December 04, 2008

Ballot Boxed
12:00 AM

In the weeks leading up to Election Day, the hand-wringing over voting irregularities reached a fever pitch. Rolling Stone published a feature by Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., warning that Republicans may have already stolen the election. The McCain campaign highlighted accusations that the civil rights group ACORN was trying to commit voter fraud by fabricating voter registrations. Voting rights groups sent nearly daily e-mail blasts to reporters obsessing over every state and local incident of voter intimidation or suppression.

Why Israelis Love Chabad

Jerusalem, Israel Gavriel and Rivkie Holtzberg, the young Israeli couple who ran the Chabad House in Mumbai and were murdered there by jihadists, died bound and helpless, like those Jewish martyrs disparaged for their quietism by the Zionist ethos. Ultra-Orthodox Jews, the Holtzbergs never served in the Israeli army--yet when they were buried on Tuesday, Israeli society mourned as though they were fallen soldiers. When their coffins arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport, they were draped in the national flag.

Samantha Power Is A Friend Of Israel
12:00 AM

Louis Dembitz Brandeis, the first Jew to be appointed to the United States Supreme Court, was also the leading American Zionist and, for some years, the great titanic figure of international Zionism itself, even above Chaim Weizmann, who ended his career as the first president of the State of Israel.

Does Obama Need Congress To Act On Climate Change?
12:00 AM

What happens if Congress can't—or won't—pass a climate bill in the next two years? Does that mean Obama will just have to scrap his promise to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions? No, not necessarily. As we've discussed before, and as Marc Ambinder pointed out yesterday, thanks to a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, the EPA has the option of using the existing Clean Air Act to regulate CO2 from power plants and large industrial facilities. Here's Ambinder's take: If Obama decides to do this, climate change conservatives will go ape. An end-run around Congress.

Was Nov. 4 The End Of Racial History?
12:00 AM

A recent review of Tom Sugrue's Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North in the New York Observer makes a startling accusation. Sugrue, argues critic Jonathan Liu, plods through decades of racial conflict and uneven progress without ever considering “the potential and potency of a single transformative racial moment … Sweet Land of Liberty will forever be the last major work on race relations published before the astounding uplift of The Change.” That change, needless to say, is the election of Barack Obama as the nation's first black president.

December 03, 2008

The Final Leap
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--In recent years, the outside world's idea of India has been tied almost exclusively to its glorious economic rise. The tragedy of Mumbai reminds us that severe religious, ethnic and nationalist differences remain. And these differences weigh heavily against India's definitive rise.There is no denying the leap forward (pardon my Maoist slip) made by India since the bold changes unleashed in 1991 by Manmohan Singh, then the finance minister and now the prime minister.

A Few Good Women
12:00 AM

In the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama first distinguished himself in the area of foreign policy; criticizing an atrophied approach to international affairs in both parties, he promised a new approach to diplomacy and national security.

Defining Barack Down
12:00 AM

The funny thing about elections is that their meaning undergoes a metamorphosis the very instant they occur. A couple weeks before the vote, a Republican member of Congress declared at a McCain rally, "This campaign in the next couple of weeks is about one thing. It's a referendum on socialism." If you said now that the election was a referendum on socialism, or even mere liberalism, you'd be taken for a left-wing maniac. Political scientists will tell you that a presidential "mandate" is just a social construct. But it's an important construct, in two ways.

Is Harry Reid Going Down?
12:00 AM

Like the young Julius Caesar--who confidently boasted, while languishing helpless and imprisoned by pirates on an island, that he would soon crucify his own captors--the embattled Senate Republicans, who haven’t won a single seat from Democrats in two election cycles, are already dreaming of taking the biggest prize of all in 2010: Majority Leader Harry Reid. Jon Cornyn, the newly-minted chief of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, reportedly wants to make Reid, who’s up for re-election, one of his prime targets; the RNC is panting after him, too.

Inside The Belly Of Bush's Beast
12:00 AM

I'm a day late on this, but don't miss David Sanger's intriguing story on what the transitionistas are uncovering about the inner functionings of the formerly-opaque Bush administration: “For a bunch of small-government Republicans,” one former denizen of the White House who has now stepped back inside for the first time in eight years, “these guys built a hell of an empire.” Eight years ago, there were two deputy national security advisers; today there are a half-dozen, each with staff.