April 30, 2008
At her press briefing today, Dana Perino was asked a question about the Pentagon's controversial media outreach strategy, as depicted in the New York Times earlier this month. She had tried to skip over the questioner, but according to the transcript, Helen Thomas essentially yielded the floor to him. Perino offered this unconvincing defense: Look, I didn't know--look, I think that you guys should take a step back and look at this--look, DOD has made a decision, they've decided to stop this program.
From Harry Truman To Howard Dean
Monday, I received a mass email from Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Here's what he wrote: John McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years. He's said it, and it's on tape.But his campaign hates that he was caught. They've viciously attacked anyone who reminded the American people that he said it, including me. They've said that those who reference the 100 years comments are "deliberately misleading voters."So we've taken John McCain's own words -- video of him saying that 100 years would be "fine with me" -- and made a TV ad.
Yesterday, the United Nations Security Council refused to consider sending a fact-finding mission or special envoy to investigate post-election violence or crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe. There has been no shortage of such envoys (the latest being a 9/11 Truther), missions and whatnot for Israel and the Palestinian territories, yet never has the United Nations deigned to consider any sort of involvement in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, land of the 34-year life expectancy.
Mccain's Fragile Candidacy
The piece in today's Times about McCain's tentative rapprochement with the House GOP reminded me again how fragile his candidacy is. Conservatives and establishment Republicans are eager to embrace him because he's pretty much the only member of their party who'd have a chance of winning in November. But you get the strong impression that their affinity for his campaign runs no deeper than the strategic rationale for it.
One of the debates around our office these last two days has been whether it's still possible, as a practical matter, for Hillary to win. Or, more precisely, whether it's possible for the superdelegates to override the pledged delegates without provoking the kind of backlash that would doom Hillary. My own feeling is that it is possible. The most likely place you'd find the backlash is obviously among black voters, who've been supporting Obama by a nearly 9-to-1 margin of late. But I don't think the African-American backlash would necessarily be overwhelming, for two reasons.
April 29, 2008
WASHINGTON--This is supposed to be a big election, but it has given every sign in recent weeks of becoming a small one. As a result, the public and the media are showing signs of exhaustion with what had once been an exhilarating contest. In big elections, voters know how much is at stake. They focus on central problems, not manufactured issues or the personal foibles of candidates.
The Folly of McCain-Care
A few months ago, when John McCain decided to address the public’s anxiety about unaffordable medical care, he gave the sort of speech we’ve grown accustomed to hearing from Republicans over the years. Let’s encourage people to drop their employer insurance and shop for coverage on their own, he said, since that will create a vibrant market in which people can find better bargains.
Mrs. And Mr. President
Like a terrible werewolf moon, Bill Clinton is shining again in his full brilliance. A new wave of commentary, from The New Yorker to Newsweek to The Wall Street Journal to The New York Times, has concluded that Bill’s role in his wife’s presidential campaign has mainly damaged both Hillary and his own legacy. Bill clumsily played the race card, they say. Bill doesn’t understand new media. Bill is embittered and angry. But maybe it didn’t have to be this way.
Nadine Gordimer is, at 84 years, still an elegant lady. She is also a Nobel Laureate in Literature and so some people hope that she does and others hope that she doesn't come to a writers's conference or not. Especially if the conference is in Israel and coincides with the 60th anniversary of its independence. Frankly, I couldn't care less whether she chose to attend the conclave. Israel's literary reputation does not hang on her participation. It has enough moral spirits who write with incandescent words to do without her.
No Winner In Zimbabwe?
The Nation has finally broken its month-long silence on the humanitarian and political crisis in Zimbabwe. And to their credit, the article by Mark Gevisser strikes many of the right notes, criticizing South African president Thabo Mbeki for his support of Robert Mugabe and labeling the Zimbabwe regime a "kleptocracy." The Nation ought to be applauded for expressing (albeit, rare) criticism of Mugabe, given that the magazine usually praises America's enemies as, at best, in the right, or, at worse, misunderstood nationalists.