Dear Rahm: Barack Obama and Yitzhak Rabin, The Link That Will Not Help
November 02, 2009

This coming Wednesday will be the 14th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin at a Tel Aviv rally for the Oslo peace accords. Like the initial rally itself, the memorial--scheduled for Saturday, October 31, but postponed due to what turned out to be only light rains--was to be a highly charged political event. Except that in 1995, Israel was still stirred by hopes of bringing the decades of war with the Arabs to an end. Yet, at the same time, foreboding grew that these hopes themselves constituted a trap, a mortal trap.

‘He Hasn’t Lost Anything Yet’
November 02, 2009

It was Halloween 2001, and Kennesaw State freshman Nick Ayers was sitting anxiously in an Atlanta airplane hangar. A friend had recommended him for a campaign position with Republican state senator Sonny Perdue, who was mounting a long-shot gubernatorial run against Democratic incumbent Roy Barnes. The portly, middle-aged politician disembarked his Bellanca Super Viking and, as Ayers recounts the story, walked down the stairs holding a lid-less cup of coffee. Eager to make a good first impression, the nervous blonde teenager extended his hand for a firm shake.

Weight Watchers
October 31, 2009

In New Jersey, any candidate for high office can count on getting smeared over taxes, corruption, the economy, or all of the above. But in this fall's hard-fought gubernatorial race, an unlikely issue has popped up amidst the usual mud-slinging: the portly physique of Republican challenger Chris Christie. Ever since Jon Corzine released his now-infamous attack ad, in which a disdainful voiceover claims Christie improperly "threw his weight around" as a U.S. Attorney, neither candidate has managed to entirely escape the politics of fat.

Update: Hillary Backpedals in Pakistan
October 30, 2009

So much for getting tough. No sooner had I finished praising her tough talk in Pakistan than she began walking it back. Clinton carefully scaled back her comments from a day earlier suggesting that some Pakistani officials knew where al-Qaida's upper echelon has been hiding and have done little to target them. When the U.S.

Rahm Taking Direct Interest in Reg Reform
October 29, 2009

Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was up at the House Financial Services Committee testifying on the administration's proposal for dealing with threats to the financial system ("Too Big To Fail," etc.). One day earlier, he and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel held a closed-door meeting with Democrats on the committee to field questions about the proposal and urge them to hang together. For Rahm, it was at least the second time this week he'd participated in an event with top Treasury officials.

Daily Treatment, Revelations Edition
October 29, 2009

The business community is afraid of the public plan. David Williams says it shouldn't be. You'll never guess whose insurance policy pays for abortion services. Read Amy Sullivan to find out. The graphic truth about House versus Senate coverage provisions. Via the office of Rep. Jim Cooper, via Ezra Klein. That ridiculous claim of $700 billion in waste? Not so ridiculous after all. Christopher Weaver explains. And must-read of the day: Brian Beutler has reconstructed the deliberations about the public plan between the White House and Senate Democratic leadership.

House to PhRMA: No Deal
October 29, 2009

Among the other important distinctions between the new House bill and what the Senate Finance Committee produced is the treatment of the pharmaceutical industry. The Senate Finance bill was true to the deal the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers of America struck with the White House and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus, as first revealed by the New York Times and Huffington Post. PhRMA vowed to endorse reform and advertise on its behalf.

Obama Drills Down on Afghanistan
October 29, 2009

Obama wants a study of the country at a micro-level. That seems reasonable enough in the abstract--but it's also coming a bit late. This, too, wasn't done during that January-March review? It also signals something less than a vote of total confidence in the judgment of the top U.S. commander on the ground, Stanley McChrystal. Moreover, it further indicates that we won't see a decision on troop levels in the next several days.

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.