Cheney

Now we know what the doomsayers feel like when the decreed day of judgment passes by without thunderbolts or second comings. Americans Elect, which was going to save our benighted political system with the ultimate deus ex machina—a bipartisan, third-choice presidential ticket borne from an online nominating process funded by leveraged-buyout tycoon Peter Ackerman and other deep-pocketed centrists—announced at midnight that the savior has not yet made his or her appearance.

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I love politics, and I have a sense of humor, but comedic takes on politics usually leave me cold. If there’s an exception, it’s the work of the Scottish director Armando Ianucci. His 2007 film In the Loop, while full of absurdity, captured the spirit of decision-making leading up to the Iraq War, in both the U.S. and the U.K., as effectively as any journalistic account.

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My piece in the New York Times magazine last weekend about President Obama and the left kicked up a lot of debate. The thesis was that the left's criticisms that Obama failed to secure enough stimulus. Let me address a couple objections I've seen. One argument claims that my argument hinges on the premise that those who argued for more stimulus are unimportant. Here's what I wrote: It’s worth recalling that several weeks before Obama proposed an $800 billion stimulus, House Democrats had floated a $500 billion stimulus.

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Paul Krugman: he managed (with a lot of help from Nancy Pelosi) to enact a health reform that, imperfect as it is, will greatly improve Americans’ lives — unless a Republican Congress manages to sabotage its implementation. But progressive disillusionment isn’t just a matter of sky-high expectations meeting prosaic reality. Threatened filibusters didn’t force Mr. Obama to waffle on torture; to escalate in Afghanistan; to choose, with exquisitely bad timing, to loosen the rules on offshore drilling early this year. Then there are the appointments.

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New TRB Column

Me on Liz Cheney and the "Al Qaeda Seven."

Something Much Darker

I. “Trying to explain the doctrine of the Trinity to readers of The New Republic is not easy.” On June 2, 1944, W.H. Auden penned that sentence in a letter to Ursula Niebuhr. On January 26, 2010, Andrew Sullivan posted it as the “quote for the day” on his blog. Displaced and unglossed quotations are always in some way mordant, and bristle smugly with implications. Let us see what this one implies. Auden was at Swarthmore when he wrote his letter to his friend.

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From Pew: Most notably, 19% of the public says the use of torture is often justified to gain important information from terrorist suspects, while 35% say the use of torture in these circumstances is at least sometimes justified. Allahpundit responds, sarcastically: Often/sometimes is up 10 points since Obama became president and five points since he and Cheney started tangling over this, with support at a clear majority for the first time since Pew began polling it.

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The notion of a world society is nothing new to Americans. It dominated the rhetoric of World War II, of the founding of the United Nations, of much of the cold war. It is now a received idea, and its impress may be measured by the success with which advocates have found audiences for issues defined in international terms: the world environmental problem; the world population problem; the world food problem." Those words, platitudes now, were written presciently in 1975, and continued: "Much of this internationalist rhetoric is based on things real enough.

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Biden was asked about Cheney--and his criticism of the Obama administration's Afghanistan policy review--during an interview with the press pool in Prague: Vpotus pushed back against former VP Cheney’s criticisms this week, saying it was “absolutely wrong” to say the Obama administration is dithering on Afghanistan and that the review left behind by the Bush-Cheney White House was “irrelevant.” At one point, he grew dismissive. Asked about Cheney’s criticism, he said: “Who cares what – ” and then stopped himself to find another way to put it.

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One of the more interesting aspects of the fallout over Matt Latimer's Speechless, his memoir about his days as a Bush speechwriter is the split between staffers loyal to Bush and those loyal to Cheney.

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