June 12, 2008
The Numbers Crunch
WASHINGTON -- At the moment, Barack Obama is winning a smaller share of Democrats than John Kerry did on Election Day four years ago. Yet Obama is beating John McCain by six points in the latest Gallup Poll.
Let the Attack Ads Roll!
Remember the swift boat commercials against John Kerry? Or the anti-Obama "Willie Horton" ad that ran in North Carolina during April? They were all funded by 527s.
More On Obama's Lead
I wrote a blog post last night analyzing the state of the race, and arguing not only that Barack Obama is in a strong position to win, but that the foreseeable big events of the campaign are likely to favor him. John Judis, not for the first time, is skeptical, pointing to a June 2004 poll showing John Kerry leading George W. Bush. "It's important not to draw firm conclusions from these early polls," he writes. But the partisan landscape is vastly more favorable to the Democrats right now than 2004.
Jason Furman Is Not The Problem
I'm all in favor of unions and other voices of the left making themselves heard when it comes to the substantive priorities of the Obama campaign and someday (should things go well in November) the Obama administration. But making a fuss over the appointment of economist Jason Furman, because of his association with centrist Democratic economics, seems not the best excuse to do it.
The following is a revised, updated, and edited version of a piece originally published in The Independent of London a few months ago. In view of recent events, and continuing debates, I post a revised version here. I should add, by way of disclaimer, that I have been an occasional, informal adviser to Senator Obama. Not so long ago, the phone rang in my office. It was Barack Obama. For more than a decade, Obama was my colleague at the University of Chicago Law School. He is also a friend. But since his election to the Senate, he does not exactly call every day.
Scotus Rules For Gitmo Detainees
The opinion is out in Boumediene v. Bush (opinion here in pdf format), and it appears to be a pretty thorough rebuke of the administration's position. The Court ruled 5–4 (with Justice Kennedy writing an opinion that the four liberals signed onto) that detainees at Guant
June 11, 2008
Within a few minutes of Noman Benotman's arrival at the Kandahar guest house, Osama bin Laden came to welcome him. The journey from Kabul had been hard, 17 hours in a Toyota pickup truck bumping along what passed as the main highway to southern Afghanistan. It was the summer of 2000, and Benotman, then a leader of a group trying to overthrow the Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, had been invited by bin Laden to a conference of jihadists from around the Arab world, the first of its kind since Al Qaeda had moved to Afghanistan in 1996.
Nancy Pelosi believes in being direct. With the Democratic presidential contest running hot, in March a reporter with Boston TV station NECN asked the House speaker about the possibility of a dream ticket uniting Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Doe eyes wide, the nation's highest-ranking Democrat flashed her trademark smile ominously. "I think that the Clinton administration [sic] has fairly ruled that out by proclaiming that Senator McCain would be a better [long pause, dismayed half- laugh] commander-in-chief than Obama.
Recount II: Return to the Swamp
It is usually a mistake to read too deeply into the character of a presidential candidate on the basis of some tactical maneuver or grubby compromise. Anybody who was a saint wouldn't be in the position of running for the White House. And yet, Hillary Clinton's speech last week in Florida was so audacious, so divorced from reality, that it begs characterological questions. In the speech, Clinton--summoning as much passion and moral fervor as she has mustered at any point in the campaign--demanded that the Florida and Michigan delegations be seated at the Democratic National Convention.
Now available online: My piece in the latest TNR making the case for Sam Nunn as Obama's veep. As it happens, Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart has a plea against Nunn today. Capehart focuses on Nunn's most obvious political liability: His opposition to Bill Clinton's 1993 effort to let gays serve openly in the military. The military's current "don't ask, don't tell" policy seems pretty absurd and even counter to our security interests (especially when it comes to translators).