March 14, 2008
McCain's Free Ride
Right now, with Democrats transfixed by the increasingly self-destructive battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, John McCain is getting a free ride politically (at the moment, a ride abroad, to provide the backdrop for the story he'd like to tell about being the one ready to take the helm of U.S. foreign policy and national security). That ride looks likely to last until June or beyond.
Spitzer: The Next Lawrence?
Over at Balkinization, Michael Stokes Paulsen imagines what a five-justice majority of the Supreme Court (Kennedy, Souter, Breyer, Ginsburg, and Clinton) might say in striking down anti-prostitution laws in the 2010 case of Spitzer v. United States: There is no persuasive basis for distinguishing the Lawrence Liberty here.
March 13, 2008
Orlando Patterson's reply is as unpersuasive as his original op-ed essay. His op-ed--a fanciful interpretation of Hillary Clinton's 3 A.M. campaign ad as racist--provides no facts to back up its assertions, thereby making refutation literally impossible. Now, in his reply, Patterson offers more groundless speculation. He also fails to concede that his original essay contained a gross falsehood that is now a matter of record--a falsehood that, once revealed, demolishes his basic argument.
Eliot Spitzer, of course, is not a “regular” person as the term is understood, so any advice to him and his family would be different from, say, advising a gentleman arrested in a cathouse in Omaha. Make no mistake. Many Regular Joes have been caught out publicly, but the national televised “gotcha” is reserved for either politicians or those who are enormously rich. His bad luck, soon-to-be former Governor Spitzer is both. I was surprised, during his brief, televised press conference Wednesday morning, that he did not announce that he was on his way to a treatment center for sex addiction.
In the wake of her victories in Ohio and Texas, Hillary Clinton and her revitalized campaign are feeling bold.
How to Talk to Iran
When President Bush assumed office, Iran was not a nuclear power. When his successor takes the oath of office next year, however, Iran will have achieved (or be on the verge of achieving) that status. Nothing the Bush Administration or the international community is doing now is likely to alter Iran's behavior over the coming year.
March 12, 2008
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina--Few things better illustrate the tragedy of Latin American populist and nationalist politics than the crisis related to natural gas in South America. A region endowed with vast reserves and governments that describe themselves as close partners is mired in crippling power shortages and cross-border disputes over cutbacks in the supply of natural gas.
Even if you are a Wikipedia fan who thinks the site is usually accurate, you can’t help but feel that there’s an implicit marker on all the content: "Maybe this is correct." That "maybe" is what sticks in the craws of so many people. Teachers often insist that their students cannot cite Wikipedia. Journalists and academics are embarrassed to admit they use it, and most would not consider writing for it. But if your goal is to improve human understanding, isn’t one of the world’s top websites a better outlet than University of Nebraska Press?
On Monday a friend gave me a copy of a memorandum (pdf) that Attorney General Michael Mukasey had circulated inside the Justice Department admonishing staff about how to deal with politically sensitive cases. "They must be about to bag another big-time Democrat,” my friend said, jokingly. Perhaps it wasn’t a joke. Within hours the wires were burning with reports that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer had been linked to a prostitution ring. In New York, the tabloid press and comedians are having a field day with the sudden, spectacular fall of Eliot Spitzer.
Disputations: Was '3 A.M.' Racist?
Sean Wilentz makes no attempt to respond to the points raised in my article beyond his huffing that it is biased. He merely repeats his earlier, quite absurd inversion of the course of events leading up to, and responsibility for, the injection of race in the campaign. He reveals his hand in his failure to find any "bad faith" in Bill Clinton's crude comparison of Obama's win in South Carolina with Jesse Jackson's years earlier.