Political junkies have been awaiting the new memoir by Bob Shrum, the famed consultant to a string of Democratic presidential candidates, including Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. After compiling an 0-8 record in presidential campaigns, Shrum has taken something of a beating from the political and media establishment of late, and he has been conspicuously absent from the 2008 campaign thus far. But it seems he's determined to play a role after all, as is clear from his forthcoming book, No Excuses: Concessions of a Serial Campaigner.
'Dear Mick," read the invitation. When it arrived in my inboxseveral weeks ago, I was immediately suspicious: Yes, I was beingoffered an honorary award, complete with a gala Manhattan ceremony.But this salutation was not just wrong; it was strangely loaded.
In October 2000, Hillary Clinton was entering the home stretch of one of the most unusual Senate campaigns in American history. Although her husband still occupied the Oval Office, she had decamped to a Dutch Colonial in Westchester County to run for the seat of retiring New York Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan. To compensate for the fact that she had never actually lived in the state she intended to represent, she immersed herself in Empire State minutiae. Off the top of her head, she would describe in detail the virtues of the Northeast dairy compact and the rate of upstate job growth.
Since her husband's time in the White House, Hillary Clinton has emerged as one of the Democrats' strongest and most opaque politicians. Here is some supplemental reading for those trying to penetrate the sometimes-inscrutable mind of Senator Clinton: Hillary's October 10, 2002, Senate floor speech explaining her decision to support the Iraq war resolution. It's a contortionist's feat, filled with caveats and internal tensions, fueling suspicions that Hillary had her finger in the wind.
HOURS AFTER Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as House speaker last week, Democratic Representative Rahm Emanuel held a celebratoryreception at Johnny's Half Shell, an upscale Capitol Hill restaurant. Having just overseen his party's victorious campaign aschairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Emanuel resembled a mafia don who had taken down a rival family andwas now receiving visitors (Harold Ickes, Paul Begala, James Carville) to kiss his ring. Filing into the restaurant along with the giddy Democrats, however, was a crowd with markedly longer faces.
There is an obscure publishing doctrine known as "the small penis rule." As described in a 1998 New York Times article, it is a sly trick employed by authors who have defamed someone to discourage their targets from filing lawsuits. As libel lawyer Leon Friedman explained to the Times, "No male is going to come forward and say,`That character with a very small penis, `That's me!'" This gimmickwas undoubtedly on the mind of Michael Crichton, the pulp science-fiction writer of Jurassic Park fame, when he wrote the following passage in his latest novel, Next. (Caution: Graphic imagery.
In the beginning--1994, that is--Newt Gingrich created theRepublican majority. For 40 years, a Republican void had existed inthe Democratic Congress, and then Newt made the ten-point Contractfor America. The country saw it was good and bestowed the power ofthe land upon the Republicans that Newt had created in his ownimage. And, as they took dominion over Congress, Newt's followersrejoiced in the world he had created. They devised revolutionaryschemes big and small--everything from new committee structures toquashing daily ice deliveries to congressional offices.
On Monday, Nancy Pelosi made an announcement that was buried amid the tumult over the Steny Hoyer-Jack Murtha battle for House majority leader. It was the appointment of Representative Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, to be the head of Pelosi's "transition team" as she assumes the job of House speaker.
` As the Lord High Executioner said in The Mikado, `I have a littlelist.'" So says John Dingell, the 26-term Michigan House Democratwho spent 14 years as a mighty committee baron before the 1995Republican Revolution booted him into the powerless minority. Atlast poised to reclaim his House Energy and Commerce Committeegavel, the 80-year-old Dingell now sounds like a man who can't waitfor 2007. Though he knows a House Democratic majority won't passmuch legislation, especially given George W.