October 31, 2008
Does This Remind You Of Anyone?
From the November 4, 1996, edition of The New York Times: Addressing cheering, flag-waving Republicans at events in Colorado, Nevada and California, Mr. Dole described his battle for the Presidency as an effort to return dignity and integrity to the White House and the nation. [snip] 'All across America the polls are moving our way,'' he said gleefully, if vaguely, during a rally in front of Republican headquarters in San Diego. ''The undecided voters, the undecided voters and many Democrats have decided that character does count, character does count.
A colleague (I won't reveal his name) was up late last night watching "Thelma and Louise" on Lifetime. During a commerical break, an ad for Trojan's Vibrating Touch fingertip massager for women came on. Naturally, my colleague's journalistic curiosity was piqued and he rushed to the website mentioned for more info.
Now that The Great Mentioner is talking about Rahm Emanuel as Obama's White House chief of staff, it's worth rereading Ryan Lizza's January 2007 GQ profile of the "new kingmaker of the Democratic party": Twenty-two months ago, amid the ruins of the 2004 Kerry campaign, Democrats installed Rahm--nobody calls him Congressman Emanuel--as the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. As we all now know, he did his job better than it has ever been done before.
October 30, 2008
In Defense of Two-Party Rule
There is a longstanding, inchoate sense among American voters that having president and Congress controlled by different parties makes for better governance--a view that the GOP is using to scare voters into voting against the "dangerous threesome" of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid. After the Clinton years, that general sense became a kind of contrarian conventional wisdom of the commentariat as well.
Rich Man, Poor Man
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. -- Emily Daywalt decided to go to the first political rally of her life because she wanted to cheer Sarah Palin, who was here a few days ago to inspire the faithful. Daywalt said she likes it that Palin "hunts and that she believes in God and that she is a strong, independent woman." But ask the 19-year-old from South Mountain, Pa., why she is voting against Barack Obama, and she hones right in on John McCain's closing argument.
The Cruelest Cut
Ten days ago, the campaign’s unofficial referees came down pretty hard on Barack Obama and his campaign. The issue was Medicare--specifically, Obama’s accusation that John McCain intends to slash the program.McCain’s advisers have insisted he would do no such thing. Factcheck.org agreed, calling Obama’s claim “false” and “not true.” The Washington Post came to the same conclusion, giving Obama "three pinocchios" for "significant factual errors." I respect both Factcheck and the Post's policy writers. Attempting to verify campaign boasts is a difficult, thankless job they generally do well.
The Idol Electorate
Washington pundits like to dismiss the “youth vote” as a figment of MTV’s imagination. Those crazy kids, they say, never rock the vote. They are too busy playing video games and listening to their loud music to take their democratic responsibilities seriously. And if you looked back at every election since the lowering of the voting ages in 1971, you would have to conclude that the pundits had a point. That same demographic so coveted by advertisers has never really been in the voting mood. Until now. There’s actually every indication that young people will flock to the polls.
LOS ANGELES--The interior of the “Yes on 8” bus looks disappointingly similar to that of a Greyhound bus, apart from some perfunctory “Yes on 8” banners affixed to every other window. But the exterior, a celebration of heterosexual marriage, is more distinctive. Occupying the most prominent spot on the side of the bus is a larger-than-life white couple, a bride and groom, enjoying a wedding kiss. Next to them is a pair of greatly magnified golden rings. Farther down the flank of the bus is a happy black family.
October 29, 2008
WASHINGTON--I recently suggested that the U.S. government's bailout of the financial system, which includes the de facto nationalization of several banks, would arouse populists around the world and give them the perfect alibi to confiscate private property. President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina has been the first to confirm my prediction.Terrified that she would not be able to pay off about $10 billion of public debt fast approaching maturity, Fernandez de Kirchner nationalized her country's private pension funds.
On The Trail And Off Their Rockers
CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley has taken to running through a checklist before bed. Every night she travels with the Obama campaign, she orders a wake-up call, sets one regular alarm and one back-up on her cell phone, which she places strategically out of slapping distance across the room. Then she writes down her vitals: What city is she in? What time zone? What time does she have to be out of the hotel room the next morning? What day is it? With that, she can drift off before the next day’s campaign coverage.