Friday, July 28, 2006

Bolton cramthrough stymied?

Steve Clemons says "Senator Hagel has stated unambiguously that he is now 'undecided' on John Bolton."

I'm not quite sure how to read this, but it could be that Bush has miscalculated in pushing the Bolton confirmation again precisely when his visibility is heightened due to the mid-east conflagration and Republicans are wary about voter backlash in the upcoming elections. While Hagel isn't facing reelection himself, he is campaigning for Republicans in Nebraska.

taking on the boomers

From what I remember from the days before TimesSelect, this from Ezra Klein is more or less accurate:

Wandering through the nation's op-ed pages is like ambling through a dojo. Each writer has his own particular style, technique, finishing move. There's Tom Friedman, who rushes in with the Implausible Conversational Anecdote, links it to an Off-Topic Invocation Of World Travels, and finishes you with a Confusing Metaphor From Above. Or there's Maureen Dowd, who deploys Unfounded Personal Speculation mixed with Confusing Allegories till she's set up her killing blow: Insinuation of Character Defect. It's impressive stuff.

The deadliest op-ed columnist, however, is unquestionably David Brooks. He's the drunken boxer of the opinion page, luring you into a false sense of security with Banal Observations that comfort through Faux Bipartisanship until you're ready for the Illogical Conservative Conclusion.

Very good. Matt and Ezra have quite a thing going over at Tapped (I also like Garance, but she hasn't been as prolific as the other two). They very nearly convinced me to subscribe to the paper form of the magazine a couple months ago, until I realized I barely read [clarification: have a hard time making it all the way through] the magazines I have already. I think (editor) Tomasky must have taken action to prevent a duopoly, though, because I've been noticing other contributors posting recently, most of whom mysteriously don't appear on the masthead.

that word "democracy"--I do not think it means what you think it means

In the upside-down world of Bush, the word "democracy" has been stripped of all substantive meaning. From Yglesias:

"There's a lot of suffering in the Palestinian Territory because militant Hamas is trying to stop the advance of democracy."

As Yglesias points out, this statement would be more true had Hamas not come to power through a democratic initiative which Bush himself spearheaded. I am not sure what idea is present in Bush's brain when he utters the word, but it bears little relation to how the word is generally understood on this planet. My guess is that the word "democracy" is being co-opted to join other code words used to appeal to so-called values voters, like "family", "morality", and "faith". Each of these terms, roughly translated from the new lexicon, means "something we have that the other side doesn't."