Commentary Magazine


Posts For: January 31, 2007

Boot and Hanson, Round Three: Just Enough to Stave Off Defeat

Dear Victor,

There is a sense of urgency within the armed forces—especially within the Army and the Marine Corps—but it’s hard to see it in the rest of the country or in Washington. Even the Pentagon seems to be, in many respects, on a peacetime footing.

While our soldiers and marines are fighting and dying in Iraq, it’s rather amazing to see that repair depots needed to fix badly damaged vehicles are still not operating on a 24/7 schedule, that armored vehicles (such as the Cougar, designed to deflect bomb blasts) are only now being ordered in substantial numbers, that promotion remains as slow as ever even for many of those soldiers who have proven their merit in combat, and that vital pieces of gear (ranging from PDA’s to identify insurgents to laser deflectors to warn civilian motorists in front of checkpoints) are still MIA. Not to mention the difficulties of setting up new Provincial Reconstruction Teams because of insufficient resources and undercommitment at the State Department and other civilian agencies.

Only a handful of politicians—notably President Bush and Senators McCain and Lieberman—seems to realize that we need to exert ourselves to the utmost to avoid a catastrophic defeat. Yet even Bush’s last-ditch effort—sending 21,000 more troops—bespeaks a lack of complete commitment.

If we’re truly on the verge of disaster—and I think we are—is a force of 150,000 troops (most of them rear-echelon support personnel) the most that a country of 300 million people can muster? Why not mobilize the reserves and the National Guard and raise new units of volunteers as was done during the Spanish-American War?

Based on the traditional formula laid out in the new Army-Marine counterinsurgency manual of one counterinsurgent per 40-50 civilians, we need at least 260,000 troops and police to pacify Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle (population: around 12 million). We’re not even close, unless you put more stock than I do in the ability of Iraqi Security Forces to carry on the fight. (They have some good units, but, given their leave policies and other shortcomings, the number of effective soldiers at any one time is probably well under 50,000.) I realize that more troops do not necessarily guarantee more success (as Vietnam proved), but a sound counterinsurgency strategy is manpower-intensive. The Boer War and other successful counterinsurgencies have shown that victory is more likely if more troops are sent and employed intelligently.

My fear is that, even at this late date, all we’re willing to do is just enough to stave off defeat for the time being—not enough to win. I hope I’m wrong.

Cordially,
MB

Boot IHanson IBoot IIHanson IIBoot IIIHanson IIIBoot IVHanson IV

Dear Victor,

There is a sense of urgency within the armed forces—especially within the Army and the Marine Corps—but it’s hard to see it in the rest of the country or in Washington. Even the Pentagon seems to be, in many respects, on a peacetime footing.

While our soldiers and marines are fighting and dying in Iraq, it’s rather amazing to see that repair depots needed to fix badly damaged vehicles are still not operating on a 24/7 schedule, that armored vehicles (such as the Cougar, designed to deflect bomb blasts) are only now being ordered in substantial numbers, that promotion remains as slow as ever even for many of those soldiers who have proven their merit in combat, and that vital pieces of gear (ranging from PDA’s to identify insurgents to laser deflectors to warn civilian motorists in front of checkpoints) are still MIA. Not to mention the difficulties of setting up new Provincial Reconstruction Teams because of insufficient resources and undercommitment at the State Department and other civilian agencies.

Only a handful of politicians—notably President Bush and Senators McCain and Lieberman—seems to realize that we need to exert ourselves to the utmost to avoid a catastrophic defeat. Yet even Bush’s last-ditch effort—sending 21,000 more troops—bespeaks a lack of complete commitment.

If we’re truly on the verge of disaster—and I think we are—is a force of 150,000 troops (most of them rear-echelon support personnel) the most that a country of 300 million people can muster? Why not mobilize the reserves and the National Guard and raise new units of volunteers as was done during the Spanish-American War?

Based on the traditional formula laid out in the new Army-Marine counterinsurgency manual of one counterinsurgent per 40-50 civilians, we need at least 260,000 troops and police to pacify Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle (population: around 12 million). We’re not even close, unless you put more stock than I do in the ability of Iraqi Security Forces to carry on the fight. (They have some good units, but, given their leave policies and other shortcomings, the number of effective soldiers at any one time is probably well under 50,000.) I realize that more troops do not necessarily guarantee more success (as Vietnam proved), but a sound counterinsurgency strategy is manpower-intensive. The Boer War and other successful counterinsurgencies have shown that victory is more likely if more troops are sent and employed intelligently.

My fear is that, even at this late date, all we’re willing to do is just enough to stave off defeat for the time being—not enough to win. I hope I’m wrong.

Cordially,
MB

Boot IHanson IBoot IIHanson IIBoot IIIHanson IIIBoot IVHanson IV

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Vandals in Berlin

January 27, 1945—the date of the liberation of Auschwitz—is commemorated in Germany as Holocaust Day, and this year it was marked by vandalism. The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin was defaced, evidently by neo-Nazis, who treated it as if it were a public latrine. Even more distressing is the revelation that such vandalism has been a constant problem since the memorial’s opening, a problem that has been deliberately downplayed by city authorities, allegedly to discourage copycat acts.

Since the controversial memorial’s site was selected in 1992, fear that it would invite just this sort of vandalism has abounded. It stands at the very epicenter of Berlin, just south of the Brandenburg Gate, around the corner from the new American embassy. But now we see that it is not the location of the memorial but its peculiar design that makes it prone to defacement. Designed by Peter Eisenman, the monument consists of some 2,711 concrete pillars, or stelae, arranged on a rigid geometric grid and spreading out over five acres. The paths between these pillars are so narrow that only one person can comfortably pass between them. Eisenman’s intent, it seems, was to make the viewer’s confrontation with the monument’s bleak, pitiless geometry as intense and solitary an experience as possible. Too solitary, alas: it clearly offers an endless number of secluded corners for mischief.

When the memorial opened two years ago, Eisenman resisted attempts to make it more secure against vandalism, including restrictions on admittance and on behavior within the memorial. He stalwartly argued for the right of children to play on the site, and to jump from pillar to pillar, saying that these activities evoke “the sounds of life” of an urban Jewish neighborhood. A memorable battle he lost in this arena was his objection to the treatment of the concrete pillars with an anti-graffiti coating. Eisenman told reporters that graffiti ranks as a healthy and legitimate creative outlet in his native New York, and that he “didn’t want the graffiti coating” because he considers vandalism “an expression of the city.”

Any thriving city, we should recognize, can express many things. The trick lies in recognizing which of these expressions constitutes a death threat—an obligation all the more incumbent on the Berlin authorities for the tragic gravity of the monument’s origin and purpose.

January 27, 1945—the date of the liberation of Auschwitz—is commemorated in Germany as Holocaust Day, and this year it was marked by vandalism. The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin was defaced, evidently by neo-Nazis, who treated it as if it were a public latrine. Even more distressing is the revelation that such vandalism has been a constant problem since the memorial’s opening, a problem that has been deliberately downplayed by city authorities, allegedly to discourage copycat acts.

Since the controversial memorial’s site was selected in 1992, fear that it would invite just this sort of vandalism has abounded. It stands at the very epicenter of Berlin, just south of the Brandenburg Gate, around the corner from the new American embassy. But now we see that it is not the location of the memorial but its peculiar design that makes it prone to defacement. Designed by Peter Eisenman, the monument consists of some 2,711 concrete pillars, or stelae, arranged on a rigid geometric grid and spreading out over five acres. The paths between these pillars are so narrow that only one person can comfortably pass between them. Eisenman’s intent, it seems, was to make the viewer’s confrontation with the monument’s bleak, pitiless geometry as intense and solitary an experience as possible. Too solitary, alas: it clearly offers an endless number of secluded corners for mischief.

When the memorial opened two years ago, Eisenman resisted attempts to make it more secure against vandalism, including restrictions on admittance and on behavior within the memorial. He stalwartly argued for the right of children to play on the site, and to jump from pillar to pillar, saying that these activities evoke “the sounds of life” of an urban Jewish neighborhood. A memorable battle he lost in this arena was his objection to the treatment of the concrete pillars with an anti-graffiti coating. Eisenman told reporters that graffiti ranks as a healthy and legitimate creative outlet in his native New York, and that he “didn’t want the graffiti coating” because he considers vandalism “an expression of the city.”

Any thriving city, we should recognize, can express many things. The trick lies in recognizing which of these expressions constitutes a death threat—an obligation all the more incumbent on the Berlin authorities for the tragic gravity of the monument’s origin and purpose.

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Ball Three

What is the Scooter Libby trial really about?

In announcing the indictment of the vice-presidential aide in October 2005, the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald attempted to make it all perfectly clear, using a baseball analogy:

If you saw a baseball game and you saw a pitcher wind up and throw a fast ball and hit a batter right smack in the head and it really, really hurt them, you’d want to know why the pitcher did that. And you’d wonder whether or not the person just reared back and decided, “I’ve got bad blood with this batter, he hit two home runs off me, I’m just going to hit him in the head as hard as I can.”

You also might wonder whether or not the pitcher just let go of the ball, or his foot slipped, and he had no idea to throw the ball anywhere near the batter’s head. And there’s a lots of shades of gray in between. You might learn that you wanted to hit the batter in the back, it hit him in the head because he moved; you might want to throw it under his chin but ended up hitting on the head.

And what you’d want to do is have as much information as you could. You’d want to know what happened in the dugout. Was this guy complaining about the person he threw at? Did he talk to anyone else? What was he thinking? How does he react? All those things you’d want to know. And then you’d make a decision as to whether this person should be banned from baseball, whether he should be suspended, whether you should do nothing at all and just say, “Hey, the person threw a bad pitch; get over it.”

After nearly a week of testimony the case is not much clearer than this botched analogy, the forensic equivalent of a “wardrobe malfunction.”

The Washington Post described Judith Miller’s testimony yesterday as “potentially damaging” to Libby. And this is surely accurate if one focuses on the word “potentially.” But her testimony was also even more potentially helpful to the defense.

Libby’s lawyers are expected to maintain that his “false” statements to the FBI and to a grand jury were the product of a faulty memory. So far, a number of prosecution witnesses have given testimony that differs significantly from what Libby told FBI investigators and the grand jury. But more importantly they have been shown to have strikingly deficient memories themselves.

Judith Miller had 85 days in the Alexandria jail in which to refresh her recollections about the sequence of events that brought her there. But no sooner was she released and brought before the grand jury, than she was compelled to acknowledge that she had entirely forgotten a critical meeting with Libby in June of 2003. If she could forget such a vital detail, will the jury convict Libby for lying, when the possibility that he simply forgot has been powerfully sketched by Miller and others in the witness parade?

It is possible that Scooter Libby is lying through his catcher’s mask. But my bet is that, if the jury takes seriously the meaning of the words “reasonable doubt,” Patrick Fitzgerald will have been judged to have pitched four balls, and Scooter, now up at bat, will get to walk.

To see key exhibits in the Scooter Libby case, click here.

To see key exhibits in the Baseball Hall of Fame, click here.

What is the Scooter Libby trial really about?

In announcing the indictment of the vice-presidential aide in October 2005, the special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald attempted to make it all perfectly clear, using a baseball analogy:

If you saw a baseball game and you saw a pitcher wind up and throw a fast ball and hit a batter right smack in the head and it really, really hurt them, you’d want to know why the pitcher did that. And you’d wonder whether or not the person just reared back and decided, “I’ve got bad blood with this batter, he hit two home runs off me, I’m just going to hit him in the head as hard as I can.”

You also might wonder whether or not the pitcher just let go of the ball, or his foot slipped, and he had no idea to throw the ball anywhere near the batter’s head. And there’s a lots of shades of gray in between. You might learn that you wanted to hit the batter in the back, it hit him in the head because he moved; you might want to throw it under his chin but ended up hitting on the head.

And what you’d want to do is have as much information as you could. You’d want to know what happened in the dugout. Was this guy complaining about the person he threw at? Did he talk to anyone else? What was he thinking? How does he react? All those things you’d want to know. And then you’d make a decision as to whether this person should be banned from baseball, whether he should be suspended, whether you should do nothing at all and just say, “Hey, the person threw a bad pitch; get over it.”

After nearly a week of testimony the case is not much clearer than this botched analogy, the forensic equivalent of a “wardrobe malfunction.”

The Washington Post described Judith Miller’s testimony yesterday as “potentially damaging” to Libby. And this is surely accurate if one focuses on the word “potentially.” But her testimony was also even more potentially helpful to the defense.

Libby’s lawyers are expected to maintain that his “false” statements to the FBI and to a grand jury were the product of a faulty memory. So far, a number of prosecution witnesses have given testimony that differs significantly from what Libby told FBI investigators and the grand jury. But more importantly they have been shown to have strikingly deficient memories themselves.

Judith Miller had 85 days in the Alexandria jail in which to refresh her recollections about the sequence of events that brought her there. But no sooner was she released and brought before the grand jury, than she was compelled to acknowledge that she had entirely forgotten a critical meeting with Libby in June of 2003. If she could forget such a vital detail, will the jury convict Libby for lying, when the possibility that he simply forgot has been powerfully sketched by Miller and others in the witness parade?

It is possible that Scooter Libby is lying through his catcher’s mask. But my bet is that, if the jury takes seriously the meaning of the words “reasonable doubt,” Patrick Fitzgerald will have been judged to have pitched four balls, and Scooter, now up at bat, will get to walk.

To see key exhibits in the Scooter Libby case, click here.

To see key exhibits in the Baseball Hall of Fame, click here.

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Empty Rhetoric on the Surge

“If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. . . . A contagion of violence could spill out across the country. . . . For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is their greatest ally. . . . And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America.”

This short passage was the heart of George Bush’s State of the Union address, and the words form the heart of his argument about Iraq. Not about whether we should have invaded Iraq in 2003 or whether we conducted the invasion competently—Bush certainly got at least one of those two questions wrong—but about where we go from here.

How do Bush’s critics answer? They give what seem to be pre-programmed Democratic responses. Senator James Webb proposed “an immediate shift toward strong, regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq’s cities and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.” What might that “formula” be? That remains to be revealed.

Hillary Clinton, who until recently was building centrist credentials by arguing that we should send more troops to Iraq, now opposes Bush’s plan to do just that. “We’ve been down this road before,” she says. Instead she calls for “a new strategy to produce what we need: a stable Iraq government that takes over for its own people so our troops can finish their job.” What will this “strategy” consist of? She doesn’t say.

Clinton’s main rival—as of now—for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama, proposes to “start bringing our troops home” in order to “bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.” And when might that end be? And what might that end be? On these questions Obama stays mum.

Until the critics respond to Bush by arguing either that American capitulation will not lead to the consequences he sketches or by explaining what alternative “strategy” or “formula” will avert this capitulation, they are playing fast and loose with our nation’s safety. Whether Bush’s surge is sufficient is another question, which I will address in my next post.

“If American forces step back before Baghdad is secure, the Iraqi government would be overrun by extremists on all sides. . . . A contagion of violence could spill out across the country. . . . For the enemy, this is the objective. Chaos is their greatest ally. . . . And out of chaos in Iraq would emerge an emboldened enemy with new safe havens, new recruits, new resources, and an even greater determination to harm America.”

This short passage was the heart of George Bush’s State of the Union address, and the words form the heart of his argument about Iraq. Not about whether we should have invaded Iraq in 2003 or whether we conducted the invasion competently—Bush certainly got at least one of those two questions wrong—but about where we go from here.

How do Bush’s critics answer? They give what seem to be pre-programmed Democratic responses. Senator James Webb proposed “an immediate shift toward strong, regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq’s cities and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.” What might that “formula” be? That remains to be revealed.

Hillary Clinton, who until recently was building centrist credentials by arguing that we should send more troops to Iraq, now opposes Bush’s plan to do just that. “We’ve been down this road before,” she says. Instead she calls for “a new strategy to produce what we need: a stable Iraq government that takes over for its own people so our troops can finish their job.” What will this “strategy” consist of? She doesn’t say.

Clinton’s main rival—as of now—for the Democratic presidential nomination, Barack Obama, proposes to “start bringing our troops home” in order to “bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.” And when might that end be? And what might that end be? On these questions Obama stays mum.

Until the critics respond to Bush by arguing either that American capitulation will not lead to the consequences he sketches or by explaining what alternative “strategy” or “formula” will avert this capitulation, they are playing fast and loose with our nation’s safety. Whether Bush’s surge is sufficient is another question, which I will address in my next post.

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Boot and Hanson, Round Two: Wild Cards

Dear Max,

So I think we agree on what the problems are and the preferred solutions, but we are not sure whether the U.S. can implement them all, given a variety of wild cards that we might discuss: (1) the autonomous Iraqi government, (2) the political consensus back home, and (3) the region as a whole

1. We didn’t just establish rule by plebiscite, as some have alleged, but rather we helped to fashion a constitution that is both transparent and independent of us. So we are in a Catch-22 situation: we deal as equals (of sorts) with a new and weak but legitimate government, but that same government has empowered, or at least been too lax with, our enemies. Our leverage, as supporters of democracy, is to threaten to leave, cut off aid, or both. But that in turn might play to those in the Shiite-dominated government, and the region at large, who would like exactly that to happen.

2. The departure of Rumsfeld, Casey, and Abizaid, along with the appointment of General Petraeus, has tempered Democratic opposition. So too, as I suggested in a previous post, has the unspoken fear that there might be a sudden turn-around in Iraq that would embarrass shrill anti-war liberals. Nevertheless, by autumn, the verdict will be in, and if things are not quiet on the ground, the polls will reflect popular frustration, and new resolutions will come fast and furious in the shadow of 2008. Our counter-insurgency efforts might take longer than five years (successful ones usually do), but in this case it will be five years or nothing—and the enemy knows it.

3. If we fail in Iraq, gone is any notion of a comprehensive program for the Middle East based on liberalization and reform, an approach that might break up the wink-and-nod alliance of illegitimate autocracies and jihadists. To salvage things in that event, the U.S. would have to galvanize regional “moderate” dictatorships and corrupt monarchies in Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf against Iran and Syria, withdraw to Kuwait and perhaps Kurdistan, seek to pressure Israel for concessions, and in general return to the sort of realism and appeasement of the 1980′s and 1990′s, whose ultimate dividend was 9/11. I pass over in silence the effects of such a failure on the reputation of U.S. ground forces, moderate Democrats, reformers in the Middle East, and principled Europeans who supported us.

So? I think the answer is that we must constantly and without interruption go on the offensive in Iraq, militarily, politically, and economically, with the understanding that the country, the region, and the entire framework of U.S. foreign policy and American prestige now hang in the balance.

I hope there is that sense of urgency in both Washington and at Centcom, a sense that the ante has been raised and that our success or failure in the next six months will determine the course of our policy and of the region for years to come.

Best,

Victor

Boot IHanson IBoot IIHanson IIBoot IIIHanson IIIBoot IVHanson IV

Dear Max,

So I think we agree on what the problems are and the preferred solutions, but we are not sure whether the U.S. can implement them all, given a variety of wild cards that we might discuss: (1) the autonomous Iraqi government, (2) the political consensus back home, and (3) the region as a whole

1. We didn’t just establish rule by plebiscite, as some have alleged, but rather we helped to fashion a constitution that is both transparent and independent of us. So we are in a Catch-22 situation: we deal as equals (of sorts) with a new and weak but legitimate government, but that same government has empowered, or at least been too lax with, our enemies. Our leverage, as supporters of democracy, is to threaten to leave, cut off aid, or both. But that in turn might play to those in the Shiite-dominated government, and the region at large, who would like exactly that to happen.

2. The departure of Rumsfeld, Casey, and Abizaid, along with the appointment of General Petraeus, has tempered Democratic opposition. So too, as I suggested in a previous post, has the unspoken fear that there might be a sudden turn-around in Iraq that would embarrass shrill anti-war liberals. Nevertheless, by autumn, the verdict will be in, and if things are not quiet on the ground, the polls will reflect popular frustration, and new resolutions will come fast and furious in the shadow of 2008. Our counter-insurgency efforts might take longer than five years (successful ones usually do), but in this case it will be five years or nothing—and the enemy knows it.

3. If we fail in Iraq, gone is any notion of a comprehensive program for the Middle East based on liberalization and reform, an approach that might break up the wink-and-nod alliance of illegitimate autocracies and jihadists. To salvage things in that event, the U.S. would have to galvanize regional “moderate” dictatorships and corrupt monarchies in Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf against Iran and Syria, withdraw to Kuwait and perhaps Kurdistan, seek to pressure Israel for concessions, and in general return to the sort of realism and appeasement of the 1980′s and 1990′s, whose ultimate dividend was 9/11. I pass over in silence the effects of such a failure on the reputation of U.S. ground forces, moderate Democrats, reformers in the Middle East, and principled Europeans who supported us.

So? I think the answer is that we must constantly and without interruption go on the offensive in Iraq, militarily, politically, and economically, with the understanding that the country, the region, and the entire framework of U.S. foreign policy and American prestige now hang in the balance.

I hope there is that sense of urgency in both Washington and at Centcom, a sense that the ante has been raised and that our success or failure in the next six months will determine the course of our policy and of the region for years to come.

Best,

Victor

Boot IHanson IBoot IIHanson IIBoot IIIHanson IIIBoot IVHanson IV

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Class War 101

Yesterday the stock market edged up again, with the Dow Jones Index cruising once more toward record highs. This ought to be good news for Republicans entering the presidential season. But is it really? Although Republicans are loath to be candid on this point, a surging stock market really does disproportionately help the rich and the super-rich. The accompanying growth in income inequality is a big, ripe target for a John Edwards, a James Webb, a Barack Obama, and others who want to frame the next election around themes of rich versus poor.

For a Republican party that wants to attract the votes of Bill O’Reilly’s “folks,” extremes in income inequality aren’t getting easier to defend. Private equity deals are now roaring through Asia, often enriching a relatively small handful of the American financial elite. Until Republican politicians know how to speak with confidence about globalization, capitalism, and wealth creation, Democratic calls to punish the rich can be made without fear of rebuttal.

Even with Robert Rubin and Gene Sperling whispering in her ear, Hillary Clinton, with her hand firmly on the pulse of her pollster, remains likely to join the economic populism gang. In 1996, with Ross Perot breathing down his neck, Bob Dole, a life-long trade advocate, suddenly started talking about trade restrictions and offering second thoughts on NAFTA. There is no reason to believe Hillary is more principled.

Of course, it is not clear what exactly the economic populist proposals will consist of. A new tax on the super-wealthy is probably an inevitable plank of their platform. But in his State of the Union response, Senator Webb spoke about how much more a CEO makes than an average worker. Will he unveil a proposal, beyond raising taxes, to fix that?

What aspiring Democratic and Republican presidential candidates alike should bear in mind is that the evidence of whether class warfare “works” as an electoral strategy is mixed. A much-cited paper by a group of Columbia University professors shows it is not easy to assume that wealth or perceived inequality determines voting preferences.

Yesterday the stock market edged up again, with the Dow Jones Index cruising once more toward record highs. This ought to be good news for Republicans entering the presidential season. But is it really? Although Republicans are loath to be candid on this point, a surging stock market really does disproportionately help the rich and the super-rich. The accompanying growth in income inequality is a big, ripe target for a John Edwards, a James Webb, a Barack Obama, and others who want to frame the next election around themes of rich versus poor.

For a Republican party that wants to attract the votes of Bill O’Reilly’s “folks,” extremes in income inequality aren’t getting easier to defend. Private equity deals are now roaring through Asia, often enriching a relatively small handful of the American financial elite. Until Republican politicians know how to speak with confidence about globalization, capitalism, and wealth creation, Democratic calls to punish the rich can be made without fear of rebuttal.

Even with Robert Rubin and Gene Sperling whispering in her ear, Hillary Clinton, with her hand firmly on the pulse of her pollster, remains likely to join the economic populism gang. In 1996, with Ross Perot breathing down his neck, Bob Dole, a life-long trade advocate, suddenly started talking about trade restrictions and offering second thoughts on NAFTA. There is no reason to believe Hillary is more principled.

Of course, it is not clear what exactly the economic populist proposals will consist of. A new tax on the super-wealthy is probably an inevitable plank of their platform. But in his State of the Union response, Senator Webb spoke about how much more a CEO makes than an average worker. Will he unveil a proposal, beyond raising taxes, to fix that?

What aspiring Democratic and Republican presidential candidates alike should bear in mind is that the evidence of whether class warfare “works” as an electoral strategy is mixed. A much-cited paper by a group of Columbia University professors shows it is not easy to assume that wealth or perceived inequality determines voting preferences.

Read Less




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