April 08, 2008
By the end, it was hard to count all the reasons the members of Team Hillary wanted to see Mark Penn laid low. The rumpled, portly pollster's apparently unpardonable sin was his March 31 meeting with the Colombian ambassador to discuss the efforts of Penn's PR firm, Burson-Marsteller, to procure a trade pact specifically opposed by Senator Clinton. But Penn had been a focus of animus within the Hillary campaign from day one.
WASHINGTON--The most striking critiques of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign have come not from her opponents or her enemies, but from her most loyal friends.Since December, I have been hearing a steady stream of worries from Clinton partisans who took Barack Obama's challenge seriously from the start.
Earlier today I talked up Peter Beinart's column about how presidents tend to run their administrations the way they campaign. Well, if you want a sense of how dysfunctional a McCain administration could be, read Jason Zengerle's excellent piece about the warring tribes of the McCain campaign. The McCainiacs make the Clinton campaign look like the Get Along Gang. --Noam Scheiber
Extinguish The Torch!
Steve Clemons makes a convincing case that, contra calls from Hillary Clinton, President Bush should not boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. But is there any reason the U.S. shouldn't boycott this round-the-world relay of the Olympic torch, which is scheduled to make an appearance in San Francisco tomorrow? First, just consider the amount of government resources that will be put toward protecting this stupid torch.
Our old boss and colleague Peter Beinart has a great column in today's Washington Post about how presidential campaigns reliably predict a candidate's governing style. By that metric, he says, Obama has a huge advantage over Clinton and McCain: Of the three candidates still in the 2008 race, Obama has run the best campaign by far. McCain's was a top-heavy, slow-moving, money-hemorrhaging Hindenburg that eventually exploded, leaving the Arizona senator to resurrect his bankrupt candidacy through sheer force of will.
Questions For Petraeus
General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker are being grilled by the Senate Armed Services Committee as we speak (watch here on C-SPAN), and will appear before the Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon. The counterinsurgency blog Abu Muqawama has an interesting list of questions for senators to ask. This, in particular, would be a good one, though I'd be surprised if anyone actually posed it: Recently, your image and person has been appropriated by conservative groups such as Freedom’s Watch to support the policies of the Bush Administration.
Team Hillary Again Pleads Poverty
Another poignant email from Hillary Clinton just landed in my inbox: Dear Friend, With 14 days to go until the people of Pennsylvania vote, the Obama campaign has decided to go all-out. They're trying to end the race for the White House with an unyielding media blitz. Right now, we're being outspent 4-1 on Pennsylvania television. So now, here's what we have to ask ourselves: Have we come this far in our history-making contest for the Democratic nomination only to see the race decided not by the quality of our ideas but by the size of our opponent's media budget?
April 07, 2008
Is Bush The Worst President Ever?
According to this poll, 61% of professional historians think George W. Bush is the worst president of all time. Matt Yglesias adds: More interestingly, I also take the view that Bush is probably correct to think that history will remember him kindly. American presidents associated with big dramatic events tend to wind up with good reputations whether they deserve them or not.
What Should Come First?
A few days ago, Obama again told reporters that he'd like to give Al Gore a "major role" in his administration—something climate-related. Yes, Obama's angling for an endorsement, etc. etc. but I wonder… Every so often, like at last December's NPR debate, Obama sends off signals that he wants to make energy and climate change the centerpiece of his domestic-policy agenda if he gets elected. By contrast, it seems likely that Clinton would make health care her top priority. I'm sifting through tea leaves here, but that's my best guess.
April 05, 2008
Yoonited States of America
The disclosure of the former Bush administration lawyer John Yoo's “torture memo” this week was, in most senses, an exercise less in news than in archaeology. The public has long known the memo existed. And it has also known, in broad strokes, what it says: that military interrogators aren’t constrained by domestic or international law and that the president has the power to sweep statutory constraints aside anyway. The Bush administration has long since repudiated the memo.