January 14, 2008
Yes, I am fixed on the question of whether specific polities are actually nations. That is because the international system is organized on the presumption that most and maybe even all of them are. Just as the post-1945 world also presumed that the danger of war would be, as it had been for two centuries, across established borders. Of course, there have been several cross-frontier wars since the Second World War bled to its end -- first in Europe, then in Asia -- and many of them were bloody indeed.
Hillary On Obama's Anti-war Cred
Like Matt Yglesias, I don't entirely get what Hillary Clinton is aiming for by raising questions about Obama's war-opposition. Yes, Obama toned down his opposition once he arrived in the Senate. But, as Matt says, "Russ Feingold's not his opponent. Hillary Clinton is." And, at pretty much every step of the way, Hillary was either where Obama was or to the right of him on this issue.
January 12, 2008
The Power and the Inspiration
In war, truth is the first casualty--but in politics, it appears that the first victim is history. The latest maiming of the historical record and elementary historical logic has come over Martin Luther King, Jr., Lyndon B. Johnson--and the presidential primaries of 2008. The media echo chamber is now booming with charges that Senator Hillary Clinton has disparaged Dr. King, praised President Johnson in his stead, and thereby distorted the history of the civil rights movement.
January 11, 2008
Making Room For Baby
It’s official: American pop-culture is not going to hell in a hand basket. So declares no less of an expert on societal damnation than former Senator Rick Santorum. “I can sympathize with parents who are increasingly tempted to gather their children and retreat to the catacombs,” Santorum writes this month in his Philadelphia Inquirer column.
Pollsters--along with nearly everyone else on earth--failed to predict the result of the New Hampshire Democratic primary. According to Real Clear Politics, they estimated that Barack Obama would defeat Hillary Clinton by an average of eight percent. She won by three, and eleven percent is an awful lot for pollsters to be wrong by--well beyond the margin of error.
What's Your Problem?
What happened in the New Hampshire primary? Peter Beinart is editor-at-large at The New Republic, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, and the author of The Good Fight (HarperCollins). Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a contributing editor to National Review. By Peter Beinart & Jonah Goldberg
Kennedy Not Endorsing Soon
Apart from Al Gore, the most prized Democratic endorsement still out there belongs to the senior senator from Massachusetts. Both the Obama and Clinton camps have been working Kennedy hard. But I'm told not to expect him to pick a side before February 5. (My off-the-cuff hunch, incidentally, is that that's a letdown for Hillary Clinton. Kennedy is a real creature of Washington who worked well with the Clinton White House and has backed establishment candidates--Al Gore, John Kerry--in past primary fights. I would think his default choice would be Hillary.
The South Carolina Debate
A couple quick thoughts about the GOP debate: 1.) There was a lot of talk going into last night about how Fred Thompson would be gunning for Mike Huckabee's head. Thompson didn't disappoint. He bashed Huckabee on taxes and spending, on his liberal foreign policy instincts and soft immigration record, on his National Education Association endorsement. He also lectured Huckabee about why we need to subsidize the Pakistani military, not-so-subtly suggesting that Huckabee was in over his head.
January 10, 2008
You Call That a Filibuster?
Over the next few days, a group of Congressional experts will try to answer the big questions that came out of the Capitol last year: Were the Democrats as hapless as the press made them out to be? How could've they been more effective in meeting those filibustering Republicans head-on? What happened with the timetable for withdrawal? And, hey, where's Rahm when you need him?
As a psychologist, I should begin with the caveat that anyone who thinks he knows how Hillary Clinton was able to resurrect a campaign that looked like it had gone from inevitable victory two months ago to inevitable defeat two days ago should see a psychologist. But though we can never know for sure why it occurred, a number of factors may shed some light on one of the most perplexing nights in modern electoral history. The only way to understand New Hampshire is to back up three months, when Hillary Clinton had been climbing steadily in the polls and Obama was stagnating.