Boris Johnson and Other Strange Big City Mayors
May 03, 2012

London’s Mayor Boris Johnson, known simply as Boris to his ardent fans in Britain, seems all but certain to reclaim his post in the mayoral election scheduled for Thursday.  But the enthusiasm Johnson inspires is only partly related to the policies he’s pursued in office; it has as much to do with his shaggy hair, quirky personality, quick wit, and idiosyncratic habits. Londoners, however, aren’t the only ones who have a quirky mayor to call their own.

A False Choice For Obama's Anti-Romney Message
April 23, 2012

Left without a manufactured scandal or over-hyped gaffe to talk about these past few days, the media circus has turned its attention to matters of a higher order: campaign semiotics.

Obama And The Future Chinese President
February 14, 2012

Today, President Obama met with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping, the likely successor to current president Hu Jintao. The vice president’s travels in the United States are heavy on ceremony and high-level meetings: He’s being hosted by Vice President Biden, he met with President Obama in the Oval Office, he had lunch with Secretary of State Clinton, and he’s scheduled for a Pentagon visit and a cross-country tour (accompanied by Biden). American officials are clearly hoping to impress and court Mr.

From Jack Abramoff to Ann Coulter: Newt’s Most Hypocritical Critics

In advance of today’s primary, the Republican establishment has gone into overdrive to convince Florida voters that Newt Gingrich is a faux-conservative, ethically challenged has-been. The collective Republican panic has been fun to watch, not least because some of the GOP all-stars condemning Newt are best known for their own ethical lapses and heated rhetoric.

Ross Douthat's Rule of Three
January 22, 2012

[Guest post by Simon van Zuylen-Wood] In his Sunday Review column “A Good Candidate Is Hard to Find,” Ross Douthat argues that successful presidential candidates must possess no fewer than two of three key characteristics. They need: “the gift of management,” the power of persuasion, and the ability to effectively demagogue opponents. Those who possess the “trifecta,” as Franklin Roosevelt did, are unstoppable. Those who master two of the three (Clinton and Reagan lacked management skills; Nixon was unpersuasive) do fine. Those who possess only one of the three (H.W.

Finally, Republicans Find Their New Welfare Queens
December 19, 2011

If you’ve been watching the Republican presidential debates, you’ve likely heard a surprising amount of talk about welfare reform. Both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum identify the 1996 law, which the Republican Congress eventually forced President Clinton to sign, as their signature achievements, emblematic of the kind of policies they would pursue as president.

Obama Occupies Wall Street
December 06, 2011

President Obama spoke today about economic inequality and the plight of the middle class more forcefully than he ever has before. He gave the speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, site of Theodore Roosevelt's "New Nationalism" speech in 1910.

Chicago's Choice: Flip-Flopper Or Plutocrat
November 29, 2011

There's been an interesting debate burbling under the surface the past few weeks over whether the Obama reelection team faces a condundrum in deciding to frame Mitt Romney primarily as a flip-flopper or as the standard-bearer for an extremist Republican Party.

The Dissenter
November 23, 2011

On July 30, 2011, thousands of public school teachers rallied on the southwest corner of the Ellipse, near the White House. Union members mingled with the occasional communist pamphleteer, and, on a temporary stage, a series of activists, students, scholars, and teachers put forward variations on a theme: Standardized tests and corporate interests are ruining public education. Late in the program, the actor Matt Damon showed up and began chatting amiably with an older, gray-haired woman sitting next to him on the stage. It turned out he wasn’t the only star in attendance.

What’s Facebook’s Relationship Status With the GOP? It’s Complicated.
November 16, 2011

Silicon Valley generally leans left of center in its politics, and Facebook, the web’s leading social utility valued at an estimated $85 billion, hasn't often seemed inclined to be an exception. After all, Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s CEO, has himself gone out of his way to make supportive appearances with President Obama.