April 08, 2008
Earlier today I talked up Peter Beinart's column about how presidents tend to run their administrations the way they campaign. Well, if you want a sense of how dysfunctional a McCain administration could be, read Jason Zengerle's excellent piece about the warring tribes of the McCain campaign. The McCainiacs make the Clinton campaign look like the Get Along Gang. --Noam Scheiber
Extinguish The Torch!
Steve Clemons makes a convincing case that, contra calls from Hillary Clinton, President Bush should not boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. But is there any reason the U.S. shouldn't boycott this round-the-world relay of the Olympic torch, which is scheduled to make an appearance in San Francisco tomorrow? First, just consider the amount of government resources that will be put toward protecting this stupid torch.
Our old boss and colleague Peter Beinart has a great column in today's Washington Post about how presidential campaigns reliably predict a candidate's governing style. By that metric, he says, Obama has a huge advantage over Clinton and McCain: Of the three candidates still in the 2008 race, Obama has run the best campaign by far. McCain's was a top-heavy, slow-moving, money-hemorrhaging Hindenburg that eventually exploded, leaving the Arizona senator to resurrect his bankrupt candidacy through sheer force of will.
Questions For Petraeus
General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are being grilled by the Senate Armed Services Committee as we speak (watch here on C-SPAN), and will appear before the Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon. The counterinsurgency blog Abu Muqawama has an interesting list of questions for senators to ask. This, in particular, would be a good one, though I'd be surprised if anyone actually posed it: Recently, your image and person has been appropriated by conservative groups such as Freedom’s Watch to support the policies of the Bush Administration.
Team Hillary Again Pleads Poverty
Another poignant email from Hillary Clinton just landed in my inbox: Dear Friend, With 14 days to go until the people of Pennsylvania vote, the Obama campaign has decided to go all-out. They're trying to end the race for the White House with an unyielding media blitz. Right now, we're being outspent 4-1 on Pennsylvania television. So now, here's what we have to ask ourselves: Have we come this far in our history-making contest for the Democratic nomination only to see the race decided not by the quality of our ideas but by the size of our opponent's media budget?
April 07, 2008
Is Bush The Worst President Ever?
According to this poll, 61% of professional historians think George W. Bush is the worst president of all time. Matt Yglesias adds: More interestingly, I also take the view that Bush is probably correct to think that history will remember him kindly. American presidents associated with big dramatic events tend to wind up with good reputations whether they deserve them or not.
What Should Come First?
A few days ago, Obama again told reporters that he'd like to give Al Gore a "major role" in his administration—something climate-related. Yes, Obama's angling for an endorsement, etc. etc. but I wonder… Every so often, like at last December's NPR debate, Obama sends off signals that he wants to make energy and climate change the centerpiece of his domestic-policy agenda if he gets elected. By contrast, it seems likely that Clinton would make health care her top priority. I'm sifting through tea leaves here, but that's my best guess.
April 05, 2008
Yoonited States of America
The disclosure of the former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo's “torture memo” this week was, in most senses, an exercise less in news than in archaeology. The public has long known the memo existed. And it has also known, in broad strokes, what it says: that military interrogators aren’t constrained by domestic or international law and that the president has the power to sweep statutory constraints aside anyway. The Bush administration has long since repudiated the memo.
April 04, 2008
Some of the very first beauty tips I learned as an adolescent in London came from my Iranian best friend, Ziba (who asked that I not use her real name). She opened my eyes to Persian grooming secrets, like full-face threading and back hair bleaching. As we were growing up, I never thought much of her perfectly shaped eyebrows; shiny, straight hair; and flawlessly coordinated outfits--Ziba was naturally glamorous, and that’s just how naturally glamorous people carried themselves, I thought.
The Other Victim
WASHINGTON--Forty years ago, American liberalism suffered a blow from which it has still not recovered. On April 4, 1968, a relatively brief but extraordinary moment of progressive reform ended, and a long period of conservative ascendancy began. The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the ensuing riots that engulfed the nation's capital and big cities across the country signaled the collapse of liberal hopes in a smoky haze of self-doubt and despair.