Political Relationship

The Wrong Counterfactual
June 30, 2008

Jon makes a lot of good points on the subject of whether Barack Obama would be in a stronger position for the general election if the Democratic primary hadn't dragged on so long. There are, of course, rebuttals to many of them: Yes, Obama raised more money than he probably would have otherwise, but he had to spend it running against Hillary Clinton rather than John McCain.

Mccain And Grover Now Officially Simpatico
June 23, 2008

Jonathan Martin flags an interesting tidbit from the new Fortune article on McCain: Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), who has sharply criticized McCain in the past, says now, "I'm happy." Norquist still can't get McCain to sign ATR's no-new-taxes pledge, but he has the next best thing: video of the candidate promising as much on national television, three times.

Where It All Began
June 05, 2008

Today marks forty years since Robert Kennedy was assassinated in a kitchen off a big ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He had just left the cheers of his supporters upon winning the California primary in which Eugene McCarthy and Hubert Humphrey were his opponents. Even though Martin Luther King, Jr. had been assassinated barely two months before, Secret Service protection for presidential candidates did not yet then seem an especially formidable obstacle to mayhem and mischief.

Mccain's "special Interest" Charge
June 04, 2008

I meant to comment on McCain's speech last night but got distracted by that other speech. Anyway, the thing to focus on, as Isaac points out, is the attempt to paint Obama as a captive of special interests. I think there are two reasons for this somewhat counter-intuitive charge: 1.) McCain is simply going at one of Obama's perceived strengths--his reformist credentials--and deflecting attention from his own weaknesses on this front. 2.) McCain is subtly introducing race into the campaign.

Why Olmert Must Go
May 29, 2008

Jerusalem--Forget the envelopes stuffed with dollars being passed to Ehud Olmert by American businessman Morris Talansky. Forget the favors Olmert solicited for Talansky's business interests. Forget that 70 percent of the public thinks he's lying when he insists he took nothing for himself and that the cash was intended only for his election campaigns. Forget the half-dozen other inquiries into Olmert's business dealings that have made him the most investigated prime minister in Israel's history.

Is Mccain Cynical Enough?
May 29, 2008

A few weeks ago I wrote a piece asking whether Obama was cynical enough to win in November. I still don't know the answer to that question, but as we're now a week or two into the semi-official general election campaign, I think it's worth asking another, related question: Is McCain cynical enough to win?

Mccain's Hunting Distortion,cont'd
May 19, 2008

Both the Washington Post and the Associated Press reported this weekend on John McCain's speech before the Naional Rifle Association, where he ridiculed barack Obama for allegedly suggesting that you hunt guns with a six-shooter. The Post reported: During his speech, McCain ridiculed Obama's knowledge of guns and hunting by quoting a recent comment Obama made about using a "six-shooter" in a duck blind.

So The Race Goes On. Don't Have A Conniption.
April 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton's candidacy lives to see another day. And, I'm guessing, Barack Obama's supporters are depressed. They think Obama is all but certain to win the nomination anyway. The longer this campaign continues, they figure, the more damaged for the fall election he will be. I agree that Obama will probably be the nominee. But I'm less convinced this long race will damage his November prospects. Why the dash of optimism?

What Kind Of Veep Would Lieberman Have Been?
April 21, 2008

Yesterday's NYT had an interesting counterfactual article speculating on the potential dysfunctionality of a Gore administration had Gore won in 2000 and Lieberman became veep: Not only have Mr. Gore and Mr. Lieberman staked out diametrically opposite positions on the Iraq war, Mr. Gore went so far as to endorse one of Mr. Lieberman’s presidential rivals in 2004, Howard Dean, largely because of his opposition to the invasion. Mr. Lieberman is campaigning for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona. The two men barely speak. As Mr.

Clintons V. Kerry
April 19, 2008

Tomorrow's Times has an interesting story about Clinton loyalists (of varying degrees) who've defected to Obama--and the hard feelings this has inspired in Hillaryland. My favorite story is the always-fascinating subplot between the Clintons and John Kerry: This tension was neatly distilled in a heated conversation in January between a prominent Clinton supporter and Cameron Kerry, the younger brother of Senator John Kerry, who had just endorsed Mr.