Wal-mart V. Slum Lord
January 21, 2008

To me an exchange like that works in Hillary's favor. Most people are already inclined to see Hillary as a complex and flawed figure. But--not to sound like a red-faced Bill Clinton here--I do think a lot of Obama supporters haven't had much exposure to some of the tougher critiques against him.

Does Obamamania Divert Us From The Problems Of Race?
January 13, 2008

I take David Greenberg's point that Obama's election wouldn't in itself do much to solve a number of the problems facing African Americans. I also concede that some white liberals are positively delusional about what an Obama victory could bring in terms of racial reconciliation. But Greenberg comes pretty close to arguing that Obama would actually set back the cause of racial progress, or at least of solving the public policy challenges race presents, which seems pretty off-the-mark to me.

Mitt Romney: Senator-killer Killer
January 08, 2008

I can't dispute what Jason is seeing with his own eyes, but, like my Republican idol Mitt Romney, I wish we could have a discussion about issues and not about personal attacks... Seriously, I think Jason is right--Romney is probably going to lose today, and that will most likely be it for his campaign.

Bill Clinton Unleashed
January 07, 2008

From the NY Sun: Just hours after his wife got choked up on the campaign trail, President Clinton showed anger and frustration as he complained that the press has given a free pass to the nascent front-runner in the Democratic presidential contest, Senator Obama of Illinois. "It is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, enumerating the years, and never got asked one time--not once, 'Well, how could you say that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution?

Who's Got More Blue-collar Appeal, Hillary Or Obama?
January 02, 2008

I'm crashing on a web piece for tomorrow, so I can't get too bogged down in this, but I did want to briefly wade into the debate Jon Chait and Jonathan Cohn are having about who'll do a better job attracting swing voters--and, relatedly, the working class. Jonathan cites a piece I wrote earlier this year about how Hillary has an edge among blue-collar voters because in some respects they value experience--particularly the ethos of waiting one's turn--more than white collar voters do. I still think this is true (though I took a lot of flak for it in the blogosphere at the time).

How Is Obama Like Dick Cheney And Fred Thompson?
December 10, 2007

He's got Stephen Hayes's love. I think Hayes's cover story on Obama in the new Weekly Standard is a pretty fascinating document--mainly because it's such a puff job. Indeed, from the gushing (and by now familiar) recitation of Obama's life story to the laudatory quotes from Obama supporters, Hayes--aka Dick Cheney's biographer and Fred Thompson's cheerleader--has nary a negative word to write about the Illinois Senator. Maybe Hayes just has a soft spot for Obama because he's related to Cheney, but I think his fondness for Obama is better explained by this passage from his piece.

Making Sense Of Hillary's Attacks
December 05, 2007

Over at the Real Clear Politics blog, Steven Stark lays out a theory I've heard batted around a bit over the last few days, about why Hillary might have decided to unload on Obama. Stark writes: Clinton would much rather face John Edwards in the later primaries than Obama. It's true that in a three-way race, attacks usually hurt both the attacker and attackee, benefiting a third candidate.

Is Obama Really More 'electable' Than Hillary?
December 03, 2007

Frank Rich certainly thinks so. Andrew Sullivan does, too. As for me, I'm not so sure. The crux of Rich's argument seems to be that Obama (unlike Clinton) disarms conservatives--pointing to the kind words people like Peggy Noonan and Rich Lowry have had for him--and that Obama's race would actually be an advantage in a general election campaign, in that it would prompt the GOP to engage in their cynical brand of racial politics, which in turn would drive white swing voters into the Democrats' corner. I hope those two things are true, but color me unconvinced for the moment.

Is Obama "setting Back" Health Reform?
November 28, 2007

Universal health care champion Ezra Klein hammers Obama for his non-universal health care plan, saying Obama is actually "setting back the cause of reform" with a plan that doesn't include mandates. Ezra's beef is partly policy-based. But it's also partly that Obama is making a huge political error. You'll lose support on the left, won't gain any on the right, and will give opponents an easy way to attack your plan. "We're spending all this and we're still leaving 20 million uninsured? Typical liberal efficiency, I guess." Ezra spends more time thinking about health care politics than I do.

No Panicking In Obama-land
October 30, 2007

Howard Fineman has a web item in Newsweek suggesting that, contrary to the buzz surrounding that Times Obama piece this weekend, there really isn't a sense of panic in the Obama camp, and that Obama doesn't feel like he has to make some game-changing move in tonight's debate. For what it's worth, I spoke to a top Obama fundraiser earlier today who basically made the same point. This person told me that Obama's top money men split into two camps when they gathered in Des Moines three weeks ago for a meeting of the campaign's national finance committee.