March 03, 2008

Senate Looking Great For Democrats
12:00 AM

The Swing State project has a fun, detailed rundown up of the Democrats' 2008 Senate prospects. It's worth looking at to get a sense of how things stand downticket. (I know, I know: There are elections besides Hillary versus Obama?) Upshot: Say '08 is only a medium year for Democrats and they win only five of the ten most competitive Senate races (in '06, by contrast, they won* every single competitive race but one). And say Joe Lieberman becomes a Republican.

Hillary's Campaign Is Soooooo Pitiful!
12:00 AM

Over on the Stump, Noam's frequently noted the theory that voters don't really want Hillary to win, but they don't want to see her lose, either -- and if that theory's true, they probably particularly don't want to see her go out in a humiliating way. I don't think this front page New York Times story does Obama much good: [A]fter 30 minutes of cold-calling, the [Hillary] volunteers, a mix of soft-spoken professionals and grizzled unionists, were beginning to wilt from the rejections. “Oh really?” one woman at the phone bank was overheard saying again and again.

Canada Strikes Back
12:00 AM

If you haven't been following this Austan Goolsbee/Canadian consulate mini-flap, this piece is probably as good a place as any to get up to speed. I was actually alerted to the piece--which focuses on a memo written by a Canadian consular official after Goolsbee's meeting there--by the Clinton campaign. But while it's clearly an annoyance for the Obama campaign, it doesn't strike me as hugely damning. Anyway, here's the key passage, based on the memo: Goolsbee disputed a section that read: "Noting anxiety among many U.S. domestic audiences about the U.S.

Are The Obama Wonks Really So Great?
12:00 AM

My piece about Obama's wonks seems to have generated a lot of feedback last week (see, for example, Kevin Drum, Ezra Klein, and Matt Yglesias). Since many of the responses raised similar points, I figured I'd address them all at once. The most common objection is that I deemed Obama's policy shop to be better or more sophisticated than Hillary's, when in fact they take similar (if not identical) positions on maybe 90 percent of the issues facing the country.

March 01, 2008

What Next For Cuba?
12:00 AM

  One Herbert Matthews covered revolutionary Cuba for the New York Times. Matthews was infatuated with Castro, as another Timesman Walter Duranty became intoxicated with Leninist and Stalinist Russia. Thus, generations of Americans were systematically misled about Communism and what it did to societies that had other and more humane alternatives.  Look into the eyes of lefties from 1959 and beyond, and there is still a dazzled myopia when Castro is mentioned.

February 29, 2008

The Lone Star Primer

Welcome to Texas: home of the most ludicrous, convoluted, and downright screwy Democratic primary system in America. Actually, it’s not even a primary; it’s a primary-caucus hybrid, the electoral equivalent of the turducken.

The 3 A.m. President
12:00 AM

Chait is bemused by Hillary's new ad envisioning a scary international crisis which precipitates a 3 a.m. phone call to the president. (The ad has been the subject of fierce dueling between the campaigns today, giving it a guaranteed free-media punch beyond its actual viewership.)   I don't find the ad remotely comparable to LBJ's (once-aired) "Daisy" ad, which essentially depicts a little girl being anhilliated by a nuclear explosion. I do agree with Jon that it's a bit substantively puzzling. The White House gets lots of calls in the middle of the night about foreign crises.

Uncle Sam, Shorthanded
12:00 AM

Ryan Grim reports in the Politico that a number of federal agencies are severely undermanned because the White House and Senate Democrats can't agree on mutually acceptable nominees to fill the positions: At the height of concern over product safety and lead-tainted toys, the Consumer Product Safety Commission doesn’t have enough members to meet. The nation is facing the prospect of a presidential contest with no referee, because the Federal Election Commission is too short-handed to call a quorum.

In North Korea, Size Doesn't Matter
12:00 AM

Great stuff in Blaine Harden's WashPost dispatch from North Korea: The statue is shockingly big and commands a vast concrete plaza on a hill overlooking the capital. Large speakers broadcast martial music. When North Koreans visit, as they often do in sizable, highly organized groups, they bow to the statue. For foreign visitors, snapping pictures of what may well be the world's tallest statue of a dead dictator, the first question that comes to mind is: "How tall is it?" This reporter's minder seemed tormented by the question.

It's 3:00 Am, I Must Be Lonely
12:00 AM

Wow, Jason, you're right: what a strange ad for Clinton. (See below.) The narrator tells us, twice, that "it's 3:00 AM and your children are asleep" when a call comes to the White House. From this we're supposed to conclude that we need a Tested and Ready president in Hillary Clinton, who as First Lady was apparently answering these calls, perhaps because her husband was shacked up at the time. Okay, fine. But isn't pretty much everybody asleep at 3:00 AM? And what do my kids have to do with it?