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The Foley Distraction
October 09, 2006

The Democrats are lucky to have had the Mark Foley affair thrown in their laps. Now, we will see how not different they are from the Republicans. This scandal has about as much to do with Dennis Hastert as it does with Tip O'Neil.

A Friend Writes In Response To My Last Post
October 04, 2006

by Richard Stern Who says Bush et al want to 'win their War on TERRORRRRR' or their war against Iraq? I think that they would prefer the latter to be at a lower level, just to justify the permanent US bases astride the oil supplies but not so intense as to give traction to the bleeding-heart liberals and the traitorous wing of the Protestant clergy.

What Is Political Sophistication?
September 24, 2006

by Jeffrey HerfIn this age of terror fueled by the ideology of Islamic extremism, some old insights of the liberal historiography of the roots and nature of Nazism remain relevant. In works published in the 1960s and 1970s, two of Nazism's preeminent historians, George Mosse in this country, and Karl Dietrich Bracher, in the Federal Republic of Germany made a similar point about the political significance of ideological fanaticism.

A Note From Rhode Island
September 13, 2006

by Ted WidmerYesterday, in one of the most closely watched Senate races in the country, moderate Republican Lincoln Chafee defeated a robust challenge from a right-wing conservative, Stephen Laffey. The Boston Globe said Chafee "eked out" a narrow victory, but in fact he won by a comfortable 54-46 margin, an impressive victory after many commentators and polls had predicted his defeat. He now faces a hard challenge in the general election from a former state attorney general, Sheldon Whitehouse, who faced little opposition winning the Democratic nomination yesterday.

The Real "path To 9/11"
September 12, 2006

I am in New York to welcome my granddaughter into the world. It is an auspicious day: sunny, comfortably warm, but with a cool under-breeze and with many taxis on the streets, since people are taking in the air instead of riding in the city's normal daytime snail's pace traffic. Yesterday was September 11, and the weather, like today's, was as balmy as the 9/11 of history, when a half-million hapless people, most of them dazed and many in near-trauma, were walking, mostly northward, on the long journey home.

Patriot Games
September 10, 2006

Joseph C. Wilson and Valerie Plame were one of those Washington couples whose careers had ended on the lower-middle rungs. Of course, this judgment depends on what you call "lower-middle." OK, Wilson did end his State Department career as an ambassador, with the "your excellency" stuff and all that. But his last posting was as envoy to Sao Tome and Principe, two small volcanic islands situated in the equatorial Atlantic, consisting of 386 square miles and populated by 160,000 people. This republic has no yellowcake. It surely is one of those designated diplomatic hardship spots.

What It Takes
September 06, 2006

by Eric RauchwayOur Open U colleague David Greenberg has a nice piece in Slate on how the 1927 flood spurred the federal government to take greater responsibility for its citizens. I think this is true, but not true enough, and the difference between the two isn't just historians' quibbling: It goes to the big question of what it takes to get the American people to support what, for the sake of convenience, let's call "bigger government." Does it take a disaster? And how big a disaster does it take?

Culture Of Resignation
September 06, 2006

by Sanford LevinsonI note the important development that in the UK seven junior ministers have resigned in protest over Tony Blair's refusal to indicate a date certain (and fairly soon) by which he will step down. Blair's resignation, whether voluntary or forced, would not force new elections or a transfer of power to the Tories. Rather, a leader viewed, rightly or wrongly, as widely discredited (as was Margaret Thatcher in 1990), simply leaves office, to be succeeded by a fellow party member (as Thatcher was succeeded by John Major, who won the next election).

Room For Disagreement
September 04, 2006

In gracious response to my question about the desirability of a more populist Democratic Party, Brad DeLong writes, My natural home is in the bipartisan center.... Me too, Gogo. But, how long have we been homeless now? I forget. More seriously, this is an issue that affects directly the issue of institutions, group behavior, and polarization already evidently a major theme of Open University. DeLong explains, I am ... a reality-based center-left technocrat....

New Orleans Postcard
August 14, 2006

My wife and I were about to put our house on the market before Hurricane Katrina. I remind myself of this as we contemplate an act that has taken on the trappings of civic treachery--putting our house on the market now, a year after Katrina. It's true: We really were talking to realtors last summer. It was time to downsize, we said. Empty-nest syndrome, we said. That was our cover. Secretly, we were a bit freaked out about hurricanes even before Katrina. (At least I was.) Not so secretly, we were certain the national real estate bubble had reached its soapy and iridescent limit.

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