One of the most interesting posts on Middle East expert Juan
Cole's extensive blog is his advice
to fledgling Arab democracies on how to build a democracy. He bases his advice
on ten mistakes that he thinks Americans have made in the formation and
perpetuation of our democracy.
The debt-ceiling fight is about politics, not policy. But
count on the news media to conflate the two—in service of the trope that everyone just needs to meet in the middle of wherever they
are right now.
A new Century editorial argues that unemployment, not the budget deficit,
is the most urgent economic problem facing the U.S. We need to deal with the
deficit at some point, but first we need to get people back to work by
stimulating the economy.
"In these tough times, Americans are tightening their belts—and their
government needs to do the same." This bipartisan applause line is pithy, full of populist empathy and easy to
understand. It's also exactly wrong.
Since 1988 there have been ten major party candidates for the office of U.S. president. Except for Bob Dole and John McCain, they all attended elite, private colleges, and seven of those eight also went to elite professional schools. All eight of them went to Harvard or Yale at some point—both of the Bushes, Dukakis, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, and Romney. Of the 14 presidential nominees between 1948 and 1984, the heyday of public universities, only three went to elite private colleges and only two attended Harvard or Yale, with a third candidate having gone to Princeton. Harry Truman didn’t go to college and Barry Goldwater didn’t finish college. Lyndon Johnson went to Southwest Texas State Teachers College, Richard Nixon to Whittier College, and Ronald Reagan to Eureka College (William Deresiewicz, Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite, Free Press).