Well Matt has certainly

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Well, Matt has certainly set the stage for my debut. I just got back from the dentist, so let me do the requisite introductory remarks now, and think about what Matt wrote while I dig out from what’s in my in-box.

To start, let me just say that it’s a real honor to be on this side of TPM. I’ve been a faithful reader of the site since the dark days of the 2000 recount when Josh’s first posts were glimmers of hope for a dejected Gore speechwriter stuck sunning himself in the Plumbers and Pipefitters’ parking lot in West Palm Beach while his future employment slowly slipped out of reach. I’ve been a huge admirer and friend of Josh’s ever since he stuck up for me when a certain liberal magazine blackballed me for having the gall of supporting President Clinton’s agenda. And, of course, over the past few months, Josh — and Matt Yglesias — have performed a real service by guiding us all through the complex thicket of Social Security privatization. But until the tan and rested Josh returns from his tropical paradise, that service will be on hold.

I must confess that I know just about nothing about Social Security. When I have a question, I call Josh. When that fails, I bother Peter Orszag or Jason Furman. And when I have a real retirement question -– that is, investing on top of Social Security — I follow my grandmother’s advice: “Ask your Uncle Arnie.” So, for the next few days, we’ll be taking a break from Social Security and talking mostly -– but not exclusively — about the biggest political news happening this week, the British elections and why we Americans should care.

I first went to England as a grad student in Politics in 1994. While I didn’t study British politics, just being there for the rise of New Labour and their eventual election in 1997 was an education in and of itself (you’d be amazed what one can learn procrastinating from the work you’re supposed to do; then again, if you’re reading this, you probably already know.). It, in turn, informed my own work on the rise of the New Democrats which I turned into a book, Reinventing Democrats: The Politics of Liberalism from Reagan to Clinton (Kansas, 2000). Since then, I’ve followed New Labour closely, writing about it from time to time, and most recently -– and this is the last shameless plug, I swear -– this week for my column for the New Republic Online.

As we approach tomorrow’s election day, I’ll post as often as I can — and as often as I hear from my sources all across the UK (actually, it’s just an eclectic group of my friends scattered across southern England, including journalists, politicos, political scientists, and the world’s expert on the 17th century English book trade). To that, I welcome the thoughts of any British TPM readers that may be out there. And, of course, if you have any good gossip or stories outside of the British Isles that need attention, now’s your chance. I got a password to TPM — and Josh won’t be back until Sunday.

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