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I was interviewed by

I was interviewed by a reporter today about the DeLay furor. And at one point we touched on this new 'counter-attack' which DeLay's partisans are trying to mount against his growing chorus of critics. Will it make a difference? Will they quiet the storm? And so forth.

There's a post at DailyKos which gives some examples of the degree to which major conservative leaders are now willing to stake their all on defending Tom DeLay. And it's worth noting that there doesn't seem to be much defense on the merits (in the sense of denying the voluminous evidence of his corruption); he's just their guy; and they'll attacks whoever attacks him.

But set that aside for the moment.

When DeLay says 'bring it on' to his critics and marshals the full host of movement conservatism to defend him, I can't imagine that worries his critics a wink. I don't say that because these folks are impotent or can't raise a ruckus; they can. It is rather that in purely partisan terms the aim of the people leading the charge against DeLay is to raise his profile, to make him the face of the Republican majority on capitol hill -- with all his full measure of snarl, extremity and venality.

So if DeLay's cronies want to go to war with Public Campaign or the Campaign for America's Future or anyone else, I can't imagine they mind. Because that's just another way to drive home the reality that these groups are trying so hard to demonstrate: that Tom DeLay is the Republican majority -- extreme on a few key 'culture' issues and, beside that, on the block for the highest bidder.

When Democrats go corrupt, they betray their principles. And certainly it's happened enough times. With someone like DeLay, there are no principles to betray. It's just money and power from the git-go. And really that means just power. A cash-and-carry operation.

Nothing changes from the alpha to the omega save that you eventually run afoul of the law.

Beauprez sees the light

Beauprez sees the light of day?

Representative Bob Beauprez (R) of Colorado today spoke out against the ejection of three non-Bush-loyalists at the Bamboozlepalooza event in his district back on the 21st.

Here's part of what the congressman said Peter Boyle’s morning show on KHOW-AM in Denver ...

It’s unfortunate. This kind of stuff should never really happen. At least as I understand it, these folks showed up – they’ve got every right to be there. There was a pro-Bush leaning crowd but by no means at all, my understanding, a 100% pro-Bush crowd. And unless they did something wrong there’s no reason why the should be yanked out of there and escorted through the door.


I listened to <$Ad$>the whole discussion. And while Beauprez certainly didn't dump on the president, he didn't seem overly-impressed by the claim that the unnamed event official in question was just some local Republican that the White House had no connection with.

Scott McClellan, of course, continues to say that nobody did anything wrong -- or, rather, to borrow an unfortunate phrase, that the three were asking for it.

But I have to imagine that Beauprez's statement will raise the pressure to find out just who these people were who tossed the non-Bush-True attendees out. After all, it was an event in his district, thrown for him. We know similar incidents have occurred at Bamboozlepalooza events across the country, so there's really no serious question that this is White House policy. So let's get to the bottom of it.

George Radich is a

George Radich is a constituent of Allegheny County State Rep. Jeffrey E. Habay.

Radich and four other constituents petitioned a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court to audit the records of Habay's political action Committee, the Friends of Jeff Habay. So, according to charges filed today, the next time he received a letter from Radich, Habay sprinkled some white powder on to the envelope and then called the cops, claiming that Radich had tried to take him out with an Anthrax mailing.

Unfortunately for his sake, Habay is apparently a fool since Radich had, uncharacteristically for a Anthrax mailer, included a return address. And things went even worse for him when it turned out that he had paid for the postage with a credit card.

Habay is already awaiting trial on unrelated ethics charges and, if there was any sense to things, would also be charged with being a friggin' moron.

Rep. Tom DeLay This

Rep. Tom DeLay: "This loss happened because our legal system did not protect the people who need protection most, and that will change. The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior, but not today. Today we grieve, we pray, and we hope to God this fate never befalls another."

Like moth to a flame. He can't help himself.

And who is he threatening retribution and punishment against? The judge or Michael Schiavo?

Pomeroy is on the

Pomeroy is on the <$NoAd$> case ...

North Dakota's congressional delegation wants to get to the bottom of a list that barred more than 40 people from President Bush's speech last month in Fargo.

Rep. Earl Pomeroy said Wednesday his concern stems from a similar incident in Denver, where three people were removed from Bush's March 21 town hall meeting on Social Security.

Pomeroy said the Denver incident raises disturbing questions given what also happened in Fargo. He said he'll evaluate what must be done to launch an inquiry.

"We need to find out whether this was part of the official planning," he said.


See the rest here.

Since the beginning of

Since the beginning of this current round of the privatization debate -- now going back more than four months -- critics have made a simple and I think unassailable point: the privatizers' argument for the gains to be had from private accounts don't hold up because they use optimistic economic assumptions to forecast returns from private accounts but very pessimistic assumptions to predict the future of Social Security.

In other words, it's a bogus comparison. Whether our economic future is rosy or grim, we can only compare a future with private accounts to one with Social Security by using one common set of economic assumptions.

Suddenly now, this point is all the rage. A majority of economists surveyed by Bloomberg say that private accounts won't do as well as the White House says if we're really heading into a 21st century of anemic growth. And the Times devotes a whole article to the point in tomorrow's paper.

There's nothing shocking or untoward about the sudden interest in this point. And the Times piece is pegged to a paper that is set to be presented tomorrow at Brookings. But I'm always struck by the lack of rhyme or reason to why a particular point or argument suddenly gains traction after a long period of inattention, even when the facts on the ground and the governing assumptions haven't changed a bit. It's no more true today than it was four months or two months ago.

The only difference is that the market for articles predicting the demise of privatization has become more bullish.

This Post article says

This Post article says conservative intellectuals are jumping off the phase-out bandwagon. This one says it's losing support among the young. This one says economists and economic strategists say the numbers don't add up. This one says retirees are giving the thumbs down to privatization.

If the phase-out crew didn't still have a lock on fidgety right-wingers with poor social skills, where would they be?

TPM Reader BG makes

TPM Reader BG makes a good point: "The president says 'If you've got an idea, I expect you to be at the table. We want to listen to good ideas.' How does this square with the forcible removal from the presidential gatherings of anyone exhibiting the merest hint of an appearance of possibly harboring independent thoughts?"

President Bush warns of

President Bush warns of political consequences for lawmakers who oppose his wildly unpopular privatization plan.

(ed.note: We ran this post in place of our update on TPM's hostile takeover of Viacom.)

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