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More Stuff We Already Knew

Jun
13
2004

Time, once again, for a look at how some of what’s said here is showing up out there in Big Media.
Salon weighs in with what – if the editors I’m talking to are able to shepherd their stories into print – will be the first of a series of reappraisals of Calfornia Governor Arnold Schwarzenneger as a politician. Over at the SF Weekly, Matt Smith turns in a thorough critique of Schwarzengger’s tax policies, taking a refreshing and much-needed look at what’s happening in the rest of the state.


Smith’s critique is off, I think, in that it indulges his belief that recent cuts in the state budget are soley responsible for the sad state of affairs. Schwarzenegger is a gifted politician and, yes, the deals he’s cutting to stave off tax increases are shell games but years of inequitable taxation – I’m talking Prop. 13 – is the real problem here. Nevertheless, Smith’s column is an eye-opener that someone – hey, you Chron reporters! – ought to have done first and for those of you not in California it provides a very good look at exactly what “starving the beast” can mean. It ain’t pretty.
The New York Times takes a look at India v. China and comes away with the tentative conclusion that the Indians, who are actually buying the stuff that American companies are making in their country might prove to be the more stable trading partner than previously believed. Oh, and they speak English! And maybe, the Times offers, maybe they’re not stealing so many jobs. Those numbers are coming from the U.S. Department of Labor so, given the Bush Administration’s record of toying with data – see how this stuff comes back to bite you? — they’re suspect from the get-go. But still.
Sunday, in a much-blogged piece in the Week in Review, John Tierney gets a couple of academics to tell him what’s pretty obvious to anyone who is not sitting in Washington or New York looking West across the country.
This is not a 50/50 nation, strongly and adamantly divided by party lines. But the people who run our politics – for now – like thinking that it is. It makes their jobs a lot simpler.
And, I’m sorry, I can’t help myself. Frank Rich doesn’t think President George Bush does himself any favors standing next to the ghost of Ronald Reagan, either.
But Karl Rove and company may have overplayed their hand. The orgiastic celebration of Reagan’s presidency over the past week, an upbeat Hollywood epic that has glided past Iran-contra, Bitburg and the retreat from Lebanon with impressive ease, has brought into clear focus the size of the gap between the two men. To say that difference in stature is merely a function of an actor’s practiced skill at performance is both to understate the character of Ronald Reagan and to impugn the art of acting.

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