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The Reagan Movie, Ctd.



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A Corner reader writes: “The problem with the petition web site is that it actually encourages people to watch the mini-series, in order to determine how accurate it is. This conflicts directly with the appeal of some protestors to not only not watch the mini-series, but to boycot the advertisers. I will probably not watch the series, because I have neither the time nor inclination to patronize
such liberal drivel (since when has it become news that the networks are
biased against conservative presidents?), but I will probably not boycot the
advertisers either (how will I know who they are, unless I watch the
series), so I guess I don’t have a dog directly in this fight. But I do
wish Reagan supporters would develop a consistent game plan on this and
stick with it.”

Halloween Preps Tiring You?



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You’ll likely enjoy Meghan Gordon’s NRODT piece. You can preview some of it here.

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Ramadan



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A couple points. First, the recent bombings once again underscore that Ramadan doesn’t stop terrorists from attacking people, so why it should stop Americans from defending themselves is a mystery. A point I made a while ago in a column
I am still proud of, if no other reason for using the phrase “clay urn of whup-ass.”

Second, while I have no doubt that Ramadan is in fact an extremely important holiday for all Muslims, I do wish people would stop saying Muslims fast for a straight month. They don’t. They fast during daylight hours which, at this time of year, are getting shorter. In other words, they skip lunch. The symbolism is still valid and admirable — going with hunger for a period every day for a month is a nice and worthwhile reminder. But it just doesn’t seem like a monthlong hunger strike — which is how commentators sometimes describe it.

Web Briefing: December 26, 2014

Gore’s “Boom”



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Several readers have objected to the reader comment that Gore presided over a boom when in fact the economy was already starting to slide into recession. Here’s an interesting email (and then I’m done with this topic for a while):

Dear Jonah,
Your correspondent’s harping on Gore and the economy is misplaced. 1. The stock market was already in freefall by the time of the election so everyone with 401K plans or other investments was beginning to feel less comfortable about their economic well-being. 2. Bush wasn’t proposing anything that could be argued reasonably as being a major detriment to the economy. There was no reason to expect different economic performance under Bush than under Gore except in a way positive for Bush because he advocated cutting taxes.

The result was that Bush appealed to those who were growing concerned about the economy and didn’t frighten those who thought everything was still peachy.

This time, however, all the major Democratic candidates have announced their intentions to roll back at least part of Bush’s tax cuts. Most people realize that the rollback will significantly impact their wallets and probably the economy. It is doubtful that the majority of voters will perceive no important differences between Bush and the Democrats as to how they will handle the economy. The difference will favor Bush.

Pax,
[Name withheld]

(Bush v. Gore was essentially a race for president of the fraternity council. Gore was Greg Marmalard. Smug and smarmy but apparently competent. Bush was Otter. Likable, but potentially incompetent. The DUI news added to the incompetent impression of Bush and may have swayed some last minute deciders to go with the “competent” prick. Having watched Bush in office the issue of incompetence won’t fly. Likability (George Will’s living room test) will have more weight. I think most Americans will prefer Bush to Howard (The personification of weenie) Dean.)

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“Easy There, Cowboy”



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From a reader:


Easy on the giddy, gleeful gloating on the GDP numbers:

1) They’re going to be adjusted downward most likely when the Fed gets more
information.

2) A fat lot of good presiding over a boom did for Gore. My point is that 2000 calls into question the syllogism that if the economy is growing, then the incumbent sails to re-election. Granted, it’s not a detriment, but it’s no longer a guarantee.

3) Expect the Dems/the media attacks on Iraq to go from semi-focused and irritating to white-hot at a much higher volume.

That being said, Krugman’s cat was kicked so hard it’s now in the parallel universe where Krugman is the editor of NR, you are a vegan and a PETA
organizer, Ramesh writes for The Nation, and Lowry is a Red Sox fan and runs an anti land mine NGO in Boston and just coauthored Queen Noor’s autobiog.

More



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From another reader:

Well my liberal friends have already begun to spin the numbers. They cite a 10.9% unemployment level for people ages 18-24. For one, I can’t seem to verify that number, and two, that’s an awful narrow age margin to cite. It’s like saying the unemployment level for people ages 2.5-2.6 is 100%. The bottom line, when the economy is sluggish (when is the US economy in really bad shape? It hasn’t been in “bad” since the Carter years) the dems love to cite GDP data, but when the GDP data looks good, they turn to other stats to back up their assertions. And when all the economic data looks good, they’ll rely on deficit numbers (which is a legit concern for this admin, but should be remedied with spending cuts). Furthermore, as any good supply-sider knows, if the economy is moving along at an annual rate of 3.3+% growth, the tax revenue brought in this year should help with the deficit problem (though we should still cut spending). So all the dems have left to hope for is that Americans die in Iraq and that Iraqis are unable to establish some form of stable government to replace the Baathist regime. I’d be pretty depressed if I was a dem.

Probably Right



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From a reader:

Jonah,

The question is a no brainer. This is the best economic growth since the 80’s so they will switch to 80’s style tactics. The ecomomic growth will be denounced as symptomatic of corporate greed. Halliburton and the Defense Industrial Complex are making a killing on the war and American tax dollars, driving the economy higher, but at the expense of the poor and the middle class. The Dems will latch onto lagging unemployment numbers as proof.

Expect soundbites from the primary contenders such as: “This Administration is rolling back the clock to the times of corporate corruption, greed and record deficits. We are abandoning education, worker’s rights, sound fiscal policy and basic health care to fund million dollar corporate birthday parties and international adventurism. Republicans then have the gall to point to the thickening wallets of corporate fat cats as proof that the economy is improving, while average Americans are waiting in ever lengthening lines to get their unemployment checks.”

You watch. It will happen.

Joe Frye
Don’t withhold my name.

Possible Spin



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From a reader:

Wesley Clark: “Well, as I have always said, the Bush team is doing a great job, just a great, great job…oh crap, I forgot, it’s 2003 now, not 2002.”

Al Sharpton: “Maybe the WHITE MAN’s economy is doing better, but the BLACK MAN still lives in the shadow of the JEW BLOODSU…er, that is to say, I mean, my people are still in need!”

Joseph Lieberman: “The Bush team has cynically arranged so that the economic boom affects only Republican donors in the upper income quintile, while the poor continue to live in a grainy, black-and-white Depression. A Lieberman boom will spread the wealth around!”

How Will The Dems Spin These Numbers?



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Obviously, the Democratic presidential contenders will — fairly — call attention to the lackluster job growth. But how long can jobs lag behind? Anybody in the Corner have any suggestions for the most likely soundbites from Dems to explain why the economy is bad when it isn’t?

Dead Cat, Flying



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In order to deal with the fact that Paul Krugman will doubtlessly go through a great number of felines as these economic trends continue, we’ve now updated the KCI to switch to a new, fresh, cat on a regular basis. Today’s cat is named Mr. GDP.

Nro-Plus



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You read NRO at work during lunch? You can read NR(on Dead Tree), too, on your computer. Just subscribe to NR Digital. Or have I mentioned that already?

Molly Ivins On Npr



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From the You Paid For It Department: Bob Edwards interviewed Molly Ivins on today’s Morning Edition to promote her new book “Bushwhacked.” One main focus was on how Harken Energy was a perfect miniature of Enron. Oh, she began by saying she wasn’t a “hater,” that Bush was a “perfectly affable fellow,” but his policies are so “deleterious.” Edwards was a sympathetic help-mate.

P.S. Re: Assignment



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Tomorrow’s Legacy assignment is the airport bookstores. (Feel free to get a headstart.) By the way, this doesn’t break my no-more Legacy-plugs-today promise because it was just completing the previous plug.

Krugman’s Cat



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From a reader:

Jonah,

Well, it was fun while it lasted, but there is no way that we can continue to refer to the Krugman Cat Index and maintain any level of intellectual honesty. On the news this morning that the economy is growing faster than it has at any point since 1984, Krugman’s cat is surely dead. Think about it. 1984! Could the news be any better? The nation’s economy is growing so fast that you have to go back to the last time taxes were cut this much, at practically the same point after the taxes were cut, to find something to match it.

The cat is a fine red mist, and Krugman needs a new pair of shoes.

Be a Part of The Economic Excitement



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Safety Tip



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Walk in a wide arc around DNC headquarters today. It’s entirely possible that these economic numbers could result in some Democratic defenestration.

Is She Confusing Potus With Fpotus?



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Hillary Clinton: “We must always be vigilant against letting our desire to keep information confidential be used as a pretext for classifying information that is more about political embarrassment.”

Cats Can’t Get a Break



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Blame Saddam



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My syndicated column on the WMD blame game.

Whistleblower to Congress?



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Some Democrats want Coleen Rowley to run for the House.

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