Person Relation

What Would Irving Kristol Think of Sarah Palin?
September 18, 2009

Alan Wolfe is a TNR contributing editor and professor of political science at Boston College. One reason to lament the passing of Irving Kristol is that we will never know what this acerbic and witty critic of the New Left’s most romantic and hare-brained ideas really thought of the even more preposterously absurd thoughts of the contemporary conservatism that Kristol himself did so much to launch.

Stop the Tax-Vetting Madness
September 11, 2009

Now this is getting ridiculous. From the Journal: President Barack Obama's nominee for the top international post at the Treasury Department has been sidetracked by a Senate committee's investigation into her personal tax returns. Lael Brainard, nominated in March as Undersecretary for International Affairs, is the latest Obama appointee to be tripped up by the Senate Finance Committee. Of particular concern is Ms.

Hell on Wheels
September 10, 2009

At around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, a few supporters and television cameras gathered near the Capitol to watch as two burly men unloaded 1.3 million signatures on 61,000 pages of paper from an ambulance onto a stretcher. The stretcher was wheeled over to a small stage stuffed with Republican congressmen and conservative talk radio hosts.

Why Health Reform Matters: Some Personal Illustrations
September 09, 2009

Want a hint about what the president will say tonight? Check out the guest list for the First Lady's box, which the White House just published.

It's All About Affordability
September 08, 2009

The plan Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus distributed to the Gang of Six is now available via various sources, including TNR.COM. And, generally speaking, it looks like the summaries that were circulating over the weekend. It's not as good as it could be, but better than it might have been, given earlier drafts. Off the bat, though, one section caught my attention--and not in a good way.

His Father's Son
August 28, 2009

Of all the politicians I’ve encountered in the course of doing my job, there have been some that I’ve admired and some that I’ve loathed. But there’s only one politician I’ve ever pitied, and that’s Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy. I met Kennedy three summers ago when I was reporting a profile of Newt Gingrich and both politicians were giving speeches to a business conference in Newport, Rhode Island. Although I was there to hear Gingrich’s talk, it was Kennedy’s that made the bigger impression, if only because it was so bad.

Do GOP Senators Dream of Electric Sheep?
August 25, 2009

At the risk of extending a ghoulish conversation, I think Noam might be overestimating the humanity of Republican Senators when he concludes that it was a tactical mistake for Ted Kennedy to try to guarantee that his seat isn’t vacant for any period of time should he die in office:   If Kennedy were to pass away in the next few months, the Senate math on any health care vote would almost certainly get easier, not harder.

Does It Matter Who Succeeds Ted Kennedy?
August 23, 2009

I know this is kind of a gruesome exercise, but since Sen. Kennedy himself initiated the discussion, I think it's within bounds to think through the political implications of his possible death in the next few months. Simply put, last week's proposal--having the Massachusetts governor appoint a caretaker senator until a special election could be held five months hence--was a tactical mistake. Why? Pretty much everyone assumes Kennedy's major concern is health care.

Chic Radical
August 21, 2009

It's a rare musician who requires a biography devoted solely to his or her political activities. But as Barry Seldes shows in Leonard Bernstein: The Political Life of an American Musician, Bernstein is one of those exceptional cases. For his entire adult life, Bernstein was perhaps the most famous composer and conductor in America--which is not the same thing as being the best--and he had no qualms about using his artistic fame to advance his political beliefs.

Khamenei vs. Khomeini
August 20, 2009

During his August 3 speech formally endorsing Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned protesters that “by imitation of Ayatollah Khomeini, they cannot deceive people.” Khamenei was mocking the opposition’s claim to be to reviving “the values of Ayatollah Khomeini”--the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Khamenei’s predecessor as Supreme Leader. Ironically, Khamenei made this statement while seated below a large, framed picture of Khomeini. This scene provides a stark illustration of the fact that politics in Iran are largely defined by attempts to claim Khomeini’s legacy.