April 25, 2008
WASHINGTON--Perhaps it was inevitable: The Democrats' battle for the presidential nomination has now led us into the thicket of race and religion.Hillary Clinton's significant victory over Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary was the result of many factors, but most troubling for Obama's camp were exit polls suggesting that an underlying anti-Obama vote was responsible for the size of Clinton's victory.One little-noticed finding was that 6 percent of Clinton's own voters said that they would defect to John McCain in the fall against Clinton herself.
April 24, 2008
The Papal Challenge
WASHINGTON--The most jarring word that Pope Benedict XVI is using during his visit to the United States is "countercultural." The American sense of that term is shaped by the 1960s: free love, drugs, hippies, rock music and rebellion. Needless to say, that's not what Benedict is preaching. That word is the key to understanding how Benedict's message runs crosswise to conventional liberalism and conservatism. Benedict came to the United States as a quiet but forceful critic of "an increasingly secular and materialistic culture," as he put it during Thursday's Mass.
Music To Torture By
Back in 1961, director Billy Wilder had a pretty good laugh at rock's expense. In One, Two, Three, his zingy satire of politics and consumer culture, a Commie sympathizer is tortured into submission by repeated plays of Brian Hyland’s novelty hit "Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." At the time, the bit must have provoked plenty of guffaws, especially from rock haters who saw the music as harbinger of societal decline.
North Korea's Syria Gambit
Well, here's the news from Israel and its wonderful neighbors, some of it via Washington.President Bush reassured visiting Palestinian Authorities president Mahmoud Abbas that by the time there's a new tenant in the White House, Israel and the P.A.
Hey, They Look Asian!
As was widely reported this morning, U.S. officials today laid out the intelligence we have about that mysterious Syrian site the Israelis bombed in September. The New York Times story gave me the impression that the evidence was pretty compelling, since the decision to reveal it had apparently sparked heated internal debate between the Cheneyites and moderates within the administration. Upon closer inspection, though--at least from the reports that have come out so far--the evidence looks a little flimsier.
This time it allegedly involves his nemesis Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S.
Everybody who follows health care policy is talking about an article in the latest edition of The Hill: "Dems Hedge on Health Care." The article, written by Manu Raju, has on-the-record quotes from two Democratic Senators--Max Baucus and Jay Rockefeller--seriously lowering expectations for what Congress might be able to accomplish next year, no matter who is in the White House come January 2009. For the last year, momentum for universal health care has been buildilng.
April 23, 2008
The End of the End of History
I. In the early 1990s, optimism was understandable. The collapse of the communist empire and the apparent embrace of democracy by Russia seemed to augur a new era of global convergence. The great adversaries of the Cold War suddenly shared many common goals, including a desire for economic and political integration. Even after the political crackdown that began in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and the disturbing signs of instability that appeared in Russia after 1993, most Americans and Europeans believed that China and Russia were on a path toward liberalism.
Disputations: "Change To Lose"
Alyssa Rosenberg’s article “Change to Lose” is imbalanced and inaccurate in its account of the Change to Win alliance. The seven unions of Change to Win joined together two years ago to challenge the labor movement to develop a new organizing model that empowers workers to rebuild bargaining power and restore the American Dream for working families. Seventy-five percent of Change to Win’s budget is dedicated to the Strategic Organizing Center to organize workers on an industry-wide basis in the key sectors of the new American economy.
No Really, You Should Go
Last week, Senator Pat Leahy suggested that Hillary Clinton ought to quit the presidential race. How insensitive! How boorish! Pundits gasped, Clinton took umbrage, and even Barack Obama was forced to concede that Clinton has the right to run for as long as she desires. The persistent weakness of American liberalism is its fixation with rights and procedures at any cost to efficiency and common sense.