Isaac Chotiner

The Next Conservatives
June 27, 2008

David Brooks has a heartfelt but also confused column today on young conservative intellectuals, particularly his former assistant and erstwhile TNRer Reihan Salam and Atlantic blogger Ross Douthat. The occassion is the publication of Salam's and Douthat's smart new book, Grand New Party, which attempts to outline a new path for the GOP. Here is Brooks: Among the many dark tidings for American conservatism, there is one genuine bright spot.

Mccain's Luck On The Abortion Issue
June 24, 2008

From Amy Sullivan's very good piece on pro-choice women and McCain:  But McCain's more traditional abortion rhetoric is leavened by his carefully maintained political brand as a "maverick" politician. Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, believes that has led many voters to make incorrect assumptions about McCain's views on abortion and is one reason he is now courting pro-choice women, particularly Hillary Clinton's supporters. "People think that he's a maverick and that must mean that he's a moderate," Keenan says.

Does The Gop Want A Terrorist Attack?
June 24, 2008

Matt Yglesias writes: Charlie Black's statement that "certainly it would be a big advantage to" John McCain for American civilians to be slaughtered by international terrorists helps bring to the surface the central paradox of our times. How reasonable is it to trust that a political movement will bring safety to the country when they themselves believe that doing so would ill-serve their interests?

The Obama Campaign And Muslim-americans
June 24, 2008

Today's New York Times front page story on Barack Obama and the Muslim community is an extremely depressing read. Here is the opening anecdote: As Senator Barack Obama courted voters in Iowa last December, Representative Keith Ellison, the country’s first Muslim congressman, stepped forward eagerly to help. Mr. Ellison believed that Mr. Obama’s message of unity resonated deeply with American Muslims. He volunteered to speak on Mr. Obama’s behalf at a mosque in Cedar Rapids, one of the nation’s oldest Muslim enclaves. But before the rally could take place, aides to Mr. Obama asked Mr.

One Way Of Looking At Sarkozy
June 22, 2008

From Maureen Dowd today, on Carla Bruni:  If an American first lady, or would-be first lady, described herself as a “tamer of men” and had a “man-eating” past filled with naked pictures, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton, sultry prone CD covers, breaking up marriages, bragging that she believes in polygamy and polyandry rather than monogamy, and having a son with a married philosopher whose father she had had an affair with, it would take more than an appearance on “The View” to sweeten her image. This is all true.

Obama's Hunt For The Elusive 'bubba Voter'
June 21, 2008

In the new issue of The Weekly Standard, Matt Labash has a very enjoyable follow-up to his 2005 profile of Democratic operative Dave "Mudcat" Saunders. Labash has once again sought out Saunders because the latter is an expert at appealing to 'Reagan Democrats' or 'Bubba Voters' or small town Americans get the idea.

Bush The Golfer
June 18, 2008

Peter Boyer has a fairly long Keith Olbermann profile in this week's New Yorker which is not necessary reading, although it does feature a notable anecdote. Olbermann is reading over an interview with President Bush in which the following exchange occurs: Q: Mr. President, you haven’t been golfing in recent years. Is that related to Iraq? A: Yes, it really is. I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the Commander-in-Chief playing golf. I feel I owe it to the families to be as—to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.

Bill O'reilly's Contribution To Humanity
June 17, 2008

Jason Linkins at The Huffington Post has the goods on Bill O'Reilly's new memoir, which comes out in September. What is it titled? Well, as it turns out, a nun at the school O'Reilly once attended referred to young Bill as "a bold fresh piece of humanity." And now--yes, really--O'Reilly has chosen to title his book, "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity." You might say that this hints at O'Reilly's egomania, but I reject such cynicism.  Readers are welcome to compliment this post on the strict condition that I am allowed to use any of the positive comments as the title for my forthcoming memoir.

More On Russert
June 14, 2008

Joe Klein and Christopher Hitchens have, respectively, insightful and moving obituaries for their friend Tim Russert. Every conversation I have taken part in or overheard over the past couple of days consists of people in one of two categories: Those who had personal stories of Russert’s kindness or generosity, or those who found themselves to be much more upset by his death than they would have expected.

Gore Vidal, All Over The Place
June 14, 2008

In his interview with Deborah Solomon for The New York Times Magazine, Gore Vidal, after being asked whether he likes Normal Mailer's fiction, responds, "Oh, dear, we’re not going to go into pluses and minuses now." Alas, it is hard to read this extraordinarily colorful interview without separating the good from the bad. To start with the latter: And what about Mr. McCain? Disaster. Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside from himself? About his suffering in the prison war camp? Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.