Tag Archives: Karl Rove

The Meaning of Harry Reid’s Departure

For the last decade, Harry Reid has been a bulwark against efforts by Republicans and members of his own party to send the core of the New Deal achievement down the road to oblivion. Other Democratic lawmakers may be equally committed, but almost none have the same close emotional ties that he possesses to the Rooseveltian state.

When Senate minority leader Harry Reid announced last week that he won’t run for reelection in 2016, the first thing that flashed through my mind was his age: he’s 75. Only nine senators are older than Reid, and only two of them are Democrats. That underscores how few people still serving in the Senate were born during the New Deal, the period that formed the modern US government, with its social protections, administrative apparatus, and (not so happily) military-industrial complex. For the past 35 years, roughly corresponding to Reid’s career in electoral office, the legislation that Washington enacted during the Great Depression has been a war zone, Continue reading The Meaning of Harry Reid’s Departure

What Karl Rove Leaves Out of His New Memoir

So I’m a bit behind on my reading. What with the plethora of books purporting to explain the origin and progress of the post-meltdown economy, I only recently got around to the most intriguing political memoir of the Bush II years, Karl Rove’s Courage and Consequences: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight.

But I was eager to see what the president’s consigliere has to say, especially about Social Security privatization, the fight Rove deliberately picked to kick off his boss’s second term and that quickly sank both Bush and the Republican Party. The subtitle, of course, is a defensive reaction to criticism from the Republican right that the Bush administration didn’t do enough to rein in domestic programs and even pushed through a modest stimulus package when the economy was tanking in 2008.

Hey, Rove seems to be saying, forget my occasional attention to economic and political realities. I’m a Tea Partier just like you.

Rove’s other project is to rewrite the history of his and Bush’s Social Security gamble, perhaps the worst domestic political miscalculation by a president in the past 40 years. Continue reading What Karl Rove Leaves Out of His New Memoir

The “Progressive” Road to Poverty

“Progressive indexing,” an idea that failed to rescue Bush’s doomed privatization campaign five years ago, is again the Flavor of the Month for Washington’s deficit hawks.

Arguably, Steny Hoyer wouldn’t be House Majority Leader today if George W. Bush hadn’t made the fatal error of staking his second term as president on privatizing Social Security. “We miscalculated,” Bush’s consigliere, Karl Rove, admits in his recently published memoir. That miscalculation was so bad it cost the Republicans control of Congress a year later and then, in 2008, the White House.

So it was a mite strange to see Hoyer, in the pages of the Wall Street Journal, suggesting that President Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform unbury one of the stillborn proposals that failed to stem the Bush debacle of 2005: progressive indexing.

“When it comes to entitlement spending,” Hoyer writes, Continue reading The “Progressive” Road to Poverty