May 28, 2008

'What Didn't Happen'
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2006--White House spokesman Scott McClellan abruptly resigned yesterday, accusing senior administration officials of misleading him about the CIA leak investigation.For over two years, McClellan repeatedly insisted to the White House press corps that senior officials Karl Rove and I. Lewis Libby, Jr., were not involved in leaking the identity of undercover operative Valerie Plame.“The top White House officials who knew the truth--including Rove, Libby, and possibly Vice President [Dick] Cheney--allowed me, even encouraged me, to repeat a lie,” McClellan said.

The Narcissism Of Small Differences
12:00 AM

A few days ago in the book store, I perused a copy of former Rhode Island Republican Senator Lincoln Chafee's new book, Against the Tide, and read this on the inside front jacket: A political iconoclast, Chafee was the only Republican senator to have expressed support for same-sex marriage; the only Republican to vote in favor of reinstating the top federal tax rate on upper-income payers; the only Republican in the Senate to have voted against authorization of the use of force in Iraq; the only Republican to vote for the Levin-Reed amendment calling for a nonbinding timetable for a withdrawal

Who's Changing Their Standards?
12:00 AM

National Review editor Rich Lowry has an absurd column today arguing that Democrats have abandoned their "count every vote" principles over the Florida Democratic primary. Lowry argues: Back in 2000, Democrats were contemptuous of rules and technicalities about how ballots had to be marked and the process for recounts. All that mattered was the popular will. And the biggest ultimate obstacle to it was the Electoral College, which kept Al Gore from the White House in this “stolen election.” Well, the Democrats’ attachment to the unadulterated popular will has gone the way of the hanging chad.

What Happened To Mcclellan?
12:00 AM

There's nothing terribly surprising about the revelations contained in Scott McClellan's memoir of his time in the White House--Bush displayed a "lack of inquisitiveness"; the administration operated in a "permanent campaign mode"; the Iraq war "was not necessary"--other than that McClellan's chosen to reveal them. But is that even really that surprising? Put aside the fact that McClellan has ample personal reasons for writing a harsh book about the Bush White Hosue (two of those reasons are named Rove and Libby).

May 27, 2008

Dangerous Liaison
12:00 AM

Two weeks ago, on the night of Barack Obama’s big win and narrow loss in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, respectively, I turned my television set to MSNBC, as I normally do on election nights. It was early in the evening, and Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann were discussing the first exit polls that were trickling in. Considering that the exit polls in these contests have been--to say the least--a bit unreliable, I assumed that they weren’t going to put much stock in the numbers.

Memo To Barack Obama: Your Vice Presidential Designee
12:00 AM

I have a suggestion for Barack Obama: that he choose Ken Salazar, U.S. Senator from Colorado, as his running mate.I do not really know Salazar. But I've met him twice.

Is Alito Trying To Prove Obama Wrong?
12:00 AM

Barack Obama's floor statement on the confirmation of Justice Alito, January 26, 2006: If there is a case involving an employer and an employee and the Supreme Court has not given clear direction, he'll rule in favor of the employer. There are exceptions to every rule, but Obama might be pleasantly surprised to learn that in the two employment-discrimination cases in which the Court handed down rulings today, Justice Alito joined the majority in siding with the employees. He wrote the majority opinion in one, and signed onto Justice Breyer's majority opinion in the other.

Neocons, Reconstructed And Unreconstructed
12:00 AM

Francis Fukuyama, a registered Republican and a central figure in the rise of neoconservatism in the 1980s, widens his break with the movement by endorsing Barack Obama for president. Of Republicans, Fukuyama says, "Their two big things are fear of [terrorism] and fear of immigrants--that's not an agenda." He describes Obama as "the only one of the candidates who can escape the polarization" of American politics.

May 26, 2008

The New Patriots
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- If the 2008 election is to be a debate about the true meaning of patriotism, then bring it on.Ever since Barack Obama took off his flag pin, Democrats and liberals have had a queasy feeling that talk of patriotism would be a covert way to raise the matter of Obama's race; to cast him as some sort of alien figure ("You know what his middle name is?"); and to paint him as an effete intellectual out of touch with true American values.I have no doubt that all these things will happen.

May 25, 2008

The Stupidity Of Judicial Elections
12:00 AM

Adam Liptak has a nice piece in today's New York Times taking a look at the practice of electing judges, which is common at the state level in the U.S. but almost unheard-of abroad. Liptak's basic conclusion is that most people seem to think judicial elections are a bad idea, since very few voters are in a position to assess the relative merits of the candidates. Alex Tabarrok also notes that one effect of judicial elections is to put out-of-state parties at a major disadvantage in cases in state courts.