April 15, 2008
Frankly, It's Shameful
WASHINGTON--The Democratic presidential candidates are doing a splendid job helping John McCain get to the White House. Barack Obama violated two elementary rules of political campaigning. A candidate should never play the role of a political scientist or sociologist analyzing a key electoral swing group from afar, and should never dissect the motivations of less privileged people when talking to a group of privileged people. If Obama's comments about working-class voters had come from the mouth of anyone except a candidate, they might have seemed mildly controversial but broadly true.
The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear a case that asks whether the Clean Water Act requires power plants and manufacturers to adopt the best available technology, regardless of cost, for eliminating pollution from wastewater used to absorb heat from industrial processes, or whether companies are allowed to use a cost-benefit calculation in deciding whether to adopt these technologies.
April 14, 2008
A different commander-in-chief will soon assume leadership of the War on Drugs. Let’s hope that a new leader will implement a new strategy, because for nearly a century now-- following the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914--America’s War on Drugs has been seen primarily as a criminal justice problem. And for nearly a century, we’ve seen this approach to fighting drugs fail and fail and then fail again. Almost nobody’s pleased with the results. So my question is: Why haven’t we been able to change course?
A Superpower On The Wane?
Not only did the U.S. finish out of the medal chase in the latest global execution standings (we're a distant fifth, and the Supreme Court sure isn't helping us catch up), it now seems that our erstwhile dominance in the field of total carbon emissions has disappeared faster than, well, Arctic sea ice: China has already overtaken the US as the world's "biggest polluter", a report to be published next month says.
The Case For Waiting
Brad poked at something interesting in this post and if I might, I'd like to expand on it just a bit. Last year, before the Democratic presidential candidates began arguing against each other's "theories of change," environmental groups were involved in a fight of their own about a similar idea. With a narrow Democratic majority in Congress and a fiercely anti-environment president in the White House, how should they approach the climate legislation that they knew was coming down the pipeline?
Is Bush Ready To Take The Plunge?
Well, this is unexpected. The front page of today's Washington Times says that Bush may reverse his stance on climate legislation—and soon: President Bush is poised to change course and announce as early as this week that he wants Congress to pass a bill to combat global warming, and will lay out principles for what that should include. Specifics of the policy are still being fiercely debated, but Bush administration officials have told Republicans in Congress that they feel pressure to act now because they fear a coming regulatory nightmare. It would be the first time Mr.
Pastor Act Ii: Back In The Habit
ABC News reports that Jeremiah Wright has broken his silence regarding his now-ubiquitous criticisms of America that landed Barack Obama in hot water about a month ago. The happening bears out the thesis of a psych-profile I wrote a few issues back, about why Wright can't bring himself to zip it. Relevant portions: Having lived for so long at the center of a world he built, Wright may simply not be used to restraining himself.
Amanda Fortini has an interesting piece in New York magazine on the "feminist reawakening" that Senator Hillary Clinton's run for the White House has brought about. Here's the crux of her thesis: The women I interviewed who described a kind of conversion experience brought about by Clinton’s candidacy were professionals in their thirties, forties, and fifties, and a few in their twenties.
Via the Huffington Post, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley didn't have a very good day yesterday on ABC's This Week. He repeatedly said "Nepal" when he meant "Tibet," never correcting himself: Of course Hadley's gaffe is somewhat understandable (one should hope Nepal is on the national security adviser's mind these days), and by some accounts Asia policy is one of the few areas in which the Bush administration's efforts have met with some modest success.
April 12, 2008
How Bad Was Nixon?
Ross Douthat has a very good (and very positive) review of Rick Perlstein's new book on the Nixon years in this month's Atlantic. I'm not quite sure about Douthat's conclusion, however: Perlstein depicts a country on the edge of a civil war—a nation in which columnists openly speculated that America might embrace a de Gaulle–style man on horseback, or find a “President Verwoerd” (the architect of South African apartheid) to install in the Oval Office. It was a political moment when the old order could no longer govern, and the new order wasn’t ready...