August 06, 2008
The Whine-Track Candidate
Back in the languid summer of 2004, George Bush left it to a shadowy 527 group to rough up his opponent. Straight talker that he is, John McCain is keeping the dishonest slime in-house. His campaign spent much of July in high dudgeon over nearly everything Barack Obama did, had done, or would do. In record time, the disdain shot from campaign subconscious to television screen by portraying Obama as dissing the troops like Jane Fonda, pirouetting for cameras like Paris Hilton, and playing to black rage like Al Sharpton.
Pulitzer-prize winning political writer Ron Suskind's new book, The Way of the World, was released in stores today.
Speed Reading Suskind: Detain'd
Pulitzer-prize winning political writer Ron Suskind's new book, The Way of the World, was released in stores today. The book is chock full of political intrigue and little-reported anecdotes from the past eight years of the Bush administration. We asked Alyssa Rosenberg, a correspondent for Government Executive and TNR speed-reader in residence, to find the hidden treasure in Suskind's 400-page tome.
August 05, 2008
The Fall Of Bosnia
VIENNA--As I look at "The Kiss," Austrian painter Gustav Klimt's delicate masterpiece, in one of Vienna's Belvedere palaces, my head fills with the memories of my two trips to war-torn Bosnia in the 1990s. The papers recently have been full of coverage about the capture of Radovan Karadzic, the former president of Bosnia's breakaway Serbs. He is believed to have spent part of the last year hiding in Vienna--the city from where Bosnia was governed until the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of World War I.
The Elephant Has Entered The Room
WASHINGTON--Will the race issue go back into the closet for the rest of the presidential campaign? Of course not, so where do we go from here? Last week's dust-up over race between John McCain and Barack Obama was entirely disappointing. Obama spoke first about how his opponents would try to "make you scared of me," noting that he "doesn't look like all those other presidents" on our currency.
August 04, 2008
<?xml:namespace prefix = o />In their smart and fun new book, Grand New Party, Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam urge Republicans to spend trillions of dollars on policies to shore up working-class families. Several critics have pointed out that the Republican Party will likely remain much more interested in spending trillions of dollars on tax breaks for rich people. What's been less noticed is that Democrats could easily adopt much of the family agenda Douthat and Salam propose--and that, more than his opponent, Barack Obama already has. First, some context.
What's In A Name?
As Beijing gears up to host this year's Olympic Games, we asked Perry Link, professor of East Asian Studies at Princeton University, to give us his perspective on how China is responding to the challenge. He will be guest-blogging for us over the next few weeks: Might athletes from Taiwan have boycotted the Olympic Games if Beijing had made a minor shift in their team's name? This nearly happened a few days ago and yes, says Tai Shia-ling, Taiwan's Minister of Sports Affairs, the Taiwan athletes would definitely have stayed away.
Is Obama Dukakis Ii?
The Boston Globe Magazine's Charlie Pierce does a so-so job on what could have been a fun piece--a counterfactual on what would have happened had Mike Dukakis beat George H.W. Bush in 1988--but there was one part of the story that made me gulp a bit: In the spring of 1988, Dukakis had a lead over the nominee of the incumbent Republican Party, just as Barack Obama does at this moment. Yet he lost, 53.4 percent to 45.6 percent, and by a whopping 426-111 in the Electoral College.
Even more disturbing than this, though that rates a close second. As for number one, it comes from Jane Mayer's new book, by way of Alan Brinkley's excellent review in Sunday's Times: By the end of 2005, those defending the regime of torture were no longer seeking primarily to protect the search for valuable intelligence. They were fighting for its survival, in the face of considerable evidence of the failure of SERE and other programs, because they feared being prosecuted should the program be halted and exposed.