The New Republic Staff

In Today's Web Magazine
January 03, 2007

Michael Currie Schaffer wonders what the world might be like if Gerald Ford hadn't picked Donald Rumsfeld to lead his transition team; Rick Perlstein reads the untold story of Ronald Reagan's conversion to conservatism; Damon Linker parries Richard Bushman, arguing that Mormon prophesy is unchecked by natural law; and Conor Clarke worries that Wal-Mart--a subject that could unite Democrats in 2008--will probably divide them instead. --Adam B. Kushner

Patriotic Ritual
January 02, 2007

by Richard Stern I think Americans are every bit as good as the English, French, and Italians at the public ceremonies that express and reinforce national loyalty. A former president's death, even more than a presidential inauguration, brings out the discipline finery and power, physical, musical and verbal, out of which a presidential family extracts the elements which leave personal signatures on official commemorations.

Palestinians On Saddam
January 02, 2007

"I cried when I heard the news," said a young resident of Jenin in the West Bank. He is quoted in an article in YNet, headlined "Palestinians on Saddam: We Lost a Leader." Apparently, the Palestinians are in a frenzy about Saddam's death. This loyalty is a response to his rhetoric of loyalty to them. But it does tell us something more. And that "more" is that he was their idea and ideal of a political leader. Has any significant Palestinian yet said that Saddam was Iraq's ruination?

The Boat Is Full
January 02, 2007

Do you recall "The Boat is Full," the 1981 German film about a virtually unexamined aspect of the Holocaust? The boat that is full in the title is Switzerland. It is a searing movie about self-righteous indifference to Jews whom the Swiss might have saved but turned back instead. This throughout-the-war episode was a moral debacle. Do you recall the indifference of the great powers and especially of the United States (under FDR, no less) to Jewish refugees trying to get visas to America and being turned down at virtually every consulate where they appeared?

Memri On Ahmadinejad
January 02, 2007

Here is another gem from MEMRI, about Ahmadinejad and his fantasy that the Holocaust never happened. The article below, actually an interview with one of the Iranian president's top aides, proves that these not men--yes, they are only men--are not only malevolent but completely meshuga.

Teddy Kollek, R.i.p.
January 02, 2007

Teddy Kollek, who served as the mayor of Jerusalem for nearly three decades, died early this morning in the city that he loved and revived. I had written about him quite often over the years because his life touched mine, and in a significant way: Largely because it meant working with him, I accepted a post as chairman of the Jerusalem Foundation in the United States. My God, I served in that position for perhaps a dozen years, during which time I quarreled with many of his underlings but never with him. If anything gets me passed the gates of judgment it will be my labors in his vineyard.

Hands-on Leadership, Chapter Cclxxiv
January 02, 2007

From today's fine NYT piece on how Iraq went over the cliff in 2006: By May 2006, uneasy officials at the State Department and the National Security Council argued for a review of Iraq strategy. A meeting was convened at Camp David to consider those approaches, according to participants in the session, but Mr. Bush left early for a secret visit to Baghdad, where he reviewed the war plans with General Casey and Mr. Maliki, and met with the American pilot whose plane's missiles killed Iraq's Al Qaeda leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Lost And Found
January 02, 2007

Ben Smith is a fine reporter and I heartily congratulate him on his boffo scoop: a "lost" copy of Rudy Giuliani's potential 2008 White House game plan. The particulars are interesting--but given that this black book is a whopping 140 pages, it actually sounds like somewhat of a letdown: Did we really need a secret binder to tell us, for instance, that Rudy's camp is worried about his reputation with social conservatives? And no mention of any new skeletons his operatives might be trying to hide? This reminds me of an episode from when I was a TNR intern in the early Clinton years.

You Read It Here First!
January 02, 2007

Today's Washington Post has an amusing look at the NRA's efforts to scare money out of its members at a time when the gun control movement is in deep hibernation. But TNR's Conor Clarke had a deeper dissection of the modern NRA's identity crisis in our issue published two weeks ago. Also, today's New York Times reports on how few Iraqis--many likely to be slaughtered for helping American forces--are being granted asylum in the U.S.

Tribal Glue
January 01, 2007

by Richard Stern It's said that one reason the U.S. is out of its depth in Iraq and Afghanistan is our ignorance of tribalism, yet we have our own forms of tribalism, so it shouldn't be so difficult to understand theirs. In the waning hours of 2006, I watched my beloved, yes, beloved, if also hated, Chicago Bears humiliate themselves in a cascade of ineptitude and self-destructiveness the like of which we've not seen in what has been largely a triumphant season.