Life Imitating The Onion, Part Xxxiv
December 27, 2006

Or at least journalism imitating The Onion... The authors of the WaPo's Gerald Ford obituary provide us with some unintentional comedy: It was widely assumed that Ford had doomed his political career. By January 1975, his approval rating had plummeted to 36 percent. Not even two assassination attempts, both in California in 1975, generated significant popular support [emphasis added]. The line brought to mind The Onion's 2001 masterpiece, Clinton Vaguely Disappointed By Lack of Assassination Attempts.

Race And Crime
December 23, 2006

Chris Suellentrop, aka "The Opinionator", has an interesting piece in tomorrow's Times magazine about the GOP's evolution on prisoner issues--from law-and-order hardasses to compassionate Christians. The piece is interesting in and of itself. But it's even more interesting, I think, as another data-point in the GOP's broader evolution on race: that is, from a party that wields race as a political wedge to a party that's more progressive on race, but which wields religion and social issues as a political wedge.

Mourning Becomes The Media--a Short Play
December 21, 2006

by Richard Stern Scene 1. The Puce Room of the White House. Light coming through rose-colored window glass beautifies the reflections bouncing off the handsome silver tea service. The First Lady, simply and expensively dressed in tweed skirt and green silk blouse, pours tea for her visitor, Colleen Dowdy, the columnist. Collen Dowdy: It's always reassuring to see you, Mrs. B.

"liberaltarianism" And Reality
December 21, 2006

I've so far resisted weighing in on the Chait-Lindsey "liberaltarian" smack-down, mostly because Jon has done such a nice job rebutting the case for a liberal-libertarian alliance. But there's one claim that might be worth examining more rigorously given that Brink (whom I think is an exceptionally smart and thoughtful guy) keeps invoking it.

Frank Keating, "mangy Dog"--or Future President?
December 19, 2006

There's a new Republican name circulating in the White House 2008 conversation: former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating. I see National Review's hotwired Jonathan Martin is taking it seriously. And Keating, a devout anti-abortion Catholic, does offer some attractive post-9/11 credentials: He's a former F.B.I. agent, for instance, and, in a sort of mini-Giuliani fashion, presided during the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. Keating is so impressive to fellow Republicans, in fact, that he was almost George W. Bush's running mate and, later, Bush's first attorney general. Almost. --Michael Crowley

Active Debate?
December 18, 2006

Over at Newsweek, Michael Gerson has an end-of-the-year piece laying out what ails the Republican Party. Gerson's argument is that there is a split between big government Republicans and more libertarian minded antigovernment activists. He writes:   The response of many Republicans was to use [Hurricane Katrina] as an excuse for cutting government spending, particularly the Medicare prescription-drug benefit for seniors. At a post-Katrina meeting with White House officials, one conservative think-tank sage urged: "The president needs to give up something he wants.

Strange Bedfellows
December 18, 2006

Here's a picture of Bush signing the Indian nuclear deal at the White House today. Wait a minute: Who's that, just between Frist and Condi. Could it be? Oh my God ... . The macacas have the bomb! --Michael Currie Schaffer

The Rush To Syria
December 15, 2006

Do you recall when, as children, we played "doctor and patient?" It was quite titillating really. Now, Senator Bill Nelson, Democrat from Florida has already been to Damascus to consult with Bashar Assad. And following on Nelson's footsteps will be John Kerry (who's always playing president), Arlen Spector, Republican from Pennsylvania, and Chris Dodd, Democrat from Connecticut.

No Sense In Trying
December 15, 2006

From the looks of things, printouts of the Baker Commission are being used as toilet paper in the White House, and the Bush administration plans more-or-less to stay the current, too-marvelous-for-words course in Iraq: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice yesterday rejected a bipartisan panel's recommendation that the United States seek the help of Syria and Iran in Iraq, saying the "compensation" required by any deal might be too high. She argued that neither country should need incentives to foster stability in Iraq. Well, who knows?

In Today's Web Magazine
December 14, 2006

Ryan Lizza has the skinny on Mitt Romney's links to porn; Eve Fairbanks watches the congressional class of 1994 waddle tearfully into unemployment; Jonathan Cohn shows how the Democrats' push for universal health care is already underway; Oriana Skylar Mastro says that Washington is deluding itself to believe Beijing will pressure Kim Jong Il; and TNR Online republishes a 1996 holiday diarist by Martin Peretz about Christmastime commercialism. --Adam B. Kushner