The New Republic Staff

The Problem With Klein
and
January 10, 2007

Jason's post on Joe Klein quoted one of the most telling things Klein said during a long few days of blogging: Liberals were "right" about Vietnam, but they have paid a price ever since because they were so obnoxious about their correctness. I suppose in some sense Klein is correct (Vietnam hurt the left politically), even if being "obnoxious" about a terrible war that killed millions of Vietnamese and 60,000 Americans is, well, understandable.

Capturing The Center
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January 10, 2007

Charlie Cook's column today makes the case that primary voters in 2008 are really looking for electability: For all the talk about swing voters, we have seen extremely low instances of crossover voting--when members of one party vote for congressional and presidential candidates of the opposite party--in recent elections.[Snip]Will former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's perceived electability in a general election be enough to offset his more liberal social and cultural issue positions on abortion rights, gun control and gay rights, particularly considering his early strength in the polls

All That Was Missing Was Jerry Lewis
and
January 10, 2007

Maybe I just don't understand the optics that matter in a Republican presidential primary, but isn't this video--recording the glory and the magic of Mitt Romney's fundraising telethon--the kind of thing that shows everything that's wrong with politics? I mean, the three-minute video basically consists of scenes from a room full of rich folks calling their rich friends to raise money not for the March of Dimes or some public television station but for a millionaire politician.

Let Them Eat Steroids
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January 10, 2007

I haven't followed the online discussion of Mark McGwire's Hall of Fame snub, but my sense is that this hints at a pretty reasonable solution to our national steroid scourge: Namely, let players use all the steroids they want, but test them regularly and make sure the fans know about it. (Or at least that they know certain players refuse to be tested.) Players who choose to use steroids won't run afoul of the law, but they probably will run afoul of certain norms, which is what appears to have soured the baseball writers on McGwire, and which is probably as it should be.

Quote-new-unquote Way Forward
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January 10, 2007

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the White House's "New Way Forward" fact sheet. It seems to me a combination of boilerplate ("Agree that helping Iraqis to provide population security is necessary to enable accelerated transition and political progress") and hopeless tasks we've failed at for years ("Plan and fund eventual demobilization program for militias"). And don't forget such gleaming-new ideas as "Vigorously engage Arab states." This way does not lie victory, I say. But judge for yourself. --Michael Crowley

Honey, Not Vinegar
and
January 09, 2007

by Eric RauchwayChristopher Phelps offers an appreciation of what archivists do right. Let's hope this catalogue of best practices inspires imitation.

Saddam Hussein Confesses ... After Death
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January 09, 2007

I admire John Burns of The New York Times, and I particularly admire his Iraq reporting which doesn't try to enlist you on either the anti or pro side of the war. He reports what he hears and sees. And tells you what he understands. "Hussein's Voice Speaks in Court in Praise of Atrocities" is the headline to his Tuesday article. Saddam is in a recorded argument with "a notorious hardliner" who seems to be against the use of chemical attacks on the Kurds. But Saddam thrills to say, "Yes, they will kill thousands." And, yes, roughly 180,000 Kurds were killed by chemical warfare.

Another Resignation
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January 09, 2007

No sooner had I posted the story of the resignation of Stanislaw Wojciech Wielgus as archbishop of Warsaw, a post he had held for maybe five minutes, O.K., five weeks, because he had been a collaborator with the communist regime in Poland, I saw its postscript.

Could Congress Stop The Escalation?
and
January 09, 2007

As Mike noted the other day, Joe Biden has been telling everyone that it would be "constitutionally questionable" for Congress to write a bill preventing the White House from sending more troops to Iraq. The most Democrats could do, he said, is draft "a resolution of disapproval." Except, as Marty Lederman pointed out on Sunday, Biden's quite wrong about this. Democrats could very easily write a bill that prohibited Bush from sending in more than a specified number of troops to Iraq.

Saddam, In His Own Words
and
January 09, 2007

John Burns has a remarkable, chillingly good piece in today's Times. Tapes made years ago reveal Saddam Hussein discussing the use of chemical weapons against Kurdish Iraqis. Some excerpts: Mr. Hussein sounds matter of fact as he describes what chemical weapons will do. "They will prevent people eating and drinking the local water, and they won't be able to sleep in their beds," he says. "They will force people to leave their homes and make them uninhabitable until they have been decontaminated."[Snip]But it was Mr.

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