Jesse Helms

The former Republican senator deserves a fair shot to become the next Secretary of Defense.

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1988 all over again? Romney accuses Obama of cultivating a welfare "base."

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When delegates began arriving for last week’s 2012 International AIDS Conference, the significance of the setting was clear. Facilitated by the overturn of the decades-old INS barrier on HIV+ travelers, this year marked the first time the annual conference was held in the United States in 22 years.

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2011 has been a banner year for abortion opponents. Thus far, 87 state laws restricting abortion have been enacted, the most in any year since Roe v. Wade and more than double the previous high. But one rogue wing of the pro-life movement sees no reason to celebrate: the budding “personhood movement,” which wants to turn abortion into homicide by methodically amending state constitutions to define conception as the beginning of a person’s life. This November, Mississippi votes on the personhood issue by popular referendum.

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For a born diplomat, Richard Holbrooke was often lost in translation. Too blunt, too impatient, too American, too driven, too much. That was what his critics would say— within the United States and around the world. And yet rarely was a man of such fierce and noble attachments—to family, to friends, to country and cause—so easily and persistently misunderstood. The paradox of Richard Holbrooke was that there was no paradox—what you saw was what you got.

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Burr Is Cold

By Beltway standards, Richard Burr’s first term in the Senate has been a pretty successful one. Elected in 2004 after serving ten years in the House, Burr was one of the “Magnificent Seven,” a slate of new conservative senators. A mere four years later, the North Carolina lawmaker was mentioned as a possible running mate for John McCain. And, last year, he took on a key leadership role (chief deputy whip). In his home state, however, Burr is anything but a star.

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Harry Enten marvels at the possibility that Pat Toomey could win a Senate election in Pennsylvania: Toomey ranked more conservative than 97.9% of all United States legislators since 1995. He had a more conservative voting record than J.D Hayworth, Jim DeMint, and was about as conservative as Jesse Helms.

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Dixie Shtick

There can be no beginning without an ending. Everyone seems to agree that Barack Obama's victory marks a new chapter in American political history. What is not so obvious is that it ends not just one era, but two. First, of course, Obama's victory brings the movement toward racial equality that grew out of the Civil War to its logical political conclusion. The Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, by guaranteeing every citizen equal protection under the laws, institutionalized modern liberal democracy as we know it. But its promise remained long unfulfilled.

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On The Plank, Jonathan Chait chides conservatives for trying to white-wash the civil-rights record of the late Jesse Helms. CommenterDawnCandace adds a bit of fire to Chait's fury: Here, here Chait. After Helm's death I was very dismayed by the white washed eulogies published in various media outlets and given by many republicans. Everyone seemed to be praising this man as a fine public servant who was dedicated to freedom. Such blatant bull crap! Jesse Helms was an lifelong racist and bigot who was opposed to the principles of freedom.

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  The New York Times obituary of Jesse Helms had the temerity to note that he "opposed civil rights." National Review's John Miller objects: He "opposed civil rights"? Uh, no. He opposed a particular vision of them. Hilzoy has a lot of detail about Helms' "particular vision" of civil rights.

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