Monday, October 31, 2005


Looks like I was right.

Stung by the rejection of his first choice, President Bush on Monday nominated appeals court judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court — mollifying his conservative base but angering Democrats who said Alito could divide the country over abortion and gun rights....

On abortion rights, and based on a 1992 case in which he supported spousal notification, Alito favors more restrictions than either the Supreme Court has allowed or retiring Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has supported.

On gun rights, Alito in 1996 was the only appeals judge to vote against upholding Congress’ authority to ban fully automatic machine guns. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence sarcastically described “Machine Gun Sammy” as a “perfect Halloween pick.”
So, he's what the base wants, and what the Dems don't want.

Since the real game in the US right now is (at least, in my opinion) the battle between concessionist Dems and oppositionist Dems, the key question here is whether or not they'll filibuster. The "keeping your powder dry" argument won't work here: "Scalito" is clearly an appeal to the base, and therefore needs to be opposed even by teh "centrists". He is both too conservative and too vital to legitimizing hard-core social conservativism to let slide. They'd be keeping their powder dry while the enemy has them in their sights.

Fortunately, they appear to understand this:

While Alito is expected to win praise from Bush’s allies on the right, Democrats have served notice they will fight it. Reid had warned Sunday that it would “create a lot of problems.”
They rolled over on Roberts, and that was wrong. It helped the Republicans to shift the political consensus to the right yet again, by feeding the story that Roberts was a moderate. Were the Dems as active as they should be, Roberts would have been opposed and Alito would have been impossible.

As it is, at the very least they can get rid of "Scalito".

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Miers pulls out

Well, I guess thisshows who wears the pants in the Republican party. I was expecting Bush to push her through as a candidate that Democrats couldn't contest; it's amazing that his own party no longer trusts him enough to believe he can make decisions that will benefit them. What an embarrassment.

If he wasn't a lame duck before, he certainly is now.

I can only imagine what kind of Dinosaurs-Lived-6000-Years-Ago reactionary he's going to get forced into nominating. Even if that happens, though, the Dems have a free hand to oppose them all they want. After all, the Republicans did it, so why the hell can't the Democrats?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Franken's Latest

Haven't read The Truth (With Jokes) yet, but I loved one line from the Amazon entry:

They told us that when we invaded, we'd be greeted with sweets and flowers. They left out the crucial modifier: "exploding."
Also, check out the video.

Edit: Actually, I'm wrong. The REAL comedy is the foaming "reviewer" reaction by wingers who try to pass off mild physical comedy as horrible murderous violent rage.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Cheney Going Down??

This can't be true. It just can't. Cheney AND Rove going down?

Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"It's certainly an interesting but I still think highly doubtful scenario," said a Bush insider. "And if that should happen," added the official, "there will undoubtedly be those who believe the whole thing was orchestrated – another brilliant Machiavellian move by the VP."

Said another Bush associate of the rumor, "Yes. This is not good." The rumor spread so fast that some Republicans by late morning were already drawing up reasons why Rice couldn't get the job or run for president in 2008.
Atrios injects a good point- that it's not so much the possibility that Cheney will resign as that the rumours actually exist in the first place.

As for VP Rice... the Republicans who are drafting anti-Rice talking points clearly see the writing on the wall. Whoever takes over the job is a guaranteed frontrunner in 2008. If they can even remotely claim that they "turned things around", they'll be a serious contender in the primary at the very least.

That said, I can't see a situation where Rice wouldn't get walloped by the Dem. African-Americans and liberals wouldn't vote for her because she's a Republican, and a lot of conservatives wouldn't vote for her for very, very obvious reasons that have [b]nothing at all[/b] to do with abortion. Even Hillary could take her, and I remain convinced that a Clinton nomination would be disastrous against all but the weakest Republican nominees.

On the other hand, is there anybody left in the Republican party who isn't either compromised by Plame or Abramoff? She might simply be the last woman standing. Hell of a way to get the VP job, but certainly plausible.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Cripes Again! Yet More Bad Ideas! (Plus: Bonus Critique of Third Way Twaddle!)

Ok, once more with feeling:



There is no point to playing the moderation game when you're up against people who have no interest in moderation.

Here's an example of why you're wrong:

Moderates must also maintain that Democrats can't afford to lose ground among swing voters by taking hard-line positions on abortion and gay marriage, though the basic right to an abortion and civil rights for homosexuals should remain central Democratic positions. In return, moderates would endorse an ambitious domestic policy agenda, the centerpiece of which would be universal health insurance but which would also include revisiting nafta and intense opposition to K Street-sponsored legislation like tort and bankruptcy reform.
Let's break this into its two constituent arguments:

1) moderates must not be "too extreme" on abortion and gay marriage, although they shouldn't abandon those completely.

2) The key to success is universal health insurance, revisiting NAFTA, and rolling back the regressionist tort and bankruptcy "reforms".

In other words, this is the standard "concede social issues that we're weak on, hit economic issues that we're strong on" argument.

Why doesn't this work?

Well, for #1, the problem is that you're up against a totalist opposition- they won't settle for anything less than total victory. They'll take the small concessions, mind you, but that won't stop them from painting the Democrats as the party of (what the push polls will surely say), "baby killers and fag lovers". Concession is MEANINGLESS, because the social conservatives are simply going to pocket the concessions and go further. They have to: this is, literally, an issue of faith.

And for #2, sorry, but this is a pipe dream. It's a pipe dream that's popular with a section of Democrats who advocated Iraq, are uncomfortable with social liberalism, and are running away from both and are looking to, I dunno, Canada as their policy inspiration. That's not necessarily a bad thing; while it has its problems, Canada's system is easily superior, provided its properly funded. (Monopsony has its uses.) The problem is that social and fiscal liberalism are irreversibly connected, and they're connected because their opponents want them to be connected.

Look: universal health care, progressive bankruptcy laws, fair trade (that's what "revisiting NAFTA" comes down to, although the US is hardly playing fair in that deal to begin with), fighting "tort reform"- or, as it's more properly called, "protecting corporations from the consequences of malfeasance"; all those things are liberal. Yes, liberal. Hell, universal health care is downright SOCIALIST.

The Dems will get nailed with the liberal label when they haul out those policies, and all the social conservatives will pile on as well, because attacking fiscal liberalism aids them in discrediting economic liberalism. The corporations and good ol' fashioned fat cats sure as hell won't support this sort of agenda, and will do their best to kill it.

When the corporations do come to kill it, they'll spend a lot of money and put on a lot of pressure. Sooner or later, it'll be enough money and enough pressure that any rationally calculating politician is going to bend or fold, and it's guaranteed that enough will do so to kill any real reforms. This will happen, no doubt about it.


Unless it's part of something bigger. Unless it's part of some sort of broader ideological outlook that the politicians and party draw on for legitimacy and support. If that's the case, then they need to stick with the policies, otherwise the program falls down, and they can't have that because it forms the anchor for their support. If you're willing to be a liberal and accept liberalism, then not only will the name calling not affect you, but it'll strengthen you. Call it "progressivism" if you must, but you have to call it something, and it has to be something real so that GlaxoSmithKline (or whoever) knows that you aren't going to bend.

After all, if they know that, they won't challenge you in the first place.

Anyway, Noam's piece is based on an article by William Galston and Elaine Kamarck called "the politics of polarization", under the aegis of the so-called "Third Way Institute". I read this piece a while back and commented on it over at Kevin Drum's blog at the Washington Monthly. I wasn't impressed with the report at all. In in the interest of good old fashioned economical laziness, I'll simply replay that comment here:


Now that I've read the Galston and Kamarck report, Kevin, I can say with certainty that it's thoroughly unimpressive.

Among the questionable tendencies I saw:

It tends to cite friendly sources instead of unbiased ones (including the authors' own work, without citing through to their original sources);

it rarely raises the question of *why* there are more conservative self-identifiers than liberal self-identifiers;

it doesn't address the issue of self-declared independents who are "leaners" to any great extent;

it doesn't address the utility of using self-identification in the first place;

it doesn't address the problem of single-issue voters to any great extent, which throws polling-based analysis right off;

it contains little in the way of policy prescriptions that haven't been tried since 1992 (to little effect);

it completely ignores the deliberate attempts by Republican leaning Catholic clergy to influence the Catholic vote...

...and most damningly, it attacks Democratic candidates for not being perceived as having "honesty and integrity" vs. their Republican counterparts, and yet simultaneously deride the kind of "framing" that allows Bush et al to be perceived this way as a "myth!"

Like too many "third way" articles (and this is, despite its pretensions, more of an article than a study) it completely ignores political agency and treats the political environment as a given that Democrats need to shift in reaction to. As I said earlier, that just allows the Republicans to use the agency they *already* have to shift the environment.

In any case, I'd seriously question the utility of the analysis of any organization that has Joe Lieberman as the honorary chairman of its national security policy wing. If its analysis was more thoroughly grounded in verifiable and tested theory that'd be different.

It isn't.

In fact, it feels remarkably theoretically incoherent.

Sorry, Kevin, but while I'm very interested in Hacker and Pierson's take on the situation, it's really not worth it to counterpose their analysis with this piece. There are just too many problems with it.

Oh, and one more thing: it spent a lot of time discussing specifically how liberal activists are "out of the mainstream", but didn't counterpose that against a discussion of how conservative activists are "out of the mainstream", despite the structure and style of their analysis clearly indicating that such a juxtaposition would be necessary.

That they *did* attack liberals and not conservatives not only weakens their analysis, but raises questions about the extent to which this piece is just a tool to bludgeon liberal Democrats with.


My opinion hasn't changed. This report was unimpressive; it was pretty much just a recycling of the same-old same-old DLC arguments, with the same old flaws. Yes, it had graphs, but the quantitative data was built on questionable assumptions, and was buttressed by equally questionable analysis citing mainly other "third-way" writers (if not the authors themselves.) It's a report for the sake of a report- something to wave at Dems who don't want to give up their hard-won Republican-defined "centrist" label. It's not worth the time or attention that has been lavished on it.

(Hence the reason I was so lazy. It's not worth the effort.)

Sorry, but strategy has to go a little farther than "if we leave out *this* issue, and focus on *this* issue, it'll surely bring the public onside this time!" Folks, it hasn't worked since 1992. It's not going to work now.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Cohen's Dangerous Nonsense

I have neither the time nor the inclination to go into great detail, but this piece by Richard Cohen attempting to attack Patrick Fitzgerald for vigorously "investigating a crime that probably wasn't one in the first place but that now, as is often the case, might have metastasized into some sort of coverup -- but, again, of nothing much."

Why is it nothing much? Other than the obvious "these people have apparently perjured themselves again and again", which I don't remember Cohen being slow to attack during the Clinton years, there's the question of what the underlying crime was.

Let's be clear, here: the crime was the leaking of the name and status of a CIA agent under Non-Official Cover, and it is a crime because it not only endangers national security, but dozens of lives at the very least.

So when Richard Cohen says:

This is rarely considered a crime. In the Plame case, it might technically be one, but it was not the intent of anyone to out a CIA agent and have her assassinated (which happened once) but to assassinate the character of her husband. This is an entirely different thing. She got hit by a ricochet.
He's demonstrating either dangerous stupidity, dangerous ignorance, or dangerous oversight. It doesn't matter why she was attacked, although I'm of the opinion that were it done carelessly as a "ricochet" it was an even greater crime, due to the contempt it shows for Plame's safety and those she has worked with. What matters is that they did it, and that it was wrong and dangerous.

He continues his defense:

More is at stake here than bringing down Karl Rove or some other White House apparatchik, or even settling some score with Miller, who is sometimes accused of taking this nation to war in Iraq all by herself. The greater issue is control of information. If anything good comes out of the Iraq war, it has to be a realization that bad things can happen to good people when the administration -- any administration -- is in sole control of knowledge and those who know the truth are afraid to speak up. This -- this creepy silence -- will be the consequence of dusting off rarely used statutes to still the tongues of leakers and intimidate the press in its pursuit of truth, fame and choice restaurant tables. Apres Miller comes moi.
Ok, other than the infantile attitude towards what is (as I said) a serious crime, what Cohen continues to misrepresent is that there are leaks, and there are leaks. Most are harmless. They're political gaming, and while they're embarrassing and may harm a particular government, they don't harm the state itself or the citizens. The sort of leak that we have here is something far different, in that it treated fundamental issues of national security in a cavalier way for political gain.

It was also--and how Cohen misses this is beyond me--a case where a leak were used to PREVENT whistleblowing and truthtelling. Wilson is not the establishment- the leakers are. It's intimidation, and the media's role in that was the chief lesson of the Iraq war.

Yes, Richard. Apres Miller comes toi. And you know what? If your day comes because you willingly serve as a tool for repression through leaks of dangerous information, you'll deserve every bit of it.

Let's just hope that if that day comes, you'll be the reporter in the safe jail cell, and not the guy getting shot in an alley in the night because a contact of your husband's made powerful enemies.

Edit: Americablog had a similar reaction.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On the Singularity and progress:

Over at Crooked Timber, John Quiggen notes:

This is part of a more general paradox, only partially recognised by the prophets of the Singularity. Those of us whose lives are centred on computers and the Internet have experienced recent decades as periods of unprecedently rapid technological advance. Yet outside this narrow sector the pace of technological change has slowed to a crawl, in some cases failing even to keep pace with growth in population. The average American spends more time in the car, just to cover the basic tasks of shopping and getting to work, than was needed a generation ago, and in many cases, travels more slowly.
Now, to be fair, this is partially due to other advances and changes; the average American spends more time in the car because she's travelling farther because she lives farther from the urban (or even suburban) core and/or shops at big box stores on the city outskirts.

That said, this is still largely true, and surprises the hell out of me. He's absolutely right: put aside computers' advancement for a moment, and the pace of progress has been surprisingly slow. While the computers may be baffling, much of what we do nowadays would be readily understandable to someone who lived thirty-to-forty years ago, whereas the changes between them and those who lived forty years before THEM were enormous.

(In fact, stretch it out to fifty years and it isn't much different- there are more continuities between our lives and those of people who lived in the 1950's than between those who lived in 1955 and those who lived in 1905.)

Economically, this can be a problem, as he also points out:

In the first case, the contribution of computer technology to economic growth gradually declines to zero, as computing services become an effectively free good, and the rest of the economy continues as usual. Since productivity growth outside the sectors affected by computers has been slowing down for decades, the likely outcome is something close to a stationary equilibrium for the economy as a whole.
He acknowledges that there may be additional economic benefits to "going digital" in sectors that aren't currently, but that just raises the question: which ones? what isn't digital now that could conceivably be and still mean anything? I mean, sure, we could have digital sink faucets and digital door openers or whatever, but I'm not convinced that we wouldn't see diminishing returns anyway, and it already feels like we've hit that point.

And, in fact, the best argument in favor of the "first case" mentioned above is cellularization: that is, the slow migration of computer functions to cell phones. A cell phone with some sort of keyboard-like interface is the logical end-point of modern consumer computing, and miniaturization is an inevitable goal when increasing consumer computing power is also facing diminishing returns; as attested to by the slowing progression of productivity applications and the migration of home computing to a terminal for downloading and playing back media, whether pirated or otherwise. When the "big things" right now are BitTorrent and iTunes, who needs a processor upgrade?

So what's the endpoint of this process? It's cell phones with the computing power of modern PCs (and not much more than that, because nobody seems to need it) Woo. Even the Internet boom seems to have petered out; blogs are (and always were) just personal webpages employing relatively simple automation tools. Other than the lack of annoying frames, there isn't that much difference between a webpage of 1998 and a blog of 2005. We've got better video compression methods and distribution tools; hardly a revolution.

Indeed, considering the tendency of uber-blogs like Daily Kos to turn into enormous discussion communities via endless "open threads", the difference grows smaller by the day.

The comment is made within the context of a review of Kurzweil's The Singularity, and the review is interesting, but I'm disappointed that Quiggan didn't go into why everything seems to have bogged down, because the question of "why" looms large here. There are lots of suspects: the decline of pure research and experimentation in favor of directed (and privatized) research that borders on simple engineering; the tyranny of bullshit patents bought up by companies with no intention to allow competition; the lack of wide-scope governmental technological innovation (and the attendant spinoff technologies) with the decline of NASA and the end of the cold war-although the latter is hardly a bad thing overall; even the pervasive lack of interest in the possibilities of science and technology in popular culture may have an impact.

I honestly don't know why the hell things have gone this way, but I do have to admit to a little bit of shame at having to look back on the dreams of the past about the present.

I keep thinking: is this it? Is this all? What the hell happened to us?

Welcome to Iraq

From Schofield at Knight Ridder:

11 a.m. - We leave the 10-foot-high blast walls that surround the hotel complex in a two-car convoy. The rear car's job is to run interference in case "bad guys" try to intercept "the package" (that would be me).

Noon - Dropped off several blocks from the Green Zone and walk to Checkpoint 3 (the main entrance). Walking because on Monday Iraqi army soldiers pushed me back inside the car, while pointing a machine gun at my head and shouting. They fired at reporters - warning shots, the reporters think - from National Public Radio and The Wall Street Journal. The three incidents prompted a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman to start a briefing with journalists by saying, "OK, raise your hand if you were shot at today."

As I'm walking, phone rings. I answer. My Iraqi colleague Mohammed, who reports full time for Knight Ridder, takes the phone from my hand, whispering fiercely, "No English here. Be very, very afraid here."

I get inside and call the number back, reaching a very nice U.S. Army major who says we need to meet to discuss how to make the entrance to the Green Zone safer for journalists. "Can you meet in about an hour?" he asks. I agree, and he says he'll pick me up at the National Assembly building at 12:50 p.m., and we'll walk together to Checkpoint 3.

12:10 p.m. - Get inside National Assembly building. Someone steals my watch at the final security check.

12:30 p.m. - Talking to Saddam Hussein's old translator. He explains that democracy in the new Iraq is a fiasco. Bush's fault, and Bush will have to face the judgment of history for his mistakes. (All times from here are approximate; see above.)

12:50 p.m. - The major is late so I decide to head down to the checkpoint and wait for him. Mohammed says, "No, you're not. You're waiting for his call."

1 p.m. - On phone with the major, who's apologizing for being late when a car bomb explodes at Checkpoint 3 entrance. Gunfire ensues.

1-3 p.m. - Locked down in National Assembly building with legislators while bomb debris and bodies are cleared from the street.

3:15 p.m. - The major calls back. Come on out, he says. I join him walking to Checkpoint 3.

3:25 p.m. - We step around football-sized chunks of bomber hanging like gruesome Christmas ornaments from the razor wire. I point out the journalists' security fears, being forced to walk through a dangerous area to get to Iraqi government and U.S. Embassy briefings. He is concerned. "Wow, that's dangerous," he says, pushing aside a smoking piece of car interior with a booted toe. "I think the problem is, the guys here are nervous whenever cars come near, especially if they stop, like yours do, to drop you off."

"No kidding," I say, just avoiding treading on an eyeball.
And the Dems are mumbling about "institutes".

edit: Hat tip goes to that other Hegemon-related site.


Aside from the glaring hole in the so-called Democratic "agenda" that Chris Bowers pointed out-namely, Iraq-the agenda strikes me as the most milquetoast, uncourageous thing imaginable.

One, we make college education as universal for the 21st century that a high school education was in the 20th.

Second, we get a summit on the budget to deal with the $3 trillion of debt that's been added up in five years and structural deficits of $400 billion a year.

Third, an energy policy that says in 10 years, we cut our dependence on foreign oil in half and make this a hybrid economy.

Four, we create an institute on science and technology that builds for America like, the National Institutes has done for health care, we maintain our edge.

Five, we have a universal health-care system over the next 10 years where if you work, you have health care. That says fiscal discipline and investing in the American people by reputting people first. The policies that the Republicans have offered have gotten us in the ditch we have today.
One of the MyDD posters, Andy Katz, called this "so 'DLC', so 'Clintonian', so super focus grouped to make sure we don't piss any voters off that the only thing it makes clear is that we are still a party that doesn't stand for anything". I'm inclined to agree. "An institute of science and technology"? That's not a platform, that's filler. Not that it isn't important, but it's not going to carry a single vote and would consist of a negligible part of the U.S. government's time and budget. The "summit" on debt and the "hybrid-based economy" are such obviously non-partisan and inoffensive, gutless gimmes that they're barely worth attention.

The only two parts of this so-called "platform" that make sense are the health and education bits, and even there they're meaningless.

The college bit makes no sense many people have neither the time nor inclination to go to college, and others don't want the value of their degree devalued. Access should be universal, in that no kid should ever be in the situation where he wants to go to school and can't, but that's an entirely different thing. The problem in the United States is not its colleges, but its elementary and high schools, and fixing that is going to require real solutions and, yes, real cash. What it's also going to require is a complete repudiation of the concept of privatization and of the desirability of a class divide enshrined in the public/private school division in the first place. The Democrats need to say, once and for all, that they are not going to accept education by the lowest bidder and having those who can hiding their children away from "the wrong people".

Yes, that will piss people off. You cannot attract support without pissing someone off. That's just the way it works.

The health bit also makes no sense. If they're going to grab attention and make a difference, they're going to need to use the phrase that freaks out private insurers so much: single payer health insurance.The only way they're going to be able to cover everybody and keep the costs down is monopsony, period. That they aren't willing to say this suggests that this is a chimera; the army of lobbyists they'd be pissing off by even breathing that phrase suggests that they aren't going to do anything that might be actually effective.

(Once again, the Dems seem to think that if they propose something less scary-sounding they won't get crucified by the Republicans, despite the Republicans being experts at ensuring that it will be as scary as advertised.)

This isn't an agenda. This is barely a platform. This is the kind of thing that people come up with when they're desperate to be approved but don't know how. It was clearly conceived as a set of utterly safe and pragmatic "issues" antithetical to the Republicans' ideology.

Fine, so the Republicans professed ideology makes them inflexible.

At least they bloody well HAVE ONE.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I'm not quite sure who "angie" is, or why she seems to be flooding the liberal blogosphere (example here) with links to one of my posts, but just for the record: The piece "Republican Manipulation etc..." is here.

That it could be related to a posting on another site is quite possible; due to said site being a wellspring of vicious racial and cultural hatred and proto-fascism that would make Stormfront proud, however, I have no intention whatsoever of linking to it.

The Stealth Candidate and Blog-Fouled Powder

Well, gee, this was predictable. The Democrats have been blathering on and on and on about "keeping their powder dry" in accepting Roberts as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (I still can't get over that- what job is more important?) and now have, as their target Harriet Meiers...

...a woman who, by all accounts, impossible to get a read of because she's a loyalist who's done precious little to deserve this weighty post. As a politico, she has no public positions that can be used for or against her, meaning that Bush can essentially invent her background and positions at will. She can be all things to all people: he can insist that she's "moderate and qualified" to the Dems seeking to criticize, while heading under the radar to tell the red meat crowd that she's one of them.

(That she's the second nominee suggests that she's almost certainly the latter; Bush loyalists are not, on the whole, known for liberalism.)

So now what the hell are the Dems supposed to do? They have all this dry powder, but they have no targets to fire at. At best, they can nail her for being a loyalist and being underqualified, but the Republicans can just haul out Rehnquist's background and be done with the latter; the former is a vapourous target even in these post-Katrina times, as the President can just say that she's loyal due to good judgement or shared beliefs or whatever other twaddle he and his handlers can conjure up.

In the end, though, it's the Democrats that are to blame for this. They (and, yes, their aligned bloggers) have been prattling on and on about their strategy for all to see and hear, and don't expect the Republicans to exploit that?

Hopefully they've learned that even if they're engaged in a political strategy, they should shut the hell up about it, and dress it up their political strategies in the same ideological and policy-based clothes that the Republicans so carefully maintain and lovingly employ.

In turn, talking about partisan strategy on the fucking Internet is an idea that I'm starting to wonder was a bad one in the first place. I'm not a Democratic strategist. Neither is Matthew Yglesias. Nor is Josh Marshall. Nor is Atrios. Nor is Kos. To the extent that strategy should be discussed, it should be discussed in private, not on a blog with every Freeper taking notes. I'm not saying that it should be verboten entirely, but that liberal bloggers stop acting like they're all Democratic strategists and start actually stating real opinions about real issues like real people. The real Democratic strategists need to shut the hell up and do their job.

I'm not attacking analysis. Analysis is fine and good; Jack Balkin's analysis of Miers was an excellent resource that I'm happy to link to. What I'm dissatisfied with is this increasing tendency to play the media's game of focusing on the game. Politics isn't a game, and it isn't a war, and it's not all about what you'd do if you were the Democratic Karl Rove. it's about people, and power, and how said power is best used to help said people.

And we can start by ending this stupid habit of attacking passion in the name of strategy. Mass protest has a long and storied history of accomplishing change that pisses off conservatives. That's why they attack and mock it, Matthew et al, and that's why it's wrong to do conservatives's job for them.