November 16, 2007
The Vegas Debate
Earlier this week I had a conversation about Barack Obama with a rival campaign strategist. This summer, the strategist told me, Obama looked downright plaintive--like a man second-guessing his decision to run for president. No longer, said the strategist. In recent weeks, both the candidate and campaign have been acting like a team that expects to win. I think we saw this second Obama on display tonight. He was focused, energized, tough, charismatic--pretty much everything the press had accused him of not being in previous debates.
November 15, 2007
The Connectivity Campaign
Yesterday afternoon, Barack Obama made a speech in Silicon Valley on innovation, outlining a plan to create a national technology czar, or "chief technology officer"--likely some 28-year old techie whiz kid, or kids--charged with making president Obama's wildest web fantasies a reality. The venue was no mistake--he spoke at Google headquarters in Mountain View, a petri dish of hyper-wealthy young innovators, who were soon crowing over his plan to make cutting-edge technology the bedrock of his administration.
After the first Democratic debate, at the end of April, when Hillary Clinton made her main rivals seems small and insignificant, I expected that Barack Obama would fade from contention even before the Iowa Caucus. And in the months that followed, Obama seemed to be doing just that. But <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Clinton’s recent missteps, amplified by John Edwards’ strident attacks upon her, provided Obama with an opening--and in a stirring speech before the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Des Moines November 10, Obama took it.
Campaigning for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, George W. Bush said that non-southerners, like his primary opponent John McCain, should “butt out” of the South’s racial politics. In South Carolina, telephone callers asked thousands of voters if they would support McCain if they knew he’d fathered a black child. These things did not happen because Bush is a racist. They happened because Bush, like decades of Republican candidates before him, wanted to benefit from the racism of some southern voters.
Only a handful of senators--perhaps most notably Strom Thurmond--have served in the U.S. Senate while in their nineties. Within seven years, their ranks could expand by three. The trio of aspiring nonagenarian senators nipping at Thurmond's heels includes Robert Byrd (who turns 90 on Tuesday) and Ted Stevens (who has announced plans to run for re-election next year, when he will be 84)--two men who have taken turns serving as Senate president pro tempore, chairman of the powerful Appropriations Committee, and unofficial symbol of the geriatric Senate establishment.
What's Your Problem?
What's the problem with inequality? PETER BEINART is editor-at-large at The New Republic, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Good Fight (HarperCollins). JONAH GOLDBERG is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a contributing editor to National Review. By Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg
Quickie Debate Wrap-up
This was a solid night for Obama. He was focused, energized, tough, charismatic. Sometimes he can sound like his mind is elsewhere while answering a question--there are lots of "um"s and "uh"s and not much direct eye contact. Tonight he suppressed most of those tics. He showed some pluck in exchanges with Hillary on health care and Social Security. He was specific and knowledgeable on trade policy and immigration, even showing spontaneous flashes of humor on the latter.
Do you want to know why it's so tedious sitting next to an ACLU board member at dinner? Well, now you'll know. Yes, I know this is only the Sothern California branch. And National may not follow. But here is the morally smug and politically idiotic statement issued from the beach. ACLU of Southern California Calls for Impeachment of Bush and Cheney -- Will National Follow? ACLU-SC Calls for Impeachment of Bush and Cheney The ACLU of Southern California has called for the impeachment of President George W.
November 14, 2007
John Edwards: The Interview
This interview took place on the morning of November 3, in the basement of a Columbia, South Carolina, restaurant called Mac’s on Main. I’d spent the previous day attending Edwards campaign events across the northern part of the state. TNR: I want to ask you about the poverty center you toured yesterday in Rock Hill. When you see a place like that, and the kinds of conditions people are living under, does it make you outraged? Or does it make you hopeful that people are doing something to change it, that you can help change it? John Edwards: Both.
Being Benazir Bhutto
In recent days, the Bush administration has slowly edged away from its outright support for Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. “We don’t want to be seen to be looking, but we want to make sure we talk to a wide variety of people,” one <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />US official told the Washington Post this week.