June 21, 2008
Described in this useful Times piece: But Mr. Plouffe said the volunteer program was modeled after the one Mr. Bush’s aides devised in 2004, which sent supporters door to door to spread the word about Mr. Bush in their own neighborhoods — a personal touch informed by detailed lists of neighbors’ occupations, voting histories, pet causes and hobbies. Four years ago, Democrats and their liberal allies scrambled to match the vast lists of personal voter information gathered by the Republicans through public records and consumer data banks.
June 20, 2008
TRB: Terror Firma
Last week, the terrorism "issue" made its campaign debut. I use scare quotes not because terrorism is not a threat, but because it's unclear precisely what issue is at stake. John McCain's campaign has been determined to have a debate about terrorism, which polls have shown to be the only issue where he has any meaningful edge over Barack Obama.
Our esteemed vice president has apparently prevailed in his fight to declare himself part of neither the executive nor the legislative branch, and thus not required to open his office's records to public scrutiny: The Democrats are conceding defeat. The party’s top investigator in the House of Representatives acknowledges that there is nothing more he can do to force the vice president’s hand.“He has managed to stonewall everyone,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
June 19, 2008
In this TNR debate, two powerhouse political historians--Sean Wilentz, the author of The Age Of Reagan and contributing editor for The New Republic, and Rick Perlstein, the author of Nixonland--try to figure out which president continues to have the stronger hold over our political culture. From: Sean Wilentz To: Rick Perlstein Dear Rick, Congratulations on your fat and sassy new book. Because you thoughtfully sent me a galley, I got to have an advance look--and have been going through it again with renewed pleasure.
Tuesday’s Senate Armed Services Committee hearing provided the latest evidence that top Bush administration officials directed the use of torture techniques on detained suspected terrorists. Three panels of witnesses traced the use of highly coercive techniques back to the high echelons of the administration. The day ended with the grilling of William J. Haynes II, the former general counsel of the Department of Defense and a protégé of Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, who is now widely viewed as the “station master” of the administration’s torture policy.
Battleground: New Hampshire
HANOVER, N.H.--The race for electoral votes could be so close in November that small states may well pick the next president. Among the diminutive states, New Hampshire is by far the most interesting.Consider that in 2000, George W. Bush beat Al Gore here by 7,211 votes (Ralph Nader got just over 22,000). If New Hampshire's four electoral votes had gone the other way, Gore would have won and Florida would not have mattered.New Hampshire is also one of only three states that changed sides between 2000 and 2004, and the only one that switched to the Democrats.
I didn't catch Michelle Obama's turn as guest-host on ABC's "The View" yesterday, but I gather from the reviews she was a big hit. She deftly answered questions about her husband's policy positions, like most-favored breakfast food. (Bacon.) She revealed her own feelings on other raging debates, like whether to wear pantyhose. (A polite but firm no: "I'm 5'11'' so I'm tall, nothing fits...Put 'em on, rip 'em..it's inconvenient.") And, most important, she met and exceeded expectations from the fashion pundits.
June 18, 2008
Now that "the first black President" and his wife have been proven to be evil racists, it's gonna be much harder for white politicians to win the trust of black voters in election seasons to come. Playing the saxophone on The Arsenio Hall Show (or, now, on Tyra's program) isn’t going to cut it anymore. So, as a service, I've created a quick how-to guide on how to become the second white man to replace the first black president. 1) Date a black woman.
Kathleen Sebelius: The iPod Veep
The last few weeks have seen plenty of obsessing over who Barack Obama and John McCain ought to pick to be their running mates. But for all the endless discussion about which candidate might best bolster Obama's message or help McCain carry Ohio, the electoral implications of any given veep pick are, as my colleague Josh Patashnik has argued, greatly overrated.
Crime And Punishment
Two stories from Washington paint a distressing picture of today's body politic. Firstly, a Newsweek article by Evan Thomas makes a fool out of any reform-minded American planning to vote this fall. Filing a "report" of the "consensus" at a gathering of Washington tastemakers this weekend, he makes the reasonable points that Presidents Carter and Clinton were unable to accomplish their foreign occupation of Washington power culture. Will a president Obama meet the same brick wall?