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Council on National Policy Likes Pawlenty for President

ABC News: Conservatives Say Pawlenty Is Potential Presidential Candidate:

The confetti had barely settled after the inauguration of George W. Bush when hundreds of the nation's top conservative activists gathered in Orlando, Fla., during the last week in January for a meeting of the Council on National Policy.

Members of the council, an influential and private group that works behind the scenes to influence Republican politics, were already pondering the election in 2008.

Several noted that for the first time in many presidential cycles, prominent social conservatives have yet to identify a potential favorite.

In informal conversations, as described by two of the participants, more than a dozen names were thrown around -- most notably that of popular conservative Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Other potential candidates such as Tennessee Sen. Bill Frist and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush were discussed as well, though Bush has said he will not run in 2008.


Fineman Sucks

It pains me that Howard Fineman is a fellow Louisvillian. His Newsweek article on the Social Security debate is filled with half-baked assertions and conservative rhetoric. He labels Reid and the Senate Democrats a "rejectionist front," and Howard Dean a "fire breather."

I happen to be buddies with Reid's director of internet communications (DIC), and Fineman is engaging in rank speculation when he turns to what the DIC is telling the blogs and why he was hired.

The only substance in the article:

In fact, Bush's GOP allies are moving cautiously. They won't even try, Hill sources tell NEWSWEEK, to unify behind a particular bill until the fall—hoping to lure Democrats to make a counterproposal first. That will leave plenty of time for more talk, more campaigning, more blogging—and rock concerts.
That this is important information is marginally redeeming.



Mark Schmitt, newly of the New America Foundation, has had some great stuff at the Decembrist lately. For instance, he explains the monument gambit of budget trickery, provides a solid critique of the cult of Lakoff, and links to two academic papers on the relationship (or lack thereof) between policy and politics - Homer Gets a Tax Cut and Abandoning the Middle (PDF) .

No Courage

Before the idea that Bush is "courageous," "bold," or "daring" for trying to privatize Social Security plants itself firmly in the public mind, I want to take the contrary position: he is a cowardly little shit. If he was really courageous, he would: 1. stop lying to the American people about the "crisis" he's trying to address; 2. hint to the American people that the programs he's proposing have serious costs; 3. put tax increases on the table. It's not courageous to attempt to dupe the citizenry, it's contemptuous.

The effort to brand Bush "courageous" brings to mind Bill Maher's comments about the 9/11 terrorists: is it really courageous to undermine the most effective and efficient government program in history?


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There Is No Crisis: Protecting the Integrity of Social Security



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