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New York Times Crashed-and-Burned-and-Smoking Watch (Ross Douthat "Thousand Points of Light" Edition)

Glenn Greenwald sends us to Ross Douthat:

The Ghosts of 1994: The health care push has opened up arguments about abortion, euthanasia and illegal immigration that the Democrats would rather avoid. At the same time, it’s become the vessel for a year’s worth of anxieties about bailouts, deficits and Beltway incompetence. This August’s town-hall fury... the anti-Obama protests... were about... middle-income Americans’ “playing by the rules,” as Luntz puts it, “and having someone else benefit.”...

The bad news for Democrats is that actually passing a health care bill could further enflame these anxieties. Clinton’s crime bill passed Congress by substantial margins, when all was said and done. But the anger that the debate had summoned up didn’t go away — and Gingrich’s Republicans were there to reap the benefits....

And he talks about how:

the crime bill became a lightning rod for populist outrage. The price tag made it seem fiscally irresponsible. (Back then, $30 billion was real money.) The billions it lavished on crime prevention — like the infamous funding of “midnight basketball” — looked liked ineffective welfare spending...

Somehow, he never manages to tell his readers that midnight basketball was one of George H.W. Bush's original "Thousand Points of Light".

I wonder why not?

It wouldn't hurt you, Ross, to tell it straight.

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?


George H.W. Bush:

George Bush Presidential Library and Museum: Remarks on Signing the Points of Light National Celebration of Community Service Proclamation in Glenarden, Maryland: April 12, 1991:

Thank you, Van -- Mr. Standifer. And may I salute the sponsors and the parents and the city and county officials that are with us today. Single out the players, some of whom I just met with. And also say to the mayor, Marvin Wilson, and to the county executive, Mr. Glendening, Parris Glendening, that I'm just delighted to be here. And I saw earlier Marty Madden and John Morgan, the State delegates, and we're glad to have been greeted by them. All of us should thank the business leaders in the front row and other sponsors who made this day possible.

And I'm glad to be here; I really mean that. You know, when I told Barbara that I'd be visiting a great institution dedicated to keeping guys off the street and out of trouble, she said, "George, you spoke to Congress last month." [Laughter]

And then I told her, "No, as Commander in Chief I want to see firsthand some real American air power: dazzling nighttime shooting, skilled tactical wizardry, and the courageous airborne maneuvers Americans have become world-famous for." And she said, "Oh, you mean Midnight Basketball." [Laughter] And here we are...

But as long as the Republican Party is defined by its most juvenile ideologues (think Joe Wilson) and its most transparent panderers (think Michael Steele), it’s hard to see the party capitalizing on this angry centrism the way the Gingrich revolutionaries did...

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