Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Taking on the Myths: The Atlantic takes a timeout from its overhaul (which has apparently consisted of hiring the entire JV squad of the New Republic) to throw a couple of political/policy curveballs. First up, Chuck Todd offers a takedown of triangulation, and how the Democrats (via Clinton's famous "political skills," which, Democrats are coming to see, benefited only him, often at their expense) triangulated their way into a pretty weak tea, policy-wise. The implied praise for Dubya: You may not like his ideas, but at least he has some.

Next, Ben Wittes makes a compelling case for cutting loose Roe vs. Wade. Says Wittes,

By removing the issue from the policy arena, the Supreme Court has prevented abortion-rights supporters from winning a debate in which public opinion favors them.

Since its inception, Roe has had a deep legitimacy problem, stemming from its weakness as a legal opinion. Consevatives who fulminate that the court made up the right to abortion, which appears explicitly nowhere in the Constitution, are being simplistic -- but they're not entirely wrong.

Later, he says that he'd feel different "if the right to abortion . . . were unambiguously protected by the Constitution."
But let's be frank: it isn't. The right to abortion remains a highly debatable proposition, both jurisprudentially and morally. The mere fact that liberals have to devote so much political energy to pretending that the right exists beyond democratic debate proves that it doesn't.
My italics.

Finally, Jon Rauch goes in search of Red America, or Blue America, or whatever that whole two Americas thing is. He only finds one. Way out on the fringes, political partisans are getting louder and more shrill. No wonder, he says, that American voters tend to think that "the Democratic Party [is] to their left and the Republican Party [is] to their right."

Sorry none of the links gets to more than an excerpt. It's worth buying the issue. Hold off on the subscription, though. The magazine shows many symptoms of a return to its former self: a left-center exercise in yawning and page turning. Cait Flanagan has departed for the New Yorker, David Brooks for the Times; P.J. O'Rourke has been relegated to short, almost purposely unfunny policy explications each month, while Mark Steyn mans the graveyard shift. Rauch hangs on, writing the best of the rest. Cover stories fall to Jim Fallows, Bill Langewiesche�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������

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