The Plank

Jingo Bells

I've written recently about the Weekly Standard's descent into jingoism. Jingoism, of course, is a term for mindless, demagogic belligerence, and it has its roots in a 19th Century British pub song:

We don't want to fight but by Jingo if we do, We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too.

What Women Want?

The hiring of Katie Couric as anchor of the CBS Evening News stands as one of the most visible testaments to the decline of American journalism (not that her predecessor Dan Rather was great shakes). J.P. Freire has an excellent article in Brainwash explaining why this is so. Couric's recent trip to Iraq, Freire writes, "is a PR stunt aimed to gin up credentials for an anchor who isn't taken seriously as a reporter. Creating a peaceful Iraq seems like cakewalk by comparison."

The Liberation Of John Warner?

Virginia Republican Senator John Warner is backing away from the Webb amendment, the Democrats' best chance to send a real change in Iraq policy to Bush's desk.

Being There

From today's Times:

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 18--Michael Wolkomir would not consider his vacation, which included 10 days' sightseeing in California, complete until on his way home he posed in front of what is now known as the Larry Craig bathroom at the airport here....

Bad Influence

This magazine has lambasted Montana Senator Max Baucus on more than one occasion.

Reading Reid's Tea Leaves

Is anyone else having trouble understanding what is going on inside Harry Reid's head? A couple of weeks ago, he vowed to take a new tack and work more closely with Republicans on compromise Iraq legislation this fall, but today there's this:

It's The Swing Voters, Stupid

Republican eminences like Newt Gingrich and Ken Mehlman are in The Washington Post this morning, bemoaning their presidential field's refusal to show up for a variety of forums sponsored by and/or targeting minority voters.

Obama And "the Game"

Having "rocked the house" at SEIU Monday, Barack Obama put on another pumped-up performace at a rally in downtown Washington yesterday evening. It included a strikingly pointed riff that I didn't hear in Iowa last week, and which an aide tells me is a relatively new addition to his stump speech.

In it, Obama acknowledges that people who hear him talk about the politics of hope and transforming the culture of Washington may be thinking:

Obama's Sharper Edges

I dunno, Mike. I concede that Obama is trying to sharpen his stump speech. But "people who think politics is a game" still strikes me as incredibly vague and abstract, at least if the audience is the average primary voter. Now maybe the hope is that people like us will pick up on it and make the connection in our coverage. (If so, then mission accomplished, I guess.) But at some point I think Obama's going to have to go right down the middle of the lane instead of settling for nifty bankshots.