December 19, 2007
For The Love of the Game
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Ankeny, Iowa<?xml:namespace prefix = o />Thirty-five years in the Senate, and here Joe Biden is: in a room called “The Cheap Seats,” in the back of a sports bar called Benchwarmers. It’s a cold Sunday night, and around 200 people have packed into a space that’s typically reserved for chicken wing gorge-athons and Minnesota Vikings game viewing parties. They have come to see a man languishing in the polls, ignored by the media, and campaigning with all the energy of a front-runner. What’s more, they love him.
Max Brantley, the editor of the alternative weekly Arkansas Times, has feuded with Mike Huckabee since the presidential candidate first appeared on the political stage during his failed 1992 Senate run. A liberal columnist married to a circuit judge appointed by Bill Clinton, Brantley penned weekly columns antagonizing Huckabee for his staunchly conservative social views, opaque campaign finance disclosures, and acceptance of gifts during his time in office.
Every now and then in American politics, normally balanced people get swept up by delusions of greatness about a presidential candidate, based on an emotional attachment to the candidate’s oratory or image. The youthful William Jennings Bryan brought down the house and swept up the nomination with his famous "Cross of Gold" speech at the Democratic National Convention in 1896--only to be crushed by the dreary William McKinley in November. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />Political journalists have never been immune to the delusional style.
The Critical Browser
When somebody tells you the same thing three or four times, it may be something that you're supposed to understand is very important. When somebody tells you the same thing more than 30 times in a row, though, it means you probably already think the opposite is true--and it's a good idea to figure out what exactly the message is, and why it's being hammered into your brain. Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign's new site, The Hillary I Know, features dozens of short video testimonials to Senator Clinton as a person.
Heavy Is the Head
BOGOTA, Colombia--The U.S.
Dana Perino's Strange Nyt Response
Shorter Washington Post, on the White House's reaction to this morning's big New York Times story: "We might have told the CIA to destroy the interrogation tapes, but we definitely didn't lie about it afterward!" I'm not sure exactly how this is supposed to make the administration look better, although now that Perino mentions it, I guess it's true that most instances of Bush administration misconduct have been accompanied by efforts to mislead journalists. It seems like Perino's really being overly defensive here--the Times didn't accuse the administration of misleading the press.
December 18, 2007
Hillary Clinton's Firewall
Hillary Clinton was once thought to have had the Democratic nomination sewn up, but if current polls are any indication, she could conceivably lose not only the Iowa caucus, but also the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Since these states became the major test of presidential aspirations, no Democrat or Republican has ever gotten the nomination after losing all three. But even if she fails to win any of those three critical early states, Hillary Clinton still has a chance. That’s because of her strength among Hispanic voters.
Partners in Genocide
Two weeks ago, Britain introduced a toughly worded Presidential Statement at the U.N. Security Council, demanding that Khartoum’s National Islamic Front regime turn over two génocidaires to the International Criminal Court. The first, Ahmed Haroun, who, in a grotesque bit of irony, now serves as Sudan's minister of humanitarian affairs, is accused of having directly orchestrated many of the vicious crimes documented by the U.N. and independent human rights organizations in Darfur.
This morning's Times, like most other news sources, reports that at an international conference in Paris presided over by Nicolas Sarkozy -- a gathering which Jacques Chirac would have never been allowed to chair -- the attendees pledged nearly two billion dollars more than the Palestinian Authority had requested from what is coyly termed the "international donor community." This turned out to be, as the Times reminded, the "most ambitious" such venture since 1996, at which point Yassir Arafat was still ruling the roost from Ramallah and there was absolutely zero progress on arrangements betw
David Brooks spends today's column explaining why Obama is more emotionally grounded than Hillary and would thus make a better president. This may very well be true. Whatever her virtues, Hillary doesn't strike many folks as particularly zen. But (surprise!) Brooks is a little too glibly authoritative is his broader pronouncements. Take this pearl: Many of the best presidents in U.S. history had their character forged before they entered politics and carried to it a degree of self-possession and tranquillity that was impervious to the Sturm und Drang of White House life.