November 19, 2007
The Political Is Personal
WASHINGTON -- The contours of the contest for the Democratic presidential nomination are set, and it is not a battle about "issues." Advisers to the major contenders largely see things this way, and Democratic voters are in a quandary about what to do. The norms of high-minded commentary suggest that you are never to say the issues are not the issue. But among the top Democratic candidates, the confrontations they are staging around policy questions are designed to use their rather small differences to highlight larger contrasts in experience, temperament and character.
November 18, 2007
South Africa's Betrayal Of Its Past
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued areport integrating its three previous ones and drawing deeper conclusions on what its scientists say will be, according to Elisabeth Rosenthal in Saturday's New York Times, inevitable meltdown of ice sheets and the elimination of many species. This news from the U.N.
November 16, 2007
A recent study by Democracy Corps, a left-leaning research and polling firm, asked independent voters to pick two reasons “why the country is going in the wrong direction.” The top answer, chosen by 40 percent of respondents, was the following: “Our borders have been left unprotected and illegal immigration is growing.” Commentators judged the survey to be bad news for Democrats, who might have difficulty addressing the concerns of these voters without alienating their traditional supporters.
What's Your Problem?
Do liberals romanticize the sixties?<?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
At What Price?
WASHINGTON--It's time that we subject the Iraq War to the same cost-benefit analysis that we are called upon to impose on other government endeavors. We are supposed to repeal or revise domestic programs that don't work. Shouldn't a troubled war policy be treated the same way?Driving the current debate is the assumption that we can't afford to withdraw our troops from Iraq because of the chaos that will ensue.
There has been a lot of press criticism lately (see Paul Waldman's Tim Russert takedown, Noam's thoughts on Russert, and Matt Yglesias' more general criticisms), and while much of it is sensible, I think the media is getting a little too much blame. Here's Matt: Great example. An audience member makes the sensible observation that the candidates haven't talked about the Supreme Court and asks them to say something about their approach to picking nominees. I'd be interested to hear the answers to these questions.
The Vegas Debate
Earlier this week I had a conversation about Barack Obama with a rival campaign strategist. This summer, the strategist told me, Obama looked downright plaintive--like a man second-guessing his decision to run for president. No longer, said the strategist. In recent weeks, both the candidate and campaign have been acting like a team that expects to win. I think we saw this second Obama on display tonight. He was focused, energized, tough, charismatic--pretty much everything the press had accused him of not being in previous debates.
November 15, 2007
The Connectivity Campaign
Yesterday afternoon, Barack Obama made a speech in Silicon Valley on innovation, outlining a plan to create a national technology czar, or "chief technology officer"--likely some 28-year old techie whiz kid, or kids--charged with making president Obama's wildest web fantasies a reality. The venue was no mistake--he spoke at Google headquarters in Mountain View, a petri dish of hyper-wealthy young innovators, who were soon crowing over his plan to make cutting-edge technology the bedrock of his administration.
After the first Democratic debate, at the end of April, when Hillary Clinton made her main rivals seems small and insignificant, I expected that Barack Obama would fade from contention even before the Iowa Caucus. And in the months that followed, Obama seemed to be doing just that. But <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Clinton’s recent missteps, amplified by John Edwards’ strident attacks upon her, provided Obama with an opening--and in a stirring speech before the Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Des Moines November 10, Obama took it.
Campaigning for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination, George W. Bush said that non-southerners, like his primary opponent John McCain, should “butt out” of the South’s racial politics. In South Carolina, telephone callers asked thousands of voters if they would support McCain if they knew he’d fathered a black child. These things did not happen because Bush is a racist. They happened because Bush, like decades of Republican candidates before him, wanted to benefit from the racism of some southern voters.