July 11, 2007

Talking Tough, Acting Soft ... Now On Iran
12:00 AM

Is the administration caving everywhere? Its attitude to Iraq is puzzling. As Republican senator after Republican senator defects, the president still puts up a bold front. But, as European allies move ever closer to the U.S. position on Iran, the administration seems inclined to soften its pressure on Tehran. How does one explain this? Eli Lake takes a crack in this morning's Sun.

July 10, 2007

Panic Mode
12:00 AM

John McCain has dumped his campaign manager Terry Nelson and, even more dramatically, his longtime advisor John Weaver. Meanwhile McCain is speaking on the Senate floor right now about his latest visit to Iraq. So far it sounds like anyone hoping for McCain to join the stampede to the exits will be disappointed: "The progress our military has made should encourage us. It's also clear that the overall strategy that Gen Petraeus has put into place... is the correct one.... No lasting political settlement can come out of a US withdrawal." More of the same, in other words. --Michael Crowley

The Iraq Tug-of-war
12:00 AM

Everybody's swooning over new Republican war defectors Dick Lugar, Pete Domenici, and George Voinovich -- "It's as if the dike has burst," moderate Sen. Susan Collins gushed -- taking their statements of frustration as a sign the Senate could finally pass tough legislation to end the war. It's harder than that, though: Think of the politics on this as a simple elementary-school-field-day-style tug-of-war, where, when one side gives, the other rushes back too, so they don't end up any nearer to each other after all.

July 09, 2007

Whither Mccain?
12:00 AM

Today's NYTimes front-pager on the Bush administration's growing acquiescence to reality in Iraq has an interesting tidbit after the jump. As much as LugarDomeniciVoinovich have forced the White House's hand on the issue of withdrawal "post-surge redeployment," it's McCain that the Bushies are most nervous about: "Everyone's particularly worried about what happens when McCain gets back from Iraq," one official said, a reference to the latest trip to Baghdad by Senator John McCain, who has been a stalwart supporter of the "surge" strategy. Mr.

Blame The Military
12:00 AM

Via Ramesh Ponnuru, Robert Novak has an interesting report on a recent meeting between Stephen Hadley and "a half-dozen senior Republican senators:" Hadley called his expedition a "scouting trip," leading one senator to ask what he was seeking. It was not advice on how to escape from Iraq. Instead, Hadley appeared interested in how previous supporters had drifted from Bush's course. In the process, he planted seeds of concern. Some senators were left with the impression that the White House still does not recognize the scope of the Iraq dilemma.

Intellectual Challenge
12:00 AM

Russell Kirk, though once revered on the right as a crucial link in the synthesis that made twentieth-century conservatism a viable intellectual force, was, in retrospect, a shallow thinker who said little that was original and twisted himself into self-tied knots to avoid confronting the contradictions in his worldview. That, in the essence, was the argument of my TNR review ("Contempt," July 2). Now Kirk's defenders have rushed to set the record straight.

What We've Missed About The Supreme Court
12:00 AM

By Cass Sunstein According to conventional wisdom, the Supreme Court is equally divided between a conservative wing and a liberal one, with Justice Anthony Kennedy acting as the swing voter. But there is something extremely strange about this view of the current situation. By the standards of the recent past, the liberal wing isn't liberal at all. According to conventional wisdom, the Court has long been evenly balanced between left and right, and it has finally shifted a bit to the right under Chief Justice John Roberts. But there is something strange about this view as well.

So Would This Count As A Constitutional Crisis?
12:00 AM

Editor's Note: Due to a formatting error, this post was originally misattributed to Cass Sunstein. We regret the error. By Sanford Levinson Imagine the following quite plausible events over the next 20 months: 1. Both Houses of Congress are repeatedly rebuffed in their attempts to subpoena the testimony of executive branch officials who almost certainly played key roles in the probably illegal politiciziation of the Department of Justice.

July 06, 2007

Thompson And Abortion
12:00 AM

A big scoop in the Los Angeles Times: It seems that in the early 1990s, Fred Thompson accepted lobbying work on behalf of a family-planning group. At the time, the organization was urging the Bush 41 White House to loosen a rule that forbade abortion counseling at federally funded clinics. More: Thompson spokesman Mark Corallo adamantly denied that Thompson worked for the family planning group.

July 05, 2007

On The Notion Of "crisis"
12:00 AM

by Sanford Levinson A number of readers of my previous contribution to Open University have chastised me, some quite severely, for using the words "constitutional crisis" to describe the commutation by George W. Bush of I. Lewis ("Scotter") Libby. Part of me is tempted simply to plead guilty to engaging in a case of blogger's hyperbole and let it go at that.