Now it’s Vilsack

Noam Scheiber points us to a Newsweek article saying the Veepstakes is a 2-man race between Gephardt and Vilsack. Of course, We at Bruno & The Prof have been long fans of th “A.B.G.” (“Anyone Buy Gephardt”) strategy, so we’re glad to hear that there’s still a chance of a non-Gephardt VP ticket.

I guess it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Kerry has hinted in public that he’s ready to write off the South, so I can see why he wouldn’t choose Edwards. The way you write off the South and still win is by making substantial inroads in the Midwest. Hence Vilsack and Gephardt.

I suppose it’s too late to hope for a Kerry-Hagel unity ticket?

Baghdad Bar Crawl

I can’t really explain why this makes me sort of happy. I know, I know…. the image of American officials and corporations drinking and partying while car bombs explode on the other side of the Green Zone is unappetizing.

Yet, at the same time, there’s a feeling that the Americans are starting to get accustomed to life in Baghdad. Call it occupation, sure, but I love the idea that Americans are getting used to life abroad. One of the chief differences between the American Empire and the British Empire that preceded it is that the Brits loved to live abroad. Americans are far more insular. We’re running our empire by remote control. A paltry number of American undergrads pursue International Studies or a related program. Most Americans who do live abroad are there on behalf of a corporation, not their government or an NGO.

Would I prefer that the American contractors were sharing their hookah with the Iraqis in a proper Baghdad bar, instead of one built by Halliburton? Sure. But this is a start.

A Fitting Finale for Reagan

Here’s an article I have yet to read, but won’t be surprised when I do:

In an effort to find a fitting tribute for the Greatest President Ever, Ronald Wilson Reagan, House Republicans today introduced a resolution that would have the 40th President’s body embalmed and put under glass in the capitol rotunda for all to enjoy.

Plans are currently underway to put Mr. Reagan’s visage on the $10 bill as well as Mt. Rushmore. In addition, the next Navy Aircraft Carrier will be named after him. But Mr. Reagan’s most ardent supporters feel this may not be enough to ensure his legacy.

“This is the only fitting tribute to our Dear Glorous Leader,” said Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM). “Uncle Ron will forever be a symbol of the Glorious Struggle of the People’s Republic of America.”

House Speaker Dennis Hastert agreed, adding that Reagan “was the Great One who defeated the scourge of Communism and brought Freedom to the world. His legacy and the legacy of the Glorious Reagan Revolution must never be forgotten.”

If the embalming occurs, the man who defeated Communism will join Ho Chi Minh, V. I. Lenin, and Josef Stalin.

Pressed for comment, House Republicans failed to acknowledge the irony.

Pooling resources: What a thought!

According to the NYTimes, a consortium of big businesses is pooling resources to lower the cost of prescription meds that the make available to their retirees and employees receiving benefits. What an idea! If we purchase in bulk, we can save money!

You’d think that someone in Congress woulda thought of this rock-solid logic when they passed the Medicare Prescription Drug Act. Since Medicare buys a lot of drugs, it would make sense that they should qualify for bulk discounts.

But alas, Republican Congressman Billy Tauzin of Louisiana wrote a provision into the law that specifically bars Medicare from negoitating for lower prices. I wonder where he got that idea? I guess we can go ask him, since he now earns $1 million a year as a lobbyist for the drug companies.

Corrupt politicians make me sick.

The Veepstakes

I realized today that we’re just 7 weeks from the convention, which means the Democratic veep nominee must be around the corner (in fact, it’d probably be here by now if not for Reagan). In either case, the best debate (as per usual) is going on right now over at Opinion Duel.

Of note is a section in which John Miller of the National Review trashes John Edwards by calling him a hypocrite:

The deeper problem with Edwards is that he’s a hypocritical phony. No point in mincing words, right? Here’s a guy who put himself forward as a self-made man, and not implausibly. Then he gave that “Two Americas” speech declaring that the United States is a caste society divided between haves and have-nots…But hang on a second: Isn’t Edwards’ own biography a real-life rebuttal to the theme of his most famous speech? He’s a living, breathing example of American success, for crying out loud.

This is a lame argument, and Michael Crowley rebuts it, sort of, in his response. Crowley argues that Edwards happened to be gifted and handsome, and that helped him. But Crowley misses the bigger point of Edwards’ “Two Americas” speech. The point of the speech was that even though Edwards succeeded in transcending his roots, many Americans can’t because of external factors that disproportionally affect the poor.

For example, if John Edwards’ dad happened to need major surgery while Edwards was growing up, it’s pretty clear that he would have had to forgo undergrad and work at Wal-Mart to support the family. In the other “America,” if that same thing had happen to, say, George W. Bush’s dad, it’s unlikely that W would have been denied his grad school at Harvard.

The point of “Two Americas” is that there’s one America where people live one misstep away from bankrupcy, and one where that isn’t even a remote possibility.