The New Republic Staff

Non Sequitur
January 15, 2007

Fred Barnes's reporting is always informative, though usually in ways unintended by the author. His latest is no exception. Here, for instance, is a throwaway line about how President Bush vetted General Casey: "[Bush] invited Casey and his family to a meal at the White House last year, partly to size him up by seeing how he interacted with his wife and kids." P.S. I was also somewhat confused by this passage: "His foes regard him as stubborn to a fault and in denial about the poor prospects in Iraq.

Honest Abe
January 15, 2007

James Traub has a profile in this week's New York Times Magazine of Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League. Traub had a great time making fun of a man he views as an old-fashioned chicken little obsessed with Jews.

In Today's Web Magazine
January 15, 2007

Jason Zengerle chronicles John Edwards's transformation from Mr. Nice Guy to working-class hero; Bradford Plumer points out that "socially responsible investing" can be its own worst enemy; Christopher Benfey finds a dark soul in the pages of Robert Frost's notebooks; Christopher Orr reviews The Illusionist and says it's a great mediocre movie; and Reuel Marc Gerecht parries Lawrence Korb's critique of the "surge." --Adam B. Kushner

May The Decider Decide?
January 14, 2007

by Jacob T. Levy I'd be very eager to hear the thoughts of cobloggers Sandy Levinson and Cass Sunstein on the debate over whether Congress may block the supposed "surge" or troops to Iraq ("supposed" because the number of troops being sent is lower than what any surge proponent estimated was the bare minimum to qualify, until a few weeks ago). Joe Biden has said a number of times that he doesn't think Congress has much scope to act, and has been widely criticized among war skeptics and opponents for saying so.

Edwards V. Clinton, Round One
January 14, 2007

Here's an excerpt from the speech John Edwards gave today at the Riverside Church in Harlem: If you're in Congress and you know this war is going in the wrong direction, it is no longer enough to study your options and keep your own counsel. Silence is betrayal. Speak out, and stop this escalation now. You have the power to prohibit the president from spending any money to escalate the war--use it. I have an Edwards profile in the new issue of TNR.

O.j.'s Revelation
January 14, 2007

Someone at Newsweek gained possession of a chapter of that O.J. book. Nothing too surprising except this: In The Juice's imagined version of the killings he has an accomplice. Hmmm. Maybe that's who Simpson has been searching for this whole time. --Isaac Chotiner

"exposed Meat"
January 13, 2007

Sometimes I go to the English translation of Asharq Alawsat just to see what the world's largest and most open Arabic language newspaper is saying. I came across an incoherently rendered story but with salacious images of non-veiled women, referred to as "meat overdraft." In any case, I called a friend who reads Arabic (well), and he translated the article, which was written by Mohamed al-Shafei. The story is about Sheik Taj Din Al Hilali, the Egyptian born Mufti of Australia and imam of the biggest mosque in Sydney.

Ford Praises Nixon
January 13, 2007

The Times and other papers have picked up some comments from President Ford, who before his death (obviously) made clear his thoughts on various twentieth century presidents. Many of his opinons are pretty unremarkable, or at least unsurprising: He claimed Carter was a bad president, liked Ike, and wished the Reaganites would stop crowing so much about ending the Cold War (he also thought Reagan was a "poor manager").

Learning From Mistakes
January 12, 2007

by Jeffrey Herf Over the semester break I made time to read Thomas Rick's Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. It's an important book for thinking about whether or not "the new way forward" announced by President Bush the other night has any chance of success. It catalogues the now familiar misjudgments and blunders that the United States has made since 2003, above all invading with too few troops and with no expectation of or plan for a "postwar" insurgency. Yet Ricks' book is interesting for a historian of the twentieth century in another sense.

Race To The Bottom
January 12, 2007

Good news for Duncan Hunter! He's no longer the most ridiculous GOP presidential candidate. The reason? Texas Congressman Ron Paul has tossed his hat into the race (link via PoliticalWire). Although, come to think of it, Paul does at least have some presidential campaign experience, having run as the Libertarian candidate in '88. Maybe Hunter still is the most ridiculous. --Jason Zengerle

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