Person Communication

Insight And Inside News About Hillary And Her Boss
July 16, 2009

I've blogged twice in the last few days about Hillary and her fraught state. No, I don't mean her injured elbow, although I'm sure it gives her both pain and political cover. The fact is, though, that being sidelined a bit is not bad for her career. The foreign policy embarrassments of the Obama administration so far cannot possibly be attributed to her. There's a fascinating (and to me seemingly scrupulous) article by Mark Landler putting Mrs. Clinton's ups and downs into perspective.

The World is Bumpy
July 15, 2009

On innumerable trips to Singapore over the past decade, I always made sure to stop by the Old Tanglin Officers' Mess, the city-state's version of the State Department. There, amid a street of gleaming colonial-style buildings and perfectly trimmed tropical foliage, the best diplomats in Asia--fluent English- speakers with a staggering command of regional politics and sharply tailored suits--would entertain me at the after-work bar.

Persian Puzzlement
July 15, 2009

About ten days after the start of Iran's insurrection, I asked a senior administration official what, if anything, the White House knew about the people behind the demonstrations. His reply: "I think it is fair to say senior administration officials are busily trying to understand how the opposition is generated and where it came from." In other words, there's a lot about the protesters we still don't know. True, Mir Hossein Mousavi and the people directly surrounding him are known quantities in the U.S. intelligence community.

So Long, Sarah
July 06, 2009

Sarah Palin will leave the Juneau gubernatorial mansion of Alaska on July 26.  Forever.  She will not miss the Russian mainland.  She could never have seen it from Juneau anyhow. God willing, it is Palin's adieu to the political life.  But maybe not.  In which case, the Republican Party will again be tested internally as to whether its penchant for nutcases will override its lingering instincts as a political institution.   The greatest mistake John McCain ever made was to choose Palin as his running mate.

Harry Reid, Not Very Pugilistic Ex-boxer
July 02, 2009

As everyone's heard by now, the House climate and energy bill passed last week by a narrow 219-212 margin. And by all accounts, Nancy Pelosi's arm-twisting skills were one major reason the controversial bill eked through, as she worked overtime exhorting colleagues to vote for the thing. Here's a typical anecdote from Politico: One of Pelosi's first targets was Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), a key fence-sitter who wanted more money generated from the carbon trading to be directed to the research and development of green technology. Pelosi talked to him again and again, but he wouldn't budge.

Love Actually
June 27, 2009

"I never figured Sanford for anything like this," mused one of the governor’s constituents in The New York Times this week. Mark Sanford’s friends are aghast. His neighbors shake their heads. His community simply could not see it coming. The Internet is in convulsions: Who would have thought Sanford capable of this? Give it a rest. The man didn’t commit murder here. He’s in love. Anarchic, hurtful, but seemingly true love. Governor Sanford of South Carolina had what would, under ordinary circumstances, be considered an ideal romantic relationship in the 21st century.

Now We Know
June 17, 2009

Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America By John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev (Yale University Press, 637 pp., $35) If one were trying to define the lowest point in the long and venerable tradition of American anti-communism, surely it came in 2003, with the publication of Ann Coulter's Treason.

What's The Matter With South Carolina, Ctd.
June 16, 2009

Nothing, evidently, that isn't wrong with Tennessee, too. Perhaps eager to keep up with the racist twittering and Facebooking of her GOP brethren to the east, Sherri Goforth, legislative aide for state Senator Diane Black, has joined in the fun, sending out an email bearing this photo montage of the presidents of the United States:   Those white bug-eyes in a sea of black?" Hi-larious. I don't know how they come up with this stuff. Christian Grantham of Nashville is Talking spoke to Ms.

The Morning After: Further Reaction From The Arab World
June 05, 2009

Eric Calderwood is a Ph.D. student at Harvard University. His research focuses on Muslim-Christian relations in the Mediterranean. Yesterday, I rounded up some of the Arab world's reaction to Obama's speech. Many more important news outlets released their assessments this morning.

Jon Kyl, Economic Hitman
June 05, 2009

There's a rather extraordinary passage in today's Times piece on the banking industry's success at killing legislation that would have allowed bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages:   The industry’s worst fears began to come true in early January when Senator Charles E. Schumer announced that he had persuaded Citigroup to endorse the idea. Mr. Schumer had held discussions with Vikram S. Pandit, Citigroup’s chief executive, and Lewis B. Kaden, a vice chairman. Mr.