March 25, 2008
The Intelligence Revolutionary
Many of Barack Obama's foreign policy initiatives are designed in direct philosophical opposition to the policies--indeed, the worldview--of the Bush administration. On Iraq, Obama does not merely say that he wants to end mismanagement of the war (like John McCain), nor the war itself (like Hillary Clinton)--he says, "I don't want to just end the war. I want to end the mindset that got us in the war." One of Obama's most important attempts to roll back the Bush administration's foreign policy is also among the least understood. It is his proposal for intelligence reform.
You Say "not Necessarily Screwed"
As promised, here are some of the choicier comments from that "How Screwed Are the Democrats?" open thread I started yesterday. A lot of you had great thoughts. I'm posting these both because I enjoyed them, and because they represented the range of opinion among the commenters... From lymon1: don't think the Dems/Obama are screwed by the primary battle.
March 24, 2008
The Growing-Old Party
WASHINGTON--What's the matter with conservatism? Its problems start with the failure of George W. Bush's presidency but they don't end there. Inequality is rising and working-class voters are being hammered. The cost and availability of health coverage are a big problem, and some Republicans don't want to talk about that simply because they see it as a "Democratic issue." Don't take my word on this. The themes I just outlined come from two important new books written by conservatives.
This Paul Krugman column gets the political economy of the financial crisis exactly right: America came out of the Great Depression with a pretty effective financial safety net, based on a fundamental quid pro quo: the government stood ready to rescue banks if they got in trouble, but only on the condition that those banks accept regulation of the risks they were allowed to take.
March 23, 2008
Yes, Hillary woke up at 3 a.m. But it was because the red phone rang next to their bed and he was not there to answer it.Yes, Hillary visited 80 countries, a day in each, a tourist stop here, a formal reception there. Foreign policy experience? A pig's ass. She did play hostess at White House receptions. But so did Laura Bush, though the Bushes did not like events like that.Don Van Natta Jr. and John M. Broder of the New York Times have combed through the ex-first lady's now released schedule during Bill's time in office.
Not Exactly The People's Court
Our TNR colleague Jeff Rosen had a piece in last weekend's New York Times magazine that I strongly encourage you to read. Jeff argues that the Supreme Court is increasingly sympathetic to the interests of economic elites--and that includes appointees from both parties, not just Republicans--even though popular opinion is trending in a more populist direction.
The Black Bush?
A few weeks back Isaac speculated about whether race was a factor in the outcome of the Ohio-Texas two-step. Commenter ironyroad asked a few good questions in response: "Why are older Democrats 'reluctant to vote for Obama' on race grounds? What is the nature of this reluctance, assuming there is one in reality? Do they believe that (a) he is going to have crack parties in the White House and bring down the neighborhood? (b) that he is going to make Al Sharpton ambassador to Britain? (c) that he is going to wear a pink suit to give the state of the union address?
March 21, 2008
The Persian Pragmatists
<?xml:namespace prefix = st1 />Iran's recent parliamentary elections, conducted on Friday, stuck closely to a script familiar from the past four years: Conservatives predictably won the majority of seats from a ballot cleansed of reformists by the Guardians Council; turnout in cosmopolitan Tehran was lower than the provinces; and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted the U.S. for interfering in Iran's elections.
There Will Be Guns
One thing seemed clear from Tuesday's Supreme Court oral arguments in District of Columbia v. Heller: The justices are poised to recognize that the Second Amendment confers on individual Americans the right to own guns. The court's conservatives--save Justice Clarence Thomas, who maintained his customary silence at arguments--evinced little doubt of this proposition. And even Justice Stephen Breyer seemed open to the possibility that the amendment's right to "keep and bear arms" isn't just about militias--though he's inclined to uphold the D.C. handgun ban anyway.
In My Life
MADRID, Spain--For reasons I needn't go into here, I recently had to search out some old photographs, in particular photos from my childhood and early youth.