The group blog of The New Republic

August 17, 2007

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

Look at the list of retirements and rumored retirements, and you'll see the makings of a Democratic year in 2008. Today, Columbus, Ohio Congresswomen Deborah Pryce is expected to announce her retirement. Pryce's Columbus district has been moving Democratic for a decade. George W. Bush barely edged out Kerry in the district in 2004, and Pryce defeated challenger Mary Jo Kilroy by only 1055 votes last November.

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For those who may have missed it, Cheney hagiographer Stephen Hayes was back on the job in yesterday's Wall Street Journal:

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Far be it from me to get in the way of anybody ridiculing Stephen Hayes for his worshipful treatment of Dick Cheney, as Chris does below. But I think Hayes might actually have a shred of a point when he argues that Cheney's "low poll numbers are the result of his low profile."

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As part of my shift away from writing about DVD releases, I've been catching up with a number of movies still in theatres. Over the next several days, I thought I'd share quick thoughts on a few of them, rather than wait for them to come out on video. (My full review of Superbad, which opens tomorrow, is here.)

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Nancy Franklin, from last week's New Yorker:

Lifetime has always gone after a demographic that is largely ignored--no, actively shunned--by other networks: older women.

Sorry, but has Franklin ever turned on a television?

--Isaac Chotiner

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