Debate Reaction: Maybe Newt Helped Romney
January 26, 2012
Democrats in 2008 fretted that the long, bruising primary campaign would damage their party's eventual nominee. And in some ways it probably did. Some political professional believe President Obama’s standing among blue-collar white voters in Pennsylvania never recovered from the attacks Hillary Clinton made on him there. But the campaign also turned Obama into a more effective candidate, as (I think) Obama himself would later admit. With each debate and each exchange of negative advertisements, Obama became more focused, more aggressive, and more capable of holding his own.
Just Call Him Barack O'Tarmac
January 26, 2012
What is it with Barack Obama, contentious blonde political rivals and airport tarmacs? Obama's testy encounter yesterday with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer out on the blacktop at the Phoenix airport put me in mind of his famous showdown at Reagan National Airport with Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries.
Happy Birthday to Egypt’s Doomed Revolution
January 25, 2012
Exactly one year ago today, I stood in front of the Lawyers Syndicate in downtown Cairo and watched as a few thousand protesters suddenly streamed into the area from the north, overwhelmed Egypt’s notoriously violent riot police, and pushed onward towards Tahrir Square. That mile-long march, which culminated with the protesters bursting through a human chain of officers and seizing the Square, was the most inspiring thing that I’ve ever witnessed, and it remains so.
How SOPA Could Have Hindered Our Democracy Promotion Efforts
January 21, 2012
When the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) were put on hold late this week, many had cause to celebrate, including Internet companies, free speech advocates, and the millions who signed petitions against the bills.
SC Was All About Romney's Weakness, Not Newt's Strength
January 21, 2012
The story of 2011 was that Republicans had a frontrunner they weren’t in love with. Mitt Romney spent the entire year below 25 percent in national polls; a new Mitt alternative surged ahead of him every few weeks, only to collapse when it turned out he or she couldn’t pass an eighth grade civics class. The pundits concluded from this that Romney’s grip on the nomination was tenuous and that, even after his (apparent) Iowa win, the race was a lot less stable than it looked.
January 11, 2012
One evening recently in Rangoon, my friend Ko Ye (not his real name) arrived at the apartment where I was staying, brandishing the latest issue of the weekly newspaper he runs. It was, he announced with great fanfare, a landmark edition: For the first time ever, government censors had allowed him to run a photo of Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s most prominent dissident, on the cover. The edition also included other previously banned topics: political analysis of U.S. relations with Burma and an article about Martin Luther King that contained the taboo phrase “human rights” in the headline.
Out of Iraq: The War Is Over But the Repercussions Are Just Beginning
December 21, 2011
Our very last troops in Iraq have left for home. And, of course, Iraq is no longer ruled by the Ba’athist tyrant who murdered so many people both within his own country and in Iran that he should be counted in the bloody second circle right behind Hitler and Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot.
Brokered Conventions, Last-Minute Comebacks, and Other Crazy Ways the GOP Could End Up With a Nominee
December 16, 2011
Has there ever been a worse year for the conventional wisdom in handicapping a presidential primary race? Sure, the pundit pack has been grotesquely wrong before, from over-hyping Hillary Clinton’s chances in 2008 to smugly dismissing Howard Dean’s potential to galvanize anti-war Democrats in 2004. But never have the political railbirds so frequently compounded their errors as they reeled from one smug, but erroneous, prediction to another.
The Mandate Miscalculation
December 14, 2011
Democrats didn’t see it coming: Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, neither congressional leaders nor the White House anticipated that one specific provision—the mandate requiring individuals to maintain a minimum level of health insurance—would spark such a ferocious political and legal backlash. Yet, nearly two years later, controversy surrounding the mandate dominates the national conversation about health care reform.
Kudos to Obama on His New Gay Rights Initiative, But …
December 08, 2011
On Tuesday, the Obama administration took bold and important action in advancing the cause of gay rights around the globe. In a memorandum, the president directed all U.S. agencies to “promote and protect” the rights of gay and lesbian people through diplomatic means, including the allocation of foreign aid. And in a rousing speech before the U.N.