TNR Staff

Libya's Starring Role

Designated by the cohort of African states in the United Nations, Burkina Faso and Libya have been elected for two-year terms to the Security Council. Burkina Faso is a run-of-the-mill dictatorship, almost incomprehensibly poor, illiterate. Nothing special in this designation, But Libya is, well, Libya. Run as an unembarrassed tyranny by Col. Qaddafi, with a history of deftly directed terrorism, and paid for by an oil economy that was once lucrative and now has to have the lush resource refined outside the country, Libya has served as chair of the U.N.


Just wait until Stephen Colbert files for president in either the South Carolina Democratic primary or South Carolina Republican primary. And maybe he'll just file, as he said he might on Jon Stewart's segment of Comedy Central last night, for both. Would this be creative chaos? It would sure be a hoot.

You may recall Paul Berman's simply brilliant 28,000 words in TNR about Tariq Ramadan, his Muslim supporters and American apologists. The equanimity on the part of some well-known intellectuals and journalists in the face of Islamist death threats so numerous as to constitute a campaign; the equanimity in regard to stoning women to death; the journalistic inability even to acknowledge that women's rights have been at stake in the debates over Islamism; the inability to recall the problems faced by Muslim women in European hospitals; the inability to acknowledge how large has been the role of a


Noam wonders below about independent voters in Michigan. But what about those famous New Hampshire indies? With John McCain creeping back up in the polls, there's been talk about the possibility that he might recapture his old glory in New Hampshire, where he stunned George W. Bush in 2000. But wait!, said George Will on ABC's "This Week": But remember it's no longer his place. In 2000 he lost the Republican portion of the Republican primary. He won because independents are allowed to vote in there and in 2000 that's where the action was.


Analogy Of The Day

Chuck Todd says Hillary isn't Dean. She's Bush: Lots of folks keep bringing up Howard Dean when talking about Clinton's vulnerability vs. inevitability. The comparison, though, doesn't work since Dean never led the national polls by this much -- a new USA/Today Gallup poll has her at 50%, with Obama at 21% -- nor had a stranglehold on the establishment the way Clinton does. The better comparison (if there is one historically and there's a chance there isn't one) is George W. Bush in 1999 or Walter Mondale in 1983.


Amid the flurry of campaign-strategy memos and FEC report-summaries flying around today, this memo from the Romney camp (via Ambinder) struck me as interesting. For two reasons. First, Giuliani appears to be mostly staying out of Iowa (though he'll be there later this week) to lower expectations, so that he can spin a third- or fourth-place finish there, and argue that New Hampshire is his first real contest. But, in a clever twist, the Romney camp is using that to raise expectations for him on other fronts. Fundraising in particular.


Fred on offense: The Times covers this new tack here. --Michael Crowley

The Morning News

ALMOST PHOTO FINISH: Jeanne Cummings, The Politico: "When the official reports went public on the Federal Election Commission website, they showed that Clinton raised more money but Obama eked out his own victory by virtually matching the amount of cash she has in the bank to spend on the hard-fought primary race." IOWA GROUND SWELL: Mike Dorning, Chicago Tribune: "[Obama] has opened 31 field offices across the state, more than any other candidate, establishing local headquarters everywhere from Des Moines to tiny Elkader, population 1,374." EDWARDS WALKS: Erin Jordan, Des Moines Register: "Th


Over at the Caucus, I see that Mitt Romney spent $4,312.69 on Yankees tickets in July and August. Michael Cooper speculates that he may have bought them to watch the Yankees play his hometown Red Sox--it appears the Sox were in town in late August--but I'm sure it will raise a few eyebrows in Red Sox Nation. That brings to mind another thing about Romney that might alarm Sox fans: I was up with him in New Hampshire two weeks ago, the day after the Sox won the first game of their series against the Angels.


Edwards's Seiu Advantage

I promise I won't be using this blog primarily for I-told-you-so's (emphasis on "primarily"), but yesterday's announcement that Edwards has won the endorsement of ten state-level SEIUs does look significant--the campaign certainly looks to be in better shape, union endorsement-wise, than many predicted after the national SEIU announced it wasn't endorsing last week.