May 16, 2008
Many are celebrating yesterday's decision by the California Supreme Court to legalize gay marriage in the state; others are bracing for a referendum battle; and some, cooped up in campaign offices, are trying to figure out how best to play it. So, in an effort to see the ruling from as many perspectives as possible, we've enlisted a few friends of the magazine to offer their thoughts. First, we have Jeffrey Rosen, who is TNR's legal affairs correspondent.
The Obama Response To Bush
I thought it was generally shrewd and well-executed. It's important in these situations not to whine at length about the cheap shot you've taken, but to swing back aggressively. Obama pretty much did that. He noted the egregiousness of Bush's breach of protocol, and McCain's hypocrisy in embracing the Knesset attack after all his civility-speak. But he pivoted pretty quickly to the greatest hits of Bush's foreign policy failures, which don't exactly evoke thoughts of safety and security.
First Read has several interesting thoughts about how Bush's Knesset jab benefited Obama, beyond the unity theme I mentioned last night. For example: One, it essentially kept Clinton on the sidelines just two days after her big West Virginia victory. Two, Obama’s opponent was no longer Clinton or McCain, but the man with the 27% job-approval rating. And then there's this, which is both important in itself, and a sign of the tactical complications Bush could pose for McCain throughout the election: But we have to ask: Did anyone in McCain's orbit get a head's up on this?
May 15, 2008
Relatives are wonderful. You can count on them to forward you all kinds of interesting political documents--especially, these days, letters about Barack Obama and his sinister intentions. There are quite a few of them making the rounds; some focus on his connections to Islam, some try to dig up examples of him showing open disrespect to Mom and apple pie, some retouch or recaption photos to make him look stupid or dangerous.
That's what Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs called the following portion of President Bush's speech before the Knesset today: Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before.
The California Supreme Court, as you've probably heard, ruled 4-3 today that the California Constitution provides gays the lesbians the right to marry. Full text of the opinion is here (pdf). The main question, of course, is whether the ruling is correct as a matter of law, but let's leave that aside for now (I can't claim much familiarity with the mess that is the California Constitution--more on this later).
Bush Vs. Obama
White House spokesgal Dana Perino denies that Bush's remarks at the Knesset today about those want to negotiate with "terrorists and radicals" was aimed at Obama. "I understand when you're running for office you sometimes think the world revolves around you," Perino said. "That is not always true. And it is not true in this case." On the other hand, we have this CNN report: The president did not name Obama or any other Democrat, but White House aides privately acknowledged the remarks were aimed at the presidential candidate and others in his party. I report, you decide! P.S.
They stop referring to Democrats as "the Democrat Party" and add that long lost "ic." As in this from today's Harris and VandeHei piece in the Politico: The Republican infrastructure is crumbling. Making matters worse, Democrats are erecting a pretty impressive network of donors, think tanks and activist groups that is exploiting the GOP’s structural weakness. The GOP “needs to realize what the opposition is and how formidable it is,” said former GOP leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas).
Chief Of Staff Daschle?
Yglesias mentions talk of Daschle as a possible Obama chief of staff. It's an intriguing idea. Yes, Daschle had a mixed record as Senate Democratic leader, failing to stop the Bush income tax cut and backing the 2002 Iraq war resolution. But a chief of staff doesn't make policy. And Daschle always an effective organizer and manager whose gentle, low-key style probably plays better in a behind-the-scenes role anyway.
Paint It Black
Following the resignations of two McCain campaign officials who'd lobbied for the Burma junta, there's been some increased scrutiny of campaign chairman Charlie Black, whose lobbying over the years has included work for such dictators as Ferdinand Marcos, Mobutu Sese Seko, Nigeria's Ibrahim Babangida, and Somalia's Mohamed Siad Barre, as well as Angola's would-be dictator Jonas Savimbi. Black's response?: Black said he never took on work for foreign figures "without first talking to the State Department and the White House and clearing with them that the work would be in the interest of U.S.