Politics

November 21, 2006

Hot House
12:00 AM

"Time is running out, and we need to move forward on this," Senator Barbara Boxer declared in a conference call with reporters last week, referring to global warming. The California Democrat will take over as chair of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee in January, and she has already vowed to make climate change a top priority, reversing a decade of inaction by congressional Republicans.

Overblown?

by David A. Bell It's a pity that John Mueller's book Overblown isn't getting more attention. Its provocative--and certainly debatable--thesis is very simple: The threat to the United States from Islamic terrorism has been exaggerated, and may be close to non-existent. There is little evidence that Islamic terrorists have the capacity (as opposed to the desire) to carry out further attacks on the scale of 9/11 on U.S. soil, let alone anything more destructive. Anxieties about chemical, biological, and radiological weapons are particularly unjustified.

November 20, 2006

The last GOP moderate.; Omega Man
12:00 AM

Norwalk, Connecticut There's no greater softball question in all of politics than the one reporters lob at candidates right before they go into their local polling places to vote for themselves: How do you feel? All politicians, even the ones destined for certain defeat, invariably respond with something upbeat, like Great! or Confident! But, on Tuesday morning, as the embattled Connecticut Representative Chris Shays headed into an elementary school in his Bridgeport neighborhood to pull the lever for himself, he couldn't muster anything quite that optimistic.

Sects Appeal
12:00 AM

Molly Worthen argues in 2006 that Mormons are moving towards the Christian and political mainstream in their public relations.

An Opportunity For Genuine (and Selfless) Leadership By Nancy Pelosi And Robert Byrd

by Sanford Levinson I have on several occasions railed against what I regard as basic defects in our constitutional order. Here I want to focus on a decidely "non-constitutional" defect that is every bit as serious, which is the present Succession in Office Act establishing who would succeed to the presidency in case there is no vice president.

Lost Hope

For a few days, there was hope. To be completely truthful, I had no hope about the tired old problem of Darfur. But Kofi Annan had announced that the United Nations "had reached any agreement with Sudanese envoys for a mixed force of about 20,000 peacekeepers" to enter Sudan. But on Saturday, Jan Egeland, undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, that the situation was about to become "infinitely worse ... The government and its militias are conducting inexplicable terror against civilians ...

On Statesmanship

The concept of "countervailing power" was introduced by John Kenneth Galbraith in his book American Capitalism (1952) as a picture of how democratic capitalism and capitalist democracy work. Big industry is balanced by big labor. Big commerce is balanced by the developing consciousness and organization of consumers. As big pharma evokes counter-pressure by insurance companies. This is not a perfect model, and politics often tilt the equilibrium from one side to another. Republicans tend to move the balance to business.

November 15, 2006

Inside Man
12:00 AM

On Monday, Nancy Pelosi made an announcement that was buried amid the tumult over the Steny Hoyer-Jack Murtha battle for House majority leader. It was the appointment of Representative Michael Capuano, a Massachusetts Democrat, to be the head of Pelosi's "transition team" as she assumes the job of House speaker.

November 14, 2006

Vanitas

If you haven't read our virtually unprecedented online lede across the home page, please do. If Jane Harman is pushed out of her earned chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee, it will be only because Nancy Pelosi has mixed her own ideological armor with her personal pique. Somehow, she and the other party leaders, even Rahm Emanuel--who, as you might know, I much admire--can tolerate John Dingell, John Conyers, and Charlie Rangel as committee chairmen, even though they are obsessives on the wrong side of almost every issue that will come before them.

November 13, 2006

Pumped Up
12:00 AM

Last fall, Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn't escape the huge crowds of union members and Democrats who protested his ballot initiatives that proposed reshaping the state's education, budget, and political systems. Protesters surrounded hotels where he spoke,gathered outside TV studios and restaurants where he appeared, and even confronted him in hallways and kitchens. The angry hordes reflected a statewide rejection of the once-popular governor--more than 55 percent of Californians disapproved of his job performance, and Democratic challengers led in early polls on the 2006 governor's race.

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