Maybe what they say

June 13, 2003 9:46 a.m.

Maybe what they say about California is true. I did grow up here. But since I got here on Tuesday afternoon, the tempo of my thinking has slowed dramatically. Not the quality, I hope not at least, but the tempo. Maybe it’s the sun, or the beach, or the jacuzzi in my dad’s backyard which, for once, I didn’t have to fix before using when I came to visit. In any case, this probably explains some of the slow pace of posts.

Do read Krugman’s column today. As usual a very nice column. But it also captures an important reason why I’ve given the Texas/redistricting Homeland Security story a lot of attention. Tom DeLay is a genuinely dangerous guy. This incident was a particularly egregious example. But I mean he’s dangerous not so much in the sense that he’s going to commit one particularly egregious act as the way he is transforming not only the government itself but what we consider acceptable in government. He is, to paraphrase the late Pat Moynihan’s old phrasing, defining political deviance down. Krugman hits on several of the key examples in his column today.

Happily, the New York Times finally gave a full editorial to the Homeland Security scandal back on Tuesday. “The new Department of Homeland Security was called in on the case as if it were the patronage police and the dissenting Democrats were terrorists.” Take a look at the editorial before the evil Times business gods snatch it out of public view and make you pay to read it. (It ain’t that good.)

One point they allude to at the end of the piece, and one of the good things to come out of the affair is the way that it has exposed the laughable hypocrisy of many on the right. It’s one thing to say, well, if this were Clinton they’d be saying this that and the other. And they would, of course. But it’s nice just to have on record that my conservative friends really don’t care very much about the abuse of federal law enforcement authorities for the crudest of political purposes. Just not their bag, not their concern.

Also, do read the piece by Fareed Zakaria which I linked to in the earlier column. It’s on the deeper story behind the overstatements about WMD. He really has them right.

Finally, TPM has made arrangements to start accepting advertisements on a limited basis. Till now, the site has depended entirely on the much-appreciated generosity of readers who send in contributions — that and a pretty big subsidy from my freelance writing. But we’re trying to open up a new revenue stream which should help us expand the site in various ways. We’re not expecting any major ad buys from Nike or Coke or anything like that. TPM attracts between twenty and thirty thousand individual readers on an average weekday. But it’s a fairly choice demographic, including lots of people on Capitol Hill, many in the executive branch, lots of DC lawyers and lobbyists, and a lot of folks in the national media who advertisers generally are itching to get access to. So we’ll see how it goes. More soon.

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