March 01, 2008

What Next For Cuba?
12:00 AM

  One Herbert Matthews covered revolutionary Cuba for the New York Times. Matthews was infatuated with Castro, as another Timesman Walter Duranty became intoxicated with Leninist and Stalinist Russia. Thus, generations of Americans were systematically misled about Communism and what it did to societies that had other and more humane alternatives.  Look into the eyes of lefties from 1959 and beyond, and there is still a dazzled myopia when Castro is mentioned.

February 29, 2008

The Lone Star Primer

Welcome to Texas: home of the most ludicrous, convoluted, and downright screwy Democratic primary system in America. Actually, it’s not even a primary; it’s a primary-caucus hybrid, the electoral equivalent of the turducken.

The 3 A.m. President
12:00 AM

Chait is bemused by Hillary's new ad envisioning a scary international crisis which precipitates a 3 a.m. phone call to the president. (The ad has been the subject of fierce dueling between the campaigns today, giving it a guaranteed free-media punch beyond its actual viewership.)   I don't find the ad remotely comparable to LBJ's (once-aired) "Daisy" ad, which essentially depicts a little girl being anhilliated by a nuclear explosion. I do agree with Jon that it's a bit substantively puzzling. The White House gets lots of calls in the middle of the night about foreign crises.

Uncle Sam, Shorthanded
12:00 AM

Ryan Grim reports in the Politico that a number of federal agencies are severely undermanned because the White House and Senate Democrats can't agree on mutually acceptable nominees to fill the positions: At the height of concern over product safety and lead-tainted toys, the Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t have enough members to meet. The nation is facing the prospect of a presidential contest with no referee, because the Federal Election Commission is too short-handed to call a quorum.

In North Korea, Size Doesn't Matter
12:00 AM

Great stuff in Blaine Harden's WashPost dispatch from North Korea: The statue is shockingly big and commands a vast concrete plaza on a hill overlooking the capital. Large speakers broadcast martial music. When North Koreans visit, as they often do in sizable, highly organized groups, they bow to the statue. For foreign visitors, snapping pictures of what may well be the world's tallest statue of a dead dictator, the first question that comes to mind is: "How tall is it?" This reporter's minder seemed tormented by the question.

It's 3:00 Am, I Must Be Lonely
12:00 AM

Wow, Jason, you're right: what a strange ad for Clinton. (See below.) The narrator tells us, twice, that "it's 3:00 AM and your children are asleep" when a call comes to the White House. From this we're supposed to conclude that we need a Tested and Ready president in Hillary Clinton, who as First Lady was apparently answering these calls, perhaps because her husband was shacked up at the time. Okay, fine. But isn't pretty much everybody asleep at 3:00 AM? And what do my kids have to do with it?

February 28, 2008

12:00 AM

Last week's appointment of Raúl Castro to succeed his brother Fidel as president of Cuba has sent pundits and democracy advocates into a deep gloom. "Raul Castro has killed all hope that a transition to the rule of law and a market economy will start anytime soon in Cuba," wrote Alvaro Vargas Llosa. Before Sunday’s National Assembly meeting, it was widely expected that a younger--and more progressive--generation would be tapped for top positions in the government.

"He Was A Rebel, But Not A Heretic"
12:00 AM

Bill Buckley, who died yesterday, will, of course, be remembered as the man who was most singly responsible for the modern conservative movement. Before 1955, when Buckley founded National Review, there were disparate strands of an American right--from free market anti-New Dealers to traditionalists like Russell Kirk to anti-Semitic crackpots like Gerald L. K. Smith.

Split Decision
12:00 AM

On January 25, the New York Times endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton. At the time, the 1,100-word editorial stood out for both its tepidness and early appearance, coming near the front-end of the primary season. The piece ran in the paper the Friday before Super Tuesday, instead of in the Times’s symbolically-important Sunday edition.

Gipper 2.0
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Barack Obama’s critics bear a remarkable resemblance to the liberals who labored mightily to dismiss Ronald Reagan in 1980. Reagan’s foes wrote him off as a right-wing former actor who amiably spouted conservative bromides and must have been engaged in some sort of Hollywood flimflam. Like Reagan’s enemies, Obama’s opponents concede that this Democrat gives a great speech.