Politics

November 07, 2006

Unrighteous Outrage
12:00 AM

Well, wouldn't you know it? Now that Saddam Hussein has been condemned to execution by hanging, there appears to be great agitation in the world about his death sentence. It seems to me that maybe there should be a consensus on a few people in the world who actually deserve to be executed. How about Osama bin Laden for one? Or, looking backwards, Hitler or Goebbels?

My Vote For Speaker
12:00 AM

Yes, the mind wanders in Paris, and it wanders freely. Here's a thought that is on many people's minds but has not come off many people's tongues. Nancy Pelosi should not be speaker of the House. Rahm Emanuel should be. He is smarter, more savvy, understands the political middle as both norm and fact. And he is extremely likeable, truly trustworthy, a politician of honor and imagination. Imagine someone out of the Clinton White House who emerged untainted by even a whiff of scandal. Unlike other pols who used to raise Democratic money from me, he was not a hustler.

November 06, 2006

The Unrealist
12:00 AM

For all its mind-blowing details of administration ineptitude, Bob Woodward's third installment in his Bush at War trilogy hardly tells you much that you didn't already know. Of course George W. Bush lacks intellectual curiosity. Of course Donald Rumsfeld is a villain for the ages. But there's one particular revelation in the book that stands out for its plain weirdness: Henry Kissinger's presence in the Oval Office. According to Woodward, Bush treats Kissinger "almost like a member of the family," free to visit as he pleases.

The Unrealist
12:00 AM

For all its mind-blowing details of administration ineptitude, Bob Woodward's third installment in his Bush at War trilogy hardly tells you much that you didn't already know. Of course George W. Bush lacks intellectual curiosity. Of course Donald Rumsfeld is a villain for the ages. But there's one particular revelation in the book that stands out for its plain weirdness: Henry Kissinger's presence in the Oval Office.

The Wrong Target?
12:00 AM

by Jacob T.

November 05, 2006

Devil's Advocates

The surest way to map Iraq's ethnic and sectarian fault lines is by how quickly a U.S. helicopter flies over them. Choppers race over Sunni areas, nearly sideways to the ground in some places. But, a few miles outside of the town of Sinjar by the Syrian border, the Blackhawks slow to a leisurely speed: Yezidi live below. These ancient people, who number in the thousands and consider themselves neither Christian nor Muslim, cherish their occupiers. Yezidi party leader Waad Hamed Modo greets me in a Sinjar courtyard with his own testimonial. "I met recently with Sunnis in Baghdad," he says.

November 04, 2006

Don't Get Too Excited!
12:00 AM

by Sanford LevinsonThanks to the Constitution, elections are far less important than you might think (or hope). Like (presumably) most participants in Open University, I am anticipating--and intensely hoping for--a good night for the Democrats. But, in line with my argument that we have an undemocratic Constitution that makes its own contribution to our political dysfunctionality, I want to mention some cautionary notes: 1) Even if the Democrats get a hefty majority of votes for candidates running for the Senate, they may not regain it.

November 03, 2006

Pre-election Agitation
12:00 AM

by Richard Stern The election is next Tuesday, feelings are agitated, anger becomes fury, disappointment misery, temperate criticism raging indictment. Hertzberg, a brilliant observer, wonders if Bush is the worst of the 43 presidents or, at least, of the 16 two-termers. Thomas Friedman lashes the administration's incompetence and the viciousness of the smoke with which they try to screen it. Karl Rove is seen as the equivalent of a knowing vendor of cancer poison. Those who sympathize with these viewpoints

November 01, 2006

Steeling Votes
12:00 AM

In early October, Baltimore residents reported receiving suspicious calls from a polling organization that sounded as if its real purpose was not to survey opinion, but to tar Democratic gubernatorial candidate Martin O'Malley, who is running against incumbent Republican Robert Ehrlich. Ehrlich's campaign, accused of using "push polls," gave what could be construed as a non-denial denial. "We use a variety of strategies to reach Maryland voters to spread the word of Governor Ehrlich's accomplishments but also to show the difference between the two candidates," Ehrlich spokesman Shareese N.

October 30, 2006

Hacks 2006
12:00 AM

Last September, Hurricane Katrina revealed a Bush administration studded through and through with hacks. These cronies exhibited the quality made infamous by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Michael Brown: a loyalty to party and president that could overcome the kinds of issues that would give lesser governments pause, such as insufficient experience or a sketchy diploma.

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