June 14, 2008

Gore Vidal, All Over The Place
12:00 AM

In his interview with Deborah Solomon for The New York Times Magazine, Gore Vidal, after being asked whether he likes Normal Mailer's fiction, responds, "Oh, dear, we’re not going to go into pluses and minuses now." Alas, it is hard to read this extraordinarily colorful interview without separating the good from the bad. To start with the latter: And what about Mr. McCain? Disaster. Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside from himself? About his suffering in the prison war camp? Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

June 13, 2008

Flight of Fancy
12:00 AM

Israel has been rather busy over the past 60 years establishing the basics of a nation-state, so it's understandable that the country has taken until May 29 of this year to indulge in one of nation-statehood's finest luxuries: Choosing a national bird. One man was unwilling to let the country go on without the requisite mascot. Yossi Leshem, a wild-haired ornithologist from Israel’s International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun, orchestrated the national campaign with his colleague Dan Alon.

Plotting The Way Forward

With the primary race finally wrapped up, we asked Jonathan Chait, Lakshmi Chaudhry, William Galston, and Ed Kilgore to consider the type of campaign Barack Obama should run against John McCain. Here's what they said. Jonathan Chait is senior editor of The New Republic.How should Barack Obama run? Here are some sub-themes I would suggest he emphasize:1. Embrace class-based affirmative action. This one is a winner all around.

Webb of Deception
12:00 AM

I am amazed at how many Democrats have fallen for Jim Webb. Suddenly, everywhere you look, people are touting Webb as the perfect running mate for Barack Obama. In recent days, as Webb has seemed ubiquitous (hawking his book, bantering with Jon Stewart, grinning at Obama's side), a sizeable number of my otherwise sane friends, family, and colleagues have told me that they view Webb as a perfectly acceptable choice--or, more disturbingly, a good one. This madness has to stop. Now.

"one Of The Worst Decisions In The History Of This Country"
12:00 AM

When the Boumediene decision was handed down yesterday, John McCain pronounced himself mildly skeptical, but said, "[I]t is a decision that the Supreme Court has made. Now we need to move forward. As you know, I always favored closing Guant

Why The Jason Furman Hire Confuses People
12:00 AM

Apropos of John Judis's post on Jason Furman, and a lot of other commentary in that vein, it's not at all clear that Furman is to the right of the economists Obama has been relying on for advice. As Ezra Klein points out, he's certainly not to the right of Austan Goolsbee, who'd previously been (and basically still is) Obama's leading economic adviser.

June 12, 2008

The Numbers Crunch
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- At the moment, Barack Obama is winning a smaller share of Democrats than John Kerry did on Election Day four years ago. Yet Obama is beating John McCain by six points in the latest Gallup Poll.

Let the Attack Ads Roll!
12:00 AM

Remember the swift boat commercials against John Kerry? Or the anti-Obama "Willie Horton" ad that ran in North Carolina during April? They were all funded by 527s.

More On Obama's Lead
12:00 AM

I wrote a blog post last night analyzing the state of the race, and arguing not only that Barack Obama is in a strong position to win, but that the foreseeable big events of the campaign are likely to favor him. John Judis, not for the first time, is skeptical, pointing to a June 2004 poll showing John Kerry leading George W. Bush. "It's important not to draw firm conclusions from these early polls," he writes. But the partisan landscape is vastly more favorable to the Democrats right now than 2004.

Jason Furman Is Not The Problem
12:00 AM

I'm all in favor of unions and other voices of the left making themselves heard when it comes to the substantive priorities of the Obama campaign and someday (should things go well in November) the Obama administration. But making a fuss over the appointment of economist Jason Furman, because of his association with centrist Democratic economics, seems not the best excuse to do it.