Isaac Chotiner

The Problem With That David Brooks Column
July 18, 2008

Noam has some smart insights that touch on the subjects raised by David Brooks in his New York Times column today. But unlike Noam, I thought the Brooks column itself was confused. Brooks starts out by arguing that we are entering an era of "epic legislation" in which the government will take an acitivist role on issues like energy, human capital, and financial market regulation. The problem is that Brooks--in high, McCain-swooning gear-- draws a strange lesson from history. Yet, historically, periods of great governmental change have often been periods of conservative rule.

How To Approach Women
July 14, 2008

According to this excellent piece in The New York Times today, Western magazines are finding a receptive audience in India.  This particular tidbit seemed worth sharing: Some, like Maxim, seem to pride themselves on pushing the envelope of good taste even further than they do in their home markets. The magazine’s July issue includes the feature “48 Ways to Get a Gori” (gori is Hindi for fair-skinned woman, and is used in this context to mean a foreign white one).

The Obama Campaign Picks The Wrong Fight
July 13, 2008

  Noam and I both blogged earlier about Ryan Lizza's terrific New Yorker piece on Barack Obama's Chicago days, but now it seems like Ryan's story (and every other article with actual reporting) is going to have to compete for headlines with the brouhaha that has arisen over the magazine's new cover. Eve has the story here, and The Page and The Politico are both making a big deal about it.

Obama's Chicago Days
July 13, 2008

Ryan Lizza's extremely detailed, 15000 word piece (in next week's New Yorker) on Barack Obama's Chicago life does a fantastic job of delineating the different forces in Windy City politics over the past twenty years. What was most interesting, however, was the way in which the piece explains Obama's simultaneous ability to criticize "the system" and operate within it.

What Is The Greatest Movie Ending Of All Time?
July 11, 2008

That is the question asked--and answered--by the London Times, which has produced a Top 20 for readers to debate. And the list is pretty good!  20-16: Seven--Blair Witch--Memento--Planet of the Apes (original)--Shawshank Redemption 15-11: Gone With the Wind--Dr. Strangelove--Les Diaboliques--Wizard of Oz--Thelma & Louise 10-6: Sixth Sense--Usual Suspects--Italian Job (original)--Some Like it Hot--Breakfast at Tiffany's 5.Chinatown 4. E.T. 3. Casablanca 2. Butch Cassidy 1.

Why Does John Mccain Hate Bitter, Depressed Middle Americans?
July 11, 2008

An aside from Mike Grunwald's very enjoyable piece in Time on the future of Florida: I felt better after talking to the bubbly [Florida Governor Charlie] Crist, who's like human Prozac. "How can you not be optimistic about Florida?" he asked. "Is there a more beautiful place on the planet?" He then recounted a story that probably won't help him in the GOP Veepstakes: "John McCain told me, 'It's tough in those Rust Belt states. You really feel a bit of depression in people's outlook. But when you get to Florida, people feel great.' [Italics Mine] --Isaac Chotiner 

How Do You Say "change We Can Believe In" In Hindi?
July 10, 2008

Alas, The Washington Post does not tell us, but in a fun piece Rama Lakshmi explains that Hindu Nationalist leader L.K. Advani is bringing internet organizing and a message of change to the Indian parliamentary campaign likely to conclude next year: The party predicts that, like in the Obama campaign, technology will play a central role in attracting the youth. It plans to use cellphones and the Internet as important media of political communication.

Time Magazine Celebrates Mandela, Ignores Mugabe
July 10, 2008

Richard Stengel's soggy Time cover story on the wisdom of Nelson Mandela is just about what you would expect. Mandela's eight lessons of leadership are indeed well taken, but Stengel almost completely avoids the issue of Robert Mugabe's dictatorial rule.

Don't Let Mccain Be Mccain, Mccainiacs
July 09, 2008

I agree with Mike--who has a post on The Stump exploring the dangers of "letting McCain be McCain." The bind McCain faces is that he's a stilted candidate when scripted. But when you let "McCain be McCain," he says and does things that seem to translate poorly in the YouTube/blog era. The corollary to this is best exhibited by Matthew Continetti's helpful piece on McCain, Obama, and immigration. Continetti concludes that McCain has in essnce ceded the Latino vote to Obama, and adds: McCain could make drivers licenses for illegal immigrants an issue, but he's unlikely to do so.

An American President Americans Have Been Waiting For
July 09, 2008

Or, the Quote of the Day: I think John McCain is going to make sure that America stays America. --Mitt Romney, 7/8/08 --Isaac Chotiner