August 06, 2008

Speed Reading Suskind: Detain'd
12:00 AM

Pulitzer-prize winning political writer Ron Suskind's new book, The Way of the World, was released in stores today. The book is chock full of political intrigue and little-reported anecdotes from the past eight years of the Bush administration. We asked Alyssa Rosenberg, a correspondent for Government Executive and TNR speed-reader in residence, to find the hidden treasure in Suskind's 400-page tome.

August 05, 2008

The Fall Of Bosnia
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VIENNA--As I look at "The Kiss," Austrian painter Gustav Klimt's delicate masterpiece, in one of Vienna's Belvedere palaces, my head fills with the memories of my two trips to war-torn Bosnia in the 1990s. The papers recently have been full of coverage about the capture of Radovan Karadzic, the former president of Bosnia's breakaway Serbs. He is believed to have spent part of the last year hiding in Vienna--the city from where Bosnia was governed until the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I.

The Elephant Has Entered The Room
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Will the race issue go back into the closet for the rest of the presidential campaign? Of course not, so where do we go from here? Last week's dust-up over race between John McCain and Barack Obama was entirely disappointing. Obama spoke first about how his opponents would try to "make you scared of me," noting that he "doesn't look like all those other presidents" on our currency.

August 04, 2008

Family's Value
12:00 AM

<?xml:namespace prefix = o />In their smart and fun new book, Grand New Party, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam urge Republicans to spend trillions of dollars on policies to shore up working-class families. Several critics have pointed out that the Republican Party will likely remain much more interested in spending trillions of dollars on tax breaks for rich people. What's been less noticed is that Democrats could easily adopt much of the family agenda Douthat and Salam propose--and that, more than his opponent, Barack Obama already has. First, some context.

What's In A Name?
12:00 AM

As Beijing gears up to host this year's Olympic Games, we asked Perry Link, professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University, to give us his perspective on how China is responding to the challenge. He will be guest-blogging for us over the next few weeks: Might athletes from Taiwan have boycotted the Olympic Games if Beijing had made a minor shift in their team's name? This nearly happened a few days ago and yes, says Tai Shia-ling, Taiwan's Minister of Sports Affairs, the Taiwan athletes would definitely have stayed away.

Is Obama Dukakis Ii?
12:00 AM

The Boston Globe Magazine's Charlie Pierce does a so-so job on what could have been a fun piece--a counterfactual on what would have happened had Mike Dukakis beat George H.W. Bush in 1988--but there was one part of the story that made me gulp a bit: In the spring of 1988, Dukakis had a lead over the nominee of the incumbent Republican Party, just as Barack Obama does at this moment. Yet he lost, 53.4 percent to 45.6 percent, and by a whopping 426-111 in the Electoral College.

The Most Disturbing Thing I've Read In Years
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Even more disturbing than this, though that rates a close second. As for number one, it comes from Jane Mayer's new book, by way of Alan Brinkley's excellent review in Sunday's Times: By the end of 2005, those defending the regime of torture were no longer seeking primarily to protect the search for valuable intelligence. They were fighting for its survival, in the face of considerable evidence of the failure of SERE and other programs, because they feared being prosecuted should the program be halted and exposed.

August 01, 2008

The TNR Q&A: Walter Russell Mead

Ever since the primaries, when Barack Obama had trouble picking up votes in Appalachia and Hillary Clinton posed as the candidate of "hard-working Americans," strategists have been worried about his ability to pick up the instinctively populist voters whom historian Walter Russell Mead dubs "Jacksonians." <?xml:namespace prefix = o />Mead argues that Jacksonianism--which developed in the Scots-Irish communities of <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Appalachia--has spread throughout the United States to become the unwritten code that governs our gut understanding of ideas like honor and

Bitter, Party Of Two
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No sooner had Lanny J. Davis published a long op-ed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal instructing Barack Obama as to why he "should pick Hillary" as his vice presidential running mate that today's New York Times ran a short piece by Michael Falcone reporting that the "campaign for Clinton ends." And as it has ended though,  I shall point out, there are already post-scripts.Lanny and I are friends, you know, Washington friends, not close but slap-on-the-back cordial. He served as one of Bill Clinton's tribunes, doing p.r. during the mortifying impeachment proceedings.

Dictatorships And Afpakistandards
12:00 AM

Today the New York Times leads with a story about the culprits in a July 7 car bombing of the Indian embassy in Pakistan. According to intercepted communications, the attack was reportedly sanctioned and supported by factions of Pakistan’s military intelligence agency.