Isaac Chotiner

Is Bush The Worst President Ever?
April 07, 2008

According to this poll, 61% of professional historians think George W. Bush is the worst president of all time. Matt Yglesias adds: More interestingly, I also take the view that Bush is probably correct to think that history will remember him kindly. American presidents associated with big dramatic events tend to wind up with good reputations whether they deserve them or not.

Al Qaeda Confused...and Other Friday Afternoon Links
April 04, 2008

The latest from Ayman al-Zawahiri: A speaker on an audiotape identified as Ayman al-Zawahri, the chief deputy to Osama bin Laden, has rejected criticism of attacks by Al Qaeda’s followers that have killed thousands of people, maintaining that Al Qaeda does not kill innocent people. “We haven’t killed the innocents, not in Baghdad, nor in Morocco, nor in Algeria nor anywhere else." Except: “If there is any innocent who was killed in the mujahedeen’s operations, then it was either an unintentional error or out of necessity.” Doh!

Rove On Obama As Veep
April 02, 2008

Noam has an excerpt from that interesting GQ interview with Karl Rove: What do you make of this whole thing where Hillary was talking him up as a vice president and he came back saying, "Wait a minute, I'm winning—why are you asking me to be your number two?"Very calculating on the part of the Clintons, and a mistake for him on his part. Why?Because they wanted him to get down to their level. They want him to look like, you know, not the golden inspiring figure but instead, you know, like an average ordinary pol who's got three years in the United States Senate. So they lay it out there.

But What Happened To Rocky?
April 01, 2008

The news of the day is that Hillary Clinton is comparing herself to Rocky Balboa. As she said this morning: “Let me tell you something, when it comes to finishing the fight, Rocky and I have a lot in common. I never quit. I never give up. And neither do the American people.” And the campaign even has a new theme song (take a wild guess). Now, it's true that Rocky went all fifteen rounds against the fearsome Apollo Creed, but is it worth mentioning that, in the end, Rocky lost? P.S. A colleague opines: She should be analogizing herself to Paulie. That's the real white working class cred.

Worst Prediction Of The Century (so Far!)
April 01, 2008

Courtesy of affirmative action opponent Ward Connerly, as quoted in Dahlia Lithwick's Slate piece on Barack Obama and racial preferences: Affirmative action, says Connerly, "is probably the most difficult race issue [Obama] will have to face." If the candidate denounces affirmative action [in the general election], Connerly predicts, "his support among blacks will plummet from around 80 to 50 percent." That's right: Should Obama take the same position on affirmative action as John McCain, they will evenly split the black vote. --Isaac Chotiner 

Trouble In Pennsylvania?
April 01, 2008

Yes, it's just one poll, but Rasmussen today has Clinton up only five points in Pennsylvania, 47%-42%. A week ago it was ten points, two weeks ago it was thirteen points, and three weeks ago it was fifteen points. --Isaac Chotiner 

How To Flirt In India
March 31, 2008

It's easy, apparently. According to The New York Times, a wave of romantic text messages is cresting over the subcontinent: Text messages have become an integral part of courtships in many countries. But the short messaging service, or SMS, is proving particularly revolutionary in India, where it is paving a way for the young to maneuver around deep-rooted barriers to premarital mingling. I am not sure this strategy is best, however:  If a woman shows interest, Mr.

Why Hillary Should Take The Huckabee Route
March 30, 2008

On Meet The Press this morning, David Brooks said this: I think she should slow down the campaign, run what Mike Huckabee ran, a dignified campaign, not attacking her opponents, go through North Carolina and then get out.  She really has very little opportunity to win.  The Jeremiah Wright thing was big, the big scandal, the biggest thing Barack Obama's faced really in months.  It didn't hurt him.  We now have the polling results from poll after poll.  It's clear it didn't hurt him.  The voters were not shaken off him.  The--Michigan and Florida are not going to revote, the superdelegates are

Sexism, Real And Perceived
March 29, 2008

If you find yourself dutifully trudging through The Wall Street Journal's front page story on Clinton's female supporters--many of whom are concerned that the New York senator's campaign is going to end up setting back the cause of female equality--you may be forced to sit upright and shake your head upon reading this: Heather Arnet, a Clinton supporter who runs a Pittsburgh organization that lobbies for more women on public commissions and corporate boards, recently surveyed the Internet and found more than 50 anti-Hillary Clinton sites on Facebook.

Casey For Vp?
March 29, 2008

Noam makes the case here. I don't disagree with any of his arguments, but I think the possibility of an Obama-Casey ticket is still close to zero. And that's because--it must be said--Casey seems so completely out of his depth. Political junkies may remember that in 2006 Casey destroyed Rick Santorum in a Pennsylvania senate race noteable for its nastiness.