James Kirchick

An interesting snippet from today's Rasmussen poll is that Barack Obama leads John McCain by only 49% to 42% in Massachusetts, the bluest of blue states. McCain also has a (slightly) higher approval rating than Obama. I've said it before and I'll say it again: with a moderate Republican nominee and Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate, there's an even chance that Massachusetts will go red. This alone seems to put something of a dent in the conventional wisdom that Obama is obviously the stronger Democratic general election candidate.

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Yes, Hillary Clinton won the Texas Democratic primary by 100,000 votes. What with the caucuses and the complicated rules of the process, Barack Obama actually won more delegates. Still, Hillary has been crowing all over the country about her win -- although the early polls had her topping Obama by...well, it was supposed to be another Ohio. Well, it turns out that roughly 119,000 Republicans voted in the Texas primary, which is an "open" primary, for Hillary herself.

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Perhaps it's a waste of time to comment on the rantings of John Derbyshire over at National Review. But something he wrote today struck me as particularly egregious. In his speech, Barack Obama spoke about contemporary school segregation. Granted, none of this segregation is de jure, and some of it is a result of choices made by parents both white and black. Nevertheless, Derb remarks: It's true that there is widespread school segregation today. In my state, 60 percent of black students attend schools that are at least 90-percent black.

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Robert Dreyfuss, a contributing editor to The Nation, has written a piece this week entitled "Hothead McCain." I wonder if Dreyfuss would use a similar descriptor for his longtime former employer, the convicted felon and political cult-leader Lyndon LaRouche.

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Here's Barack Obama today: "I know she talks about visiting 80 countries. It's not clear, ya know, was she negotiating treaties or agreements or was she handling crises during this period of time? My sense is the answer is no." Obama is absolutely right about Hillary Clinton's ridiculous pretensions. The logical next question: does Obama think that he has the sort of experience he's criticizing Hillary for falsely claiming? Of course not. And neither, apparently, does Susan Rice, one of his top foreign policy advisors. --James Kirchick

Last week, Barack Obama gave a speech in Cleveland to a group of Jewish community leaders. Though Marty has already declared Obama Kosher, there are still some rumblings amongst Jews about what an Obama presidency would mean for Israel, as evidenced in a Times piece on Friday. Much of the attacks on Obama in the Jewish community have been outright smears, trying to paint him as a secret Muslim (Hillary, shameless and desperate as she is, thinks she can get away with this mischief herself).

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Gore The Bore

Amidst all the nice encomiums about Bill Buckley given to the New York Times by both his liberal and conservative interlocutors, there was, predictably, this: “I was never on his show,” Gore Vidal, with whom Mr. Buckley had a famous feud, said on Thursday. “I don’t like fascism much.” He added: “I was one of the first people he asked. And, of course, I refused to be on it.

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Yesterday, Dayo pointed to Glenn Greenwald's attack on John McCain for accepting the endorsement of the evangelical preacher John Hagee. The pastor of Cornerstone Church of San Antonio is indeed a pea-brained bigot (so much so that the equally obnoxious Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has denounced the presumptive Republican nominee), and it's sad -- and uncharacteristic -- of McCain to accept his support.

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In April 2005, when President Bush decided to transfer Zalmay Khalilzad from Afghanistan to Iraq, Afghan President Hamid Karzai complained. The Afghan-born Khalilzad had been serving as U.S. ambassador to his native country, and his relationship with Karzai--which dated back to the late 1990s, when both men advised the U.S. oil company Unocal on the construction of a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline--was strong.

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In April 2005, when President Bush decided to transfer Zalmay Khalilzad from Afghanistan to Iraq, Afghan President Hamid Karzai complained. The Afghan-born Khalilzad had been serving as U.S. ambassador to his native country, and his relationship with Karzai--which dated back to the late 1990s, when both men advised the U.S. oil company Unocal on the construction of a Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline--was strong.

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