing costs of their leaders' stubborn refusal to abide by Iran's treaty commitments."

Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott have argued that sanctions are extremely unlikely to be effective as a tool for stopping Iranian nuclear development. To have any real impact, the sanctions would have to be as complete as those imposed upon Iraq during the 1990s. However, as in Iraq, this would largely have the effect of punishing the Iranian people rather than the regime, while "inflam[ing] Iranian nationalism" rather than undercutting the government. Moreover, the Iraqi sanctions came at a time of low oil prices, which lessened their pain for the rest of the world - by contrast, Iran would be positioned to retaliate against sanctions by driving up the price of oil to more than $100 per barrel - which would be politically unsustainable both in the United States and for any international cooperative effort, and which could plunge the world economy into recession.

If Hufbauer and Schott are correct, than an analysis like the one presented by Phillips, Rubin, and Pletka would place the United States in a very dangerous position - for these authors suggest that harsh sanctions are the only alternative to war. One might even argue that their papers could be seen as an exercise in self-fulfilling prophesy - by pursuing a strategy that shuns engagement in favor of stronger sanctions, the United States would be propelled down a path that would lead inevitably to war.

Joseph Cirincione and Andrew J. Grotto of the Center for American Progress have produced an in-depth report on American strategy options with regard to Iran. They analyze the shortcomings in various possible approaches - including the one advocated by neoconservative intellectuals - and argue for a strategy of "contain and engage" that could slow Iranian nuclear development in the short term, while opening up possibilities for comprehensive arrangements in the long term. It's worthwhile reading for those who take the Iranian problem seriously - but who believe that the neoconservatives are seriously wrong.

(All emphasis mine)

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
  You Can't Keep a Bad Movement Down

This weekend the leading lights of the right will gather in DC for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual right-wing hootenanny sponsored by the American Conservative Union. I would love love love to be there, but as much as I enjoyed the National Review's Conservative Summit last month, I can't make it to DC for this one.

Which is a shame, because the year before the presidential election would be a good time to go. The contenders will be pandering at a fast clip, while the activists talk strategy for the upcoming fight. Rudy Giuliani - fresh from yesterday's talk at the Hoover Institution - will be making one of his first major campaign appearances at CPAC, and Mitt Romney will be hoping to make up for his damp squib at the Summit.

Another speaker will be Newt Gingrich, still fully engaged in his campaign to bring an intellectual renaissance - by force, if necessary - to the conservative movement. Newt recently sent around some thoughts on the 2008 election to those of us lucky enough to be on his email list. Some excerpts:
There are two big facts about the 2008 election.

FACT #1: Running as a bland, business-as-usual Republican will be a dead loser. In 2006, the American people repudiated the GOP, because the idea of Republicans' trying to manage the liberal welfare state they inherited from the Democrats was a dead loser. I am not sure many Republican consultants have come to understand this. Certainly the elite news media want Republicans to run as non-ideological "centrists" who will then have no persuasive appeal to the vast majority of Americans that elected Ronald Reagan in 1980 and '84 and the Contract with America House Republicans in 1994.

FACT #2: Focusing on an anti-Hillary campaign will also be a dead loser. The Clintons are the most determined and intense politicians of our lifetime. I just read Ambassador Bill Middendorf's A Glorious Disaster: Barry Goldwater's campaign and the Origins of the Conservative Movement (read my review here), and he reminded me of the ferocity of the 1964 Lyndon Johnson campaign. It reminded me of the Clinton campaign style.

If a campaign is going to degenerate into a mud slinging contest, the Clintons will always win because they are vastly more ready to jump into the pit. The recent attacks over David Geffen and Barack Obama are just a sample of how quickly and fiercely the Clintons will attack if the campaign is simply about who can "out negative" whom.
Emphasis mine. Newt seems unable to escape the Great Conservative Fallacy of 2006, which holds that, somehow, Americans voted for Democrats because the Republicans weren't conservative enough. But then again, having invested all that energy in 'revitalizing' conservatism, Newt's probably not going to up and admit that the GOP should move to the center. So: be more conservative, get rejected again, purify yourself even more, etc. etc. This could be a most entertaining vicious circle.

Oh, and the Hillary thing never fails to crack me up. You spent eight years calling her a lesbian Nazi who murdered Vince Foster and you're saying she's a mud-slinger? If conservatives like Newt were projecting any more obviously, they'd be Imax theaters.

But our mission is to observe, not to editorialize. Here's what Newt thinks the '08 election should be about:
THE KEY to victory in 2008 is for conservatives to communicate three big messages:
  1. America is faced with historic challenges that require historic responses. That is a much different style and approach than we get out of traditional politicians and their traditional consultants.

  2. If we do the right things and implement the right changes, we can build a better, safer, freer and more prosperous America. We should have the nerve to go into every neighborhood and every community and explain why our better future will work. The liberal welfare state has failed, and its bureaucracies cannot be defended if we focus on the human costs of their failures. It is our challenge to focus on the big choices, the big truths and the big contrasts, not on the petty politics of personal viciousness that characterize so much of the current system.

  3. This choice between a failed liberal, welfare-state future and an exciting, successful, conservative, opportunity- society future requires transformation at all levels of American elected office (511,000+ elected officials) and not merely the oval office [this refers to Newt's new 527, American Solutions for Winning the Future, about which more later- ed.].

These are the themes and the call to action I will outline Saturday at CPAC. I hope to see you there.
Again, emphasis mine. So, the lesson of six years of disastrous conservative government is that... liberals have failed? You have to admire his chutzpah.

Still, don't underestimate Newt. Note how he mentions the so-called "human cost" of the welfare state. That's a big flashing sign that he and his minions plan to be out there telling stories about how ordinary people - they'll have names, hometowns, biographies, adorable children, everything - have suffered at the merciless hands of big government. Again, do not underestimate this. It doesn't matter if it's garbage - if the right is out there telling personal stories, and the left is up its own behind with laundry lists and vague rhetoric, we're going to find ourselves caught off guard and mystified, once again, by how such patent conservative nonsense suddenly seems so politically potent. We need to be telling the stories. And the thing is, our stories will make more sense, because they're real and they represent the opinions and experiences of most Americans. But we need to be out there telling them. Because if we don't, Newt and his crowd will.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, February 26, 2007
  Hagel Confused About the Dialectic

Good point at the Right's Field on Chuck Hagel's fantasy "unity ticket":
I have a tremendously hard time believing that any significant group of Americans will vote for a presidential ticket because they are civil and not because of any ideological reasoning. Civility is a red-herring. A political party devoid of any political ideology is the last thing America needs when you look at the problems that will be facing this country after Bush’s term expires.
There is a real problem with divisiveness in American politics, but the answer to that isn't some sort of mindless difference-splitting or knee-jerk pseudo-centrism. The divisiveness problem is a specific one - it's the result of conservative and Republican political tactics and strategies. Likewise, the various crises facing America right now are largely the product of conservative Republican government.

The solution to these problems isn't some vacuous "unity." It's progressive politics.

Labels: ,

  Dixie Down East

Five Before Chaos has been doing outstanding reporting on white supremacist ties to Vermont's secessionist organization, the Second Vermont Republic. It's the kind of fascinating, in-detail investigation of American extremists that Dave Neiwert does. True, it's a local Vermont story, and true, my interests are more with the mainstream of the conservative movement - but I've been fascinated by the SVR story. Check it out.

Labels: , ,

  The Daily Giuliani

The New Republic begins a debate about his chances - and, God forbid - what kind of president he'd be. Michael Tomasky admits to poor powers of prognostication, but points to two abortion-related questions: how many Republican voters actually know Giuliani's position yet, and why would the pro-lifers give up now?
I think he stays ahead in the polls simply because most Republicans don't know his position yet. A new Fox News poll shows that just 42 percent of GOP voters correctly identified Giuliani as pro-choice; 36 percent didn't know, and 21 percent thought he was pro-life (I should note that I object to this term, but ... for simplicity's sake). Once that 42 becomes more like 82 or 92, as it surely will, what then? In the same poll, 46 percent said they were less likely to support a pro-choice candidate, 36 percent a lot less likely.

And none of this is even the main point. The main point ... is that pro-lifers, as far as they're concerned, have labored for 30 years in vain. [...]

But, finally, they're getting close. At the precise moment in history when they think they might have a chance of getting Roe v. Wade overturned, do we really think they're going to trust the precarious future to a man who obstreperously supported partial-birth abortion?
Meanwhile, at the Weekly Standard, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam argue that Giuliani needs to boldly define himself as a "respect conservative," in contrast to George Bush's "compassionate conservatism."
With the exception of a handful of social issues where an explicit flip-flop would look too craven even by today's standards, Giuliani, a sui generis figure, is improbably presenting himself as the kind of unremarkable Bush conservative whose domestic agenda starts with tax cuts and ends with "comprehensive" immigration reform.

Which is too bad, because an orthodox, Grover Norquist-approved Republican candidate is precisely what the party doesn't need--and precisely what Giuliani wasn't during his two terms as mayor.
Giuliani's "respect conservatism," the authors argue, would reflect his politics as mayor: it would be tough-minded, based in an appeal to working class folks who don't want the welfare state abolished, but don't want the 'elitist liberals' and their multicultural friends running it, either. In other words, they want to see the politics Giuliani developed to appeal to the old working class, Catholic, white-ethnic voters of the outer boroughs, applied to the national level. The authors gloss over the vicious racial divisiveness of Giuliani's mayoral tactics - in fact, they seem to embrace it.

And the Republicans wonder why their party has a race problem.

Labels: , ,

  Enemy Mine

So at the very end of last week's TWICO I mentioned Peter Berkowitz's bizarre attempt to declare Alan Wolfe the Ann Coulter of the left. Now I see that Wolfe has rather effectively fired back.

The dispute was triggered by Wolfe's review, for the New York Times, of Dinesh D'Souza's stupid little book. Berkowitz demonstrated a basic grasp of sound moral logic by denouncing D'Souza's atrocity, but he couldn't help trying to play the moral equivilance card by looking for similar sins on the left. Specifically, Berkowitz objected to Wolfe's suggestion that conservatives should publicly renounce D'Souza and his thesis (not a bad idea, considering that D'Souza is still the "Rishwain Research Fellow" at one of the most influential conservative think-tanks in America - imagine, for instance, if Ward Churchill were on staff at the Brookings Institution). According to Berkowitz, it turns out Wolfe is just as bad!

Why? Because of an essay Wolfe wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education several years ago, in which he used the work of German conservative philosopher Carl Schmitt to analyze the tactics and strategy of the Rovian Republican party. Schmitt joined the NSDAP in 1933; to Berkowitz, the use of Schmitt's writing to discuss the GOP is tantamount to calling Republicans Nazis, which is just as bad as anything D'Souza has said about the left.

I haven't read the original Wolfe essay, because I don't have a subscription to the Chronicle. But I know exactly the point Wolfe was trying to make. In fact, I'm cursing the fact that I'm an obscure blogger, because I've been making the same argument, using the same text - Schmitt's The Concept of the Political - for a few years now myself. I got there first! Okay, I'm over it.

Schmitt wrote the essay in 1932, a year before he joined the Nazis. It has been interpreted in various ways, though most prominently as a call for national unity as against an alien "other." As an analysis of politics, however, it's considerably more subtle than that. Schmitt - and I don't have the book with me at the moment, so I'm going from memory - argues that the fundamental dynamic of politics is the "friend-enemy" distinction, that is, the opposition between those who are not bound up into the same system of sovereign authority. This is "politics as war," though it needn't be actual war - just conceived as an existential confrontation. In a sense, one might think of it as a rebuke-in-advance to John Rawls' liberal "overlapping consensus," which arranges a conception of politics around how disparate philosophies can achieve public common ground. Schmitt's priority is the existential exclusion of one political group by another. Interestingly, one could argue that had Weimar Germany taken Schmitt more seriously - or had there been time for them to do so - his points could have helped save the Republic, by illuminating to the liberal government the need for a crackdown on its illiberal enemies.

Wolfe, from what I understand, uses Schmitt to argue that certain conservatives have developed a well-formed conception of politics-as-war, of existential confrontation between themselves and liberals - even if liberals don't see it. Berkowitz characterizes Wolfe's argument as follows:
The supposed fascism of today's conservatives, argues Wolfe, helps us understand their electoral successes: "Conservatives win nearly all of their political battles with liberals because they are the only force in America that is truly political." For conservatives, he contends, "politics never stops" and is driven by rank partisanship indifferent to the public interest; liberals are "unworthy of recognition"; rights must be trampled upon and the power of the state to deal with emergencies must be relentlessly expanded because "conservatives always find cases of emergency." By contrast, claims Wolfe, liberals such as himself seek consensus, believe in pluralism, honor toleration, question their own convictions, and respect individual rights.
Of course, my guess is that Berkowitz is misrepresenting Wolfe from the first sentence of that paragraph - did Wolfe really "suppose" that conservatives were fascist? Schmitt's theory is a useful tool of analysis in the same way as many other theories: as a metaphor, a pure-state representation of dynamics that, in the real world, do not function so purely. Certain conservatives can operate in a way that is reminiscent of Schmitt's friend-enemy conception of politics - this does not mean that they are "fascists" per se (though it does put them in dangerously illiberal territory, but we've seen plenty of evidence for that).

Berkowitz simply doesn't want to acknowledge the depths to which much right-wing discourse has sunk:
It is risible, therefore, for Wolfe to seek to assimilate Ann Coulter's vitriol and Bill O'Reilly's grandstanding to Schmitt's concept of the political. They are writers and talkers, often shouters, public performers, and certainly culture warriors. But they are no more disposed to take up arms against the left than is the left disposed to take up arms against them. In their acceptance, for all practical purposes, of individual rights and the democratic process, they are, from a Schmittian point of view, liberals indistinguishable from Wolfe himself.
Thus, he says, "Wolfe's contention that conservatives are animated by the spirit of a Nazi political theorist is scarcely less incendiary or more defensible than D'Souza's claim that the cultural left forms a de facto alliance with al Qaeda."

That whizzing sound is the point, flying by a good foot or two over Berkowitz's head.

An amusing irony of this - one that Wolfe points out - is that it's the radical left that has most enthusiastically taken up Schmitt's work these days. I first read Schmitt as part of a class I was taking with Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, whose work - which most famously includes a book called Hegemony and Socialist Strategy - exists somewhere at the intersection of Gramsci and Foucault (incidently, one could argue that some modern conservatives - whether consciously or not - emulate the ideas of Gramsci as much as those of Schmitt). Laclau and Mouffe draw on Schmitt specifically because they can use him to reject the ideas of liberal theorists like Rawls and Jurgen Habermas. I've since come to see L & M's "radical democracy" as both hopelessly esoteric and, insofar as I can figure out what it's supposed to be, rather illiberal. But they certainly understand the concept of politics-as-war (they just don't fight it very well), and nobody can describe them as fascists.

Wolfe responds to Berkowitz with a mixture of sadness and derision:
In the world according to Peter Berkowitz, there are no right-wing bloggers calling the president's critics traitors, no Swift-boating of Democratic candidates, no violations of civil liberty associated with our Republican president, no authorized leaks of the names of CIA agents, no dramatic increase in the use of presidential signing statements, no use of torture, no suspension of habeas corpus, no breaks with our historic allies over such methods, no biased editorial pages and networks, no Rush Limbaughs, no vigilantes patrolling our borders, no invented quotations from Abraham Lincoln, no manipulations of intelligence, no appeals to racial and religious bigotry.
The larger irony of this dispute, though, might be in how Berkowitz's dishonest attempt to paint Wolfe as outside the pale merely reaffirms Wolfe's thesis: it's yet another maneuver in the right's campaign of politics-as-war.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, February 25, 2007
  Luntz Speakz

Exiled GOP strategist Frank Luntz has an op-ed in the Washington Post today, calling on Republicans to embrace the "fed ups ... a large and growing constituency of independent voters who have held the balance of power in every election since 1992, and will hold it again in 2008."

Luntz criticizes Congressional Republicans for starting off the 110th Congress not with a series of counter-proposals to the Democratic agenda, but with whiny procedural complaints. Like Newt Gingrich, Luntz wants the Republicans to become the party of bold ideas again - and he cites hard-rightists like Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) (last seen fighting for purity at the conservative summit) and Sen. John Kyl (AZ) as examples of smart leadership.

What's amusing is that Luntz does not stop to consider whether it might be the conservatives' bold ideas with which the public is "fed up" in the first place.

Labels: , , ,

  Rudy's Not a Juggernaut Yet

So Giuliani is about a mile ahead of the field. Stoller says we should stop listening to those who say Rudy can't win the GOP presidential nomination because he's "pro-abort" and "pro-gay":
Like a lot of us, [Josh Marshall] thinks that Republicans base their political judgment on issues, ie. gay rights, abortion, national defense, taxes, etc. He makes the same mistake that a lot of Democrats make, assuming that conservatives think the way that we do. They don't. They are authoritarians. Gay marriage, abortion, taxes, national security, none of it really matters to them. What they are looking for is an authoritarian to look like he's taking charge, and the way an authoritarian takes charge is to attack liberals and stomp on people who aren't like them. Giuliani did this in New York, so he's a rock star in Alabama. It's the same thing with Mitt Romney - he's not even being the least bit subtle about reversing everything he 'believed' in Massachusetts, but it doesn't matter. The right-wing base is entirely unprincipled, subduing any concerns they might have over political issues to a sheer authoritarian impulse.


And please please please stop assuming that they think like we do. They don't. Right-wingers are right-wingers for a reason. If they thought like us they'd be Democrats.
If we go by the Hunter Baker theorem - that GOP primary voters inevitably go for the biggest dog in the race - then Giuliani's looking like a lock.

I don't know. Mind you, I've had the same thoughts about Giuliani as Stoller has. Clearly he's got this mystical authoritarian appeal, the kind of thing that, as we've seen, tends to induce right-wingers to ignore their "principles" and swoon into hero-worship mode.

The Rudy dynamic right now is the mirror image of the Romney dynamic. In each case, somebody has to abandon principles. Romney does it so the voters don't have to. Insofar as the principles at stake are a vague pro-choiciness and not-anti-gayishness, Giuliani is sticking to his guns and inviting the primary voters to abandon theirs. This does have the effect of adding to his strong-leader mystique, as any liberal who has ever torn his own hair out over Democratic wishy-washiness will tell you.

The question is can it continue. And how much influence do conservative opinion-leaders really have over their own crowd? Because Romney, thanks to his furious pandering, seems to be staying in the good graces of the conservative elite - and meanwhile, there is a genuine and persistent disdain for Giuliani. Certainly, it's coming from only a portion of the conservative leadership, but it's very real, and one can expect it to be amplified when Rudy officially jumps in. For instance, here's Nathanael Blake at Human Events:
I think Giuliani is the least electable of the leading Republican candidates. His personal life makes Bill Clinton look good, his views on social issues from abortion to gun control are to the left of the American mainstream, let alone the Republican mainstream, his personality is nasty and abrasive, and his successes are mostly in areas that the public doesn’t worry about much anymore.
Blake is responding to Steven Malanga's City Journal piece, which was the most significant effort so far to frame Giuliani as a genuine conservative (it should be noted that City Journal is published by the Manhattan Institute, which was closely linked with the Giuliani administration in New York). Blake argues that Giuliani's signature issues as mayor - crime, welfare and taxes - simply do not resonate these days at the national level.

Of course, Blake does not discuss the authoritarian personality that likely explains Rudy's real appeal to many conservatives. But he does provide further indication that many in the conservative movement are biding their time before they begin an assault on the mayor. And he reveals an interesting thing when he mentions Rudy's 9/11 performance:
America is tired of 9/11, and while the Mayor’s work in the aftermath is admirable and will no doubt help him, I don’t think being a competent mayor who stood strong after the attacks is going to be enough to win a national election seven years later, especially given all of his baggage.
What's fascinating about this is how it suggests that conservatives will be making the case that Giuliani's 9/11 performance is irrelevant to his qualifications for the presidency. If and when Rudy does get the GOP nomination, Democrats may find it useful that the right has done some of that groundwork.

I'm still somewhat inclined to agree with Stoller: for very many conservatives, strong personality and mythmaking trumps all. But at the same time, Giuliani has nowhere to go but down. Take the warnings of Tony Perkins, take the clear signals from the Council for National Policy crowd, take the hints provided by columns by people like Blake and Terrence Jeffrey, take the fact that voters haven't even had the chance to see for themselves how grating Giuliani can be. All of this, no doubt, is why Rudy hasn't announced yet. In fact, I imagine that he'll wait as long as possible to do so. As long as he's only a potential candidate, he's the frontrunner. Once enters the race, the trial begins, and the gap will narrow.

Labels: , ,

  First Thing You Learn Is You Always Got to Wait

When we last saw Paul Weyrich, he was urging social conservatives to wait and see whether a "real" conservative candidate would emerge, rather than jumping on the electability bandwagon with one of the unappealing frontrunners.

The New York Times reports today on the deliberations of Weyrich and his peers in the conservative illuminati at the Council for National Policy, the most publicity-seeking "shadowy" organization in America. Seems they're still waiting for the messiah. And the situation is unnerving them:
[I]n a stark shift from the group’s influence under President Bush, the group risks relegation to the margins. Many of the conservatives who attended the event, held at the beginning of the month at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla., said they were dismayed at the absence of a champion to carry their banner in the next election.
Reading between the lines, it's interesting to note that, as it enumerates the Council members' complaints, the Times piece leads with denunciations of McCain and Guiliani, relegating Romney to a second tier of conservative discontent. Is this because Romney is a second-tier candidate, or because he doesn't offend them quite as much as the other two?

Here's another interesting little tidbit:
Finally, in a measure of their dissatisfaction, a delegation of prominent conservatives at Amelia Island tried to enlist as a candidate Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina, a guest speaker at the event. A charismatic politician with a clear conservative record, Mr. Sanford is almost unknown outside his home state and has done nothing to prepare for a presidential run. He firmly declined the group’s entreaties, people involved in the recruiting effort said. A spokesman for Mr. Sanford said he would not comment.
At the National Review recently, Mallory Factor praised Stanford for his supposed ability - apparently rather unique among governors - to avoid raising taxes. Sanford's clearly not going to jump in this time around - unless he's got some stunt up his sleeve - but is somebody worth keeping an eye on as a potential star on the conservative bench.

And speaking of governors with star potential, Mike Huckabee was said to be lurking about during the Council's deliberations. The Huckster, as we have learned, is a slick social conservative with powerful political skills (albeit with a rather strange intepretation of history) - but he's persona non grata on the right because of his tax-raising record in Arkansas. But it seems he's ready to be born again:
Mr. Huckabee said he was now leaning toward signing a pledge not to raise income taxes that is presented to all the candidates by Mr. Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.

Mr. Norquist said he remained open to any of the three candidates who spoke to the council or to Mr. Romney. He argued that with the right promises, any of the four could redeem themselves in the eyes of the conservative movement despite their past records, just as some high school students take abstinence pledges even after having had sex.

“It’s called secondary virginity,” Mr. Norquist said. “It is a big movement in high school and also available for politicians.”
Of course, we all know how these virginity pledges usually work out.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, February 24, 2007
  Reagan Redux

Let me add one note to my post below about Ronald Reagan. Sweeping evaluations of a president's role in geopolitics have their place, and in this case we may or may not see convincing evidence that Reagan's ambitious policies resulted in some greater good for the world. But such analyses all too often gloss over the many ways in which such masters of civilization cause real, brutal, unnecessary harm to ordinary people.

I said that I don't know much about Reagan, relatively speaking, but I do know that he was the president whose administration illegally sold arms to a hostile theocratic Iran in order to finance an illegal war in Nicaragua, and on a personal level, I know a little bit about the results of that scheme. A member of my extended family was a Sandinista. He was not some scary communist automaton seeking to bring down democracy in America - just a small farmer who felt obligated to try and defend the best interests of his village from the brutality of the Nicaraguan right. Reagan's war left my relative deeply traumatized, in a way he can't really communicate - and now he and his neighbors struggle to get by without even the modest social assistance once offered by the (admittedly corrupt and authoritarian) Sandinista government. Those little I's and V's and X's roll across the global Risk board without hinting at the destruction they cause ordinary people along the way. All that talk of "freedom" sounds very grand, but it doesn't look like freedom when it's killing the people you love.

Maybe Reagan was a grand strategist who engineered the end of the Cold War. Or maybe not. But, if every world leader has blood on his or her hands, Reagan's hands had more blood than necessary. And it was real.


Friday, February 23, 2007
  The Reagan Re-Evaluation?

My earliest political memories of are the way my father spat the name of Ronald Reagan. "Reagan," as I heard it, was a word that insinuated feckless stupidity, somehow enabled by the greater part of society, while the rational few could do little but suffer along through the farce. And since that time I've seen little to change my mind; the Gipper, as I have understood him, was described in a nutshell in a famous Nation piece called "66 Things to Think About when Flying into Reagan National Airport":
The firing of the air traffic controllers, winnable nuclear war, recallable nuclear missiles, trees that cause pollution, Elliott Abrams lying to Congress, ketchup as a vegetable, colluding with Guatemalan thugs, pardons for F.B.I. lawbreakers, voodoo economics, budget deficits, toasts to Ferdinand Marcos, public housing cutbacks, redbaiting the nuclear freeze movement, James Watt.
And that's only the first fourteen.

Of course, if one is interested, there's no lack of hagiographies from the right; sometimes I think that deifying Reagan is the primary function of the conservative movement - certainly it seems to be the only thing upon which everyone on the right can agree. But one thing I've learned is that conservatives, intellectually speaking, are at their worst when making historical analogies, and all the more so when they get crossed up into hero-worship and messianism. So I steer clear.

But what to make of something like "Reconstructing Ronald Reagan," from the March 1 edition of the New York Review of Books? Here's Russell Baker - a liberal, as far as I can tell - approvingly reviewing a quartet of books that would rehabilitate the 40th president. Reagan, Baker tells us, was "mystifying" but also perhaps transformative in a positive sense - a great president, after all.

Baker's primary focus is a book by John Patrick Diggins titled Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History. Diggins, too is a liberal - yet he rates Reagan as "one of the two or three truly great presidents in American history." Just what the hell is going on here?

Diggins, a professor of intellectual history at CUNY, is apparently interested in casting Reagan as Emerson reincarnated: a "political romantic," who was like the great Transcendentalist in that, as Baker summarizes, he
wanted to rid Americans of the Puritanical tradition, of thinking about life in terms of sin, suffering, and sacrifice. Emerson made the self divine. One did not need to look up or outward to find God. God was within oneself, and so the self itself was sacred, and therefore incapable of sin. Nor could its desires be causes for guilt. Like Emerson, Diggins says, Reagan wanted to free America of an inhibiting fear of selfishness, and indeed to let selfishness flourish.
This Baker contrasts to "the dark Baptist visions" of Jimmy Carter, and the evangelicals' obsessions with sin and failure. Reagan's "morning in America," it seems, was the polar opposite of the born-agains' apocalypse.

But it isn't just that old sunny optimism that moves these writers to recast Reagan's presidency. They also credit him with having ended the Cold War - but not, it is important to note, for the same reasons the conservatives do. The conservative narrative is very simple: devoted to the idea of freedom, Reagan undertook a massive expansion of the American military - particularly the nuclear arsenal - intimidating Americas' enemies and ultimately driving the Soviets to bankruptcy and collapse.

But this isn't the story Baker and Diggins and John Arquilla tell. Their Reagan was horrified at the Cold War status quo of Casper Weinberger and Richard Perle and Henry Kissinger, with their "'mutual assured destruction,' 'kill ratios,' 'throw weights,' and 'first-strike casualties' numbered in millions." This Reagan came to Washington determined to overthrow such murderous orthodoxies, which held humanity hostage to the specter of nuclear annihilation. One might suggest that this analysis glosses over Reagan's first-term brinksmanship to focus on his later "pragmatism" and "flexibility" - combined with his admittedly idealistic willingness to negotiate one-on-one with Mikhail Gorbachev in an effort to bring about something approaching nuclear disarmament (and Baker, to be fair, argues in favor of giving Gorbachev due credit for being equally bold). Thus was Reagan a great peacemaker, though not for the reasons the right would like to claim he was.

Honestly, I don't know what to do with this. In due time, I'll study the man enough to come to some of my own conclusions, but I would be disingenuous if I tried to rebut such claims given how little I know right now.

The ultimate irony of this debate, though, might be how it centers upon the ways in which Ronald Reagan, icon of conservatism, was in fact a liberal. Diggins uses the term. And the author, who as we've seen is ready to promote Reagan to the pantheon, is least convinced by his anti-government rhetoric. Baker tells us that Diggins "dismisses this as nonsense." But here - and I have not read the book, so I can judge only by the review - Diggins' analysis seems to put us in a quandary.

If Reagan was the presidential incarnation of Emerson, as Diggins would have it, it was because of the way he celebrated the individual, liberated the individual from the constraints of pessimism and Protestantism, freed the glorious selfishness within. This is a form of American liberalism in its most classic sense. And yet Diggins breaks with Reagan over his own optimism about human nature. Says Baker:
In this, Emerson put Reagan at intellectual odds with the Republic's founders who believed that men were not angels and so needed strong government to preserve an orderly state. Suggesting that men are not angels—Madison's observation—conflicts with Emerson's thinking about the sacred self and so, Diggins says, would have made Reagan frown had he attended the Constitutional Convention.

Fond though he is of Reagan, Diggins comes down at the end on Madison's side:
Reagan told the people what they wanted to hear, whereas the framers told them what they needed to know—a government that refuses to educate, lead, and guide, to elevate and "refine and enlarge" the "passions and interests" of the people, is a government that cannot control the governed and cannot control itself.
But how are we to reconcile this with the glorious "selfishness" that seems to be at the heart of Diggins' praise for Reagan? The modern liberal would say that Madison was surely right - if for the wrong reasons. Ultimately, the unrestrained pursuit of selfishness makes people less free, because those who stand to gain when selfishness is the governing principle are those who have the most power to aggrandize themselves at the expense of others. Is the modern liberal, unlike her classical forbears, suspicious of human nature? That's a question for another time. But surely the spirit of Emerson - the unwavering belief in the idea that each person should be able to realize her own greatness - requires an understanding that, in modern times, the party of pure self brings along with it fellow-travellers who seek to use the philosophy of selfishness to discredit Madison's idea of government - the better to enrich themselves on the backs of others. Reagan's own glorious appeal to self-interest may have been liberal in an archaic sense of the term, but in effect didn't it serve to negate everything for which liberals have always stood? In other words, don't we need Madison now in order to have Emerson? And if Reagan rejected the former, how could he be described as having emulated the latter?

So I've got a lot to learn. Because right now, I'm still stuck at the very beginning of Baker's review, mystified.

Labels: , ,

  This Week in Conservative Organs: Muddy Waters

Sometimes all we liberals want is a little moral clarity. Right is right, wrong is wrong, and justice should be done. Well honey, ain't no way in the world could we be satisfied. Our conservative organists are well versed in the postmodern possibilities of multiple truths, and of all the shadows they cast on America, the one they're trying hardest to cast these days is the shadow of doubt.

TWICO Feature: I have got in a little trouble

Reasonable doubt, mind you. Exhibit A: The trial of one I. Lewis Libby. Writing at the National Review, Byron York asks: "did Fitzgerald prove his case?" On the charge of lying about his conversation with Matthew Cooper, York doesn't think so:
Certainly Fitzgerald’s evidence for the two Cooper Counts is quite weak. Libby says one thing, while Cooper says another. It’s entirely possible the jury simply will not accept Fitzgerald’s allegation in the absence of more definitive evidence.
Tim Russert, though, is a little more skilled at giving the impression of truthiness, and York suggests that his testimony may be more damaging to Scooter. Still, "there is no more documentary evidence to support Russert’s story than there is to support Cooper’s," says York. What's more, Russert himself could not absolutely guarantee that he was 1000% percent sure about every detail:
[FBI agent Jack] Eckenrode, who took notes but did not record the conversation, wrote that “Russert does not recall stating to Libby, in this conversation, anything about the wife of former ambassador Joe Wilson. Although he could not completely rule out the possibility that he had such an exchange, Russert was at a loss to remember it, and moreover, he believes that this would be the type of conversation that he would or should remember. Russert acknowledged that he speaks to many people on a daily basis and it is difficult to reconstruct some specific conversations, particularly one which occurred several months ago.”

During the trial, Libby’s lawyers emphasized the “not completely rule out the possibility” and the “difficult to reconstruct some specific conversations” parts of Eckenrode’s notes in hopes of introducing some doubts in the jurors’ minds about Russert’s recollection.
So what might it take to propel the jury out beyond that shadow of a doubt? Well, there's always sheer liberal fecklessness:
In the end, it seems hard to believe that Libby will be acquitted on all counts. The jury is, after all, a District of Columbia jury, and it stretches the imagination to believe they would unanimously exonerate Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.
Setting aside the fact that there are probably few places anywhere in the country where you could assemble twelve individuals who wouldn't like to stick it to Dick Cheney, York suggests that Libby's defense just may have raised enough doubts to get Scooter off the hook on at least some of the charges.

But of course there is another shadow in this case, and as Patrick Fitzgerald has pointed out, it looms over the Vice President. York, in the next installment of his trial coverage, complains that "the undertone of Fitzgerald’s argument, and, in retrospect, of his entire investigation, was that a simple effort at political pushback — the bid to discredit Wilson — was somehow a criminal act."

Here York gets to play public defender for the Bush administration. He's got the burden of proof on his side, since, as Judge Walton pointed out, this case is specifically not about whether or not Valerie Plame was in fact under cover, or whether the administration deliberately and illegally outed her. The case is about whether Scooter Libby lied to the FBI and to a grand jury. Thus, technically, one can analyze the case without discussing whether there were any misdeeds perpetrated by the White House, or the Office of the Vice President. There may or may not be a forest here, argues York, but the important thing is what to make of all the damn trees:
After three years of investigation, Fitzgerald did not charge anyone with leaking Mrs. Wilson’s identity. Yet throughout the trial, Fitzgerald attempted to create an atmosphere of accusation, an accusation that Libby and Cheney and the Bush White House criminally exposed a covert CIA operative. On Tuesday, he reached for the big payoff.

The problem was, of course, that he had no proof of what he was saying.
Because, of course, he was not allowed to offer any such proof. And thus the shadow of doubt returns, this time shielding the administration. Sure, there was an "effort at political pushback," and sure, there was a CIA operative whose cover was most likely blown in the course of the effort, and sure it's a bit silly to imagine that Scooter Libby cooked this all up on his own, especially given the public record. But that's not what's on trial here.

York observes that "a trial ... is not necessarily a search for truth." Which may be lucky for Dick Cheney.

ALSO AT NRO... Bill Buckley seeks to muddy the waters on the evolution "debate," specifically over whether John McCain should be considered a fool for accepting an invitation to speak at the neo-creationist Discovery Institute. Hey, says Buckley, let's not rush to judgment:
The questions are profound, and the arguments subtle. It is not reasonably expected of Senator McCain, or any other contender for the presidency, that in his public appearances he will explicate all the conundrums.
Indeed. We shouldn't expect the Senator to have figured out all the nuances of whether it's crazy to go around saying the earth is flat.

Evidently, the Buckley piece generated some complaints, as John Derbyshire feels compelled to offer a rebuttal - though, when you're dealing with the patron saint of your movement, a rebuttal can come across looking almost like an apologia. The Derb ruminates interestingly - if somewhat confusingly - on the psychology of human interaction, especially as it pertains to religion and politics - and he points out that the methodology of science doesn't really accomodate such psychological practices. The conclusion, I think, is that scientists and creationists will never understand each other, and we should understand that these debates are just always going to be with us. All in all, an entirely moderate piece - though I'm not sure whether moderation in the pursuit of reality is a virtue.

MEANWHILE... Kathryn Jean Lopez recounts Mitt Romney's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad week: dissed twice in the Washington Post, mocked at NRO, exposed in the Boston Globe (not to mention dumped at RedState) - should the good Governor pack it in? No way, says K-Lo: "it's way early." Lopez quotes us a couple of experts:
Don’t rush to any conclusions, some professional politics-watchers say. “Romney can be saved — no religious pun intended,” University of Virginia professor and oft-quoted horserace expert Larry Sabato tells NRO. “A presidential campaign, especially this one, is a long and winding road. He has the money, the basic skills, and the fundamental charisma to overcome his challenges.”

“It’s still early. Romney can recover,” Republican pollster Robert Moran, vice president of Strategy One, agrees. “The real question may be ‘when will McCain and Giuliani implode?’ Neither of these two is a good fit for the base, and the conservative media will batter these two.”
Further reinforcement is offered by James Bopp Jr., who tells us that Romney is a true social conservative - even if only lately. The point, says Bopp, is that pro-lifers are always trying to make converts, so why should they reject one who's running for president? Yeah, sure he's a Mormon, but:
his faith should be viewed by social conservatives as a good sign, not as a matter of concern. The Mormon religion, while having tenets that Christians do not share, is profoundly conservative in its support for life, family, and marriage. Thus, Romney’s religion reinforces, rather than conflicts with, his conversion.
And what are your other choices? Giuliani? McCain? Please:
the fact remains that Romney opposes public funds for embryo-destructive research that McCain and Giuliani support. Romney has fought for a federal marriage amendment and McCain and Giuliani oppose one. There is the simple question of whether social conservatives want someone who is currently on their side or someone who currently opposes them.
At least someone at NRO is seeking clarity.

MISC'ALLY... Bruce Bartlett blames Bush for choosing a Vice President with no "ambitions of his own" [Er, WTF? - ed.] thus depriving the GOP of a presidential heir apparent; Thomas Sowell reveals how the poor are "human shields" for those whose true interest in the welfare state is government control of the golf courses; David Lewis Schaefer takes the National Park Service to task for unpatriotically failing to gloss over Jim Crow; and Victor Davis Hanson tells us that "Democratic senators and candidates should simply confess that ... most of the earlier reasons to remove Saddam remain valid." Which is a great point, if by "valid" Hanson means "completely and totally debunked."

Up-is-Downism Award: You better not be messin' with the man

I have a feeling that TWICO's favorite honor is only one more brilliant column away from being renamed the "R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. Up-is-Downism Award." R. has done it again, this time excoriating the Democrats for pretending that Congress has anything to do with war powers. Just what are these jokers up to?
If they can effectively hamstring our efforts in Iraq, they somehow think the American electorate will blame the whole thing on the Republicans.
Sussed! I can't imagine how the American people could possibly blame the Iraq debacle on the Republican party, but you can always count on the devious libs to find a way. And the result?
The more Iraq descends into anarchy, the more likely the American people will whoop it up for the political party that, as the Washington Post has put it, linked "support for President Bush's war-funding request to strict standards of resting, training and equipping combat forces."
Well, only if the Republicans don't rig the whooping machines next November. At any rate, as R. tells us, the point is that "the Democrats' political meddling in this war is obviously dragging it out and endangering our troops."

And certainly, the fact that the Iraq war has dragged on longer than World War II can be blamed on the Democrats, who after all were the ones who failed to plan it properly and then had total control of government for three and a half years while everything went to hell. And then there's the fact that Democrats have been misleading the public: R. points out that they "fabricated a complaint, to wit, 'Bush lied to us about WMDs.'" Whatevs, Dems! Bush lied honestly!

ALSO AT THE AMERICAN SPECTATOR... G. Tracy Mehan, III is sort of cute how he's totally blown away by the fact that "only 17" Republican members of the House voted for the anti-escalation resolution:
Discipline within the GOP is truly a sight to behold. Despite predictions of 50, even 60 Republican votes for the Democratic leadership's anti-surge resolution, only a fraction of that number actually voted for it.
What's this game called? The Expectations Game? No sir, I've never - MY GOD THAT'S AMAZING.

Mehan thinks that, far from being split, the GOP is actually pulling together over the Iraq war, which is good, because as his fellow 'III' - W. James Antle III - observes, things aren't so hot on the social front. Why, wonders Antle, are McCain and Romney such incompetent boobs when it comes to picking up the abortion stick and beating Guiliani with it? At least Rudy hasn't joined the pandering, and that consistency is probably why he's not taking hits from the sociocons. Says Antle: "perhaps the moral of the story is this: If you can't respect life, at least try to respect pro-lifers' intelligence."

MEANWHILE, Lisa Fabrizio reacts negatively to her readers' readiness to believe Rudy when he says he'll appoint "originalist" judges. A true originalist, argues Fabrizio, would have done the right thing as mayor and let Manhattan sidewalk vendors sell Uzis to all comers. And then she makes a bid for the Up-is-Downism award:
It seems to me that he is open to abuse of the U.S Constitution in order to serve a "greater good." I suspect that the overwhelming majority of conservatives would agree that when the supreme law of the land is at stake, the end can never justifies the means.
Except, you know, every so often.

AND... The Prowler reports that Mitt's getting Jeb folk while McCain is losing Hollywood folk; Peter Hannaford says "Karl Rove Was Wrong" (who knew that could happen?) - in the age of 24-hour cable news cycles, a two-year-long presidential campaign is just about right; Jackie Mason compares Anna Nicole to a bakery; and Megan Basham pines for the days when the dirty hippies actually dug Jesus: "he even inspired a colorful and refreshingly non-blasphemous musical and film." You don't see Amanda Marcotte in Godspell!, that's my point here.


At the Weekly Standard, Victorino Matus explains the joys of 'Civilization,' the video game. It's actually an interesting piece, if pitched somewhat towards the "get off my lawn" crowd, who need some reassurance as to why the whole thing amounts to something more than just a buncha damn beatnik nonsense. But there's an itchy irony you start to feel, reading an article extolling the virtues of a game that lets you be a Ceasar or a Napolean - considering that it's published at the Weekly Standard. Matus quotes the game's creator, Sid Meier, saying that "the game kind of lets you be yourself," and you start to think about what that means to some of this crowd, and Meier says that:
"people like to be in these positions in games that they probably don't have a chance to be in real life and it tapped into that fantasy to a certain extent of being the leader of a civilization and having the destiny of all these people depending on you, and that was fun."
and you just get the damn creeps.

But there's this funny line from Meier, who as a kid played 'Risk' but not 'Diplomacy':"You had to have friends to play Diplomacy so that kind of left me out." Speaking as an American citizen, Sid, I know how you feel.

MEANWHILE, the Standard's own champion civilization-game-player, Bill Kristol, introduces us to the "slow-bleed" meme, in yet another one of his bitter anti-anti-war screeds; Joseph Leconte blames liberals for not believing conservatives when they shout "wolf!" over Iran; Michel Gurfinkiel gives us the "good news" about the French presidential election, which is that both major candidates are pretty conservative; Igor Khrestin tells us that Russian President Putin's harsh criticism of U.S. foreign policy "does not indicate a significant shift in policy;" and Peter Berkowitz plays a nifty little moral equivilance game, where he balances Dinesh D'Souza and Ann Coulter, who have accused liberals of treasonously collaborating with the terrorist enemy who not long ago killed thousands of Americans, and the latter of whom has more or less openly called for the deaths of her political opponents, with Alan Wolfe who once used the writings of Carl Schmitt to analyze Republican political strategy. Muddy waters indeed.

I've actually got more to say on that last article, and so at some point I'll say it, but for now, my keyboard won't write no more.

Have a great weekend.

Labels: , , ,

  Please Have a Seat in Our Waiting Room

Welcome, Buzzfeeders. I'd offer you some snacks but the marriage people ate them all. Please feel free to hang out and admire the artwork.

Dear regular readers: This Week in Conservative Organs will appear shortly. The editor has set himself a strict deadline of 4:00pm EST, by which he means 5:00pm EST. We realize that some of you may be planning to leave "work" and go "home" to enjoy your "weekend." We ask you to reconsider. Surely it's worth staying in the office a little longer to read what Thomas Sowell has to say about the big-government conspiracy to nationalize the golf courses.

Meanwhile, to entertain you, here's a little light D'Souza bashing.

UPDATE: By which he means, maybe 5:30. brb.

Labels: ,

Thursday, February 22, 2007
  The Joy of Conservapedia

Oh, this is going to be a hoot. Seems that Phyllis Schlafly's even-loonier son Andrew has finally found a solution to the rampant liberal bias of reality Wikipedia. Introducing... Conservapedia! It's an encyclopedia of know-nothingism, Godly and patriotic:
Conservapedia is a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American. On Wikipedia, many of the dates are provided in the anti-Christian "C.E." instead of "A.D.", which Conservapedia uses. Christianity receives no credit for the great advances and discoveries it inspired, such as those of the Renaissance. Read a list of many Examples of Bias in Wikipedia.

Conservapedia is an online resource and meeting place where we favor Christianity and America. Conservapedia has easy-to-use indexes to facilitate review of topics. You will much prefer using Conservapedia compared to Wikipedia if you want concise answers free of "political correctness".
While I presume that there are more than a few conservatives who just find the damn thing embarassing, that's not going to stop us from having a little fun with it.

Unfortunately, the poor site's servers are not holding up well under all the traffic, so a little patience is required if you want to nose around. Let's look at a few highlights, though. I'll try to keep them concise and free of "political correctness."

First stop: Conservative. Here is the entirety of the entry:
Of or relating to Conservatism.

Pete Seeger, once accused of being a communist, countered “I say I’m more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.”

Retrieved from ""
Well, this is perplexing. Pete Seeger?

Let's follow the link to "Conservatism":
Login required to edit
From Conservapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
You have to log in to edit pages.

Return to Conservatism.

Retrieved from ""
I know these guys are new and all, but one would think that Conservapedia would have more to offer on the subject of conservatism than a terse little tautology embellished only by a mystifying reference to a communist folk singer.

Well, they say you can define people by their enemies, right?

A liberal in the early 1800s in Europe was one who favored more powerful elected assemblies. The term was common in France shortly after the French Revolution. Modern liberals are treasonous [1] and generally hate America [2].
Concise indeed! I'm pleased to see that Conservapedia's entries include sourcing - though disappointed to find that neither footnote actually leads anywhere.

In fact, none of this is leading anywhere. Let's try again - this time starting at the top.
Fictional Characters (Redirected from God)

God is pretty popular, but judging by God's blog, and several thousand years of human history, He's kind of a dick.

John Galt is generally a bit less popular, but he's got more sex appeal.
I have to admit, these conservatives are really throwing me for a loop, here. John Galt? Who's that?

It's beginning to appear that Andy could use some help with this project, and evidently that help isn't going to come from God. Where else can he turn? Mom?
There is no page titled "Phyllis Schlafly". You can create this page.

For more information about searching Conservapedia, see Searching Conservapedia.
Nothingness! It's enough to drive a man to atheism!
Atheism is the disbelief in the existence of any supernatural deity. This disbelief can take a number of forms, such as the assertion that deities do not exist, or the absence of any belief in any deity.

Stalin and Richard Dawkins are prominent atheists. Dawkins wrote a book, called "The God Delusion". Stalin is now dead, having killed millions of people in the name of Marxis-Leninism (which is predicated on atheism). [Take that Dawkins! How many people have you killed? What? All you did was write a book, you pansy? - ed.]

Atheist morality
Viewed as a simple philosophical framework of "no god exists", atheism can provide no logical basis for any moral standard. Some atheists reject normal social conventions and live their lives according to the rule that "anything goes". Many feel this has led to a large rise in crime[1], drug use, pre-marital sex, teenage pregnancy,[2] pedophilia[3] and bestiality.
Thus does Conservapedia lead one way: downhill, and fast.

Labels: , ,

  Rudy's Catholic Problem

National Review editor Kate O'Beirne writes in the NY Daily News today that "Giuliani's Catholicism - and his rejection of some church teachings - could be a significant factor over the long run of the 2008 campaign." O'Beirne points out that American Catholics, when they vote Republican, tend to do so based on social issues - while, on economic issues, they're generally closer to the Democrats. Giuliani, as a "social liberal," risks losing these voters in a general election, since he offers them little reason to vote for him.

Says O'Beirne:
For Giuliani, that's the rub. Polling shows that a significant percentage of Catholic Republicans share the economic views of big-government liberals rather than small-government conservatives - but many support the Republican Party owing to social issues like abortion. Last year's Senate race in Pennsylvania showed how voters can react when the candidates aren't divided over abortion: many Catholics defected from their previous support for the incumbent, enabling the pro-life Democrat, Bob Casey Jr., to defeat the pro-life Republican incumbent, Rick Santorum.

In a match between Hillary Clinton and Giuliani, both candidates would favor abortion rights and civil unions. With these issues a wash, Catholic voters may well make their decision based on other differences, like Sen. Clinton's call for universal health care.
Of course, if Giuliani can keep trading on his 9/11 tough-guy mystique, he may yet maintain a certain advantage with these classic "Reagan Democrats." But it's food for thought - and another argument in favor of Democrats firmly embracing progressive economic policies over the next two years.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 21, 2007
  Mitt: Working Hard to Bug the Liberals

Rick Perlstein reports on Mitt Romney's attempts to woo conservative support - not just by trying to make friends, but by making enemies. Exhibit A: Mitt's announcement speech at a museum honoring the notorious anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer Henry Ford. Perlstein notes that the controversy ended up helping Romney with many conservatives - thanks to the right's eagerness to lash back against media backlash:
Consider the sarcastic reflection of this denizen of the right-wing website Free Republic:
Allright, an AP hit piece! The MSM has more acute RINOdar than we. Real RINO's don't get rinky-dink MSM hit pieces such as this. This proves that the MSM believes Romney is a conservative, and therefore must be roughed up.
Translation: I used to suspect that Romney was only a "Republican in Name Only." But now I realize: He bugs the liberal media. By the tribal logic of right-wing identity politics, that is enough--Mitt Romney now can be called a conservative.
And Perlstein goes on to make a very interesting comparison between this move and Reagan's decision to launch his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Miss., where only sixteen years previously the Klan had murdered three young civil rights workers:
Then, the symbolism was absolutely deliberate: Reagan pledged fealty to "states' rights," a concerted attempt to nudge the tribal identities of Southerners into the Republican column once and for all. But it didn't mean Reagan, or anyone in his audience, was for bringing back Klan terrorism any more than Romney has Michigan anti-Semites dusting off their copies of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Reagan's benefit from speaking at Philadelphia, Mississippi derived primarily from all that outrage that he spoke at Philadelphia, Mississippi. He stood up to the Yankees. He proved to Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and the rest that he felt their pain: tribally, he was one of them--just as Romney has just demonstrated oneness with conservatives sick of being called "fascists" by liberals.
Whether Romney's intending to do this or not, it's fascinating. It still might not be enough to save his campaign, but it's yet another reminder that nobody's trying harder to get right-wing support than Multiple Choice Mitt.

Labels: , , , ,

  "Like San Francisco ... And You Ain't There"

According to d. at Lawyers, Guns and Money, yesterday was Roy Cohn's birthday. d. reflects on the life of this wretched, nasty little man, and gives us this great line:
Quite justifiably, Cohn hated himself, though never for the right reasons.
I've always thought that Tony Kushner's Angels in America was great revenge on Cohn - not only putting his marvelously ironic death at the center of a great piece of gay art, but forcing Cohn into the narrative of a great piece of liberal American art, turning that horrible man into a marionette and making him dance to a tune that ultimately reaffirms, in the most gorgeous way, why America is a great nation because of all the things that Cohn hated and tried to destroy.

Labels: ,

  "Giuliani to Run for President of 9/11"

...says The Onion.
If elected, Giuliani would inherit the duties of current 9/11 President George W. Bush, including making grim facial expressions, seeing the world's conflicts in terms of good and evil, and carrying a bullhorn at all state functions.


According to Washington–based political analyst Gregory Hammond, Giuliani's candidacy "should not be underestimated."

"Sure, he has no foreign or national policy experience, and both his personal life and political career are riddled with scandal," said Hammond. "But in the key area of having been on TV on 9/11, the other candidates simply cannot match him. And as we saw in 2004, that's what matters most to voters in this post-9/11 world."
Also note this Hillary-related headline, which dovetails rather perfectly with something I said the other day. Spooky...

Labels: , , ,

  Right-Wing Think Tank Review - 2/21/07

Once again I was unable to get into Blogger all morning. Soon as I get a few bucks together this blog's moving to Typepad. Anyway, enjoy. If that's the right word.

Heritage Foundation (Sourcewatch profile here)

"More: The crying need for a bigger U.S. Military"
Article by former U.S. Senator Jim Talent
Pub. 2/20/07; Orig. pub. in National Review, 3/5/07.

Recently-defeated Senator Talent makes the case for a significant and sustained increase in defense spending, both in FY 2008 and over the long term (the "4% for Freedom Solution").

After repeating the conservative narrative of Carter's weakness and Reagan's Cold War-ending strength, Talent suggests that, currently, "the situation facing the U.S. military is grave."
[T]he Army is too small, the Navy and Marine Corps may well be too small, and much of the equipment in all the services is too old and increasingly unreliable. Without a substantial increase in procurement spending, beginning now and sustained over the next five to ten years -- an increase measured not in billions but in tens of billions of dollars per year above current estimates -- the U.S. will be unable to modernize its forces to the degree necessary to preserve its security with the necessary margin of safety.
Talent calls President Bush's FY 2008 budget an "important first step" toward raising military spending, but insists that this is not enough: "[B]oth ends of Pennsylvania Avenue also need to adopt a rule that the core defense budget should never sink below 4 percent of the nation's GDP."

The current military, argues Talent, is both "too small and too old" to meet the requirements of the current official national defense strategy, which requires the capacity to simultaneously defend the homeland, maintain four peacekeeping engagements, and fight two major regional wars. Moreover, says Talent:
The military is entering a crucial phase of recapitalization. Beginning with the next budget, and intensifying over the next five to ten years, the services are scheduled to field the new platforms that will anchor American security for the next generation. No one can say that this spending is not needed or that it can be delayed any further. The Army must modernize and replace almost its entire capital stock of fighting vehicles. The Navy must buy new DDG-1000 destroyers, ramp up procurement of Virginia-class submarines, and buy large numbers of littoral combat ships and the next-generation cruiser. The Air Force must buy its new superiority fighter, the F-22, as well as Joint Strike Fighters or equivalent aircraft. In addition, the Air Force must fund its strategic-airlift requirement, design and build a new tanker, and develop an interdiction bomber to replace the B-52, an aircraft almost 50 years old.
All of this means that "the services cannot possibly meet their crucial requirements without an average budget over the next five to ten years that is at least $30 billion higher per year." Starting with the military's own requests and working backwards, Talent casts this 'missing' $30 billion as a "procurement deficit," to which he adds a further $4 billion required to add two more divisions to the active-duty Army (bringing the total to twelve). Thus:
to sustain our military at the level necessary to protect our security, we must increase procurement, personnel, and support spending by at least $34 billion above the FY 2007 budget.
Where to find these additional funds? Talent suggests that "$1 or $2 billion" each year could be saved through procurement reform - cutting down on the $1,000 toilet seats. But what he's really got in mind is something much more fundamental.

Talent is acting as the spokesmodel for a broader Heritage Foundation effort: the "4% for Freedom Solution." Currently, says Talent,
"the U.S. spends only 3.8 percent of its GDP on the core defense budget....That is far lower than during the Cold War, and almost a full percentage point less than was spent even during the Carter years. America's economy is so powerful that even after years of underfunding military procurement, the U.S. could still recapitalize and sustain its military strength by enacting the $34 billion increase I mentioned earlier, and maintaining defense spending at no less than 4 percent of GDP thereafter.
And here is where Senator Talent makes the agenda clear:
The 4% for Freedom Solution would also have a positive impact on our long-term fiscal position. First, it would focus debate about the deficit squarely where it belongs: on the entitlement programs. Even a glance at the government's budget shows that growth in entitlement programs, not in defense or other discretionary spending, poses the real long-term threat to solvency. If Congress reforms entitlement spending, there will be more than enough money for defense; if Congress fails to get entitlements under control, then funding defense on the cheap will not save the country from bankruptcy.
Curiously missing from Senator Talent's essay is any mention of the Bush tax cuts, which have already forfeited $1.7 trillion of revenue, and, if made permanent, would cost an additional $1.8 trillion by 2014 - amounting to $400 billion/year in lost revenues by that time. Meanwhile, the Iraq war - the greatest strategic disaster in American history, which Senator Talent has enthusiastically supported - is currently costing the United States over $8.4 billion per month. Responsible fixes for these Republican blunders would generate more than enough funds to cover the extra $34 billion Talent believes should be added to our defense spending.

Judging by the evidence at hand, it is difficult to conclude that Heritage and Senator Talent are serious about responsibly funding our military. They seem primarily interested in using pro-military sentiment to lock the country into a confrontation over entitlement spending, at a time when our deeply flawed tax structure is propelling us toward a fiscal crisis.

"A Better Answer for Education: Reviving State and Local Policymaking Authority"
Lectures by U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Jim DeMint
Heritage Lecture No. 994, pub. 2/20/07; originally delivered 1/8/07

Michel Franc introduces the Senators by nothing that "today marks the fifth anniversary of the signing of the No Child Left Behind law." More to the point, Congress will have to re-authorize the law in this session. Conservatives widely believe that NCLB was a bill that started out with good intentions, until it was hijacked by "liberals" who gutted the school choice provisions, leaving NCLB as little more than an exercise in massive increasely increasing the federal role in education.
FRANC: For example, there are 3.9 million students in schools eligible for limited public school choice, but because of roadblocks and bureaucratic hurdles put up by the schools, fewer than 1 percent of those chil­dren have actually managed to get those services. The regulatory burden has gone up in the absence of all these choice revisions, and one study by the Office of Management and Budget in the White House found that the No Child Left Behind law has added an additional 6.7 million hours of paperwork, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements for state and local authorities.
Thus Senators Cornyn and DeMint will discuss options for re-conservatizing the legislation.

Cornyn cites Thomas Jefferson and the principle of federalism to frame his argument for "moving the decision-making power out of Washington and closer to parents and teachers." Despite 25% growth in federal spending on K-12 education over the past five years, "America continues to fall behind, both competitively and academically." Cornyn calls for "allowing the states the flexibility and free­dom to establish their own guidelines," free from federally-mandated bureaucracy. To this end, he and DeMint have introduced the "A-PLUS Act of 2007," which would "revitalize our edu­cation system in America by wisely applying the les­sons of federalism, this time in an education context."

Dan Lips, another Heritage analyst, described the Senators' proposal:
The DeMint-Cornyn plan -- called the Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success or “A-PLUS” Act -- would allow states to opt-out of No Child Left Behind. These states would enter into a contractual agreement with the federal government, under which they would be free to control federal education funding and use it however state leaders believe would improve student achievement and assist disadvantaged students. In exchange, states would maintain performance transparency by measuring student achievement through state-directed assessments.
In essence, then, the bill would be aimed in part at reducing bureaucracy costs - but also at giving control of education policy to state lawmakers, who would, presumably, be free to experiment to their hearts' delight with vouchers and charter schools, the twin pillars of the conservative effort to undermine public education.

DeMint's comments further develop a rather perplexing argument made by the conservatives. Declaring his commitment to "developing the individual," DeMint goes on:
But that does not necessarily mean that we are committed to government-run and politically man­aged schools, particularly from the federal level, and I'm afraid that over the past several decades, our commitment has moved from developing the capabilities of the individual to a commitment toward government control of education at the federal level. [...]

You can almost peg the beginning of the decline in our edu­cation system to when the federal government began to support it. We're losing ground to other countries, and we have been for a long time. We're spending now, if you add capital costs in just about every state, well over $10,000 per student, and we continue to lose ground. [...]

The way I see it, as someone who used to be not only in research, but in quality develop­ment in consulting companies for years, you can't have quality development with a top-down approach, particularly if decisions are made at mul­tiple levels as we have with education at the local, state, and federal levels.
What is strange about this argument is that the countries to whom the United States is losing ground - DeMint cites China and India, but you might also add European nations - all have highly centralized, nationally-funded education systems. It may be true that federal spending on education has increased, and it may be true that, at the same time, standards have fallen. But correlation, as we edukated folk know, does not equal causation. In fact, the evidence from the rest of the world very much suggests that too much federal involvement in education is almost certainly not our problem. In fact, one might argue, given that state boards of education have a propensity towards politically-driven foolishness to the detriment of real learning, perhaps our problem is too much state and local power over education.

Labels: , , ,


"An obscure but fantastic blog." - Markus Kolic


Critical analysis of the American conservative movement from a progressive perspective. Also some stuff about the Mets.

Email Me

Favorite Posts

I Was a Mole at the Conservative Summit, Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Wars of Perception, Part One
Wars of Perception, Part Two

Conservative Futures
Reading Conservative History


I also post at:

The Daily Gotham
The Albany Project
The Right's Field

Various favorites:

Ben Weyl
Chase Martyn
Cliff Schecter
Crooked Timber
D-Day (David Dayen)
Daily Kos
Ezra Klein
Five Before Chaos
Future Majority
Glenn Greenwald
The Group News Blog
Jon Swift
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
Matt Ortega
Matthew Yglesias
My Thinking Corner
New Democratic Majority
The November Blog
The Osterley Times
A Pedestrian View
The Poor Man Institute
Progressive Historians
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Talking Points Memo
Think Progress
The Third Estate
Undercover Blue
Vernon Lee
wAitiNG foR doROthY

Watching the right:

Orcinus (Dave Neiwert)
Rick Perlstein
Right Wing Watch
Sadly, No!

The conservative wonkosphere: (AEI)
The American Scene
Andrew Sullivan
Cato @ Liberty
Contentions (Commentary Magazine)
Crunchy Con (Rod Dreher)
Daniel Larison
Eye on '08 (Soren Dayton)
Jim Henley
Josh Trevino
Mainstream Libertarian
National Review Online
Patrick Ruffini
Ross Douthat
Ryan Sager
The Weekly Standard

New Yorkers:

Amazin' Avenue
Chris Owens
Z. Madison


December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2008

Powered by Blogger