Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a joke, the realists say. Yes, a laugh a minute. How possibly could he be serious that the twentieth century catastrophe of the Jewish people never happened! Everybody knows the opposite. O.K. Except that more and more people--alas, evidently including President Obama--believe it happened ... and that the Palestinians paid the price for it. An eye for an eye.
With the 2008 presidential campaign in full swing two summers ago, Joe Biden, then making his own bid for the White House, ridiculed Barack Obama on a momentous issue: Afghanistan. The occasion was an August 2007 speech by Obama outlining his plans to fight Al Qaeda, which included sending an influx of American troops and aid to the country. Later that day, Biden issued a snarky press release gloating about his own extensive record of pushing similar policies, and which cast Obama as a naïve newcomer.
When Zvi Mazel was summoned to the Swedish Foreign Ministry back in January 2004, he knew he was in trouble. As Israel’s top diplomat in Stockholm, the 64-year-old had just done something markedly undiplomatic--not exactly rare for Israeli envoys. No, he hadn’t remarked upon the “yellow skin and slanted eyes” of Asians. No, he hadn’t taken part in a child-pornography ring.
Long before Martin Wolf became the chief economics columnist for the Financial Times, he wrote the newspaper letters--lots and lots of letters. It was the early 1980s, the height of the Thatcher era, and Wolf was running research at a think tank in London that was sympathetic to the government's pro-trade agenda.
Maybe you haven't noticed. But Saudi Arabia hasn't at all played according to Barack Obama's script. Now, frankly, that doesn't surprise me. As you already know, I am a skeptic. And especially skeptical about Saudi intentions vis-a-vis Israel. Still, don't count on their intentions towards the Palestinians, either. They do not care a fig, as an Arabic saying has it. Riyadh will be constructive bi-al mish mish. Alas, apricots don't grow in the dessert. In conversations I had with Obama during his campaign he maintained a healthy doubt as to what they were and were not willing do.
Harold Pollack is a professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and Special Correspondent for The Treatment. The Census Bureau just released its latest income, poverty, and health insurance numbers for 2008. As it reports, the number of uninsured rose by 680,000 between 2007 and 2008, from 45.66 million to about 46.34 million. I’m only relieved things weren’t worse. Things would have been worse but for one thing: continued expansion of government-provided health insurance coverage.
WASHINGTON -- After a listless summer during which his opponents dominated the health care debate, President Obama used a dramatic appearance before Congress on Wednesday to seize control of the autumn, the season of decision for the initiative he has turned into the central test of his presidency. Having avoided specifics in order to give the House and Senate room to legislate, he piled on the details, openly battling the "blizzard of charges and countercharges," out of which, he said, "confusion has reigned." It was a speech designed to clear the air by sweeping aside misconceptions, reassu
The White House is warning everybody not to parse tonight’s speech for bargaining positions. President Obama’s address to Congress, officials say, is about connecting with the American people--reminding them about why health reform is necessary and why, done properly, it will work. It is not about issuing ultimatums. Still, people will be looking for clues about Obama’s priorities. That’s particularly true for those of us who follow the debate closely, whether we’re watching from inside the House of Representatives or, like the rest of America, from inside our living rooms.
Jonathan Cohn and Marc Ambinder add some more points to my contention that August actually was no so bad for health care reform. To me, the key point is that health care will probably pass because it's in Democrats' interest for it to pass. A failed health care plan is a disaster for the entire party. Obama would go down in flames, and moderate Democrats would go down with him. National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru is skeptical: The conventional wisdom says that for Democrats to fail to pass major legislation on health care would be a political catastrophe for them.
In the Boston Globe today, Christina Larson has a terrific piece looking at China's highly inconsistent brand of environmentalism. As you'd expect, the headlines these days don't tell the whole story. Yes, the country's taking serious and dramatic steps to promote wind power, kick-start its solar industry, and improve the energy efficiency of its factories and plants. Climate change really has become a pressing concern in Beijing.