Isaac Chotiner

Where's Rudy?

Just a quick point about this Rasmussen poll, which shows Romney leading nationally and Giuliani tied for fourth! Rasmussen's results differ slightly from other polls, but the general trend is the same and there is no question that Rudy is falling fast. It's usually not that much fun to beat a dead horse, but today seems like an especially apt time to point out the lunacy of Giuliani's strategy.

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The futures markets have been moving all day--surely causing joy in the Obama camp and concern in Hillaryland. Obama currently is at 72, Clinton is all the way down at 15, and Edwards is holding more-or-less steady at 12. Hillary has fallen ten points in the last few hours alone. Also worth noting is the fact that Obama is currently favored to win New Hampshire. On the GOP side, Huckabee is moving steadily skyward (to the heavens?). For what it's worth... --Isaac Chotiner 

In the great Jo(h)n wars of 2008, I'm afraid I have to take Chait's side. Moreover, I have a quibble with a point that John Judis makes here: There is an even more telling statistic in the recent Los Angeles Times poll. In that poll, 13 percent of likely Democratic caucus voters in Iowa said that if Obama were the nominee in the fall, they would not be willing to vote for him. That's a higher percentage than any of the other candidates.

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I'd be curious to read Mike's or Noam's (or Eve's!) thoughts on the subject, but I think the Republicans may avert one disaster (a Huckabee nomination)--only to find themselves in another perilous situation. Elite opinion seems to have decided that Romney is now likely to win Iowa on Thursday (the betting markets agree--and the trendlines are not good for Huckabee). Assuming this is correct, Romney's chances become even better in New Hampshire five days later. In short, Romney could sweep the early states (Michigan and South Carolina are both looking promising for him).

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Ross Douthat has written a post on "the politics of Juno" and out here in California the movie and its subject matter are certainly a topic of endless conversation.

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It's hard to do justice to Josephine Hearn's hilarious piece on John Edwards and Pakistan, but I'll try: The man in the audience here at the Holiday Inn hadn’t asked about Pakistan; he’d asked about a Department of Peace as proposed by Rep. Dennis Kucinich. But John Edwards, flush with praise for his swift response to the Pakistan crisis, was determined to talk about political unrest in the faraway country. “Pakistan. Let’s use Pakistan as a vehicle for talking about this,” he said during a question-and-answer session with voters.

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According to this report in The Huffington Post, The New York Times has just decided to hire Bill Kristol as a columnist. The piece isn't exactly clear on the matter, but it appears as if Kristol will only write one column a week, as opposed to the usual two. Here's Andrew: But ideologically, having both David Brooks and Bill Kristol as the sole representatives of the right-of-center is to focus on a very small neocon niche in a conservative world that is currently exploding with intellectual diversity and new currents of thought.

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This may be the lamest line ever from a campaign aide. It comes from the NYT story this morning on John Edwards' chronic lateness: Speaking in general about Mr. Edwards’s tendency to run late, Mark Kornblau, the campaign’s traveling press secretary, offered a more obscure explanation: “Fighting hard for change sometimes takes a few extra minutes.” --Isaac Chotiner 

In a troubling sign that the media's love for Condoleezza Rice has managed to infect the public at large, this Rasmussen poll reports the following about whom "the people" would have chosen as Person of the Year:. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of Democrats would have selected Gore, 11% Rice, and 6% Putin. Among Republicans, 40% would have voted for Rice, 27% for Petraeus, and 10% for Gore. 40%?!?!

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Even for those of us who enjoy annual Top 10 lists, it's still a drag to read every critic tiresomely disown the activity they are taking part in. Here's Manhola Dargas today, in an especially egregious example: The whole point of a Top 10 list, a friend recently scolded me, is to number them. (I was declining to do so.) My friend was wrong, but only because Top 10 lists are artificial exercises, assertions of critical ego, capricious and necessarily imperfect.

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