My time here will be done shortly, with Kenneth Baer taking over in just a little while. It's been a real pleasure to blog for you all here and to get feedback from Josh's massive audience of readers. Speaking of which, a person doesn't just undertake uncompensated work for his own amusement. No! This was all a devious plot to promote my own work. So I hope that if you like what you've read, you'll check out my writing elsewhere. My blog has mostly been dedicated to silly stuff since I've been saving serious content for TPM, but after the handover there will be a return to substantive political commentary over there. In addition, I co-write Tapped with my colleagues from The American Prospect and you can browse my archived columns and magazine articles for the Prospect if you're so inclined.
If you really, really like what you read here you might want to call up The New York Times Book Review and say something like, "hey, have you heard of this Matthew Yglesias character? Wouldn't it be great if you actually printed that review of two books about Ronald Reagan you have on file and that you already paid him for?"
People also should know that I am capable of writing about things other than Social Security, I just thought it would be appropriate to focus on that issue this week since we're in the midst of a major now phase-out push and as we all know it's both a crucial issue and something TPM has played a big role in throughout the year. But to prove I have ideas on other subjects, and because Kenneth says he's going to be writing some about the British elections, here's a concluding thought. Tony Blair, as everyone knows, has moved the Labour Party to the right, dubbing it "New Labour" and antagonizing the apostles of "Old Labour" ideology. This, it seems, has greatly endeared him to "New Democrats" here in the USA who've been engaged in a similar project. But how similar is it, really? Iraq War aside, it seems to me that Blair's substantive views on domestic policy -- on the NHS, say -- would place him well to the left of mainstream thinking inside the Democratic Party. Which is to say that while he plays a similar role to Bill Clinton relative to the British political scene, in absolute terms his views are quite different simply because "Old Labour" was far to the left of anywhere the Democrats have ever been. So what gives?
There seems to me to be some muddled thinking on both sides of this question. The DLC should like Blair less, and my distinctly Old Democrat bosses at the Prospect should like him more. Since my successor literally wrote the book on the DLC, perhaps he can enlighten us about this. I'll also note that anyone who thinks the Liberal Democrats have gotten to Blair's left by opposing fees for university students needs to think harder. Free college tuition is a subsidy to the upper middle class, not to the poor. Given the availability of student loans, the main barrier to higher education for working class kids isn't tuition, per se, it's primary and secondary school systems that don't let them compete on a level playing field in the admissions sweepstakes. Now I'll doubtless enrage you all by suggesting that No Child Left Behind is a step in the right direction in that regard and sign off. But remember: Social Security now, Social Security tomorrow, Social Security forever!