Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Republican Suicide Strategy

    A suicide bomber walks into a bar. He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!" The worried bartender hands him a wad of cash, and the bomber departs.

    The next day, the suicide bomber returns to the same bar. He shouts at the bartender, "Gimme the money, or I blow this place to bits!"

    "Are you nuts?" answers the bartender. "If I give you money every day, I'll go out of business. Plus, you're scaring away the customers."

    "I tell you what," replies the bomber, "Gimme the money, and I won't come back until the day after tomorrow."

    Welcome to the art of negotiation, Republican style. Since the election of 2010, the United States has narrowly averted three Republican-built suicide bombs: one government shutdown, one debt default and one fiscal cliff. We have two more scheduled for February: across-the-board spending cuts and another debt ceiling expiration.

    Read the full article at CNN.com

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    Boehner's Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad New Year

    John Boehner has a situation. A week ago, he failed to reach a deal with President Barack Obama to avert the dreaded Fiscal Cliff.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    What Should We Do to Stop Massacres?

     

    Maybe Wayne LaPierre is onto something. So suggests DF in his latest blog, What Can We Do to Stop Massacres? Isn't it at least worth considering, he asks, LaPierre's proposal to station armed "responders" at our schools?

    It is worth considering. An armed officer presents a defense and a deterrent. It seems indisputable that LaPierre's proposal would help protect our schools against violent attacks.

    But would it stop massacres? Not unless we placed multiple armed responders at every park, playground, pool, day camp, playing field, Sunday school, daycare center, shopping mall, or any other place where children gather.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Susan Rice, America's "See No Evil" Ambassador

    Forget about Benghazi. The whole imbroglio was little more than an election gambit gone sour. Republican leaders, frustrated that their charges failed to wound Obama in November, have vented their fury on his choice for Secretary of State.

    But Susan Rice's record as U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. raises other more serious concerns. The New York Times published two articles today, a news story and an op-ed, which question Rice's judgment concerning several African dictators.

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    China's Corruption Conundrum

    "We must be vigilant," proclaimed Xi Jinping, China's new paramount leader. In his inaugural speech to the 25-person Politburo, he warned that rampant graft and corruption would "doom the party and the state" if it continued unchecked.

    He has a point. From petty graft in far-flung villages to the regime-shaking Bo Xilai scandal, rampant corruption has fueled the social unrest that the long-toothed oligarchs fear so much. Payoffs have bumped China's vaunted high-speed trains off their shoddy tracks. Graft has nibbled away the roots of its famously fertile economy.

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Change We Weren't Waiting For After All

    The pundits are pondering. They mention mandates and movements, margins and maneuvers and meetings in the middle. They wax wisely on who won and why they won and which way the wind will waft on Wednesday.

    We love to mock them, these prattling experts and prognosticators. And yet we listen, we read, we react. We can't help ourselves. We want to know what it all means and what will happen next. We are determined to squeeze great meaning from great events. We are all pundits.

    But the truth is that the great election of November 7, 2012, was all but meaningless. It represents neither a pivot point nor a portent. A poor candidate lost to a strong candidate, as as he was expected to do. A diverse majority of Democrats in the Senate will continue to play a weak hand weakly. A militant majority of Republicans in the House will continue to obstruct, ignoring calls for moderation as they have done for two decades. The federal government will hobble feebly along.

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    Live-Blogging the Debate! Gloves Off! Pants Off! OK, Pants Back On! Just the Gloves!

    Gentlemen, your objectives are clear.

    Obama: Get those nuts on the table or the pedestal or whatever it is you're using. Wait, it's Town Hall style. Just thrust out your pelvis then. You're big! You're bad! You're mad as hell and you're not going to take it any more! (It's OK, it's just pretend.)

    Romney: No apologies! Keep on rolling out those double-speak plans and fake studies. Americans suck at math! They do not care if man means what he says so long as he says what he means. You know that I mean.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Pretty Little Liars

    I wanted to believe Lance Armstrong, even after he wrote, "Enough is enough."

    I thought it was strange that he declined to contest the allegations of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, but I couldn't help empathizing with this man, so confident and earnest, a sports legend and a survivor.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Skin

    I used to be proud to invite people to contribute to dagblog. Whenever I met a writer, I would encourage them to share their work here. We're not the biggest blog in the sphere, but I would boast about the intelligence and civility of our discussions.

    We still have plenty of those these days. I think that the interpersonal rancor has even declined. But the hostility and disrespect towards outsiders has grown. I do not feel comfortable inviting writers to contribute here anymore.

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    Lagblog

    Hey folks. As some of you may have noticed, dagblog has become somewhat sluggish in maturity. When she was brand new, she zipped along like a peppy new sports car. But over the years, she has filled out a bit. The server is groaning under the weight of some 8,777 blog posts and 96,105 comments, and dag's reaction time has slowed to a crawl.

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    BREAKING: Bain Capital Acquires Romney Campaign

    Romney for President, Inc., today announced that Bain Capital, LLC, a leading global private investment firm, has completed its purchase of the organization. The total value of the transaction is $53 million.

    Romney for President is a leading Boston-based provider of political strategy, public relations, and fundraising services. It was founded in 2011 by Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts and an original founder of Bain Capital, with the goal of electing Romney President of the United States.

    "The completion of the sale is a significant milestone in our campaign's history," said Stuart Stevens, Romney for President's Chief Campaign Strategist. "We enter this new phase of our growth and development with a new name – Mittata Intelligence – and a renewed commitment to excellence, innovation, and federal budget reduction."

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Who Believe They Are Entitled...

    All right, there are 47 percent...who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.

    Mitt Romney, 2012

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Islam and Intolerance

    There is a touch of hypocrisy in Mitt Romney's strident defense of free speech. It is hard to imagine that "freedom of speech" would be the first words out of his mouth if Jesus Christ were the target of ridicule instead of Muhammad.

    Still, though Romney and his supporters would surely bristle at an offensive caricature of Jesus, the ambassadors of Muslim nations have nothing to fear from mobs of Christian fanatics. The United States has its fair share of religious zealots, but they are not prone to rioting and violence when their sacred symbols are profaned.

    Why is that? Why are the Middle East and Indian subcontinent so much more more susceptible to religious explosions of mob violence than Western countries?

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Swing Voter Analysis

    I went to see my shrink today.

    "Doc," I said to him after I'd sprawled myself on the couch, "I'm thinking about breaking up with my guy Barry."

    "Is that so?" he replied. I like Doc. He's got this way of saying things without saying anything.

    "Yeah, I mean, we've been together for what four years now? I'm just not sure it's going anywhere. It's like a...a rut. I was depressed when we started. I'm still depressed."

    Michael Wolraich's picture

    The Best Republican Platform Ever Adopted

    The Republican National Platform of 2012 "may be the best one ever adopted" according to Phyllis Schlafly.

    That's high praise for a party that once demanded the "utter and complete extirpation" of slavery from America's soil.

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    Human is Human

    I'll say one thing for Todd Akin. He's consistent. Or rather, he's less inconsistent than his fellow abortion opponents.

    Most abortion opponents share a core principle: Life begins at conception.

    If you believe that a fetus is a person and entitled to the same human rights as the rest of us air-breathing old fogies, then nothing else really matters--not a woman's choice, not a child's future. You can't sacrifice a baby because his mother doesn't want him. You can't euthanize a child because she has down syndrome. Human is human.

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    The Paul Ryan Challenge

    Politics is a serious matter, of course, of course. The future of the country is at stake, a great war of ideas and all that. Individualism and equality and security and liberty and lots of other weighty words.

    But as we harrumph our way through the Economist and the New Republic, anyone looking over our shoulder might notice that we'd slipped the latest issue of People between the pages. For all our puffing about Ideas, we spend most of our political leisure time obsessing over gaffs and scandals and expensive haircuts and bad tans.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Good Assassinations and Bad Assassinations

    Iran's government condemned the suicide bombing that killed five Israeli tourists in Bulgaria yesterday.

    "The Islamic republic, the biggest victim of terrorism, believes terrorism endangers the lives of innocents," stated Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast.

    But Israel's leaders blame Iran for the attack. They say that the bomber was a Hezbollah agent acting at Iran's behest.

    "The attack yesterday in Bulgaria was carried out by Hezbollah, the long arm of Iran," charged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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    Michael Wolraich's picture

    Before Politics...

    Before politics, there was love.

    Even the priggish old Bible that hurried God's busy hands into the dawn of time honored the proper order of the world. Before God admonished the first people to shun evil, he begged them to multiply. The old world's profession was the dating consultant.

    I'm getting married on Saturday.

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    When the War Began

    Readers and friends,

    I'm happy to announce that I've signed a deal for my second book, When the War Began: Teddy Roosevelt, Republican Progressives, and the Birth of Modern Politics.*

    It will be published by Palgrave Macmillan in the Spring 2014. Palgrave is a great publisher, and I'm excited about the deal.

    I haven't met with my editor yet, but I would like to ask her permission to publish excerpts of my work-in-progress in order to get feedback from all the clever folks at dagblog.

    In the meantime, here's a brief description of the book:

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