December 4, 2006
More fallout from the November elections: U.N. Ambassador John Bolton submitted his resignation, effective next month. President Bush accepted it, but said he was "not happy about it." See Washington Post. It's no surprise, given that he couldn't be confirmed even with the Republicans in control of the Senate, but it's sad nonetheless. During his 15-month period of service, he advanced U.S. interests in an effective manner without causing any undue friction. Contrary to widespread press reports, he did not come across as abrasive or insensitive. I just hope his successor is as firm, unapologetic, and devoted to U.S. foreign policy goals as Bolton was. The more likely prospect, however, is of a bland "consensus-builder" who will run out the clock as the lame-duck Bush administration winds down. So who would be acceptable to Sen. Joe Biden?
One of my biggest pet peeves is the provision allowing taxpayers to deduct the interest payments they make on residential mortgages. It was enacted in the mid-1970s when inflation drove up nominal interest rates, and over the years has become an enormous and unfair subsidy to the upper middle class. The original purpose was to alleviate hardships for homeowners, but many people see nothing wrong with bending the rules to apply the deductions to vacation homes or even rental properties. Such deductions are not permitted any more, you say? Yeah, right. Anyway, Andrew Sullivan made a passing reference to this issue, which I figure is worth mentioning once again: "Some readers have asked if I favor [the mortgage interest deduction] abolition. I sure do. That's probably why I'm a blogger and not a politician." My sentiments exactly. Impractical? Well, of course, right now it is. In time, the injustices of our nominally capitalist economic system will accumulate to the point that people just can't take it any more, and then all bets will be off.
I wish I had known about this in advance: The Democrats held a meeting here in Staunton over the weekend, in the historic Stonewall Jackson Hotel. State Sen. Creigh Deeds is clearly setting the stage for a gubernatorial campaign. See the News Leader. Meanwhile, the Republican party faithful (a term that no longer applies very well to me) convened in the annual "Advance," held as usual at the Homestead Resort.
Via Daniel Drezner, here is a list of
partisan hacks commentators who blogged on behalf of various candidates during the recent campaign, including some familiar ones from here in the Old Dominion. (It should be pretty obvious that no candidates or political parties are paying me anything!)