The Plank

Dispatch from the Mall: 50 Years After the March on Washington

It was all about the line—the line and the heat. The line was more of a mass, a crowd stretching thick and far from the security gates, where mounted officers patrolled. Everyone was waiting, inching forward, sweating.

This Local Election Could Determine the Future of Gun Control
August 28, 2013 Proxy wars

Angela Giron, one of two Colorado state senators who is up for a recall election on Sept.

In Michigan, a Defeat for the Tea Party—and Victory for Common Sense
August 28, 2013 Obamacare

Obamacare took a big step forward on Tuesday night, when the Michigan Senate approved an expansion of the state’s Medicaid pr

Obama Must Insist on Total Victory Over the GOP
August 28, 2013 Budget Poker

When you’re dealing with loons, you have to throw out the book on negotiating and suppress your conciliatory impulses (ahem, Mr. President). The lunatics will somehow manage to rationalize as victory anything short of total defeat. And so total defeat is what you have to give them.

Rolling Stone Nails Aaron Hernandez—But Misses the NFL

I found two false notes in Rolling Stone’s otherwise excellent, scrupulously reported story on the downfall of former star New England Patriots tight end Aaron H

Are Washington Elites Really Pushing Us Into a War?
August 28, 2013 Syria

In a post for The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf argues that the insularity of Washington commentators h

Bad Arguments against Intervening in Syria
August 28, 2013 Diplomacy

I have learned over the years that if an editor wants to kill one of my stories, he can always find reasons. Similarly, if a foreign policy official wants to reject a policy, he can always find reasons for doing that.

George W. Bush: Bad President, Great Painter
August 28, 2013 Political Art

The votes are in, and it’s official: Denizens of the Internet love that George W. Bush paints, particularly since the paintings he paints appear to be rather good paintings.

Six Liberals' Best Syria Advice for Obama
August 27, 2013 Syria

Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, in a speech at the State Department, said it is “undeniable” that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and called the attack “a moral obscenity.” This leaves President Obama, who in 2012 called chemical weapons a “red line” that would “change my calculus” when it came to dealing with Bashar Assad, with no clear road forward. When I called some liberal heavyweights to ask what the United States can and should do about Syria’s bloody civil war, some told me we’ve left ourselves no choice but to invade, while others stressed that that’s the worst thing we could do. The majority said reaching accord with Russia, Syria’s powerful ally, is our last hope—but none seemed confident that Kerry will succeed at the bargaining table. 

Watch Obama Botch the Debt Negotiations. Again.
August 27, 2013 Budget Poker

There's an easy way for Obama to best the GOP in this fall's fight over the debt-ceiling and the budget. Unfortunately, the White House isn't using it.