John B. Judis

Anti-Statism in America

Anyone who has followed closely the debate over national health insurance has probably noticed some peculiar inconsistencies in Americans’ attitudes toward the legislation. A Pew Poll released on October 8 found “steady support” for specific elements of the health care plan, including the public alternative to private insurance, the employer mandate, and the requirement that everyone have insurance. Nonetheless, popular support for the plan itself was declining, with 34 percent “generally [in] favor” and 47 percent “generally opposed.” What accounts for this disparity?

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Today's Contest

When I clicked on Amazon this morning to find out about a book, I was informed that a book was about to appear that was tailor-made for my tastes: Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin. When I clicked on the button to “fix this recommendation,” I was informed that Amazon had recommended Palin’s book because I had once purchased Sanford Horwitt’s excellent biography of Saul Alinsky. OK, here is today’s contest: Sarah Palin is to Saul Alinsky as what or who is to what or who. You fill in the blanks. I spent ten minutes trying to do so, and gave up.  

I had a friend visiting me this weekend who had fervently backed Barack Obama for President (against the “devil-woman” Hillary), but who now thinks Obama has betrayed his followers – most recently by agreeing to disastrous compromises in the health insurance bill.

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Perhaps in responding to Jason, I wasn’t clear about why I don’t think we have grounds yet for calling Nidal Hassan’s act an act of terrorism. Let me try once more, and let me make one thing clear: I am not ruling out that it was, and I don’t require that he admit it was.

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Jason Zengerle argues that if one calls Scott Roeder’s killing of abortion doctor George Tillman a terrorist act, then one has to call Nidal Hassan, who perpetrated the Fort Hood massacre, a terrorist because his actions were “motivated, in part, by religious and political views.” I don’t think I agree with Jason – at least given the evidence to date about Nidal Hassan’s motives. We don’t know yet what motivated Nidal Hassan – to say the same thing, what he hoped to accomplish by killing his fellow soldiers.

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The Insider

In the wake of defeats in New Jersey and Virginia, Democrats and the Obama administration are being advised to move to the center. I think the Republicans are well advised to take that advice, but I am not sure about the Democrats, and I am not sure what the "center" means in this case.

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Bernard Avishai, the author of two excellent, but sometimes misunderstood, books on Israel and on Zionism,  is a professor of business at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and on top of the transformation of the older industrial into a new cyber-industrial economy. Avishai has written a very important article on the electric car for Inc.

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Mixed Messages

Republicans are proclaiming victory after their candidates won statehouses in New Jersey and Virginia. And well they should. These were both states that went for Barack Obama in 2008. But how much do these elections really say about Obama and the prospects of the national Democratic Party? Some network commentators, citing suspiciously high approval ratings for Obama in New Jersey and Virginia, claim the elections say nothing at all about the president and his party.

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Two years ago, I wrote about my long-standing problems with Comcast’s broadband and television service. The intermittent outages, the frequent slowdowns, the unavailable phone support, and the incompetent repair people, to whom Comcast had outsourced its service to customers. So why did I stick with Comcast? Well, the people Verizon sent over couldn’t figure out how to connect the FIOS line from the garage across the house to the cable television and computer. In addition, Comcast not only promised to be good but made me one of those $99 a month offers for phone, internet, and TV that I couldn

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Americans are used to presidential candidates promising to get tough on China only to turn tail once they are in office. Could the same be true of German Chancellor’s promises to get tough with Russia? The Financial Times has an extraordinary report on “The New Ostpolitik,” between Germany and Russia. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel first ran four years ago, she was highly critical of former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder’s warm relationship with the Russians. Indeed, after leaving office, Schroeder became the chairman of Nord Stream, which is owned by the Russian firm, Gazprom, and is deve

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