May 17, 2006
As much as I've complained about the Republicans' incoherent policy agenda and tolerance for ethical lapses recently, I should probably give equal time to the Democrats. Political analyst Charlie Cook writes in the National Journal, "Just think what life would be like for House Democrats right now if Alan Mollohan of West Virginia and William Jefferson of Louisiana had behaved themselves a bit better. Democrats would have the moral high ground." Now there's a far-fetched scenario! Mollohan resigned from the House Ethics Committee last month after it was reported that he steered Federal contracts to companies that contributed to his campaign (see Washington Post), and Jefferson is under pressure to resign his seat for flagrant spending of public money to maintain an extravagant lifestyle (see Washington Post).
At Tech Central Station, Glenn Reynolds discusses why the U.S. birth rate is declining: Public policy creates many incentives against having children, while erasing most of the traditional security benefits of procreating. It is fascinating that a libertarian-inclined person is addressing one of the core issues championed by cultural conservatives. Perhaps there is still hope for the Right after all. Rush Limbaugh tied the demographic slump to the rationales many offer for increased immigration, as the Democrats scramble to expand their shrinking constituency. As I have suggested in the past, we seem to be following In the footsteps of France. BTW, shouldn't there be a field called "Republographics"?
After Gale Norton announced she was resigning as Secretary of the Interior in March, President Bush nominated Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne to replace her, pending Senate confirmation. Norton impressed me as a person who was sincerely concerned about conservation, but her past association with James Watt tarnished her in many people's minds. She was committed to sensible, sustainable use of forest resources, finding a middle ground between those who want to chop down every tree in sight, and those who want to preserve the woodlands as an untouchable Eden in perpetuity.