The scene at the November 15, 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas was thick with the usual suspects—the candidates, the flacks, Wolf Blitzer, Dennis Kucinich's Amazonian wife. But there was someone who seemed out of place, a ghost of campaigns past: Howard Dean. The 2004 presidential candidate turned Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairman had been strangely absent all fall, not just a ghost of an earlier campaign but seemingly the ghost of his former self. Among campaign junkies, suddenly glimpsing him up on stage shaking hands with John Edwards "set off a flurry of commentary," remembe
While you're waiting for results--Terry McAuliffe this morning, on Bob Novak's latest column and an unpopular DNC he wants no association with: SCARBOROUGH: I've tried to blame you for the Super Tuesday debacle, but you weren't actually party chair two years ago when this was decided, party chair four years ago.MCAULLIFE: There's a reason we call him Bob No-facts. He wrote yesterday that I did the calendar. I left the chairmanship three years ago!... Howard Dean is chairman of the party.
One of Barack Obama's last events before the New Hampshire primary took place in the town of Rochester, where hundreds of people had gathered in an old theater to hear him speak. Obama was two minutes into his remarks when a chant suddenly erupted from the rear. "Abortion is Obama-nation! Abortion is Obama-nation!" the protestors yelled. The people of Rochester promptly jeered. It was, in other words, a perfect chance for Obama to showcase his powers of conciliation. "You've made your point. ...
Speaking of Iowa muddles, Jonathan Martin does a nice job sorting out where things stand on the Republican side heading into the home stretch. Key grafs: Huckabee: The major question now looming over his surge -- is it for real?
The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy By John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 484 pp., $26) In October 2002, Osama bin Laden issued a statement in which he analyzed America's inexhaustible number of sins and prescribed ways of repenting for many of them. The statement was, by the standards of bin Laden's cave encyclicals, unusually coherent.
Chris makes a great point about the unique (and uniquely unfair) burden facing Obama--the need to avoid coming off as an angry black man, which would be death in a presidential campaign. I had a similar thought watching the debate Wednesday night, when Obama seemed to go out of his way to sound circumspect and responsible. On Iraq, for example, he kept reminding us that the military says we can't withdraw more than a brigade or two a month, however much we'd like to pull out immediately.
Most political activists can point to one catalyzing event, an episode in each of their lives (or, more often, in the life of their country) that shook them from their complacency and roused them to change the world. You can find many such stories if you troll through the netroots, the online community of liberal bloggers that has quickly become a formidable constituency in Democratic politics. But the episode that seems to come up most often is the Florida recount.
Ezra Klein, writing at Tapped, has a puzzling observation about the Democratic primary. He writes, "Obama, Edwards, Gore--say what you will, but this crew currently controls the buzz, the assumptions of 'electability,' and the excitement of the base. And every one of them is a progressive." He proceeds to credit this development to Howard Dean. "Howard Dean should be proud: He really did change the party," he writes. Color me confused. I think the ideological distinction between Obama, Edwards and Gore and Hillary Clinton is fairly narrow.
Rick Santorum has enough trouble in his reelection race. The incumbent GOP senator has trailed his opponent, Pennsylvania State Treasurer Bob Casey, by double digits almost since Casey declared his candidacy. Santorum's campaign has been mired in questions about why Pennsylvanians pay to homeschool his six children in Virginia and about his involvement with the now-infamous K Street Project. Even Republicans have privately started to refer to Santorum's campaign as a lost cause and are lobbying party leaders to shift money to more promising contests.
What does Jerry Falwell have in common with Paul Wolfowitz and Howard Dean? What links columnist George Will with The New Republic? All, according to a recently issued "working paper," a shortened version of which appeared in the London Review of Books, are agents of an amorphous but incalculably powerful "Israel Lobby." That same inscrutable organization, the paper alleges, has dictated the decisions of politicians from George W. Bush to Jimmy Carter and determined the content of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. The goal of the lobby?