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Kerry’s economic team 

There is an increasing amount being written about the people advising John Kerry on economics. Slate has a pop piece on who could be Kerry’s Bob Rubin, but for the deeper analysis turn to (who else?) Brad DeLong analysing a good piece of reporting by Jonathan Weisman in The Washington Post.

The top line summary from DeLong: “On the economic policy side, Sarah Bianchi and Jason Furman ride herd on a large group eager to elect Kerry including George Akerlof and Lael Brainerd, Harry Holzer and David Cutler, Alan Auerbach and Ceci Rice and Larry Katz. At the top of the economic policy tree are a Magnificent Seven: Bianchi, Roger Altman, Gene Sperling, Alan Blinder, Laura D’Andrea Tyson, Bob Rubin, and Jason Furman (in the Yul Brynner role).

“This is a list of names that has to give anyone who knows anything great confidence that Kerry policy will be highly competent.”

Butler report 

I’m listening to the press conference on the Butler report. Butler is pretty tough on the shortcomings of the intelligence, but he is also adamant that the government sincerely believed the intelligence it presented.

Although the journalists in the press conference want him to blame Tony Blair or other Downing Street figures for applying pressure to distort intelligence, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

One comment that was interesting in the global context was Butler’s assertion that British intelligence did not rely on Iraqi exiles (Chalabi and crew) because of the general belief that such sources were unreliable.

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