The group blog of The New Republic

September 26, 2013

This past Monday The New York Times ran a front-page story by Javier C. Hernández called "Possible Mayor Now, But Then a Young Leftist," about your activist years in the 1980s and early '90s. The story does seem to have caused a stir, and this is partly because of the dread word "socialist."

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For weeks, if not months, last year I had “Lay my Burden Down,” a song sung by Alison Krauss playing between my ears. Often I would wake up to it.  It is a beautiful song about facing death. It begins: 

Gonna lay my burden down Gonna lay my body in the ground Cold clay against my skin But I don't care at all

The two stanzas that I liked the most were:

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This afternoon, Politico reported that Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat who attracted national attention for filibustering a bill restricting access to abortion, will run for governor in 2014. A Davis candidacy will surely thrill Democrats and reignite dreams of turning the Lone Star state “blue,” but don’t kid yourself: Davis is doomed.

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In a strange and unconvincing essay in The New Yorker, Lee Siegel, who made his name as a slashing and smart critic (for a time at The New Republic), writes that he is through with negative book reviews. He mentions a Clive James essay from several months back which lamented the lack of nasty reviews in American publications.

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For his 21-hour floor speech decrying Obamacare, Ted Cruz is catching heat from a lot of his fellow Republicans. In the Senate, they disdain his not-quite-filibuster as grandstanding.

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Something pretty remarkable happened Thursday morning in Ohio: Two businessmen were charged with serious violations of federal campaign finance law. That doesn’t happen so much these days, what with the United States Supreme Court eviscerating limits on campaign giving and spending and with the Federal Election Commission in a state of permanent dysfunction.

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September 25, 2013

What the hell is John Boehner thinking? I don’t mean that strictly in a rhetorical sense, though it’s hard not to slap your head when you see the most powerful Republican in the country lurching from one cockamamie strategy to another. I mean it quite literally: What is Boehner’s personal calculation when it comes to navigating the various challenges—potential government shutdown, potential debt default, lunatic Republican caucus—he faces over the next few weeks?

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In the last several weeks, people have started to question the supposed inevitability of Hillary Clinton as the next Democratic presidential nominee. First, Bill de Blasio won the New York mayoral primary, which appeared to signal rising anxiety about income inequality.

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It’s a few weeks before the Wikileaks drama The Fifth Estate goes into wide release, but the film is already making news. Last week, Wikileaks leaked a version of the script along with an internal memo calling the film “irresponsible, counterproductive and harmful,” and contesting its depiction of the organization.

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In Barack Obama’s speech to the United Nations yesterday, he expressed his willingness to settle American differences with Iran over its nuclear program through negotiations. “America,” Obama said, “prefers to resolve our concerns over Iran’s nuclear program peacefully, but ... we are determined to prevent them from developing a nuclear weapon.

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