Environment

Giuliani Death Watch
January 29, 2008

The great tragedy of Rudy Giuliani's precipitous decline is that The New York Times will at some point be forced to stop writing the exact same story about his campaign. In the last 5 days alone, we have read, courtesy of the Times: --Giuliani Finds Snowbird Friends in Florida, But Is He Winning Over Voters? --Hopes Pinned on Florida, Giuliani Sees Tough Week  --Less of a Draw, A Subdued Giuliani Stays Upbeat  None of these pieces, though admittedly fun, were as amusing as Dana Milbank's pre-mortem in The Washington Post today.

Establishment V. Clintons
January 29, 2008

In my piece this week, I tried to get at establishment Washington's frustrations with the Clintons, which have boiled over in recent weeks but have been simmering for years. Last night Politico editor John Harris, one of the most astute Clinton observers around, weighed in with his own take on this phenomenon, and it's well worth your time.

He Doesn't Want Her To Win
January 29, 2008

I always thought that Bill Clinton really had mixed feelings about whether he wanted Hillary to be president.  In fact, I wrote that I didn't think he did.  I am now more convinced than ever that he doesn't want her in the White House, and he is doing his darndest to keep her out.  He just might succeed.

Trust But Take A Reality Check
January 28, 2008

Back in the late ‘80s, during his negotiations with Mikhail Gorbachev, President Reagan used to repeat the Russian proverb: “doveryai, no proveryai"--“trust but verify.”  The--updated--theme for tonight might well be “trust but take a reality check.” Trusting the people (and empowering them through government action) is a great theme but, as I pointed out earlier, it is at odds with the actual record of the Bush administration.

Laundry List? Spin Cycle?
January 28, 2008

The writing of a State of the Union – SOTU in the internal White House parlance – is a central organizing tool of an Administration.  At their worst, after all the departments and agencies and sleeve-tuggers in Washington have had their say, State of the Union addresses become the cliched laundry lists you hear so much about.  At their best, they are thematic addresses that use specific policy initiatives to illustrate the direction in which the president will lead.  The question is which direction Bush will take. --Andrei Cherny

Special Guest: Andrei Cherny Live-blogging The Sotu
January 28, 2008

Tonight, special guest Andrei Cherny will be live-blogging President Bush's last State of the Union address. In addition to being the author of two books on US politics, Cherny is a former senior speechwriter and advisor to Vice President Al Gore--the youngest White House speechwriter in American history. He is currently the editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Be sure to check out him out on the Plank during and after the president's speech tonight.   --The Editors

The Clintons And The Race Card
January 28, 2008

No one can deny that the Clintons play the race card. But it wasn't until the South Carolina primary that many people realized that they play it both ways. I have to admit that I myself only dimly recalled the smarmy stuff that Christopher Hitchens documented in Slate today. I also have to admit that I am loathe to be indebted to Hitchens for anything. But it can't be helped. He has the cynicism and self-righteousness of the couple down cold. Refresh your memory, think about the ugly analogy to Jesse Jackson, and shudder...Do we really want these two in the White House?

What Would Janet Reno Do?
January 28, 2008

Lest you think Obama's getting all the big endorsements today, it should be noted for the record that Janet Reno is backing Hillary. This is actually moderately surprising, given Reno's conflicted relationship with the Clintons--especially Hillary.

The Take-away From South Carolina
January 26, 2008

What you need to know about tonight's results: 1.) Obama took nearly 80 percent of the black vote, yes, but also about a quarter of the white vote. That stacks up pretty well alongside Hillary's 36 percent and Edwards's 40***--well enough that Nora O'Donnell of MSNBC could call it "almost a three-way split," and The New York Times could proclaim that a "coalition of white and black support" powered Obama's victory. This is a huge development going forward.

Was This Obama's Best Speech Yet? Maybe.
January 26, 2008

I'll leave the sophisticated electoral analysis to my more sophisticated colleagues, Noam and Mike.  But I have to say something about Obama's speech, which is the best I've seen him give in a while, if not the entire campaign. That's a high standard, I know, but I think it's true. Tonight's address was every bit as lyrical as the speech Obama gave in Iowa. And it touched on many of the same themes, about healing division and building a movement of voters seeking change. But those themes weren't as front-and-center as they were earlier in the month.

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