The Vegas Debate
January 16, 2008

I scratched my head when I heard Chris Matthews proclaim Hillary the victor of tonight's debate on the strength of her "presidential"-ism and her Iraq maneuvering. There's no question Hillary looked confident and in-command, and that she's put her Iraq problems behind her. (Though I'd argue that happened a couple months ago.) Conversely, there were times when Obama seemed a little tired and out of it. But I think this plane of analysis mostly misses what had happened last night.

The Democratic Debate
January 15, 2008

I already know from email that some colleagues disagree, but I saw a modest win for Hillary tonight. (And a clear win for the entire party, insofar as the race/gender feud of the past several days ground to a halt, despite the best efforts of moderators Tim Russert and Brian Williams) As always, Obama's grandeur was flattened in the debate format--as opposed to the big stage with a rapt audience--while once again I thought Hillary's quick feet and policy chops shined through.

Hillary On Obama's Anti-war Cred
January 14, 2008

Like Matt Yglesias, I don't entirely get what Hillary Clinton is aiming for by raising questions about Obama's war-opposition. Yes, Obama toned down his opposition once he arrived in the Senate. But, as Matt says, "Russ Feingold's not his opponent. Hillary Clinton is." And, at pretty much every step of the way, Hillary was either where Obama was or to the right of him on this issue.

Kennedy Not Endorsing Soon
January 11, 2008

Apart from Al Gore, the most prized Democratic endorsement still out there belongs to the senior senator from Massachusetts. Both the Obama and Clinton camps have been working Kennedy hard. But I'm told not to expect him to pick a side before February 5. (My off-the-cuff hunch, incidentally, is that that's a letdown for Hillary Clinton. Kennedy is a real creature of Washington who worked well with the Clinton White House and has backed establishment candidates--Al Gore, John Kerry--in past primary fights. I would think his default choice would be Hillary.

Most Depressing Press Release Of The Day
January 08, 2008

Fellow Duncaneers, we told you of the Hunter campaign's "below the radar" strategy of targeting Wyoming, Nevada, and Michigan. Now see the results! Duncan Hunter just came in a close third place behind Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney in the second national primary in Wyoming! THIS IS HUGE! ... Folks, there have been doubters, but let us put all doubt asunder. If we win or place well in one more early primary, the White House is within our grasp. The only thing sadder: Fred Thompson currently has the same margin in New Hampshire as Duncan Hunter. -- Eve Fairbanks

More Debate Wrap-up
January 05, 2008

Some thoughts: 1.) One way or another, Hillary's "angry moment" is clearly going to be the take-away from this debate. My sense was that she came a tick or two away from really snapping, and that can't be good for getting back into this race. Having said that, I think it's possible that it could play another way: Maybe the average voter sees Edwards rushing to double-team her and thinks it was a little over the top. Maybe it even triggers the same gender dynamic that backfired so famously against Rick Lazio in 2000. Now, both of those things would have been more likely had she kept her cool.

Hillary's Next Move; Giuliani Still Swimming?
January 04, 2008

Full Force: [Jay Stevens, Left in the West]: “[There] was one telling fact about last night's caucus: voter turnout. In short, in a state that went for Bush in 2004, Democratic turnout for the caucus was almost twice as high as it was four years ago.”   Hillary v. History: [Dick Polman, Dick Polman’s American Debate]: “[H]illary has the money and moxie to battle Obama to the bitter end, and it should be noted that several past candidates (Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush) have lost Iowa but won the White House.

Daybreak In Iowa: The Aftermath
January 04, 2008

Bye Bye Birdies [Martin Kady II, Politico]: "Two Senate veterans — Democrats Joe Biden of Delaware and Chris Dodd of Connecticut — are abandoning their presidential campaigns after very poor showings Thursday night in the Iowa caucuses." Blame Iowa [The Editors, New York Times]: "Keeping this race alive so significant numbers of Americans in more populated states can participate would begin to make up for the ludicrous spectacle of the past year, which enriched the television networks and the political consultants (some $300 million already spent) far more than it enriched the political dialog

Air Spin One
January 04, 2008

Hours after Hillary Clinton finished a stunning third in the Iowa caucuses, her press corps flew by charter jet directly to the campaign’s next battleground: Manchester, New Hampshire. For the duration of the two and a half hour flight, the aisles were jammed up as a cadre of Clintonites tirelessly spun a press corps whose members now believe they’re witnessing one of the great political collapses in modern history.

Bloomberg Versus The Bonapartists
January 02, 2008

I've met Michael Bloomberg exactly three times so I don't really know him and he doesn't know me.  But I have many friends who are his friends, truly are, and they are right now bristling with rumor and impression that the New York mayor might actually become a candidate for president.  He would be the richest person ever to have run for the office, with Ross Perot not even coming close.  Unlike Perot, Bloomberg is no crackpot but a sane and meticulous strategist, first for his company, latterly for the city of New York.  If he is now really thinking of the American presidency, you can be sure