Remember Zell Miller? In 2003, he wrote a book, "A National Party No More," assailing Democrats for moving far to the left and eliminating any chance of capturing a national majority. He had a star turn delivering a high profile endorsement speech for George W. Bush at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Then things started to go sort of badly for Bush, and Miller has been laying pretty low. Except that it turns out he's now one of the last holdouts at the Newt Gingrich presidential campaign.
(Join John B. Judis and Richard Just at 1 p.m. on January 20 for a livestream discussion about the Republicans' return.) In 1960, the political scientist Clinton Rossiter began his classic text, Parties and Politics in America, with the following memorable words: “No America without democracy, no democracy without politics, no parties without compromise and moderation.” Rossiter saw U.S.
South Africa's second post-apartheid general election, held several weeks ago, turned into quite an intriguing affair, although you would hardly know it from the American press. The media focused on Nelson Mandela's retirement and his replacement by faithful lieutenant Thabo Mbeki--a story line that fits the fairy-tale narrative into which post-apartheid South Africa is so often shoehorned. But, on the ground, real politics were taking place. In particular, the National Party, the party of F.W. de Klerk and of 50 years of apartheid, collapsed.
Last weekend was the hundredth anniversary of George Gershwin's birth, and, to commemorate the event, while seeking refuge from the obscene cd-rom containing the appendices of the Starr report, I put on the Brooklyn Academy of Music's terrific recording of Gershwin's greatest political operetta, Of Thee I Sing.