The group blog of The New Republic

August 17, 2007

Looking for another good reason to bring an end to New Hampshire's undue influence over who we elect as president? Meet Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien. From an article in today's Manchester Union-Leader:

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Yes, Hillary Clinton is creaming Barack Obama by 30 points in California and by about 18 points nationally. But Iowa remains more or less a tossup among Clinton, Obama, and John Edwards.

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The Romney-Giuliani slugfest over immigration continues, with the Romney camp accusing Rudy of creating a "virtual amnesty zone" in New York. The real question, though, is what Giuliani thinks about this outrageous instance of Big Apple amnesty.

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The flap over Giuliani's claim that he was at Ground Zero "as often, if not more" often than the rescue workers, and the general emphasis in his campaign on sheer proximity to the disaster, reminds me a lot of dramas that played out on much smaller levels right after the September 11 attacks. For people who didn't actually know anyone who was killed, there was this almost ghoulish premium on "being there," the closer the better ?

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I fully enjoyed the first two Bourne movies but, for whatever reason, they left scant impression on me. If you'd asked me about good action films of the past five years, there's a decent chance I wouldn't have thought of them without prodding. It may be in part that the ridiculous overkill that mars so many blockbusters--the jetliners crashing in midair, the heroes leaping off skyscrapers or shooting off thousands of rounds in slow-motion--simultaneously makes them more memorable than more realistic, low-key fare such as the Bourne films.

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Via Garance, the NYT's Kit Seelye does some fine fact-checking of Karl Rove's smug assertion that Hillary Clinton's negative ratings are too high for her to be elected president. Turns out Bill Clinton was in roughly the same place, approval-wise, in mid-1992. (Isn't Rove supposed to be an all-knowing political genius?

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As long as I'm in movie-blogging mode (don't worry, this will subside considerably once I'm caught up with what's in theatres), I wanted to offer another plug for Once. When I reviewed this winsome, rock-inflected romantic comedy back in June, I assumed it wouldn't be around much longer. Miraculously, it continues to chug quietly along, now entering its 14th week in release and playing in 124 theatres nationwide. Made for a mere $150,000, it's closing in on $7 million in receipts.

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I understand what Matt Yglesias is trying to say here, but it seems like his preference for universal rather than means-tested social programs would just substitute one set of political difficulties for another.

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August 16, 2007

"He's pure 100 percent Texas redneck."

-- Massachusetts Republican Congressional candidate Tom Tierney talking about President Bush during a GOP debate last night. After the debate Tierney said he meant it "as a compliment" and hoped that Bush would campaign for him.

--Jason Zengerle

"It sounds like Mr. Rove and Senator Obama are reading off the same set of talking points."

-- Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer. Stay classy, Hillary!

--Jason Zengerle

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