David Brooks: Presidential Pop-psychologist
December 18, 2007

David Brooks spends today's column explaining why Obama is more emotionally grounded than Hillary and would thus make a better president. This may very well be true. Whatever her virtues, Hillary doesn't strike many folks as particularly zen. But (surprise!) Brooks is a little too glibly authoritative is his broader pronouncements. Take this pearl: Many of the best presidents in U.S. history had their character forged before they entered politics and carried to it a degree of self-possession and tranquillity that was impervious to the Sturm und Drang of White House life.

Like (brainwashed) Father, Like (pandering) Son
December 18, 2007

The Apple Never Falls Far... [David D. Kirkpatrick, The New York Times]: "On the trail, his father’s ghost hovers constantly over the Romney campaign. ...

Tears For Oil In Hillaryland
December 18, 2007

Yesterday's news from the campaign trail--that Hillary Rodham Clinton got "visibly emotional" at a rally celebrating her political career--nicely complements her team's accelerating efforts to signpost her basic humanity. (Did anyone catch her middle-of-the-road New Year's resolutions at last week's debate?

Thompson Simply Hard-wired Wrong For The White House
December 13, 2007

The general consensus is that Fred Thompson turned in his best debate performance to date yesterday, actually appearing awake for at least a portion of the proceedings. With only three weeks to go until the caucuses, is it really possible that Thompson is going to at last get serious about the race and exert some sort of effort? I've always gotten the sense that ol' Fred likes to think of himself as a clutch player, the type of fella who doesn't need to work up a sweat in the early going then comes to life in the last few minutes of the game to carry the day.

What Exactly Is Our "broken System"?
December 12, 2007

  On October 17, 2007, John Edwards told an audience in Keene, New Hampshire the following :  Here’s the truth: the system in Washington is broken. Money is corrupting our democracy. Lobbyists and the special interests they represent are pouring millions of dollars into the system, and stopping the change we need dead in its tracks. Our founding fathers intended our government to do the will of the people. But today, it’s doing the will of the special interests instead. There is, I think, much truth in former-Sen.

Immigration In The Primaries
December 12, 2007

The Los Angeles Times gives us the state of play: "More than any other question, Republican presidential candidates are asking voters to consider a single issue in the weeks before primary voting begins: Who detests illegal immigration the most?" Matt Yglesias wonders why the Republicans would do such a thing, since, according to one recent national poll, only 10 percent of voters ranked immigration as a top-two issue.

So Why The Cape Wind Holdup?
December 11, 2007

According to a dispatch from Bali in Monday's FT, the U.S. and U.K. have filed with the World Trade Organization a list of environmentally friendly products--in particular, wind turbines--that they ask be tariff-free.  Funny, isn't it?  Because in New England the federal bureaucracy has done everything possible to prevent Cape Wind from a wind farm in Cape Cod Bay.

Two Views On Abu Zubaydah
December 11, 2007

Kevin Drum posts two conflicting accounts of the CIA interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, who was captured in the weeks after 9/11. According to Ron Suskind's sources, Zubaydah was a schizophrenic low-level operative who, after being beaten, waterboarded, and deprived of medication, started blabbing incoherently about thousands of utterly fantastic plots.

'primary Colors,' Then And Now
December 10, 2007

The funny and underrated 1998 film Primary Colors, based on Joe Klein's stump saga of the same name, offers a host of dramatic dispatches from the land of Jack and Susan Stanton, a southern power couple making a break for the White House. The whole cast--especially Billy Bob Thornton--does a credible job with a difficult task; that is, maintaining the paper-thin barrier between the campaign drama and Bill and Hillary Clinton's reality.  All in all, the movie is hugely entertaining; an excellent intersection of pop and politics.