January 31, 2008

Race Matters
12:00 AM

It would have been fine, of course, for a political scientist or a journalist to make the observation that Hillary Clinton stood little chance in the South Carolina Democratic primary running against a black candidate. And it would have raised no eyebrows if he or she drew comparisons between Barack Obama's win and Jesse Jackson's 1988 victory. But Bill Clinton is a master politician who calibrates the exact effect of his words upon an audience.

Chris Orr at Sundance
12:00 AM

The first thing you notice about Park City, Utah, in January is that it’s really cold. That’s also the second thing you notice. But after you’ve noticed it a few more times, you’re struck by how beautiful the town is. Flying into Salt Lake City, thirty-odd miles away, it’s hard not to be awed by the majestic peaks that surround the city’s wide basin. But Park City is far more intimate, with the mountains nestled in snugly around the town like spectators at a hockey game.I was in Park City for two days of the Sundance Film Festival last week.

Minister of Offense
12:00 AM

On February 27, 2004, in the Tawilla area of North Darfur, 30 villages were burned to the ground, over 200 were people killed, over 200 girls and women raped (some by up to 14 assailants at a time, in front of their soon-to-be-murdered husbands and fathers), and 150 women and 200 children were abducted. The man who directed this atrocity--and many others of similar barbarity--was Musa Hilal, the most notorious of the Janjaweed militia leaders who have done the genocidal bidding of Khartoum's National Islamic Front regime for the past five years. The U.S.

Who Won? The Democrats Did.
12:00 AM

Unlike the focus group on Fox, the viewers in CNN's group broke ever so slightly for Clinton.  According to CNN, they all came in as undecided voters.

The Love-in In L.a.
12:00 AM

Some post-debate thoughts: 1.) Much of tonight's affair was a draw. But, even during the draw portions, Obama sharpened his responses a lot relative to his recent debate performances. On health care, for example, my gut (and head) still say Hillary has the stronger position substantively.

The Last Word (hopefully) On Mandates
12:00 AM

For those missed the first few minutes of the debate, an early question from Jeanne Cummings went to Barack Obama: Why, she wanted to know, was his plan superior to hers if estimates suggest that 15 million people would remain uninsured? Readers of this space have heard about this debate aplenty.  Most of those who care to form an opinion on it have; those who don't have moved on.  And that's just fine.  Personally, I'd be happy to say nothing more about it. But I've just received a press release from the Obama campaign suggesting that 15 million figure isn't reliable.  It cites articles notin

A Bright Spot In The State Of The Union
12:00 AM

David Rogers in the Politico finds at least one good thing Bush did in the State of the Union address: not spend a single word plugging the big bad farm bill still working its way through Congress. The farm lobby is not pleased: “I was appalled,” said Tom Buis, president of the National Farmers Union, who watched the speech from the House gallery. “The Farm Bill is the single most important piece of legislation for rural communities,” said Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

Fathers And Sons
12:00 AM

Commenting on the Times piece about Bill Clinton's unsavory influence-peddling in Kazakhstan, Josh Marshall notes:  One point that should not go unmentioned is that what former President Clinton is described as doing in that Times article is little different from what the first President Bush has done in his post-presidency. And his son is the president. So if it would be a problem with Bill, and I think it would be, it unquestionably is already a problem with the current president's dad. And no one has seemed to much bother about it. Well, yes and no.

Clinton Congratulates Dictator On Election Victory!
12:00 AM

That New York Times piece which Noam alluded to earlier about Bill Clinton helping broker a shady mining deal in Kazakhstan has this charming anecdote: Indeed, in December 2005, Mr. Nazarbayev won another election, which the security organization itself said was marred by an “atmosphere of intimidation” and “ballot-box stuffing.” After Mr. Nazarbayev won with 91 percent of the vote, Mr. Clinton sent his congratulations. “Recognizing that your work has received an excellent grade is one of the most important rewards in life,” Mr. Clinton wrote in a letter released by the Kazakh embassy.

January 30, 2008

Primary School
12:00 AM

Jeffrey Rosen’s 2008 debut as a campaign correspondent.