Political Relationship

The Shah of Venezuela
April 01, 2009

The ideas that keep Hugo Chavez in power.

Stayin' Alive
April 01, 2009

In early January, most of Barack Obama's senior staff assembled with the president-elect for a meeting inside a windowless, eighth-floor office at the transition headquarters in Washington. It was a pivotal moment in Obama's transformation from candidate to commander-in-chief. Obama's advisers had taken all of his campaign pledges, factored in his promise to reduce the deficit, and put together a provisional blueprint for governing.

The Black Widower
March 18, 2009

Last fall, during Asif Ali Zardari's first foreign trip as head of state, the Pakistani president met with Sarah Palin in New York City. The meeting occurred amid Palin's other campaign cameos with U.S.-friendly world leaders, most of whom could manage little more than an awkward grimace amid the onslaught of flashbulbs. (Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo reportedly flat-out refused to meet her.) But Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto and oft-described playboy, looked delighted as he greeted--and then charmed--the vice-presidential candidate.

The Mandate Debate, Revisited.
February 24, 2009

"It will cover everybody. And I don't see how you cover everybody without an individual mandate." That's a senior administration official talking about Obama's vision for health care reform, as quoted by Ezra Klein over at his blog. And it's an important statement to get into print.

More Reasons Why Bredesen Is A Bad, Bad Idea
February 05, 2009

Marc Ambinder is reporting that Phil Bredesen is a serious candidate to become Secretary of Health and Human Services. Various stories around town have him being vetted or emerging as one of two finalists, although my sources for that are all second-hand, so make of that information what you will. As I wrote yesterday, Bredesen seems like a particularly poor candidate for the job. He presided over massive cuts to Tennessee's Medicaid program and, by all appearances, relished fighting with advocates for the poor more than the advocates of the cuts.

Mccain's Little, Jolly Band Of Mavericks
January 23, 2009

Take note of one certain passage in this morning's Post story on the return of Maverick McCain: The surest sign of McCain's return to his "maverick" ways came when he caught wind of an effort by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) to delay Clinton's confirmation vote by a day, pushing it from Tuesday to Wednesday because he was seeking greater disclosure about foreign donors to former president Bill Clinton's charitable foundation.

One Man's Quest To Become Even Less Funny
January 10, 2009

See if you can guess the author of the following paragraph, which kicks off this week's Weekly Standard cover story, entitled 'A New Circus Comes to Town.' Is it too soon to talk about the failed Obama presidency just because Obama isn't president yet? That depends upon how quickly Barack Obama is able to apply the lessons he's learned from Management Secrets of the Illinois Governors. So far he's not doing very well.

Blago: Don't "lynch" Me!
December 30, 2008

His extraordinary press conference this afternoon seems to reveal a plan to use the politics of race in his defense. "Don't lynch the appointor," he could be heard calling out to reporters after he left the podium. Bonus weirdness: An impassioned, racially-centered plea for the Burris appointment from Obama's old Chicago rival, Bobby Rush. --Michael Crowley

Obama's Relationship With Emil Jones--it's, Uh, Complicated
December 10, 2008

Besides worsening his own legal problems, one of the things Rod Blagojevich accomplished when he (allegedly) shopped around Barack Obama's Senate seat was to highlight the president elect's relationship with Emil Jones, the outgoing president of the Illinois state senate. As it happens, Jones figures into the scandal in several ways. He was initially rumored to be "Senate Candidate 5," the lone potential Senate appointee who bargained with Blago. Yesterday Jones announced his support for legislation that would mandate a special election to fill the seat.

Getting To Know Eric Shinseki
December 08, 2008

NAME: Eric Shinseki AGE: 66 NEW APPOINTMENT: Secretary of Veterans Affairs OTHER TOP POSITIONS: Chief of Staff of the Army (1999-2003); Commander of the NATO Stabilization force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. KNOWN FOR: Testifying before Congress (pictured to the left) in February 2003 that hundreds of thousands of troops would be needed in Iraq. "[It] takes a significant ground force presence to maintain a safe and secure environment, to ensure that people are fed, that water is distributed, all the normal responsibilities that go along with administering a situation like this," he testified.