August 18, 2008
The Western press has been awash in coverage of all the negative aspects of China's Games. There's horrendous pollution in Beijing, which has forced entire teams to train off-shore in South Korea or Japan and wear masks for much of their stay. China’s continuing ethnic unrest, which exploded last week in the western province of Xinjiang in an attack by a group of Uighurs, an ethnic minority, on a Chinese police post.
On tuesday night, speaking at a Manhattan Institute lecture, Condoleezza Rice dubbed the post-September 11 world the era of "great power cooperation." Since the attacks, Rice argued, the United States, Europe, Russia, China, and India all find themselves on the same side of a "divide between the forces of chaos and order" and have therefore begun an unprecedented period of cooperation. Across town at the United Nations, however, Rice's vision of "great power cooperation" was not exactly on display. The last week has been disastrous for the Bush effort to secure a U.N.
The typical voter may not pay much attention to partly platforms these days, but activists certainly do. And at the Democratic Party platform hearings held in Pittsburgh just over a week ago, advocates for health care reform made their presence felt, proposing--and obtaining--revisions to the platform proposed by Obama and the party. The final platform proposal, which the full party will consider in Denver next week, now states that “every American man, woman, and child [should] be guaranteed affordable, comprehensive health care. ...
Convention season is upon us. There will be clichés, giant flags, funny hats--and much, much whining about how these party-themed infomercials aren’t worth our time. But are there ways in which we could genuinely improve the content of the conventions? We asked a few friends of the magazine to offer their suggestions. James Galbraith, professor of economics and government at the University of Texas and author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too Twenty years ago, I encountered in the halls of the Lyndon B.
Today On Tnr.com (august 18, 2008)
The Downside Of Barack Obama's Cool by Michelle Cottle It's The Gas Prices, Stupid. Barack Obama Needs To Win The Battle With John McCain Over The Economy--And Here's How He Can. by Nate Silver What The Platform Says About Health Care--And What That Says About Barack Obama by Jonathan Cohn In Defense Of Looseness: The Supreme Court's Wrongheaded Gun Control Decision by Richard A. Posner No, The Chinese People Are Not All Proud Of The Olympics. In Fact, The Games Are Hurting A Lot Of Them.
Obama's Russia Opportunity
Let's be honest--with the possible exception of that Saddleback forum (on which I hold the minority view), last week was not a good one for Obama. McCain looked engaged and authoritative on the Georgia crisis, despite the tawdriness of his pronouncements, while Obama seemed AWOL. Mike was exactly right on this--though it wasn't necessarily Obama's fault (I mostly blame an unfortunate coincidence of vacation timing), the atmospherics were lousy for a candidate who still has to clear the commander-in-chief threshold. One hopes Team Obama is well-prepared for the Musharraf resignation...
August 15, 2008
Be Not Cool
In a way arguably unlike any previous presidential contender (yes, okay, fine: JFK, maybe), Barack Obama personifies cool. He’s young. He’s hip. (Check out that iPod playlist.) He’s black. He’s got that whole smooth-talking, fist-bumping, “What, me worry?” vibe going. His oratory uplifts without inflaming. He talks of hope and change and endless possibility, but always with an edge of restraint and composure that soothes even as it inspires. The “No Drama Obama” label suits him.
The Corncob Pipe of Politics
The Democratic Party’s platform committee approved a whopping 54-page draft document last Saturday in Pittsburgh. (That’s up 15 pages from the 2004 platform). The Republicans won’t draft their platform until just prior to the GOP convention in Minneapolis, so it stands to be seen how the new platform will stack up to the 2004 document, which topped 41,000 words and began with a triple homage to Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and George W. Bush. Problem is, nobody seems to care.
It may be an Asian century that lies ahead of us, but we're not quite there yet. Western declinists and China alarmists, take note: Its soccer team is still abysmal. How can an increasingly prosperous nation of 1.3 billion be so bad at its favorite sport? Well, it turns out that social norms make a difference: Many Chinese sports analysts and scholars point to endemic corruption within the association as one cause of the sport’s ills.
August 14, 2008
Of Memos and Memes
Will the Party of Clinton ever become the Party of Obama? It has now been more than two months since Barack Obama secured the Democratic presidential nomination yet here we are, still fascinated with Bill and Hillary Clinton and what they're up to. Why? The latest round of Clinton mania was precipitated by Joshua Green's article in The Atlantic on a Clinton campaign riven by unresolved factional disputes, as well as the online publication of a trove of internal memos portraying a staff in strategic and tactical gridlock.