October 23, 2008
No, Obama Is Not A Marxist
It's one hundred and sixty years since Karl Mark published The Communist Manifesto. Communism had a long run, much longer than fascism. But it is long since dead. Yes, there are less than a handful of communist dictatorships: "People's" China, Vietnam, Cuba, North Korea. The first two of these are still run by the Party. But the economies are about as rapacious capitalisms as there are in the world. Fidel Castro's Cuba was a cruel joke on its own people: unproductive, impoverished, unequal, tyrannical. Raoul is the intermittent ruler before...God knows who and what will succeed him.
Obama Channels Michael Pollan
You don't see this everyday. Obama chats with Time's Joe Klein and serves up some critical thinking on food policy, laying out the web of incentives and subsidies that distort our agricultural system: I was just reading an article in The New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector.
October 22, 2008
The resentments of Sarah Palin.
Mickey Mouse Operation
We were supposed to be beyond this. In 2000, George W. Bush’s freakishly thin margin of victory over Al Gore once more thrust the twin problems of voter access and voter legitimacy into the national spotlight.
WASHINGTON--A rebellion is beginning to take place among American conservatives, many of them influential commentators who are denouncing the takeover of the Republican Party by a mixture of anti-intellectual populists and political extremists.Novelist Christopher Buckley, the son of the founder of modern American conservatism, has endorsed Barack Obama for president. Columnists Kathleen Parker and Peggy Noonan have questioned John McCain's judgment in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate.
Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a nice meditation on Madelyn and Stanley Dunham: I was looking at this picture of Obama's grandparents and thinking how much he looks like his grandfather. And suddenly, for whatever reason, I was struck by the fact that they had made the decision to love their daughter, no matter what, and love their grandson, no matter what. I'd bet money that they never even thought of themselves as courageous, that they didn't give much thought to the broader struggles in the the world at the time.
October 21, 2008
Bush Is No Hoover
At various points throughout his administration, George W. Bush has been likened to Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman, to Teddy Roosevelt and William McKinley. But during his second term, a consensus has been forming on the president he most brings to mind. As early as the fall of 2006, historian Douglas Brinkley wrote that Bush “has joined [Herbert] Hoover as a case study on how not to be president,” and the comparison has only become more commonplace since then.
Federal appellate judge Richard A. Posner, from the Seventh Circuit, recently wrote in The New Republic ("In Defense of Looseness,” August 27, 2008) that the Heller decision striking down the D.C. gun ban constituted inappropriate judicial activism. Another conservative-leaning appellate judge, the Fourth Circuit’s J. Harvie Wilkinson, takes the same position in an article scheduled for publication in the Virginia Law Review.
Obama's Sneaky New Climate Strategy
Last week, Jason Grumet, one of Obama's main energy advisors, caused a small splash in enviro-policy circles by telling Bloomberg News that, if Obama becomes president, his EPA would probably use the authority given to it by the Supreme Court last year and start regulating carbon-dioxide emissions directly. In other words, an Obama administration wouldn't necessarily have to wait for Congress before starting to curtail greenhouse gases.
In addition to casting ballots for individual candidates Nov. 4, voters in California will be voting on Proposition 8, a high-profile initiative that would ban gay marriage, effectively overturning a May decision by the California Supreme Court. A study released last week reveals a surprising group of swing voters on the issue: Asian Americans. The study, which is the largest of its kind in the United States, surveyed 1,900 likely Asian American voters in eight languages between August 18 and September 26. It showed that by a margin of 57 to 32 percent, the population opposed Prop 8.