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Saturday, June 28, 2003  

Dean The Man To Beat?

Check out this article from Eleanor Clift calling Dean the Man To Beat in the Democratic race. I initially liked Dean (and still do) but I expected him to fade down the stretch, a la McCain. If Clift is right, though, he could whether the storm and come out the top Democrat next year. Going back to our several conversations about who can win, I pose the following: can Dean beat Bush or will it be a bloodbath?
posted by Joshua

5:51 PM/

Friday, June 27, 2003  

Wabbit Season?

To say it’s been a big week barely scratches the surface. It makes me a little embarrassed that we’ve all been so quiet on the blog lately (myself especially), but of course we’re all busy people with busy lives, so here’s a sort of week in review.

You Say You Want A Revolution. I’m looking at things this morning through a particular lens, provided by Krugman’s op/ed in the Times today, here. Basically, he’s arguing (and borrowing from the arguments of others) that the Republicans are hell-bent on moving the country as far toward single-party (Republican party, obviously) governance. The part I find significant about this is that, if it’s even partially true, it suggests that Democrats and Republicans are no longer fighting with the same goals in mind: Democrats are still trying to thwart Republican policies, while Republicans have shifted their focus to the annihilation of the Democratic Party. We want to beat them, they want to kill us. If that’s true, how should/can the Democrats respond?

A Pretty Good Week in Law. The internet porn filters case was a defeat (in my mind), and the Michigan cases suffer from a lack of intellectual coherence, but on the whole it was a very good week in the Supreme Court for the left-leaning. Taken as a whole, this week’s opinions highlight something about the federal judiciary that is easily forgotten amidst judicial nomination mud-wrestling: Federal judges really do consider themselves independent, and are willing to go pretty far out on a limb when they believe it’s called for. This week, we saw a relatively conservative court holding that diversity in education is a compelling public interest, that homosexuals are entitled to dignity and to privacy, and that the government cannot retroactively delimit statutes of limitations. Unfortunately, looking through the Krugman lens, it also means that if you’re Karl Rove, you just pushed Confirming Judges Who Will Hand Down Party-Line Opinions All The Time up two places on your agenda (see, for instance, here), which, in turn, is a good argument for Democrats to refuse to compromise on judicial nominations. [Update: check out this link for the conservative Christian press take on the sodomy law ruling.]

Death of an Era. Long-time Senator Strom Thurmond, former Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, and former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor of that or any other major southern city, all died this week – deaths which should remind us how recently proclaiming a segregationist agenda in the streets aroused cheers in much of this country. Thurmond, in particular, embodies the way in which conservative/Republican politicians have been able to sweep both pasts and views far to the right of the majority of Americans under the rug while paying a very small political price for it. Compare CNN’s obituary with the one in the Times and you get a pretty good idea of how air-brushed Strom the Man became. What happened to Trent Lott is the exception, not the rule; Bush should have gotten more heat for his appearance at Bob Jones University than Lott did for praising Thurmond at his 100th birthday party, and instead he got considerably less. The Krugman lesson in all of this, I suppose, is that Democrats need to make at least as much hay over the wink-and-nod political views of Republicans as Republicans make of the personal lives of Democrats.

Nuclear Roses Smell As Sweet. I need to start this one with a disclaimer: even I feel slightly better with nuclear bomb building parts in the hands of Don Rumsfeld than in the hands of Saddam Hussein. However, to me, the hype about the discovery of those parts only underscores the absolute lack of evidence of WMD – which, coupled with a great deal of lying about the rationale for the war on Iraq in the first place (were we all not here? did we all hallucinate George W. spouting bad intel on national television?), seems like the best possible proof that the White House and the Republican party (‘cuz we all know that you can’t have one without the other) will stop at nothing to have its way. And in a democracy, that is scary.

Bucking Media Consolidation. Finally, a story that is probably less important than all of the above but that has captured my attention: William Safire, among others, took aim against media consolidation, struck out in favor of government regulation, and appears to actually have won – thank goodness, because he’s one of the good guys on this one. But give this piece a close read, and you’ll notice that even he seems to have no faith that his actual arguments will hold any sway with the reigning Republicans; instead, he has to resort, right out there in open print, to explaining how doing the right thing is going to allow the Republicans to pick off one more Democratic Senate seat. Seems to me that when even your pundits don’t bother pretending think that you can be convinced to do the right thing just because it’s right, that’s a sign of that something deep in the heart of the power structure has gone rotten.

Everything's Coming Up Roses. What to make of all of this? It’s hard to say. I don’t think that the Democratics are anything like an endangered species yet, but (since Looney Toons are always a good metaphor for life), I do think we need to be more aware that the Republicans are, in fact, after us in a very fundamental way; we need to be less Road Runner ignoring the Coyote and speeding along obliviously about its business, and more Bugs Bunny tying the Elmer Fudd’s gun in a knot – and if we could make Don Rumsfeld’s head sprout flowers, that would be cool too.
posted by Amanda

2:30 PM/

Monday, June 23, 2003  

You just knew that eventually the Democratic presidential race would have to get interesting, and so here we go...
posted by Amanda

10:17 AM/
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