An Opportunity For Genuine (and Selfless) Leadership By Nancy Pelosi And Robert Byrd
November 20, 2006

by Sanford Levinson I have on several occasions railed against what I regard as basic defects in our constitutional order. Here I want to focus on a decidely "non-constitutional" defect that is every bit as serious, which is the present Succession in Office Act establishing who would succeed to the presidency in case there is no vice president.

Kerry's Ego Problem
November 20, 2006

He can't have it both ways. Whom do I mean? I mean John Forbes Kerry. He has been testing the presidential waters. And doubtless misreading the temperature, which, from all reports and polls, has been very chilly. Anyway, he wants to run for president. But, if Kerry is a candidate for the Democratic nomination, he will not be able to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Which would make several Massachusetts congressmen happy. And also Joe Kennedy, alas. They might run for the soon-to-be vacated Senate seat.

Political Charity
November 19, 2006

by Cass Sunstein After our little exchange on political grace (thanks to Richard Stern for the joke, which is quite illuminating), it might be worthwhile to think a bit about the idea of political charity, especially in the context of divided government. Three practices seem to constitute political charity. First, those who display political charity do not question the motives of those with whom they disagree. On the contrary, they cast those motives in the best possible light.

On Grace
November 11, 2006

by Cass Sunstein In the immediate aftermath of the elections, at least two Republicans have shown considerable grace: Rick Santorum and George W. Bush. Santorum's concession speech was, in its way, quite remarkable. Showing no trace of bitterness, he began by praising Bob Casey, saying that he was a fine man and that he would do a fine job for Pennsylvania.

My Vote For Speaker
November 07, 2006

Yes, the mind wanders in Paris, and it wanders freely. Here's a thought that is on many people's minds but has not come off many people's tongues. Nancy Pelosi should not be speaker of the House. Rahm Emanuel should be. He is smarter, more savvy, understands the political middle as both norm and fact. And he is extremely likeable, truly trustworthy, a politician of honor and imagination. Imagine someone out of the Clinton White House who emerged untainted by even a whiff of scandal. Unlike other pols who used to raise Democratic money from me, he was not a hustler.

The Wrong Target?
November 06, 2006

by Jacob T.

Don't Get Too Excited!
November 04, 2006

by Sanford LevinsonThanks to the Constitution, elections are far less important than you might think (or hope). Like (presumably) most participants in Open University, I am anticipating--and intensely hoping for--a good night for the Democrats. But, in line with my argument that we have an undemocratic Constitution that makes its own contribution to our political dysfunctionality, I want to mention some cautionary notes: 1) Even if the Democrats get a hefty majority of votes for candidates running for the Senate, they may not regain it.

Clash Consciousness
October 30, 2006

OK, Mark Steyn is not exactly a rigorous political philosopher. On quotidian matters I don't share his politics: that is, health care, taxes, et cetera. I don't share his politics on some of the grander issues, as well: for example, the flood that is coming and from which no Noah's Ark will be able to rescue us. I don't share his view of President Bush either. But here's the kicker you're awaiting. On the real agenda of the time, the challenge to civilization that you won't avoid even if it you ignore it, he is absolutely correct.

New York Postcard
October 23, 2006

The DiTomasso brothers may not have much in common with George W. Bush, but there's one thing the president and the mob-linked contractors share: Both have reason to rue the day they met Bernard B. Kerik. In 2004, Bush nominated Mayor Rudy Giuliani's former police commissioner to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Within days, allegations surfaced that Kerik had faced arrest for unpaid bills, had close ties to some federal contractors, and had failed to pay taxes on his nanny. The nomination collapsed, calling the White House's judgment into question.

Open University Contributors
October 20, 2006

David A. Bell, a contributing editor who has been writing for TNR since 1984, is Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins. His new book, The First Total War: Napoleon's Europe and the Birth of Warfare As We Know It, is published by Houghton Mifflin in January. Casey N. Blake is professor of History and American Studies at Columbia University and a regular contributor to several journals of opinion and scholarly publications. His work in U.S.