Marin Cogan

Tnr On The Candidates

We've anthologized our profiles of the presidential contenders just in time for Channukah...well, Christmas. Our election guide, published by Yale University Press, collects some of our classics into one pleasurable volume: Mike Crowley on Hillary and the War; Ryan Lizza on Bill Richardson and Barack Obama; Michelle Cottle on Fred Thompson; Jason Zengerle on John Edwards; Tom Edsall on Rudy. It has new essays by John B. Judis and Franklin Foer. Stick it by the john for perusing. Stuff it in stocking. Your Uncle Sammy will love it! --The Editors

Fair Tax Hokum

That a supporter of the Fair Tax could plausibly win the nomination of a major political party beggars belief. For a reminder of the lunacy of the Fair Tax, check out this piece by Bruce Bartlett. Bartlett is a conservative who despises the Fair Tax. He argues the Church of Scientology initially designed the Fair Tax. --Frank Foer 

Who will the Des Moines Register endorse? Four years ago, when it slapped its seal of approval on John Edwards, he impressively surged. The paper's imprimatur lent him heft and helped ease concerns that Edwards might not have the stuff to be president. (TNR's last endorsement didn't work out quite so well.) Earlier this week, I heard a rumor that the paper was leaning towards endorsing Biden--a noble gesture that would do nothing to tip the outcome of the caucus. Well, almost nothing.

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Conventional Wisdom One

Some of my best campaign memories come from air travel. I once awoke from a nap on a transcontinental flight to find Alan Keyes hovering over me. After I rubbed my eyes, he was still there. Apparently, I was sitting a row behind his kids. Where Keyes traveled in first class, he kept his kids back in the cheap seats. As I arose, Keyes delivered a lecture on the curvature of the planet. It was a stunning performance--the same slap shot gesticulation and stentorian tone that he deployed in his compulsively watchable turns at GOP debates.

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Bush 36,000!

Let's see ... We're wildly unpopular around the world. Our leaders have been relentlessly mocked for seemingly delusional upbeat statements like “last throes,” “mission accomplished,” and “greeted as liberators.” So who do we put in charge of improving America’s image abroad? Why, the guy who wrote the 1999 book Dow 36,000, arguing that the era’s roaring stock market would cake-walk all the way up to triple its value. Yes, the AP reports that President Bush intends to name James K. Glassman to Karen Hughes’ former job.

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For those of you still sore about missing last night's Led Zeppelin concert, we're here to help: check out David Browne's piece on their comeback and watch them play "Stairway to Heaven" below. Cheers! --Marin Cogan

  Many people thought it bizarre that the Rev. Pat Robertson, a Pentecostal televangelist not known for his tolerance of others faiths, would endorse Rudy Giuliani, who is Catholic and pro-choice. But here’s an odd footnote that I discovered while doing research at the Truman Library. In 1960, the Democratic nominee, Catholic John F. Kennedy, was greeted warily, if not hostily, by some American Protestants, particularly in the South, but Virginia Democratic Senator A. Willis Robertson, the father of Pat Robertson, was the first of that state’s officeholder to endorse him.

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"Short Seller Sinks Teeth Into Insurer" is the headline to an article in Saturday's New York Times.

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CQ: some of Fred Thompson's Hill backers are giving up. Update: The new WMUR poll shows Fred practically flat-lining in New Hampshire at 4 percent. Ron Paul is at 8. Thompson's in danger of leaving this race a laughingstock. --Michael Crowley

Remembering Mailer

 A commentator on my last blog suggested that it was time to shut this blog down. I took to the suggestion, thinking that I was being too self-indulgent, letting these blogs go in every which direction, expressions of a fickle and perhaps unstable mentality. But this then is what they are, unpaid snippets of a long life that includes sixty years of writing in a semi-professional (unpaid articles and stories for literary magazines) and then professional life.

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