January 24, 2008

The Gop Debate (i.e., The Bubble Bath In Boca)
12:00 AM

A couple of quick thoughts about tonight's debate: 1.) You'd probably expect it from a notorious Romney symp, but I thought the former Massachusetts governor had a very strong night. He was sharp out of the gate with a fluent answer about the recent stimulus compromise, solid again on Social Security, extremely well-informed in response to a gotcha question from Rudy Giuliani about federal hurricane insurance.

Chaos In Gaza
12:00 AM

A high and highly reliable security source in Israel told me today that Hamas had been planning the breaking down of the walls (built by Israel) at Rafah, between Gaza and Egypt, for several months. (This was also confirmed by Amira Hass, the Ha'aretz reporter who seems to support the most extreme Palestinian forces in the conflict.) And Egypt seemed prepared for them to fall. One piece of evidence: the Egyptians did not even try to push the Gazans back from whence they came.But this is not a fortuitous development for the regime that rules so awkwardly in Cairo.

Are Candidates Exploiting "islamophobia"?
12:00 AM

The scapegoat of the 2008 presidential race is not the Mexican immigrant slithering his way through the Arizona desert. Neither is it China shipping dangerous goods to our unsuspecting shores. It is the Muslim. According to University of Michigan professor Juan Cole, "Muslims are being used in the way reminiscent of the Willie Horton moment." This was the thesis behind a presentation Cole made yesterday at the National Press Club entitled "Fear for Votes: How Some 2008 Candidates are Exploiting Islamophobia," put on by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

January 23, 2008

What's Your Problem?
12:00 AM

What's the problem with the coverage of the Democratic race?  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

Some History--and Hope--on Health Care
12:00 AM

If Americans decide to elect not just a Democratic president but also an overwhelmingly Democratic Senate this year, then universal health insurance will happen. But since the latter remains an unlikely possibility, at least for now, many very smart people assume that the short-term prospects for passing universal coverage are slim to none.

January 22, 2008

Voting Rites
12:00 AM

Even though he lost South Carolina, Huckabee’s running about even with Giuliani and McCain in fluid Florida. Those who predict he still has a chance to be, at least, a convention kingmaker point to the delegates he can rack up in Southern states on February 5: Lots of evangelicals in those states = lots of votes for Mike Huckabee. But South Carolina showed this math doesn’t work.

Slum Lord
12:00 AM

CARACAS, Venezuela--After an extensive visit to the slums of this capital, I am convinced that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lost the recent referendum that would have extended the time he could remain in office not because his countrymen value democracy so much, but because his social programs are crumbling. In the barrios of Petare, Catia, Baruta and other places, the nationalist/populist model is collapsing. Through a network of "missions," the government has been using oil revenue to provide food, housing, cars, education and health care for millions of Venezuelans.

McCain in the Middle
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--John McCain is feared by Democrats and liked by independents. That, paradoxically, is why he may yet be rejected by Republicans, even though he has bent over backward to satisfy conservative demands.McCain exorcised the ghosts of South Carolina on Saturday, winning a critical primary in a state where he was viciously savaged eight years ago by George W. Bush. McCain's loss ended his chances in 2000, but the sheer ferocity of the campaign against him only burnished his legend as the brave independent willing to confront a Republican political machine that punishes free thinking.

It Takes One To Know One
12:00 AM

According to Newsweek, Clintonista and Ilinois Congressman Rahm Emanuel is telling Bill Clinton to turn the temper down a notch (hat tip: Matt Continetti): Prominent Democrats are upset with the aggressive role that Bill Clinton is playing in the 2008 campaign, a role they believe is inappropriate for a former president and the titular head of the Democratic Party. In recent weeks, Sen. Edward Kennedy and Rep. Rahm Emanuel, both currently neutral in the Democratic contest, have told their old friend heatedly on the phone that he needs to change his tone and stop attacking Sen.

It's Only Going To Get Worse
12:00 AM

Bill Clinton dozed off at the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem just as his wife was receiving the endorsement (or, more properly, the blessing) of Calvin Butts at Abyssinian Baptist Church, eight or so blocks away.  This church had been the pulpit of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. -- "Mr.