June 05, 2008

A Beautiful Mornin' For Democrats

Andrew Rice is an unlikely candidate to represent Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate. A 35-year-old Democrat elected to the state senate in 2006, he favors abortion rights and civil unions, despite running in one of the most socially conservative states in the country. He is up against two-and-a-third-term Republican incumbent James Inhofe, in a state with a 44-year history of voting for Republican presidents, and where no Democratic opponent has climbed above 41 percent since 1990.

Obama, As Seen From Africa
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  Kenya newspapers are displayed in the streets of Nairobi with the headline on June 5, 2008 of US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama,after his nomination victory that places him a heartbeat away from White House. (SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images) --Michael Crowley

Bill Clinton, Same As Ever
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The sage Carl Cannon has a funny reminder, triggered on Tuesday night, of how some things never change: It reminded me of how Bill Clinton, his eight years in the White House having ended, literally wouldn’t stop talking on George W. Bush’s inauguration day—to the point of holding a 90-minute rally at Andrews Air Force Base that rained on the inaugural parade. "We're not going anywhere!" Clinton assured his loyalists that day. --Michael Crowley

June 04, 2008

Student Union
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WASHINGTON--In recent weeks, France has been swamped with events commemorating the student uprising of May 1968--which actually started in March and finished in June. Less attention has been paid to the 40th anniversary of the student revolts in other countries, including the United States.Was the May 1968 French uprising an anarchist attack on all forms of authority, as some libertarians believed?

Is Obama Al Smith or John F. Kennedy?
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Now that he has clinched the Democratic nomination, pundits will mostly gauge Barack Obama’s prospects in the general election by looking at states he can win or constituencies he can carry. But there is another dimension to his candidacy: He represents a social group that was once on the margins of American politics, but now aspires to put one of its own in the highest office. This has happened once before in U.S. politics: when American Catholics saw one of their own nominated to be president.

Are Dems Flubbing The Climate Debate?
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Via Joe Romm, Roll Call detects more than a hint of disarray in the Democrats' political strategy for the Lieberman-Warner climate bill that's currently being debated on the Senate floor. The piece is subscriber-only, but here are the key tidbits: "We are about to take up the most important fight of our generation, and we have no strategy, no message and no plan to get out of this," one senior Senate Democratic aide said. Another senior Senate Democratic staffer echoed those sentiments: "Everyone knows this bill is going nowhere. The president is opposed to it.

What Will Matter Is How The War Ends, Not How It Started
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I've just come back from a conference in honor of Michael Walzer at the Institute for Advanced Study. Many of the papers and much of the talk were devoted to Walzer's theories on just and unjust war. Of course, Michael, a very great scholar and political philosopher who has been associated with The New Republic (and his own magazine Dissent) for decades has a view of the war in Iraq, and it is not especially sympathetic. But his criticisms of the war are so refined -- by which I don't mean finicky -- that even sympathizers with the American military intervention can have a productive conversat

Mccain Calls For Joint Town Hall Meetings
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Just in from the McCain campaign: An invitation to conduct joint town hall meetings, one a week, from now until the conventions. A strategic gimmick? Sure, at least in part. But it's a smart one. As I was saying, until August Obama won't have a chance to shine in a prime-time speech like he did last night. Instead, the campaign will take place in other venues in which he doesn't enjoy such a pronounced stylistic advantages. And town hall forums have always been where McCain looked best. Of course, Obama is no slouch at these sorts of events, either.

Obama's Gifted Oratory--and What It Can't Accomplish
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Time often blunts my initial impressions of political speeches: The extraordinary becomes more ordinary, while the pedestrian and pedantic start to seem profound. But, after a few hours of sleep, my impressions of last night are, if anything, more pronounced than before. Clinton was classless, not to mention destructive. (I guess I, too, am becoming apoplectic.) McCain was languid and whiny. Obama was energetic and, at times, inspiring. For Obama, of course, this is nothing new. More than any politician in recent memory, he has relied upon speeches to propel his candidacy.

June 03, 2008

Text of Obama's Speech
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Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard.