February 07, 2011
-- Nicolas Lemann reviews George Bush's autobiography. -- What would a progressive "Tea Party" look like? -- Save jobs or raise CEO compensation? The Chamber of Commerce knows which it prefers.
Fox’s Egypt Problem
February 04, 2011
When the protests in Egypt began last week, it did not take long for conservative pundits to sound the alarmist warning bell. Fox digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt cautioned on Special Report with Bret Baier, “If this is directed toward retrenchment of the Islamic forces, it could be difficult period for [the] Middle East.” Glenn Beck declared himself “no fan of Mubarak,” but warned, “God help [the police] if Egypt falls. God help them.” This reaction wasn’t completely predictable.
Rules For (Republican) Radicals
December 23, 2010
Politico reports on the House Republicans' "strict" new rules: The new House Republican majority will force lawmakers to vote when they want to raise the nation's debt ceiling, publish committee attendance records, keep former members from lobbying in the House gym and require new mandatory spending to be offset by cuts to other programs. On the spending front, Republicans plan to implement a series of rules called CUT/GO — a conservative answer to the PAY/GO rules instituted by Democrats.
Let's Not Save the Euro or, For That Matter, The European Union
December 22, 2010
I am no fan of the European Union. It is an artificial contraption, run by the corporate and bureaucratic elites of the continent, without democratic sanction because the various peoples subsumed under its rule themselves see that it is without democratic values or ambitions. Had it at least energized the economies of Europe there might be some raison d'être for its intrusive rules which wreak havoc with every member nation's culture and identity. The fact is, however, that the prosperous countries are still more or less prosperous, some paradigmatically so.
Kanye West: Bard or Bully?
November 16, 2010
Kanye West yelling that George Bush didn’t care about black people in the wake of Hurricane Katrina was not, in itself, interesting. He had a CD to plump for (Late Registration), as well as just plain himself to plump for, as he was a newer phenom then than the source of regular episodes of galumphing megalomania that he is now. Interesting, however, is West’s acute discomfort in his recent interview with Matt Lauer at actually being confronted with footage of his accusation, good and loud and right in his face. With all of his cockiness about so much, he couldn’t take it.
How Do Long Wars Become So Long?
September 01, 2010
This is the summer we began calling Afghanistan “America’s longest war.” The new label has produced a dissent or two, since it assumes that the Vietnam war didn’t even start until Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in 1964 (at which point American soldiers had been dying in Vietnam for at least three years). But the “longest war” designation isn’t intended to resolve nitpicky historical arguments. Its real point is to get both wars—Afghanistan and Vietnam alike—firmly categorized in our minds as long, hard, unwinnable slogs.
At Least President Bush Was Sincere About Afghanistan
August 31, 2010
When President Obama named his cabinet, people harkened back to Lincoln and said that he had assembled a team of rivals. To put it charitably, this is an exaggeration. Lincoln brought not just his principal rival, William Seward, into his cabinet as secretary of state, he also brought in his two other main contenders for the Republican nomination for president in 1860. Salmon Chase, the party’s greatest and most uncompromising foe of slavery and an unjustly neglected American hero, was made secretary of the treasury, while Edward Bates became attorney general.
Fresh Air in Central Europe
August 25, 2010
A certain kind of liberalism familiar to readers of The New Republic has been stirring in, of all places, Germany and Austria. To be sure, it operates on the margins. And, yes, the impulse to appease, run for cover and all the rest lingers there as well. So, too, does the mixture of irritation, indifference, and even outright hostility to Israel.
David Brooks Tries To Be Too Evenhanded
August 25, 2010
[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] I am a little late coming to this, but yesterday's David Brooks column, which discussed our ability (or inability) to (in Orwell's words) face unpleasant facts, included the following: The ensuing mental flabbiness is most evident in politics. Many conservatives declare that Barack Obama is a Muslim because it feels so good to say so. Many liberals would never ask themselves why they were so wrong about the surge in Iraq while George Bush was so right. The question is too uncomfortable. Is Brooks really comparing these two things?
Australian for 2010
July 22, 2010
Washington—It's rare to see a dry run for an election campaign. But over the next month, Australia will provide a testing ground for some of the core themes in this November's American elections. Last weekend, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who took office in June after the fall of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, called an election for Aug. 21—they do things fast down there—in which her Labor Party will be using a central argument that Democrats hope to invoke against the Republicans. Gillard's statement opening the campaign left no ambiguity about Labor's message.