July 03, 2008

The Flip-Flop Fallacy
12:00 AM

My colleague Noam Scheiber argues in his piece yesterday ("Is This Man a Typical Pol?”) that John McCain’s new campaign strategy of painting Barack Obama as an unprincipled flip-flopper is bound to fail. Noam posits that painting Obama as a “typical politician” is not a damaging enough accusation in a year when the public overwhelmingly prefers a Democratic president. Maybe--but I think McCain’s strategy is a little more potent than Noam gives it credit for. First, bad press is bad press.

The TNR Conversation: Benjamin Wittes and Andrew C. McCarthy
12:00 AM

Last week, The New Republic sat down to discuss recent legal developments in the war on terror with Benjamin Wittes, a TNR.com columnist, fellow and research director in public law at the Brookings Institution and author of the new book Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror, and with Andrew McCarthy, director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and author of the recent book Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad. TNR: I want to get your reactions to this week’s decision from the D.C.

Make War No More
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama keeps trying to end the wars over culture and religion, and good for him. The 1960s are so 40 years ago.

Shame On You Jon Chait...
12:00 AM

...For trying to destroy my family. Okay, not quite destroy my family. But I'm in Israel about to head to my cousin's wedding, so I don't have a ton of time to respond to Chait's response to my piece from yesterday. Given that, let me just take on two quick arguments Chait makes.  1.) Chait writes: Look at poor John Kerry: The "flip-flopper" label completely disqualified him. Political reporters were constantly finding voters who agreed with Kerry on most or all the issues but refused to vote for him because they didn't trust him.

July 02, 2008

The Mugabelogue
12:00 AM

Who’s interested in Zimbabwe, and why? How should Westerners understand the situation there? And could this all be Jimmy Carter’s fault? T.A. Frank and James Kirchick discussed the situation over IM.     Why Zimbabwe? T.A. Frank: As people like to point out, there are a lot of rotten countries out there. So why this rotten country? Let’s talk about why you and I happen to care about Zimbabwe. James Kirchick: Well, personally, I've been there.

Is Barack A Typical Pol?
12:00 AM

Two weeks ago, Obama was “Obambi”--a guy so innocent he’d struggle to cross a major intersection, much less survive a match-up against the GOP. Then Obambi opted out of the public financing system and stiff-armed McCain on some town-hall meetings, and all of a sudden he was Lee Atwater.

Bill's Breakdown
12:00 AM

This article by Tim Shipman and Philip Sherwell in the (London) Daily Telegraph was published just hours before Bill Clinton deigned to talk with Barack Obama on the phone. The dispatch reports that the imperial president had insisted to others that Obama would have to "kiss my ass" to win his support in the election. Of course, he probably didn't since Obama does not take insults as graciously as he does disagreements. Moreover, Clinton is smart enough to know that Hillary's political future is now very much in distress. And his own future very much depends on hers.

Mccain's Fuzzy Math Health Care Plan
12:00 AM

If there's one thing we all know about John McCain, it's that he's not the candidate who's going to raise taxes. But is that really so? A new paper out this morning, from the Center for American Progress, suggests otherwise.  I haven't had a lot of time to look at it--or to vet it with other sources or get a response from the McCain campaign. (Hope to do so in the coming hours and days.) So what follows should be taken as a very tentative reading, until I learn more.

July 01, 2008

Nuclear Waste?
12:00 AM

Today marks the fortieth birthday of the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, one of the most important pieces of paper the United States has signed in the last half century--and one of the most popular. Even Bush officials, who went on a treaty-killing spree during their first year in office, made an exception for the NPT. Why wouldn’t they? The NPT is one of the best deals the United States has ever made: It allowed five countries (including the United States) to possess nuclear weapons, but banned the rest from ever developing them.

Benign Neglect?
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama recently gave a major speech on Latin America in which he sought to contrast his ideas with President Bush's record in the region. Saying that Washington has "stuck to tired blueprints on drugs and trade, on democracy and development," Obama proposed talking to adversaries, increasing foreign aid, being more picky when it comes to trade deals, boosting the Peace Corps and setting up partnerships to reduce oil dependency. Throughout the 20th century, U.S.