Ah, the spirit of '94 rears its head for a brief moment in a kitchen-sink talk from former Rep. Dick Armey. As I walk in, he's blasting Republican officeholders for pouring gas on the Medicare cost inferno, observing that "today we have a lot of officeholders who have let their courage and their creativity atrophy." He dubbed the current tax code "an abomination on the human spirit" and made the case for a flat tax over a national sales tax, emphasizing the importance of making the full size of the tax burden as obvious as possible to taxpayers. And there was a quick riff on the importance of telecom deregulation. Totally standard conservative rhetoric of, say, a decade ago, now striking for how rare it is to hear an elected Republican harping on these issues.

Armey did, however, remind me why whenever I hear a pundit or pol mention "common sense," I reach for my gun. "Common sense" seems to be some kind of rough euphemism for "superficially appealing, but really obviously insane if you think about it for five minutes." In this case, Armey's "common sense" proposal was a tort reform bill barring any attorney from representing a client he hasn't met. I'm hoping this one wasn't intended seriously.