Is the Public Ready for Bold Action?
October 29, 2009

It’s a mistake to put too much weight on the results of any single public opinion survey. That said, Peter Hart and Bill McInturff are an unusually experienced and fair-minded bipartisan team, and I’m inclined to take their work for NBC and the Wall Street Journal seriously. Their latest results offer little encouragement for the president, either political party, or the political system as a whole. Let’s begin with the political system. Trust in government now stands at 23 percent—the lowest level in at least twelve years.

What’s So Funny About Newark?
October 14, 2009

The on-going “Tonight Show”/YouTube feud between Conan O’Brien and Newark Mayor Cory Booker will evidently reach its culmination Friday when Booker appears on the NBC broadcast. In the interim it has spawned a spate of news stories, an “intervention” by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and, earlier this week, was the focus of Bob Herbert’s New York Times op-ed column.  In paraphrasing Conan, Herbert reports that he “threatened to form an alliance with the mayors of nearby municipalities, thus “creating a geographic toilet seat around the city of Newark,” making it possible to flush the ci

Did Hillary Just Rule Out Another White House Run?
October 12, 2009

That seems to be the takeaway from her interview this morning with NBC's Ann Curry, which contained this back and forth, as transcribed by the WaPo's Garance Franke-Ruta (under the hed Hillary Clinton Bids Presidential Hopes Adieu): "Will you ever run for president again? Yes or no," Curry asked. "No," replied Clinton. "No?" Curry followed up. "No. No," Clinton emphasized. "I mean, this is a great job. It is a 24/7 job. And I'm looking forward to retirement at some point." Seems fairly Sherman-esque. Then again, there's that "I mean," which suggests a certain hesitation on Clinton's part.

Community Colleges Hit the Prime Time
September 18, 2009

Last night marked the debut of a new NBC sitcom, “Community.”  Normally these things come and go in my household—and the rest of the nation—without too much notice (remember “Kath and Kim"?  I didn’t think so).  But this one hit close to home, because it’s set at fictional Greendale Community College.  We’ve been working closely on federal policy around community colleges in the past year, and President Obama announced a proposal in July that would make a considerable new investment in the sector, with the goal of graduating 5 million more students by 2020.  Yesterday afternoon, the House pas

Jimmy Carter to the Rescue
September 16, 2009

Not. "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American," Carter told NBC News. "I live in the South, and I've seen the South come a long way, and I've seen the rest of the country that shares the South's attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African-Americans." Carter's contention already CW among a certain segment of Americans (e.g. this Maureen Dowd column).

Kiss and Tell
September 03, 2009

  The May evening was lovely, and the couple couldn’t resist taking a stroll. Dinner had been quite the production--two hours at one of the city’s poshest restaurants. Now, both seemed in need of a little together-time before reentering the loud, bright chaos of kids, pet, and messages from the office. So, rather than head straight into the house, they drifted slowly down their driveway and out into the yard, arms brushing now and again with the easy intimacy of the long married. His collar was undone, and his hands were tucked casually into his pockets.

August 26, 2009

In today's New York Observer, Felix Gillette has a thorough postmortem on "The Wanted," the short-lived and controversial NBC News show I wrote about earlier this month, in my piece about the case of Leopold Munyakazi, a former Goucher College professor accused of participating in the Rwandan genocide.

The Decider
August 12, 2009

On the evening of Saturday, June 13, a day after the Iranian presidential election, Vice President Joe Biden was preparing for an appearance the next morning on NBC's "Meet the Press." Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian incumbent, was already claiming a preposterously large margin of victory, and reformist protesters were clashing with basiij thugs in Tehran. The Obama administration faced a delicate and fluid situation, and it was far from clear what Biden should say. In circumstances like these, the vice president--especially this vice president--could not simply wing it.

August 12, 2009

A professor, a genocide, and NBC's quest for a prime-time hit.

Who's Behind That Obama-as-Hitler Sign? Lyndon Larouche
August 12, 2009

Right-wing protesters aren't the only ones likening Democrats to Nazis for supporting Obamacare. As Josh Marshall notes, a group of LaRouche supporters joined the conservative hecklers who shouted down Representative McGovern last week in Massachusetts, reportedly comparing the congressman to Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele. In fact, the LaRouchies have dubbed their entire campaign, "Stop Obama's Nazi Health Plan," and they have played a central role in disrupting town hall meetings across the country.