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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Who Do You Like, Josh Marshall or Karl Rove

NO, not for their political philosophy or even as a potential dinner guest. Who do you think is the craftier political operator?

We took a look at this piece by Josh Marshall yesterday, but got bogged down at midfield. Today we would like to take up his criticism of the $5.1 Billion in spending cuts announced yesterday at the economic summit, and described by the Times as "$5.1 billion in emergency spending requested by Congress to fight terrorism".

Mr. Marshall's position is... oh, why summarize a talented writer, let him speak:

"The rejection of that money puts the administration's rhetoric at war with itself. Complaining about the deficit is supposed to be off-limits because spending is necessary for the war on terror. Okay ... Now the president is taking a tough line by cutting spending on the war on terror because it threatens to bump up the deficit. Which is it? Is it really too much to expect logically consistent cynical manipulation?"

Well, let me take a guess. A President who can veto spending for the war on terror is well positioned to veto spending on just about anything. And the Democratic counter-attack will be what? That Bush is "soft on terror"? Over the sound of general hilarity, you can make out Republican strategists saying "bring it".

Look, we hated the farm bill and the steel tariffs, but now we have fast track on trade. Karl Rove teamed up with a nobody in 1994, and now they both sit in the White House. I am a long way from saying Rove is infallible, but I am emphatic about this: underestimate him at your peril.

UPDATE: I am exhorted not to overestimate these guys.
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