Why you'll miss the age of the imperial centrist mayor
Why Liberals will miss Michael Bloomberg and the era's other imperial centrist mayors
THE BARNES FOUNDATION, that grand old curmudgeonly lion of a museum, has been turned into what may be the world’s most elegant petting zoo. I am not surprised that the members of the press, after touring the Foundation’s new home on Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia, have by and large been pleased. We live in a period when everything is supposed to be easy, whether preparing dinner, accessing the news, or looking at art. And the old Barnes, for three quarters of a century a splendidly ornery landmark in Merion, a suburb of Philadelphia, was not easy.
Politico went big with one of its conventional wisdom-setting 30,000-foot pieces today: “Obama Stumbles Out of The Gate.” As typical for this form, the piece is full of sniping quotes from anonymous consultants. The piece also manages to turn a smattering of voices speaking out against Obama’s anti-Bain Capital attacks—most notably Cory Booker, mayor of the 68th biggest city in the country—into a “Democratic blowback” against Obama. But what struck me most about it was its glaring internal contradiction. First, the article gives us this: Bain has turned into pain this week.
The right-wing critique of public unions holds them up as a "uniquely powerful" interest group that selects its own politicians and is thus "bargaining with themselves." David Leonhardt's description pokes quite a few holes in that analysis: When Ed Rendell became the mayor of Philadelphia in 1992, he started a fight with the city’s labor unions that will sound familiar to anyone who has been following the recent news from Wisconsin. In his inaugural address, Mr.
Pittsburgh—Almost all the shibboleths of Washington conventional wisdom took a hit in Tuesday's voting. Yet advocates of a single national political narrative clung to the difficulties of two incumbent Democratic senators to keep spinning the same old tale. It's true that the idea of incumbents and party establishments being in trouble won some support from the defeat of Sen. Arlen Specter in the Pennsylvania primary and Sen. Blanche Lincoln's failure to avoid a runoff in Arkansas. But the races tell different stories. Specter, a Republican-turned-Democrat who was defeated by Rep.
WASHINGTON—This year's elections may exacerbate the difference between our two political parties, but not in the way most people are talking about. With incumbent Democratic Senators under threat in two more primaries on Tuesday, the conventional view is that Republicans and Democrats will emerge from this election more ideologically polarized than ever. Primaries will push Republicans to the right and Democrats to the left. That's only half true. Republicans will, indeed, end the year a more philosophically coherent right-wing party.
Just over a year ago, Democratic Congressman Joe Sestak was seriously weighing a Senate bid in Pennsylvania against then-Republican Arlen Specter, but he wanted one last word of sage advice. So he called up his former boss, Bill Clinton, for whom he’d served as director for defense policy on the National Security Council, and, according to Sestak, “he invited me over to sit down with him over at his home in Georgetown.” But the meeting didn’t go exactly as planned. “Just as I walked in,” Sestak says, “an aide came up and said, ‘Did you hear?
On MSNBC just now, Andrea Mitchell told Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell that the Obama White House is distancing itself from a USA Today editorial written by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer arguing, in Mitchell's words, that "it's un-American to protest" Obama's health care plan at town hall meetings. Wrong. Mitchell is buying right into a Drudge-promoted conservative spin on the article.
WHEN ARLEN SPECTER went to the White House the day after he announced he was leaving the Republican Party, the occasion had the feel of a wedding ceremony. President Obama pledged Specter his “full commitment,” and Vice President Biden, who rhapsodized about the many hours he'd spent riding Amtrak with the Pennsylvania senator, went even further. “Arlen Specter has been my friend and my confidant and my partner,” Biden said. “It’s just a delight to have no separation.” In a way, the matrimonial overtones were understandable. Specter’s joining the Democratic Party is a political marriage.
Roughly a decade ago, when Ed Rendell was the mayor of Philadelphia, he made a controversial decision to appear with Nation of Islam minister Louis Farrakhan at a rally. Farrakhan was in town in the aftermath of an assault by a gang of whites on an African American woman and her son and nephew in a notoriously gritty and racist part of the city. Many politicians, especially Jewish ones, would have kept far away from the incendiary Farrakhan. Portions of Rendell's liberal base were outraged. Protesters marched outside his home.