December 07, 2007
The Beginning of the End
Even before Sunday's stunning defeat of President Hugo Chavez's constitutional reform package in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Venezuela, it was clear that his rule had reached a turning point. Win or lose, Venezuela's politics had already changed in fundamental ways. The tired narrative of the astute populist soaked in oil money, railing against discredited political parties, an inept opposition, and George W. Bush had already given way to a new scenario.
December 06, 2007
Only a year ago, Facebook was as collegiate a phenomenon as cram sessions and bong hits. Now it's become a major social-networking tool across the board--partly because it's better designed than the likes of Friendster and MySpace, and partly because its users can easily modify their home pages to add "applications" that reflect their interests and personalities. The site currently claims over 57 million members worldwide, and says it adds a quarter-million more every day.
Isn’t it about time America had a president we could admire? That’s not some stump-speech rhetorical question. Rather, as the country heads into an election year, it’s a significant subject--one that has become central to the battle between the supposedly admirable Barack Obama and the supposedly unsympathetic Hillary Clinton. The arguments from Obama’s cheering section invariably boil down to the idea that their guy would be a president worthy of admiration, not just partisan loyalty. And though she certainly has her true believers, that’s not something you're hearing a lot about Mrs.
An Insult to Intelligence
Since the early 1990s, when <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Israel first began preparing for a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear program, its security establishment has been divided not about the threat Iran posed--which was almost universally agreed upon to be grave--but about whether America and the international community would have the will to stop Tehran. Optimists noted the near-total Western acceptance of the Israeli intelligence assessment that the goal of the Iranian nuclear program was a bomb.
What's Your Problem?
What's the problem with Mike Huckabee? PETER BEINART is editor-at-large at The New Republic, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Good Fight (HarperCollins). JONAH GOLDBERG is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a contributing editor to National Review. By Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg
On the WaPo politics blog, Chris Cillizza is asking whether Huckabee is the Democrats' worst nightmare: What if he can tie up the socially conservative, evangelical base while still appealing to independents with his authenticity and his economic populism? In Cillizza's estimation, "[t]here are clearly lines of attack available to Democrats if Huckabee becomes the nominee. But the current trepidation about that prospect speaks to just how much of an unknown variable Huckabee represents in the presidential race." That's right, Democrats are scared of what they don't know.
A couple of thoughts: First, I didn't hear Romney use the word "Mormon" (or a variant of the word) a single time during the speech. (For what it's worth, I just heard a CNN commentator say he used the word once.) But if you were watching on CNN, you saw this weird red graphic appear on the left-hand third of your screen a few minutes into the speech, with the word "Mormon" in big block letters and various disconcerting facts scrolling across the bottom of it.
December 05, 2007
The Big Test
In January, Damon Linker wrote a cover story for TNR arguing that understanding Mormonism, and specifically understanding Mitt Romney’s relationship to Mormonism, is critical in assessing his fitness for the presidency. “Mormonism,” Linker writes, “lacks the intellectual or spiritual resources to challenge a declaration of the prophet who runs the church, regardless of how theologically or morally outrageous that declaration might be.” In the first paragraph, Linker predicts that Romney will give a speech to explain his faith at the outset of the campaign.
Most days, the lobby of the Peninsula Hotel in Manila caters to a cross-section of elite Philippine society. Politicians in sharp suits swap stories in the coffee shop, while society ladies with bouffant hairdos and glittery mobile phones take their usual tables for lunch. But last week, a different crowd crashed the Peninsula, as a group of army officers barged into the hotel and commandeered the place to call for the resignation of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
What's Your Problem?
What's the problem with Mitt Romney's speech about his faith?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /> PETER BEINART is editor-at-large at The New Republic, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Good Fight (HarperCollins). JONAH GOLDBERG is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a contributing editor to National Review. By Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg