I happened to be reading Josh Green's big, excellent Atlantic Monthly story about Rove last night, and obviously the timing for the piece turns out to be fantastic.
Not long ago, a wild-eyed man came up to me in a large city, pushing a piece of paper into my hand and saying, in an alarmingly loud voice, "DO YOU KNOW WHERE THE IDEA OF THE UNITARY EXECUTIVE COMES FROM?" I couldn't help but laugh, because I do know (more or less), and the answer isn't quite what he said (which was Hitler, or it might have been Stalin). The idea of the unitary executive is much in the news; it is likely to come in any new Supreme Court confirmation struggle; and the next president will have to come to terms with it.
I'm sure I'll offend some Canadians here, who hail from a generally noble country boasting a delicious sense of humor, the longest coastline in the world, heroic participation in the Second Boer War, extremely competitive curling teams, and the residence of the fine, fine -- no, more than fine! -- owners of this magazine. That said, don't the rest of us sometimes pine for an age when our country's grave diplomatic rifts will be indistinguishable from an Onion riff? This from CNN: Canada also wants to assert its claim over Hans Island at the entrance to the Northwest Passage.
Better pieces of journalism have been produced in the past year (and the last 500 words are cringe-inducingly bad--more on that later), but Matthew Scully's not-yet-available-online Atlantic takedown of Michael Gerson is an enormously fun and interesting read. Scully is a former Bush speechwriter and animal-rights defender, and Gerson is also a onetime Bush speechwriter and now a Washington Post columnist. Scully alleges that Gerson repeatedly misled and lied to reporters about his role in crafting the president's speeches.
A week ago Saturday, I wrote a New York Times op-ed arguing that the Democratic Leadership Council had outlived its usefulness, partly because it had already succeeded in re-shaping the Democratic Party, and partly because it seems most interested these days in picking counterproductive fights. Since then, the DLC has posted three responses to my piece on its website (see here, here, and here) and published a letter to the editor. Suffice it to say, the group is not losing influence for lack of effort. As for accuracy and high-mindedness--well, that's another story.
Earlier today I wrote a post about the oddity of a co-bylined op-ed by Robert Kagan and Ivo Daalder. I identified Daalder as a liberal Iraq war opponent and former Howard Dean supporter.) Sam Rosenfeld at Tapped objects that Daalder was not an Iraq war critic. Thinking perhaps my memory was flawed, I spent a few minutes perusing the Daalder pre-war oeuvre.
As congressional Democrats head for a possible fall showdown with the White House over the perplexing issue of an Armenian genocide resolution, the Armenians have scored a victory by forcing the Bush administration to withdraw its nominee for ambassador to Armenia because he refuses to call what happened in Turkey around 1915 a "genocide." This is just a subplot to the much larger war over the U.S.'s official position on the genocide question, but it shows the strength of Armenian-American community. Meanwhile, it seems that Washington lobbying has now entered the YouTube era, as evidenced by
'Take off your veil!" the Somali soldier shouted at the woman in the mostly empty street. Steadying his assault rifle with his right hand, he ripped away the woman's black niqab with his left. "Why are you coming so close to us? You have explosives?" He leveled the muzzle of his gun against the bridge of her nose. Her mouth, suddenly embarrassed and exposed, broke into a jester's forced grin. "I just want a juice," she pleaded. Except for a handful of armed soldiers, the only other person on the deserted street was a man selling mango juice from behind a table.
There's not a ton of good news coming out of Congress these days, so it's nice to see that the Senate passed a bipartisan SCHIP bill with a 68-31 majority--enough to override the promised White House veto. Most senators, in the end, weren't scared off by conservative rants about "socialized medicine" and Michael Moore. What a surprise. So as it stands now, the Senate bill would cover 4 million low-income children who would otherwise go uninsured.
Why is Alberto Gonzalez still our Attorney General? Time explains it all. The gist: Because he's protecting the White House from even more investigations. Sweet. There's also news of some possible horse-trading that makes me wish even more that Gonzalez be given the heave-ho: "In private, Democrats say that if Gonzales did step down, his replacement would be required to agree to an independent investigation of Gonzales' tenure in order to be confirmed by the Senate." Too bad it won't happen any time soon. --Ben Wasserstein