December 06, 2007

Quickie Reaction To The Romney Speech
12:00 AM

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
12:00 AM

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.

Going Down

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?
12:00 AM

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

Missouri Breaks
12:00 AM

INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI “As much as we would all like to believe the General Assembly is a ‘Mr. Smith’ kind of entity, the reality is that these institutions are far more like a tug of war,” says State Senator Chris Koster, as we sit over coffee at the Courtyard Exchange. “If you are going to go down there, you have to get on one side of the rope or the other, and I realized I was on the wrong side of the rope.” Koster was elected a state senator in 2004 as part of a swing to the Republican Party in Missouri.

A Non-Military Response
12:00 AM

TINGO MARIA, <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Peru--I recently witnessed the beginning of a police operation that led to the death of a top member of Shining Path, the terrorist organization that has been active in this country since 1980, and the capture of another.

Schilling Pitches For Mccain
12:00 AM

Manchester, New Hampshire -- I know that over on his fancypants blog Mike already promised you details of the John McCain-Curt Schilling confab. But since we both wound up at the same event, Mike's graciously decided to throw the Plank a bone and has allowed me to do the honors. If McCain wants to go from second to first in the New Hampshire polls, he might want to consider bringing Schilling along with him to every campaign stop.

The Second Amendment Revolution
12:00 AM

Here is a remarkable development. Just twenty-five years ago, there was a strong consensus, among judges and academics, that the Second Amendment did not create an individual right. No federal court had invalidated a restriction on guns on Second Amendment grounds (ever). As recently as 1992, Chief Justice Warren Burger, a conservative Republican appointee, rejected the individual rights view in public. (For some details, see my TNR piece, "The Most Mysterious Right.") In a short period, the consensus has shattered.

December 04, 2007

The 49er
12:00 AM

By the thinnest of margins--51 to 49--this Sunday, Venezuelan voters defeated a referendum that would have drastically increased President Hugo Chávez’s already tremendous powers. The 69 proposed amendments would have further consolidated Chavez’s gradual but unyielding effort to seize control of just about every level of political and economic life in Venezuela. Among other things, the amendments would have granted Chávez control over the central bank, allowed the government to detain citizens without charges during states of emergency, and opened the way for Chávez’s unlimited reelection.

Where Are the Anti-Fascists?
12:00 AM

The memory of the crimes of the Nazi era and the determination to oppose anti-Semitism in all its forms have been constitutive and distinctive features of German democracy since 1949, when it was articulated by the founding generation of political leaders of West Germany's Federal Republic. Judging by the memorials, commemorative days, books, and films about Nazism and the Holocaust, this tradition of remembering the murdered Jews of Europe remains firmly embedded in the political culture of contemporary German public life.