Obama Needs To Start Talking About Race
July 15, 2010

Better late than never: On Tuesday, the White House launched a national strategy to fight HIV and AIDS, vowing to cut HIV infection rates by one quarter within five years. Astonishingly, this marked the first time that a U.S. administration has formulated a comprehensive plan to battle a disease that has killed more than 575,000 Americans. The strategy came with some fine-sounding words from President Barack Obama by way of introduction. “Our country is at a crossroads,” he stated.

Defending Supreme Paranoia
March 20, 2010

Jonathan Bernstein dismisses my fears that the Supreme Court might overturn health care reform: Accepting for the sake of argument that Bush v.

The Quiet Revolution
February 01, 2010

Obama has reinvented the state in more ways than you can imagine.

Hillary To Africa
August 03, 2009

She leaves today for a seven-nation trip, visiting some troubled destinations, including Barack Obama Sr.'s native Kenya. She'll have an especially interesting meeting in Kenya with the president of Somalia, whose country is currently fending off an Islamist insurgency and has become a new magnet for al Qaeda fighters.  --Michael Crowley

Obama's Cousin
July 10, 2009

Ed Kilgore is managing editor of The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a frequent contributor to a variety of political journals. The exotic family background of the 44th President of the United States was so endlessly discussed during the 2008 campaign that it’s sometimes easy to take it for granted, until something like this happens in a meeting with African leaders during the G-8 summit: "[Deputy National Security Advisor] Froman recounted that the president shared that when his father, Barack Obama Sr., came to the United States from Kenya, Ken

Failed States, Dubious Rankings
June 30, 2009

I spent some time yesterday and today trying to figure out Foreign Policy magazine's ranking of failed states. Somalia, Zimbabwe, and Sudan got first, second, and third place--no surprises there. But what initially piqued my interest was the high ranking given to Kenya, a country where I just spent two weeks (on a trip sponsored by the International Reporting Project, based at Johns Hopkins).

The Drone War
June 03, 2009

The Al Qaeda videotape shows a small white dog tied up inside a glass cage. A milky gas slowly filters in. An Arab man with an Egyptian accent says: "Start counting the time." Nervous, the dog starts barking and then moaning.

Who Is Scott Gration?
March 20, 2009

On Wednesday, Barack Obama appointed retired Air Force Major General J. Scott Gration as his special envoy to Sudan. In 2001, when the envoy position was first created, the job entailed brokering a peace deal between Khartoum and rebel groups in the south. It subsequently mutated to include halting Darfur's genocide and reversing President Bashir's expulsion of humanitarian aid workers. So, what does Gration's appointment mean for Darfur policy now? The Sudan experts I spoke to were cautiously optimistic.

The Cool Presidency
March 03, 2009

If one were to gather together a dozen of our society's key arbiters of cool—ad execs, movie stars, fashion designers, music critics, pollsters, suburban tweens—and instruct them to generate the profile of a "cool" politician, what are the odds that their efforts would result in a gangly, jug-eared, overeducated, workaholic with a fondness for Scrabble? Not to denigrate our freshly minted president, but, when you tick through some of the basics, Barack Obama comes across as an inveterate dork.

Creation Myth
September 10, 2008

In late October 1987, Barack Obama and Jerry Kellman took a weekend off from their jobs as community organizers in Chicago and traveled to a conference on social justice and the black church at Harvard. During an evening break in the schedule, they strolled around campus in their shirtsleeves, enjoying the unseasonably warm weather. Two-and-a-half years earlier, Kellman had hired Obama to organize residents of Chicago's South Side. Now, Obama had something to tell his friend and mentor. It had to do, in part, with his father.