John Kerry

Why Ohio Matters

Two weeks ago, I published a piece arguing that the Obama campaign would do better to take Ohio as their campaign template than to focus on Colorado. Critics pointed out the arithmetic truth that you could remove Ohio and several other Midwestern states from Obama’s 2008 victory column and still have enough electoral college votes to prevail. That’s true but largely irrelevant. My argument rests on the fact that Ohio is close to being a microcosm of the country—closer than any other pivotal state.

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Cambridge Journal

“Fear Stalks the Streets of Gadhafi’s Capital”; “Rebels Plead for Help.” The two quotes above are from headlines over articles on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on Thursday and Friday. They tell you as well as anything does of the terror that rules Libya. President Obama had first given a morsel of hope to the popular insurrection in Libya by allowing Hillary Clinton to suggest, although ever so tenuously, that America might impose a "no-fly zone" on Muammar Qaddafi's increasingly brutal attacks on the populace.

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Things Fall Apart

When Barack Obama burst onto the national scene at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, he represented—among many things—the shining hope for the religious left. Here was a liberal politician who was not afraid of the language of faith, who just might reclaim territory that the Democratic Party had, willingly or not, ceded to Republicans.

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The tight cluster of canvas tents filled a dusty field just off the highway that cuts through the city of Nowshera, the largest city in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, about a 90-minute drive from the capital Islamabad. Doctors in white coats tested children’s temperatures and blood pressures, looking for the signs of water-borne diseases, from acute diarrhea to potentially deadly cholera. Their mothers sat nearby, batting away the flies.

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So let’s say you’re a Republican politician who’s been working the far right side of the political highway for years, getting little national attention other than the occasional shout-out in Human Events. Or let’s say you’re a sketchy business buccaneer with a few million smackers burning a hole in your pocket, and you’ve decided that you’d like to live in the governor’s mansion for a while, but you can’t get the local GOP to see you as anything more than a walking checkbook who funds other people's dreams. What do you do?

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Hey, it's the U.S. Senate. What did anyone expect? Harry Reid's now yanking even the stripped-down, hyper-modest energy bill from consideration until after the August recess. Republicans, along with a few Democrats like Mary Landrieu, had strongly opposed the part of the bill that would remove the liability cap for oil companies that spilled crude into the sea. But is it possible that energy legislation come back stronger than ever?

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So the big winner of the climate-bill fiasco could turn out to be… T. Boone Pickens. That's right, the billionaire who financed the Swift Boat ads against John Kerry in 2004.

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The odds of a climate bill passing this year look increasingly bleak. Harry Reid and John Kerry confirmed this afternoon that they are only going to release a very modest energy bill before the August recess. How modest? Here's Reid's (vague) description: One, we will hold BP accountable. We will ensure it pays to clean up its mess, and we will put forth measures to prevent a disaster like this from ever happening again. Two, we will create clean-energy jobs across America.

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Via The Hill, a research note from FBR Capital sums up everything you need to know about where the energy-bill talks stand: "Senate scheduled to debate something next week." Yup, something. No one knows what will be in the bill yet. Reid is scheduled to meet with the Democratic caucus on Thursday; Kerry and Lieberman are asking for an extension so that they can try to salvage a utility-only cap; and it's likely that the whole debate could get pushed back until after August recess. The biggest danger, at this point, is that Republicans will run out the clock on energy legislation.

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First Read wades into the debate over liberal disappointment with the Obama presidency: When the liberal blogosphere confab, Netroots Nation, kicks off tomorrow in Las Vegas, it will inevitably further the "Why are progressives disappointed in Obama?" storyline. In the past few months, liberal commentators have bemoaned that the public option wasn’t included in the health care law, that the financial reform legislation -- which President Obama will sign into law today -- isn’t strong enough, and that Gitmo still isn't closed.

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