June 06, 2008
No Climate Bill This Year
Well, as expected, the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner cap-and-trade bill quietly died in the Senate this morning after not getting the 60 votes needed to squeak past a Republican filibuster. Boxer's office sent out an e-mail earlier noting that six senators who weren't present on the floor wrote letters saying they would have voted to invoke cloture—Obama, Clinton, McCain, Kennedy, Biden, Coleman. Technically, I suppose, that makes 54 votes in favor of moving to the amendment stage.
There's been a fair amount of uproar in the D.C. blogosphere in response to the city's plan to set up a "military-style checkpoint" outside the Trinidad neighborhood in Northeast D.C. The idea, hatched in response to a wave of drive-by murders and armed robberies, is to stop all cars entering the area to ascertain whether they have a "legitimate purpose" for being in the area. It's certainly a controversial plan--and, at least to an uninformed observer like me, there are a variety of reasons why it seems likely to prove ineffective--but is it unconstitutional?
June 05, 2008
Graceless Under Fire
WASHINGTON--Hillary Clinton talked her way out of the vice presidency on Tuesday night. Barack Obama may never have intended to make her the offer. But Clinton's largely self-focused non-concession speech suggested that what some call a dream ticket could turn into a nightmare. Clinton did declare it an "honor" to have Obama as an opponent and "to call him my friend," but she made no acknowledgement of the historic nature of her opponent's achievement.
A Beautiful Mornin' For Democrats
Andrew Rice is an unlikely candidate to represent Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate. A 35-year-old Democrat elected to the state senate in 2006, he favors abortion rights and civil unions, despite running in one of the most socially conservative states in the country. He is up against two-and-a-third-term Republican incumbent James Inhofe, in a state with a 44-year history of voting for Republican presidents, and where no Democratic opponent has climbed above 41 percent since 1990.
Obama, As Seen From Africa
Kenya newspapers are displayed in the streets of Nairobi with the headline on June 5, 2008 of US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama,after his nomination victory that places him a heartbeat away from White House. (SIMON MAINA/AFP/Getty Images) --Michael Crowley
Bill Clinton, Same As Ever
The sage Carl Cannon has a funny reminder, triggered on Tuesday night, of how some things never change: It reminded me of how Bill Clinton, his eight years in the White House having ended, literally wouldn’t stop talking on George W. Bush’s inauguration day—to the point of holding a 90-minute rally at Andrews Air Force Base that rained on the inaugural parade. "We're not going anywhere!" Clinton assured his loyalists that day. --Michael Crowley
June 04, 2008
WASHINGTON--In recent weeks, France has been swamped with events commemorating the student uprising of May 1968--which actually started in March and finished in June. Less attention has been paid to the 40th anniversary of the student revolts in other countries, including the United States.Was the May 1968 French uprising an anarchist attack on all forms of authority, as some libertarians believed?
Now that he has clinched the Democratic nomination, pundits will mostly gauge Barack Obama’s prospects in the general election by looking at states he can win or constituencies he can carry. But there is another dimension to his candidacy: He represents a social group that was once on the margins of American politics, but now aspires to put one of its own in the highest office. This has happened once before in U.S. politics: when American Catholics saw one of their own nominated to be president.
Via Joe Romm, Roll Call detects more than a hint of disarray in the Democrats' political strategy for the Lieberman-Warner climate bill that's currently being debated on the Senate floor. The piece is subscriber-only, but here are the key tidbits: "We are about to take up the most important fight of our generation, and we have no strategy, no message and no plan to get out of this," one senior Senate Democratic aide said. Another senior Senate Democratic staffer echoed those sentiments: "Everyone knows this bill is going nowhere. The president is opposed to it.
I've just come back from a conference in honor of Michael Walzer at the Institute for Advanced Study. Many of the papers and much of the talk were devoted to Walzer's theories on just and unjust war. Of course, Michael, a very great scholar and political philosopher who has been associated with The New Republic (and his own magazine Dissent) for decades has a view of the war in Iraq, and it is not especially sympathetic. But his criticisms of the war are so refined -- by which I don't mean finicky -- that even sympathizers with the American military intervention can have a productive conversat