May 01, 2008
Today is the anniversary of Bush's "Mission Accomplished" fete aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, an occasion for many to lament the fact that the mission still isn't accomplished. But May 1 always reminds me of a more specific failing of the Bush administration: its belief that laughter is the best medicine. That relentless optimism is not only what the public always wants, but even may have the power to tangibly improve events.
April 30, 2008
The Change Agent
WASHINGTON--The victory of Fernando Lugo, a left-wing former Catholic bishop, in Paraguay's presidential election is being interpreted as confirmation of the continent-wide trend against "neoliberalism"--that is, privatization, globalization and good relations with the United States.
Over at Grist, Anna Fahey posts a persuasive set of facts and counterclaims geared at convincing those who are skeptical about the existence of so-called "green collar jobs." The new policy buzzword (which Hillary Clinton injected into her Pennsylvania victory speech with as much aplomb as she did her campaign website), it seems, has some people fearful of a costly bait and switch. It isn't just that people haven't heard the details on what a green labor force would look like, though that's certainly true.
There are still many people in the world who think that Hamas is a group made up of rational thinkers. Not only Jimmy Carter. But also many inside the administration and out.I suspect that Hamas is actually united in derangement. Here's an article from Thursday's Jerusalem Post about a Hamas TV special charging that the Zionists planned and executed the Holocaust.Maybe this instance of derangement is an improvement, an improvement over the Hamas that is convinced the Holocaust is actually a fable.So why should people consort with these folk? To be exposed to Hamas's grasp of reality.
At her press briefing today, Dana Perino was asked a question about the Pentagon's controversial media outreach strategy, as depicted in the New York Times earlier this month. She had tried to skip over the questioner, but according to the transcript, Helen Thomas essentially yielded the floor to him. Perino offered this unconvincing defense: Look, I didn't know--look, I think that you guys should take a step back and look at this--look, DOD has made a decision, they've decided to stop this program.
From Harry Truman To Howard Dean
Monday, I received a mass email from Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Here's what he wrote: John McCain wants to stay in Iraq for 100 years. He's said it, and it's on tape.But his campaign hates that he was caught. They've viciously attacked anyone who reminded the American people that he said it, including me. They've said that those who reference the 100 years comments are "deliberately misleading voters."So we've taken John McCain's own words -- video of him saying that 100 years would be "fine with me" -- and made a TV ad.
Yesterday, the United Nations Security Council refused to consider sending a fact-finding mission or special envoy to investigate post-election violence or crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe. There has been no shortage of such envoys (the latest being a 9/11 Truther), missions and whatnot for Israel and the Palestinian territories, yet never has the United Nations deigned to consider any sort of involvement in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, land of the 34-year life expectancy.
Mccain's Fragile Candidacy
The piece in today's Times about McCain's tentative rapprochement with the House GOP reminded me again how fragile his candidacy is. Conservatives and establishment Republicans are eager to embrace him because he's pretty much the only member of their party who'd have a chance of winning in November. But you get the strong impression that their affinity for his campaign runs no deeper than the strategic rationale for it.
One of the debates around our office these last two days has been whether it's still possible, as a practical matter, for Hillary to win. Or, more precisely, whether it's possible for the superdelegates to override the pledged delegates without provoking the kind of backlash that would doom Hillary. My own feeling is that it is possible. The most likely place you'd find the backlash is obviously among black voters, who've been supporting Obama by a nearly 9-to-1 margin of late. But I don't think the African-American backlash would necessarily be overwhelming, for two reasons.
April 29, 2008
WASHINGTON--This is supposed to be a big election, but it has given every sign in recent weeks of becoming a small one. As a result, the public and the media are showing signs of exhaustion with what had once been an exhilarating contest. In big elections, voters know how much is at stake. They focus on central problems, not manufactured issues or the personal foibles of candidates.