The group blog of The New Republic

September 21, 2007

You can read in today's New York Times that the little country of Belgium -- which first took its place in my imagination when my high school history teacher called it, thanks to the numerous times other countries' armies stampeded through it, the "screen door of Europe" -- may soon be no more.

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In its "Primary Sources" section, The Atlantic points to a July Pew poll about marriage and parenting. The finding that most fascinates The Atlantic and that seems of particular concern to the folks at Pew is the fact that only 41% of Americans regard having children as key to a successful marriage, behind seven other factors including "Faithfulness," "Happy Sexual Relationship," "Sharing Household Chores," and "Good Income."

The survey's executive summary notes:

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There was a telling moment during John McCain's speech to the NRA this morning. From the Chicago Tribune:

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, I completely agree with Michelle's take on the presumed conflict Pew finds between Americans overwhelmingly thinking that unwed parenting is a problem, yet increasingly believing children aren't necessary for a happy marriage.

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If you think the last two years have been a rough time for Alberto Gonzales, check out what's happened to a different Alberto: former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori. First, his poorly-thought-out scheme to return from exile and run in Peru's 2006 presidential election ran into trouble when he was arrested by Chilean authorities while en route to Peru and later placed under house arrest.

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At an early Republican debate John McCain's rivals tweaked his past alliances with liberals by referring to the "McCain-Feingold" (campaign finance) and "McCain-Kennedy" (immigration) bills.

Now, via camp Romney, comes the "McCain-Feingold-Thompson" soundbite. Fred did have a substantial hand in that bill, too.

--Michael Crowley

I went to Rudy Giuliani's speech at the NRA's "Celebration of American Values" in Washington today and found his pitch to be pretty shrewd. The heart of Giuliani's case was that he and the NRA faithful share a similar set of, well, values, even if they operationalize them in different ways. Giuliani dwelled on how his work as mayor and U.S. attorney focused mostly on fighting crime and restoring order, which was similar to the rationale a lot of the more orthodox speakers offered up in defense of gun ownership.

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The sputtering Thompson rollout--sounds like his fundraising will disappoint, among other things--summarized by Politico's Mike Allen.

It seems the GOP could use a savior to save it from the savior. I'm reminded of this great old Monty Python sketch, which I was delighted to discover on YouTube. After Thompson, who will be the next GOP milkman?:

--Michael Crowley

September 20, 2007

"He's like a force of nature.... I don't even pretend to be that. That's not who I am." --Hillary Clinton, on her husband, in the AP.

--Michael Crowley

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