March 23, 2008
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.
In this week's issue of the New Republic, Dayo Olopade writes about Barack Obama's pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
March 20, 2008
A More Perfect Soundbite
Barack Obama’s speech acquired a title nearly as soon as it was delivered. On both the campaign website and YouTube, where it has been seen more than two million times, it was identified as “A More Perfect Union.”The four words refer, of course, to the preamble to the Constitution, which was appropriate both as a gesture to Obama’s hosts (Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center, conveniently located in Pennsylvania) and as a reflection on our very imperfect society.
Cool We Can Believe In
Save for the odd occurrence of a black contestant managing to win more than fifteen cents on “Deal or No Deal,” I rarely feel any racial pride.
The Wright Rage
WASHINGTON--Let's ask the hard question about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Is he as far outside the African-American mainstream as many of us would like to think? Because Barack Obama's speech on race in America was so candid about both the legitimacy of black and white grievances--and the flaws in those grievances--it carries the risk of offending almost everyone. The man who, by parentage, is half black and half white took it upon himself to explain each side's story to the other.
Jeremiah Wright, the preacher who brought Barack Obama to Jesus, also brought him the week from hell. Anyone within reach of even the most primitive forms of media now knows that Wright, the retired pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ, has preached sermons that veered into the swamp of anti-Americanism and indulged in wild conspiracy theories. So, after being subject to a rumor campaign that pronounced him a stealth Muslim, Obama was now widely deemed to subscribe to a defective brand of Christianity. What other politician has been so plagued by matters involving God?