Saturday, December 15, 2007

Karl's Weekend Reading

Things we saw this week include Putin's next role, his effort to remain unopposed, the long list of accomplishments of the 2007 US Congress, and Huckabee's rise in the polls. Here are some excellent write-ups that expand on each:

The Perils of Putinism, as outlined on the Journal's Opinion page:

Mr. Putin knows that leaving power is dangerous for a Russian politician. Every single previous national leader went out in a coffin (from natural or unnatural causes) or in disgrace. So he is looking for ways to protect himself by holding on to the reins.

This transition could have helped Russian democracy to mature. The country lost an opportunity in this decade of good economic times to build a proper and predictable political system around institutions rather than men. The blame falls squarely on Mr. Putin.

The Daily Mail reports that a Putin opposition leader was force-admitted to a psychiatric hospital prior to a planned demonstration. We wish Artem Basyrov a speedy recovery, and remind him that it could have been worse.

We're sure you'll agree it is too early to judge the performance of Pelosi's congress for 2007. There are two weeks left - more than enough time to do America's work. But, the Journal has already weighed in with their editorial "The Delta House Congress. Great comments on Iraq, AMT, Wiretaps, Schip, and Bush's vetos.

Say what you will about Tom DeLay, at least he knew how to run the joint. Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid are letting their left-wing troops and interest groups run all over them, with the result that their signal achievement this year is a higher minimum wage. Considering most of their policy goals, this failure is good for the country. But the dysfunction amply shows that Democrats are attempting to govern with an agenda that is too far left even for many in their own party, never mind the country.

Huckabee is gaining steam despite endless attacks in the media. NOT the MSM, but OUR little sliver of conservative media. Here at HQ, we spend 98% of our attention span on the other side because, well, they are both funny and communist. And we usually accept what we hear in the conservative press as, well, truthful. But the comments on Huckabee's agenda, especially James Taranto's excessive criticism of the Fair Tax this week, seems to be a bit over the top. Do our fellow conservatives, and the Journal Editorial Board, require a tax plan to be without assumptions that may not fully pan out in order to support it?

James P. Pinkerton writes a counter-point piece in, "Huckabee, like Reagan, wouldn't be an 'easy kill'". No reference to the tax plan, but a good, feet-on-the-ground assessment of Huckabee's chance at winning if nominated.