September 01, 2008
How To Run Against A Woman
John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his v.p. has raised questions about how the Obama campaign should--and should not--attack the first female candidate on a GOP ticket. Specifically, the prospect of a Biden-Palin debate has Democrats worrying that the gaffe-prone Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee will appear patronizing in his attacks on the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.
August 30, 2008
A Hit! A Very Palpable Hit!
Because I’m a playwright, I was asked to look at the Democratic Convention as a "theatrical event." Let me start as if I were a critic: Hooray! Boffo! I loved it! The most successful plays are usually about conflict, people in disagreement, the solving of some problem that is difficult. And most plays are written with dialogue. The Democratic Convention was primarily monologues: one person speaking, alone and for a long time. Monologues are usually not that dramatic.
August 29, 2008
Turning the Page
DENVER--For months, the magic that once surrounded Barack Obama's presidential candidacy was lost in a fog of petty politics: the negative ads, the Clinton dramas, the degrading of Obama to the status of a mere "celebrity," the back-and-forth with John McCain over who is an elitist and who is a flip-flopper. The recent direction of the campaign reflects a basic political fact: If this contest turns out to be a big election, Obama will almost certainly win. But if it is converted into a small election, Obama could well lose.
August 28, 2008
Avoiding A Long, Disappointing Fall
I. The Barack Obama campaign has been floundering. If he had a lead in the polls in late June--and the summer polls are notoriously fickly--he clearly lost it by the convention’s beginning. And so far, the convention--dominated, ironically, by the Clintons--has not particularly helped. Bill Clinton and Joe Biden performed quite well last night, but if Obama fails to deliver a spellbinding oration tonight, the Democrats could be in for a long and disappointing fall. Why is Obama in trouble?
Now that the convention season is upon us, TNR has compiled our best convention coverage from years past.
Howard Wolfson, former communications director for Hillary Clinton, has been writing for us from Denver. Here are his thoughts on McCain's upcoming v.p. selection. What will John McCain's pick, due tomorrow, of his vice-presidential running mate, say about him to the American people? McCain is running ahead of the generic Republican ballot because many Americans believe he is an independent maverick, an image he forged during his 2000 run.
Schweitzer's Little Rebellion
An interesting tidbit from Ben Smith: The Obama campaign didn't originally plan on Brian Schweitzer delivering the barnburner he did. Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer said his show-stealing speech Tuesday night, which brought the crowd in Denver to its feet and made him the talk of the convention, was a last-minute improvisation that departed from the prepared remarks he'd agreed on with the Obama campaign. "We had a convention that went through the first day and didn't get anybody fired up," said Schweitzer, who spoke on the second evening after keynote speaker Mark Warner of Virginia.
Thanks to the current Lieberman-for-veep boomlet (and the very interesting news that Karl Rove has been trying to smother it in its crib), there's been a fair amount of discussion about exactly how much John McCain would hurt his standing among pro-lifers if he picked a pro-choice running mate such as Lieberman or Tom Ridge.
August 27, 2008
The Me Team
WASHINGTON--Three images from the Beijing Olympics linger in my mind: Becky Hammon, as American as they come, winning a bronze medal with the Russian women's basketball team; Liang Chow, the Chinese coach of the U.S.
War of the Words
Tskhinvali, South Ossetia, Georgia "Everybody out. You have 20 minutes to inspect this damage," barks Alexander Machevsky, shock-trooper of the Kremlin’s propaganda war in Georgia, as he tries to shepherd 25 Western journalists out the open back of a military truck. Machevsky is not having a good day.