March 02, 2010
One casino has betting odds of various figures winning the 2012 presidential election. Hillary Clinton seems strangely high at 10-1 -- that line might be bait for those who still attribute supernatural powers to the Clintons. Sarah Palin is also 10-1, which I find plausible but uncomfortably high for a potentially cataclysmic event. Dick Cheney is very low, at 150-1, below Ron Paul (50-1), John Edwards (65-1) and even the Constitutionally ineligible Arnold Schwarzenegger (100-1.)
Republicans Begin To Flee Charlie Crist
February 09, 2010
Former Dick Cheney aid Cesar Conda has a post at National Review announcing that he has switched his loyalties in the Florida Senate race from Charlie Crist, once seen as the prohibitive favorite, to Marco Rubio, conservative darling and now all-but-inevitable Republican nominee: Last May, I wrote about why I thought Florida governor Charlie Crist was an acceptable fiscal conservative (the Cato Institute had given him an "A" on its Fiscal Policy Report Card) and why I believed he gave Republicans the best chance to retain Florida's U.S. Senate seat.
The Accountable Presidency
February 01, 2010
Crisis and Command: A History of Executive Power from George Washington to George W. Bush By John Yoo (Kaplan, 544 pp., $29.95) Bomb Power: The Modern Presidency and the National Security State By Garry Wills (Penguin, 288 pp., $27.95) I. In December 2008, Chris Wallace asked Vice President Cheney, “If the president, during war, decides to do something to protect the country, is it legal?” Cheney’s answer included a reference to a military authority that President Bush did not exercise.
January 22, 2010
Let’s talk seriously for a moment about Sarah Palin. Now. Now. No eye rolling. Last week brought us word that the good ol’ gal has signed on to serve up some of that common-sense commentary on Fox News, and, like fellow veteran of the ’08 presidential melee Mike Huckabee, she will almost certainly take to the job like a lip-sticked pig to slop. Indeed, by year’s end, I expect Palin to have a show of her very own.
On the Ground in Massachusetts
January 18, 2010
From a Democratic operative in the state, via e-mail: Yesterday may have helped. She needs huge voter turnout in Boston but didn't ask the mayor for help until very late. His wife, the very popular-Angela Menino, did a robocall for Coakley this weekend. She got Jim McGovern, who's got a very strong Worcester organization, involved very late as well. He turned out thousands of votes for Hillary in 2008 primary. Coakley's advocates keep pushing the Bush-Cheney message. (Scott Brown = Dick Cheney.) I worry about this. In political terms, Bush feels like ancient history. He's off the stage.
Unconvincing Defenses Of The Filibuster
January 06, 2010
Ross Douthat defends the filibuster: Passing the 2001 tax cuts through reconciliation was a foolish way to do legislation — for Republican tax-cutters. They could have passed a smaller permanent tax cut that earned supermajority support, but instead they went for a bigger temporary tax cut — on the assumption that it would be so popular, and produce so much economic growth, that it would be easily extended once the deadline rolled around.
Fear and Loathing in Pakistan
December 21, 2009
Islamabad, Pakistan The US Embassy in Islamabad is a tense and embattled place. The embassy complex is fortress-like, sequestered in a secure area to the east of the city known as the "diplomatic enclave," whose approaches are guarded by multiple security checkpoints. The compound's outer perimeter is festooned with barbed wire and towering walls. Arriving vehicles are stopped for bomb-checks, sealed into a quarantined area with high walls on either side and heavy iron doors at front and back.
Speak No Evil
December 17, 2009
The lines most cited in Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize speech were those about evil: “Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince Al Qaeda’s leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism--it is a recognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.” These lines won approbation from both liberals and conservatives.
Why Lieberman Has Always Grated on Me
December 14, 2009
As long as we're all psycholanalyzing Joe Lieberman today, I figured I'd chip in my own two cents. What's always bugged me about Lieberman is that he's completely and transparently self-interested (not so different from a lot of politicians in that way), but fanatically committed to the idea that he's motivated entirely by altruism or public-spiritedness. Worse, the lengths to which he goes to insist on the latter when the former is blindingly obvious are downright comical.
Understanding Joe Lieberman
December 14, 2009
I've been saying for a while that Joe Lieberman posed the greatest threat to health care reform. Unlike the rest of the party, he has no political interest in the passage of reform or a successful Obama presidency, and he seems to view the prospect of sticking it to the liberals who supported his Democratic opponent in 2006 as a goal potentially worth sacrificing the lives of tens of thousands of Americans to fulfill.