by Casey BlakeDavid Brooks was delighted by the response he received when he popped the Reinhold Niebuhr question to Barack Obama a week or so ago. "I love him." Obama said. "He's one of my favorite philosophers." Needless to say, Brooks was impressed. "So I asked, What do you take away from him?" "I take away," Obama answered in a rush of words, "the compelling idea that there's serious evil in the world, and hardship and pain. And we should be humble and modest in our belief we can eliminate those things. But we shouldn't use that as an excuse for cynicism and inaction. I take away ...
Dems seem to be mulling over two funding options for Iraq. They could send the White House a short-term, string-free bill that forces the president to come back in a few months for more money (at which point they might have enough votes for a timetable). Or they could pass a full funding bill that doesn't set deadlines, but does contain "benchmarks" for the Iraqi government and readiness standards for the troops. Greg Sargent runs down the pros and cons of each option with a House Democratic aide. Worth reading, though I'm not sure I quite understand the downsides of the short-term bill.
Okay, I'd honestly like to know if any of the arguments against the hate-crimes bill that just passed the House actually hold up. (To recap, the bill would add gender and sexual orientation to the categories covered by federal hate-crimes laws, and enable the FBI to work more closely with local officials on these matters.) Here's a sample: Christian Right groups claim that the bill will prevent Tony Perkins from gay-bashing every Sunday. That's doubtful.
Ramesh Ponnuru says I'm being unfair and that the White House opposes the hate-crimes bill because of concerns over federalism, not because the bill would add sexual orientation to the list of protected categories. That might well be true. In the past, people like Barney Frank have claimed that the GOP leadership scuttled versions of the bill mainly because they included protections for gays and lesbians, but hey, it's possible that Frank's wrong and they really were doing so out of a principled concern for federalism.
Martin Peretz praises the vision and analysis of Fouad Ajami; read recent pieces by Ajami here (a review for TNR of Ali Allawi's book on the occupation) and here (an essay for The Wall Street Journal on Iraq); David Fontana argues that Hamdan v. Rumsfeld has been a major disappointment for liberals; David A. Bell handicaps Nicolas Sarkozy and Ségolène Royal for Sunday's election in France; and Peter Beinart and Jonah Goldberg ask if the GOP has inked a deal with the devil on immigration. --Adam B. Kushner
Yesterday, on the anniversary of George W. Bush landing on an aircraft carrier in a flight suit, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino ripped Democrats for a "trumped-up political stunt." How very rich. Actually, Perino's press gaggle yesterday makes for entertaining reading. Here's an excerpt: Q Is there any, shall we say, reluctance on the President's part to actually go through the veto today, being that it's the fourth anniversary of the "mission accomplished" banner, his speech -- MS.
Has George W. Bush ever visited the "White House for Kids" Freedom Timeline vocabulary page? Here's the very first entry: diplomacy n 1: Negotiation between nations 2: Tact and skill in dealing with people. 3: Wisdom in the management of public affairs I'm guessing not. --Michael Crowley
by Sanford Levinson There are readers of Open University who have expressed some unhappiness at my repeated emphasis on the deficiencies of our Constitution. So why indeed do I keep returning to the point, where there are so many other things one might write about: Consider only the ludicrousness of George W. Bush purporting to have the authority to "accept" the Japanese prime minister's mendacious attempts to "apologize" without really taking responsibility for the disgraceful and criminal treatment of Korean women during World War II.
by Richard Stern A bit too much beef on George Tenet. A bit too much of everything, gestures, words, passion, too many professions of devotion to the wonderful men and women of CIA, to his own unremitting labor, his day-and-night brooding about al Qaeda. How this beefy, expressive gentleman has worried about what more he could have done, how prevented 9/11, how capture bin Laden and Zawahiri. God knows he tried: He put the warning of imminent, bloody al Qaeda deeds into Condi Rice's hands weeks and weeks before 9/11, and what did she do but turn it over not to the president but to her deputy?
Media Matters takes us back to May 1, 2003, when the "Mission Accomplished" banner unfurled, the president strutted onto the USS Abraham Lincoln in his parachute harness, and media figures dropped to their knees on live TV. Like this little guy: [CHRIS] MATTHEWS: What do you make of the actual visual that people will see on TV and probably, as you know, as well as I, will remember a lot longer than words spoken tonight? And that's the president looking very much like a jet, you know, a high-flying jet star. A guy who is a jet pilot. Has been in the past when he was younger, obviously.