Thursday, July 28, 2005

Why no Liberal Rove? 

TraitorGate leads liberals to ask two questions: will the treacherous Rove go to jail? followed shortly by why don't we have a Rove of our own on the left?

There is a reason that there is no Liberal Rove and its not the one that the right thinks. Its not because Liberals are too wussy to behave like Rove. The real reason is that Rove is not an effective politician.

For liberals looking at the GOP trifecta of Whitehouse, House and Senate this might seem an odd point of view. Rove's masterful exploitation of wedge issue politics is generally seen as a masterstroke, which of course it is from the point of view of winning elections. But from the point of view of political achievements the balance sheet is essentially empty.

The signature issues of the Bush Presidency to date have been the Tax cut bill, the No Child Left Behind Act and the PATRIOT act. That is not much of a legacy for a two term President whose party controls both houses of Congress. And when you look deeper the bills really don't amount to very much at all. The PATRIOT act is the result of 9/11 rather than political skill. The No Child Left Behind act was passed but not funded.

The only thing close to a solid achievement is the Tax cut bill which was only passed through the use of a procedural manipulation requiring the provisions to expire. Unless the President's approval ratings rise soon this is most unlikely.

Not only is the President's record of achievement meagre he is already generally regarded as being something of a lame duck President barely six months into his second term. Social security 'reform', the centerpiece of his second term agenda is dead and there are no other big ideas to replace it.

It need not have been this way. Bush could easily have established himself as a popular centrist President in the wake of 9/11. He could have established a dominant center-right power block that would dominate the political landscape for decades. Instead the post-9/11 spirit of unity was quickly abandonded in favor of hyper-partisan attack-dog politics and the invasion of Iraq.

Rove's style of politics work only for the politician who only cares about holding the office. If you want to actually do anything during your term you are stuck. Bush's Social Security agenda is dead as a dodo because he never campaigned for if when he was seeking re-election, instead of making the case for his policies Bush tried his best to avoid talkiing about them at all.

Friday, July 08, 2005

SI.com - Writers - Brian Cazeneuve: Why baseball was cut from the Games - Friday July 8, 2005 12:41PM

A sure fire way to get attention as a US jorno-scribbler is to squeak 'anti-americanism' whenever something happens in the world that is not understood.

The IOC just voted to cut baseball and softball from the 2012 Olympics. These sports are mostly played in the US. There are legues in some other countries but these are distant cousins to the NBA. Anti-Americanism? Well not really, in fact rather the opposite in some ways.

The first problem is that the whole point of the olympics is that the sports should be global and not national. Baseball has an international following but nowhere near as big a following as cricket which is the national sport of the UK, India, Pakistan, Australia, the Caribean and is played in significant parts of Africa as well.

The second problem is that the US clearly has most of the best players in the world but did not qualify for the Athens baseball tournament. No baseball player would rank playing in that olympic tournament to be the equal of making the league playoffs in the NBA, let alone the world series. When the olympic qualifying tournament was held the US sent a team of second string players who got beaten. The IOC does not want to hold a second rate tournament in a sport where the best players don't take part.

The final nail was that there are several sports that would like to be added to the Olympic program that can only be added if an existing sport is dropped. These include golf, rugby and squash. It is pretty clear that the number of people who are going to be willing to pay to see Tiger Woods and co play an olympic match is going to be much bigger than the number of people who want to see a baseball final between Canada and Japan.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Judith goes to jail

Enough talk about protecting the first ammendment and the public's right to know. That is not what Judith Miller did, in fact she did quite the opposite, she conspired with the government to punish the real whistleblower in this case by smearing him and illegally outing his wife as a CIA agent.

Miller's recent 'journalism' has not been exactly distinguished. After serving as chief administration shill for its WMD fictions she has been assiduously peddling the administration's new pet story the oil for food 'scandal' based on 'evidence' from the exact same sources.

Allowing administration officials to go off the record does not serve the public good. If the press did not play ball the public would find out the same information but they would receive it from a named source that could be held accountable for their statements after the fact.

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