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.

Daddy Dearest
12:00 AM

Most parents feel a twinge of anxiety at the thought of leaving their teenagers unsupervised for any length of time. It’s not that the kids are bad; it’s just that, set free from parental oversight, the urge to run wild can prove irresistible. The 1983 Tom Cruise hit Risky Business provided a worst- case template for how quickly things can spiral out of control: One minute, your super-responsible son is lip-synching Bob Seger tunes in his underpants.

Page Turner
12:00 AM

It’s the afternoon of December 19, 1998, the day the House will impeach Bill Clinton, and one Republican representative can’t bring himself to vote. Not, as you might expect, because he’s torn between his partisan passions and constitutional principle—the representative has just delivered a screed pronouncing the president’s offenses impeachable. But because he literally can’t vote.

Jersey Barrier
12:00 AM

Picking Bob Menendez was a gamble—that much is clear. When Jon Corzine left the Senate to take over as governor of New Jersey last year, he named Menendez, a longtime Democratic congressman from Hudson County in the northeastern part of the state, to serve out the remainder of his term. It didn’t take long for that decision to look like a significant miscalculation. Running at a time when the national political landscape favored Democrats, Menendez, improbably, seemed headed for defeat.

Brooklyn Diarist: Well Met
12:00 AM

It's problematic for me this year, especially as a Jew, but I can't stand the Mets. Depending on your conception of when life begins, I attended my first Yankee game either six months in utero or three months out of the womb, and I've never looked back. Unfortunately, during my formative years, the Yanks were a fairly dismal team, and the Mets were the toast of the schoolbus; I was six when they rolled to the 1986 world championship, their first in almost two decades.

Optimism Gap
12:00 AM

“I am an optimist,” proclaimed Ban Ki-moon, the new secretary-general of the United Nations, in his introductory speech to the General Assembly last Friday. He will certainly fit right in. What has taken place at Turtle Bay over the past six weeks represents nothing so much as the triumph of optimism over sanity. In late August, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling for peacekeepers to deploy to Darfur to stop a genocide that has claimed some 400,000 lives over the last three years.

What The Realists Wrought
12:00 AM

During these very days fifty years ago, history was being betrayed by the cool realists in Washington. But the history was being made in the streets of Budapest and on the sands near Suez. Let me begin with the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Of the Warsaw Pact countries, Hungary may not have been the most brutalized. But it had a resilient population of pious Catholics, some socialists and a smattering of liberals. A goodly number of these Catholics had been sympathizers of the fascist regime of Admiral Horthy, which was independent of Nazi Germany until late in the war.

October 29, 2006

Pop Warner
12:00 AM

Mark Warner and I had each had a couple of cocktails. They say up in the air one drink feels like two, and so things were, as Warner would later remind me the day he announced he wasn’t running for president, “a little foggy.” We were aboard a campaign donor’s jet, flying back to Virginia after two intense days of New Hampshire politics. Democrats who show up to listen to presidential hopefuls stump in the dead of August two years before the election are a tough crowd.