March 03, 2009

Smear Itself
12:00 AM

Ever since he co-authored the wildly hyperbolic tome The Israel Lobby, Stephen Walt has been on his best behavior. He has authored a lot of staid hard-realist commentary about foreign policy and kept his fulminations about "The Lobby," as he liked to call it, more restrained--all the better to project his favored self-image as a thoughtful academic beset by agenda-driven ideologues.But every once in a while, Walt lets his inner paranoid slip loose. One such moment occurred last weekend.

Newt. Again. (And Again. And Again.)
12:00 AM

I don't want to say Matt Bai got sold a bill goods for his NYT Magazine cover story on Newt Gingrich--especially since I myself bought the same bill of goods not so long ago--but I don't think Newt is "back." Or at least he's not "back" any more than he was "back" a couple years ago. The Congressmen taking advice from Newt today and the Republican operatives touting him as a potential presidential candidate in 2012 are the same Congressmen who were taking advice from him in 2006 and the same operatives who were touting him as a potential presidential candidate in 2008.

Carl Schmitt And The American Right
12:00 AM

Over at NRO's The Corner, Jonah "Liberals Were Fascists Before They Were Socialists" Goldberg joins with the conservative movement's house comedian Mark Steyn in ridiculing a book he hasn't read -- Alan Wolfe's The Future of Liberalism:  Mark - James Piereson reviews Wolfe's book in the latest issue of Commentary (which, readers may like to know, has a fantastic essay by none other than Mark Steyn in it). I can't get behind the firewall, even though I'm a print subscriber, but Piereson's review is sober and contemptuous at the same time.

Obama's New Gay Rights Crusader
12:00 AM

Alyssa Rosenberg is a staff correspondent at Government Executive and a regular contributor to National Journal. President Obama has just made John Berry, the current director of the National Zoo, the highest-ranking openly gay appointee ever by tapping him to head the Office of Personnel Management (pending Congressional approval).

More Skepticism Of Obama's Farm-subsidy Reforms
12:00 AM

As we noted last week, the new White House budget contains a proposal to end "direct payment" subsidies to commodity-crop farmers who have more than $500,000 per year in sales. As I noted in an earlier post, it’s a good proposal, but it only marks a small step in the right direction on farm subsidies.

Jones, Rice, Clinton And The Hustle For Foreign Policy Power
12:00 AM

National Security Council uberexpert David Rothkopf says National Security Advisor Jim Jones is in a position to be, after Obama, the single most important voice in shaping U.S. national security policy.

Jacob Hacker: Obama's Almost Perfect Strategy
12:00 AM

Jacob S. Hacker is co-director of the Center for Health, Economic, and Family Security at U.C. Berkeley, and a fellow at the New America Foundation. He recently edited Health at Risk: America's Ailing Health System--and How to Heal It. We hope he will be contributing to The Treatment on a regular basis. Like others obsessed with health reform (such as, say, Jon and Jon), I have been frenetically sifting the Obama administration's pronouncements.

March 02, 2009

Obama's Big Question
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Our political system adjusts badly when the familiar landmarks erected during controversies of the past are swept away and prepackaged arguments become obsolete.

Coalition of the Unwilling
12:00 AM

As Israeli politicians enter the last rounds of negotiations over forming a new government, the most likely result is a right-wing, ultra-Orthodox coalition that a majority of Israelis, including the man forming it, doesn't want.

Life Support
12:00 AM

In 2007, Barack Obama promised Planned Parenthood that "the first thing I would do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act" (FOCA), which would overturn federal and state restrictions on abortion, including the ban on partial-birth abortion. But not a single member of Congress has introduced the bill yet. Its original sponsor in previous sessions of Congress, Jerold Nadler of New York, said "it won't be [introduced] anytime soon," a spokesman told Time, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has indicated she has no plan to raise the issue.