Archive for June 13th, 2008

Why Obama Will Be The First Presidential Candidate To Need A Food Taster

Because this isn’t totally creepy at all…

John McCain’s presidential campaign is blasting a New York Times report that his campaign manager once worked for a Kremlin-backed politician, and that McCain likely knew of his efforts.

The McCain campaign is strongly denying the paper’s reporting that in 2005, a White House National Security Council staffer called John McCain’s Senate office to complain that Rick Davis, at the time a GOP lobbyist, was “undercutting American policy on Ukraine” by lobbying for a Kremlin-backed politician, Viktor Yanukovich, the paper reported.

The Bush White House — and McCain opposed Yanukovich, whom the United States and others had accused of election fraud, and benefiting from violence and intimidation towards journalists.

Yanukovich is the guy who is suspected of poisoned his opponent with dioxin.  Hopefully Davis didn’t ask him for any pointers…

June 13th, 2008 at 10:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,McCain

Well, Which Is It?

From Paul Alexander’s new biography of Karl Rove:

“Every Republican I know looks at the Bush administration as a total failure,” said Matt Towery, chairman of Newt Gingrich’s political organization.

“To do what he did politically to us is unforgivable,” Rep. Tom Tancredo told Alexander. “It will take generations to recover. I don’t know how long; maybe never.”

“I think the legacy is that Karl Rove will be a name that’ll be used for a long, long time as an example of how not to do it,” said long-time GOP strategist Ed Rollins.

National Journal, reporting on the McCain campaign:

“Generally speaking, Rove’s advice is action-oriented and useful,” said another senior consultant to the McCain camp. “It’s always well received.” This McCain adviser noted that Rove talks periodically to Black and a few other top campaign aides on several key matters. “It can be policy ideas, messaging ideas, fundraising prospects, or people who need calls from someone in the campaign.” Rove is “part of the information network that the campaign has,” this adviser said, adding that Rove talks fairly regularly to such key people as Wayne Berman, a major fundraiser for McCain; Nicolle Wallace, a communications adviser; and Steve Schmidt, a senior aide.

Seems like there might be some difference of opinion on whether Karl Rove and his math are an asset or a liability.  I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when the McCain campaign goes all-in on fearmongering, hateful smears, and impugning “Democrat” patriotism.  I can hardly wait.

June 13th, 2008 at 06:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Elections,McCain,Politics,Republicans,Rove

Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

This week’s quote is from the Talking Heads’ excellent musical mockumentary, True Stories:

I have something to say about the difference between American and European cities. But I’ve forgotten what it is.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s cats…

The shadowy and mysterious Codename B., on the attack.

June 13th, 2008 at 11:35am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging

The Value Of Regulation

Krugman has a great post today slamming the Republicans’ hostility to all forms of regulation – and not just on our terms (i.e., allowing poisonous food and predatory business practices is bad), but on their own as well:

[W]hen Grover Norquist, the anti-tax advocate, was asked about his ultimate goal, he replied that he wanted a restoration of the way America was “up until Teddy Roosevelt, when the socialists took over. The income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that.”

The late Milton Friedman agreed, calling for the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration. It was unnecessary, he argued: private companies would avoid taking risks with public health to safeguard their reputations and to avoid damaging class-action lawsuits. (Friedman, unlike almost every other conservative I can think of, viewed lawyers as the guardians of free-market capitalism.)

Such hard-core opponents of regulation were once part of the political fringe, but with the rise of modern movement conservatism they moved into the corridors of power. They never had enough votes to abolish the F.D.A. or eliminate meat inspections, but they could and did set about making the agencies charged with ensuring food safety ineffective.


One amazing decision came in 2004, when a Kansas producer asked for permission to test its own cows, so that it could resume exports to Japan. You might have expected the Bush administration to applaud this example of self-regulation. But permission was denied, because other beef producers feared consumer demands that they follow suit.

When push comes to shove, it seems, the imperatives of crony capitalism trump professed faith in free markets.


The ironic thing is that the Agriculture Department’s deference to the beef industry actually ended up backfiring: because potential foreign buyers didn’t trust our safety measures, beef producers spent years excluded from their most important overseas markets.

But then, the same thing can be said of other cases in which the administration stood in the way of effective regulation. Most notably, the administration’s refusal to countenance any restraints on predatory lending helped prepare the ground for the subprime crisis, which has cost the financial industry far more than it ever made on overpriced loans.

The moral of this story is that failure to regulate effectively isn’t just bad for consumers, it’s bad for business.

It’s amazing that even after so many clear-cut examples where “the market” did not prevent negligence or outright criminality, and even worked against business interests as well as consumer interests, that Republicans still will not admit that deregulation is actually not such a great idea.

Did I say “amazing”?  I meant “completely unsurprising and depressing.”

4 comments June 13th, 2008 at 06:55am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans

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