February 12, 2008

Washington Diarist
12:00 AM

What you think of a presidential candidate is in large measure determined by what you think of the world. Different circumstances call for different talents, different sensibilities, different approaches to power. “Leadership” comes in many forms. A sterling individual may be historically inappropriate; and a person whom it is impossible to admire may accomplish significant things. The question of whether Barack Obama will make a fine commander-in chief finally depends on your view of the direction of history in the coming years.

Gaza, Stripped
12:00 AM

In the wake of Hamas blowing up the border fence between Egypt and Gaza the images of Palestinians from Gaza streaming across the border into Egypt were unsettling to the Israelis, Egyptians, Palestinian Authority, and Bush Administration. Only Hamas benefited from the images.

The Duel
12:00 AM

MANASSAS, Va.--It's come down to this: Who can beat John McCain? Winning that argument could allow Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton to reach beyond their respective demographic comfort zones. Only if one of them can build a clear majority will the party be saved from a descent into the mire of rules fights and backroom dealing.

Obama's Best Speech Yet
12:00 AM

It's been a week or so since I've heard Obama's stump speech, so maybe this is old news.  But -- wow -- he is really going after John McCain.  And he's doing a damn fine job of it. He started by honoring McCain's service, with all apparent sincerity, and then pivoted quickly to this line: "John McCain has the wrong priorities -- because they are bound to the policies of the past." He then promised "a clear choice," tying McCain to the Bush tax cuts and, in particular, the war in Iraq: "John McCain won't be able to say I ever supported this war in Iraq, because I opposed it from the start. Sena

The Open And Shut Case Against Hillary Clinton
12:00 AM

A key component of Hillary Clinton's campaign message is that she would be tougher on foreign policy than Barack Obama. She has spent a lifetime constructing this hawkish image (see Mike's excellent piece from last year on the formation of Hillary's views on the exercise of American power), in full knowledge that she would have to neutralize fears of her being a radical peacenik if she ever wished to make a serious run for president.

Why The Shakeup May Be Good For All Of Us
12:00 AM

I just wanted to excerpt some key passages from Josh Green's Atlantic piece on Patti Solis Doyle, which illustrate the themes Mike mentioned earlier: After the race, Solis Doyle was put in charge of fund-raising and later became campaign manager for Clinton’s Senate reelection bid in 2006. She earned a reputation as a contentious, domineering boss.

Ed Rendell, Straight-talker
12:00 AM

Via TPM Election Central, I see that Governor Ed Rendell is back to embarrassing a presidential candidate he ostensibly supports. Here's an account of how Rendell, a Hillary supporter, recently sized up Obama's chances in Pennsylviania: Gov. Ed "Don't Call Me 'Fast Eddie' " Rendell met with the editorial board of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette last week to talk about his latest budget.

February 11, 2008

R.i.p. Tom Lantos
12:00 AM

Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, died today. His politics were complex--a big supporter of authorizing Bush to go to war in Iraq in '02, he also was one of the first legislators to go to Libya as things were starting to thaw in '04, and argued for normalizing relations--but the authority of his voice when he spoke about human rights was something incredibly special.

February 10, 2008

Maverick Vs. Iceman
12:00 AM

A couple of years ago, as part of his campaign to reassure conservatives of his ideological reliability, John McCain sat for an interview with Stephen Moore, a Wall Street Journal editorial writer and fervent advocate of supply-side economics. In the course of the interview, McCain acknowledged that not all his positions were acceptable to the right, but he hinted that further rightward evolution might be possible. “His philosophy is best described as a work in progress,” wrote Moore somewhat hopefully.

Blame Hillary, Not Solis Doyle
12:00 AM

I don't know much about the inner politics of the Clinton campaign.  There is one top manager there whom I like and respect very much.  But I wouldn't--for his sake--mention his name.  And I can't estimate the political fall-out that's going to result from Hillary displacing Patti Solis Doyle, a Hispanic woman, with Maggie Williams, also a woman but a black woman.  I do know that all of this was predicted in Michelle Cottle's fast-paced but scrupulous account of the hair-pulling in the Hillary camp.There is one thing I do grasp, however, and that is when a candidate begins replacing staff it i