May 18 2003
RECENT TERRORISM: A very insightful email on the terrorist
attacks in Riyadh and Casablanca.:
as if the left is seizing upon the most recent bombings in Saudi
Arabia and Morocco as proof that al-Qaeda is beginning to reconstitute
itself and is beginning to reassert itself onto the international
scene. The correct view is to look at these attacks as the violent
death throes of an increasingly ineffective organization.
telling aspect of these last two attacks is the geographic locations
– Arabic countries nearby radical Islamist regimes. In the case
of Saudi Arabia, parts of their own country can be considered
radically Islamist; Morocco’s location adjacent to Algeria has
always made it a prime target.
this telling? These locations are within the “local” sphere
of Arabic influence. The infrastructure and resources required
to bring the fight to the enemy’s territory (us) has been effectively
disrupted. Logistical planning and operational expertise has
been effectively eliminated. Al-Qaeda can rely only on local
extremist support, as that is what is left. The low-tech, Palestinian
method, effectively demonstrates that few resources are available
and that the imagination and planning required for more sophisticated
attacks is just not present.
in my opinion, is that the rulers of these Arabic countries
realize this more fully than we appreciate. In effect, they
now understand that, since al-Qaeda cannot attack where they
want to attack, they will attack where they are capable of attacking,
namely, the very countries and societies that have supported
them in the past. A relatively sympathetic local population
provides a willing pool of martyrs and the logistics required
to move arms and materials is much less demanding. Also, as
the security apparatus of most of these countries are compromised
with radical supporters, the security issues are much less demanding,
al-Quada can no longer “export” terrorism to the West. It must
now content itself with Part B of their strategy, overthrowing
the existing ruling elite of the Arabic nations and replacing
them with Islamic fundamentalist regimes that will provide the
safe havens for al-Qaeda to reconstitute itself for the larger
task of confronting the West.
governments are now coming to the realization that their past
support (tacit and otherwise) of these organizations have created
a scenario whereby they are now in peril of the very organizations
they supported in order to deflect opposition to their regimes
onto external enemies. As the capacity to attack externally
has been effectively disrupted these resources are focused internally.
The existing governments now realize that these radical elements
must be eliminated within their own countries before they, themselves,
we can expect increasing cooperation with the United States
from these countries as the war against al-Qaeda moves into
a new phase. We will see these regimes moving ruthlessly to
destroy the internal infrastructure they have created. There
will be more pressure on the Palestinians to whack a deal with
Israel so as to defuse the raison d’etre for many in the Arab
world. You will also see some “liberalization” within these
societies as the ruling elites desperately move to cling to
whatever power they can retain.
on terror has been a success. The arena has not shifted. The
roll back continues. Arabic countries have now been forced into
the realization that, for their own survival, these groups must
be destroyed. These regimes are nothing if not ruthless. Expect
a surge of beheadings in the near future.
This is of
course the glass is half-full take on the current situation with
Al-Qaeda and the general terrorist environment in the Arab world,
but I think there is a lot of truth in this thesis. J.
McIntyre 11:42 am
May 16 2003
KRUGMAN V. MAINSTREAM AMERICA: Another fantastic
column this morning - and by fantastic I don't mean "great"
but rather the word's primary definition: "seemingly conceived
by unrestrained imagination; fanciful or capricious." I'll
save you a lengthy rant over the details of Krugman's dishonesty
and just cut to the final sentence:
truth is that the pursuit of televised glory — which led the
Bush administration to turn its attention away from Al Qaeda,
and to pick a fight with a regime that, however nasty, posed
no threat — has made us much less safe than we should be.
that the Bush administration went to war for a photo-op and doesn't
care about fighting al-Qaeda stretches the boundaries of both
cynicism and reality. First, let's acknowledge that this new argument
flies in the face of what Krugman and the rest of the Dems have
been saying for the past eighteen months, namely that Bush has
been too preoccupied with the War on Terror to deal with domestic
issues in any real way.
many on the left may actually believe Krugman's fantasy, it's
fairly evident that the rest of the country feels differently.
In the last
ABC News/Washington Post poll, by exactly a two to one margin
respondents said they felt the victory in Iraq will decrease the
risk of terrorism here at home. Bush's
approval ratings remain in the mid-to-high 60's and, despite the
difficult economic circumstances, a large plurality of the public
feels the country is moving in the right direction. Krugman's
attempt to use the Riyadh bombing and the IISS
report to make the argument that Bush's War on Terror is complete
sham is, well, let's just say it's less than convincing.
said before, the defining question of the 2004 election may not
be "Are you better off than you were 4 years ago?" but
rather "Are you safer than you were 4 years ago?" Given
where we stand today, it's virtually inconceivable that anyone
- outside of the hard-left activist base of the Democrat party
- can look at any of the current Democrat presidential hopefuls
(with the possible exception of Lieberman) and believe they would
have spent as much time, effort, and resources on fighting terror
and protecting the homeland as President Bush has during his first
BAD WEEK: First, Texas
Dems hit the road and end up foiling House Majority Leader
Tom Delay's effort at a second redistricting in his home state.
Then he gets in a bit
of hot water with Speaker Hastert for working above his pay
grade on the assault weapons ban.
IS BACK: The Washington Times reports that Republicans
plan to resurrect the nomination of Judge Charles Pickering
and force Senate Democrats into a third filibuster. It looks as
if Frist and the GOP are betting heavy on the notion that the
Dems are either going to capitulate to public pressure on the
issue of judges or that they will pay a severe price at the ballot
box in 2004. This is now a high-stakes game of chicken that is
going to have a big winner and a big loser. - T.
Bevan 7:41 am
May 15 2003
EMAIL CONCERNING VANDERBILT LAW REVIEW: When I was on law
review at Vanderbilt from '94 to '96, the same controversy existed.
Vanderbilt allows (or at least, it did then) for students who
don't make law review to attempt the following year to "write
on" by submitting a legal article as part of a separate competition.
Very few slots were available for this (one or two at the most,
with no guarantee any will be selected), and very few students
even tried. In other words, writing on to the law review was a
ahead of me, there was a black student I'll call Lenny. Lenny
was an affable, outgoing student well-known among the students,
and a liberal who was outspoken on issues of race. During my first
year, Lenny spoke openly about his plans to submit an article
for the write-on competition for law review. He spoke about it
to students, he enlisted the advice of professors, and he made
it clear that the article was going to deal with the issue of
race in American society and the role the concept plays in law.
During the year, Lenny could frequently be found in the law school
library talking about all the research he was doing on his article
or in the student lounge openly discussing how he had at least
one former English teacher review his writing to correct it for
grammatical errors. Come the end of the year, there was not a
person in the law school, student or faculty, who did not know
Lenny was submitting an article on race as part of the law review
surprise--Lenny made law review. What Lenny had done was completely
manipulate the competition by daring the law review judges not
to select him. He made sure everyone knew that he was entering
the competition, made sure everyone knew the topic--even the title--of
the article he was submitting, and, of course, he chose a topic
that threw anonymity out the window and which simply had to be
accepted as wonderful lest the judges be accused of racial bias.
Now, compare that to the writing portion of the regular law review
competition I had to endure, which constituted half of my competitions
score (the other half being grade point average): the topic was
chosen for me, so that everyone in the competition had the same
one; the research was provided, so I couldn't separate my paper
from the others by being more diligent in finding support or precedent
or stumbling across some great case; I was bound under the honor
code not to discuss or share my paper with anyone else under threat
of automatic disqualification; and I was given a firm two-week
deadline from the time I picked-up the packet containing the secret
topic and research material until the time I turned it in. Certainly,
I did not have the opportunity to have my paper vetted by former
begrudge Lenny his slot on law review. The point of my anecdote
is simply this--if the law review was so desperate to keep blacks
off, why would they bend over backwards to provide this kind of
an opportunity for Lenny? I say "bend over backwards," because
he defied all the competition's ostensible safeguards and no one
uttered a peep of protest. They were anxious to have him aboard.
At the time, the lack of minorities on law review was always a
source of embarrassment for the editorial staff--at least since
the 1980s--and I'm sure it is no different today. The question
is, are you going to have two sets of standards? One for whites,
one for blacks? Do liberals really think that is doing blacks
a favor? A spot on law review is an academic honor that students
work hard to achieve, and the prestige it confers translates into
higher demand among the top law firms in the country. Unlike the
college admissions process, there are no ways to distinguish oneself
in the regular competition other than through merit--there is
no application form, no list of extra-curricular activities, no
chance to brag about a foreign language skill or athletic accomplishment
or charity work. It is a ruthlessly unbiased assessment of grades
and skill. Racial tensions at even a collegial school like Vanderbilt
will reach a snapping point if white students are forced to earn
that honor under a stricter standard than black students are required
to meet. 4:17
THE TEXAS DEMS: We got a bit of grief yesterday for not
displaying this story more prominently on the site, so today we're
going to 'flood the zone.' Just kidding.
latest from the Associated
Press, the Dallas
Morning News, and the Houston
Chronicle. And for a comically partisan column on the subject
is Molly Ivins, the Maureen Dowd of the South, in today's
politics is complicated and sometimes it's simple - like this
case, for example. Right now in Texas, it's payback time. Republicans,
who've been on the short end of the redistricting stick for, oh,
the last 130 years, finally made their way into the driver's seat
at the State House and decided to use the means at their disposal
to secure political advantage. This happens every day in every
state legislature across the country in one way or another. Is
taking a second shot at redistricting under such circumstances
extraordinary? Sure. Is it illegal? No.
Democrats acted like the kid at the playground who didn't get
selected as the team captain again so he took his ball and went
home. Is this behavior childish? Absolutely. Is it illegal? Quite
More to the
point, the rest of the state's business is being left undone because
the Dems can't bring themselves to face one of the consequences
of their defeat at the polls last November. A commentator on NPR
yesterday said hundreds of bills are going to die in the Texas
House along with the redistricting bill this week - including
legislation covering such issues as healthcare and education.
Does it drive
liberals crazy that this piece of revenge is being engineered
by their arch-nemesis Tom DeLay? Before you answer, let me refer
you again to Molly
Ivins' hysterical outburst this morning. But, you ask, is
it fair? That's irrelevant. Nobody ever said anything about politics
being fair. Ask Miguel Estrada if politics is fair.
in politics you lose at the ballot box and as a result, you find
the other guy standing over the top of you with his boot on your
throat. You can either take your medicine, learn your lessons,
and find a way to get back up and fight another day or, if you're
a Democrat from Texas, you can pack up the party van and drive
Margaret Thatcher is back on the scene. I see Andrew
Sullivan beat me to the punch in posting her quote about the
French, so let me offer a different and perhaps more profound
from her speech yesterday:
Thatcher said that she had “drunk deep from the same well of
ideas” as her great ally, the former US President Ronald Reagan.
Both instinctively knew what worked, she said, including low
taxes, small government and enterprise. “We knew, too, what
did not work, namely socialism in every shape or form. Nowadays
socialism is more often dressed up as environmentalism, feminism,
or international concern for human rights. All sound good in
scratch the surface and you will as likely as not discover anti-capitalism,
patronising and distorting quotas, and intrusions upon the sovereignty
and democracy of nations.”
ALERT: Interesting article
in the Balitmore Sun regarding the disparity of diversity
in the composition of the student body at the Vanderbilt School
of Law (about 13% African-American) and the members of the Vanderbilt
Law Review (about 0% African-American). The former takes diversity
into account as a factor for admission, while the latter is derived
from an anonymous, merit-based application process.
the first few graphs of the article, ending with a quote that
pretty much sums up what I think is a fundamental flaw in the
concept of diversity:
Brown feels duped. Like many of his classmates, he came to the
Vanderbilt University Law School partly for its racial diversity:
Its student body is 13 percent black, a higher proportion than
at most other top law schools.
Brown found out about the law review.
Vanderbilt Law Review - the most prestigious club at the school,
and a springboard to the best clerkships and law firms - does
not have a single black student among its 60 members. By one
count, there have been only four African-Americans among the
750 students selected through its rigorous, merit-based selection
process in the past 25 years.
been recruited to come, they've painted this diverse picture,
and then you come and find, 'Oh, there hasn't been [an African-American]
on law review for so many years,'" said Brown, 24, a black second-year
student from Los Angeles. "It's sort of an illusion, that
by getting into law school, these opportunities are available
to you, when they're not." (Emphasis added)
no one is preventing Damon from availing himself of the opportunity
to be a member of the Law Review. But his clear sense of entitlement,
and the feeling that any process based only on merit is somehow
discriminatory against him is not only misguided, it's ultimately
detrimental to his sense of self worth and his ability to achieve.
- T. Bevan 7:37
May 14 2003
NO, WE DIDN'T TAKE THE DAY OFF: Rough day yesterday. In
case you didn't see the note on the front page, the site went
down somewhere around 7:30am EDT when a construction crew in Boston
(on the "Big Dig," no less) cut through a main fiber
line connecting to our hosting company. Looks like all is up and
running again. Sorry for the inconvenience.
BELIEVE THE HYPE: I should have expected - but didn't - the
headlines around the world this morning trumpeting the "resurgence"
Qaeda May Be Back, and Stronger" shouts the LA Times.
Thrives Where Roots Began says the Philadelphia Inquirer.
The BBC has a
round up of more media breathlessness.
but I just don't see it. Al-Qaeda hasn't done much of anything
in the last 18 months - except get rolled up by anti-terror police
forces around the world. I don't want to make light of the fact
that 25 people just perished in a terror attack, but it would
seem to me that if America and the West are al-Qaeda's main targets
and the best they can manage is blowing up a couple of trucks
full of C-4 in downtown Riyadh, then I'd say that's a sign of
their weakness, not their strength. A more accurate headline would
read, "Riyadh Bombing Desperate Act of Crumbling Terrorist
Organization." Or something like that.
SENATE UPDATE: The difference between Democrats and Republicans
is that when Dems are desperate to hold a seat they'll do damn
near anything. You need money, Frank Lautenberg? Done. Looking
for assurances of seniority in the Senate, Walter Mondale? You
Not so for
Republicans. The GOP
wouldn't promise Edgar the financial backing he wanted ($3
million) or the plum he demanded (a seat on the Foreign Relations
committee), so the best chance of saving Peter Fitzgerald's seat
next year evaporated.
I'm not saying
the GOP should have capitulated to Edgar's demands - from the
reporting it sounds like Edgar mishandled the negotiations by
dispatching an envoy to D.C. with an all or nothing offer. Still,
faced with the same decision I'll bet Terry
McAuliffe and Jon Corzine would have done the deal in about
30 seconds and moved on to other business.
IL GOP Chair
Baar-Topinka also announced she won't run for the seat, and
will Jim Ryan, former state AG and 2002 GOP gubernatorial
candidate. This leaves Andrew McKenna and Jack Ryan as the two
most likely GOP primary favorites - at least for now. - T.
Bevan 7:25 am
May 13 2003
RACE OBSESSED: I happened to catch a little bit of Aaron
Brown's program last night, including his interview of Bob
Herbert over the Jayson Blair incident. Herbert said something
which really struck me as odd. Here's how it went:
Are you concerned that people will use this to attack diversity
in the newsroom or affirmative action, any of those things?
Oh, I think people are already attacking both. Am I concerned
about it? Sure, I'm concerned about it. But folks who want to
-- folks who hold that position to start with, who are, in some
sense, against diversity or who are opposed to affirmative action,
it's hard to change their minds with rational arguments or discussions.
And they will use this to attack both of those things. And I
see both diversity and affirmative action as very good and necessary
things. So, to the extent that this might harm efforts in that
direction makes me somewhat sad. But we'll get past it.
Someone wrote last week that, if it were a middle-aged white
reporter, he never would have been given as many chances, as
many mistakes. Do you think there's any truth in that?
I have seen cases where white reporters have, over substantial
periods of time, made up stuff and put them in newspapers and
been fired and that sort of thing. And they were given chance
after chance after chance, even though red flags were being
waved, you know? Warning flags were out there. So it's easy
to jump on this case and try to make it a racial situation.
I mean, I think that it's not. When white reporters have been
fired for making up stories and putting them in the newspapers,
the stories the next day on television and in the papers don't
say, a white reporter for this publication was busted. They
just say that this reporter or a veteran reporter or some other
kind of reporter was caught doing the wrong thing. But you get
used to that after a while. Race is a big problem in this country.
A lot of people are obsessed with it. So people like to see
things in a racial context.
are two components to the Blair affair: fraud and opportunity.
Certainly, there have been plenty of cases of journalistic fraud
and they don't have anything to do with race. Any journalist who
is intent on lying and deceiving his or her editors and the public
will always be able to succeed - at least for a while.
But an important
question, however, is whether Blair's rapid advancement to a position
of prominence in The Times' organization - despite his
well documented record of sloppiness - had anything to do with
receiving preferential treatment as an African-American minority.
One of the reasons this scandal is so devastating is because Blair
was writing big-time front page stories. Had he been on the Metro
desk or the Sports desk, the blow to The Times' reputation
would have been significantly less. This is a perfectly legitimate
question, and Bob Herbert just dismisses it completely.
I'd be willing
to bet that if you asked every reporter in the newsroom at The
Times whether it's typical for 27 year-olds with five years
experience and astronomical correction rates to be promoted to
the national desk to write front page scoops they'd probably say
no. Even Herbert would have to admit Blair was the exception rather
than the rule.
hard for me to think of anyone in the country more "obsessed"
by race than Bob Herbert. I understand that he comes from a generation
that grew up during segregation and still sees the world through
the lens of the 1960's, but I think he's got it almost 100% backward.
Most people acknowledge that race remains an issue in America
and that incidents of racism still exist, but a large plurality
of the country today also recognizes the enormous progress that
has been made over the last few decades and continues to grow
increasingly disinterested in the color of a person's skin. Part
of this is due to the Civil Rights revolution and part of it is
just plain demographic: most kids and young adults today live
quite comfortably in an incredibly diverse world and see segregation
as a horrible relic of a bygone era - which is exactly what it
simply, America continues to become more tolerant, not less.
realities, Mr. Herbert and the rest of diversity crowd on the
left cling to the idea that "race is a big problem in this
country." Their entire rationale for being is to focus exclusively
on matters of race and to engineer, regulate and monitor race
in every corner of our society. We must have X number of minorities
in this school, X percentage of these different racial groups
working at that company , we must pass additional laws to protect
minority group X from discrimination.
definition of obsess is "to dominate or excessively preoccupy
the the thoughts, feelings or desires of" and "to think
about something unceasingly." This seems to me to be almost
a perfect description of Bob Herbert and his fellow diversity
mongers on the left when it come to the issue of race.
ALLY: If you're the Prime Minister of Malaysia, what better
way to honor German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder than by
bashing the U.S.?
OF REPUTATIONS: Apparently Clare Short isn't content with
resigning from Blair's cabinet, now she's trying to engineer his
removal from office. In an
interview with The Guardian Short suggests Blair shouldn't
serve another term as PM and that "it would be very sad if
he hung on and spoiled his reputation." I guess since Ms.
Short's reputation is already in tatters it makes sense that she
would be concerned about saving Tony Blair's reputation. Or not.
TOPPER: I honestly thought this
was a joke, but sometimes the truth is even funnier:
Egyptian singer Shabban Abderrahim, who hit the headlines with
a song called I hate Israel, once again plans
to rock the pop world with the release of a single called Saddam's
hell is better than America's paradise, the Al-Hayat
the release of the Al-Qaeda dance remix version. - T.
Bevan 7:28 am
May 12, 2003
AND THE ECONOMY: From yesterday's Meet
Let me show you the economic record of the first 28 months of
the Bush-Cheney administration. And here it is. Dow Jones is down
19 percent. Unemployment rate is up 46 percent. We’ve gone from
a $281 billion surplus to a $246 billion deficit. That’s a swing
of $527 billion and that’s going up, and worst of all, a net loss
of 2.1 million jobs. Now, you used to have a very different view
towards deficits, I believe. Let me show you what you said in
1995 and it couldn’t be clearer: “The budget deficit puts a hole
in the pocket of every American, every day of their lives. It
threatens the very foundation of our culture and we must seize
and act upon this historic opportunity to solve this, the most
pressing issue facing the country.” Do you believe the deficit
is still the most pressing issue facing the country?
SEC’Y SNOW: No. No. That was 1994 and 1995 when we were
in an entirely different set of economic circumstances. A
deficit at a time of full employment and a deficit that’s rising
over time is troublesome. That’s what I was talking about in 1995.
Today, we have underemployment. Today, the economy is far short
of its potential. If you’re going to run a deficit, this is the
time to do it because the real deficit we face today—and this
is important to make this point—the real deficit we face today
is a jobs deficit and a growth deficit.
RCP: Secretary Snow is exactly
right. When the economy is humming along and unemployment is not
a problem that is when you do NOT want to be running long-term
structural budget deficits. When the economy is struggling and
unemployment is rising (the situation we face today) that is EXACTLY
the time the government should be running deficits. This is ECON
101 stuff and Russert is either clueless when it comes to basic
economics or he is deliberately misrepresenting the truth for
When the president proposed his 2001 tax plan, he said it would
create jobs. Since the enactment of the first Bush tax cut we
have lost 1.7 million jobs. Why?
SEC’Y SNOW: Tim, let me say something to you on that. In
July of 2000, I was at my corporate headquarters reviewing the
papers in Richmond, the headquarters of CSX, and the numbers came
in. I couldn’t believe them. You know, CSX is a transportation
company. It gives you a bird’s-eye view of the whole economy,
and the numbers from the barge line and from the ocean carrier
and from the railroad and the trucking operations and warehousing
operations and logistics operations were terrible. We hit a wall.
We had gone over a cliff. I called all the leaders of those businesses
and said, “Are these numbers right?” And they said, “Yes, they
are, unfortunately.” And we could—I could see then that the economy
was in trouble. And I told the president in Texas, in Austin,
at a summit, president-elect in January of 2001, “Mr. President,
you are inheriting a recession.” That recession would have been
a lot deeper, it would have been a lot harsher, it would have
been a lot worse but for those ’01 tax reductions that the president
RCP: This is a critical point
and maybe the American people understand this better than
the inside-the-beltway crowd. Bush inherited an economy in January
2001 that had been on the equivalent of a long bender and was
literally running on fumes. If it wasn't for the FED's massive
easing which started in Jan '01 and President Bush's tax
cut the economy would be in significantly worse shape today. Russert
and the Democrats want to blame Bush for losing 1.8 million jobs
when this economy would have lost jobs no matter who was President
or what the economic policies were. The truth is President Bush's
2001 tax cut was a critical shot in the arm for the economy and
not with standing what Tim Russert or Tom Daschle might say, that
2001 tax cut helped the job situation in America. And I
haven't even mentioned 9/11.
I think that
is one the reasons the 'bad' economy had very little negative
impact on the GOP in 2002. Polls in 2001 and 2002 regularly showed
that more people blamed Clinton for the bad economy than Bush,
and when you throw in the obvious impact of 9/11 on our nation's
economy, most people don't blame President Bush for the current
economic stagnation. And they're right.
make Terry McAuliffe and the Democrats happy, but it was the general
feeling last November and it is part of the reason the
President was able to pickup seats in on an off-year election.
The big political question is how long will the American people
continue to feel this way. If the economy is a mess in 2004 will
they blame the President or will they understand that Bush inherited
a post-bubble economic disaster that was then severely compounded
by 9/11 and the War on Terror?
Let me bring you back to a speech you gave at the Commonwealth
North in Alaska on July 21 of 2001 because it’s very strong language,
and I’ll give you a chance to see if you still agree with your
U.S. economy is very weak. In fact, I would say it’s the weakest
I’ve seen it in 20 years. The economy we’re looking at is pretty
Do you agree with that?
SEC’Y SNOW: Oh, yeah, it was bleak. And the ’01 tax plans
that we talked about helped bring us out of that and gave us the
shallowest and shortest recession in modern times.
RUSSERT: When you made those comments, Mr. Secretary, “the
weakest economy in 20 years,” let me show you what the economic
numbers were compared to now. The Dow was at 10,000; it’s now
8,600. Unemployment was 4.6; it’s now 6. There were 132 million
people working; there are now 130, a net loss of 1.7 million.
The economy is much weaker now than it was when you said it was
the weakest in 20 years.
SEC’Y SNOW: Tim, you know too much about economics to believe
that statement. Economies deal with leads and lags. And what I
was saying is that I saw the economy that I was dealing with,
the industrial sector, very weak. And that was a leading indicator
for the rest of the economy. You know, that industrial sector
still hasn’t come back to where it was.
RUSSERT: How would you describe the economy right now?
SEC’Y SNOW: I’d say the economy is in a recovery, but it’s
not a robust recovery. It’s a sort of a weak—soggy is a word I
sometimes use—recovery. Growth rates last quarter, 1.6 percent.
You know, we should be growing at 3.5 to 4 percent. So it’s—we’re
RCP: I loved that "you
know too much about economics to believe that statement."
Snow finally called Russert to the mat for the constant misrepresentation
of the truth. Like the Secretary said Tim, "Economies deal
with leads and lags."
on balance Treasury Secretary Snow did a good job of batting down
Russert's partisan hyperbole and making the point that this White
House is interested in producing jobs. But I detected a pause
from his straight-shooting style when Russert asked him "how
would you describe the economy right now?" I think his response
"So it’s—we’re underperforming" was very revealing.
As a spokesman for this Administration and as Secretary of the
Treasury his words matter and I was left with the feeling that
private citizen John Snow would have been much more pessimistic
in his characterization of the current economic situation.
AND THE ECONOMY:
Secretary Treasury Snow in ’95 said the deficits were the most
pressing issue facing the country. When I asked him about this
earlier he said “Deficits are not all equal.” Do you agree with
SEN. DASCHLE: I don’t know what he meant by that, Tim.
I’m not sure that he explained it. Debt is debt. Deficits are
RCP: It's clear that "I
don’t know what he meant" and "Debt is debt. Deficits
are deficits." was just the beginning of Daschle's promoting
of Herbert Hoover economics.
DASCHLE:The first step that we take is to say let’s quit digging
the hole that this administration has dug for the last two years.
Let’s not add on to the deficits that Secretary Snow talked about.....We’ve
got to find a way to deal with this incredible debt. We’re going
to see long-term interest rates go up. They’re going to go up
exponentially if we don’t find a way to turn this around. The
deficit and the debt matter..... As you said, two years ago, we
created a situation very similar to this. We passed a tax cut,
and we’ve seen nothing but unemployment numbers going up, deficit
going up, and no result in the economy to date.
RCP: Daschle's attitude towards
debt and deficits would be disastrous to the country. To begin
with, someone on his staff should tell him that long-term interest
rates are at 40-year lows. Has Daschle heard of deflation?
Has he read anything about the 1930's or Japan post-1990? The
LAST thing this country needs is a Congress determined to balance
the budget today. A balanced budget this year or next would
throw this country into a depression. This economy is struggling
to stay afloat even with the FED's massive liquidity and the 2001
Bush tax cut.
Snow is exactly right when he says "the real problem the
economy faces today is jobs and growth." The paramount concern
to the economy IS maintaining jobs and growth, not short-term
budget deficits. If jobs and growth can be maintained or marginally
increased, the passing of time will work to alleviate the structural
dislocations of the '90's financial bubble and and allow the country
to grow out of the potentially disastrous debt and deflationary
overhang it now faces.
comes to halt, or goes negative, this country could be in for
some very rough economic sledding and Daschle's suggestion that
the first step is to focus on the budget deficit is a prescription
for tipping the economy into negative growth. He either doesn't
understand modern-day economics or is deliberately arguing for
polices that will throw the country into a recession or worse.