August 18, 2008

Just Words?
12:00 AM

The typical voter may not pay much attention to partly platforms these days, but activists certainly do. And at the Democratic Party platform hearings held in Pittsburgh just over a week ago, advocates for health care reform made their presence felt, proposing--and obtaining--revisions to the platform proposed by Obama and the party. The final platform proposal, which the full party will consider in Denver next week, now states that “every American man, woman, and child [should] be guaranteed affordable, comprehensive health care. ...

'How I Would Improve The Conventions'

Convention season is upon us. There will be clichés, giant flags, funny hats--and much, much whining about how these party-themed infomercials aren’t worth our time. But are there ways in which we could genuinely improve the content of the conventions? We asked a few friends of the magazine to offer their suggestions.  James Galbraith, professor of economics and government at the University of Texas and author of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too Twenty years ago, I encountered in the halls of the Lyndon B.

Today On Tnr.com (august 18, 2008)
12:00 AM

The Downside Of Barack Obama's Cool by Michelle Cottle It's The Gas Prices, Stupid. Barack Obama Needs To Win The Battle With John McCain Over The Economy--And Here's How He Can. by Nate Silver What The Platform Says About Health Care--And What That Says About Barack Obama by Jonathan Cohn In Defense Of Looseness: The Supreme Court's Wrongheaded Gun Control Decision by Richard A. Posner No, The Chinese People Are Not All Proud Of The Olympics. In Fact, The Games Are Hurting A Lot Of Them.

Obama's Russia Opportunity
12:00 AM

Let's be honest--with the possible exception of that Saddleback forum (on which I hold the minority view), last week was not a good one for Obama. McCain looked engaged and authoritative on the Georgia crisis, despite the tawdriness of his pronouncements, while Obama seemed AWOL. Mike was exactly right on this--though it wasn't necessarily Obama's fault (I mostly blame an unfortunate coincidence of vacation timing), the atmospherics were lousy for a candidate who still has to clear the commander-in-chief threshold. One hopes Team Obama is well-prepared for the Musharraf resignation...

August 15, 2008

Be Not Cool
12:00 AM

In a way arguably unlike any previous presidential contender (yes, okay, fine: JFK, maybe), Barack Obama personifies cool. He’s young. He’s hip. (Check out that iPod playlist.) He’s black. He’s got that whole smooth-talking, fist-bumping, “What, me worry?” vibe going. His oratory uplifts without inflaming. He talks of hope and change and endless possibility, but always with an edge of restraint and composure that soothes even as it inspires. The “No Drama Obama” label suits him.

The Corncob Pipe of Politics
12:00 AM

The Democratic Party’s platform committee approved a whopping 54-page draft document last Saturday in Pittsburgh. (That’s up 15 pages from the 2004 platform). The Republicans won’t draft their platform until just prior to the GOP convention in Minneapolis, so it stands to be seen how the new platform will stack up to the 2004 document, which topped 41,000 words and began with a triple homage to Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, and George W. Bush. Problem is, nobody seems to care.

"we Play Soccer Like The Brazilians Play Ping-pong"
12:00 AM

  It may be an Asian century that lies ahead of us, but we're not quite there yet. Western declinists and China alarmists, take note: Its soccer team is still abysmal. How can an increasingly prosperous nation of 1.3 billion be so bad at its favorite sport? Well, it turns out that social norms make a difference: Many Chinese sports analysts and scholars point to endemic corruption within the association as one cause of the sport’s ills.

August 14, 2008

Of Memos and Memes
12:00 AM

Will the Party of Clinton ever become the Party of Obama? It has now been more than two months since Barack Obama secured the Democratic presidential nomination yet here we are, still fascinated with Bill and Hillary Clinton and what they're up to. Why? The latest round of Clinton mania was precipitated by Joshua Green's article in The Atlantic on a Clinton campaign riven by unresolved factional disputes, as well as the online publication of a trove of internal memos portraying a staff in strategic and tactical gridlock.

It's the Gas Prices, Stupid
12:00 AM

It's the economy again, stupid. In a Pew Research Center poll released last month, 61 percent of Americans cited an economic concern as the most important issue facing the country. That is up from 34 percent in January, and 20 percent in September 2007. Ordinarily, this would be great news for Barack Obama, as conventional wisdom holds that when the economy slumps, so do the fortunes of the incumbent party. In fact, there is an entire cottage industry built around the concept.

Live The Ideals You're Speaking Of
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- When you put the Olympics in the hands of a dictatorship, the results are predictable. Yet the Chinese government still found a way of surprising even its critics by behaving oppressively in a foolishly unnecessary way. By revoking the visa of 2006 Olympian Joey Cheek at the very last moment because he had the nerve to speak out about Darfur and the Chinese government's support for Sudan's barbarous regime, Chinese authorities guaranteed that the opening of these Games would focus as much on politics as on sports.