'Its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht' Criticizing (and exaggerating the extent of) angry reactions to the health-care bill’s passage, Frank Rich himself goes overboard. … A small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht? C’mon. Some critics have crossed the line, no doubt about it. It’s ugly. They’ll only hurt their own cause as a result. But there are no riots in the streets. The National Guard hasn’t been called out. The Republic isn’t on the brink of violent chaos. No post-Kristallnacht concentration camps are secretly being built. OK?
¶ 9:58 AM
'They come to this debate with good intentions,' Part II Via Dan, you may have already seen David Frum's spot-on analysis of Republicans' disastrous strategy on health-care negotiations. Do yourself a favor and read it if you haven't yet. I warned about this last August:
Conservative Republicans think not playing ball with Dems on health-care will deal a crippling blow to the Obama administration. But sometimes compromises are not only a way to achieve something, they’re also a way to head off something. I fear Democrats will come up with a truly Frankenstein-like health-care bill on their own, similar to the wretched stimulus package, partly because Republicans refused to accept the non-purist reality that Dems may well pass a bill on their own. Republicans have the opportunity to cement in place a largely private-insurance universal system. They may end up allowing the demise of a largely private-insurance system.
The bill ended up a little more centrist than originally thought. But it could have been much better. ... More on bad negotiating strategies here.
Update -- Another look at the GOP's 'no' strategy. ... David Brooks also has that gnawing feeling that the bill, while good intentioned, marks the end of something in America. ... I know Patrick Kennedy is still emotional about his father's death. But watch this video of him yesterday. We all know what we're all thinking beyond the empathy. He needs time off.
¶ 4:47 AM
Monday, March 22, 2010
'They come to this debate with good intentions' Michael Cannon over at National Review has a classy response to last night's historic health-care vote:
First, congratulations to all those to whom this victory means so much. This debate has been marked by such rancor, that I encourage all who are now crestfallen to take a deep breath. Reach out to your opponents. Remind yourself that they are good people, that they come to this debate with good intentions. You’ll feel better about yourself. Also, if you hold on to rancor, you’ll be worse than useless to the rest of us.
He then goes on to list both the good and mostly bad in the bill. ... Hub Blog shares his general sentiments. But holding my nose, I would have probably voted for the bill. Universal health-care is a worthy and even necessary goal. But this bill could have and should have been so much better. It's too long, complex, expensive. It didn't cut to the heart of many important matters, from reforming the tort system to opening up health-care insurance markets, and it left unresolved the underlying causes of skyrocketing medical costs. Hopefully, these and other things can be fixed with equally good intentions, as Cannon notes. ... Cannon's piece via Reader BK.
¶ 7:28 AM
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
'Once upon a time, in a magical kingdom called Massachusetts' Bob:
Once upon a time, in a magical kingdom called Massachusetts, the government decided that everyone who worked in the castle was special and, therefore, deserved special holidays. The villagers who worked in the valley far below still had to get up with the dawn, leave their homes, and go to work, just as they always did. Taxes, of course, had to be paid: running the castle was expensive, you see, and ...
'Downgrade' Never thought I'd see the day. ... Technically, the U.S. credit rating hasn't been cut -- yet. But the mere fact they're seriously talking about it shows how close to the fiscal edge we are today. ... Europe's social spending is driving their countries to the edge too. The U.S.'s combination social-military spending is our problem.
¶ 7:15 AM
Saturday, March 13, 2010
'Four clicks to my left' David Brooks has kind words for Obama, a man "trapped in a town without an organized center":
Readers of this column know that I’ve been critical on health care and other matters. Obama is four clicks to my left on most issues. He is inadequate on the greatest moral challenge of our day: the $9.7 trillion in new debt being created this decade. He has misread the country, imagining a hunger for federal activism that doesn’t exist. But he is still the most realistic and reasonable major player in Washington.
'Who is Clark Rockefeller?' "Who is Clark Rockefeller," 9 p.m. tonight on Lifetime. The Times and Herald sort of liked it, while the Globe sort of didn't. I can't resist. If it doesn't pan out, it's back to "White Heat," TCM... Tomorrow night is a no-brainer: "The Pacific." ... Can you you tell I'm house-bound during this lousy weather?
¶ 4:33 PM
Friday, March 12, 2010
'Out-of-control state spending’ What happens when hairdressers and TV anchormen get to retire when they’re 50 or 55 because they allegedly work in “hazardous” jobs? Your country goes broke.
Remember this the next time someone says we need to be more like Europe. The entire continent is about to financially unravel. The U.S. isn’t far behind, especially here in Massachusetts.
Update -- John emails in: 'Speaking of Europe unravelling, did you see this piece in Der Spiegel?' I hadn't. The Germans aren't happy. Most of the EU members have been mooching off others for years. It was never sustainable.
¶ 12:46 PM
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
‘I pray, Father … for more influence’
The party of Christian Republicans controlled the White House, House of Representatives, Senate and Supreme Court throughout most of last decade. But the evil, secular, devil-incarnate MSM cleverly thwarted their agenda and turned America away from righteousness – and now it’s time to call upon the big guy himself to swat down the demons who won’t perform the kingdom’s work on earth!
¶ 12:30 PM
'Let's give credit where it's clearly due' He's right: Deval took on the public unions. Not a lot. Not enough. But he did it.
¶ 11:15 AM
'The plan’ From ‘flowers in the streets’ in Iraq to ‘flower farms’ in Haiti, the PowerPoint dreams of social engineers shall never die. …
Hub Blog can’t make up my mind which is my favorite: “seaside promenades with bicycle paths” in downtown Port-au-Prince or “flower farms shuttling fresh-cut bouquets by cargo jet to Montreal, Miami and New York.” ... Hmmm. I'm torn. Maybe we should opt for the less ambitious “solar-powered irrigation systems and mango processing facilities” after moving the “population and industry away from the teeming, ravaged capital.” … It’ll all be settled at an upcoming U.N. aid conference on Haiti. Don’t fret.
¶ 8:05 AM
'Scrambling to halt the Scott Brown tsunami ...' Part II Peter Porcupine answers the call for a list of contested legislative races and adds a few other observations:
Mr. Hub Blog – Here is a link to what I think is the most comprehensive list of contested legislative races via Red Mass Group, which tends to do a better job keepings up with these things than Boston media -
As far as the 10th Congressional race goes - only ONE town in the district - Hanover - is represented by two Democrats now (many have Republican representation already, and most of them have no announced challengers) that do not have a challenger for the House or Senate races. I would suggest that this level of local activity will drain away some of the usual enthusiasm for keeping the Congressional seat.
I would also suggest that concentrating on Joe Malone instead of Jeff Perry (who had about 500 people at his kickoff party last Friday, but has the temerity not to live within comfortable coverage range for Boston media) - you may be missing the 'Scott Brown' candidate in the race. ...
PS - I am aware that Sen. Morrissey's challenger is an independent rather than a Republican, but a race is a race. I am also aware of some as-yet-undeclared Republicans in some races that seem uncontested, but my assertion about Hanover is based on the list of announced candidates.
Update -- Jon has a long post on Deval's 're-election problem.' Hint: There are lots of problems.
Update II -- Kevin had Jeff Perry on his 'RKO show last night. ... Kevin also interviewed Harvard historian S.M. Plokhy about his new book 'Yalta: The Price of Peace.' Sounded like a great show. I'll try to listen to the interviews later. Podcasts available.
Update III -- Speaking of pols and radio, Patrick and Scott Brown will be the first guests today on Charley Manning's new radio show. Maybe Charley can ask the gov what he thinks of Jon's long list of problems.
¶ 6:52 AM
Hub Blog isn’t against gambling on moral or economic grounds. It’s the impact on the political establishment that worries me. …
¶ 7:15 AM
Saturday, March 06, 2010
‘Scrambling to halt the Scott Brown tsunami in the Bay State’ Here’s a counterintuitive thought: Delahunt slowed the Brown tusnami merely by not running. There’s an anti-incumbent mood out there. Voters are out for blood. Delahunt looked like the most vulnerable incumbent. Now he’s gone. Some of the throw-the-rascals-out momentum went with him. Sure the door is now ajar for Republicans in the 10th. But I’m not too impressed with their bench. Joe Malone? Please. … The best thing going for Republicans/anti-establishment types: passion. See post below. … P.S. – Does anyone have a rundown of likely contested legislative seats this fall? That’s where a political revolt will have the most impact here. Not at the Congressional level. But at the legislative level.
¶ 9:08 AM
Hub Blog got into an interesting email exchange with a reader after my original ‘Dueling manifestos’ post. The point of contention (since cleared up): Whether the New Left was ever as powerful within the Democratic Party as the New Right is now within the Republican Party. That wasn’t my original point. I was looking at the eerie similarities between the New Left and New Right – and that’s all. But it’s still a valid point. So I’ll make clear: The New Right is now closer to power within the Republican Party than the New Left was within the Democratic Party – and that makes it a little scarier. Abbie Hoffman, Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden et gang had an enormous radical influence on the left – and thus the Democratic party. But I don’t recall Abbie Hoffman ever hosting his own national television show at the peak of his power – nor serving as a keynote speaker at a presidential dog-and-pony show (Hoffman-Beck comparison via Michael Lind).
P.S. – Hub Blog thinks Brooks is focusing too much on the Tea Party. I’m lumping all the far-right factions together and calling them the New Right. The recent Conservative Political Action Conference was dripping with the same counterculture wannabe-ism that David attributes to the Tea Party movement, up to and including the issuance of a pompous manifesto and references to a ‘conservative Woodstock.’ I won’t even get into my groundbreaking theory that the hypocritical right, deep down, suffers from a profound inferiority complex toward the left. …
¶ 8:48 AM
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Mr. Kaus goes to Washington If Al Franken and Scott Brown can do it, so can Mickey. ... Via John, who notes: 'He's tanned, he's rested, he's ready.' ... Suggested campaign slogan: Because he needs a job!
¶ 2:17 PM
From Rush to Charley It couldn’t happen to a better guy. This is great news. Charley is first-class. All the best wishes to him. … Via Dan, who’s rightly ‘stunned to learn that Entercom has actually done something smart.’
¶ 11:16 AM
‘I object!’ Taking the GOP’s ‘no’ campaign to its logical conclusion. This is going to register with Independents. It’s why Republicans have to get him off the stage. It wasn’t supposed to be this obvious. …
Bunning’s antics reminds me of the federal government shutdowns in the ‘90s, a silly tactical idea first hatched within Republican cocoons and later popped publicly, to disastrous political results. Americans didn’t like seeing basic services shut down. Americans now on unemployment insurance – millions of them – aren’t going to like this either. They form the core of the Scott Brown base, angry at Democrats for not doing enough for private-sector workers and soon to be angry at Republicans, who seem only slightly less nutty these days than Sen. Bunning, the new face of the Republican party. …
¶ 7:45 AM
Hockey at its finest, Part II Disappointing end. But what a game. ... From an international-relations standpoint, the outcome was probably just as well. Canada would have suffered a nervous breakdown had it not won.
¶ 7:02 AM
You have found the center of the universe -- a blog about Boston, Hub of the Universe.