September 21, 2008

Obama's Early-voting Advantage
12:00 AM

For the record, I think early voting is a pretty lousy idea, at least when it starts more than a few days out. Campaigns are intricately-timed affairs--when run well, they have beginnings, middles, and ends, almost like a good narrative--and candidates can't possibly execute them effectively if they're ending at different times for different voters. Unfortunately, several states now let people vote weeks before Election Day.

September 20, 2008

Charlie Rangel's No Good Very Bad Year
12:00 AM

First, he backed Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary (and paid for it by being denied a speaking role at the Democratic convention.) Then the NYT did an investigative report on his four rent-stabilized apartments. Then it was discovered that Rangel had failed to pay taxes on $75,000 of rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic. That led to a meeting with House Democratic leaders who pressured him to step down as the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. And now Rangel's gone and called Sarah Palin "disabled," which has the flying monkeys all worked up.

September 19, 2008

Sarah Quaylin
12:00 AM

Ever since John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, I’ve gotten confused about all the reasons I’m supposed to dislike Barack Obama. The previous reasons, in rough chronological order, were his lack of experience, his empty rhetoric, his flip-flopping, and his “celebrity.” But Palin has made each one of those critiques moot. The “celebrity” attack on Obama has a particularly Dada quality right now as starstruck Republicans bask in the charisma of their adorable veep.

The Rtc: What You Need To Know
12:00 AM

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. In recent days, policymakers and financial experts have circled around the idea of creating a government entity--in the model of the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC)--to buy up failing assets of financial institutions.

Hillary Spotlights Reproductive Rights
12:00 AM

 Hillary has an op-ed in today's NYT that looks at the Bush administration's latest effort to undercut women's health and reproductive rights. Someone in our office suggested that the piece's failure to mention any of the current presidential combatants means Hillary has decided to check out of this race and focus squarely on rebuilding her own brand. Maybe. But I actually see this piece as lending a hand to Team Obama by aiming to make voters think twice about the consequences of a pro-life White House.

September 18, 2008

The Nose Cutting
12:00 AM

There’s a saying oft heard in Russian schoolyards: “Go ahead and spit at me. Fill your mouth with shit and spit at me.” It may be an indelicate way of suggesting that one should cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face, but it provides some insight into why Russia’s economy, which grew by eight percent last year, has suddenly melted. The failures on Wall Street linked arms with falling oil prices to wallop a Russian market that, due to a combination of internal factors, had been sliding all summer.


Witnessing the collapse of one Wall Street titan after another seemed unthinkable a year ago, but the U.S. has seen worse before. When Franklin Roosevelt took office, four thousand banks had closed in just two months. From his improvisatory response--like a quarterback calling plays, as he once described it, back when quarterbacks called plays--the framework for the modern banking system emerged.With wiser leadership, that framework might have prevented the current meltdown.

Taxes As Patriotism: Not A Goofy Idea!
12:00 AM

So, as Joe Klein and then I were saying, the McCain campaign has been lashing out at Joe Biden for suggesting it's the patriotic duty of wealthy Americans to pay higher taxes at this time of domestic and foreign crisis. Here's what Sarah Palin had to say about it today, while appearing in Iowa: To them, raising taxes--and Joe Biden said it again today--raising taxes is about patriotism.

The Spanish-american War
12:00 AM

Jonathan Martin at Politico has a characteristically level-headed reading of the evident McCain gaffe regarding whether or not he'd be willing to meet with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero: John McCain pointedly declined to commit to a meeting with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in a radio interview this week, sparking a major story in Madrid.

Hey, Big Spender!
12:00 AM

And now, for something new, John McCain is attacking Barack Obama over his big-spending ways: The text of this new advertisement, for those who don't want to sit through the cilp, goes like this: When our economy's in crisis, a big government casts a big shadow on us all. Obama and his liberal Congressional allies want a massive government, billions in spending increases, wasteful pork. And, we would pay--painful income taxes, skyrocketing taxes on life savings, electricity and home heating oil. Can your family afford that?  I have no idea whether this is an actual television advertisement