Keep It Clean
March 26, 2008

To the already too long list of Hillary Clinton’s enemies and foes, it is time to add another entry: math. Simply put, it is almost mathematically impossible that, between now and the final Democratic presidential contest—the Puerto Rico caucus on June 7—she will be able to overcome Barack Obama’s lead in pledged delegates. Even the most pro-Hillary scenarios of how the next three months play out—with her sweeping the remaining 12 contests, including a 20-point blowout win in delegate-rich Pennsylvania—still result in her trailing Obama by more than 50 pledged delegates.

More Straight Talk From Ed Rendell
March 14, 2008

What I love about Ed Rendell is not just that he's constantly off-message, but that he's off-message in constantly changing ways. Last month the Pennsylvania governor and Hillary supporter implied that a black candidate would start off at a five-point disadvantage in his state because "there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American." Yesterday he argued, contra the Clinton campaign, that Obama would have a pretty good shot at beating McCain in Pennsylvania. Now, I'm not saying these two observations are contradictory.

Good News For Obama: Hillary's Killing Him In Pennsylvania. (seriously.)
March 13, 2008

I'd love to see the crosstabs for this Pennsylvania poll, but, just looking at the top-line numbers, it strikes me as pretty good news for Obama. It's not so much that he's down three points in a hypothetical match-up with McCain, which is better than Hillary's six-point deficit but still not great. And it's certainly not that he's down 18 points to Hillary in the upcoming primary, which isn't going to impress anybody.

Is Obama Serious About Pennsylvania?
March 10, 2008

This piece in Saturday's Washington Post says Obama won't necessarily be going all out in Pennsylvania: With Pennsylvania looming, Obama has few good options. Some advisers say he should stick to a plan, hatched before Tuesday's defeats, to spend some time in the next weeks traveling to Europe, Israel and Asia to bolster his credentials for the general election. But if he cedes the state completely, he destroys his strategy of winning big in the small states and staying close in the big ones. Axelrod and other Obama aides said they have learned their lesson from Tuesday.

Race Man
February 27, 2008

After several weeks of swooning, news reports are finally being filed about the gap between Senator Barack Obama’s promises of a pure, soul-cleansing “new” politics and the calculated, deeply dishonest conduct of his actually-existing campaign.

Putsch in Hillaryland
February 13, 2008

The morning after is never pretty. In the wake of defeat in the Iowa caucus, it was a sad and sorry Team Hillary that assembled for a conference call with the candidate. Campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle, in transit back to Washington, was absent. Top strategist Mark Penn was dazed and subdued, waiting for the candidate to come on the line. When she did, Hillary gave a brief greeting making clear that there would be no navel-gazing and that she was ready to look ahead, according to a participant in the call who was already on the ground in New Hampshire (desperately seeking guidance).

The Most Mysterious Right
November 18, 2007

Out of Range by Mark V. Tushnet (Oxford University Press, 156 pp., $19.95) In 1991, Warren E.

Alone Together
February 12, 2007

The Price of Whiteness: Jews, Race, and American Identity By Eric L. Goldstein (Princeton University Press, 307 pp., $29.95) Strangers in the Land: Blacks, Jews, Post-Holocaust America By Eric J. Sundquist (Harvard University Press, 662 pp., $35)   I. IN UNCOUNTED, FLEETING, intimate ways, American Jewish children growing up between Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 lived the changing landscape of Jewish and African American relations. I know I did.

Inside Man
November 15, 2006

On Monday, Nancy Pelosi made an announcement that was buried amid the tumult over the Steny Hoyer-Jack Murtha battle for House majority leader. It was the appointment of Representative Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, to be the head of Pelosi's "transition team" as she assumes the job of House speaker.

Life Forces
October 16, 2006

All the King's Men (Columbia) 49 Up (First Run) Robert Penn Warren was a poet who also wrote novels. His poetry, much of which is lovely, won two Pulitzer Prizes, and he was the first U.S. poet laureate. But today he is probably best remembered for his novels, particularly All the King's Men, which was published in 1946, won a Pulitzer in 1947, was filmed in 1949, and has now been filmed again. To approach this second film with regard for Warren's poetry, which I certainly have, is to sit for two hours in moderate discomfort.