by David BromwichA tempting fantasy, in Sanford Levinson's posting, about Senator Lieberman being ideally situated to emerge as a hero of constitutional liberty. What, exactly, in Senator Lieberman's record of the past ten years would suggest an absorbing concern with the integrity of the Constitution?
by Jacob T. LevyTwo otherwise unrelated events that show bloggers going outside the usual comment-on-each-other-and-on-the-Times boundaries that most of us stay within most of the time. On one hand, the appalling case of Corey Maye has been kept in the public eye for months by the investigation and reporting of blogger and Cato Institute policy analyst Radley Balko.
by Eric Rauchway Over at Unfogged, the blogger LizardBreath1 asks an excellent question: "What's the difference between a progressive and a liberal?" Because I am a historian, I will take the liberty of posing one answer to this question by recasting it in the past tense: back when those terms really meant something, what was the difference between a progressive and a liberal? Let's begin with The New Republic's own Walter Lippmann, whose 1914 Drift and Mastery affords us a fine starting point in modern American political philosophy.
by John McWhorterCass Sunstein is misinterpreting my piece in the New York Sun about Obama as implying that Obama has demonstrated no brilliance or talent in his career and is yet being promoted as a possible president.
I've introduced Andrew G. Bostom before, once on The Plank and the last time here on The Spine. Bostom is continuing his scrutiny of recent papal pontifications (yes, I guess the word comes from "pontiff") about Islam and the hyper-hysterical reactions in the Muslim world.
Jeffrey Herf, the eminent historian of modern Europe, with an emphasis on totalitarian Germany, is a long-time contributor to TNR. He is also on the "faculty" of our Open University blog, and yesterday posted a brief comment "What is political sophistication?" It seems to be just an historical observation about the underestimation by European elites of Hitler, in particular, and Nazism, in general.
In the coming week's TNR (and later online) there will appear a very learned essay by David Nirenberg arguing that the Pope's disquisition about the dialogue between the Byzantine emperor and the Muslim scholar was an inevitably, that is, an inextricably doomed argumentation. The scholar Andrew Bostom (to some of whose recent writings I, who am not a scholar of Islam, have posted links) believes that the 14th century exchange is not only relevant but enormously illuminating.
Maybe you read my Spine, "Not Just Anyone," posted on September 22. If you haven't, here it is. It was occasioned by John McWhorter's piece in The New York Sun about Barack Obama. McWhorter's point was that Obama was high on the list of Democratic favorites for president because was an African American. I thought that is probably the case and said so. But, on reflection, it occurs to me that many candidates for president or for a party's nomination for president are popular for what are certainly--and strictly speaking--extraneous reasons.
by Jeffrey HerfIn this age of terror fueled by the ideology of Islamic extremism, some old insights of the liberal historiography of the roots and nature of Nazism remain relevant. In works published in the 1960s and 1970s, two of Nazism's preeminent historians, George Mosse in this country, and Karl Dietrich Bracher, in the Federal Republic of Germany made a similar point about the political significance of ideological fanaticism.
by Michael KazinCass Sunstein is both right and wrong about the significance of Obama's race. He's correct, of course, that this is a man of exceptional intelligence, ability, humanity, and common sense. If, after reading Sunstein's post, you still have any doubts, read Obama's wonderful memoir, Dreams From My Father, or his recent speech about the place of religion in politics. However, his bi-racial, bi-continental parentage and looks certainly help him to stand out in a celebrity-choked marketplace.