Isaac Chotiner

Our Thrilling Democratic Race...really!
January 12, 2008

You should read Ryan Lizza's summary/analysis of the Clinton/Obama contest, especially the later paragraphs which detail Clinton's cynical "Hispanic Strategy." Also, Ryan somehow got Sergio Bendixen, a top Clinton pollster, to open up: When I asked Bendixen about the source of Clinton’s strength in the Hispanic community, he mentioned her support for health care, and Hispanic voters’ affinity for the Clinton era. “It’s one group where going back to the past really works,” he said.

January 11, 2008

The film adaptation of English writer Ian McEwan’s prize-winning novel Atonement opened last month to widespread critical acclaim. Winners of the Golden Globes will be announced this weekend, and Atonement sits on top of the field, with the most nominationsof any film. Isaac Chotiner spoke with McEwan about letting go, growing up, and why atheists need to speak out.  Was it hard to watch Atonement be adapted to film by other people? Did you feel possessive? I’m fairly used to the process. I think this is the fifth or sixth of my stories or novels that have been made into films.

The Wall Street Journal Goes Crazy With Quotation Marks
January 10, 2008

In honor of Jon Chait, I thought I would call readers' attention to the lead editorial in Friday's Wall Street Journal. Jon has for many years noticed that the paper enjoys putting quotation marks around words it doesn't like, even when completely inappropriate (as in, 'people say the "deficit" is too big'). Now, however, they seem to simply be placing quotation marks around words for no particular reason at all.

The Other Endorsement
January 10, 2008

With Kerry getting all the headlines, it's worth noting that California Congressman George Miller also endorsed Obama today. And, as Chuck Todd notes, "This is perhaps the closest thing to getting a Nancy Pelosi endorsement as you can come without actually getting it." That's because Miller is probably closer to Pelosi than anyone in Congress. It will be interesting to watch the Speaker in the days leading up to the California primary. (Full disclosure: I used to intern for Miller) --Isaac Chotiner 

A Little Anti-libertarian Gloating
January 09, 2008

I can't help but feel a bit of schadenfreude at the dismal showing of Ron Paul in last night's New Hampshire primary. He received about nine percent of the vote, good enough for fifth place. Interestingly, the warm feeling I am getting does not have much to do with the fact that Paul is worse than a kook (you should click and read Jamie's piece). Rather, it is always satisfying to see a libertarian candidate crash and burn--something which forces libertarians to face the reality that their philosophy has almost no appeal.

Was It The Ballot That Killed Obama?
January 09, 2008

From the WaPost: The New Hampshire ballot rules may also have played a role. In previous contests, the state rotated candidate names from precinct to precinct, but this year the names were consistently in alphabetical order, with Clinton near the top and Obama lower down. Stanford professor Jon A. Krosnick, a survey specialist, has estimated the impact of appearing high on the New Hampshire ballot at three percentage points or greater. I have no reason--other than patriotism(!)--to think this isn't true!

Clinton's Speech
January 08, 2008

She is delivering it more smoothly than I have seen her deliver a speech in a long, long time. There is more emotion in her voice and she seems very sincere. She is also not-so-subtly referencing her teary moment from yesterday. Slightly grating, to be sure, but probably just as effective as yesterday's big moment turned out to be. P.S. Even in defeat, Obama's speech was spectacular.  --Isaac Chotiner 

January 08, 2008

On MSNBC just now, Tom Brokaw basically just attacked Chris Matthews and the rest of the gang for fawning all over Obama the last five days. To paraphrase: "The voters did not want to hear that this thing was over. They wanted to make up their own minds." --Isaac Chotiner 

January 08, 2008

Fox calls it for McCain. MSNBC, too. --Isaac Chotiner 

Are The Mullahs Losing Faith In Ahmadinejad?
January 08, 2008

In case you missed it because of all the New Hampshire coverage, I encourage everyone to check out Nazila Fahti's New York Times "Memo From Tehran" about the worsening relationship betweeh President Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei: There are numerous possible reasons for Mr. Ahmadinejad’s loss of support, but analysts here all point to one overriding factor: the United States National Intelligence Estimate last month, which said Iran had suspended its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in response to international pressure.