Gerald Ford

Jay Pharaoh's Obama impersonation on Saturday Night Live is too realistic for its own good.

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For the last three months, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have been repeating the same argument against Mitt Romney: He’s a moderate, and a moderate Republican can’t win the White House. Naturally, given Gingrich’s stature as a historian, the critique dredges up memories of campaigns past. “We tried a moderate in 1996, and he couldn’t debate Bill Clinton effectively,” Gingrich said in January. “We tried a moderate in 2008. He couldn’t debate Barack Obama effectively and lost.” Santorum, too, has invoked the gruesome specters of Bob Dole and John McCain.

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Lawrence Kaplan: America’s Silent Withdrawal From Iraq War is over.  No, really.  “Permanent” bases?  Absolutely not.  A decades-long partnership between Iraq and the United States?  With the American officials who guide the fortunes of the world’s lone superpower and who, doing violence to their word, ordered the last of U.S.

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The fireworks-laden CNN/Tea Party Express Republican debate on Monday night didn’t much change the chattering class’s assessment of the candidates, with most pundits interpreting the pounding that Perry received as a confirmation of his dominance of the field. Because he was attacked from the “left” on Social Security and the “right” on immigration and his controversial HPV vaccination program, he’s being hailed as “the Man in the Middle,” which is where you want to be. This sanguine interpretation depends heavily on the assumption that the attacks on Perry somehow cancel each other out.

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God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right By Daniel K. Williams (Oxford University Press, 372 pp., $29.95) From Bible Belt to Sunbelt: Plain-Folk Religion, Grassroots Politics, and the Rise of Evangelical Conservatism By Darren Dochuk (W.W. Norton, 520 pp., $35)  In the presidential election of 1976, the Democrat Jimmy Carter split the votes of American white evangelical Protestants almost evenly with the Republican Gerald Ford. With a clear plurality of at least ten percentage points, Carter did even better among the nation’s white Baptists.

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Today’s big news...no, that’s not quite right. Today’s hot gossip? Oh, I don’t know: birthers are back in the news, because of a new poll showing that they’re everywhere, or at least that they appear to be an actual majority of Republicans. This has been going on for years now, and I certainly don’t read far into every birther story, but unless I’ve missed something I still think that this is actually an underreported and underexplored thing.

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Non-STARTer

Nuclear policy analysts are apoplectic about his "shabby, misleading and … thoroughly ignorant" reasoning, and his arguments have already been rebutted on the merits in a number of places (including here,  here, here, and here). But the question at hand isn't necessarily whether Romney's ghostwriter "has even the vaguest acquaintance with the subject matter." As with the "death panels," Romney's op-ed is an ideological statement, which does not require fealty to facts.

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Before BP

In Obama’s June 15th Oval Office speech on the oil spill, he railed against a “failed philosophy that views all regulation with hostility—a philosophy that says corporations should be allowed to play by their own rules and police themselves.” Obama was getting at a real problem. As economic historian Edward Balleisen points out, the trend over the past half century has not been less regulation per se, but a greater acceptance of “self-regulation,” whereby industry funds government oversight, and government outsources oversight to industry.

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Ooops!

Last week, the tech blog Gizmodo scored a major scoop by publishing images and video of the brand new iPhone 4G, blasting the website's traffic into the stratosphere, embarassing the notoriously secretive Apple company, and prompting a police raid on Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's house. How did Gizmodo find the phone? A careless Apple engineer left the prototype in a bar. The story has dominated media conversations ever since, so we thought we'd put together some other tales of infamous items lost, stolen, or simply misplaced. Item: The U.S.

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The Stevens Myth

Legal circles have been abuzz for the last eight months with the news that Justice John Paul Stevens had hired only one law clerk to begin working this summer. This move, Supreme Court watchers observed, strongly suggested that Stevens’s thirty-fifth term at the Court would be his last. As journalists and scholars begin contemplating his place in history, Stevens himself has not-so-subtly attempted to burnish his judicial legacy. In a series of interviews over the last few years, Stevens has repeatedly attempted to portray his views as fundamentally unaltered since he joined the Court.

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