November 01, 2007

The Hillary Frenzy
12:00 AM

                                                      With the media in a minor frenzy over Hillary Clinton's debate performance Tuesday night, I'm questioning my own judgment. After all, I had initially declared Hillary's performance not so bad. We'll see how much average voters think about her "bad" moments, including that awkward exchange on drivers licenses for illegal immigrants and her obfuscation on her White House papers. But the media has clearly been longing to "correct" the Hillary bubble lest the race became a total dud.

October 31, 2007

Who's Buried in Che's Tomb?
12:00 AM

PANAMA CITY, Panama--Thousands of Cubans and foreigners have been flocking to a mausoleum in central Cuba to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Che Guevara's death. For 10 years, the Cuban government has been telling the world that the body inside the mausoleum is that of the famous guerrilla.It's a lie designed to bamboozle the population into worshiping the Argentine-born revolutionary as if he were a saint--and the Cuban Revolution as if it were a religion.

What's Your Problem?
12:00 AM

Who Won the Democrats' Debate? &nbspWe've been experiencing technical difficulties with What's Your Problem? Please leave a comment or email us at theplank@tnr.com if you experience problems with the video or its player.--Ed. &nbspPETER 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).

Doing the Math
12:00 AM

Polls can mislead, but at the risk of making a fool of myself, I will try to draw some conclusions from the current ones: Hillary Clinton is going to get the Democratic nomination unless she makes some very big mistakes between now and the first caucuses and primaries; and the Republican race looks increasingly like a two-man contest between Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney, with Fred Thompson and John McCain as also-runs and Mike Huckabee as a spoiler.

The Philadelphia Debate
12:00 AM

The big question heading into tonight’s debate was how aggressively would Barack Obama and John Edwards hammer Hillary Clinton’s character, which recent internal-polling suggests is her greatest vulnerability. The answer was: very aggressively. Obama and Edwards spent much of the evening firing away at Clinton’s honesty and trustworthiness. And, yet, in a way, the debate seemed less about Obama and Edwards versus Clinton than Obama versus Edwards, with Clinton as a bystander. That’s not to say all the incoming fire had no effect on Clinton.

Bolton The Brave
12:00 AM

The Israeli attack on the Syrian nuclear laboratory in a desolate part of Bashar Assad's kingdom is an embarrassment to one of the Bush administration's few diplomatic achievements.  The first hint that this was so came with the protest by North Korea against the government of Israel and its deft and daring raid deep into Syria.  Why, for God's sake, would Pyongyang care at all about what occurs between an Arab state and the Jewish state half a world away from the Korean peninsula?  Brash the protest might have been, stupid, even.

Baldness And The Presidency
12:00 AM

A correspondent e-mailed me today from Los Angeles with the suggestion that I do a piece about baldness and the American presidency.  He writes that not since Dwight Eisenhower have the American people elected a bald man to the White House, that's five and a half decades.  He also points out that the only hairless candidate this year is Rudolph Giuliani.Well, Time magazine has an article, "The Bald Truth," in this issue enumerating the full-maned presidents since Ike: especially JFK, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.  Of course, the electorate in 1952 (and then again in 1956) had no choice betwe

The Crack Gap, Reformed (sorta)
12:00 AM

You've probably seen this: The Supreme Court just put a de facto moratorium on all executions until Baze v. Rees, a lethal injection case from Kentucky, gets decided next spring. (Here's one prediction on how that will turn out.) For my money, though, the bigger criminal-justice news is that, tomorrow, the U.S. Sentencing Commission's new guidelines come into effect, reducing the disparity in penalties for crack and powder cocaine. It's not a huge change (see here), but it's something.

Partisanship And Activism On The Supreme Court
12:00 AM

We have been engaged in a long-term study of judicial voting patterns, and we  recently published an oped in the Los Angeles Times, in which we gave “awards” to Supreme Court justices, based on a statistical study of their votes. The Judicial Neutrality Award went to Justice Anthony Kennedy. The Judicial Restraint award went to Justice Stephen Breyer. The less coveted Partisan Voting Award went to Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Antonin Scalia received the Judicial Activism Award.

Girl World
12:00 AM

Today's Washington Post declares this the Era of La Presidenta in South America, thanks to Chile's and Argentina's recent female victors in presidential elections and the possibility that this woman-in-power trend is about to "spread north" through the continent. The Post sees it as a South-America-specific phenom: Marta Lagos, who conducts polls throughout Latin America and is based in Chile, said both women rose to prominence because their people were desperately seeking a new class of political elites.