September 27, 2008

They Both Lost
12:00 AM

They both lost tonight. We can go back and forth about whether McCain's anecdotes were more intimate or whether Obama's jabs were snappier. But beyond stylistic differences in the personalities they project from behind the podium (McCain's the weary parent, Obama's the sharp young know-it-all), I thought they both conspired to bring us a narrow, defensive, small debate. That surprised me, because McCain and Obama are two of the most exceptional political figures of their generations, so expansive in their own visions of what they represent.

September 26, 2008

Bailing Upward

Those on Wall Street who do not feel ashamed of our current financial predicament ought to. An industry that took pride in its savvy risk taking spectacularly failed to gauge risk. Firms animated by an ethos of independence and innovation have found themselves dependent on (at least) a $700 billion government backstop. As Congress debates the staggering sums proposed by the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), there is naturally concern among both liberals and conservatives that the program is ill-conceived.

You Won't Like Me When I'm Angry!
12:00 AM

Save for the odd trip to the White House and the hastily arranged press conference to respond to John McCain’s suspension of the campaign, Barack Obama has spent the last three days in intense preparations for tonight’s debate. Due to its chosen topic--foreign policy--those preparations have likely consisted of poring over maps of the Caucasus and pronunciation guides to Pakistani names.

Crashing The Party
12:00 AM

Editor's note: This column has been changed slightly from an earlier version to reflect Thursday’s events. WASHINGTON--John McCain's sudden intervention in Washington's deliberations over the Wall Street bailout could not have been more out of sync with what was actually happening. He lamented that "partisan divisions in Washington have prevented us from addressing our national challenges." But for days, bipartisanship has been the rule on both sides of this argument.

TNR Debate Archives

Though it may felt unpatriotic even to discuss the possibility of a presidential debate when we complied this, we did.

Obama's Emotional Deficit
12:00 AM

I'd guess the CW will be that McCain won on points, with nothing close to a knockout, and I'd echo that judgment. McCain had Obama on the defensive over earmark requests and his $800 billion in new spending, then later on the surge and those rogue-leader meetings. Obama did do a decent job shifting the focus back to the original invasion of Iraq and was effective at highlighting Bush's serial foreign-policy failures (North Korean nukes, Iranian centrifuges, growing Chinese influence), but was generally less punchy and more reactive.

Who Benefits From The Bailout?
12:00 AM

David Cay Johnston, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his innovative coverage of our tax system, retired this year as a investigative reporter for The New York Times.

Get Your Debate On
12:00 AM

McCain's going to Mississippi. Update: Here's the full statement: "John McCain's decision to suspend his campaign was made in the hopes that politics could be set aside to address our economic crisis. "In response, Americans saw a familiar spectacle in Washington.

George W. Bush: Our Hoover?
12:00 AM

Let's take the briefest timeout from our discussion of Barack Obama and John McCain to focus on our President. Remember him?  You could be forgiven if you don't.  His name is George W.

September 25, 2008

Go Blue!
12:00 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--If he carries Michigan, many routes to victory are open for Barack Obama.