Today's Wall Street Journal contains an op-ed by someone named Ted Van Dyk, a disillusioned Democrat that has fallen out of love with Barack Obama. "The first warning signals for me came with your acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention," Van Dyk writes. "In it, you stressed domestic initiatives that clearly were nonstarters in the already shrinking economy. ... Cut back both your proposals and expectations." Who the heck is this guy?
Not that my political history is so important. After all, no one in either the near or more remote environs of The New Republic required my enthusiasm for Barack Obama to kindle their own. As for my own enthusiasm--actually, it was at first a quizzical intrigue--it was sparked by the disciplined and thoughtful passion of my thirty-something children, first my film director (First Love, Last Rites; The Chateau; The Ex) son, soon thereafter my writer (Vanity Fair) daughter.
The idea of a Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton "unity ticket" has been floated quite a bit the last few days. But, seriously, is the idea any good? We asked a few friends of the magazine to weigh in. Here's Mark Schmitt, senior fellow at the New America Foundation. There are fights within the Democratic Party that reflect deep structural and ideological rifts that, in turn, are embodied by individual candidates: Eugene McCarthy and Bobby Kennedy vs. Hubert Humphrey in 1968, George McGovern vs. everyone else in 1972, Ted Kennedy vs. Jimmy Carter in 1980.
Journals: 1952-2000 By Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. Edited by Andrew Schlesinger and Stephen Schlesinger (Penguin Press, 894 pp., $40) I. FEW HISTORIANS write personal journals that deserve publication, which is not surprising. How much interest can there be in the academic controversies and petty jealousies that dominate the lives of working historians, much less in the archives, the private libraries, and the lecture halls where they spend so much of their time?
At first glance, the Democratic nominee for president in 1960, John Fitzgerald Kennedy—the millionaire Caucasian war hero for whom I worked for eleven golden years—seems notably different from the most interesting candidate for next year's nomination, Senator Barack Obama. But when does a difference make a difference? Different times, issues, and electors make any meaningful comparison unlikely.
What causes lefties to turn into conservatives? Conservatives are fascinated with this question, repeating, often for years on end, their stories of deliverance from liberal hell to conservative heaven. Several such testimonies can be found in a new volume, Why I Turned Right: Leading Baby Boom Conservatives Chronicle Their Political Journeys. Most of the journeys described are short ones--from apolitical child of (generally) conservative parents to conservative young adult.
Why are MoveOn, Daily Kos, and so many other liberal activists so keen to find a primary challenger against Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman? The more you peel the onion, the stranger the answer becomes. The common explanation is that Lieberman is a conservative. Or, more specifically, he's a conservative who represents a liberal state--and, therefore, has no excuse. But, according to conventional indices, Lieberman is not a conservative.
Over a thousand delegates gathered in early October at the Sheraton Chicago for the fifteenth annual Hispanic leadership conference. The gleaming hotel, towering over the Chicago River and Lake Michigan, seemed emblematic of Hispanics' growing political heft. Speakers at the conference included former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry G. Cisneros, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, and Secretary of Labor Alexis Herman.