The day after I arrived in Chicago to cover the mayoral debate, an Appeals Court removed frontrunner Rahm Emanuel’s name from the ballot. The decision, which reversed findings by the Chicago Elections Board and a Circuit Court judge, ignored more than 150 years of Illinois election law in denying that Emanuel met the residence requirements for a mayoral candidate. Not surprisingly, the ruling drew outrage.
Presidents and secretaries of state have not always come entirely clean in explaining why they were doing things, especially military actions. They tend to leave out key motives: Think of Ronald Reagan invading Grenada in 1982 to save medical students who unaccountably found themselves in danger; George H.W. Bush conjuring up Iraqi atrocities in Kuwait, but not mentioning Iraqi control of global oil; or George W.
I remember sitting by a pool in August 1990 with my friend Fred Siegel discussing George H.W. Bush’s “drawing a line in the sand” after Iraq had invaded Kuwait. “My comrades on the left can’t be against this,” I announced to Fred, but I was dead wrong. Within days, my own publication, In These Times, and others had raised specters of another Vietnam and of U.S. imperialism. I have had a similar experience of shock and awe today as I looked at various blogs and websites that air opinion on the left.
The earthquake and potential nuclear catastrophe in Japan have brought home a set of questions that have haunted philosophers for hundreds of years—and have played an important role in American politics for over a century. They have to do with the relationship between humanity and nature—not nature as “the outdoors,” but as the obdurate bio-geo-physiochemical reality in which human beings and other animals dwell. To what extent does nature set limits on human possibilities?
[Guest post by John Judis] David Broder, reporter and columnist for many years for the Washington Post, died today at age 81. I did not know him. I talked to him three or four times over many years, but I watched him in action as a reporter and always admired him. When I was covering politics for In These Times in the late 1970s, I used to attend every summer something called the Conference on Alternative, State, and Local Politics.
Last December, I asked a prominent K Street Republican what he thought his party’s top priority would be following its successes in the midterm elections. He didn’t mince words. “Public employee unions are going to get hosed, and they deserve to get hosed,” he told me. So, I wasn’t exactly surprised when Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio put the public unions in their states on a hit list.
After trailing along with Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel on a Sunday morning last month, I got a chance to talk to him when we stopped at Bagel on Damen, a small coffee shop in Wicker Park that features fresh bagels and Stumptown coffee. Emanuel had just visited a church, a South Side restaurant, and a North Avenue bicycle store, at which he proposed going the Daley administration one better by adding 25 rather than eight miles a year to the city’s dedicated bike lanes.
The massive protests that forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s departure have been widely described as a revolution. And that’s fine. If there is an Internet revolution, a Reagan revolution, and even an Obama revolution, then there has certainly been an Egyptian revolution. But there is another meaning of revolution that applies specifically to events like the French, Russian, or Chinese Revolutions. In this sense of the word, Egypt has not yet had a revolution; and the success of the protests will depend ultimately on whether it does have one.
I thought that my reaction to President Obama’s State of the Union speech was colored by having spent the day listening to Chicago mayoral candidates talk about pensions and potholes, or by the two Scotches I downed afterwards, but upon rereading the speech this morning, I’m once again convinced that this was Obama’s best speech as president.
I have often found Senator Joe Lieberman’s positions infuriating. I didn’t agree certainly with his unstinting support for the invasion of Iraq, or his support for Israel’s Likud governments, or his sanctimonious denunciation of Bill Clinton’s sexual dalliances, or his endorsement of John McCain in 2008. Still, I rue Lieberman’s departure from the Senate—along with that of Kent Conrad, and the recent departures of Russ Feingold, Byron Dorgan, and Robert Bennett. Some of it has to do with sheer predictability and individuality.