Good-Bye to the Big Man
June 25, 2011
In the dozens and dozens of shows by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band that I’ve seen since the early 1970s, when I was a kid in New Jersey and Springsteen was, too, I’ve found something comforting—and something discomforting—in Clarence Clemons’s presence on stage.
June 23, 2011
Transgender people are some of the least protected, most persecuted people in the United States.
Jon Huntsman at Liberty Park: The Next Wesley Clark?
June 22, 2011
Jersey City, New Jersey—With his voice firm as he disdained a Teleprompter for a printed speech text, with the shock of prematurely white hair at his temples giving him statesmanlike gravity, with the Statue of Liberty looming over his left shoulder in an advanceman’s fantasy (inspiration provided by the late Michael Deaver, Ronald Reagan’s imagemaker), 51-year-old Jon Huntsman declared his candidacy for president Tuesday less than two months after he stepped down as Barack Obama’s ambassador to China. While the pyrotechnics accompanying the presidential rollout were impressive (two dozen TV
Riding the Huntsman Bus to Nowhere
June 22, 2011
They rolled out of Washington in the dead of night. But the Huntsman bus was wide-awake. A group of around 50 young Jon Huntsman supporters had hit the road, heading up to Liberty State Park, New Jersey, to see the former ambassador announce his dark-horse candidacy. Like the campaign itself, the pilgrimage had been cobbled together at the last minute. The young volunteers had gotten word only a few days in advance and had scrambled to fill buses from D.C. and Philadelphia. Stephen, a Huntsman organizer with a Utah basketball jersey draped over his button-down, handed out bagels.
June 22, 2011
Partisans have a general habit of insisting that their side would do better if only their leaders would give more strident speeches. Witness liberals during the health care debate demanding that President Obama mind-meld conservative Democrats into supporting the public option, or the Republicans who fervently believe that just a few more addresses by Paul Ryan can sell the public on his plan to slash the most cherished program in the United States so as to pay for unpopular tax cuts for the affluent. It’s usually a fantasy of escaping inescapable political constraints.
The 2012 GOP Race: The Men Behind the Men (and Woman)
June 17, 2011
As the GOP presidential nominating process begins to take shape, behind each candidate there emerges a cadre of consultants, managers, and strategists, some more prominent than others. And while we might not know for sure what kind of campaign each candidate plans to wage, we know a thing or two about the history of their more famous staffers.
Under the Radar
June 09, 2011
The drab Amtrak depot in Detroit, Michigan, was recently the venue for a truly surreal scene: A Republican governor accepted—gratefully—a check from the Obama administration. This was not just any federal funding, either, but $200 million for that most Europhiliac of abominations: passenger rail. Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich, and Florida’s Rick Scott had all rejected the money. But here was Rick Snyder, the state’s new Republican governor, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Carl Levin, John Conyers, and John Dingell, beaming genially and brandishing a giant check.
The Real McCoy
June 07, 2011
For a political party that seems to derive its ideology from Ayn Rand’s embrace of heedless ambition, the Republicans are going through an unexpected Ferdinand the Bull phase. Many of the GOP’s top presidential prospects prefer smelling the flowers—or taking a New Jersey state helicopter to a son’s baseball game—to becoming Teddy Roosevelt’s man in the arena, scrapping for every vote in the Iowa caucuses. And while Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty long for the roar of the crowd, Republican voters are caught up in the allure of the non-combatant.
The Forgotten Governors
June 02, 2011
In a normal world, Republicans would look at Mitt Romney, who is announcing his second run for their party’s presidential nomination today, as a sterling example of one of their party’s greatest success stories since the Reagan era. Unfortunately, it’s that very success that his party seems to have willfully forgotten—and the thing that’s most likely to doom Romney’s candidacy. The problem is much bigger than Romney’s health care reform in Massachusetts.
GOP Primary Roundup
June 01, 2011
First Read says that attention must be paid to a Chris Christie presidential candidacy: *** Pay more attention to Christie: Forget about Sarah Palin’s "dinner" last night with Donald Trump, one of whom isn’t running for president and the other of whom probably won’t run, either. The more important dinner -- at least as far as the “summer of speculation” goes -- took place across the river in New Jersey, where Gov. Chris Christie (R) met with Iowa Republican donors.