November 02, 2009
The saga of Rush Limbaugh and his failed attempt to acquire a piece of the St. Louis Rams may be the quintessential postmodern American racial incident. When word first leaked of Limbaugh's potential ownership, a couple of sportswriters, joined by a handful of cable news talking heads, repeated what turned out to be totally unsubstantiated quotes by Limbaugh praising slavery and James Earl Ray.
Can We Deter the Taliban?
September 22, 2009
Josh Marshall is the latest prominent liberal commentator to come out against an all-out engagement in Afghanistan. Along the way, he makes this point: But even if the Taliban again ruled the country, it's difficult to imagine that with our forces in the region and our army of drones, we'd have much problem raining down a ton of ordinance the first time they really put up their head. I think it's a good one. In late 2001 we demonstrated for the Taliban the consequences of an al Qaeda attack originating from the safe haven they provided.
Middle of Nowhere
September 09, 2009
“I think that often where I am is just in the middle. The middle is often the commonsensical place to be. The notion that one side is right and one side is wrong is generally, as one finds in life, not the case.” --political commentator Cokie Roberts Roberts has a great point. The sensible position usually does lie halfway between two extremes. Just look at history. In the 1960s, the country was split between extremists who wanted to deny civil rights to African Americans, and extremists who insisted on completely equal rights everywhere.
A Moister, Flakier Leader For Today's Angst-Ridden Conservative
September 08, 2009
There's chatter among the political media today about Fox News commentator Glenn Beck's having successfully nailed green-jobs czar Van Jones' scalp to his wall.
Robert Novak, R.i.p.
August 18, 2009
The Washington Post and other news outlets are reporting that the journalist and political commentator Robert Novak has died at the age of 78. Novak is probably best known for his role in the Valerie Plame case, but prior to that scandal he was a constant presence on CNN and a prolific writer. He not only co-starred in the debate show Crossfire, but he was a frequent panelist on other programs like The Capital Gang. Novak had a reputation around Washington as a grumpy and dyspeptic personality, and his television co-hosts would always mock his "prince of darkness" image.
A Nation of Commentators
August 07, 2009
“For two thousand years,” wrote Harold Rosenberg, “the main energies of Jewish communities have gone into the mass production of intellectuals.” For Rosenberg, the art critic who belonged to the receding constellation of writers known as the New York Intellectuals, such a claim was something between a boast and a self-justification. The New York Intellectuals were mainly second-generation Americans, whose self-sacrificing immigrant parents won them the opportunities America offered to newcomers, including Jews.
The Good, Bad, And Ugly Of Brooks’s 'moderate Manifesto'
March 04, 2009
David Brooks's "Moderate Manifesto" has attracted much attention, and deservedly so. It is a cri de coeur from a respected commentator who cannot stomach what conservatism has become, but who also cannot embrace what he calls the "transformational liberalism" of the Obama administration. Brooks' critique is fiscal, ideological, and moral--so let's cover the fiscal aspects first.
The Fantastic Five
September 02, 2008
With Mitt Romney slated to speak at the Republican convention tonight, the question on (at least some) people’s minds is what a certain Romney quintet has been doing since Mitt’s White House hopes dimmed. During the race for the Republican presidential nomination, you’ll remember, Romney’s five sons--by descending age: Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben, and Craig--livened up the campaign trail with their gee-whiz antics, fraternal banter, and out-of-this-world bone structure. Their rise to fame began in early 2007, when they launched a blog, Five Brothers, on their dad’s campaign website.
Hillary's Uphill Battle
February 18, 2008
Howie Kurtz is the capitol's -- no, the country's -- authoritative commentator on contemporary political journalism. In this morning's Washington Post, he has published a column on poor Hillary's travails (which are plenty) and especially her travails with the people covering her campaign or commenting on it. He accurately calls this article "It's All Uphill From Here." Kurtz includes my Spine, "The End of BillaryLand Is On Its Way.