September 15, 2008
Turning on Itself
In 2006, America’s largest home appliance manufacturer, Whirlpool, bought its second-largest competitor, Maytag. The takeover meant that more than 70 percent of all washers and dryers sold in the U.S. will be Whirlpool’s. It gave Whirlpool a dominant position and lessened competition, threatening to raise home appliance prices and stall innovation. But the Bush administration’s antitrust chief in the Justice Department, Assistant Attorney General Thomas Barnett, declined to challenge the Whirlpool merger.
Clay Risen is managing editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas and a contributing editor at World Trade. His first book, A Nation on Fire: America in the Wake of the King Assassination will appear in January. It's hard to say when, exactly, the demise of Lehman Brothers became inevitable. But it likely came around noon on Saturday.
September 13, 2008
One of the truisms of political reporting is that it is exceptionally results-oriented. When a campaign wins, essentially every aspect of that campaign is deemed to be praiseworthy, and when a campaign loses, almost every aspect of the campaign is deemed to be a failure.Think how much different the conventional wisdom would be if Al Gore had won 300 more votes in Florida. Bush's strategy of rallying to the evangelical base would have been considered a failure, as would the Rovian politics of personal destruction.
Sticking with the rope-a-dope theme, I'd say early next week is the perfect time for an Obama ad accusing McCain of sacrificing his honor to win the White House. It's a meme that's suddenly everywhere in the media.
September 12, 2008
Stuck In The Muck
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--It has been hard to remember lately that the country is in the midst of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. The campaign is a blur of flying pieces of junk, lipstick and gutter-style attacks. John McCain's deceptions about Barack Obama's views and Sarah Palin's flip-flopping suggest an unedifying scuffle over a city council seat. The media bear a heavy responsibility because "balance" does not require giving equal time to truth and lies.
Obama's Next Move
Barack Obama is slumping. Poll numbers are down. Enthusiasm is down. Democrats, once again, are freaking. So, we asked a few folks, from different walks of life, to offer their opinion on what Obama should do to improve his standing. Former Massachusetts Governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis: On campaigning: "I think this thing is going to be won in the field, with basic grassroots organizing ... and I don't think McCain has anything out there.
A Popular/electoral Vote Split?
If you missed it, Nate Silver's latest calculations suggest we may be headed in that direction, with Obama winning the White House but losing the total vote count. Oy. --Michael Crowley
How Obama Should Frame Mccain
I'm sure the Obama campaign has solid research suggesting they should paint McCain as out of touch and closely tied to Bush. But, watching their new anti-McCain ad, I can't help wondering if they're ignoring their most brutally effective case against him. So, at the risk of offering advice to people much more knowledgeable than I am (why stop now, right?), here's the ad I'd run at McCain. It grew out of a conversation I had with Jason yesterday: Start with McCain in a good light, both literally and figuratively. The narrator says something like: "Before 2007, John McCain was an honorable man.
September 11, 2008
America’s schools have “lost their way,” and have become “bastions of moral relativism and moral compromise with the culture of death.” To be saved, those schools must change, so students can find “the God of the Bible and Biblical values in the classroom.” It sounds like Pat Robertson. But this is the latest from none other than Chris Smith, the longstanding Republican New Jersey Congressman who remains enormously popular in his largely suburban district encompassing several well-to-do towns. In a state that has been reliably Democratic since 1992, Smith seems like a moderate Republican.