August 11, 2002
Dick Armey Prepares to Meet His (Political) Maker

Jim Henley notes that as Dick Armey prepares to retire--and thus to meet his (political) maker--he is showing an alarmingly strong tendency to think of the welfare of the country rather than the short-term electoral fortunes of the Republican Party: Unqualified Offerings ...The latest - per this article in the LA Times, the outgoing House Majority Leader "Urges End to Cuba Sanctions: In a vivid sign of waning support for the economic embargo on Cuba, House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) said he believes that the United States should open trade with the Communist regime and that he has backed the restrictions on travel and trade only out of loyalty to two Cuban American members of the House. Speaking at a trade promotion event in Wichita, Kan., on Wednesday, Armey acknowledged that congressional support for the 4-decade-old restrictions is fading. 'If they last a year, it will be the last year they last,' said Armey, who plans to retire from Congress at the end of the year." Let's add up the score. In the last month, Armey has 1) Lined out the TIPS program and national ID card from the scare-quote Homeland scarequote-security bill; 2) Come out against the idea...

Posted by DeLong at 03:28 AM

July 22, 2002
Where Is the Civil Liberties Left?

Tom Maguire observes that the intellectual and congressional right is weighing in in favor of civil liberties and against the TIPS citizen-spying-on-citizen program. He asks where the civil liberties-loving left is.">Just One Minute Charles Murtaugh does a round-up on the NY Times Week in Review, and Operation TIPS.... But he does notice that the right wing is weighing in against TIPS, the proposed citizen-volunteer "I Spy" program. I suppose that's my cue to go on the offensive, and say that after thirty years during which defense of civil liberties by Democratic politicians was portrayed by every Republican politician and commentator in the nation as an embrace of Communists and criminals, it's not surprise that Democratic politicians have shut up. Hit an animal on the nose for venturing out of its corral, and eventually you find that it won't come out even when you want it too. But the truth is, Maguire's right. The civil liberties-loving political left is being cowardly. So if the TIPS program does not become part of our daily life, I and the rest of the country will owe a profound debt of gratitude to... I can't say it... it's just too much... it won't come...

Posted by DeLong at 07:09 PM