Politics

January 16, 2008

Obama, The Mirror
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Foreign leaders and journalists often joke that the whole world should get to vote in U.S. elections since the outcome affects the entire planet. His recent setback in New Hampshire notwithstanding, an intense scrutiny of Barack Obama is taking place from Buenos Aires to Paris. But what observers and politicians are saying about him is what they are really saying about their own societies.In Europe, one senses a quiet shame.

An Apology
12:00 AM

I did Andrew Cuomo an injustice earlier today by accepting as true an allegation that the New York attorney-general was alluding to Barack Obama when he used the phrase "shuck and jive" as representative of what you can't do in the intimate campaigns of New Hampshire and Iowa. After realizing my mistake, I spoke with Cuomo on the phone and we agreed that the phrase was unfortunate, more than unfortunate. But, in the absence of very clear evidence, why did I so easily accept that he was applying it to Obama when he was not?

The Vegas Debate
12:00 AM

I scratched my head when I heard Chris Matthews proclaim Hillary the victor of tonight's debate on the strength of her "presidential"-ism and her Iraq maneuvering. There's no question Hillary looked confident and in-command, and that she's put her Iraq problems behind her. (Though I'd argue that happened a couple months ago.) Conversely, there were times when Obama seemed a little tired and out of it. But I think this plane of analysis mostly misses what had happened last night.

January 15, 2008

The Struggle Ahead

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?

Motown Mitt
12:00 AM

Livonia, Michigan--John Hillman, 63, is a veteran car salesman for a Ford dealership here in suburban Detroit. And it's just not just any dealership. It's one that claims to have the most Ford sales of any in the nation. But lately business hasn't been so good. Hillman figures it's about half, maybe two-thirds of what it was at its peak, many years ago. And, he knows, those good times may not be returning anytime soon, now that the economy is widely believed to be slowing down.

What I Would’ve Attacked the Republicans on Last Year

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?

Albatross In Chief
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON, D.C.--The turmoil in the Republican presidential contest, which seems to produce a new front-runner every month, owes to President Bush's unpopularity and the fact that even members of his own party want to turn the page on the last seven years.John McCain's victory in last week's New Hampshire primary, which vaulted him to the lead nationally, was built in large part on anti-Bush votes.Republican Mitt Romney is edging away from a strategy based on pure conservative orthodoxy, presenting himself instead as the true candidate of change.

The (Interestingly Accumulated) Wealth of Nations
12:00 AM

Lots of big histories read rather like compendia of colorful occurrences--lists of Good and Bad Things, in Sellar and Yeatman's formulation. But the last decade has seen a surge in ambitious histories that not only cover a lot of ground, but also offer big explanations for why the world is as it is.

O Rahm, Where Art Thou?

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?

The Democratic Debate
12:00 AM

I already know from email that some colleagues disagree, but I saw a modest win for Hillary tonight. (And a clear win for the entire party, insofar as the race/gender feud of the past several days ground to a halt, despite the best efforts of moderators Tim Russert and Brian Williams) As always, Obama's grandeur was flattened in the debate format--as opposed to the big stage with a rapt audience--while once again I thought Hillary's quick feet and policy chops shined through.

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