Mike Dukakis

It’s been noted by many that Mitt Romney’s task in Michigan is but a repeat of the one he faced in Florida and Iowa with Newt Gingrich: Confronted with a surging rival (in this case Rick Santorum), he must turn the guns of his “unaffiliated” SuperPAC (which raised more money, from only a handful of people, than his actual campaign last month) on the challenger hard enough to leave him smoldering in the dust by the time voters go to the polls.

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Business School Case Study: Company R has the financial resources, the professional staff, the marketing know-how, and the business expertise to dominate its competition. But despite the near-universal familiarity of its signature product, Company R has been dramatically losing market share to upstart challenger Company S, which until recently was little-noticed outside of rural Iowa. Company R is obviously due for a major re-branding.

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The Next Paris Hilton?

Last week, I clicked over to the CNN home page and there, in a rundown of the day’s most important news, I saw a headline announcing that Nicole Richie had pneumonia. I immediately thought of Sarah Palin: I fully expect that, five or ten or 15 years from now, I’ll be reading a similar headline about her.  That’s not because I wish pneumonia on Palin. Nor do I think any of her future illnesses will be newsworthy--like, say, the illness of an important politician would be. The notion that she has a future in electoral politics outside of Alaska (and probably not even there) is absurd.

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Kirk or Dukakis?

The Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi frames the choice of Ted Kennedy's interim replacement as "a test of Camelot's clout and Governor Deval Patrick's loyalties." The Kennedys, as has now been widely reported, want Patrick to pick Paul Kirk; Patrick reportedly favors Mike Dukakis.

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The Boston Globe Magazine's Charlie Pierce does a so-so job on what could have been a fun piece--a counterfactual on what would have happened had Mike Dukakis beat George H.W. Bush in 1988--but there was one part of the story that made me gulp a bit: In the spring of 1988, Dukakis had a lead over the nominee of the incumbent Republican Party, just as Barack Obama does at this moment. Yet he lost, 53.4 percent to 45.6 percent, and by a whopping 426-111 in the Electoral College.

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A Noble Nobel

Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, an honor that has been bestowed on many without merit: For example, Yasir Arafat, charlatan and killer, and Rigoberta Menchú, simple populist fraud. But this award, voted by five members of the Norwegian parliament, does not bear any such onus. In one sense, it is an election by the democratic elite of a mature free society, acting soberly and seriously in behalf of the concrete interests of mankind.

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Cool Hand Duke

Michael Dukakis’s message to the Democratic Party is neither epic nor apocalyptic. He is not promising, like Joe Biden, to restore John F. Kennedy's spiritual days of glory or, like Richard Gephardt, to save the nation from impending economic serfdom to the Japanese and South Koreans.

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