June 23, 2008

The Money Pit
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama's decision to forgo public funds will bring joy to opponents of campaign finance reform. But to say that Obama has killed public financing is to miss the point. The current system began to unravel eight years ago. George W.

McCain's Low Road To Victory
12:00 AM

Seldom has a presidential candidate faced such long odds. John McCain has repeatedly allied himself with the most unpopular president since the history of modern polling. He has embraced the most unpopular war since <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Vietnam. The U.S. economy continues its downward slide. Polls show generic Democratic candidates leading by double digits at all levels of government. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />And those are just the beginning of McCain’s problems. He is caught between a rock and a hard place in the core narrative about what he stands for.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Straussian
12:00 AM

The sanguinity of some people on the Left -- and the paleo, non-interventionist Right -- towards dictators and religious extremists continually astounds me. Last week, I wrote about one, minor instance of the credulity with which Matthew Yglesias continually evinces whenever he writes about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements regarding Israel.

Mccain And Grover Now Officially Simpatico
12:00 AM

Jonathan Martin flags an interesting tidbit from the new Fortune article on McCain: Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), who has sharply criticized McCain in the past, says now, "I'm happy." Norquist still can't get McCain to sign ATR's no-new-taxes pledge, but he has the next best thing: video of the candidate promising as much on national television, three times.

June 22, 2008

Keeping Fisa In Perspective
12:00 AM

There's been a wealth of FISA-related commentary in the blogosphere this weekend. For a valuable introduction, check David Kris's two-part primer on the subject at Balkinization (here and here). Elsewhere, Michael Cohen over at Democracy Arsenal injects some much-needed sanity into the debate, responding to Glenn Greenwald's enraged call-to-arms against Democrats who supported the compromise.

Exhuming Warren Christopher
12:00 AM

When Al Gore announced in November 2000 that he had designated Warren Christopher to lead his legal effort in Florida I was--how do I say this?--flabbergasted. You see, I thought that Christopher was actually dead.

June 21, 2008

The Obama Campaign's Massive Micro-targeting Effort
12:00 AM

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
12:00 AM

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.

Dick Cheney, The Fourth Branch Of Government
12:00 AM

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

Exchange: 'Nixonland' or 'The Age of Reagan'?

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.