Waxman: Administration Illegally Failed To Preserve Emails
January 18, 2008

For all of you folks worried that Henry Waxman's dogged campaign to make Major League Baseball shape up might distract him from his real mission in life--unearthing egregious instances of misconduct by the Bush administration--today's Washington Post story should set your minds at ease.

An Apology
January 16, 2008

I did Andrew Cuomo an injustice earlier today by accepting as true an allegation that the New York attorney-general was alluding to Barack Obama when he used the phrase "shuck and jive" as representative of what you can't do in the intimate campaigns of New Hampshire and Iowa. After realizing my mistake, I spoke with Cuomo on the phone and we agreed that the phrase was unfortunate, more than unfortunate. But, in the absence of very clear evidence, why did I so easily accept that he was applying it to Obama when he was not?

Ron Paul Round-up
January 16, 2008

Reason magazine's Dave Weigel and Julian Sanchez have a must-read piece digging into the question of who wrote Ron Paul's newsletters. There's also some very interesting background on the history of libertarianism, and how Lew Rockwell and Murray Rothbard hoped to turn it into a neo-populist movement based upon racial resentment (thus the amity for Pat Buchanan and David Duke). It appears that the man in charge of the newsletters was indeed Rockwell, whom Paul can't renounce because he's his longtime guru.

Hillary On Obama's Anti-war Cred
January 14, 2008

Like Matt Yglesias, I don't entirely get what Hillary Clinton is aiming for by raising questions about Obama's war-opposition. Yes, Obama toned down his opposition once he arrived in the Senate. But, as Matt says, "Russ Feingold's not his opponent. Hillary Clinton is." And, at pretty much every step of the way, Hillary was either where Obama was or to the right of him on this issue.

Team Hillary's Ill-conceived Robocall Obsession
January 07, 2008

As previously noted, I have a soft spot for Hillary. But this week's robocall squabble has me shaking my head, wondering if it's possible for her team to draw any starker distinction between their vision of/approach to politics and the Obamaniacs'. To recap: Post-Iowa, an unnerved Hillary campaign mailed out flyers slamming Obama for being an insufficiently enthusiastic champion of abortion rights.

A New Hampshire Primer: Everything You Need To Know
January 03, 2008

Sure, the eyes of the world are on Iowa right now, but the New Hampshire primary is a mere five days away, and as soon as the votes are counted in Iowa, it's a guarantee that attention is going to whip to the Granite State faster than you can say "Live Free or Die." Below, a primer on the nation's first primary.

Obama's Soft Paternalism
January 02, 2008

David Leonhardt has a very good piece in today's New York Times taking a look at the (relatively minor) philosophical differences between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on economic issues. Key takeaway: The easiest way to describe Senator Clinton’s philosophy is to say that she believes in the promise of narrowly tailored government policies, like focused tax cuts. She has more faith that government can do what it sets out to do, which is a traditionally liberal view. Yet she also subscribes to the conservative idea that people respond rationally to financial incentives.

"the Caucus Racket"
January 02, 2008

Leave it to Christopher Hitchens to write the most spot-on take down of the Iowa Caucus, rife with "open corruption," "Tammany tactics," and "mini-bribes." Hitchens illustrates the depths to which our democracy has sunk in detailing the Obama campaign's sending instructional DVDs to caucus-goers' homes; "Nobody needs a DVD to understand one-person-one-vote, a level playing field, and a secret ballot." Of course the secret ballot -- fundamental to any democratic process -- is absent in the caucus, replaced by a bizarre, Midwestern public shaming ritual straight out of a Garrison Keillor novel,

A Losing Strategy For Death Penalty Opponents
December 31, 2007

Orin Kerr over at The Volokh Conspiracy has a nice primer on Baze v. Rees, the Kentucky case the Supreme Court will hear next week challenging the constitutionality of lethal injection as a method of execution. It's particularly interesting that one of the key questions in the case--is there any readily available method of execution that would involve less risk of pain than the current three-drug cocktail?--remains hazy, in part because doctors are prohibited from participating in executions.

The Mccain Surge ... In Iowa
December 31, 2007

Time's Michael Scherer had a nice piece Thursday about the GOP battle for third here, which could turn out to be nearly as important as the Huckabee/Romney fight for first. One interesting nugget: His new position on the issue is a substantial shift from last year, when Thompson said in a Fox News interview that it was not realistic to expel the roughly 12 million illegal immigrants who are here. "You're going to have to, in some way, work out a deal where they can have some aspirations of citizenship," he told Hannity and Colmes in April of 2006.