September 13, 2008
One of the truisms of political reporting is that it is exceptionally results-oriented. When a campaign wins, essentially every aspect of that campaign is deemed to be praiseworthy, and when a campaign loses, almost every aspect of the campaign is deemed to be a failure.Think how much different the conventional wisdom would be if Al Gore had won 300 more votes in Florida. Bush's strategy of rallying to the evangelical base would have been considered a failure, as would the Rovian politics of personal destruction.
Sticking with the rope-a-dope theme, I'd say early next week is the perfect time for an Obama ad accusing McCain of sacrificing his honor to win the White House. It's a meme that's suddenly everywhere in the media.
September 12, 2008
Stuck In The Muck
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.--It has been hard to remember lately that the country is in the midst of one of the most consequential presidential elections of our lifetimes. The campaign is a blur of flying pieces of junk, lipstick and gutter-style attacks. John McCain's deceptions about Barack Obama's views and Sarah Palin's flip-flopping suggest an unedifying scuffle over a city council seat. The media bear a heavy responsibility because "balance" does not require giving equal time to truth and lies.
Obama's Next Move
Barack Obama is slumping. Poll numbers are down. Enthusiasm is down. Democrats, once again, are freaking. So, we asked a few folks, from different walks of life, to offer their opinion on what Obama should do to improve his standing. Former Massachusetts Governor and 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis: On campaigning: "I think this thing is going to be won in the field, with basic grassroots organizing ... and I don't think McCain has anything out there.
A Popular/electoral Vote Split?
If you missed it, Nate Silver's latest calculations suggest we may be headed in that direction, with Obama winning the White House but losing the total vote count. Oy. --Michael Crowley
How Obama Should Frame Mccain
I'm sure the Obama campaign has solid research suggesting they should paint McCain as out of touch and closely tied to Bush. But, watching their new anti-McCain ad, I can't help wondering if they're ignoring their most brutally effective case against him. So, at the risk of offering advice to people much more knowledgeable than I am (why stop now, right?), here's the ad I'd run at McCain. It grew out of a conversation I had with Jason yesterday: Start with McCain in a good light, both literally and figuratively. The narrator says something like: "Before 2007, John McCain was an honorable man.
September 11, 2008
America’s schools have “lost their way,” and have become “bastions of moral relativism and moral compromise with the culture of death.” To be saved, those schools must change, so students can find “the God of the Bible and Biblical values in the classroom.” It sounds like Pat Robertson. But this is the latest from none other than Chris Smith, the longstanding Republican New Jersey Congressman who remains enormously popular in his largely suburban district encompassing several well-to-do towns. In a state that has been reliably Democratic since 1992, Smith seems like a moderate Republican.
Palin puts the "party" back in GOP.
What's the Matter with Michigan?
Democrats have grown accustomed to winning Michigan by relatively comfortable margins. Bill Clinton flipped the state in 1992, bringing home the Reagan Democrats and giving the party its first win in the state since 1968. Clinton’s margin grew to 13 points in 1996--five points better than his national popular vote margin against Bob Dole--and he successfully passed the torch to both Al Gore and John Kerry, each of whom also finished 5-6 points ahead of their national margins in the state. But Barack Obama has had trouble getting traction in the Wolverine State.
TNR's 9/11 Archives
For the seven year anniversary of September 11, we've compiled our coverage of that day and our immediate reactions. See also our archived coverage of the long-term aftermath."Sidelines"By Peter Beinart, Sept. 24, 2001"It Happened Here"By The Editors, Sept. 24, 2001"Brooklyn Dispatch: Under the Bridge"By Paul Berman, Sept. 24, 2001"Manhattan Dispatch: Scrapped"By David Grann, Sept. 24, 2001"Manhattan Dispatch: Homecoming"By Yossi Klein Halevi, Sept. 24, 2001"Boarding Pass: Why Aren't Airports More Secure?"By Gregg Easterbrook, Sept.