The Obama Factor
October 29, 2009

WASHINGTON--Memo to Democrats: You will be defined by President Obama whether you like it or not, so you might as well embrace him for the benefits he can bring you. Memo to Republicans: Talk a right-wing game in your ideological magazines and at your tea parties if that makes you happy. But to win elections, your candidates had better look like middle-of-the-road problem-solvers. Those are the two outstanding lessons from the campaigns for next Tuesday's governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia. Both parties would be smart to apply them in 2010. In Virginia, Democrat R.

Obama and the Veil
October 28, 2009

Let me be clear: I don't doubt for a moment that Barack Obama genuinely believes that he can calm the roils that trouble the United States in its relationship with the Muslim world and the Arab orbit within it. The problem is, alas, that he hasn't a clue. Moreover, he hasn't had the chance to learn. And maybe--just maybe--he is not inclined to learn because in his generation wisdom doesn't come from study but from ideological narrative. George W. Bush had his own favorite narrative.

About that New Plan for Afghanistan
October 28, 2009

I spoke to someone with military ties today who disdained the NYT's report this morning about a forming White House Afghanistan plan that would amount to  "McChrystal for the cities, Biden for the countryside." This person argued the story is misleading because McChrystal is already headed in this direction. Check out, for instance, this recent press release from the NATO forces in Afghanistan announcing a U.S.

In the Tank
October 28, 2009

The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President By Taylor Branch (Simon & Schuster, 707 pp., $35) In her infamous first sentence of The Journalist and the Murderer, Janet Malcolm swings for the fences and proclaims that "every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible." She means that journalists use their human subjects and then dispose of them; that we con them in person by "preying on people's vanity, ignorance, or loneliness"--it occurs to me to note that however bleak print's future seems

Today at TNR (October 28, 2009)
October 28, 2009

  How One of America’s Best Journalist-Historians Became Little More Than Bill Clinton’s Stenographer, by Michael Tomasky Ron Wyden, Anthony Weiner, and Nancy-Ann Deparle Debate the Prospects of Reform at TNR's Health Care Conference by Jonathan Cohn and Suzy Khimm What to Think About the Obamas’ Taste in Art, by James Gardener Joe Lieberman Would Probably Jump at the Chance to Kill Health Reform by Jonathan Chait What Is Hank Greenberg Trying to Do to AIG Anyway? by Noam Scheiber The Owner of ‘Politico’ Is Trying to Damage the ‘Post.’ Again.

It's Not Just the Public Option
October 27, 2009

Topic number one in health care reform right now is the public option--and, in particular, Senator Harry Reid's decision to push a bill that includes an "opt-out" proposal. But Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, had relatively little to say about it on Tuesday, when she appeared at TNR's health reform conference. Her keynote address barely touched upon the subject.

Wyden's Choice--And Yours
October 27, 2009

Click here to read Jonathan Cohn's take on the comments made by Nancy-Ann Deparle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, about the public option at today's TNR health care conference. What good can the public option do if not enough people can access it? That’s the question that Senator Ron Wyden has been raising a lot lately. And he did it again this morning, at TNR's health care reform event.

Sudan's Quest for Lobbyists
October 27, 2009

According to an FBI press release, Robert Cabelly, who attempted to lobby on behalf of Sudan from 2005-2007, has just been indicted on eight counts--including money laundering, passport fraud, and conspiracy to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign power. In 2006, his work for Sudan was legal, since the Bush administration's State Department granted him a waiver to lobby in the United States.

Slideshow: The Obamas' Taste in Art
October 27, 2009

James Gardner, formerly the architecture critic of the New York Sun, now writes on culture for several publications.  It must be nice to be the president.

Energy Innovation: The Senate Starting Point
October 27, 2009

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is holding hearings this week on the new chairman’s “mark” of the draft Senate climate and energy legislation released Friday night by committee chairman Barbara Boxer and Sen. John Kerry.