Howard Wolfson

Best Player(s): Prior to the semi-final matches I would have said Schweinsteiger--but he will be watching the final on tv after disappointing against Spain. I will go then with Xavi and Iniesta--yes Villa has scored the critical goals, but it’s the Spanish midfielders who made those goals possible with the metronome- (metronome analogy thanks to the Fiver) like precision of their endless passing. I hear, “Xavi to Iniesta...

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There was nothing German in my grandparents house. My grandfather would spit when we passed by the Mercedes dealer near our town. My grandmother -- an otherwise incredibly tolerant woman -- lost the ability to forgive on the day the last letter arrived from the old country. I began this World Cup pulling for the United States and England. I assumed Spain would win. I had spent the last two years watching the EPL and La Liga every weekend. I don't think I watched a single Bundesliga match during that time.

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I fell in love with soccer watching the English Premier League. Up early every Saturday and Sunday to watch the matches on cable, admiring Lampard's steadiness, Gerrard's will to win, Rooney's excellence, Ashley Cole's daring runs. I admire the pinball they play in La Liga, but I'm passionate about the EPL. Give me the blood, sweat, and tears--I will choose craft over artistry every time. And so even as I root for the Americans in this Cup, I have a soft spot for the Three Lions. And today my heart aches a little. In its own way England's performance yesterday was as shocking as the U.S.

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Has soccer arrived in America? ABC/ESPN and Univision certainly think so -- they paid over $400 million combined to air the World Cup on their stations. The mainstream media think so as well -- the World Cup has been featured on the covers of Time, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated and newspapers around the nation. But the surest sign that soccer has hit the big time in the States? Matt Drudge thinks so. Last night the Drudge Report website led with the speculation that World Cup organizers might ban the vuvuzela horns.  Earlier in the day he led with a picture of poor Robert Green looking haple

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For weary McCain staffers, the campaign is not over. Now comes the after-campaign, the period following a high profile loss when each failure is hashed and rehashed in the press and everyone with a score to settle goes on background with reporters to settle them. Did McCain attack too little or not enough? Was the choice of Palin a success or a disaster? Why didn't McCain respond better to the fiscal crisis?

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The battle to define Tuesday's expected outcome has begun. As if on cue, Craig Shirley and Tony Fabrizio have an op-ed over at Politico, claiming "Millions of Americans have come to erroneously see Bush as a conservative when nothing could be further from the truth.  This election will more accurately be a referendum on Bush's 'Big Government Republicanism,' and not Reagan conservatism, not our conservatism."

Claim The Mandate

Here are two predictions: On Tuesday night Barack Obama will be elected President, and on Wednesday, if not before, Republicans will argue that his victory didn't mean anything -- that America remains a center-right nation and that Senator Obama's victory was not a referendum on conservative principles. How Democrats respond to this spin will be critical in shaping Barack Obama's first two years in office.  Much of his agenda will hang in the balance.  Democrats must claim the mandate that the public is about to bestow on our party in order to bring about the real change that Senator Obama ran

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Money Well Spent

Let's quickly dispense with the silly spin from the McCain campaign and the notion that Senator Obama's infomercial might somehow be overkill or extravagant--there isn't a campaign anywhere that wouldn't want to be able to afford thirty minutes of network time a week before the election to make a final pitch to undecided voters.

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The End Of Nixonland

Rick Perlstein's Nixonland brilliantly covers a period that is finally coming to an end. Perlstein's book focuses on Richard Nixon's runs for the White House, beginning in 1966.  Democrats, facing a voter backlash over rioting, crime, and the Vietnam War lost 47 House seats in 1966.  Nixon rode that revolt into the White House two years later and exploited it while in office to win re-election in a landslide in 1972.  Perlstein correctly states that Nixon came "to power by using the anger, anxieties, and resentments produced by the cultural chaos of the 1960s," and defines Nixonland as the st

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Does advertising matter?  Just ask the Obama campaign. A Washington Post article yesterday suggested both that John McCain's negative ads had been ineffective (true) and that advertising in the Presidential contest just wasn't all that important: "As the presidential candidates open their war chests in the campaign's final stretch -- spending a combined $28 million on television ads in the week that ended Oct. 4 -- political pros are mixed on whether they're getting their money's worth.

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