June 16, 2008

Dodging the Junta
12:00 AM

Over a month after Cyclone Nargis devastated Burma's southern coast, the country’s ruling junta continues to restrict international efforts to assist the disaster's victims, so domestic ad-hoc groups are taking the lead in funneling aid through back channels.

The Hugh Hefner of Politics
12:00 AM

LAS VEGAS--I ask Taylor Marsh whether she really keeps a gun to protect herself from her detractors, as she claims on her website. So, she escorts me into her bedroom to show the proof: an HK 9mm handgun. “I know how to use it,” she says, pointing the weapon briefly in my direction (it’s unloaded) before walking over to the other side of the bed. There, she holds up her husband’s firearm, a Ruger Mini-14 rifle. “I am just reviled everywhere,” she declares with more than a hint of pride.She’s proud because, in all honesty, being hated has been good for business.

Family Matters
12:00 AM

WASHINGTON--Will everyone dismiss Barack Obama's Father's Day call to responsible parenting as a simple political ploy? After all, the man who would be our first African-American president is struggling for support from white working-class voters, many of whom have traditional views of family life and some of whom harbor deep suspicions about black men. What could be more reassuring to them than his flat statement that "too many fathers ...

Intelligence Failure: Inside This Month's Senate Report
12:00 AM

The Senate intelligence committee released its two-part report this month exploring pre-war intelligence on Iraq and its use by the Bush administration. We asked James Martin, a Paul Mellon fellow at Cambridge University who writes on international security issues, to wade through the 172-page report for us.

Democrats Sneak Up On Red Districts
12:00 AM

CQ's Bart Jansen reports on the new style of Democratic campaigning, now that so many of the House seats they want to poach are in purple/red districts: A key element of the strategy to hang on to these “majority maker” districts is to downplay any suggestion that the incumbents — mostly members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition — might rub their constituents the wrong way, ideologically speaking, and to highlight the ways they’ll be fighting on behalf of their districts in more crucial everyday struggles. ...

June 14, 2008

Martyr Complex
12:00 AM

Tom Daschle is a lucky guy. Not so long ago, he appeared washed up and finished in Washington politics, a guy who couldn’t catch a break from the left or the right. In 2004, South Dakota voters threw him out of office, evidently feeling that he had become too much of a Washington liberal. At the same time, liberal Democrats disdained him for caving to the Bush regime. After the 2000 Florida recount, Daschle was quick to call for unity and recognition of George Bush’s legitimacy.

Gore Vidal, All Over The Place
12:00 AM

In his interview with Deborah Solomon for The New York Times Magazine, Gore Vidal, after being asked whether he likes Normal Mailer's fiction, responds, "Oh, dear, we’re not going to go into pluses and minuses now." Alas, it is hard to read this extraordinarily colorful interview without separating the good from the bad. To start with the latter: And what about Mr. McCain? Disaster. Who started this rumor that he was a war hero? Where does that come from, aside from himself? About his suffering in the prison war camp? Everyone knows he was a prisoner of war in North Vietnam.

June 13, 2008

Flight of Fancy
12:00 AM

Israel has been rather busy over the past 60 years establishing the basics of a nation-state, so it's understandable that the country has taken until May 29 of this year to indulge in one of nation-statehood's finest luxuries: Choosing a national bird. One man was unwilling to let the country go on without the requisite mascot. Yossi Leshem, a wild-haired ornithologist from Israel’s International Center for the Study of Bird Migration at Latrun, orchestrated the national campaign with his colleague Dan Alon.

Plotting The Way Forward

With the primary race finally wrapped up, we asked Jonathan Chait, Lakshmi Chaudhry, William Galston, and Ed Kilgore to consider the type of campaign Barack Obama should run against John McCain. Here's what they said. Jonathan Chait is senior editor of The New Republic.How should Barack Obama run? Here are some sub-themes I would suggest he emphasize:1. Embrace class-based affirmative action. This one is a winner all around.

Webb of Deception
12:00 AM

I am amazed at how many Democrats have fallen for Jim Webb. Suddenly, everywhere you look, people are touting Webb as the perfect running mate for Barack Obama. In recent days, as Webb has seemed ubiquitous (hawking his book, bantering with Jon Stewart, grinning at Obama's side), a sizeable number of my otherwise sane friends, family, and colleagues have told me that they view Webb as a perfectly acceptable choice--or, more disturbingly, a good one. This madness has to stop. Now.