March 04, 2009

Iran Watch: Obama=bush?
12:00 AM

  Still not much thaw, publicly at least. From Ha'aretz: Meanwhile Wednesday, Iran's top authority said that U.S. President Barack Obama was pursuing the same "wrong path" as George W. Bush in supporting Israel, which he called a "cancerous tumor." The comments by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on policy in the Islamic Republic, are likely to disappoint the new U.S.

Operation Rushbo
12:00 AM

Jonathan Martin has a good piece reporting out how and when Democrats realized Rush Limbaugh was their perfect foil. The thing that makes Rush different from past GOP boogeymen--such as Newt and Bush--is that, because his bottom line is ratings (rather than votes), the Dems' demonization of him is actually kind of good for him: Limbaugh is embracing the line of attack, suggesting a certain symbiosis between him and his political adversaries.

March 03, 2009

Smear Itself
12:00 AM

Ever since he co-authored the wildly hyperbolic tome The Israel Lobby, Stephen Walt has been on his best behavior. He has authored a lot of staid hard-realist commentary about foreign policy and kept his fulminations about "The Lobby," as he liked to call it, more restrained--all the better to project his favored self-image as a thoughtful academic beset by agenda-driven ideologues.But every once in a while, Walt lets his inner paranoid slip loose. One such moment occurred last weekend.

Newt. Again. (And Again. And Again.)
12:00 AM

I don't want to say Matt Bai got sold a bill goods for his NYT Magazine cover story on Newt Gingrich--especially since I myself bought the same bill of goods not so long ago--but I don't think Newt is "back." Or at least he's not "back" any more than he was "back" a couple years ago. The Congressmen taking advice from Newt today and the Republican operatives touting him as a potential presidential candidate in 2012 are the same Congressmen who were taking advice from him in 2006 and the same operatives who were touting him as a potential presidential candidate in 2008.

Carl Schmitt And The American Right
12:00 AM

Over at NRO's The Corner, Jonah "Liberals Were Fascists Before They Were Socialists" Goldberg joins with the conservative movement's house comedian Mark Steyn in ridiculing a book he hasn't read -- Alan Wolfe's The Future of Liberalism:  Mark - James Piereson reviews Wolfe's book in the latest issue of Commentary (which, readers may like to know, has a fantastic essay by none other than Mark Steyn in it). I can't get behind the firewall, even though I'm a print subscriber, but Piereson's review is sober and contemptuous at the same time.

Obama's New Gay Rights Crusader
12:00 AM

Alyssa Rosenberg is a staff correspondent at Government Executive and a regular contributor to National Journal. President Obama has just made John Berry, the current director of the National Zoo, the highest-ranking openly gay appointee ever by tapping him to head the Office of Personnel Management (pending Congressional approval).

More Skepticism Of Obama's Farm-subsidy Reforms
12:00 AM

As we noted last week, the new White House budget contains a proposal to end "direct payment" subsidies to commodity-crop farmers who have more than $500,000 per year in sales. As I noted in an earlier post, it’s a good proposal, but it only marks a small step in the right direction on farm subsidies.

Jones, Rice, Clinton And The Hustle For Foreign Policy Power
12:00 AM

National Security Council uberexpert David Rothkopf says National Security Advisor Jim Jones is in a position to be, after Obama, the single most important voice in shaping U.S. national security policy.

Jacob Hacker: Obama's Almost Perfect Strategy
12:00 AM

Jacob S. Hacker is co-director of the Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security at U.C. Berkeley, and a fellow at the New America Foundation. He recently edited Health at Risk: America's Ailing Health System--and How to Heal It. We hope he will be contributing to The Treatment on a regular basis. Like others obsessed with health reform (such as, say, Jon and Jon), I have been frenetically sifting the Obama administration's pronouncements.

March 02, 2009

Obama's Big Question
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Our political system adjusts badly when the familiar landmarks erected during controversies of the past are swept away and prepackaged arguments become obsolete.