February 27, 2008

Cuban Links
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Raul Castro has killed all hope that a transition to the rule of law and a market economy will start anytime soon in Cuba.

Sam Tanenhaus On William F. Buckley And Iraq
12:00 AM

William F. Buckley Jr. passed away earlier today. Almost a year ago, Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of The New York Times Book Review, wrote a long and thoughtful piece about the great conservative in his twilight years, with a particular focus on the Iraq war. The war that has unhinged so many has curiously revitalized Buckley, not as the administration's most eloquent defender but as perhaps its most forceful in-house critic.

The Clang-fest In Cleveland
12:00 AM

About two-thirds of the way through the debate, Barack Obama took a question about Louis Farrakhan's support for his campaign. He gave a sufficient, if not quite stellar answer--saying he'd repeatedly denounced Farrakhan's anti-Semitic statements, that he'd long been a supporter of Israel, etc. At that point Hillary asked to weigh in.

February 26, 2008

House of Cards
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--It seems odd, but for John McCain it was a blessing to have the chance to bury questions about his dealings with lobbyists beneath an alleged sex scandal. The prurient part of the story was easy to deny, and voters are sick of sex scandals. But even if the sex goes away, the underlying questions raised last week in the story for which The New York Times took such grief are unlikely to disappear.

12:00 AM

Readers can correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that for the first time Clinton just apologized for her Iraq war vote. She has parsed this issue before, but tonight's answer seemed somehow different. If so, it is very interesting that she waited until now. ("Interesting" is a euphemism...) Update: Here is what she said: Well, obviously, I've said many times that, although my vote on the 2002 authorization regarding Iraq was a sincere vote, I would not have voted that way again.

Mark Penn's "old School" Politics
12:00 AM

Via Ben Smith, this New York Observer interview with Leon Panetta is sort of worth your time. Most interesting portion: Mr. Panetta, who served as chief of staff in the White House from July 1994 to January 1997, and who has contributed $2000 to Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign, complained that Mr. Penn “is a political pollster from the past.” ”I never considered him someone who would run a national campaign for the presidency,” he said. He asserted that Mr.

Where The Supreme Court And "office Space" Meet
12:00 AM

Remember the scene in the movie where Peter, Samir, and Michael Bolton decide to launder money but realize they don't know what the term means and resort to looking it up in the dictionary? Well, the justices are doing the same thing in an attempt to decide whether the feds are applying the term too loosely: The government ...

February 25, 2008

Heart of Darkness
12:00 AM

With the nation's press corps consumed by the election and the economy shuddering, President Bush head to Africa this week. It was his latest in a series of efforts to claim some positive legacy for his presidency. On his five-nation trip, Bush mostly avoided Iraq, terrorism, and his other normal themes. Instead, he visited supposed success stories like Rwanda and Ghana and touted his administration’s generous commitment to aiding these nations as loudly as he could.

A Rotten Poem
12:00 AM

I don't who Elinor Lipman is. But I was reading the Boston Globe this morning only to find her snotty little column, "Get me to the ranch on time," on the op-ed page. Lipman is distraught because Jenna Bush and her intended are not having their wedding at the White House but at the ranch in Crawford, Texas. I actually think it's a sign of moral restraint that she and her beau, Henry Hager, decided not to have a big splash at the executive mansion at a moment when so many people in the country are being squeezed financially.

Serbian Belligerence
12:00 AM

Serbia has so much blood on its hands that it is only natural that Russia is its biggest and best protector. Almost nobody (but me, I hasten to add self-servingly) has explained what I believe is a cardinal thread in this alliance: both countries and their peoples are anchored in the Christian Orthodox faith and in the Christian Orthodox Church. Kosovo, moreover, is a Muslim country, although its present leadership pledges not to allow it to become a Shari'a state. I believe them.