September 22, 2006


Net Gains (JESSIE STONE, 9/22/06, NY Times)

TO many of us in the malaria-control business, it came as no great surprise last week when the World Health Organization recommended wider use of DDT in Africa to combat the mosquitoes that cause the disease, which kills more than a million people a year, most of them children in Africa.

The W.H.O.’s endorsement of DDT for spraying inside houses has the support of Congress and the Bush administration.

A helpful reminder that if the National Review types get their wish and Democrats are returned to power there are very real consequences.

May the Best Man Lose: Should anyone want to win the November election? (Jacob Weisberg, Sept. 20, 2006, Slate)

It is possible that the Republican defeatists are merely offering in advance a rationalization for a loss they expect in November, even if the latest polls and Slate's mathematician offer some encouragement for them to think they'll retain control of the House. And some Republicans—including several who contributed to a forum in the latest issue of the Washington Monthly—are primarily making a substantive point about how the GOP has abandoned its principles. They argue that Republicans, who have controlled the House since the 1994 Gingrich revolution, need to be punished for their corruption and pork-barrel excess. Out of power, some principled conservatives hope, their party might learn to stand for something again.

But to several other conservative analysts, the case for defeat is explicitly political. National Review writers Jonah Goldberg and Ramesh Ponnuru, among others, think Republicans really would win strategically by losing this election (or, if you prefer, lose by winning it). These conservatives tend to fixate on how popular Republicans would be fighting off lefty hate-figures, including would-be Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and the putative committee chairmen John Conyers, Charles Rangel, and Alcee Hastings.

With oil prices returning to realistic levels, the Fed about to start cutting, and a looming peace dividend as the WoT wraps up, it's a particularly good time to be in power. You'd think the GOP would have learned that lesson after letting Bill Clinton reap the windfall from ending the Cold War.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 22, 2006 10:04 AM

It's been 44 years after Rachel Carson and her book Silent Spring (1962), which triggered worldwide ban on DDT.

She is the anti-Borlaug. The demagoging of DDT by Carson and her eco-friends have caused more deaths than anyone short of Stalin or Mao.

Posted by: Gideon at September 22, 2006 10:24 AM

For too many pundits, it's more fun to preach about how to get back into power than it is on how to retain it, since you can now tell them what they did wrong and how to fix it. Then if they actually do get candidates who mirror your talking points and regain office, you can stick it on your resume and crow about it endlessly in your talk show appearances, even if you're nothing more than the rooster who thinks he made the sun come up.

Posted by: John at September 22, 2006 11:01 AM

Gideon: I've seen estimates of up to 100 million malarial deaths since the ban on DDT (a figure I think is somewhat high, but no one knows), putting Rachel right up there with Stalin and Mao.

Posted by: jd watson at September 22, 2006 12:17 PM

To be fair, Carson wrote a fairy tale without data that should have been laughed out of the academy. Instead, enviromental whackoes and the media used scare tactics like there'll be no more birdies in the trees to get the public riled up who were actually responsible for the deaths of all those malaria victims.

BTW - The New Yorker Magazine published long excerpts of the book, which I read while on vacation at Montaugh Point and I remember thinking this is a lot of baloney. At the time, I would never have dreamed it would be taken off the market as a result of a silly book.

Posted by: erp at September 22, 2006 1:07 PM

I mean Montauk Point at the end of Long Island.

Posted by: erp at September 22, 2006 4:48 PM