Wednesday, October 13, 2004
One time an (Asian) Indian friend from law school was trying to tell me that there are no Indians in politics. I told her that two people that I look up to most politically are Indian: Dinesh D'Souza and Ramesh Ponnuru. Tonight's debate analysis bears that out.
From The Corner
'THE WORLD WE GREW UP IN' [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Schieffer's first question: I think you could argue that we're safer now, even with terrorism, than we were during the Cold War--which only looks peaceful and idyllic in retrospect.
Posted at 09:04 PM
NOT ENOUGH FIREFIGHTERS? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Says who? The number of fires keeps going down.
Posted at 09:05 PM
HALFWAY THROUGH BUSH'S FIRST ANSWER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It's the strongest start he has made in the three debates.
Posted at 09:07 PM
"A PLAN IS NOT A LITANY OF COMPLAINTS" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Nice line by Bush.
Posted at 09:12 PM
THOSE PAYGO RULES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
The difference here is that Kerry wants to change the rules to make it harder to cut taxes and increase spending; Bush just wants to constrain spending. A Republican Congress is unlikely to implement Kerry's rules. Good thing, too.
Posted at 09:15 PM
KERRY: BUSH HAS MADE NO VETOES [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It's true, and it's a legitimate complaint.
Posted at 09:16 PM
BUSH'S ANSWER ON OUTSOURCING [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Basically, his answer to people who have lost their jobs to overseas competition is: Get another job. That may be the right answer, but it does seem to leave Kerry an opening.
Posted at 09:19 PM
'DICK CHENEY'S DAUGHTER' [Ramesh Ponnuru]
A miscalculation by Kerry to personalize the issue in this way, I think.
Posted at 09:29 PM
"ARTICLE OF FAITH" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
What is the "article of faith" that Kerry believes but can't legislate? That living human organisms are precisely that from the moment of conception? Or that killing human beings should be prohibited?
Posted at 09:32 PM
BUSH'S PRO-LIFE ANSWER [Ramesh Ponnuru]
wasn't as good as his answer in the second debate. I think he's doing pretty well so far, though--maybe even narrowly winning.
Posted at 09:34 PM
KERRY'S HEALTH PLAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
It doesn't, in itself, get in the way of doctor-patient relationships, and it is not, by itself, a government takeover of health care--and Bush is wrong to say these things. But it certainly does represent another step in the creeping socialization of health care, it does expand Medicaid substantially, and it may well lead over time where Bush says it will.
Posted at 09:40 PM
BUSH ON KERRY'S HEALTH PLAN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
What he said tonight sounded pretty much correct--he even got the Lewin Group's study right (although he didn't mention that the Lewin Group disputed some of Bush's earlier attacks on Kerry's plan).
Posted at 09:44 PM
MORE ON HEALTH CARE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I think this factcheck.org piece gets a lot of the issues it covers right.
Posted at 09:45 PM
SOCIAL SECURITY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I was beginning to wonder whether Bush would ever defend private accounts again. He answered the question well, I think. By the way, the CBO has not 'said that Bush's plan would lead to benefit cuts.' I covered Kerry's misrepresentations here.
Posted at 09:47 PM
CRITIQUING THE PRESIDENT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
K-Lo: Your correspondent is right to say that we shouldn't fault the president for not giving the answers we would have. But 'stop critiquing our beloved president'? The president is not above criticism, and we would do nobody any favors by pretending as much.
Posted at 09:50 PM
IMMIGRATION [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I disagree with Bush's policy, and disagree with him about what constitutes an "amnesty," but he's explaining his policy reasonably well. But the more he talks about it, the more he reminds conservatives that they dislike his policy.
Posted at 09:54 PM
MIDDLE-CLASS TAX BURDEN [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Sometimes Kerry puts this in terms of the middle-class share of the tax burden. But tonight he said that the middle-class tax burden had gone up under Bush, and that's flatly untrue.
Posted at 09:55 PM
THE MINIMUM WAGE [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Raising it is a terrible policy. I hope, and expect, Bush will take a dive on it here.
Posted at 09:57 PM
THE GENDER PAY GAP [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Everyone here knows this, right? Correct for all the things that are reasonable to correct for--uninterrupted years in the labor force, etc.--and the gap mostly disappears. It is mostly a result of choices that people make.
Posted at 09:59 PM
JUDGES AND LITMUS TESTS [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I'm sorry Bush didn't talk a bit more about judges, which are a potentially winning issue for Republicans.
Posted at 10:01 PM
WHY [Ramesh Ponnuru]
should the federal government be funding after-school programs in the first place?
Posted at 10:03 PM
RE: HAZLITT [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Well, if our hopes are unbounded, I hope that the public comes to be receptive to the conservative argument against raising the minimum wage. But that's not the public we have, Tim. It's not a winnable fight. Quick agreement, and then a pivot to something else, was the right move for Bush.
Posted at 10:08 PM
AK-47S [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Illegal before the "assault weapons" ban passed, still illegal today.
Posted at 10:11 PM
"MEND IT, DON'T END IT" [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Clinton did not "fix" affirmative action. Two racial-preference programs ended on his watch, one because Congress overwhelmingly voted it down and one because the courts moved against it. Clinton's real policy: Don't mend it, don't end it, defend and extend it.
Posted at 10:13 PM
WILL KERRY BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER? [Ramesh Ponnuru]
Another tough, challenging question for Kerry. Follow up idea: How will you fix the many problems the president has created? What are the three biggest problems he has created, in your view?
Posted at 10:21 PM
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM [Ramesh Ponnuru]
I agree with Rod and Jonah re Bush's relative strength on domestic policy. This was true in the second debate as well, the one that covered both. Another piece of cw in need of revision: Maybe Kerry isn't the one who's the "strong closer." (I know, KerrySpot has been on this case for a while now.)
Posted at 11:21 PM
I should add this, too:
AK-47 [Dave Kopel]
Ramesh is wrong but that doesn't mean he should apologize. The AK-47 (an automatic rifle) is not and never has been illegal; but it is very severely regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934, which covers automatic firearms. The (now-expired) 1994 Clinton ban on so-called "assault weapons" had nothing to do with automatic weapons, including the AK-47. The ban applied to about 200 firearms with a military appearance, yet had nothing to do with real automatic military weapons. Kerry makes a big deal about being a hunter (he wants to "hunt and kill terrorists," supposedly), but the "assault weapon" ban was about the cosmetics of ordinary guns, not about automatics, as I detailed for NRO.
Posted at 01:56 AM
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