Tonight, Bill Clinton, whom I used to work for as chief White House speechwriter, will give a major address to the Democratic convention. Startlingly, that same sentence could have been written in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. Think of Springsteen at the Meadowlands. Even if you don't really like the music, you must admire the longevity. This Clinton convention speech is more important than most—certainly, it’s more riveting. It’s topsy-turvy for a former president to place in nomination a current chief executive.
Amid all the hoopla over President Obama’s gay marriage announcement last week, there were a few cautionary head shakes from the wise old men (and wise young old men) of the punditocracy: Obama may be basking in the glow of history now, they said, but his strategy of trying to elevate social issues to the Democrats’ benefit, and thus distract voters from economic issues, was a dubious one.
It was 1988 presidential primary time in New York, and I was on the press bus going from Manhattan to Boro Park in Brooklyn where Al Gore was scheduled to meet Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, the Bobover Rebbe, the Grand Rabbi of Bobov, Poland. Of course, there are no Jews in Bobov—and hardly any in Poland. But, despite the fact that the Lubavitcher and Satmar Hassidim are the most well-known sects (and the latter notorious, too), the Bobover are the largest Jewish faction in New York.
For years, Ron Paul published a series of newsletters that dispensed political news and investment advice, but also routinely indulged in bigotry. Here's a selection of some especially inflammatory passages, with links to scanned images of the original documents in which they appeared. Race “A Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” analyzes the Los Angeles riots of 1992: “Order was only restored in L.A. when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began. ... What if the checks had never arrived?
The most intellectually interesting portion of tonight's Republican presidential debate occurred in its opening moments, when Rick Perry and Mitt Romney sparred over their states’ record of job creation. Perry cited his states record of creating jobs. Romney replied that his state inherited a worse situation, and wound up with a lower level of unemployment, while of course ignoring that Perry has governed during a recession.
I've been annoyed about today's Ross Douthat's column all day, so I suppose I should write something about it. Here's the paragraph that annoyed me: The fantasy was the idea that Barack Obama, a one-term senator with an appealing biography and a silver tongue, would turn out to be Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Robert F. Kennedy and Mahatma Gandhi all rolled into one. This fantasy inspired a wave of 1960s-style enthusiasm, an unsettling personality cult (that “Yes We Can” video full of harmonizing celebrities only gets creepier in hindsight) and a lot of over-the-top promises from Obama himself.
If you’ve been a Democrat for more than two or three years, disappointment with your leaders is something that comes rather naturally. From the 1970s until well into the previous decade, the party produced presidents and presidential candidates like Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry. These men weren’t lovable losers. They were just losers. Even the lone winner among them--Bill Clinton--famously and infamously found ways to disappoint. But then Barack Obama came along.