Romney, MS, and the Stakes of the Campaign
May 31, 2012
A new internet video from the Romney campaign focuses on Ann Romney’s diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis and how it affected the rest of the family. The ad’s apparent purpose is to humanize Romney—to portray him as a sympathetic, loving husband. That's just fine. MS is a serious, life-altering diagnosis and Romney is, by all accounts, a devoted family man. If telling people about this part of Romney's life makes him seem less aloof or more sensitive, I have no problem with that.
Romney's Airplane Jitters
April 09, 2012
I've been offline most of the day on a cross-country flight (fittingly enough), so apologies if the point has already been made. But this detail from this weekend's Times profile of Romney's body-man, Garrett Jackson, struck me as not-at-all flattering to the presumed nominee. I'm frankly shocked that Jackson confirmed it: Mr. Jackson, a University of Mississippi graduate and a licensed pilot, was applying to the Air Force’s officer training school when he took the job with Mr. Romney. Mr. Jackson once acted as co-pilot for a flight Mr.
If X, Then Why?
March 29, 2012
Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention By Manning Marable (Viking Press, 594 pp., $30) I. When Malcolm X died in a hail of assassin’s gunfire at the Audubon Ballroom in February 1965, the mainstream media in the United States was quick to suggest that he reaped the harvest of bloodshed he had brazenly sown.
What We Still Don’t Know About Mitt Romney
March 21, 2012
A week ago, after Rick Santorum swept the GOP contests in Mississippi and Alabama, Mitt Romney faced a choice: He could shake up his campaign following the unexpected setback, or double down on the strategy he’d been deploying for weeks, which meant touting his large delegate-lead, portraying himself as inevitable, and exploiting his enormous financial advantage. Romney chose the latter, and the decision paid off in Illinois last night.
Romney’s Other Southern Problem, Hooah
March 14, 2012
The Romney campaign, as well as the Last of the Mohican Moderates like David Frum, are doing their best to downplay Rick Santorum’s wins in Alabama and Mississippi by casting those states as deeply unrepresentative of the national electorate (less representative than American Samoa?).
The Two-Candidate Race Has Finally Arrived
March 14, 2012
The conventional wisdom as polls opened in Alabama and Mississippi was that Santorum would likely be the big loser by failing to beat Romney or snuff Gingrich. That scenario made sense: Santorum was not only flagging in the polls, but had a decided financial disadvantage in these two states. (His super PAC trailed Team Romney in media buys by a seven-to-one ratio in Alabama and a five-to-one margin in Mississippi; it also had fewer ads than Gingrich ‘s super PAC). But now Gingrich is toast, whether he immediately accepts it or not, and Romney has failed to seal the deal.
Is The South Too Republican For Republicans?
March 12, 2012
The year before his 2010 retirement from the Senate, Ohio Republican George Voinovich offered one of the more candid and colorful recent assessments of what had happened to his party. Asked by The Columbus Dispatch what his party's biggest problem was, he answered: "We got too many Jim DeMints and Tom Coburns. It's the southerners. They get on TV and go 'errrr, errrrr.' People hear them and say, 'These people, they're southerners. The party's being taken over by southerners.
Tracing Europe’s Long Road to Economic Catastrophe
March 09, 2012
The economic crisis in Europe reached its latest crescendo last night, as Greece managed, through furious last-minute negotiations, to convince its creditors to give it some more breathing room. But if the Greeks have managed to stave off ruin for a few more minutes, nothing has essentially changed in their situation: Their economy is still in shambles. The burning question on most observers’ minds, and rightfully so, is whether the Greeks will ever manage to pay back their debts. But at this stage, it’s also worth considering how we ended up on the precipice of such catastrophe at all.
Does Romney Have a 'Southern Problem'?
March 07, 2012
After just barely pulling out a win in Ohio, Mitt Romney has “won Super Tuesday” by most media accounts. But even with his successes (wins in Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Idaho, and a decent shot in Alaska), you’ll likely hear some people echo a recent claim by Newt Gingrich: that Romney can’t be confident of the nomination if he can’t win anywhere in the South. This concern didn’t suddenly present itself: Mitt’s first real stumble in the race, of course, was in South Carolina, where he got righteously stomped by Newt.
Race to the Bottom
February 08, 2012
Back in the 1940s, when there was no pretense of equality among the races and, instead, a benign acceptance—if not, among some, a certainty—that inequality was in fact the way things should be, my mother, then a college student, journeyed 200 miles from her family’s home in north Georgia, through the slash pines and wiregrass, to teach in a one-room schoolhouse in a settlement called Keysville.