Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

Reuters In a surprise

(Reuters) In a surprise turn of events today, Karen Hughes' husband Jerry decides that Washington, DC. is a pretty rockin' place after all. Hughes family to re-relocate to Washington, DC. Karen Hughes perhaps to be rehired at White House?

Meanwhile, secret government "pre-cog" historians ponder the implications of recent events for LJ "Dutch" Bush, great-grand-nephew of George W., currently scheduled to assume the presidency in 2072.

They say a picture

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But sometimes you get a bargain. Like this one of President Bush expressing his support for the American economy outside Chicago, Illinois -- which is worth about 78 million words. Look at the faces. Each one.

If we just all

If we just all agreed in advance by mutual consent that the Dow is now really at 6,000, wouldn't that just make for a more relaxing next few weeks?

Just a thought.

I didnt want to

I didn't want to do any posts this weekend. But this article by Chris Caldwell in the New York Press merits an exception. It's simply devastating and the most apt statement of the White House's predicament I've yet read. Every word of it practically is worth reading and reading again.

There's always an element of unmerited, guilty pleasure you feel when you hear someone on the other side making your side's case for you. But it's equally true that sometimes a political point can only be made clearly by someone who has to say it with an element of regret, whose words are free of the dross of wishful-thinking and mindless overstatement.

Consider this peerless paragraph, which comes after Caldwell argues that no actual illegality was likely involved in Bush's Harken stock sale ...

What kills the President is that every time Harken comes up, Democrats get to retell the story of how he made his money. And this, basically, is the story of the spectacular unfairness with which moneymaking opportunities are lavished on the politically connected. It is the story of a man who has been rewarded for repeated failures by having money shot at him through a fire hose. It is the story of a man who talks with a straight face about having "earned" a fortune of tens of millions of dollars, without having ever done an honest day’s work in his life.
More than anyone else thus far, Caldwell gets bracingly to the heart of the matter.

What's so damning about this current round of revelations isn't so much the law-breaking. Nor is it that people make the wrong choice when forced to choose between playing by the rules and taking shortcuts to cash in big. What's so damning is that there is apparently a whole class of people who never have to face that tough decision, the sort of decision that defines most people's lives.

The insiders' we hear about never seem to have broken any law. Or they never knew the key inculpating fact at the key moment. But somehow they manage to cash out at the right time and everything works out okay.

One group of people seems to live in a world where the economic god comes out of the theology of John Calvin, while the other lives in a world with a god of ever-abiding love, universal salvation, endless second chances, and never having to say you're sorry ...

Welcome to the responsibility era ...

If youre wondering if

If you're wondering if Tom White helped himself in his Senate testimony yesterday, the Army brass that works under him apparently isn't. White got a standing ovation from the hundred-odd officers present at this morning's staff briefing at the Army operations center. And it's little surprise. The Senate Dems just hadn't done their homework and it showed, as Josh Green makes clear in this earlier post.

Heres a first for

Here's a first for Talking Points Memo: A guest post, this one from The Washington Monthly's Josh Green -- JMM

Are Democrats about to blow it on the issue of corporate scandal? You wouldn't think so from Dick Gephardt's disputed-but-nonetheless-bold prediction in Roll Call that the Democrats will take back 40 seats in the House. But you might if, like me, you were seated behind embattled Army Secretary/Enron impressario Thomas White yesterday as he testified before Congress.

Shrill Democratic grandstanding was the order of the day and dominates most of today's coverage. But anyone in the room could tell you that--flip charts and hectoring moralism aside--the Democratic senators got trounced. The hearing was supposed to connect White to the California price-fixing scandal, but, well...it didn't, as only a few astute reporters seem willing to admit.

Here's a quote from today's Sacramento Bee: "By the end of the hearing, Democrats were left with little more than they had started. Even with the Enron memos, which Dorgan several times called 'smoking-gun memos,' there was nothing linking White to the California energy crisis."

Or how about Business Week? "Surprisingly, after several hours of grilling White, several members of the Senate Commerce Committee seemed resigned to accept the explanations for his corporate behavior while he was vice-chairman of the Enron retail subsidiary."

Regular TPM readers may remember the supposedly explosive report being touted a while back by one Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen that was going to doom White by linking him to the energy scandal. While a lot of folks took the bait (the Senate and my gracious host among them) the hype surrounding that report, at least as it pertains to the California scandal, now seems thoroughly discredited. But that didn’t stop Slocum from showing up! He was looking a bit glum and strangely out of place, decked out as he was in black jeans and a billowing patterned shirt and looking uncannily like a member of Third Eye Blind.

But back to the bigger issue: If Democrats swing and miss at the top Enron official in the Bush administration--who, by the way, ain't exactly a choirboy-- what does that say about their chances this fall? Maybe that they're dropping faster than the Dow?

-- Josh Green

(July 18th, 2002 -- 9:03 PM EDT // link)

Is the Bush administration the most crudely political administration ever? Especially when it comes to the conduct of foreign policy? To date, the administration has had two state dinners. One for the President of Mexico, another for the President of Poland. No doubt, if there were a country of Pennsylvania steelworkers tucked away somewhere in the Balkans their president would be getting the red carpet treatment too.

NEWSFLASH: (Reuters) President Bush hosts president of MidAtlanticSwingVoterStan at White House. State Dinner scheduled for Friday evening ...

Did any companies involved

Did any companies involved in the New Economy keep truly honest books? Or did those that did all tank in 2001? The new revelations about AOL make you wonder. Aren't we getting to the point now where, by definition, everybody in the industry had to know about these shenanigans since they seem to have been practiced at virtually every company?

Actually, I've got to start having one of the big five accounting firms do my books because my understanding, based on the AOL article, is that I could book my phone bills and clothing expenses (nonexistent though they are) and gas bills as article fees! I'm not even sure how it would work but I'm eager to try it out.

Its the year 2054.

It's the year 2054. Magnetic levitation devices replace cars in America's major cities. Super-cops arrest criminals before they can commit their crimes. And California Republicans field a viable candidate in a statewide race ...

You know your campaign is in bad shape when that highly opinionated and politicized news outlet, The Associated Press, runs a story with the headline: "Calif. GOP Businessman Founders"

An expert on California politics quoted in the article says this week's meeting of National Republicans in San Francisco is "Simon's opportunity to make a case to Republican leaders that he is still a viable candidate."

Sounds pretty promising, doesn't it? Read the piece to see all the gory details.

You dont need to

You don't need to run a poll to know that Social Security privatization is an issue with, shall we say, declining saliency. But here are some documents (in .pdf format) from a recent study commissioned by the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) on the privatization issue. And the results for the Republicans are really not pretty. Definitely take a look. Your Democratic schadenfreude will thank you. Or if you're not a Democrat, well, then tell your operatives to keep a better hold on their work product.