March 03, 2008
Breaking Down The Buckeye State
Hillary Clinton started in Ohio with "every advantage you can think of," as John C. Green, a professor at the University of Akron, explains--endorsements, support from the party machinery, and relatively favorable demographic terrain. But Barack Obama, down as many as 17 points just three weeks ago, has been making up ground, and with speed. Will he make up enough to win?
What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been
WASHINGTON--So how did the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination come down to a choice between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton? We have become so accustomed to their pounding each other relentlessly that we've forgotten that this is a remarkable endgame. To be sure, just about everyone anticipated that when the field narrowed, Clinton would be one of the contenders left standing.
A Document For Our Times
Dennis Ross wrote an article last week for TNR on-line which, while it is not exactly my take on American options in Iraq, is an important contribution to a real debate on future policy. But we are not having a real debate, certainly not in the Democratic Party in which the two candidates are arguing over who was right first and more consistently. Ross, an authoritative voice on matters Middle Eastern, believes that neither Hillary's nor Obama's position on withdrawal is realistic. And the fact is that they are not realistic because the surge has itself changed the variables.
Senate Looking Great For Democrats
The Swing State project has a fun, detailed rundown up of the Democrats' 2008 Senate prospects. It's worth looking at to get a sense of how things stand downticket. (I know, I know: There are elections besides Hillary versus Obama?) Upshot: Say '08 is only a medium year for Democrats and they win only five of the ten most competitive Senate races (in '06, by contrast, they won* every single competitive race but one). And say Joe Lieberman becomes a Republican.
Over on the Stump, Noam's frequently noted the theory that voters don't really want Hillary to win, but they don't want to see her lose, either -- and if that theory's true, they probably particularly don't want to see her go out in a humiliating way. I don't think this front page New York Times story does Obama much good: [A]fter 30 minutes of cold-calling, the [Hillary] volunteers, a mix of soft-spoken professionals and grizzled unionists, were beginning to wilt from the rejections. “Oh really?” one woman at the phone bank was overheard saying again and again.
Canada Strikes Back
If you haven't been following this Austan Goolsbee/Canadian consulate mini-flap, this piece is probably as good a place as any to get up to speed. I was actually alerted to the piece--which focuses on a memo written by a Canadian consular official after Goolsbee's meeting there--by the Clinton campaign. But while it's clearly an annoyance for the Obama campaign, it doesn't strike me as hugely damning. Anyway, here's the key passage, based on the memo: Goolsbee disputed a section that read: "Noting anxiety among many U.S. domestic audiences about the U.S.
Are The Obama Wonks Really So Great?
My piece about Obama's wonks seems to have generated a lot of feedback last week (see, for example, Kevin Drum, Ezra Klein, and Matt Yglesias). Since many of the responses raised similar points, I figured I'd address them all at once. The most common objection is that I deemed Obama's policy shop to be better or more sophisticated than Hillary's, when in fact they take similar (if not identical) positions on maybe 90 percent of the issues facing the country.
March 01, 2008
What Next For Cuba?
One Herbert Matthews covered revolutionary Cuba for the New York Times. Matthews was infatuated with Castro, as another Timesman Walter Duranty became intoxicated with Leninist and Stalinist Russia. Thus, generations of Americans were systematically misled about Communism and what it did to societies that had other and more humane alternatives. Look into the eyes of lefties from 1959 and beyond, and there is still a dazzled myopia when Castro is mentioned.
February 29, 2008
The Lone Star Primer
Welcome to Texas: home of the most ludicrous, convoluted, and downright screwy Democratic primary system in America. Actually, it’s not even a primary; it’s a primary-caucus hybrid, the electoral equivalent of the turducken.
The 3 A.m. President
Chait is bemused by Hillary's new ad envisioning a scary international crisis which precipitates a 3 a.m. phone call to the president. (The ad has been the subject of fierce dueling between the campaigns today, giving it a guaranteed free-media punch beyond its actual viewership.) I don't find the ad remotely comparable to LBJ's (once-aired) "Daisy" ad, which essentially depicts a little girl being anhilliated by a nuclear explosion. I do agree with Jon that it's a bit substantively puzzling. The White House gets lots of calls in the middle of the night about foreign crises.