Political Animal


SAUDI ARABIA: FRIEND OR FOE?….Saudi Arabia gets a lot of grief in the blogosphere, and the cause isn’t hard to pinpoint: 15 Saudi nationals were part of 9/11, al-Qaeda continues to flourish in the Kingdom, and state-supported Wahhabi schools in Saudi Arabia preach a virulent blend of nationalism, fundamentalist Islam, and hatred toward Jews and the West.

So it’s worthwhile to take a deep breath once in a while and remind ourselves that the Saudi monarchy has also been pretty steadfast in its support of the U.S., even when it finds itself under considerable pressure from other Arab countries. Clyde Prestowitz makes the case for Saudi Arabia here.

POSITIVELY CHURCHILLIAN….Nope, no negotiation with

POSITIVELY CHURCHILLIAN….Nope, no negotiation with Korea. Well, talks maybe, but no negotiation. But definitely no aid, no no no. Oh heck, maybe a little bit of aid:

“We know there are energy problems in North Korea. Once we get beyond the nuclear problems, there may be an opportunity with the United States, with private investors, or with other countries to help North Korea in the energy area,” Kelly said in response to a reporter’s question at a news conference in Seoul.

“Private investors”? Who are these altruistic private investors who are going to ship fuel oil to Kim Jong-il?

The Bushies sure have had a steady hand on the tiller during this whole Korea deal, haven’t they? Remember when Winston Churchill said:

We will never parley; we will never negotiate with Hitler or any of his gang. We shall fight him by land; we shall fight him by sea; we shall fight him in the air, until, with God’s help, we have rid the earth of his shadow and liberated its people from his yoke.

See, the difference is that he actually meant it. But with the Bushies it’s always just about playacting, and someday it’s going to catch up to them.


THE PAST IS PRESIDENT….Have you heard of “dynamic scoring”? It’s a politician’s dream, a theoretical construct that allows you to cut taxes, but then claim that the economic boost from the tax cut is so large that the tax cut won’t actually cost anything!

Dynamic scoring was a hobbyhorse of the Reagan administration, part of the “voodoo economics” that George Bush’s father mocked in 1980. But now it’s back. As the New York Times reports:

For years the supply-side economists have insisted that tax cuts stimulate the economy, producing increased government revenue that partially offsets the original cuts. But to their dismay, their own director of the Congressional Budget Office, Dan L. Crippen, rejected dynamic scoring. His term recently ended, and he was not reappointed. Replacing him is Douglas J. Holtz-Eakin, the top economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, who conservatives say is a champion of dynamic scoring. Indeed, the council used dynamic scoring to predict that rather than costing $359 billion over the next five years, Mr. Bush’s tax cut will reduce government revenues by only $166 billion.

Tapped says, “To put it bluntly, ‘dynamic scoring’ gives the GOP further license to lie about their economic policies.”

Of course, Tapped is just one of those tiresome left wing ideologues who can be counted on to carp about Republican tax policies. So instead let’s hear what the White House’s own estimates were ? before they were hastily taken down from their website:

The administration’s estimates show its proposal would boost economic growth by only 0.4% this year, but 1.1% in 2004 [election year!]. The projections suggest the plan could have a contracting effect of half a point or more in 2005.

A contracting effect of half a percent (or more!) in 2005. Isn’t it nice that we have those rock jawed Republicans back in office who disdain flabby short-term Keynesian pandering and instead promote policies for long-term economic health?


AN INTERESTING DEFINITION OF “SUFFER”….Adam Garfinkle, arguing that we should withdraw U.S. troops from South Korea, makes this puzzling statement in NRO today:

The division of Korea puts U.S. interests at risk more than it does those of any other major regional power (we have troops there; we ? not China or Russia or Japan ? face directly a nuclearizing adversary), and for the sake of the lowest stakes. Think about what the U.S. might suffer if war broke out in Korea, and about what we would gain from its not breaking out. We would suffer thousands of dead GIs, the probable ascription of responsibility for the razing of Seoul (and maybe Tokyo), and maybe accidental conflict with China.

He seems to be suggesting that being blamed for the vaporization of Seoul (and maybe Tokyo) would be worse for us than the actual vaporization of Seoul (and maybe Tokyo) would be for South Korea (and maybe Japan).

Does this make any sense at all?