June 12, 2008

Jason Furman Is Not The Problem
12:00 AM

I'm all in favor of unions and other voices of the left making themselves heard when it comes to the substantive priorities of the Obama campaign and someday (should things go well in November) the Obama administration. But making a fuss over the appointment of economist Jason Furman, because of his association with centrist Democratic economics, seems not the best excuse to do it.

Obama: The University Of Chicago Democrat
12:00 AM

The following is a revised, updated, and edited version of a piece originally published in The Independent of London a few months ago. In view of recent events, and continuing debates, I post a revised version here. I should add, by way of disclaimer, that I have been an occasional, informal adviser to Senator Obama. Not so long ago, the phone rang in my office. It was Barack Obama. For more than a decade, Obama was my colleague at the University of Chicago Law School. He is also a friend. But since his election to the Senate, he does not exactly call every day.

Scotus Rules For Gitmo Detainees
12:00 AM

The opinion is out in Boumediene v. Bush (opinion here in pdf format), and it appears to be a pretty thorough rebuke of the administration's position. The Court ruled 5–4 (with Justice Kennedy writing an opinion that the four liberals signed onto) that detainees at Guant

June 11, 2008

Virtually Normal
12:00 AM

Virtually Normal: Is Israel like any other country?

The Unraveling

Within a few minutes of Noman Benotman's arrival at the Kandahar guest house, Osama bin Laden came to welcome him. The journey from Kabul had been hard, 17 hours in a Toyota pickup truck bumping along what passed as the main highway to southern Afghanistan. It was the summer of 2000, and Benotman, then a leader of a group trying to overthrow the Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, had been invited by bin Laden to a conference of jihadists from around the Arab world, the first of its kind since Al Qaeda had moved to Afghanistan in 1996.

House Broker
12:00 AM

Nancy Pelosi believes in being direct. With the Democratic presidential contest running hot, in March a reporter with Boston TV station NECN asked the House speaker about the possibility of a dream ticket uniting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Doe eyes wide, the nation's highest-ranking Democrat flashed her trademark smile ominously. "I think that the Clinton administration [sic] has fairly ruled that out by proclaiming that Senator McCain would be a better [long pause, dismayed half- laugh] commander-in-chief than Obama.

Recount II: Return to the Swamp
12:00 AM

It is usually a mistake to read too deeply into the character of a presidential candidate on the basis of some tactical maneuver or grubby compromise. Anybody who was a saint wouldn't be in the position of running for the White House. And yet, Hillary Clinton's speech last week in Florida was so audacious, so divorced from reality, that it begs characterological questions. In the speech, Clinton--summoning as much passion and moral fervor as she has mustered at any point in the campaign--demanded that the Florida and Michigan delegations be seated at the Democratic National Convention.

Nunn Watch
12:00 AM

Now available online: My piece in the latest TNR making the case for Sam Nunn as Obama's veep. As it happens, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart has a plea against Nunn today. Capehart focuses on Nunn's most obvious political liability: His opposition to Bill Clinton's 1993 effort to let gays serve openly in the military. The military's current "don't ask, don't tell" policy seems pretty absurd and even counter to our security interests (especially when it comes to translators).

June 10, 2008

An Oily Mess
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Who is responsible for the astronomical price of oil? Most of the blame, as exemplified by the recent shenanigans in Congress with oil executives defending their paychecks under questioning by sanctimonious, eyebrow-raising legislators, is being put on petroleum companies. In European countries, protesters are denouncing the government for not taking immediate action to protect consumers.