I still have little time to write much. I'll probably be able to contribute something of more significance tomorrow. Until then, here are some links to some important political goings-on during my time of not blogging much that I've collected in the hopes of blogging about some of them. Unfortunately I've not got the time and have still got lots of other ones that I hope I will blog about soon.
Rumsfeld's Iraq plan has come forth. Apparently many of the bad moves have been from Colin Powell's resistance to some great ideas. Who would have expected that? Certainly not anyone who listens to the common wisdom about Rumsfeld as the warmonger who wanted a unilateral U.S. takeover of the entire Middle East or from those suggesting Powell is a figurehead whose program for foreign policy has been virtually ignored in favor of Rumsfeld's. This puts the lie to all that.
The Niger uranium thing? More details now appear. I think this makes Bush look better than most critics were allowing, even though it's not absolutely pretty. The country really was Niger, and the person who met with the Iraqi official (a pretty high one) really did come away thinking it was about a uranium deal. The question is whether he had enough evidence to think that and whether the intelligence community should have probed more into his reasons for thinking that. (In all likelihood, that was what it was about.) If you listen to the "Bush lied" crowd, however, you'd get the impression that no one in Niger talked to anyone with any influence in the Iraqi government about anything at all, and the British simply made it up to make their case stronger.
Patriot Paradox compares the "worst president ever" with a large number of other presidents who did similar things. [For the record, I think FDR was the worst president ever, but I'm not about to defend that here.]
I enjoyed this fairly thorough treatment of Republicans and racism at Back of the Envelope. I believe someone made the argument this historian is responding to at Crooked Timber in the near past, but I'm not going to go try to find the post now. I remember thinking that I didn't have the resources to respond to it but that it wasn't a very historically sensitive argument.
I guess I'll end with a Thomas Sowell quote I stumbled across (well, I found it in a list of Thomas Sowell quotes I was reading through):
Those who pose as the biggest champions of the poor are almost invariably the biggest opponents of means tests. They want bigger government and the poor are just a means to that end. Whether the issue is housing, medical care or innumerable other things, the argument will be made that the poor are unable to get some benefit that the government ought to provide for them. But the minute you accept that, the switch takes place and suddenly we are no longer talking about some benefit confined to the poor but about "universal health care" or "affordable housing" as a "right" for everyone.
I would hesitate to conclude that they want big government and just assume that most of them don't realize that they tend to make bad policies to achieve their ends simply because they believe things are much simpler than they really are. I would also add one further example: affirmative action based on race rather than income (which California now does, I believe, instead of the now-illegal racial version). I'll have more to say on that when I finish the promised affirmative action post that's been stalled for a couple weeks due to piles of grading and multiple missed deadlines to return papers, which just made it worse.