Robert Waldmann writes:
Robert's Stochastic thoughts: Brad DeLong has criticised Jonathan Weisman from time to time for excessive Bush friendliness. I expect that Brad is satisfied with this column. I personally have no complaints about the headline (for a change)...
Robert is wrong! Take a look at the leading paragraphs:
GOP May Be Splintering on Social Security: A badly divided Senate Finance Committee yesterday held the first hearing examining President Bush's efforts to restructure Social Security. While the Democrats remained united in their opposition, there were signs of cracks in the Republicans' support for the president.
After months of political positioning, the stakes were high as the committee took up Bush's signature domestic issue for his second term. The White House has framed the Social Security debate as a matter of political courage, challenging both parties to secure the program's long-term solvency while giving all Americans an ownership stake in their economy. But over the course of the president's Social Security tour, public support for Bush's proposal has fallen, and Democrats see the issue as their best chance to make political gains in Washington.
With that highly charged backdrop, Republican divisions at the hearing had added significance...
Democrats see the issue as one of stopping yet another destructive and badly-thought-out Bush proposal--like its entire security policy, like its budget deficits, like its corporate tax giveaways, like its farm bill, like its incredibly defective Medicare drug benefit. It's not just about politics.
After all, if it were just about politics, would the Republicans be splintering? Grassley, Thomas, and Snowe are not just playing the game of politics, they are trying to figure out what is best for the country--as are Conrad and others.
Weisman and Fletcher mislead their readers when they pretend that it is all about, and just about politics. But they don't know enough to write the story any other way.
So no, Robert, I am not satisfied.