Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 15, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

MORE FUNDRAISING!....Why should you make a donation to Political Animal/The Washington Monthly?

Well, think about it: America is at a tipping point. Independent media is gathering unprecedented strength. Engaged citizens like you are migrating in droves away from a staid mainstream media that has largely failed in its watchdog role and towards more aggressive independent media outlets like this website. A golden age of independent media is rapidly emerging. The Washington Monthly is the best small, hard-hitting indy media operation out there, bar none.

But we need your support. Click the ad on the right (or click here) to donate via our handy web form. Alternatively, you can buy a subscription to the magazine here, or buy a gift subscription here. Or donate via PayPal here:

Kevin Drum 12:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (18)

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Sorry Kevin. After reading your blogging versus Martin Peretz's blogging in The Spine, I've decided to renew my subscription the New Republic instead. You just lack the Spine to say it like it is that Marty has the ability to do.

Posted by: Al on September 15, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

This is the only blog I post on anymore, not least because Kevin isn't just smart but nice.

I'm supporting not just myself but several relatives at the moment. I'll be certain to give next time though.

Posted by: Linus on September 15, 2006 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

This is a great blog, and my admiration for Kevin is deep. The check in in the mail, good sir.

But also always remember:

2) I didn't know the gun was loaded.
3) I never saw her before in my life.
4) We're from the government. We're here to help you.
5) I promise not to ... uhhm ... nevermind :)


Posted by: rmck1 on September 15, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK


Posted by: chfang on September 15, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK


Posted by: chfang on September 15, 2006 at 3:15 AM | PERMALINK

Yo' Kev...Love your flow here at Political Animail. I must read for me.

I think you spell "Indy" as in "indy media" i-n-d-i-e, short for independent. So that should be indie media.

...in training to be nobody special.

Posted by: jcren on September 15, 2006 at 6:56 AM | PERMALINK

How much to buy an entry of cat-blogging? Is this such a hard question? What if we slide you a c-note?

Posted by: American Hawk on September 15, 2006 at 8:45 AM | PERMALINK

Nobody puts things in perspective like the historian, Victor David Hanson - From his new blog on pajamas media:


I am currently reviews a wide variety of books on recent developments in the war by Max Boot, Fred Kagan, Robert Kagan, Michael Lind, Mark Steyn, and Thomas Ricks, and should have them wrapped up within 2 weeks. Just a passing note of general observance: why is it that those who support the current policy of democratization in Iraq seem dispassionate, and consider counter-arguments, while those who write off Iraq are furious, angry, and in near apoplexy discount any who disagree?

Why the Democratic Hysteria?

In that regard, the wild Right of the 1950s, whether characterized by Joe McCarthy, the John Birch Society, or, worse, the Ku Klux Klan, has been entirely isolated from the mainstream conservative party. But is the same true of the Democrats, when Cindy Sheehan (Bush is the worlds greatest terrorist), Michael Moore (the terrorists in Iraq are Minutemen), and Al Sharpton (still no apologies for his race-baiting violence of the 1990s) are welcomed into the fold, whose spokesmen compare Abu Ghraib to Saddams gulag (Sen. Kennedy), Guantanamo to Hitler and Pol Pot (Sen. Durbin), and think things were better under Saddam (Sen. Rockefeller), while Sen. Kerry and former Vice President Gore have either characterized our own troops as terrorists or indiscriminately rounding up poor Arab Americans at home?

Why this exaggeration and shrillness? It is frustration from having lost the Congress, the Presidency, the Supreme Court and the majority of the state legislatures and governorships. Frustrations follow from learning that a cobbled together coalition of gay marriage advocates, radical feminists, abortion on demand supporters, the old race industry emblemized by Jesse Jackson, as well as the radical pacifism of the leftwing blogsall that only garners 45% of the popular voteunless there is a Republican scandal, a losing war, a recession, or a Democrat running for President with enough of a southern accent to fool voters that he is a true conservative.

So I think this anger arises over acceptance that the country does not wish what Democrats have to offer, and thus drives them to scream and scare the country into thinking we are in a 1930s Depression, Vietnam redux, a Watergate of illegal wiring tappingalmost anything to get back over that 50% humpwithout having to reform and adopt more moderate policiesand to do to Michael Moore & Co. what the Republicans once did to the Birch die-hards and Neo-Confederates.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 15, 2006 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Hhhm. Think Ive sorta missed something here. If indeed the readers are flocking in their droves to indy (ie) media outlets such as Washington Monthly then shouldnt the revenue numbers be going up? I mean, once the fixed costs have been met of writing the stuff, having an office and so on, the cost of an extra copy of the magazine (or view of a web page) is practically nothing. So why does "success" lead to a requirement for greater donations?
Do accountancy and economics work differently inside the Beltway?
Oops! Of course, yes, they do. Sorry I mentioned it.
More seriously, good luck but I cant help right now: new mortgage to support in what might not have been quite the wisest financial decision of my life.

Posted by: failingeconomist on September 15, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin wrote: "The Washington Monthly is the best small, hard-hitting indy media operation out there, bar none."

Do you really think that Washington Monthly is "better" and/or more "hard-hitting" than Democracy Now, Mother Jones, or The Nation, just to name a few "indy media operations"?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 15, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Do you really think that Washington Monthly is "better" and/or more "hard-hitting" than Democracy Now, Mother Jones, or The Nation, just to name a few "indy media operations"?

Not radical enough, I guess...

The same thing is going on in your party.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on September 15, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

sportsfan79 wrote: "The same thing is going on in your party."

And what party would that be, you presumptious buffoon?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 15, 2006 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

I think the WM needs a regular "GOP Police Blotter" page. Yet another installment--

A guilty plea would make Mr. Ney, a six-term congressman, the first member of Congress to admit to criminal charges in the Abramoff investigation, which has focused on the actions of several current and former Republican lawmakers who had been close to the former lobbyist.

People with detailed knowledge of the investigation said Mr. Ney had entered an in-patient rehabilitation center in recent days for treatment of alcoholism, making it uncertain whether he would appear at a court hearing to announce the plea. Lawyers and others would speak only anonymously because of concern that they would anger prosecutors.

They said the agreement with the Justice Department and the exact criminal charges, which are expected to include conspiracy and false statement would be disclosed in Washington as soon as Friday and would probably require Mr. Ney to serve at least some time in prison.

Posted by: haha on September 15, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist, disavowing the democratic party, I guess. Good for you.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on September 15, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

For haha, here's today's lead editorial from the WSJ on this very subject. I reprint it in full because none of you losers can afford a subscription.

New Jersey Switcheroo
September 15, 2006; Page A12

For pure entertainment value, not much can compete with the blood sport of New Jersey politics. Last week federal investigators launched a probe into whether U.S. Senator Robert Menendez illegally benefited to the tune of more than $300,000 from a rental-income deal he had with a nonprofit agency that received millions of dollars in federal contracts. Even liberal good government groups agree that the relationship may have violated congressional conflict-of-interest rules.

The allegations have sparked a mini-panic among state Democratic operatives, who not so long ago thought Mr. Menendez -- who was appointed by Jon Corzine to complete his Senate term after being elected Governor in 2005 -- had the November election in the bag. Now they see Republican Tom Kean Jr. surging into a lead. If Republicans were to pick up a seat in this deep blue state, Democrats' chances of winning control of the Senate would be all but slammed shut.
[Robert Menendez]

That's why, as reported by the Newark Star-Ledger, there's now widespread speculation that the party brass may decide to throw Mr. Menendez overboard and replace him with an alternative -- nine-term Rep. Rob Andrews, perhaps -- who is regarded as more electable. This has become a familiar practice in the Garden State and has become known derisively as the New Jersey Switcheroo.

The details of the case are as follows. In 1998, while Mr. Menendez was a member of the House, he helped a nonprofit housing and health-care agency known as the North Hudson Community Action Group win designation as a federally qualified health-care center. This designation allowed the nonprofit group to obtain $9.6 million in federal grants. The nonprofit's employees have contributed some $30,000 to Menendez campaigns over the years, including $9,000 from the agency's director. The alleged conflict of interest arises from the fact that the Hudson County nonprofit paid Mr. Menendez a total of $329,353 starting in 1994 to rent a building he owned.

The Senator responds that his efforts on behalf of the Hudson County Action Group are no different than interventions he has made on behalf of dozens of similar nonprofit groups seeking federal funds. He also says that he received verbal authorization from a House Ethics Committee staffer on this deal. But strangely enough, as reported by Roll Call, the staffer didn't work for the committee at the time Mr. Menendez says he received the approval, and that person has subsequently died. It is also considered standard practice to get written approval from the committee when an ethical issue like this arises.

If this story seems like dj vu all over again, it should. This isn't the first time New Jersey Democrats have nominated ethically challenged candidates for high office. Last year Jim McGreevey resigned the governorship after he hired his gay lover as the state's national security director. In 2002, Senator Robert Torricelli was implicated in a bribery and campaign finance scandal, prompting the party oligarchs to throw him off the ballot and handpick Frank Lautenberg as his replacement on the ticket. Never mind that the deadline for ballot changes had passed. Senator Lautenberg kept the Senate seat from falling into Republican hands.

Republicans haven't won a statewide race in New Jersey since the election of Governor Christie Whitman back in the mid-1990s, in part because the Democratic machine reserves the imperial right to replace elected candidates on the general election ballot. Nowhere in the country do party leaders so cavalierly disenfranchise their primary voters when they fear their nominee is going to lose. For the New Jersey GOP, it's like trying to win at poker when your opponent can call for a redeal every time he doesn't like his cards.

Senator Menendez has vowed to stay in the race to the bitter end. Democrat leaders publicly insist they will stick with the Senator, but they sound about as sincere as a sports franchise owner who gives the head coach a public vote of confidence after a third straight last-place finish. At the next press conference, the coach invariably is gone.

The more serious issue here is whether Garden State voters are growing weary of the culture of big boss cronyism that has contaminated their government from city hall to the U.S. Senate. This is a state with a steeply rising cost of living and a property-tax burden that is both the highest in the nation and twice the national average. The state has some of the worst schools and most expensive municipal services in the country.

We don't know whether Mr. Menendez is guilty of violating federal conflict-of-interest laws. But it's worth noting that a Senate ethics complaint has been filed against him. The last major Senate ethics investigation was the one launched four years ago against New Jersey's Torricelli.
URL for this article:

Posted by: Norman Rogers on September 15, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: xx on September 17, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK



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