The Plank

Newt's Handicapping

Granted, Newt has a vested interest in dumping on the current crop of GOP presidential candidates. But I think the critique of the Republican field that he gave to National Journal is pretty smart:

Like Britney, Bush Is A Flop

On Sunday night, it seemed pretty clear that Britney Spears' performance at the MTV awards ceremony was the biggest prime-time fiasco of the week. Then came Thursday night and President Bush's Oval Office address on Iraq. At first blush, coverage of the white trash kid turned tabloid fodder and the rich kid turned good ol' boy would seem to have little in common (besides, of course, the four years of high-profile futility that followed the respective 2003 triumphs of Spears' In the Zone album and Bush's "Mission Accomplished" speech).

Obama's Iraq Week

Obama's swing through Iowa was all about Iraq. After delivering his initial address in Clinton, he held four town hall-style forums in the eastern part of the state. Before taking questions he opened each event with a 15-minute condensation of his Wednesday Iraq speech. His campaign also distributed Iraq-specific campaign brochures to supporters.

Great Minds

Jonathan Chait and SEIU president Andy Stern, who tells Bloomberg his union is leaning towards John Edwards, and also

Obama's Iraq Hurdle

The Post's Chris Cilizza identifies an essential challenge facing Obama:

Turnabout Is Fair Play

Remember when the Club for Growth ran ads making ridiculous assertions about the number of times John Kerry had voted for higher taxes? It turns out two can play at that game, and now the Club for Growth is none too happy about it. On its anti-Mike Huckabee website,, it takes issue with Huckabee's claim to have cut taxes 94 times:

The View From Iowa

Lead story in today's Quad-City Times:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama proposed Wendesday that the United States begin withdrawing troops from Iraq immediately, but the pace at which he would complete the job prompted some of his rivals to claim he wasn't moving fast enough.

--Michael Crowley

Have A Donut, Big Daddy

Since she's not a conservative, Gail Collins's column slapping Fred Thompson in today's Times is unlikely to pack the same punch as either George Will's or the generally Fred-friendly

The 'huffington' Plagiarist

Several months ago, I published an essay in Azure, the quarterly journal of Israel's Shalem Center, about South Africa's troubling foreign policies. You can read it here.